Sunday, February 05, 2012

SHOOT!




I received my copy of Julie Golob's book, "SHOOT" (" ... Your guide to Shooting and Competition" $16.95 list price, considerably cheaper from AMAZON.COM at $11.53)

This book has a lot to offer for people who shoot in competition, and for people who want to shoot in competition, and even for people who maybe want to shoot in competition, but aren't sure what flavor or what they may be getting into.

No, it doesn't talk about hunting. It's strictly about competition. However, there are chapters (especially the one specifically discussing SAFETY) which might be of interest to the non-competitive shooter.

And that sets the theme for this book. It provides enough information about safety and other gun-handling topics that it will be a boon for anyone who wants to try the 'shooting sports'.

Also, there are sections in the book which will prove helpful for someone who may perhaps already be shooting competitively, but whose interests might expand to other shooting competition forms as well. For example, I've been shooting competitively for 50+ years, starting in Gallery Rifle when I was under 15 ... but I wish this information had been available to me in such a convenient book form when I was thinking about starting IPSC-style Action Pistol shooting in 1983!

Interested in Sporting Clays? There's a section on it! SAS? Yup, partner, it's there ... even Mounted SAS is briefly described in Chapter 10 ("Nostalgia Shooting Sports") on page 147.

I haven't gone through the whole book yet; it's the kind of book that you read the parts you know about first, to check for accuracy; then you check the 'generic' chapters (chapters 11 thru 13) to see how well the basics, fundamentals, advanced etc are covered). Then when you can't stand it any longer, you start reading about the sports which always sounded bizarre to you ... but curiously attractive.

Although I'm pretty sure I'll never try Biathalon (cross-country skiing combined with rifle shooting), I found out how the game is played, what the basic rules are, and it firmed my resolve to never to cross-country ski 20 kilometers with a rifle strapped on my back.

IPSC

Since this blog is nominally about IPSC competition in America, I paid special attention to "extreme" sports of IPSC, USPSA, Bianchi Cup, IDPA etc. (Chapter 8) and Multigun (Chapter 9). Ms Golob, ("... An eight-year veteran of the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit .... more than 115 championships titles ...") got it right in everything that I've read so far.

Safety
I was especially impressed with her chapter on safety (and also on gun-handling skills). In fact, I am so impressed that I will be taking her book with me when I teach my monthly "Introduction to USPSA" classes, and strongly encouraging the students to buy and read the book. I think that hearing the same information from a more established source would help them to understand that EVERYBODY employs the same practices, and plays by the same rules.

I can tell folks what they should and should not do, and I can clearly define the reasons for the rules and the penalty for violating a safety rule. But what do I know? I'm just a washed up old B-class shooter, and everyone knows that "B-class is the Elephant's Graveyard for Mediocre Shooters".

When people read the same cautionary notes as written by a champion, it has a lot more impact. More, this book doesn't place so much emphasis on the negative side (Match Disqualification) of violating safety rules. Instead, it clearly defines the rules of safe gun handling and makes a simple but eloquent case for why all competitors must be aware of, and always follow these rules.

It's not just the law; it's a good idea!


Praising with 'Faint Damns':
There are a couple of awkwardly worded passages in the book; the one which caught my attention was her advice on foot placement when shooting 'weak hand' vs 'strong hand', but I think that was because she used several terms interchangeably, and the copy editor didn't catch it. I know that Ms Golob knows the difference, because I've seen her shoot and nobody with her wide range of competitive experience doesn't know how to shoot weak-hand!

Also, although she manages to keep her rules descriptions generic and simple, there are a couple of places where she cites specific numbers. This can't be ignored in defining, as she does, the difference between Major Power and Minor Power; That Major Power factor has been down-graded at least twice in my memory. I have to carry a cheat sheet so I can remember that Major Power no longer requires a Power Factor of 175. If this book goes into reprints, which I expect it may, it may require an edit of the specific numbers if IPSC or USPSA changes the power factors. (Or you can just check the current rule book for IPSC at www.ipsc.org or for USPSA at www.uspsa.org)

The above two paragraphs are included for the sake of establishing that I have critically read the book. It doesn't mean that I understand all the nuances of the sports with which I am not familiar, of course. And if I don't say anything critical, you might think I'm saying nice things about the author only because I have watched her career performances for a few years, and I'm really impressed. But if you buy and read the book, you just might enjoy trying out one or two of the competitive shooting sports you learn about.

Oh, just buy the book. If you don't like it, I'll buy it back from you and hand it out to new shooters here in Oregon.