Thursday, July 12, 2018

No Blog Fodder

Tap. Tap. Is this thing on?

It's been a busy week, but not one that was filled with shooting activities, nor even good beverages. On the bright side, today is my "Friday" as I am taking tomorrow off to begin two intense days of competitive pistol training with a great instructor. I hope to have an AAR on that next week.

Next week I'll be stuck in America's worse run city for work meetings. It's my intent to experience nothing self defense related to write home about! We'll return to regular programming soon.

Meanwhile, have a look at some of these folks.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Sanner's Lake July IDPA Match

It's been a while since we made it to the monthly match at Sanner's Lake in Lexington Park, MD. The past two I've signed up for have been rained out, so Saturday's unseasonably cool, and dry, forecast was a welcome sight. (And something I checked frequently in the days leading up to the match.) As I drove past the farms en route to the rendezvous to pick up my shooting accomplice, I noted the car thermometer read 68° and the corn stalks were moving in the breeze. It was going to be a pleasant day.

The Sanner's Lake puts on a remarkably well organized match with six quick and fun stages set up. The first stage we shot had a long wall across the bay with targets to be found at both ends and in the middle. Starting with a turn and draw we engaged a couple of targets before moving to a narrow opening in the center. From there we shot paper targets and two falling steel poppers. Continuing across the stage we made a hard lean around the wall to finish on a distant targets placed back across the middle of the stage. Shooting just -3 made for a good warm up.

Next up was an interesting array of targets we engaged while standing behind a barrel, with some leaning or small shift in stance required to open up some of the shots. Three threat targets were set behind two non-threats. The center target was placed upside down, with the head just peaking out below and between the penalty targets. The requirement was to have four body and two head shots on each target, and all magazines were downloaded to just 6 rounds. There were several things that played with my head on this stage.

As I fired my first string of six, two each across each target I put two tight shots in the upper portion of the center target and immediately thought, "D'oh, that target is upside down!" I knew right there I was already down 2 for the stage. I reloaded and the second mind game hit me, and I found mysef thinking, "Was I supposed shoot SHO or WHO?" That is often the case when we have these downloaded stages shooting the same targets after the mag change. I took my next six body shots on each, this time placing them all correctly. After the final mag change I finished with the head shots. Made them all, but also nipped the bottom of a non-threat.

Stage 3 started with a short run to cover where we engaged two distant targets, again with a menacing non-threat placed in front. Three close targets were shot through a port, before we moved to finish with two more targets from cover. Hitting the targets a bit too wide while avoiding the distant non-threat, I was 5 down for the stage, all on those two far targets.

The next stage provided another chance to strategize. Standing behind a barricade, we had to engage five paper and two falling steel poppers, using priority from either side of cover. Again, all magazines were downloaded to six rounds. That meant if I shot everything clean, I'd only need to do one reload. I finished confidently, and as we began to score the SO asked, "Did you see that steel?" To my frustration I had left one of the poppers standing. I had called the shot good. I had heard the ping. But I apparently only nicked the steel. If I had noticed the miss I would have needed to perform another reload; since my reload is much faster than the 5 second penalty, it would have been a good tradeoff. I guess I should remember to look at the steel.

Stage 5 also included falling steel and may have been my favorite run of the match. Starting at a close target, we fired six shots on it while retreating around a wall towards a center opening. At this position we shot a steel plate which activated a swinging arm holding two non-threats placed in front of three steel poppers. The poppers had to be knock down during their intermittent exposures. Hitting everything one for one meant having one round left before moving to the next point of cover. There was a lot of discussion about intentionally missing one steel to go to slide lock. For me, and many others, there seemed to be no issue with that miss coming up on it's own when trying to hit the steel too fast. :-) The stage ended on three targets, again fronted by two non-threats. I was happy to shoot the stage just one point down.

The final stage was shot while seated. The unloaded gun and all magazines were on a table in front of us. We began the course of fire by pulling a rope to activate a swinging non-threat which moved between an array of three targets in front of the table. To either side were more targets, with non-threats present as well. All targets were to be engaged with one head and two body shoots. All the target groups were of equal priority so there were many theories proposed on the best timing of the shots to avoid the swinging penalty target. I opted to shoot the center group first, then move to the sides. When I made the last head shot in the center group, I had a brief thought that it may have been a miss, and even more briefly thought to go back. Alas I did not and finished the stage -5 due to that miss.

I was generally pleased with how I shot on this day. The one HNT and two misses contributed about half of my points down. I still managed to finish 8th of 47 Overall, 6th of 22 in SSP, and 4th of 6 in EX classification.

While the courses of fire were not overly complex or extravagant, they did test a variety of skills and offered some challenging shots. What they also did was make you think. (And that's where they often trap me.) You had to be cognizant of target engagement order, work with the timing of the movers, and watch for temptingly placed non-threats. It was an extremely fun match, made all the more enjoyable by the unseasonably nice weather. We started shooting at 9:00AM and were driving away from the range before noon. After quick stops to shop for distilled beverages and lunch, I was back home in plenty of time to, well, do nothing except sit on my porch and enjoy the wonderful weather.

Did I mention the weather?

More photos of the stages are here.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Preparing For A New Arrival

Relax, I'm talking about a new gun.  :-)

The money invested in new firearm goes well beyond the cost of the gun itself. There's always a variety of holsters to buy, magazine carriers, extra magazines, and of course copious rounds of practice and self-defense ammunition to verify the operation of the weapon. Since I am anticipating the purchase of a SIG P365 at some point in the not-too-distant future, I've been "pre-loading" some of those supplies. The calendar in spring and summer is also full of holidays when many suppliers offer sales, so I've been taking advantage of those as well.

No one waits until the baby arrives to begin preparing the nursery, right?

Still to be added; belt magazine carrier, extra magazines...  And the gun.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Five O'Clock Friday: Who's Line Is It Anyway?

It's Friday. Let's start the weekend with a laugh.

Cops. Terrorists. Guns. No sex. No profanity. 
They probably wouldn't allow comedy like this on TV these days.

Dry Fire for Summer Carry

It's heating up out there, in more ways than one. Summer is no time to let down your guard. During the warmer months, I prefer cargo shorts and t-shirts for casual wear. (I actually prefer cargo pants all year, fashion be darned.) During these thin cover garment months my holster and gun is harder to conceal, and ends up against my bare, and often sweaty, skin. To overcome that, I'll occasionally carry a compact gun in a Sticky Holster in the front cargo pant pocket. Instead of a magazine pouch on my belt, I use a SnagMag carrier for the extra magazine.

Drawing from the pant leg pocket holster is slower and less convenient than my regular IWB holster setups, so some of my dry fire time is spent drawing from the Sticky Holster. In the unlikely event I need to get the gun out, I neither want to think about where it is, nor fumble the draw.

Retrieving the extra magazine from the SnagMag in my pocket is also a different motion than grabbing a mag from the belt. I use the SnagMag frequently but I still practice. This spare mag carrier is easy and quick to draw from, but it's needs to be practiced so the motion is second nature.

The down side of dry fire practice with both of these products is the time to "reset" between draws. Both the holster and the mag carrier must be removed from their respective pockets in order to be reloaded and then repositioned.

Dry fire practice manipulating the gun is so often seen as merely a competition shooter's practice routine, especially for those of us without regular access to a range where drawing from a holster is permitted. Regular live fire with your EDC gun is critical, and dry fire practice is just as important. When you change your carry position, be sure to practice getting to the gun quickly and safely.

Stay safe. Stay alert. Stay armed.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

This Week's Range Session

I have mixed feelings about this week's practice session. It's probably best summed up as "Well, almost."

I started out with some SHO and WHO shooting at 10 yards. That part of the afternoon I was especially pleased with, despite not having practiced those skills in a while. Following that, I hung a target at 20 yards to get in the distance practice that I had skipped last time. After the first magazine I pulled the target in close enough to see the holes, and noted I was shooting low. I adjusted my aim fore the next 40 rounds and saw a lot more centered holes. At the distance it's hard to focus on a specific spot on the target so I wasn't expecting touching groups, but still need to work on tightening it up a bit.

For the last third of my 150 round allocation I decided to have another run at a fast Julie Golob 50 round drill. I did this one at 10 yards and tried to shoot it as quickly as possible. I had the same issue I typically face at the indoor range; the head shots drift low. I am not sure if that's due to the target being set higher than typical or if I subconsciously shy away from the target hanger. Sometime I should hang the target much lower on the cardboard and test that theory. (Did I mention lately how much I miss having an outdoor practice range?)

Still, any range time is good range time. Adding to the enjoyment, my son is finally home for the rest of summer and accompanied me, as he'll hopefully do often this summer. I enjoy shooting with him, and it's fun to have company for the drive. And now I also have some ideas for the next practice time at the range.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America 
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. ...

July 4th, the day we celebrate our Founding Fathers' bravery in declaring independence from an oppressive government. It's a truly American holiday, made possible by a well-armed citizenry. This day shows us why those on the left have such a great fear of freedom-loving Americans with guns. And indeed they should be afraid, and would do well to remember history.

Happy Independence Day!

May God Bless These United States

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

"Gun Violence" License Plates

Virginia probably offers more vanity license plate options than any other state, with well over 300 options available for purchase. Starting July 1, naive or willfully ignorant residents can order a Stop "Gun Violence" plate for their vehicle. The plates a offer drivers the ability to display their cluelessness to the world, much like those Hillary presidential bumper stickers are doing.

I've never seen a gun become "violent." A person applying sentient behavior to an inanimate object would seem to be lacking a connection with reality. It's fitting that the bill authorizing the special plates provides for $15 of the fee for the plate to go be used to provide treatment "to individuals receiving public mental" treatment. The special funding would go into effect in 2020.

Of course, the phrase "gun violence" actually has no meaning. It's simply a catch phrase made up by leftists to influence the naive into supporting their disarmament agenda. Frankly, if I ever see a firearm committing violence on its own, I'll be inclined to call to an exorcist.

There is a requirement that 1,000 of the plates be purchased by the end of the year in order for it to be a permanent offering. Sadly, if the number of faded Obama bumpers stickers I still see is any indication, they might just make that number.

Monday, July 2, 2018

A Better Way to Do Lime & Beer

We spent a relaxing Saturday afternoon enjoying a few tasty beers over at Strangeways Brewing. As they do on many weekends, the brewery had a number of new releases on tap, which we specifically went to try out. Besides the new beers, there were a few other beers that sounded interesting, so we tasted a few samples to start.

The folks at Strangeways are very open to giving a taste of a beer before you order. If you are debating between two, they offer small tastes of each. This is good business in my opinion, especially with their large, diverse, and sometimes strange, selections. I've been in other local breweries that charge for even a sample. After a few sips and discussion, we decided on our first, and second beers.

We started with two very different beers, but both of which included lime in the ingredient list. Colleen opted for Everlasting Light Lime Kölsch while I chose the darker Key Lime Cantilever Dark Ale.

The Kölsch was a very crisp and refreshing beverage. The added limes and kaffir lime leaf added a tart pop of flavor to the beer. It was not overly sour and quite quaffable. My Dark Ale went down easily as well. The beer blends the malt sweetness of a brown ale with the roasted malt and hop bitterness of a Black IPA. The touch of lime in the finish further enhances the unique flavor.

I also tried a sample of the regular Cantilever Dark Ale. This too was a tasty beer, and I briefly debated between the two. I chose the Key Lime version for the slightly unusual enhanced flavor profile. I've often said that the only reason to add a lime to a beer (I'm looking at you Corona fans) is to kill the skunked flavor of the beer. In the case of the Strangeways beers, the tropical citrus served as a flavorful addition, not as a coverup.

We continued our fruity exploration with Nana Jeanne's Peach Cobbler Belgian Strong Dark Ale in Colleen's glass and Comfortably Plum American Sour in mine. The Belgian Dark Ale offered, again, a twist on the classic style. The peach was subdued, adding just a hint of fruit sweetness. The Plum Sour treated with a blast of tart fruit flavor. It went surprisingly well with my spicy quesadilla lunch.

I am an unabashed fan of strongly hopped beers, but at Strangeways I tend toward the fruit and sour beers in my pursuit of robust flavors. However, intrigued by the descriptors of "dark aroma notes of pineapple, mint and mango" I concluded my visit with a glass of another new release, Work Jorts IPA. The beer had a some bitter citrus notes and a hint of green leafiness. I added this one to our "to go" list we had in the works.

And what's flavorful beer without flavorful food to match? The Phat Yummies food truck was on hand to satisfy the food cravings. A couple of tasty quesadillas made the perfect accompaniment to the liquid libations.

Before we left, we had a few more decisions to make. It's a holiday week, so we grabbed a few 32 ounce crowlers to go. Our list included three of the aforementioned beers, Everlasting Light Lime Kölsch, Key Lime Cantilever Dark Ale, Work Jorts IPA, and one more we had only sampled, Orange Cream Banana Clipper Hefeweizen. Those cans will keep for a while, but we'll get to them soon. Real soon.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Media Weapons Experts

It amazes me that there are people clueless enough to sit in front of their televisions listening to these idiots and nod their heads in agreement.

We must not forget the chainsaw bayonet and the 12 Gauge AR-15 to gauge the full idiocy of the media talking heads.