Saturday, February 19, 2011

Last weekend I posted about new shooters, as in "It's All Good".

There was a comment from an anonymous "Guest" reader, who had what I thought was a really qood question:
Wow I had a chance to shoot at Douglas Ridge last weekend, and it was very refreshing, there were a lot of new shooters there but they were doing something that I couldnt help but take notice to and that was they were just having a good time!!!!!
It caused me to really reflect on what we are doing in our area and what we are doing for new shooters, does anyone think that perhaps we should offer the class that Jerry runs and then offer them a match that is a little scaled down (less imitaditing) than one of the normal matches at Albany or Tri County or Dundee??? Perhaps 4 stages with a few less round count and less movement maybe not as many 180 traps and such. It seems like we get a lot of new shooters but somewhere they fall from our fold and perhaps it is because the stages are a little hard and they are not having fun???
Just a thought?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Douglas Ridge range program, here is a short description of the monthly matches there (which I have never attended, although I know that Paul [The Soccer Coach] and [Big Dawg] John often run it, and [White-Fish] Fish has mentioned that he sometimes attends the matches, so I'm not entirely ignorant because these guys tell me what's going on.)

One or more experienced IPSC competitors run the matches, and they are deliberately low-key stages. They set up two stages side by side, and they run everybody who shows up on one stage, then the run everybody through the other stage, and then they stop to set up a couple more stages. This routine is necessary because they don't have a lot of room to work with; it's a popular club, and they muse necessarily take up as little room as possible because other shooters are using the rest of the range.

Most of the people who choose to participate at these matches are NOT folks who compete at 'regular' matches in the Columbia-Cascade Section. They're just people who want to shoot their pistols, and don't really care about competition except that they Do, sort of, compete; but against other people who are of the same mind-set. They aren't necessarily competitive, and they don't choose to invest their time and 'disposable income' to the degree which they may feel obliged if the "competed" in "regular matches".

(I'm counting on people like Paul, John and Fish to correct me if I misrepresent the situation. As I may have said before, I'm never attended one of their matches: I don't even know how to find the Douglas Ridge range, although I'm reliably informed that it's somewhere East, and a little South, of the Portland Oregon metropolitan area. You can find directions at the website .. or go directly to the directions here. You can find out more about the club at their website here, and you can find more information about their USPSA program here.)

No, I don't know when the matches are held; according to the website, the last match for which scores are published was held on October 2, 2010 --- which was the FIRST SATURDAY of the month.

Taken directly from the USPSA Program page (see link above), here is their description of the program:
Welcome to DRRC USPSA/IPSC shooting. We are offering monthly USPSA/IPSC style matches. Initially these will not be sanctioned matches but we will follow all USPSA rules and procedures. This will be a training ground for those who wish to learn and become proficeint in USPSA shooting skills. We will be promoting safety, training, proficiency, and fun. USPSA shooting is commonly referred to "Run and Gun" because you do not just stand and shoot. Many stages require moving to/from different targets and shooting under, over, and around barriers.

This discipline is not for first time or inexperienced shooters. You must be able to compentently handle a handgun to particpate. If you are interested in USPSA shooting or joining USPSA, you can access the USPSA Safety Manual at the link below. Training outside of a match is available to interested new shooters. Matches are open to the public and all are welcome.

So, what we have here is a COF (Course Of Fire) which is true to IPSC/USPSA standards, but unofficially is less ... intimidating .. than a "standard" Practical Pistol match.

I suspect, given the descriptions that I have had relayed to me by the folks who administer these matches and at least one person who has attend, that the stage designs are deliberately chosen to be less complicated, and less intimidating (fewer problems understanding the nuances of the stage designs) than those which are typically encountered at a "regular" USPSA match in Oregon.

Frankly, I would like to attend a few of these matches, if only to get a better understanding of the stage design philosophy. Unfortunately, it conflicts with the "Introduction to USPSA" class which I instruct at ARPC (Albany Rifle and Pistol Club) on the First Saturday of every month, so I simply cannot do so because of scheduling conflicts.


Based purely on second-hand descriptions of these matches, both from people who have participated as shooters and those who have been administratively responsible for presenting the matches, I think that this depiction is reasonably accurate. However, I may be wrong.

I'm hoping that someone who knows more about Douglas Ridge will chime in via the comments page, and perhaps correct any inaccuracies.

Still, the original comment has merit; we need to have opportunities for folks who aren't feeling very "competitive" to try the game and see how they like it. If they don't want to become more invested in USPSA (or IPSC), that's fine. But after they've tried it for a while, and decide they want to more challenging stage design ... there's always (along the Willamette Valley, in Oregon) a place to play within an hour's drive via the I5 corridor.

And if you're a safe shooter, with good gun-handling skills, you're always welcome at any of the regular USPSA matches.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bunny Operators from Heck!

Start with Japanese Anima. (I'm no fan.)
Throw in themes from Michael Z. Williamson, John Ringo, and Tom Kratman.
(And by the way, I've read just about every book these guys have written.)

Add a timely dose of Deus Ex Machina, and introduce it via a Free Access offer.

What do you have?

Cat Shit 1

I found this on the Lawdog blog, and rather than steal the well-deserved credit from him, I will encourage you to go to the article and read it for yourself.

You'll have to judge for yourself whether this is as far-out weirdo fascinating as I found it to be.

The only decisions you have to make is whether you have a half-hour to enjoy ... well, I won't spoil it for you. Just know that it's probably NSFW because you will disrupt your office cackling over each scene.

Oh, and DO obey Lawdog's injunction to view it on HD. Or at least, on Full-Screen mode.

Buyer Remorse

Apropos of absolutely nothing at all, I have been reading some stuff about "re-holstering" (via Michael Bane Blog). While it's an eminently worthwhile discussion about "making yourself appear un-threatening to police", that was only the spur to the memory.

When I re-applied to ARPC for membership several years ago, I discovered they had a new twist to the new-member application: a mandatory meeting ["New Member Orientation"] with a club officer, where he (among other things) discussed Rules of the Range.

The thing that struck me was the rule which forbade "Drawing From The Holster". That was an ironclad rule, and was applicable on the North range ... where ARPC had been holding IPSC-type matches for several years, already.

When I heard that one, I went ballistic. So did another new member, Keith Tyler, one of the best IPSC competitors in the Columbia Cascade Section. Keith is also an LEO, and had just begun his owning training venture.

We argued that the rule was ridiculous, given that they sponsored both IPSC and Speed Steel matches on a monthly basis. These two sport strongly emphasize drawing from the holster.

"How can we possibly use the range to practice our sport, when you won't let us draw from holsters?" we both objected.

The Club Officer who was giving the class was much taken aback. This seemed reasonable, since he was the person who organized Speed Steel matches, every month.

He didn't have an answer for us. We both suggested that if we were joining the club for the purpose of having a range where we could practice, but the club rules forbade drawing from holsters, then there was not much advantage for us to justify club membership.

(The club also offers "Old West" Single Action Society, "I.C.O.R.E" (revolver competition) and the range is used by several local police departments ... ALL of which features drawing pistols from the holster.)

We worked it out that the officer would check with the Board of Directors, and in the meantime we would join the club with the understanding that if this Range Rule would be enforced, we could quit and our initiation fee would be returned.

In the end, the BOD reviewed that earlier decision and decided that it was unrealistic. They had to have new "Range Rules" signs painted and mounted, but the exercise resulted in a club which was much more responsive to the needs and competence of its members.

Since then, the club has initiated new training classes which it offers to its members. One is an "Introduction to Handguns", which is intended for the benefit of members who want to learn how to use handguns safely ... even in competitive environments.

Another new class is "Introduction to USPSA". of which I am one of the instructors.

A third class is "Firearms Handling to Certify for Concealed Carry Licenses", which I have taken and also necessarily includes drawing from a holster.

The lesson here is that ranges which wish to be an active member of the shooting community must attempt to attract members of all shooting communities, and many of these will both practice and compete drawing from the holster. Any range today which wishes to be both busy and profitable will find that they cannot attract new members without recognizing that their fears of lawsuits will keep them at the level of a "small, private club of trap-shooters".

I have nothing against trap-shooting, but if that was the only activity offered by my local club, I would not be willing to spend hundreds of dollars every year there, between membership dues and match fees; nor would I be willing to spend several hours each month volunteering to help the club fulfill its mission.

That mission should be to encourage firearms competition and to provide a safe, well-maintained venue for firearms practice.

Private clubs often sink into obscurity. Public clubs may either grow with the demands of the public it seeks to attract, or ... not.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ghosts of the Forest

news public affairs player: video

( )

PBS offers this video record of "White Deer" with a homely host and a silly ( but obviously and appropriately enamored) Irish-looking photographer/correspondent.

In the normal course of events, it would be a "Silly Season" article.

But here, it's something wonderful.

Yes, the deer are white and they are not albinos.

Yes, they are beautiful. And protected, legally by state law.

Sometimes Laws are reasonable. It would be shameful to be a predator of these beautiful Ghosts.

Sorry, no embedded video.

Never Underestimate An Old Broad

This video was sent to me (H/T G-man), and originally represented as "Ginger Rogers at 93, (Salsa) dancing with her grandson ...".

Looking at the YOUTUBE link, however, it appears that it was a lady named Sarah "Paddy" Jones, a 75 year old British lady; and that Ginger Rogers died childless in 1995.

So it's a little bit of a disappointment, of course, but still ... it's a remarkable performance!

I don't know a lot of people at 75 who can dance like that. I know for certain that my mother (a red-headed 93) can't dance like that!


It reminded me, in a way, of the USPSA match last weekend at ARPC. It was won by Carl Schmidt who is MUCH younger than 75 but still far from the youngest competitor there.

If you are a member of USPSA, you may recall that Carl is a USPSA Range Master and an instructor in USPSA Level I and Level II courses. So it's not like he's new to competition. In fact, he only moved to Oregon last year, and we who regularly compete here are fortunate to have him in our community. Not just because he's experienced and knowledgeable, but also because he's representative of the kind of people we have grown accustomed to meeting in this venue. He's warm, friendly, helpful, industrious and I have no doubt that he is also brave, reverent, thrifty and cheerful.

Well, perhaps he's not an entire Boy Scout.

Still, when I saw him at the January match he still had his Winter Beard, and I have to admit that he looked kinda "old-fartish". Of course, the "Old Broad" appellation does not apply to Carl but just looking at him it would not be immediately obvious to the casual observer ... especially one in their 20's or 30's ... that there is more "Speed, Power and Accuracy" there than meets the eye.


One of the things I try to mention when I'm conducting the "Introduction to USPSA" classes to prospective new shooters is that "here you will meet people you would be happy to invite into your home; in short, there are a LOT of very nice people who compete in USPSA matches, and you will surely make new friends".

For me, it was a Good Things moment when Carl came up to me after the match, patted me on the back and said: "Don't worry about retirement, you're gonna love it! You'll wonder why you waited so long."

Dammit, Carl, now I'm going to be impatient for April 21 to come along, so I can start having all this fun you're talking about.

On the other hand, I now realize that it has been a long time since I have been impatient for tomorrow.

New Horizons, Pal!