Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cavalier IDPA Match

After a vacation week of too much food and too much a lot of beer, I rose early Sunday morning to shoot the monthly IDPA match at the Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club. Despite still being somewhat worn out from the past week, I was looking forward to shooting and visiting with friends.

Four stages were set up for the quick match on this Memorial weekend. Our squad started on stage 3, which was a most challenging and interesting stage. As luck would have it, I was the first shooter on this stage, which provided quite the "warm up." Twelve targets were arranged at the berm, with a variety of hard cover, as well as four non-threats, among them. All targets required 2 hits. A shooting area was defined by four barrels. The course of fire started with the unloaded gun and a magazine on the shooter's choice of the back barrels, another magazine on the other back barrel, and the third mag on one of the front barrels. The directions were to shoot any six targets, moving to pick up reloads as needed. After shooting six targets, the shooter stopped where ever his last shot was fired and holstered the gun with any remaining rounds. Then the timer was restarted for a second string for the remaining targets. 

The challenge was to plan where your reloads would occur, and where you would shoot the sixth target and start the second string. Failing to stop after the first six targets, and shooting all 12 targets in a single string would be a Flagrant Penalty, which caught a couple shooters. Some folks had complex plans for the stage, but I opted to keep it simple and shoot the first six targets left to right. I grabbed the reload from the right barrel and moved forward to shoot my sixth target. For the second string I shot the last six right to left, which required minimal movement for the last target.

After shooting I saw I had one miss from hitting hard cover and one hit on a non-threat. I also heard a lot of points down being called. I honestly didn't pay too much attention, just being happy I shot all the targets and followed my plan, such that it was. It wasn't the scores were posted later that evening I saw I was 17 points down on the stage. The number wasn't the highest for the stage, but it would have likely gotten in my head if I had realized it during the match. Despite my lackluster performance I thought it was a most clever stage design.

Next up was a stage with two strings of fire. The first string used the first three targets in the stage which simply required body shots and one head shot on each. There was the added challenge as the match was using the new smaller -0 head zone targets. After finishing that string we prepared to run the rest of the course. This meant shooting targets that required some moderate leans around cover, including a couple long shots on falling steel. I was -2 for the stage, which I think included a -1 on the new head target.

Stage 1 of the match was quick course of fire that had us shooting through narrow openings between barrels. The first target was close and in the open, shot as we stepped into the barrel "fort." Six more targets, near and far, were to be shot only through the gaps in the stacked barrels. The trick on the stage was manipulating the gun into position between openings and finding the limited view of each target. Again, another -2 stage for me.

During the final stage of the match, with about half the squad left to shoot, the rain finally came. The targets were bagged starting with the shooter before me. Just my luck. The stage started with the unloaded gun and all magazines on a table. At the start we retrieved mags and loaded the gun. The course had us weaving through walls to find targets behind cover at several shooting positions. Finally, I finished a stage with -0 points down.

The match ran quickly and without any delays. I thought all of the stages were well designed and fun to shoot. In the end I finished 9th of 33 overall, and 2nd of 9 in SSP. Finishing 21 points down and one HNT was disappointing but in no way diminished my enjoyment of the match. We were done shooting in about 2 1/2 hours and I headed home only slightly wet.

My afternoon plans of cutting the grass and other yard chores were cancelled due to the unexpected rain. But that did mean I could enjoy my post-match beer that much sooner.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Memorial Day Prayer

On this last Monday in May, Americans stop to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. It is their sacrifices that helped to preserve the freedoms we value and enjoy today. Sadly, there are too many people in our country who take freedom for granted, or even naively despise the blessings of liberty. As we pause to remember our lost heroes, may we also vow to be steadfast in our opposition of those who wish to destroy that which has been so hard won.

"The purpose of all war is ultimately peace."
--Saint Augustine

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Vacation Beer Notes

We spent last week down at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The weather wasn't suitable for much time on the beach, but the overcast and very windy days provided no obstacle to eating and drinking. As usual, we enjoyed mostly, but not exclusively, North Carolina beers during the trip.

One of our first stops was to fill a growler at Chip's Wine & Beer Market. We selected Effortless IPA by Captain Lawrence Brewing Company of New York. This "session IPA" was a great accompaniment to the carry-out pizza we enjoyed after a long drive.

One of our favorite stops in the Outer Banks is TRiO Wine Beer & Cheese, so we stopped in on Sunday afternoon for lunch. I opted for a Maine Beer Company Peeper Ale. After finishing my beer and sandwich, I was debating about what to enjoy next. I noticed the bartender pouring something that was obviously on nitro. Looking closer I saw it was Belhaven Scottish Ale. This is a beer I've enjoyed in the past, but I couldn't resist trying the nitro serving. I'm glad I did because it was delicious, and was a reminder to not so easily overlook this ale in the future.

It wasn't until dinner on the second day of the trip that we finally got to the North Carolina beers. At a local seafood restaurant, we chose from a limited craft beer menu, but found Long Leaf IPA from Appalachian Mountain Brewery, and Foothills Carolina Blonde.

We made a much anticipated visit to Lost Colony Brewery and Cafe in Manteo. Formerly Full Moon Cafe & Brewery, it's another of our favorite stops in the area. We enjoyed Nags Head IPA, Charon Stout, and Hatteras Red Ale with our lunch on the outside patio.

Relaxing on the deck one afternoon, we opened a couple bottles of Fille de Ferme from Wicked Weed Brewing. We had picked these up earlier in the week. The moderately tart Saison was quite refreshing.

During another dinner, I combined a seafood and pasta dish with Backcountry Black IPA by Deep River Brewing Company. I rarely opt for non-draft selections when I'm out, but this canned offering was quite enjoyable.

We hadn't been to Outer Banks Brewing Station during our last couple of visits to the Outer Banks, so decided to stop in for lunch this time. The brewery doesn't offer Pale Ales and IPAs very often, so I was pleased to see 'Bout Time IPA while Colleen enjoyed a Hugh Hefeweizen with her meal.

We opted to forgo seafood one evening, choosing instead to have dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. For this meal I strayed from North Carolina selections and ordered a draft Modelo Especial. The beer was served in a frosted mug with a wedge of lime. I typically eschew cold glassware and fruit in my beer, but I drank this one as it was served, and yes, I enjoyed it.

Getting back to a seafood theme, a tasty lunch at the Salt Box Cafe found us enjoying Weeping Willow Wit from Mother Earth Brewing and Buckshot Amber Ale by Natty Greene's Brewing. Natty Greene's is one of those breweries that I don't see too often but which never fails to disappoint. The Amber Ale was an excellent malty accompaniment to my Mediterranean Salad, topped with grilled fish of course.

For our final "seafood feast" of the trip, I started my meal with Weeping Radish Farm Brewery's Maibock. This brought back memories as this was the first beer I had from the brewery years ago, when they were located in Manteo, and remains my favorite from the brewery. Colleen ordered a Limoncello by Deep River Brewing Company. This was a very flavorful American Wild Ale style beer, with a unique, lemony flavor. It truly did have a classic Limoncello-like flavor. The dinner capped off with Mother Earth Brewing Endless River K├Âlsch.

After returning home Saturday afternoon, we arrived to an empty refrigerator, so opted for one more dinner out, at Harry's Ale House. Since I was back in Virginia, I selected a Virginia brewed beer to go with my meal. Lethe Pale Ale from Commonwealth Brewing Company provided a refreshing floral citrus and bitter balance in a low ABV beer. It was so good, I had a second.

It was a fun week of good food and tasty beer, and lots of each! There are still a couple off days left to enjoy before returning to work after the Memorial Day holiday. I suspect a few more beers await, but those will likely be coming from the fridge downstairs.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Five O'Clock Friday: Stress Relief

Works for me...

Hope you find some extra relief this weekend.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Blue & Gray Breweriana at the Beach

Blue & Gray Brewery may no longer be in existence, but my collection of glassware and growlers from the brewery still provided valuable service last weekend.

The growler and glass hold held Captain Lawrence Effortless IPA.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Practice Round Count

I was reading some friends' comments online recently about how many rounds they fired in a month. They were quoting numbers like 1,500 or 2,000 each month. I knew I was nowhere near those numbers, but it made me curious to check my own shooting logs.

As of May 16, my last range outing, I had fired approximately 2,875 rounds in practice this year. While not high numbers in comparison, those rounds were generally fired with a purpose in mind. I fired another 935 or so rounds in IDPA matches were I could judge the fruits of that practice.

I stated earlier this year that I wanted to step up my dry fire time as well. Sadly that hasn't happened yet. I've only gotten in about 4 and a quarter hours total so far, in mostly 10 minute sessions.

Self examination can be revealing. I will try to raise the numbers in all three categories this summer.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Remember Fabio?

The Italian immigrant, now an American citizen, has a few things to say about the left's support for criminals.

“The day you give up your weapon in the United States, the United States is going to be history.”
-- Fabio Lanzoni

See "Fabio’s Advice to Americans: ‘Don’t Ever Give Up Your Guns’" for more on his warnings to American citizens.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Alcoholic Donuts

Need I say more?

The boozy snacks are part of a five week series from the Doghnut Project featuring recipes inspired by cocktails from some of the New York City’s best bars.

Pictured is the "Dutch Doughnut," inspired by the "Oh Snap!” cocktail which includes tequila, mezcal, lemon, snap pea and tarragon.

More delights at the link.

Friday, May 19, 2017

It's Practice, But Still Fun

There's no denying that I simply like shooting. I find it a personally satisfying and enjoyable activity. I also like competing in practical pistol matches, and strive to do as well as I can despite bad eyes and worn out knees. My shooting goals are my own, and I'm my own competition and critic. I occasionally simply hit the range just for the fun of it, but most often I go to practice, even when I don't really feel like it.

As I sat at my desk preparing to head out for my weekly visit to the indoor range this week, I wasn't feeling up to the trip. I would have to hit the interstate and run the risk of sitting traffic. I didn't know how many other shooters would be there or how competent they would be. I did know it would be hot inside. And my gun was dirty. It would be easy to just skip it.

But you don't get better, at anything, by not practicing. So off I went. The session consisted of two 50 round Julie Golob drills, at 7 and 10 yards. Looking at my targets after each group was a little frustrating as I always seem to have a flier or two when I run this exercise. When doing my practice drills I often feel I shoot more poorly than when at a match. I also tend to go a little faster than I should, which is actually a good thing in practice I guess. I finished the session with another 50 rounds with a target set at 20 yards.

It was a good practice session. And it turned out to be fun too.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Overheard at the Range

From the Range Master: "If you are shooting two guns at once, stop it."

Fortunately the offender idiot left so I didn't have to. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Adventure Brewing 3rd Anniversary Festival

Adventure Brewing is celebrating their 3 year anniversary this weekend. It looks like a great party is in the making. Here is the press release sent by the brewery...
May 20th is our 3rd Year Anniversary Festival! The celebration will last from noon to 10 pm. We have a ton of great stuff planned for you, including:

-Live music all day
* Karen Jonas
* Blues Rebellion
* Cabin Creek
* The Acoustic Onion

-Rotating taps

-Breweries with their own stations
* Crooked Run Brewing
* Heroic Aleworks
* Brew Republic Bierwerks
* 6 Bears & A Goat Brewing Company
* Spencer Devon Brewing

-Food Trucks
*Will's Place Va
* The UFO Truck
* Beverley's Ribinator BBQ
* 716 Slice

-Local Vendors
* Daddy G's Rockin' Salsa
* Embassy Cigar Lounge
* A. Smith Bowman Distillery
* Fred Vegas Brew Tours

-Cider and Wine from Virgina's finest
* Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery
* Bold Rock Cidery

And finally, we will be releasing our our 3 Year Anniversary Triple IPA, Bourbon Barrel Stonewall Stout and Long awaited Temporary Insanty All same day; which you will not want to miss out on!

We'll be updating this information as it comes in, so keep an eye out here and in your email for the latest news.

Purchase your Advanced tickets Today!! https://adventurebrewing3rdanniversary.eventbrite.com/

Congratulations to Adventure Brewing on a successful three years!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fairfax IDPA Match

Last Saturday, I made the drive north on I-95 to shoot the IDPA match held at Fairfax Rod & Gun Club. It had been raining for several days prior, and the weather was questionable for Saturday, but after missing my range trip earlier in the week, I was committed to attending the match, even if the weather was inclement. Fortunately the rain held off, although it did remain overcast, damp and cool throughout much of the match.

We began the first stage holding an AR-15 blue gun shoulder in a shooting position. At the start signal, we hung rifle by its sling and drew our gun, which was loaded with six rounds. There were three targets to be engaged around a barricade. Then two targets to be engaged while on the move to the next shooting position. The stage ended with three more targets around a barricade.

The next stage again made use of the prop gun, which was simply slung over our shoulder. We also carried an ammo can in our weak hand. Three targets were engaged on the move strong hand only. After moving to cover we dropped the ammo can and engaged three more targets.

Both of these stages were a lot of fun to shoot, and the added props served to keep us off our stride. 

The next stage required both strong and weak hand shooting, with all shots taken while kneeling. We started with the loaded gun in our weak hand, facing two targets. Six shots were required, weak hand only, on the first target. Transitioning to the strong hand, we then put six shots on the remaining target.

The next course had eight targets to be engaged from three different shooting positions. We began the stage holding a box in both hands, and after dropping the box we shot three targets around the right side of a wall cover. Moving to the other end of a wall, there were three more targets from the left side of cover. Moving to a third point of cover, we finished off the last two targets.

The final two stages were shot on a course of fire that was shot twice, in opposite directions each time. On one side of the course was a barricade from where three targets were engaged, while other side of the stage featured stacked barrels which also hid three targets. All targets required three hits each. 

Our group was the last squad to shoot these two stages, and a result of many other shooters moving through and shooting the ground was now especially muddy and slick. The ground conditions behind the barricade was especially poor which meant extra attention was required for sure footing. In addition, dropping empty magazines meant they would definitely need a serious cleaning afterwards. Interestingly, many shooters opted to retain their mags and drop them in a pocket rather than let them fall to the ground.

The match was very enjoyable, and the stages offered interesting challenges. I tried to pick up my speed a bit, but I did drop a few points on most of the stages. Most of those were from low shots. I really need to get in more live fire practice shooting around barricades; unfortunately given local range restrictions that will only come with shooting more matches. Despite a disappointing 13 points down, I managed to finish 3rd of 27 in SSP, and 3rd of 47 shooters overall.

As expected the drive home on the interstate took more time than the morning drive to the match. I had neglected to bring spare shoes and socks, which made the drive time with cold wet feet seem even longer. Arriving home I was looking forward to warming up. Alas, as I drove into my driveway I was reminded of the consequence of a week of rain — a yard full of extra tall grass in dire need of mowing! That hot shower and hot mug of coffee would wait just a bit longer.

More pictures from the match are posted here.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day Range Trip

Well, actually it was a father and son trip, on Mother's Day. Our son had told me a couple weeks ago he wanted to hit the range when he came home, so how could I not oblige? He was only home four days, but fortunately the rain finally stopped and Sunday turned out to be beautiful sunny day. Colleen opted to stay home and spend some time baking, something she enjoys so everybody wins. (And we all enjoyed the fruits of her labor later in the day.)

My son picked out the pistols to pack and he selected the SIG Sauer P226 and P320, the M&P Shield, and the Kimber 1911. A well-balanced selection indeed. Despite the sun shining for the first time in nearly a week, we arrived to find an empty bay to use. As we walked up to the firing line to start shooting the wind kicked up and the cardboard we had hung began blowing back into a horizontal position. On more than one occasion we had an automatic, but random, target exposure system going as we tried to catch the target when it dropped backed down vertically.

We spent almost two hours rotating through the guns. As usual, my son impressed me with his skills. It's also comforting to know he's competent with a variety of weapons. Besides all the gun talk, it was great to spend time just chatting. I was a little distracted making sure we didn't pull the trigger at the same time too frequently, but otherwise it was an extremely enjoyable outing. When he returns next month to spend the rest of his summer break with us, we'll be enjoying more family range outings.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Making Music With Guns

This guy has fun combining his love of firearms and music.

I really need to work on my strong hand and weak hand only shooting.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Traffic 1, Shooting 0

I had blocked off some calendar time on Tuesday for my (almost) weekly trip to the indoor range. A planned conference call ran long, but it seemed I still had time to make the trip. That is until I got to the overpass at the interstate.

Why is the exit ramped backed up? Looking from the bridge to the highway, I saw all traffic was at a dead stop, in all lanes. Sitting in that would surely not allowed me to be back to my desk in a timely manner. With much regret, I made a U-turn and headed back to the office to eat my sandwich over my laptop.

I was reminded of this article on the "Top 10 Health Benefits of Going To a Shooting Range" that I shared a couple years ago. According to the author, on this day I would regrettably not be improving my physical or mental discipline, nor improving focus or exercising my eyesight, among other benefits of shooting.

All thanks to an overloaded interstate highway system.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Drills For The Indoor Range

Whenever I run across interesting shooting drills online I save them in my notes, and I've put together a pretty diverse catalog. Because of limitations typically found at indoor ranges, I've long kept an eye out for drills suitable for indoor practice.

The main restrictions typically faced indoors are prohibitions on drawing from the holster, lack of movement, use of a single target and sometimes shooting speed. Recently the outdoor range we use has banned movement and also severely limited the rate of fire. Individual strings of fire are now limited to two shots. They've even gone to so far as to ban multiple people sharing a bay from shooting simultaneously in what only sounds like rapid fire.

Fortunately, the indoor range has a less restrictive stance on multiple shot strings. There's no shooting on the move or holster work, despite that it seems the advantage still goes to the indoor range for most practice time.

Below are a few of the drills I've found that are useful for a structured practice session indoors.

Julie Golob 50 Shot Drill

This is one of my favorites. It's simple and uses either USPA or IDPA targets. All strings start from low ready and the target distance is up to the shooter. Your magazine should be loaded with 10 rounds. If you have five mags pre-loaded the drill runs very quickly. Shoot as fast as you can to keep all your hits in the scoring zone.

Magazine 1: 2 rounds, center of this target, repeat 5 times
Magazine 2: 5 rounds, center of target, followed by 5 rounds to head
Magazine 3: 2 rounds, quickly into head, repeat 5 times
Magazine 4: 1 to body, 1 to head, repeat 5 times
Magazine 5: 5 rounds SHO into body, followed by 5 rounds WHO into body

Count only -0 or A zone hits.

Tactical Professor - Establishing Your Baseline

This is another 50 round drill for any silhouette target of your choosing; B-27, B-21, Q, IDPA, IPSC, etc. All shots are from low ready, with reloads on bench. You'll need two magazines loaded with five rounds for each string. Each string of fire consists of a 10 shot sequence and is repeated at 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards.

Shot sequence:
1) One shot at center, follow thru for 1 sec, back to low ready
2) Two shots at center, follow thru for 1 sec, back to low ready
3) Three shot at center; will be at slide lock after 2 shots, reload fire 1
4) Four shots at center (slide lock)

Score only hits in the body or main scoring zone of your target. Be sure to drop the empty mag into your hand, not into the lane in front of the shooting bench.

5x5 Drill

This is a simple 5 shot drill, though your indoor range has to allow fairly fast shooting. From low ready, put 5 shots in a 5 inch circle in 5 seconds. I’ll typically use a “splatter” target stuck over whatever target I’ve shot up with previous drills. The 5 seconds is going to be an estimate unless you can use a timer.

Dot Torture

Though not one I’ve specifically flagged in my notes for indoor shooting, this is a great test of your sight alignment and trigger control. The drill as designed calls for drawing from the holster, but shooting from low ready will provide a significant “torture.” Start at 3 yards until you shoot it with a perfect score of 50 hits. I’ve yet to shoot better than 49/50, but I am overdue to try again.

These drills are all part of my regular range routine. Of course, one could also simply hang a target and run it out to your preferred practice distance and just shoot. And I do that sometimes as well. However, I like to include at least one of my favorite standard drills in each range trip.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Maryland State IDPA Match

On Saturday I ventured into Maryland to shoot the 2017 Maryland State IDPA Championship. My alarm clock sounded early Saturday morning in preparation for the two hour drive to the match. Gun in locked container - check. Ammo in a separate locked container - check. Both containers out of reach of the passenger compartment - check. Copy of Title 18, Sec. 926A of the United States code - check. There was a sporadic misting rain during the drive but the weather apps on my phone predicted no rain during match time. The weather throughout the day was cloudy with some breeze, and a few times the rain seemed very threatening, but ultimately held off. It was pretty much perfect shooting weather.

Ten very interesting stages of shooting fun were waiting for us. The bays were still wet, and even muddy in some spots from the rainfall the previous day, which is when the match staff shot. Fortunately those conditions really only affected Saturday's shooters when pasting and resetting targets, not while shooting. 

The opening stage for our squad was called "Riot" and involved shooting from behind an open car door. In a change from the initial stage description preview, there was an added requirement to shoot from a kneeling position, between the door jam and the car. Being of shorter disposition, that required me to keep my back straight to gain the height I needed. Finishing with 0 points down for the stage was a good way to start the match. 

Another interesting stage was called "Relaxing at Home." We started seated on front of an electronic gun safe in which there was a pistol, loaded with just four rounds. At the start we punched in the safe's code and retrieved the gun, then engaged two targets on the move. The trigger on the gun was surprisingly "mushy" so my first shot was a long time coming. I typically don't shoot handguns with manual safeties, so I spent a lot of time before shooting reminding myself to flip the lever. After setting the pickup gun down, we grabbed our own gun and ammo off a table to finish the course. This was another -0 stage for me.

Stage 6 was a fun stage aptly named "Hose Fest." Three low targets were hidden behind barrels at three separate shooting positions. You had to run right up to the barrels and shoot over them, putting six hits into each target. The stage was done running left to right, so attention to the 180 was critical, especially when reloading. The shooter essentially ran the next position and had to turn to face the targets. The stage was interesting for me as it was the first time I had tried shooting the P320 that quickly. I found I can't, yet, pull the trigger as fast as I can with the P226 single action.

The standards stage had four paper targets and four steel poppers. The steel and two of the paper were set at 35 yards! Not having shot the new gun at distance greater than 20 yards, this was a new experience. I ended up 10 points down for the stage, which included one miss on paper. Despite that it wasn't my lowest stage finish. My shots were hitting low, so I'll spend some time overcoming that, though I don't have much of an opportunity to shoot beyond 25 yards in practice. 

The two scenario stages on which I had the most shot points down, just 6 points on each, also had penalty points added to my score. In retrospect it seems that mental errors rather than shooting cost me the most. In "Day at the Office" there was a swinging target activated by the shooter using his hand to knock over a steel popper next to his seat. An interesting turning target that gave three exposures was started by shooting another steel target in the stage. My plan was to shoot the swinger last. When I finished the other targets, I aimed to shoot the swinger —and it wasn't there! I had neglected to activate it at the start. The stage description required the swinger to be activated before shooting any targets, so I had a Procedural Error penalty added to my score. 

The other mental error was on the final stage I shot, "Coming Down the Hallway." The shooter passed ban electric sensor which activated a VERY fast up and over target. It also started a swinger that appeared only three times, with a slight pause between, and at each of it's appearances. To hit the quick up and over target you had to be already shooting at it when it appeared. Getting one hit on the target was cause for celebration. I spent so much time concentrating on my plan for shooting that target, I neglected to pay much attention to the swinger's action. When I got to it, the target was hidden, so I moved to another target in the array. The mover then made it's final appearance, and disappearance, before I could get back to it. This forced me to attempt a very tight shot at a piece of the technically disappearing target, hitting a non-threat. I should have simply waited on the target as that delay would have been less than the 5 second HNT penalty.

All of the stages provided fun and challenging shooting scenarios. Our match fee also included a delicious lunch from Southern Bobby-Q Catering. The meal provided a nice break mid-match for relaxing and socializing. Although the poor planning mentioned above did occur AFTER taking time to fill my belly; maybe I needed a post-lunch nap!

The match flowed very smoothly and we had minimal waiting time between stages. Shooting started promptly at 9:00 AM and we finished around 2:30 PM. The award presentations took place about an hour later.

This was my first time shooting the new SIG Sauer P320 in a match. I was nervous, but at the same time confident in my ability to shoot it. Overall I was extremely pleased with how well it went. I was happy with most of my times, and I even finished three stages -0 down. Finishing 4th of 20 in SSP Sharpshooter earned me a glass trophy; literally a mason jar drinking glass. How appropriate. My overall finish was 27th of 134. 

Virginian's traveling into Maryland are subject to random stops on the highway by state enforcers targeting Virginia drivers. After being patted down on the side of the road when returning from the Chesapeake Cup simply for legally transporting firearms, I was more than a little anxious about this trip. I've attend a few events put on by the Sanner's Lake Sportsman's Club and know it's always a well-organized and fun match, so I didn't let the threat of police harassment sway me from attending this event. I had a great time shooting the MD Championship match and that, perhaps, makes future trips to shoot in Maryland a little more likely.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

LA Sheriff's Department Pistol Team - 1936

Some egregious gun safety violations, but an interesting historical look nonetheless.

Kids, don't try this at home.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

It's Coming, Prepare Well

This video from the so-called "antifa" movement, i.e. communist thugs, has been making the gun blog rounds. Folks are finding it easy to mock them for the obvious safety violations and poor marksmanship. The derision is well deserved.

At the same time, freedom loving Americans should take heed. Even poorly aimed bullets hit something or someone. Most street thugs aren't skilled marksmen, but they still kill people everyday.

There have been numerous violent encounters initiated by these criminals already and it's likely to escalate. Just last week a community in Oregon surrendered and cancelled their annual parade because terrorists threatened violence against participants. Too bad there weren't enough patriots, or willing cops, in the town to provide a defense against the criminals. In Berkeley recently, we saw law enforcement intentionally ignore the violence. The sad truth is the police have no duty to protect you, despite the slogan, and when the rule of law breaks down they will likely be more interested in their own safety, and that of their families, than yours.

The "antifas" are no less a threat to this country than the islamic terrorists we've been fighting for years. Indeed the two groups even share some of the same goals. Stay alert. And carry your damn gun.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Day Range Trip

I heard the communists were planning a day of rioting on May 1, so I decided to add some balance to the universe with a trip to the indoor shooting range. When I arrived at the facility, the parking lot was more full than I've seen it recently. Fortunately most of those folks were finishing up and leaving as I began my session.

Today's practice started out with the 50 round Establishing Your Baseline Drill from Tactical Professor. The quick drill consists of five 10-shot strings, shot from 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards.

Shooting fairly fast, I noticed my shots tending to the left. They were all -0 still but grouping towards the left side of the circle. That led me to spend the next 50 rounds addressing that issue. I switched to shooting at the non-shot head area of the target, as well as a 5" splatter stick-on target. That was all done at 10 yards. Slowing down gave more centered hits, as expected.

Next I set up for the 50 Round Julie Glob Drill that I use often at the indoor range. As with the first drill this day, I tried shooting quickly without waiting for a perfect sight picture. My shots were all -0 hits in the body or head areas, but still drifting to the left a bit. That's user error and something to work on in the future.

This was more than likely the last live-fire practice with the new SIG before I shoot it in an actual match in a few days. I won't say I'm entirely ready, but I am as ready as I'm going to be.

I had an interesting encounter while I was at the range. I turned and another shooter was standing behind me, but at a respectable distance. He asked if I was shooting the new P320. He was a SIG fan shooting a P229. He asked a few questions about the gun and I offered him the chance to shoot it if he wanted to try it out. Which he did of course.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Beer For Pain Relief

More good news you can use. A recent study is claiming that two pints of beer are more effective than Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) for pain relief. Frankly, I'm not sure how much of a revelation it is to find that alcohol reduces pain — I've been known to "relax" my sore muscles with a beer or two.

This sentence in the article did jump out at me...
Now the experts are planning to find out if alcohol either lowers anxiety of pain, which then reduces the perception of discomfort, or if it numbs the sensation of pain by affecting the brain receptors

Science. It's all about the details.

Notes on Dry Fire

I haven't been as dedicated to dry fire practice recently as I would like. Gone are the days when I was getting in 30-60 minutes daily, rather it's closer to 10 - 20 minutes once or twice a week. But even at that rate, there is benefit.

One lesson I remind myself of constantly in dry fire is grip pressure. It's easy to get sloppy with the grip on the firearm when the gun isn't actually firing. I had to break a weaker grip habit a few years ago after many months of poor habits in dry fire practice. If my hands don't show signs of the grip texturing after practice, I know I was sloppy with the grip.

Dry fire practice is a bit different with the striker fired SIG P320 than it was with the double/single action P226. Rather than every trigger pull being a full DA pull, the P320 practice is a lighter "dummy" pull. Despite the dead trigger, it's more realistic.

Practicing reloads is a changed experience as well. The P226 slide would go forward from slide lock when the magazine was slammed into place. In addition to that being less reliable than slingshotting the slide, I got "trained" to not do it. That caused issues when the slide didn't go forward on its own. I never spent significant time just practicing slide lock reloads until switching to the new gun.

To work on the reloads, I fill a magazine or two with inert dummy rounds and place them on the belt. The gun has an empty magazine and the slide locked back. Starting with the gun positioned like I just fired the last round, I drop the magazine, retrieve the "loaded" magazine from the belt and complete the reload — remembering to rack the slide. Then the loaded mag goes back on the belt, an empty mag is inserted into the gun. Racking out the dummy round locks the slide back, and the process is repeated. Again, and again.

Under the 2017 IDPA rules, reloads with retention, as well as reloads on the move come into play more frequently. I combine reloads with retention, or tactical reloads, with movement drills. My concentration when moving is on my feet and only pulling the trigger at the most stable part of the step. In my basement dry fire area, the floor is covered with various rugs. This provides enough surface variation to balance keeping the feet on the ground as much as possible, while lifting them enough to prevent tripping.

During each practice session, it's important to always use a timer for the start beep when practicing drawing the gun. I also work on table starts, with both a "loaded" and unloaded gun. There are multiple targets, and even a barricade set up in the basement, so just about every draw of the gun is combined with "shooting" multiple targets and some movement.

Twenty minutes is about the maximum time for effective dry fire practice, for me at least. That time encompasses dozens of gun draw and magazine changes. Interestingly, looking through my notes, hardly a session goes by that I don't recognize some improved technique or point for awareness. Now I only need to get to it more frequently.