Sunday, November 13, 2005

Autumn in Albany

They had forecast rain and cold weather for the Central Willamette Valley in Oregon today, but ‘they’ were wrong. It was a beautiful day for shooting. No wind, no rain, and often the sun peeked through the clouds to beam it’s munificent approval of 26 dauntless shooters competing in an IPSC match in Oregon.

During the walkthrough, Match Director Mike McCarter promised that never again would he cancel an IPSC match in Albany because of expected inclement weather conditions. The crowd roared it’s approval! (This was in reference to a scheduled match last winter, which he had cancelled citing the forecast 'icy road conditions' on the I-5 Interstate Freeway, which is the primary conduit to the Albany range.

We broke into three squads, which was an easy division.

One squad was the Juniors, and those who chose to shoot with them. It was probably the biggest squad.

The second squad was the Open gunners (all 3 of us), and those who chose to shoot with them. There were Seven people, total, in that squad.

The third squad was those who had no preference. They just came to shoot, and hang the weatherman.

Also during the walkthrough, Mac discussed the upcoming Glock Match. He had originally stated that all divisions would be recognized, except for Glock Revolver. He seemed to think that no such article existed.

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Fellow Shooter Walter proved him wrong, by presenting the handgun he planned to shoot as a Glock (eg. Tupperware, eg. Plastic) Revolver.
Everybody knows that if you’re going to shoot Revolver in IPSC, you better have a good sense of humor. Walter and Mac share that admirable quality.

Walt read this blog, and couldn't wait to show me the custom modifications he had made on his Glock Revolver.

Kinda kewl, eh?

After we started shooting, I decided that the weather was too nice not to document. The best way I know to document good weather is with pictures, and moving pictures add color to it. I’ve selected one video for each stage we shot, and I offer them here . . . not without comment! . . . for your enjoyment. (Match results can be found at the ARPC-IPSC website.)

(Note: to view the related videos, mouse-click on the thumbnail.)

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The first stage was an 80-point Comstock course called “Doh!” (I think this is a quote from The Simsons.) You shoot around a Bianchi Barrier at some steel (this WAS suppose to be a rainy day, so there’s a lot of steel targets in this match) and a couple of paper targets.

“GeeTee” discovered that he had to stretch to get the awkwardly positioned IPSC targets, and fell out of the box at the end. I think this is a take-off on Ralph Machio’s “Crane” position in The Karate Kid.

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Stage 2 (Boardroom) was another Comstock course (I think I’ll forget mentioning the scoring style, all the stages were Comstock) worth 80 points. Shoot once at six IPSC targets, reload, do it again, reload, shoot twice at each of two IPSC targets with a lot of hardcover on, standing WAY downrange. It looks as far away in person as it does in these pictures. I chose the video of Mr. Mull because he was having so much fun he just couldn’t stop shooting!

(BTW, most of these videos were chosen because they had something ‘special’ to offer. They either serve as an example of things you should or shouldn’t do, or just demonstrate the kind of mind-poop that happens during a match. You’ll notice that there are no photos of The Geek in this essay. That’s because I had the camera, and nobody else was taking pictures. I assure you that I screwed up big-time on EVERY stage except this one, and I didn’t do as well as I thought I did here.

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I threw in a video of Norm the Ungrateful shooting this stage. He made it look good, and when I shot the stage I thought I had done at least as well as he had, perhaps better. I was wrong. I cleaned the stage, but I shot SLOW!

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Stage 3 (Hill Billy Run) had a lot of vision barriers, and some steel or IPSC targets hiding behind them. You had to contort yourself to get a sight-picture of at least some of the hidden targets. Also, you had a choice of the order in which you engaged the hidden target arrays (the first array had to be engaged from the starting box.) I chose to go right, then left. Higgie went the other way. He was right, I was wrong; he took over a second less time to ‘do it (his) way’.

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Stage 4 (MAKIN' CHANGE CM03-17 ) was the classifier, designed by George “Earthworm” Jones. “It was a bad stage, it was a dangerous stage, it was a Bug stage”. Out of five targets on the stage, I managed to hit all of them at least once . . . including the no-shoot. Starting seated at a table with a “one dollar bill” in your hand, two 12” square rugs on the table, magazines and gun (unpropped) on the rugs, at the buzzer load and fire 2 shots per the 4 IPSC targets. Only eight shots, 40 points, and I managed to catch a no-shoot hidden deep in hard-cover territory. (The score sheet, I find, is wrong: it doesn’t reflect my no-shoot hit.) Norm the Ungrateful, however, does a credible job and deserves credit for it. I know it didn’t feel as good to him as it looked to us; he thought there was a lot of “Wasted Time” in his run.

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Stage 5 (DRIVEWAY BLOCKADE) was an interesting stage. You get to shoot at a bunch of IPSC targets through a port on each side of the bay, and in between there are four Pepper Poppers . … the front two are forward-falling, thus slow to clear the view of the two Pepper Poppers behind them. The best way to shoot it is to NOT try to shoot them from the starting box, but to go to one side or the other and engage IPSC targets from the ports, then take the steel as you move between the sides of the bay. The hard thing . . . the IMPORTANT thing . . . is the get the steel down FAST, preferably without having to make up a missed shot.

The shooter here is Zac the Ungrateful, and he has some trouble hitting the steel. I feel his pain. I took just as many shots at the steel, because I missed it as many times as he did. No excuse, I did just fine on the first 3 Pepper Poppers but I could NOT hit the last one. To compound the problem, I kept un-mounting the gun between shots because I ‘assumed’ I had hit it . . . I hadn’t. If I seem to pick on Zac here, it’s only because if it was my video (which thankfully doesn’t exist) I would have to pick on me, too!

This was the first stage our squad shot, Zac was one of the first shooters (the very first? I’m not sure) and that it took him 3 more seconds to compete the stage . . . which should have been an easy 15 or 16 second stage . . . that I did is only a matter of luck. I haven’t shot a match for 3 weeks; he hasn’t shot a match since the Nationals. Also, he was sharing a gun, and it is NOT the SV he usually shoots, but instead his Father’s STI with an OK sight instead of the C-More he’s use to using.

Stage 6 (HIDE AND PEAK), the last stage of the match, was a throw-back to those ancient days when stage designs were not free-form. The stage instructions said, essentially, “Start in Box A, shoot targets T1-T2, move to Box B, shoot targets T3-T6, move to Box C, shoot targets T7-T10.” We all decided that we would not try to game this stage because HEY! It can’t be done.

I have two videos for this stage, and I selected them for very special reasons.

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The first video is of Brian, and I’m probably going to cut my throat here because he is the guy who provides web-hosting for me. He just spent 3 days installing a new server, I just KNOW he’s going to think I’m busting his buns here, because I went out of my way to point out that he lost a couple of magazines from his mag-carriers while running pell-mell from the first to the second shooting box. It was “an excellent run”, but the dropped-magazine phenomenon is becoming increasingly common in this day of heavy double-stack magazines held by short mag-carriers. You start running hard, and the magazines just shake out of the carrier. That’s why you see some of the competitors here holding onto their mags while they run. It looks funny, but at least you don’t end up losing your magazines in the gravel.

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The second video is of Chris, a Junior shooting in Production. For his age (too young!) and experience (this is his first year shooting IPSC), he’s doing an exceptional job. The video shows him, for example, already shifting his balance in preparation to ‘leaving the box’ which refers to the Shooting Box. It’s a gutsy thing to do, but you have to learn that skill if you’re going to be competitive. In this case, Chris ended up winning the Production Division, over 7 other shooters (including his own father, Jeff) and two shooters in higher classes (including the B-Production Match Director, Mac.)

Still, while he’s running from Box A to Box B, he drops a magazine out of one of his magazine carriers. I offer this not only to show his splendid shooting techniques, but also to prove that it isn’t a matter of having a middle-aged middle that causes us to drop magazines.

That’s about it for today. You may notice that I’ve added music to the videos. I think the selections were admirably chosen and impeccably timed to illustrate something about the videos they represent, although the individuals depicted here may disagree.

If you think that the music, and the comments, do . . . or do not . . . add to the viewing experience, please let me know in the COMMENTS section. I’ll probably dis you for disagreeing with me, but that’s not my problem. It’s my blog, if you want to provide a dissenting point of view you can start your own blog. [Bad Joke Alert!]

For those of you who may be contemplating the initiation of your own Blog, a word of warning. I’ve just spent eight hours writing this article. This includes downloading the images from my camera; organizing the files; selecting the images to be presented; editing and reformatting the images from 4mb to 8mb MPEG to 2 mb MPV formats; selecting the accompanying music (which has been paid for when I bought the CDs); writing and inserting the comments within the videos; reformatting the MPV videos to include the music, which has been carefully timed to coincide with significant events in the videos; re-organizing the resulting files to fit within a single directory for archival purposes; uploading the files to the server; writing the first draft of this article; providubg links to the server-hosted files; converting the WS-WORD document to a blogspot article; uploading JPG files to illustrate the links to the videos, rewriting the article so it includes the pictures and the links; testing and corecting the links; publishing the final, polished article .

It took me four hours to shoot this match, and twice as long to publish this article. I fully expect to find that some of the links are not entirely compatible with one or more browsers, which will require some re-programming. (If you cannot view it conveniently, or if the links are not operative, please email me at the address referenced at the foot of this page to bring it to my attention. I will endeavor to correct the deficiency. Maybe. Someday.)

I’m not saying there’s anything particularly saintly about what I do, I’m just saying that I haven’t presented any material without having carefully considered the value, the return on investment (if you will), of EVERY video here presented, described, and modified before it is presented. As a consequence, I am painfully aware of the limited value YOU may assign to each video and the comments appended; but I consider them of great value, hence the following copyright statement:

(Note: all images are © 2005 by Jerry the Geek, and are intended for private personal use only . . . no images or text may be reproduced or used for commercial purposes, or other uses without express permission of the individuals depicted AND the photographer. Music is © in various years by the performers and other individuals and similarly may not be used for commercial or other purposes without express permission of the copyright holders.)

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