Sunday, September 07, 2008

John and Yawn

I was filming the 2008 Croc Match last weekend when Mac walked up and said (soto voce') "I want to talk to you.

He has done this to me before, Mac has. The last 'major' time, he smooth-talked me into running for Competition Director for the Columbia Cascade Section. I said yes then, and I found it to be a very rewarding experience but ... it was very difficult.

Imagine, then, my relief when all he wanted was for me to take over the "Introduction to USPSA" class at ARPC, scheduled for the next Saturday. (Yesterday.) I've done this 3 or four times and enjoyed it, so it was easy to say yes. Especially when he mentioned that he hadn't any students signed up.

During the week, I decided that I could use the range-time for practice, so I emailed a member of my first Intro class, Yawn, and asked if he wanted to go practice with me next Saturday and, oh yes, there's an Intro class scheduled so in the unlikely event that a student actually appears, we'll have to do some instructions. "Hey, it's an opportunity to give back to the sport and besides, it might be fun" I said.

Yawn (real name: Jan, but pronounced 'Yawn') eagerly accepted my invitation and pledged to meet me at the range at 1pm on Saturday. Mission accomplished, as President Bush would say (slightly before actual completion of the mission, but who's counting?)

Saturday came, and I had an errand to run so I didn't actually get to the range until 1:05pm. I walked into Matlock's "Defensive Pistol" class in bay 1 and asked him if any students had showed up for the Intro to USPSA class.

"Well, yes" Matlock said. "But I didn't see an instructor, so I sent him home. Sorry."

Then one of Matlock's students mentioned that they guy in question was seen walking toward Bay 5, where my class was scheduled, so I checked it out. There I found Yawn chatting with a man who turned out to be the student. The class was on, and I hadn't lost a student.

This made my day, because I am loath to lose a potential USPSA competitor.

We introduced ourselves. The student was an ARPC member, his name was John, and not only had he Brought A Pistol for training, but he had actually downloaded, and completed, the on-line workbook developed by Mac to prepare students for the class.

A bit of confusion ensued. I don't have keys for the North Range clubhouse, or for the Equipment Locker there (staplers, timers, tape, targets) or for the Prop Room (target stands, 'sticks' to hold the targets, steel targets, etc.).

Everybody who had keys to props and supplies was engrossed in training their own classes, so Yawn, John and I spent the first hour talking about the priorities, (Safety, then rules, then practices and procedures, then fun) of USPSA competition.

As we went through the classroom segment of the course, I discovered that John didn't bring a holster, or magazine carriers. His belt was a Navy-type web belt which I'm sure that anyone who has experience with the Military recognizes as a 1" belt of woven canvas with a sliding brass buckle; adequate to hold your pants up, but not to hold a holster and magazine carriers ... none of which John had, anyway.

About that time we managed to get a set of keys to the Club House and Props Locker, so we could set up most of a standard set of props for training:
  • Three IPSC (cardboard) targets
  • a Pepper Popper and stand
  • a U.S. Popper and stand
  • Three targets stands
  • Six sticks to hold the popper
  • Timer
  • Stapler
  • Masking tape (to tape holes in the cardboard targets)

Since John had neither a holster or magazine carriers, we started out trying to run him through elementary scenarios by starting him with his Glock 23 at 'low ready'. Yawn had a couple of double-stack magazine carriers which would hold John's 13-round magazines, of which he had two. I contributed a Bianchi belt which was wide enough and rigid enough to hold he magazine carriers. So John wasn't entirely without resources, even though he didn't have the inner belt which would attach his equipment to the belt-loops of his trousers.

However, after a couple of runs, it became clear that we weren't providing a realistic training scenario.

"John" I said, "This isn't working for you. The most important parts of this training is to show you how the range commands work, and how you can safely draw from the holster and safely return your pistol to the holster. Also, without that part of the training, the Range Commands just don't make any sense."

Fortunately, I had brought The Beloved Kimber, some magazine carriers and magazines, and a couple hundred rounds of ammunition. We loaded the Bianchi belt with appropriate gear, and introduced him to the 1911.

Unfortunately, John had never shot a pistol with a manual safety, so we spent a lot of time teaching him how to engage and dis-engage a manual safety. This didn't help him to learn how to shoot HIS pistol in competition, but at least it introduced him to some concepts which may have led to a better understanding of why the USPSA competition rules are so complex. Basically, it may have helped him to realize that the USPSA rules of competition must include all equipment designs even though they may not be directly applicable to the pistol he intends to use for future competition.

One thing that was difficult to learn was the way to load a magazine.

We taught him to place reload magazines 'bullet forward' in the magazine carrier, and how to use his fore-finger to guide the magazine into the grip magazine cavity. Because John had never had to reload from a belt-mounted magazine carrier, he had somehow got into the habit of reversing the magazine prior to a reload. As a result, the magazine was often presented to the pistol upside down: magazine baseplate (and basepad) first, bullets facing backwards. This was very confusing to John, and always frustrating. But he never failed to recognize his error, and correct it immediatelyl.

"It's just a matter of practice. When you get your magazine carriers and holster, you need to practice this at home" we said. Then we gave him the basics of dry-fire at home:

  • Make sure that your magazines and pistol are unloaded before you start practicing.
  • Make sure that there is NO ammunition in the same room.
  • If anything interrupts your practice, check again to insure that there is no ammunition loaded or available.
  • Always choose a safe backstop (eg: a brick wall) as the aiming point for dry-fire or reloading practice.
  • Safety first. Always.

We tried to watch for a consistent grip. John hasn't yet had sufficient shooting experience to realize that he had to grip the pistol the same way every time. We tried a variety of grips, including strong-thumb-over-weak-thumb, weak-thumb-over-strong-thumb. We didn't try to teach him to rid the safety, because he was expecting to compete with a no-manual-safety Glock. Mostly, we were attempting to show the advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives. John never did settle on the best way to shoot.

We also noticed that he was putting his trigger finger as far as possible into the trigger guard. He was pulling the trigger with the part of his finger between the first and second joints.We strongly suggested that he put the pad of his finger tip on the trigger, and practice pulling the trigger straight back toward his dominant eye. (We didn't have time to test for eye-dominance.)

John had used his Glock before, and was comfortable with it. But the 1911 was very confusing, due to the manual safety. Yawn was very supportive: "My safe-action pistol is easy to learn, but any time I have to use a pistol with a manual safety I have to say to myself: 'Whoa! This is weird! I need to spend some time thinking about the extra things I have to do."

Eventually, we managed to work through the points on safe reloads, movement with pistol (not firing on the move), engaging steel targets vs engaging cardboard targets, and the range commands.

To finish out the lesson, we went back to his Glock and had him engage the same targets in the same Course Of Fire without the holster, just to accustom him to the usual practices using a pistol with which he was accustomed.

The training session lasted 3 hours, instead of the usual 2 hours which was scheduled. It has been my experience, now repeated three times, that it is impossible to give a thorough training session to a student who is not familiar with his pistol (or who has not the equipment to work with holster and magazine-carrier exercises) in under three hours.

Further observations:

  • Even students who have observed USPSA matches may not realize that training and competiton will require a legal holster, at least two magazine carriers, at least two (preferably three) magazines, and a rudimentary understanding of how to reload the pistol they have.
  • Many students don't understand how their pistol works. This includes controls (magazine release, manual safety if present.)
  • Basic gun-handling skills, especially those involving range safety, are commonly lacking.
  • The concept of consistent grip, trigger control, and how these factors affect point of impact are often poorly understood ... if even identified.
Again, and as has been mentioned in previous articles on the subject of Training for USPSA competition, I find myself spending more time on basic gun-handling skills than on actual skills relating to USPSA competition.

I believe that any "Introduction to USPSA competition" should be prefaced by "Introduction to Gun Handling Skills" classes. Yesterday, I spent three hours teaching a class which was short on Competition skills, but predominated by Basic Gun Handling skills. This is no reflection on the student, John. Instead, it indicates a need for more basic training.

I will be lobbying for this kind of training before the "Intro to USPSA"class at ARPC in the future.
UPDATE: 15-SEP-2008

I talked with Mac last weekend. Mac is the "Executive Director" at ARPC. He is also the Director of Practical Shooting. (That is, he runs the IPSC/USPSA matches, designs the stages, sees to the stages being set up before the match and tearing them down, arranges for Statisticians, and generally runs the whole show. Including the "Introduction to USPSA" class.)

We agreed that USPSA competition is a significant challenge, and that people who sign up for the class should already be familiar with their handguns, and should have a certain level of gun-handling skills.

ARPC already has an all-day "NRA Basic Pistol" class which teaches these skills.

And since Mac is the man who answers the phone when people call to sign up for a class, he has an opportunity to question each applicant before he permits them to sign up for the USPSA class.

In the future, he will determine the experience level of USPSA class candidates, and direct to the NRA Basic Pistol those callers who cannot convince him that they are experientially qualified for the USPSA class.

This helps in four ways:
  1. People who aren't familiar with their pistols, or basic skills, will be trained before they enter competition;
  2. Valuable INTRO TO USPSA class time will not be spent teaching basic skills, which can result in important USPSA lessons being skipped (hasn't happened yet, but it could);
  3. If qualified people are not available for a given monthly class, it may be canceled;
  4. The instructor (that would be me) who shows up at the range for practice, need not scurry around looking for keys to the prop room and the supply cabinet at the lat minute, when an unscheduled student presents himself/herself.
Also, an important fifth helpful result is that the instructor (that will still be me) will not be unpleasantly surprised when students do unsafe things.

I tire quickly at seeing a supposedly unloaded pistol pointed at my belly.

This is a good and workable solution which many USPSA certification instructors may find disconcerting. I recommend it.
It has the Geek Seal of Approval.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


New link on the sidebar.

Under "Reference Sources", please see the "U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU)"

USPSA Nationals - via Bane's Down range Blog

Follow The USPSA Handgun Nationals Online

USPSA has teamed up with Down Range TV to bring the USPSA Handgun National Championships to a computer near you. The Down Range Blog will feature daily - and hopefully hourly - updates from the both the Smith & Wesson Limited, Production and Revolver USPSA Championships and the USPSA Open and Limited-10 Championships.

On the blog you'll find previews of the matches, interviews with shooters, daily scoring updates and lots and lots of photos. We'll even try to bring you a podcast or two. The Down Range Blog will be the place to get an inside look at the Championships and the shooters. And with over 600 shooters competing there's plenty to follow.

Join us online and track the match and your favorite shooters.

--- an email directly from USPSA.ORG

"Learning how to fight the Jews and kill Jewish children"

Terrorists thankful: More room to prep to kill Jews

Yesterday I read this article, which purports to describe how Palestinians are using the land (Gaza) ceded by the Israelis to the Palestinians as a training ground ... to teach 'recruits' to "Kill Jews".

It's a sad, pitiable story, not least because it features Palestinian children being trained to kill Israeli children.

Everywhere else in the world, the United Nations deplores the terrorist practice of inducting children into military training. In "Palestinian" areas, the terrorists get a Free Pass.

In this case, though, it may not be as bad as it is presented to be.

Look at the picture (embedded in the story) which seems to depict a very young Palestinian boy shooting a carbine sniper "rifle".

Never mind that the absurdly short, double-magazine laden, long-scoped rifle carbine doesn't seem to serve any military purpose --- it's all propaganda.

(Where did they get that AR-style carbine? I bet is was part of what WE donated "to arm the Palestinian Police".)

Look at the enthusiastic expression on the boy's face. (Well, shooting is fun, but not when your purpose is to "kill Jewish Children". More on that later.)

Look at the lense of the scope, almost touching his eyebrow.

Look at the position of the butt-stock, resting on top of his skinny boyish arm... not butted firmly against his shoulder.

What do you think would happen if this child actually fired that "rifle", holding it that way?

That's right. He might not break his shoulder (heck, the recoil will not be absorbed at all by the shoulder), but he will certainly put a big ol' Magnum Eyebrow on his sweet face. And for darn sure, he won't hit whatever he's aiming at.

From the article:
Also this weekend, the Popular Resistance Committees terrorist organization showcased its own training in the evacuated Gaza Jewish town of Kfar Darom, which previously housed tree-lined Jewish streets replete with synagogues and Jewish seminaries.

Notable about the Committees training was that it included dozens of boys between the ages of nine and twelve, according to Committees leaders.

The Ynetnews Israeli website featured an interview with one young Committees recruit, an 11-year-old boy named Muhammad pictured holding an assault rifle. [sic]

"I am learning how to fight the Jews and kill Jewish children," Muhammad told Ynetnews. "I would rather die fighting the occupation than die at home from a missile, which is what happened to hundreds of Palestinian children." [emphasis added]

Committees terror group spokesman Muhammad Abdel-Al, also known as Abu Abir, told WND yesterday his group was not brainwashing children.

"We are not educating them on hatred. This is our strategy -- to turn all the Palestinian people into weapons of resistance," Abdel-Al said when questioned about his group's use of boys.
[bullshit alert]

Heck, that child is no threat. The Israeli's could parade their children in front of a thousand Palestinian children this well trained. The Pally kids would shoot once and reel back, holding their painfully bleeding eyebrows as they ran away from their dropped rifles. Even the French train their troops better. The Egyptians are more 'professional'.

This picture, and the accompanying quoted rhetoric, are pure propaganda.

I'm not saying that the Palestinians aren't indoctrinating their children to hate Jews. Nor am I saying that these children won't grow up to hate Jews as they have been so well trained.

All I'm saying is, the Palestinians rely heavily on propaganda to intimidate their preferred foes. We need to be aware that much of what they say and do is as much intended to encourage their own members as to strike fear in the hearts of their chosen enemy.

That would be you and me. Because, you know, one of the things we like about the Israeli's is that they don't pull this kind of bullshit.

Still -- I deplore that the Palestinians are ruining the future of their children by rote-teaching them to hate other children.

Is this what you teach your kids?

I don't think so.

McCain = H.W.?

I'm listening to John McCain's Thursday Night speech at the Republican National Convention.

Is it just me? Or does his whiny voice sound just like George Herbert Walker Bush? (Bush 41).

I still don't have much affection for Johnny Mac. I'm still stewing about his stand on Migration Amnesty, and the egregious Campaign Finance Reform which stifles our First Amendment rights.

But I really, really like his Veep.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Stiletto Spring

Stiletto Sprint (Spiegel)

"Some 265 contestants get in position at the starting line at the inaugural Stiletto Sprint race by the shores of Sydney Harbour Tuesday. The group set a new world record for the most women to run the 80 meter dash wearing 75mm high heels."

Picture 265 athletic women in heels, running for all they're worth. Doesn't this conjure up the opening title sequence of "M*A*S*H"?

Okay, so it's just me.

It looks hard enough to walk in stiletto heels, let alone run in them.

REUTERS has the video:

"More than 260 inappropriately shod runners showed up this time ..."

Okay, it IS just me.

Gun-rights advocate arrested at rally

Gun-rights advocate arrested at rally

Gun-rights advocate arrested at rally
Sunday, August 31, 2008
By Milan Simonich, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Beaver County man who regularly wears a pistol on his hip says police violated his rights by arresting him before a rally featuring Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

"I am a threat to no one. Mr. Obama doesn't trump my constitutional rights. The president of the United States doesn't trump my constitutional rights," said John Noble, who was handcuffed, questioned for about two hours and then told by state police that he would receive two citations by mail for disorderly conduct.

Mr. Noble, 50, of Industry, said he wore his Glock 19 in a holster when he entered Irvine Park in Beaver more than an hour before Mr. Obama arrived for a campaign appearance Friday night.

Oh ... My ... Goodness!

This must be the Only Man In America ... who hasn't seen "Taxi Driver".

To recap:
This guy carries a gun to a Presidential Political Rally, and is outraged that he was stopped by Security and held for questioning.

What the HELL was he thinking?

Did he expect that the Secret Service would pat his back and say "Way to go, brother!"?

What a doofus. He makes every responsible gun owner Look Bad.

No, I don't care about his "Second Amendment Rights". This is a Presidential Political event. There are plenty of Secret Service people there to handle the odd crazy in a Gun Free Zone.

It's not his job to protect himself, his fellow citizens, or the Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee in this venue; and if he doesn't understand the situation he's just another Travis Bickle.

Personally, I think it's all a publicity stunt, engineered by a wacky individual who just wants his Fifteen Minutes of Fame.

De Yout of Amerika

It's not a good idea to RiseAmong The Masses.

As has been widely reported, if you're too good to play Little League, your adult advisers may vote you out of the game.

On the other hand, if you're "Not A Boy", you may be declared "too girly" to play football.

As often as I castigate "The Brits" for their arbitrary and unreasonable civic ordnances, there are times when we are forced to admit that our Municipal leadership is just as clueless, just as arbitrary, just as dumb.

(As always, click on the images to see them in full size.)

Robbing Ain't FUn

Odd are, if you are 'this' stupid, you will be shot to death because you're packing a toy gun ...

or you may otherwise find yourself in Deep Shit!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Room With A View

Blue Beauty

I'm not sure what I'm seeing here, but it's damned impressive.

My Sister.

Can't see the movie!

I use Firefox for my primary browser. I use Internet Explorer Version 7 (IE7) as my backup, but I really prefer Firefox.

Unfortunately, many applications and websites are designed using IE7 as their standard. The consequence is that sometimes I can do things I can do in IE7 that I can't do in Firefox. Although Firefox tries hard to keep up, sometimes it needs a little help.

When I tried to view videos on Firefox tonite, they wouldn't play. I'm talking about the YouTube videos that I loaded into a blog article which I wrote last night (very early this morning); they played just fine 20 hours ago, but now they will load, but not play.

As a test, I opened the same article and attempted to view the same videos using IE7. Yep, they loaded and ran as they should. Obviously, the problem was not with the blog article or the YouTube videos, but with my own Firefox browser settings.

Using the Microsoft Control Panel (I'm running MS XP Home operating system), the only update I found was a minor update in Firefox, which was auto-loaded this evening when I started my browser.

Looking at the PROGRAM FILES, I see that one small file was loaded at 7pm tonight.

I have experienced this problem before, and that time (two weeks ago) I found updates in my Flash Player up to version 114. I had researched the problem and de-installed versions back to version 46. That was clearly not the problem tonight.

On a hunch, I used a piece of 'fix' software called RegCure, which was created to detect and fix registry problems. My thinking was that the relatively minor problem with Firefox might be due to incompatibility in Registry updates which have accumulated over the past two weeks.

When I ran RegCure, it found 293 problems in the Registry. (Click on image to view.) I allowed it to fix the problems, which took less than a minute.

Then I re-opened the Firefox browser and attempted to view the same videos; nothing happened. The problem still existed.

I needed to restart my computer for the Registry changes to be loaded.

After restarting the computer, I was able to view the videos just as I had last night.

I suppose you could consider this a testimonial for RegCure. I certainly wouldn't have been able to find and fix the problems unaided, but I'm just barely Geekish enough that I realize there are tools available to do the things I couldn't do unaided. (This is, in part, the reason why automobile repair shops have exotic electronic machinery in every repair bay, to fix the things that Mechanics cannot do unaided without extensive training.)

RegCure may not be the right solution for everyone, and in fact there is some question whether the most of the available Registry Cleaner software packages are actually as good as they say there are.

I did some more research, and found this comparison of the available software, from Pro Soft Labs.

I don't know if the review was entirely unbiased, butRegCure did have the highest rating among those tested. And what I do know is, it worked for me.

It was worth the $29.95 price of purchase, if it only served to prevent me from tearing out what few hairs I have left on my head.

2008 Croc Match: Stage 6 - Paradise Island

This is perhaps the most 'video' of all stages in this match, because you can see what the competitor is trying to do, even though (due to a plethora of solid vision barriers) you can't see the targets.

The stage design requires the competitor to start sitting in a lawn chair, feet on the footstool and hands interlaced behind his/her head. The unloaded pistol is on the side table.

There are a lot of hidden targets (steel and cardboard both) as well as some moving targets which are initiated by hitting the steel targets.

Stage Bay: 5
Title/Link: Paradise Island [105 kb]
Designer: Paul Meier
Round-count: 59/295 points
Targets: 25 IPSC, 7 USP, 2 Pepper Poppers

We've got video of three shooters (maybe more, later) demonstrating varying degrees of success on this stage.

First up it the Match Director, and the man who designed the stage ... Paul.

The thing about being the Match Director AND a Competitor is that your day is so busy that sometimes you not only do not have time to perform well as a competitor (because you're frequently called away from your squad, but often you don't have time to do the minimal amount of preparation needed to shoot a stage successfully.

Here, Paul discovers that he has not checked his magazines: his 3rd magazine is .... empty. No bullets. This is a true WTF moment. As soon as you realize that you don't have enough ammunition to shoot at all of the targets with the minimum number of rounds, the best you can do is to shoot at each cardboard target (2 rounds) with at least one round.

This dire situation is exacerbated in a "High Round Count" stage, which is typical in this match:


The next shooter is Ron, who experiences the Agony of Deplete when, part-way throught the stage, discovers that one of his magazines has been accidentally dropped back at the starting position. He has insufficient ammunition to complete the stage! (Look for the little black dot under his chair as he starts the stage: that's his dropped magazine.) The Assistant Range Officer (Caryn) shouts "The magazine is under the chair!". The Range Officer asks "What do you want to do?"

Ron answers ... "Back up?"

And so Ron demonstrates a good way to run backwards while keeping the gun-muzzle pointed in a safe direction. He dumps the short-loaded magazine remaining, reloads with a full magazine, and pumps 23 rounds into the remaining targets from atop The Platform.

The crowd goes wild and rewards him with a standing ovation and the verbal rewards of "Nice Run, Ron!"

And ... "I love this game!"

Ron declines the opportunity to actually Take A Bow.

The third shooter is Ernie, who is reshooting the stage. (The first attempt was nullified by a Range Equipment Failure ... one steel target, which activated a moving cardboard target, was not correctly reset.)

Ernie did everything right, quickly, and accurately. Perhaps more important, he retained sufficient ammunition on his person to complete the stage without wasted time.

Yet to come (watch this space): CHAT!

The things people say after they watch someone else shoot a stage.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Croc Match Jungle Run: Why I Published Early

My weekend just finished (it's 9:40pm Monday Night, and I just got home and unpacked), and I understand that there were complaints about my Saturday Night publication of a video showing The Jungle Run ... a.k.a. "Paradise Valley".

This was a surprise stage, where none of the competitors knew anything more about the stage except the round count and the number and type of targets. The targets are often partially concealed by thick foliage (bushes, ferns) and it's very easy to overlook one or more targets while moving as quickly as safety considerations permit along a twisting jungle path.

Acknowledging that the 'surprise' nature of this stage was compromised by my posting a video before all competitors had completed it, I must admit that I simply didn't consider that it would be used to gain a competitive advantage. I was nonplussed when I learned that some protests had been filed, criticizing my presumption.

Was I wrong? Maybe. I should have known better. True, I had checked in at the Stats Shack before the match as a 'visitor', where Stats Queen Lori provided me with the match book and copies of all the published stages (with the exception of the Jungle Run, which was specifically designated "a surprise stage".

All of the Match Administrators were aware that I was filming stages, including Paul the Match Director, Mac the Range Master, and the "lowly stage designer", Evil Bill.

Nobody ever suggested that I should with-hold posting videos until after the match was over. Still, I've been competing in Croc Matches for a dozen years. The case can be made that I should have "known better".

I accept that I am solely responsible for the content of this blog, and in retrospect I should have sought permission of the Match Director before publishing the video 'early'. If my impetuosity caused the stage results to be skewed in favor of those few who had NOT shot the stage on Saturday, and who did see the video before the beginning of competition on Sunday, then I should have been responsible for the stage having been thrown out of the match and the results not being considered in determining the match winner.

In fact, The Hobo Brasser noted at 9:30am on Sunday (the times slugged on the Haloscan Comments may not be West Coast Time) that he declined to view the video, just to avoid compromising his run. And eight hours earlier, Evil Bill noted that it should not be published before the end of the match.

Yet the 'compromise' was apparently not reported, because I see by the match scores that the stage was not disqualified from the match order-of-finish placement.

I would have felt terrible if I had been held responsible for having the funnest stage of the match being thrown out. Certainly, if anyone had asked me to keep the video private until after the end of the match, I would have conformed to this requirement. (Once more, I should have known better.)

However, since The Hobo Brasser was a Squad Leader, and Evil Bill is a member of the host club, it was ultimately their duty to bring this contretemps to the attention of the Match Administers (Paul and Mac), which I assume they did. Since Paul and Mac obviously decided to include these stage scores, it would appear that they did not feel that the match was compromised.

I'm glad that I didn't ruin the match for anybody, and that the host club decided to include the scores.

And in truth, I sincerely doubt that the match standings were so significantly skewed by this early publication of a match video.

While I was filming on this stage, I saw at least one other person filming a friend. I assume that the videographer had already shot the stage, so there was no obvious advantage for either of the two competitors.

But it brings up the question of what that videographer did with the film. Did he show it to other competitors who had not yet shot the stage?

There's no way of knowing that, nor is there any way of knowing whether his jiggly video provided enough detail for a shooter to learn the stage sufficiently to improve his scores.

During the 2007 Croc Match, there was an undercurrent of discontent among some local competitors --- people who have shot this match before --- to the effect that a "Surprise Stage" had no place being included among the final match standings. It's true that in a non-surprise stage, there may occur some even which would require the Range Officer to stop the shooter, and require a re-shoot.

This NEVER occurs during a Jungle Run. The Range Officer (Lorin) scores and tapes most of the targets, which allows him opportunity to check each steel target (if included ... not this year). The presumption of the Host Club seems to be that a reshoot will never occur, and if it does, they don't care.

Although the match is run under the general auspices of USPSA rules, it is not a USPSA match. Hence, the host club is free to interpret the rules any way it wants to. For example, USPSA rules frown on 50-round stages, and they require a five minute walkthrough. The Croc Match does not conform to these rules, and they make no bones about it.
(See UPDATE, below.)

Here's the operative phrase: If you don't like the rules, you don't have to shoot the match.

Let's cut to the video.

At the end of Pete Ray's fun, I asked him one question. I think his answer is important to the discussion.

What do you think? Was it fun?
"Oh, hell yes! It's always fun! Yeah"

"If this was the only stage they had, I'd still drive [from California, to compete], and I'd still pay [the match fees]. This is great!

Way to go, they owe you money for that one, pal.

That was a wonderful testimonial to one of the true Fun Matches in America today.

From time to time I receive some criticism about my coverage of USPSA matches. It doesn't matter if it's a Major Match or a Club Match. It doesn't even matter if it's recognized by USPSA.

Sometimes the criticism is deserved, as it is here.

Sometimes it is a matter of ruffled feathers.

Still, this is the ONLY place in the world where you can find the true depiction of what it is like to compete in Practical shooting. The goal is not only to show the World Champions, the Masters and Grand Masters at their best; sometimes you just watch the Average Shooter doing his best on a truly difficult stage. It may not show the individual shooter as being competitive against a Grand Master, but it will show him or her doing the best possible under the circumstance.

In the coming days, you'll see difficult stages beating the best shooters. You'll see average shooters ... the folks just showing up and paying their money to shoot because they enjoy the experience no matter how well they do. And sometimes you'll see the average shooter making mistakes that they know better than to do, but they struggle on regardless because they will not quit.

The thing I like about the Croc Match is that it provides plenty of opportunities for guns not to run, for competitors to err, and for Range Officers to be less than perfect.

Ultimately, most of us shoot because we enjoy it. Sometimes we shoot a Major Match to measure ourselves against the Best In The Business. Sometimes, they aren't really The Best.

Here, we will show you what happens. It's not an attempt to denigrate the competitors.

The goal is to give you a perspective on a sport which is extreme, but still available to any legal gun owner as long as the basic safety rules are observed.

Nobody is exempt from being shown the fool. Not even Jerry the Geek, as this film from a 2006 Club Match at Dundee will demonstrate.

UPDATE: 02-SEP-2008

The following erroneous statement is graciously corrected by Area 1 Director and USPSA Board Member Bruce Gary in COMMENTS:
Although the match is run under the general auspices of USPSA rules, it is not a USPSA match. Hence, the host club is free to interpret the rules any way it wants to. For example, USPSA rules frown on 50-round stages, and they require a five minute walkthrough. The Croc Match does not conform to these rules, and they make no bones about it.