Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Took the Shockwave to the Range

I finally got around to to hitting the range with that Mossberg M590 Shockwave I won in the drawing at the Chesapeake Cup in February. In all honesty, I've been avoiding it to some degree. I wasn't really sure how to shoot the thing, and have spent a lot of time viewing videos online and dry firing in front of a mirror. Now a bit more confident, I took it down to Winding Brook for some live fire.

Confirming the range allowed the gun to be shot, I was reminded that only "aimed fire" was permitted, no shooting from the hip. I had assumed that already, and in fact what I had planned. I had brought along a mix of 00 buckshot and slugs, the only shotgun ammo the range permits.

With the target at five yards, I loaded a round of the 00 Buckshot. I noticed that a second RO had appeared behind me, presumably to confirm my safety and obedience. I was pleased to see the shot pattern pretty well centered on the target, with the wad hole off to the right. A second shot found better placement. I then moved to the slugs. For each shot, I loaded a single round in the gun. I didn't want to have to unload if I decided I had had enough. The next few shots started drifting high and left; I think I was starting to think too much about the gun's relation to my face — even though I was having no issues — and pushing the grip out.

After a few more practice rounds, I bagged the shotgun and switched to the handgun, shooting the SIG P320. I shot another 150 rounds with the pistol, at 7 - 15 yards, and was pretty much at my limit of endurance. However, I still had a some loose shotgun slugs left in my bag, so I opted to destroy my pistol target with a few more shots from the Shockwave.

It was a short session. Literally. When I got back to my car I realized I had only spent about 30 minutes total in the range. No wonder I was tired! The Mossberg Shockwave was not overly difficult to shoot. I'd even call it fun to a point. I need a lot more practice before I would consider myself prepared to rely on it for home self defense. I am also reminded that it's been a long time since I did any shotgun work, so maybe it's time...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday Morning Music

Not much in the way of blog-worthy events of late. So we'll just enjoy some Monday blues...

At least we're counting down to a three day weekend!

Friday, May 18, 2018

I Predict Spilled Whiskey

I'm a fan of specialized glassware, I admit it. However, this helix spinning whiskey glass seems like an accident waiting to happen.

I envision myself sitting in my favorite chair, whiskey glass on the side table. Out of the corner of my eye I spy the glass moving, reaching quickly to catch it, I knock it to the floor...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

At The Range

My son and I headed down to the range after work to get in a little more "father & son" shooting time before he heads back to school next week. I opted to take along my Compact SIG P320 this time. I had not shot the gun since the Chesapeake Cup match in February. My plan was to work on slow fire, and trigger and sight control.

I moved the target carrier around between 7, 10, and 12 yards, and made use of the various sized aiming points. I was generally happy with the shooting, up until my first round of strong hand only shooting. Those first 10 shots were surprisingly inconsistent. Shaking my head I went back to shooting with both hands for a bit. Taking a break I stepped into my son's lane and shot his P226 Legion for a bit as well. Very nice gun; makes me want to get out my (plain) P226 next time.

The sloppy SHO shooting stayed on my mind. Instead of finishing with something I was sure to do well on, I opted to shoot my last 20 rounds strong hand only. Since that would be my memory of the day's outing I paid extra attention. The concentration paid off with improved hits and I ended on a high note.

The time passed quickly and we soon headed for home. Unfortunately the drive home did not pass as quickly. Without warning, traffic was at a standstill on the Interstate. We didn't move for a long time, and eventually the road was closed and we finally made it to an exit to take another route home.

Side note observation: If you have been sitting in non-moving traffic for 20 minutes, and you still manage to run into the car in front of you, you might be an idiot. Please stay home.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Always Thinking Stage Strategy

We were out for a hike on Sunday and came across these timbers that the Park Service had put down to help with rainwater diversion. The first thing to pop in my head... fault lines.

I had a similar experience with a mound of dirt recently. I wonder, could this be a sign of addiction?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Traveling in Maryland

I end up driving into Maryland more often than I'd like. I still have family "behind the curtain." There are also, surprisingly, really well-run pistol matches at clubs in the state. I came across this warning posted online...
The possibility of getting unintentionally swept up by Maryland State Police for a gun violation is a LOT worse than your last alert portrayed.

Maryland does not honor concealed carry permits from other states. The Maryland State Police vehicles have their on-board computer connected to the automatic license plate readers in their patrol cars. These computers are set to flag the patrolman of out-of-state vehicles with owners that have concealed carry permits. With state sharing all this information in electronic data bases, the "hits" are found almost instantaneously.

The patrolman can elect to stop the vehicle and challenge the driver to produce his concealed weapon, for which he has a legal permit IN ANOTHER STATE. If the driver is found to have a concealed firearm (handgun), he has violated Maryland State firearms law. The person will be arrested and there is a three year minimum sentence.

Having a concealed carry permit in another state may be probable cause for the patrolman to do a search of the out-of-state vehicle. I've seen this done along the Route 50 stretch between Annapolis and Ocean City, some poor sap with the contents of his vehicle splayed on the ground while the officer searched for an "illegal" hand gun, for which the individual had a legal permit to carry in another state.

The bottom line: IF YOU ARE LEGALLY CARRYING CONCEALED FROM ANOTHER STATE, DO NOT EVEN DRIVE THROUGH MARYLAND. AND IF YOU HAVE A PERMIT FROM ANOTHER STATE, EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT CARRYING, EXPECT TO BE STOPPED. According to one Maryland attorney specializing in criminal law, roughly 19 out of 20 of his unlawful gun transportation clients are not from the State of Maryland (https://criminallawyermaryland.net/maryland-gun-lawyer/transporting/ )

I cannot speak to the veracity of the claim, however, former Virginia Governor McAullife vetoed a bill that would have stopped the sharing of VA CHP information with oppressive states like Maryland. I can say from personal experience, the above warning is fair and should be heeded. I have been subjected to a pat down on the shoulder of the highway by law enforcement when returning from a pistol match. The hassle in that case came not from a State Trooper, but from the MD Transit Authority, a group that is well-known for their proclivity for harassing travelers. Although the firearms were being legally transported, "for the safety of the public" my companion and I were detained and patted down (after the scared cop called for backup) during a traffic stop; a stop that we soon found out was made for no legitimate reason.

When I travel to and from matches in Maryland, my firearm and ammo are in separate, and locked, containers. The containers are placed in the trunk or cargo area. I drive with an acute awareness of the speed limit. A copy of U.S.C. Title 18, §926A is within reach. I make doubly sure I have no loose rounds left in my range bag or pockets for the drive home. The purposeful harassment has only happened once, but I prepare and accept that it's always a distinct possibility.

When I travel to visit family, I simply succumb to the loss of my rights and leave my firearm at home.  I then rely solely on wits, observation, and other legal defensive tools.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Gun Craft Beer

A recent Virginia Shooting Sports Association blog post about craft beer caught my eye. "Gun Craft Beer at NRA Annual Meeting" was a headline that was unexpected. I've had few beers sporting gun names, but a firearms-themed craft brewery, well, that got my attention. Interestingly, Gun Craft Beer is located Illinois, a state that is hardly friendly to the 2nd Amendment. 

Self described "gun enthusiasts, patriots and craft beer nuts," Gun Craft Beer offers four beers currently; 2nd Amendment Red IPAM4 Amber AleTactical American Pale Ale, and FAL Belgian Style Black Ale. Unfortunately the link to order the beer online is not working at this time. Hopefully I'll be able to do an in-depth report in the near future.

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Fun Range Trip

This week's range visit was a fun family outing. Our son is home for a couple weeks, so he joined Colleen and I, along with our friend "Checkered Flag." The range was slow so we all had adjacent lanes. I also rented the new SIG Sauer P365 to try out. I've been keenly interested in the gun, but have never seen one "live," so was excited when I found out that Winding Brook had it available for rent.

I started my time with the P365. I set the target at 5 yards, and saw a very nice group of 10 hits form. My three companions followed with a magazine load each, leaving me 10 more rounds to play with.

My initial impressions of the SIG P365 were very favorable. The gun is a little snappy, but it feels very solid in the hand. The shape to the grip allows a good purchase, even with the pinky finger hanging below. The range didn't have a 12 round magazine to try. It's a small gun but it feels bigger than I thought it would. The P365 is surprisingly easy to shoot.

Getting my full size SIG P320 out, I went through a box of ammo shooting the various sized shapes on the target at 7 and 10 yards. After 50 rounds I started to load more magazines but then decided I really wanted to shoot the P365 a bit more. I splurged on another box of ammo from the range.

This time I set the target out at 7 yards and my son and I took turns shooting at the target's various sized squares, circles, and diamonds. I was impressed with the accuracy for a small gun. I fired off 10 rounds as fast as I could and still shot well. The P365 sights comes back on target very quickly. Even shooting strong hand only proved doable.

P 365. Rapid fire. 7 yards.

Putting the P365 away, my range session was finished with some slow 15 yard shooting with the full size gun.

After shooting the new SIG P365, I was not dissuaded from my desire to get one of my own. As I said after the trip, "This gun feels like I need to buy it."

We finished our outing with a tasty meal and fun conversation at a local "burger joint." I hadn't been shooting with my son since he was home for the Christmas break so it was fun to do. I didn't get the chance to shoot his SIG Legion this time out, so we'll just have to plan another range trip soon.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The 2nd Amendment as White Privilege

The lengths to which the social justice warriors snowflakes go to manufacture outrage never ceases to amaze me. To some, even the natural right to self defense is construed as white privilege.
A gun is a gun, no matter who holds it. NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch is fond of making this point, arguing that firearms act as the “great equalizer,” even among historically marginalized groups. But these statements are aspirational, not descriptive. Gun ownership is less common among African-Americans and Hispanics than whites, and more common among wealthier Americans than poorer ones. The financial and bureaucratic barriers to gun ownership, explained one California police officer, tend to disadvantage the same people who would supposedly be most empowered by the availability of tools of self-defense. “People don't live in dangerous neighborhoods by choice—they often can't afford to live anywhere else,” he said, noting that the task of obtaining a concealed carry permit, which most states require their proverbial Self-Reliant Good Guys with Guns to have, can be a cost-prohibitive one. "Citizens who want to do everything right can’t afford to legally protect themselves.” The cultural proliferation of guns has transformed the “right” of self-defense into a luxury available only to those who can afford it.
Not surprisingly, this tripe was published by GQ, the home of the American metrosexual. The author goes on to explain that the costs of firearms, ammo, training, licensing (!), and even cleaning supplies, make gun ownership unobtainable for non-whites in America.

Among all the facepalm-inducing "logic" in the article, the complaints about licensing fees is exceptionally ironic. Gun laws have their roots in racism, and licensing fees are put in place, with the sole purpose of creating hardship, by the same type of people who incessantly complain about inequality.

The author claims that the "luxury" of gun ownership is unobtainable by non-whites. The basic premise of his writing exhibits racial bias. Blinded by his anti-gun agenda, he fails to see his own racism. There is no logic in leftist thinking.

The author equates having the means to afford a gun to inequality, rather than the result of labor, effort, or choice. But that's how the left sees everything actually. If you don't like something, label it a "privilege" or even "racist." He concludes thusly,
I can’t fault anyone who wants to do all that they can to protect themselves and their loved ones. I respect the decisions of responsible, thoughtful people who use their resources to learn how to use a gun for that purpose. But I am troubled by the fact that doing so is a privilege—another way in which America's culture of guns is most dangerous for the most vulnerable people who live in it.

See "Owning a Gun in America Is a Luxury" for the rest of the diatribe. Try not to choke on your morning coffee.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Maryland IDPA Championship

Last Saturday I joined a group of friends to shot the 2018 Maryland IDPA Championship held at Sanner's Lake Range in Lexington Park, MD. The match offered a balanced variety of scenarios. (Match book) Half the stages required movement, while the rest were shot seated or standing. (Although on one stage, there was lots of movement, even while standing!) There were fast, close targets to be shot on the move or standing still. There were longer shots, requiring careful aiming at both open and restricted targets. Various movers, of both the threat and non-threat variety, added to the interest. I found the match to be challenging, and a whole lot of fun!

The first two stages our squad shot involved shooting from vehicles. Unfortunately the first stage was dropped from the final results. The second, "Mob Attack" was shot while seated inside cab of a pickup truck. A moving non-threat was activated by pushing the gas pedal of the vehicle. Targets were engaged while shooting through both the passenger and driver side windows.

The Standards stage required both strong and weak hand only shooting, at close targets. I've been shooting well with one hand as of late, and even practiced, with much success, just a few days before the match. Alas, this was not one of my better stages.

"Wolf Pack" added the challenge of shooting from an unstable platform. We stood on a suspended platform while shooting at targets that had one side cut off, simulating a wolf shape. The targets were placed in different orientations so you had to pay attention to the location of the -0 zone relative to the rest of the target. One target was a swinger activated by shooting a steel popper. Most of the swinging bridge type stages I've shot moved mostly along one axis. This platform was quite free moving, in all directions, and I had to concentrate on smooth movements and keeping my legs loose. 

It's fairly common start an IDPA stage seated and then either stand or remain seated while shooting. "Office Attack" may have been the first time I started standing, but took a seat before shooting. When you sat down, an up and down non-threat was activated that repeatedly exposed a (mostly) head only target out at about nine yards. There were six other targets and two steel poppers further out to 20 yards.

One thing I've noticed about matches at Sanner's Lake is that a lot of the props have electronics behind them, and moving targets — threat and non-threat alike — often move in random ways. The up and down "good guy" on this stage would move a few times, then pause and move again. As soon as I fired off one of my shots the non-threat popped up and I knew I hit it, with a perfect center-of-the-head hit. It was the only HNT I earned in the match.

After a delicious lunch served by Southern Bobby-Q Catering, we moved on to the final five stages. "The Steaks are High" saw us facing uprange at the grill, tongs in hand. Six targets, close but obscured by barrels and non-threats, required 3 hits each. It was easy and tempting to shoot this one too fast. Many shooters had misses from shooting through barrels. I saw plastic fly in one of my shots and made a well-placed makeup shot.

The first stage for our squad offering a chance to move, "Home Defense" was a classic shoot and move stage, with nine targets engaged around walls and through a port. Despite some menacingly placed non-threats, the close targets offered the chance to shoot fast while moving through the course of fire. On some of the targets, slowing down to make headshots to avoid a non-threat was an option.

The stage called "Home Invasion" was one of my favorites. It was also the one that had me stumped on a plan when the stage descriptions were sent out prior to the match. After starting with "bad breath" distance shots on the first target, at the next position we faced a couple targets at the 20 yard line. Moving down a hallway, in addition to static targets, we encountered two movers; a drop turner activated by a steel popper, and an up and over target that was activated, after a delay, when the shooter passed an electric eye. The course layout was such that one could easily be faced with an empty gun when the disappearing targets came up. I often try get in some extra shots on such targets, if possible, so I was considering that two tactical reloads might be in order.

I rarely use the tactical reload in a match. Yet here I was thinking about doing two in order to have an ample ammo supply for the movers, and to make up any long misses. After walking the stage,  I decided that was indeed my plan. It worked out well and I was pleased.

A couple of 15 yard plates, placed at the shoulders of a non-threat, started the shooting on the stage, "Trap House." After dropping a pizza box from our hands, we engaged the two plates from cover. I recall I actually felt confident about hitting the plates, despite seeing lots of repairs on the nearby penalty target, and indeed hit them 1 for 1, avoiding the non-threat. Negotiating the zigzag course, we found eight more threat targets.

I was the last shooter on the last stage of the day, "Coming Home." Two steel poppers, one placed deviously in front of a non-threat, began the course of fire. We found a couple of head shot only targets, fronted by a non-threat in the center of the stage. At the final point of cover, we had to flip a light switch that activated a swinging non-threat. The non-threat was another of those "spastic" movers, and alternated sitting behind two threat targets. I saw a lot of shooters getting hits on the three non-threats on the stage. The targets all required three hits each. After the switch was flipped, I got one shot off on the first cycle, then fired my final two on the next cycle. After shooting the other target, I thought I'd take a make up on the first target, but the NT was resting behind it. So I waited, and waited. After about 3 seconds the non-threat still hadn't moved away so I called it done. In the end I was glad I didn't shoot again, which would have added time to my run. I was just 5 points down, and had my best stage finish of the match.

The match ran very smoothly. Shooting started at 9:00AM and we were finished before 3:00PM, even with the break for lunch. There's a running joke that it always rains for the Maryland matches, but the forecasted rain held off until the next to the last stage. The rain was fairly light, and there was no need to bag the targets. I shot my last run in a moderate rain, and it was still one of my best runs of the day.

Overall I was pleased with my shooting. The match jitters seemed to be there for the first couple of stages before I calmed. Interestingly, I felt I shot better during the later stages, which is when my energy and accuracy often fade somewhat. I was pleased to have no mental failures in executing my stage plans; any poor performances can be attributed to shooting alone.

Despite the nerves at the start, I found myself much more relaxed than I felt at last month's match. I finished #32 of 147 shooters overall. For the SSP division I was 11th of 49, and 7th of 14 in SSP EX.

It's often said that a pistol match is really just a social even interrupted by occasional gunfire. While the focus is on the shooting, that's actually true to some extent. For this match, eight of my squad were friends with whom I enjoy shooting regularly. That added to the fun, with both advice and friendly banter throughout the day. After the match, four of us celebrated Cinco de Mayo with dinner at a local Mexican restaurant before making the drive home.

More pictures are posted here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Virginia Breweries Win at World Beer Cup

The World Beer Cup competition is held every two years. In this year's event, 8,234 beers representing 2,515 breweries were judged. Of the 302 medals awarded, five went to Virginia breweries.

Category: Irish-Style Red Ale
Gold Medal: Bald Irishman, Center of the Universe Brewing - Origin Beer Lab, Ashland, VA

Category: German-Style Altbier
Silver Medal: Alt Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Basecamp, Roseland, VA

Category: Robust Porter
Silver Medal: Porter, Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria, VA

Category: Session Beer
Silver Medal: Session Pale Ale, Center of the Universe Brewing, Ashland, VA

Category: Baltic-Style Porter
Bronze Medal: Danzig, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Outpost, Lexington, VA

The only one of these I have not had is Bald Irishman, from Center of the Universe's sister research and development brewery, Origin Beer Lab. With a name like that, it seems like my kind of beer. Since the beer is released annually for St. Patrick's Day, I may have to wait to try it out.

Congratulations to all the winners for keeping Virginia brewing on the world stage.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Test Chicken

Sacrificing the proverbial chicken to test the domain name changes.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Blog Maintenance Ahead

Sorry for the administrative post. I'll be completing the aforementioned domain change for these Musings over the next 24 hours or so. The domain for Musings Over a Barrel will be changed permanently to www.musingsoverabarrel.com. Currently the new URL merely redirects to musingsoverapint.com. Once the change is complete, I plan to have the old domain redirect to musingsoverabarrel.com. Confused? Me too. :-) But it should work.

If you haven't done so already, please go ahead update your links and bookmarks to avoid any issues if the switch fails. Folks using the RSS feeds may experience errors, depending on when and how you subscribed. I apologize sincerely if anyone gets lost.

I think I'll pour a beer and reread my notes to make sure I haven't missed anything...

UPDATE, May 7: The domain update seems to have worked. However, the old RSS feed is no longer updating. If you have entered www.musingsoverapint.com in your reader, you will need to update to www.musingsoverabarrel.com. Also, to the kind people who link to the RSS feed on your own blogs, please update your links as well. I appreciate your patience and assistance!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Another Range Trip

Has it only been 10 days since I last made it to the range? Seems much longer. Anyway, I knocked off a little early on Thursday and headed down to Winding Brook. I had in mind a few things I wanted to review just one more time before this weekend's match. (I know last minute practice doesn't really change anything, but it does help with the head game.)

I set up my first target at 7 yards and expended 50 rounds doing strong and weak hand only shooting. I was pretty happy with the one-handed shooting at the close distance — and also felt the effect in both wrists! Next up was head shots at 10 yards. I find it interesting that when shooting indoors at the IDPA head target, I get decent groups but they are consistently low. I think I shy away from the target hanger. I have to concentrate diligently on sight placement over the target. Starting my last box of ammo I moved the target to 15 yards. After a few magazines, I opted to move it in closer and finish with a little more SHO and WHO shooting. Maybe it'll pay off.

As I was leaving the range, I looked over at the large mound left from construction in the area. Am I the only one who sees any pile of dirt and thinks, "shooting berm" ?

Monday, April 30, 2018

Excuse me, Your Holiness...

Let me preface this post by stating that as a faithful Catholic I follow and pray for our Pope as the head of the Catholic Church. However, in all too frequent instances, his quips and off-hand comments unfortunately do not match the official teachings of the Church. And that leads to confusion among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Pope Francis is our spiritual leader on matters of faith and morals, not on social justice issues.

The Holy Father posted another of his cringe-worthy "tweets" recently.

It seems Pope Francis overlooked this passage in the Catechism of the Catholic Church...
"Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility."
-- Catechism of the Catholic Church #2265
In his defense, I don't believe most Catholics today ever bother reading the Catechism. If they did, they wouldn't be voting for democrats. Given the combined influence of his Jesuit education and living with Latin American Marxism, the Pontiff's error is not wholly surprising. Since the Pope wasn't speaking Ex Cathedra, Catholics are hardly bound to agree. As a Catholic gun owner, I feel no obligation to make any changes to my stance.

I've seen a lot of pro-gun ownership folks taking exception to the Pope's statement. Interestingly, I haven't noted many responses in support from the left, people who are usually quick to say, "See, the Pope agrees..." Perhaps even they recognize the inanity of his comment.

I wonder how these guys feel about the Pope's statement. They have no shortage of weapons in their own arsenal.

Some previous Musings on Catholics and firearms can be read here.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Those Scary Gun Emojis

With so many liberals today exhibiting irrational fears of inanimate objects, it's not surprising that even cartoon drawings of guns would invoke trepidation in these tender snowflakes. Emojipedia has a revealing synopsis of the gun emoji on various platforms.

This graphic is interesting.

The switch to a more realistic depiction by Microsoft in 2016 caught my eye. A cynic might suspect it had something to do with trying to differentiate from Apple's shift in the opposite direction at the same time. However, Microsoft will be following the trend in the future.

Even cartoon drawings can trigger the hoplophobia it seems. For a group of people so immersed in a fantasy world, one would think those ray guns would illicit even more anxiety.

See Google Updates Gun Emoji for more.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Still a Party Animal

We went out for an evening of food and beer last night. Great German food and liters of German beer were consumed. We were enjoying the nice weather and outdoor seating. Eventually the proprietor approached our table and announced, "Time to go, we closed 30 minutes ago and the staff is waiting to leave."

Naturally, we complied. We all enjoyed a laugh that it's been a long time since we closed a place down. I guess we've still got it.

Granted, it was 8:30 PM. Still, we did party well past closing.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Range Trip

I've been fortunate to have gotten in a lot of range practice in the last few months. Always practicing with a plan in mind, the sessions were directed towards a specific goals and skills. I decided this week that I wanted to just shoot. Call it plinking or whatever, but my intent was just to have fun putting rounds down range.

In addition to the SIG P320 I shoot in competition, I grabbed my SIG P239 as well. Looking at my logs, I saw that I had not fired the gun since April 15 of last year, a little over a year ago. The compact SIG was the first gun I ever bought, and I always enjoy shooting it. The trigger time was overdue.

Forgetting to pack targets, I purchased a couple of the "Q" bottle targets to use this time. Hanging the first one at 10 yards, I very quickly went through my first box of ammo. Using just a quick flash sight picture I fired rapid strings of 3, 4, 5 or more shots. There's something immensely satisfying about just pulling the trigger quickly. (And still keeping the hits where they need to be.)

Next I loaded up the P239 mags. Setting a fresh target at 7 yards, my first few shots were essentially touching. Then, speeding things up, I realized just how quickly those 8 round magazines go empty! I quickly went through another box of ammo. By today's standard the P239 is a dinosaur of a "compact" gun, but it's accurate and easy to shoot. It's a shame, though not surprising, that SIG has apparently discontinued it.

Finally, I decided to slow things down just a bit. I found a folded up repair center target in my bag and "refreshed" the Q target. Setting it at 20 yards, I used my last box of ammo shooting a bit slower with the P320.

It turned out to be an extremely short, but most satisfying and cathartic outing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Maybe I Should Apply

LinkedIn sent me an email suggesting "Top job picks" for me. One in particular caught my attention...

I'm not actually looking for a new job, but this could present an interesting opportunity.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

AAF&G Lt. Col. Matt Mathys Memorial IDPA Match

The Anne Arundel Fish & Game Association held its first sanctioned IDPA match last weekend. The Maryland club hosts three IDPA matches a month but the Lt. Col Matt Mathys Memorial IDPA match was the group's first Tier 2 match. Frequent travel companion Stuart and I made the early morning drive to shoot the match. Squadding with two more friends at the match added to the fun.

The event was superbly organized. Nine stages were fit into 4 shooting bays. (Match book) The shooters were moved from stage to stage efficiently and safely. The 50 or so of us who shot Saturday completed all the courses of fire in about 4 hours. Each squad was divided into two groups of five, and we alternated through the two stages in each bay. The same "warm up" stage was set up in each bay and each shooter shot it to begin the match.

Shot in three strings, the warm up stage mandated freestyle, strong hand only, and weak hand only body and head shots. This was a little more challenging than most of the "get the match jitters out" stages I've encountered, but it got the job done.

In bay one, "Mall Rampage" started out with us dragging an "injured person" being cover and then shooting from low cover at partial targets. The theme of shooting from low cover appeared several times in the match. This provided the opportunity to shoot from positions rarely seen, and never practiced, but was still the source of much moaning throughout the day. In the same bay we found "Trash Raid." Here we started out shooting from retention before moving on to hit a stomp plate which started a swinger appearing behind a non-threat. Additional points of cover provided close, but tightly angled targets.

Moving to the next bay, we encountered "Save Your Neighbors!" Two targets were engaged on the move, before we again took low cover. Shooting from kneeling or prone, three targets were placed at 15 yards, with both hard cover and non-threats adding to the challenge. All targets required three hits each. However, I soon discovered that the left most target had a very nice group of three hits, all in the hard cover! Three misses for me right there.

Shaking that off, I moved on to "Save my kids... No, I mean goats!" After retrieving the loaded gun and spare magazines from a table, we moved to (again) a low barrel laid on its side through which we engaged the targets.

One of the stages I found the most fun was "Convenient My A--." The course of fire started with a close target requiring both a body and head shot. Moving to the end of a wall, there were two long shots to be made on a partial target and another head-body combination hit on a target from the cover of the wall. Advancing down range we stopped at another cover position for two more hits on the lone long target, as well as another target requiring head and body hits. Moving further down range we again engaged the same lone target with 2 more shots, and then leaned around cover to find two more head-body targets.

Me. Photo courtesy C. Claxton

The end result of the stage required a body and a head shot on five targets, and 6 hits anywhere on the target we had engaged from three positions. Given the non-threat covering the target, and the distance involved initially, I took care to avoid the penalty target, even if it meant hitting the target wide. When I reached the final shooting position, I fired the two required shots, as well as 4 fast make up shots, ensuring six -0 hits, before shooting the final two targets.

Another much talked about stage was "Peace and Quiet?" We started out seated on a the "porcelain throne" with the loaded gun at our feet. Retrieving the gun, we dropped to low cover (!), engaging the targets "under the stall wall." The targets presented close shots, and were arranged in three groups of two, with a non-threat in the center of each group. The decision facing the shooter was to slow down and make all heads, or shoot body shots and risk hitting a non-threat. My focus was on making the head shots.

My targets on this stage were all -0. However, I had also shot one of the non-threat targets — with two perfectly placed head shots! I retrospect, I realized my preparation for the stage involved the choice to make all head shots, and how to position myself to quickly and accurately make the shots. I never actually went over the target order in my head. Shooting slightly upwards from the crouch, the "jazz hands" marking the non-threats were obscured by the firearm. On the first array I simply moved across all three heads and shot them. A costly mistake, but a lesson learned.

In "Abducted" we shot five partial targets that were arranged behind a couple of non-threat targets. The targets were close but the -0 zones limited to either head shots or partial body zones. It was a stage that easily tempted you to shoot too fast. "Robbery In Progress" was the final stage I shot. Seated at a table, the shooting kicked off by shoving a briefcase off the table, grabbling the gun from a box, and loading it with a magazine also left on the table. Two partially exposed targets were shot on either side, followed by two more partial targets which were also obscured by a swinging non-threat that had been activated by the falling briefcase. There was a lot going on for such a small stage.

This was the first match I shot since getting a match bump to Expert at the VIR match a couple weeks ago. I was looking forward to the new challenge that created, and also slightly intimidated. Unfortunately too many mistakes prevented a good showing. I finished 6th of the six SSP EX shooters, and 15th of 36 in the SSP division. However, I've learned a few things, and will be all that much better prepared for the next time.

I found this to be a challenging match. There were lots of tight shots, long shots, and awkward shooting positions. Tightly angled shots under low cover are especially challenging. I was generally happy with my shooting on most of the stages. However, when I did poorly, I did very poorly. I would be lying if I said it didn't affect my mood afterwards. But still, it was fun overall. If it wasn't I wouldn't keep doing it. The failures at the match simply mean more reasons to practice.

The match was extremely well run and, to this shooter's point of view, went off without a hitch. No detail was overlooked by the staff. Parking lot attendants, donuts at checkin, water at every stage, attentive SO's who kept us moving and safe, creative stage design; the organization was superb. Adding to the pleasure were sunny skies and moderate temperatures, one could hardly have asked for a more pleasant day.

After the match, I enjoyed a relaxing BBQ lunch and a cold beer with friends before beginning the drive home. There was even time to shop for distilled spirits, as is our tradition when traveling to Maryland. It made for a most enjoyable day. Now, I am looking forward to getting back to the practice range and preparing for next time.

A few more photos from the match are posted here.

Monday, April 23, 2018

An Award and a Match Bump

My award from the Virginia Indoor Regional IDPA match arrived on Saturday. I happened to be shooting another match that day, where I did not do as well as I had hoped. The arrival of the plaque was a nice treat to find when I returned home.

The match win meant I was also bumped up to Expert in the SSP division. Placing high in sanctioned matches will be made a bit tougher going forward. I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Must Watch: PA Rep. Jeff Pyle

Listen to Representative Jeff Pyle speaking to the Pennsylvania's Judiciary Committee regarding new gun laws under consideration.

"Taking one person's rights, takes all of our rights."

Friday, April 20, 2018

Another Quick Range Trip

Depending on traffic, it's a 45 minute or more drive to the indoor range. The more I make the trip, the less onerous it seems. Still, sometimes I have to wonder if the 30 - 40 minutes spent shooting is worth it. Then I get to the range and start shooting, and I think, "Yea, totally worth it."

After work on Thursday, we made our way down I-95 for a bit of fun. My goals for this session were to work mainly on head shots at 10 yards and some 20 yards drills. I can generally keep the hits in the head area of the IDPA target at 10 yards, but they do creep out of the 4" -0 circle at times. Sight alignment is critical.

After a while I pushed the target out to 20 yards and made a few dozen holes. When I ran the target in I noted, although centered, the majority of the hits were low. Even though it seems I am holding the sights over the current place on the target, apparently my aim is low. Conscientiously holding higher, the next batch was much better. The large front sight covers so much of the blurry target at that distance that I really need to be aware of where on the target I am holding. (Before you ask, I've tried narrow front sights, I can't see them.)

I also decided to get in some practice with the S&W Shield, using the small 7-round magazines. Due to warmer weather and social conditions, I've found myself carrying that set up recently. I thought it important to get in some refresher shots. After 50 rounds, fired in fast groups, I felt good (still) about the gun. It was wiped down and put back on my belt.

I was a fun time, but too soon it was time to make the long, but worth it, drive home.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Target Barn Recognizes Match Directors

Without hard working match directors, we would not have all those fun shooting matches we all enjoy. The folks over at TargetBarn.com have come up with a great idea to honor the folks that give so much to the shooting sports.

The Target Barn team knows and appreciates the hard work and time match directors dedicate to their clubs and ranges, and we want to reward those who exemplify what it means to be a part of the shooting community.

We're giving away more than $5,000 in prizes, including a $2,000 check to the winning match director and a Target Barn prize package valued at $1,000 to his or her home shooting range/club. We're taking nominations through April 23rd, then a pool of finalists will be made available for the shooting community to vote on.

If you know a match director that goes above and beyond for your local shooting community, you can nominate them and find more information at  www.targetbarn.com/match-directors.

We'll announce the finalists on April 26th and voting will then begin.

Please nominate any match directors you feel deserve the recognition. 

There's only a few days to get your nominations in. I'm working on my submissions now.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Take A Gun Owner to the Range

Taking a new shooter to the range is a great way to convert law-abiding citizens into gun owners. Most shooters very much enjoy taking new shooters to the range. I've introduced a number of folks to the fun of shooting, and to the armed lifestyle. In fact, my offer posted here still stands. But I believe there's another segment of the population that we need to (re)introduce to shooting. I'm talking about people who already own guns yet who infrequently, if ever, practice with them.

How many gun owners do you know who support the natural right of self defense and gun ownership, and even own firearms, yet never shoot those guns? Shooting is a perishable skill. Simply buying a gun and shooting a box or two of ammo through it does not prepare you to use it to defend your life or the life of a loved one. You must shoot it, and shoot it properly, on a regular basis. If you aren't shooting your handgun on a monthly basis, you probably aren't truly prepared to shoot that gun if called to do so. You're also, quite frankly, missing out on a lot of fun.

Going to the range regularly helps to develop and maintain shooting skills. Participating in competitions will help even more. You'll shoot under some pressure, you'll be put in uncomfortable or unusual positions, and you'll become a better shooter.

I'm extending that offer I made to new shooters, to include those "inactive" gun owners. If you own a gun, yet have not shot it in months, I will help you rectify that. Maybe you just haven't felt like going to the range alone. I'm always up for it so will join you. If it's been a while and you're nervous about shooting again, I'll help. I'll take you to the range as my guest. I'll even provide the ammo and targets. Want to try an IDPA match? I can help with that too. All you need to do is put forth the effort to do it. Let's have some fun!

Obviously, this is applicable only to readers local to me. However, I do encourage everyone to reach out to the non-shooting gun owners in your area. Let's fill those ranges.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

More Practice at the Range

After the exciting Virginia Indoor Regional last weekend, I was anxious to get back to the range for more practice. Family and work commitments finally allowed that to happen on Thursday. I'd been dedicating a lot of range time the last couple months to shooting with the flashlight in hand. Now that I can relax on that for just a bit, I decided that one-handed and distance shooting would get my attention in the coming weeks.

I started with an easy warm up, shooting the usual Julie Golob 50 round drill at seven yards. I then moved the target back to 15 yards. After emptying a couple magazines, I pushed the target back to 20 yards. It's difficult for me to aim at a specific point on the distant and blurred target. Shooting slowly, I dropped a few shots low, but was pleasantly surprised to see the shots being generally centered, instead of drifting and low left as often happens.

30 holes at 20 yards

I'm rather enjoying shooting at the longer distance. I'm not getting 2 inch groups, but they're "combat effective" and generally -0. There was a time I was happy to even hit the paper at 20 yards. After another 50 rounds I started rushing, which had a detrimental affect on my accuracy. Since I found myself speeding up anyway, I set the target carrier for some timed exposures at 7 yards for a bit. Static weak hand and strong hand only shooting rounded out the session.

As I packed up, I commented to the range officer, "I'm out of bullets." He replied, "We can fix you up at the counter." I am proud of myself for resisting the temptation.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Fastest Growing Virginia Breweries

The Brewers Association has tabulated the 50 fastest growing small and independent craft breweries. Three Virginia breweries made the list.

Vanish Farmwoods Brewery in Leesburg, Virginia, ranks No. 25 on the list of 50 fastest-growing craft brewers in 2017.

Vanish Farmwoods grew to 62 employees in the two years since it opened, and it says it is adding more production capacity and a barrel-aging facility to its farm.

“One of the things that is significant for us is that over 90 percent of our beer sales is consumed on-site in our farm tasting room instead of through distribution,” said Vanish Farmwoods owner Jonathan Staples.

Vanish Farmwoods is on a 61-acre farm and has two separate tap rooms, three indoor bars and one outdoor bar. It also has more than 30 taps and live music on weekends.

Big Lick Brewing Co. in Roanoke, Virginia, is No. 45.

Fair Winds Brewing Co. in Lorton, Virginia, is No. 47.

Sadly, I've never visited any of these breweries. Although I have enjoyed some beers from Fair Winds  at local pubs. Looks like my "to do" list just got longer.

See "3 Virginia craft brewers among 50 fastest-growing" for more.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

2018 VA Indoor Regional IDPA Match

On Saturday, a group of us made the trek down to Chesapeake, VA, for the 2018 Virginia Indoor Regional IDPA match. I shot this match for the first time last year, and have been anxiously awaiting this year's event. It provides a unique opportunity to compete in the dark, with a hand held flashlight. I was concerned earlier in the week that I'd be able to make the trip, due to the possibility of significant snow on Saturday. As it turned out, the weather was mostly just wet and cold, although it was quite cool inside the range when the ventilation fans were running.

I've been preparing for this match for the past couple months. There have been many dry fire sessions devoted to getting my handheld flashlight in position, and doing magazine changes with the light in hand. I've also used it frequently at the range. My recent work shooting at 20 yards also came in handy, even though that was mostly motivated by my experience at the Chesapeake Cup in February. I shot a new personal best at VIR, earning a first place finish in SSP Sharpshooter.

The match consisted of eleven stages. We shot a quick "warm up" stage, then five stages in the dark, follow by five stages shot with the lights on. The five light stages were the same or variations of the dark stages. Our squad was divided in half and each shooter in the group shot one of the five stages, as the other half waited. After scoring those five runs, the rest of the group shot the five stages. We then rotated to the next stage in the queue. The process was repeated until everyone had shot all five dark stages. After a few stage adjustments, the process was repeated for the light stages.

The warm up stage had a close, three yard target which required 5 shots to the body, and one to the head. After we all burned the pre-match jitters on it, we divided into the two groups and began the five dark stages.

Stage 1, "Fighting Retreat" had us starting with the gun loaded with just six rounds. We engaged three targets while retreating to wall with a port. Through the port we found a paper target, a steel popper the started a fast flip over target, and a round steel plate that activated a flip up target. The round plate was placed at the shoulder of a non-threat making careful aiming a requirement. Holding the flashlight, I struggled to hit the popper. When I finally did, I moved to the plate, forgetting the flip over target until too late, earning a couple misses. Interestingly, I hit the round steel plate on the first shot.

The scenario was altered for Stage 6, "Different Fighting Retreat," in the lighted half of the match. The falling popper was replaced with a paper target and the shooting requirements changed. We shot the first three targets weak hand only, and the remaining targets through the port strong hand only. I was relieved to hit the steel plate and avoid the non-threat again, even shooting one handed.

The course of fire set for Stage 2, "Going Back" in the dark, and Stage 7 "Fighting Advance" in the light provide the distance challenge. Two targets had a non-threat placed between them with part of each covered, and barrels were placed at approximately 7, 10, 15, 20 yards. For both stages all magazines were loaded with just six rounds. For the dark run, we started behind the close barrel and moved up range to the shooting positions behind each barrel, engaging the targets with two rounds from each position. In the dark, behind the smoke, hitting those 20 yard targets while holding a flashlight was quite the challenge. I made all the hits, and avoided the non-threat, feeling much relief to be only 4 points down. In the with the lights on, we began at the furthest distance and moved down range. The 10 yard position required strong hand only shooting, and the closest was done weak hand only.

"Family Hostage," Stages 3 and 8, simulated sitting in our car. From a seated position we engaged three "threats" before moving to three more points of cover. There were three paper targets and a falling steel popper to be found. The steel was placed menacingly directly in front of a non-threat target. The light version of the stage contained an additional non-threat target. Again, during the lights out run, I had an issue with the steel, hitting the no-threat before the steel. I shot it clean during the run in the light.

Stage 4, "ISIS Assassination Attempt," was the stage on which I started out. Facing down range, kneeling, with my hands behind my head, the unloaded gun and a magazine was on the ground in front of me. There were four targets to be shot while avoiding two non-threats. The placement of the non-threats made for some tight shots and hard leaning. Picking up the gun and magazine while holding the flashlight was an added challenge. After each target was engaged with two rounds, two more shots on each were made strong hand only. For the lighted half of the match, two additional targets were added. Each threat then required one shot using the weak hand, then one shot each strong hand only, followed by another single shot on each made freestyle.

"Practice Session" was the scenario for Stages 5 and 10, and was unchanged between the dark and light rounds of the match. There were three widely spaced targets, two partially blocked by non-threats, and barrels marking three shooting positions. The gun was loaded with 6 rounds, one of the barrels had another magazine staged with 6 rounds, and a mag loaded to division capacity placed on a third. We started shooting from cover, and engaged all three targets with one body and one head shot. The gun now empty we moved the the center barrel, reloaded and engaged all targets, again with one body and one head shot while in the open. Moving to the third barrel, we reloaded and again shot each target with one body and one head shot, this time from low cover. Tactical priority requirements at each position required a different target order of engagement. A number of shooters earned PE's on these stages for forgetting that.

The match flowed extremely well. The match staff is well-organized and we were moved through each stage efficiently and quickly. The entire match is shot in under four hours. There's very little down time between your stages, however I never felt rushed. After each shooting round of five stages, the targets are scored, and we reloaded magazines while the other half of the squad shot. There was always time to review the written stage briefing before heading to the bench to await your next stage. It's nice to keep shooting, and not sit around waiting for your turn to shoot again. Shooters were also relieved from pasting targets, so we could concentrate on preparing to shoot.

The stages were all a lot of fun and offered a wide variety of shooting. The match also required you to think; one had to be aware of things like target priority, fault lines, switching hands, not to mention finding the targets in the dark. Near or far, there were few completely open targets. The well-thought out stage designs were challenging and tested both skill and awareness. Doing well was not just a matter of shooting accurately, but situational awareness as well.

I was mostly pleased with my shooting. There were a few shots I didn't like, and two hits on non-threats. I earned some PE's from lack of attention to my feet. I don't shoot many indoor matches with tape lines on the floor, relying too much on the tactile feedback of wooden fault lines of outdoor matches. Perhaps the need for more practice indoors will motivate some future attendance at the Monday evening matches at Colonial Shooting Academy.

I was very pleased to finish 26th of 83 overall, and 5th of 16 in the SSP division. Coming in first in SSP Sharpshooter is especially gratifying in such a challenging match. It was my best finish in a sanctioned match since my 4th in SSP SS at the Maryland State match last May. Needless to say, I'm now really anxious to get back to the range for more practice.

It was a long day that was made all the more fun by traveling with friends. We enjoyed a delicious BBQ meal on the way home. During the final hour of my drive, I drove through several squall lines of heavy snow, fortunately it sticking only to grass and trees along the highway.

I am already looking forward to next year's Indoor Regional. Stages shot in the dark offer a unique and seldom seen challenge. I think I'll practice with the flashlight on a regular basis over the next year just to maintain the skill.

Monday, April 9, 2018

If You Need a Laugh on Monday

"Kirkland Light! Available in 48 packs where you buy your pants!"

Randy Colpek loves his Kirkland Light beer from Costco.
Budweiser has its Clydesdales, Corona has its beaches, and Dos Equis has its Most Interesting Man Alive. But Kirkland Light Beer, Costco's very own house brew, has Randy Colpek. And Randy Colpek is a beer-drinking force to be reckoned with.

By his estimate, Randy Colpek drinks 18 cans of Kirkland Light Beer a day, five days a week. Last time he tried to haul his cans of Kirkland Light Beer to the recycling center, he exceeded the 100-pound limit. He is—and I'm not sure this phrase has never been used before—a diehard Kirkland Light Beer fan boy.
Warning: Language.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Friday, April 6, 2018

Thursday Range Visit

After work yesterday, Colleen, "Checkered Flag" and I drove down to Winding Brook Indoor Range to get in a little trigger time. Even though we all enjoy shooting together, and we're willing to share a lane, we still prefer to do our own thing in our own lane. The folks at Winding Brook opened up another bay in order for us have adjoining lanes. We had the bay to ourselves most of the time. As I was trying out new ear protection, I was actually a little disappointed in this rare trip without a rifle going off next to me. :-)

I began with the 50 round Julie Golob drill, shooting quickly, but at a close 7 yards. It's been a while since I ran this favorite drill. 

Next I grabbed the flashlight and did a little more flashlight work at 7, 10, and 12 yards. I tried to get in some rapid groups too, just to test the stability of my hold. Taking several strings of 10 yard headshots, I ended up putting a few outside of the -1 head circle, but still in the head zone.

Feeling mostly satisfied with the flashlight, I put it down and moved the target out to 20 yards for some slow fire. My confidence up, I didn't recall the target until I'd shot the whole box of 50 rounds. A dozen -1 hits, with the rest in the -0, greeted me when I finally brought the target into viewing range.

Finally, another run of Julie Golob drill finished my session. Usually near the end of a 200 round practice session, my shooting degrades a bit. I didn't experience that this time, probably because I took a few more breaks than usual. Since we were the only people in the bay, there was the opportunity for some friendly conversations with the range officer. I also enjoyed stopping occasionally to move over to watch Colleen and our friend shoot.

The three of us hadn't been able to shoot together since February, and we enjoyed much shooting talk on the drive home. (Which was in contrast to the drive to the range when my passengers took the opportunity to nap.) A quick cleanup at home and we were off for a fine Italian meal, marking an early kickoff to the weekend.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Two Kinds of People

Where do you fall?

If you don't know, it's high time you head to the range and find out.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Must Watch: Gov. Matt Bevin

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin gives a perfect response to a thinly veiled allegation of hypocrisy from an "independent consultant."

Like Virginia Delegate Nick Freitas, Governor Bevin reminds us there are still a few politicians out there who value freedom and honesty, and who are not afraid to speak out.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Comics

I've had these two cartoons stored on my computer for years. Both of them are scans made from the originals I cut out of newspapers, the originals long lost.

I appreciate the subtlety in each. 

Happy Easter

When the sabbath was over,
Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome
bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Very early when the sun had risen,
on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.
They were saying to one another,
"Who will roll back the stone for us
from the entrance to the tomb?"
When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man
sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,
and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, "Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.
But go and tell his disciples and Peter,
'He is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him, as he told you.'"

-- Mark 16:1-7

"He is not here." With those words the reality of the Resurrection was revealed to the world.

Today we rejoice in Our Lord's promise of eternal life. On this most glorious of days, our worries and fears are laid to rest. We are reminded that the war between good and evil has already been fought, and that good has forever triumphed. For three days, Satan believed he had won. The empty tomb was proof he had not.

Easter gives us the strength to persevere against the evil of the world. We are given strength to face our daily trials. The ultimate triumph of good over evil is proof that good will always prevail. The promise of eternal life is reiterated. Today we celebrate in gratitude for His sacrifice some 2,000 years ago.

May the hope and joy of the Resurrection remain in your life all year long.

Mass offered at the Tomb of Jesus,
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.
Photo by Colleen

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Spring Morning at the Range

I had not visited my local outdoor range since November. The rules at the club are increasingly restrictive, and often unwritten. I've found I'm more comfortable shooting elsewhere — despite the close proximity to my home.

However, I had Friday off and with only a short time window for "play," I decided to take a chance on hitting the range in the morning. I was somewhat surprised to have the ranges to myself, despite it being a warm 70° outside. Perhaps others are taking the same dim view of the ever-changing ruleset.

My plan was to set up two targets and practice my transitions; we're permitted the use of two targets if only one shot is made on each target. (Alternatively, two shots on one target is permitted.) I was only able to run that drill for a few strings before strong a breeze come up, the start of a cold front approaching. The hanging targets starting blowing back and forth. Fortunately I had also packed a target stand, alas just one, so was able to continue my session on a single target, which only blew over a few times.

As I have been doing of late, I ran through several magazines while holding my flashlight, in preparation for an upcoming match. However, most of the time was spent shooting from the 15 and 25 yard lines. Since we're forced to shoot slow, I might as well make the best of it.

At one point while shooting my "pairs," I called a shot bad, and out of habit fired that now verboten third shot. I found myself looking over my shoulder a lot after that, as the range officer has a habit of sneaking up behind you before beginning his admonishments.

Despite waiting to be chastised, the warm spring morning made for a pleasant outing. As an added treat, I found a loaded magazine left in my bag from a previous range trip, so I got in a bonus round of shooting! It was certainly a pleasure to shoot in a t-shirt after so many months of cold weather.

Friday, March 30, 2018


A thought at 3:00 on Good Friday.
The ancient greyness shifted suddenly and thinned like mist upon the moors before a wind.

An old, old prophet lifted a shining face and said:

“He will be coming soon. The Son of God is dead; He died this afternoon.”

A murmurous excitement stirred all souls. They wondered if they dreamed

save one old man who seemed not even to have heard.

And Moses, standing, hushed them all to ask if any had a welcome song prepared.

If not, would David take the task?

And if they cared could not the three young children sing the Benedicite,

the canticle of praise they made when God kept them from perishing in the fiery blaze?

A breath of spring surprised them, stilling Moses’ words.

No one could speak, remembering the first fresh flowers, the little singing birds.

Still others thought of fields new ploughed or apple trees all blossom-boughed.

Or some, the way a dried bed fills with water laughing down green hills.

The fisherfolk dreamed of the foam on bright blue seas.

The one old man who had not stirred remembered home.

And there He was, splendid as the morning sun and fair as only God is fair.

And they, confused with joy, knelt to adore

Seeing that He wore five crimson stars He never had before.

No canticle at all was sung. None toned a psalm, or raised a greeting song,

A silent man alone of all that throng found tongue — not any other.

Close to His heart when the embrace was done, old Joseph said,

“How is Your Mother, How is Your Mother, Son?”
-- Sister Mary Ada

The Truth About Gun Control

The folks at Ammunition Depot put together a nice infographic in so-called "gun control." It's not of size I can post clearly here. Click on the graphic to view the original.

From their post...
All of us want a peaceful America—a safe America—not just for us but for our children and our children’s children. But how can we realize this dream if we can’t agree on how to protect ourselves—if we can’t agree on what our gun laws should be?

The argument for stricter gun policies continues to rage back and forth yet strays further away from an end. To make matters worse, a lot of media companies sensationalize stories, fabricate news, and shift the spotlight from a criminal’s sin to the criminal’s gun in order to increase their viewership ratings.

Incomplete and incorrect news leads to ill-informed individuals, whose voices will just distort the debate. We don’t want that, and you shouldn’t either.

That’s why we’ve created this infographic, to educate Americans on the truth about gun control. There are plenty of misconceptions out there and we want to cut straight through the lies with cold hard facts. After all, would you rather rely on fake news or federal statistics?

 See the full graphic here.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Si vis pacem, para bellum

The Scottish edition.

In any language, the admonition would be well heeded, "If you want peace, prepare for war."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Monday Range Time

After that fun match on Sunday, I was still anxious for more shooting. To my delight, on Monday I was able to get down to Winding Brook for a little trigger time.

My plan for this practice session was to work on shooting while holding a flashlight. I have been dry firing and rehearsing getting the flashlight in position under the gun at the draw. After 50 rounds of live fire, I feel more comfortable in shooting and controlling the pistol despite the addition of the flashlight in my hand.

After the flashlight work, I decided to work on something I don't practice enough — distance shooting. I don't do it often, mainly because of the time it takes to repeatedly recall the target to check the hits. I put the target at 20 yards, and tried to shoot at the pace that I might use in a match. Granted I was standing still, with no match pressure, but I was pleased with the 2, 3, or 4 shot strings. This was no dot torture drill, but I was pleased to keep them center of mass.

With one box of ammo left in my self-imposed allotment, I hung a fresh target at 10 yards and set the timer for a 2 second exposure. Shooting 2, or even 3 shots at each exposure from low ready, I quickly burned through the remaining rounds.

Interestingly, the other bays were mostly filled with folks shooting long guns this day. There was an AR to my left, and a shotgun to my right. I quickly was able to ignore the flash and thump from the nearby scatter gun, although I admit to an initial jump when the shooter first started firing.

All in all, not a bad way to start the week. I've got a vacation day planned later this week, so maybe more shooting will work its way into the schedule.