Thursday, January 06, 2005

Single-Stack vs Limited-10

Single-Stack STI Trojan 6.0

I seem to have become enamored of photos lately. Well, perhaps that's not such a bad thing.

Today, on the Unofficial IPSC List (See below) "Sam" suggested that the Limited 10 division might be replaced by the Single-Stack Division:

................I would still like to see L-10 abolished as a separate division!!

It should be replaced with a Single Stack division (with the rules for the
SSC adopted as is).

By shooting with standard capacity magazines we demonstrate the fallacy of
the gun banners ideas.
I don't know what "SSC" is, but I presume it has to do with "Single Stack Competition".
I'm pretty sure it isn't the "Singapore Sports Web", so I assume it has to do with this.

As much as I do admire the Single Stack Society, I'm not convinced that their restrictions on equipment fit with the USPSA's more 'inclusive' definitions of Divisons. (I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now ... this is "diversity" and Liberal ACLU-type definitions, and I don't know whether a I'm Left or Right-wing nut in this regard!)

First, they only allow the 5" model of pistol. So much for this beautiful long-slide pistol!

Second, the magazine capacity is dependent on the caliber (cartridge diameter):

* Maximum magazine capacity allowed:
8 Rounds - 45ACP, 40 S&W, 10mm (Major Scoring)
9 Rounds - 40 S&W, 10mm (Minor Scoring)
10 Rounds - 38 Super, 9mm, 9X23 (Minor Scoring Only)
* Standard Factory Length Magazines Only. No Extended Magazines Allowed. Magazine Base Pads may be fitted to Standard Length Magazines.

... so if you load 9 rounds of .40/10mm, you are scored Minor? Oh wait ... it doesn't matter how many rounds you actually load in the magazine, the only criteria is how many rounds you CAN load in one or more magazines.

... and "Standard Factory Length Magazines" isn't defined. Let me see now; Chip McCormick makes 10-round magazines for the .45acp, and I presume he has a "factory". So if you use a Chip McCormick 10-round magazine, and only load 8 rounds in your .45acp, what are you?

Okay, I'm being a Dork here. My point is that if you take a quasi-legal position, you end up looking like a barracks-room lawyer and you're into USPSA interpretations as quickly as you can say "John's your uncle."

So let's leave the "Single Stack division (with the rules for the SSC adopted as is)" part alone for the moment, because it's almost impossible to reconcile if you assume an aggressive interpretation of the cited rules.

My point is that I'm not entirely adverse to the idea that Limited 10 might evolve into a "Single-Stack- only" division. There is a down-side to this, and it's mainly that there's not a nickle's worth of difference between single-stack and double-stack, except for the possibility that it's faster to reload a double-stack magazine (jnot an incosiderable factor in a competitive situation!) It's just that there's no acknowledged "problem" with the USPSA Limited 10 Division which can be "fixed" by making it single-stack only.

Give me a reason why we should change the L-10 division definition, and I'll be all over it like stink on feces. Until that point ... no. I don't see it.

And don't rely on the tired argument:
"By shooting with standard capacity magazines we demonstrate the fallacy of the gun banners ideas."

I don't accept that this is a significant issue, because until we see someone attack our sport with this tired bromide, it ain't a happening thing. At this point, it's just an argument looking for an issue.

Ohhh ... yesssssssss ... My Pretty!

As long as we're talking "Golden Guns", let me show you The Way It's Suppose To Be.

SWMBO and the hard-chrome STI Tru-Bore.
OK "Parrot" sight optional.

This is one of my all-time favorite photos, incorporating the perfect balance between hardware and software.

Thanx to Dave Skinner for providing the pistol.

Many thanx to Momma SWMBO for providing the Lady.

The Geek will take credit for combining all the elements to photograph IPSC ...
The Way It's Suppose To Be.

(Note the .38 Super brass flying out of the perfect Bianchi Barricade.)

Oh, yesssssssssss........

Damn, I love this sport!

The Man With The Golden Gun

Golden AK

Last week, someone on The Unofficial IPSC List was asking where he can find a gold-plated trigger.

I don't know where you can buy them, but last year you could FIND them in Saddam's palaces.

Guess you had to be there.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Well, there's Gratitude for ya

Yahoo! News - Gratitude for aid accompanied by suspicion of U.S.

Lately on the Unofficial IPSC List, there has been some discussion about the idea of America providing wellfare disaster relief to Indonesia, the largest muslim country in the world ... or so it says here.

A couple of folks questioned why we should be providing a multi-million dollar giveaway aid to a country predominently occupied by people who believe in a religion that is apparently filled with a bunch of freaking terrorists determined to kill non-muslims inimical to the values of western civilization.

I responded that America is basically a Christian country, with a large non-Christian population, and the Christian religion has a firm belief in helping our fellow man. Also, when so many people are being raped and enslaved by pirates in dire need of outside help, this is a poor time to put politics ahead of principle.

Well, it would appear that the would-be recipients of American aid are even more suspicious of our motives than we are of theirs.

In the world's most populous Muslim nation, not everyone is entirely happy to see Americans in helicopters handing out food and water to the hungry victims of last week's tsunami.

Though Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters Tuesday that he hopes the sight of U.S. soldiers passing out aid will help ease anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world, many Muslims say they cannot ignore that the same U.S. military that invaded Iraq is now engaged in its largest operation in South Asia since the Vietnam War.

WTF? Why would this be an issue?

"It's true we need help from the U.S. right now, but many Muslims feel the need to ask: `Is there any political interest here, or is it really just humanitarian help?'" said Moeslim Abdurrahman, a moderate Muslim leader in Jakarta.

Jakarta? JAKARTA? Was this yahoo (pardon) drowned in the tsunami? Why not? Hey, God ... is it too late for a "Do-Over"?

<>It's not as if the Bay of Bengal Nations didn't have problems even before the Boxer Day Deluge:

In addition, some hope the need for cooperation will help resolve bloody separatist movements in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, while perhaps undermining whatever public support there may be for a radical Islamist group blamed for a series of bombings in Indonesia over the past two years.

Oh, yeah. Bali. I had forgotten that. But I'm sure the Indonesians are willing to accept responsibility for that, and will change their ways:

Prophetic: my sorrow that Western nations (especially super power USA, middle power the UK, and mini power Australia) seem largely determined not to face the appalling injustices which ultimately lie behind the frustration and anger that fosters much terrorism.

It doesn't seem that this guy is focusing on the immediate needs of the afflicted people. Oh, well, tomorrow is another day.
So, back to the original source...

Yet on the ground, early reactions have been mixed. The gratitude that many victims feel for the aid campaign has been tempered by the perception that the Bush administration reacted sluggishly to the first reports of the calamity. Bush did not address the disaster publicly until three days after the earthquake and tsunami.

"They blew it, initially, having Bush wait so long before he said anything," said Sydney Jones, Southeast Asia project director for the International Crisis Group, a non-profit that tries to prevent and resolve deadly conflict. "I'm sure there's gratitude; it's just that the image of the U.S. was so negative that it remains to be seen whether this can overcome that."

Bush waited for so long.

Yeah, right.

That sounds very familiar. After President Bush didn't call out the airforce immediately after the first airplane hit the Twin Towers on 9/11, American Liberals lambasted him for 'waiting so long'. Actually, Bush didn't know it was a terrorist attack that would be repeated ... he was under the impression (as were we all) that it was an accident, and that a 'small plane' had hit the building. It wasn't until after another tower had been hit that he ... and we ... realized that we were under attack.

After the Tsunami hit, we had no way of knowing how extensive the damage was, or what would be required to respond effectively to the (so far under-evaluated) carnage. Should he have immediately pledged $350 million in "aid" in response to an event that nobody appreciated was so wide-spread? Should he have immediately pledged (eg: "PROMISED!") to contribute so much money from a country which was already facing severe economic disaster in response to a terrorist attack.

Wouldn't that have been irresponsible of him?

"We immediately started scrounging around for every fund that we had, every bit of rice that we knew of somewhere," said U.S. Ambassador Lynn Pascoe. "We did everything we could except triple the speed of the aircraft carrier to get it here as fast as we could possibly get here."

The Internet, at least, has commented on how quickly the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln has managed to position itself to provide help. This doesn't seem to have made any difference to these whiny assholes critics of Bush's attempts to rush to succor the victims of this natural disaster.

In the meantime, relief agencies are trying to deal with the effect of the disaster on the civilian population, hoping that the situation will somehow improve the internal problems of the involved nations.

In India, some noted a close U.S. cooperation with the Indian navy that could improve rocky relations. In Sri Lanka, officials hope the mutual losses and need to work together could help the government renew peace efforts with the secessionist Tamil Tigers.

Along the northern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia's worst-damaged area, U.S. officials are pushing for resolution of another independence movement by residents of the Aceh region. But the government did not respond to a rebel cease-fire offer, and there have been reports of at least one gun battle as the aid was being delivered.

Though Indonesia became a democracy seven years ago after the fall of longtime dictator Suharto, it also is home to a secretive group known as Jemaah Islamiyah. The group has links to Al Qaeda and has claimed responsibility for several recent bombings, including one in Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people, many of them Australians.

There are a few responsible people ... with no agenda other than to help their people ... who are willing to accept much-needed help where-ever they can find it, and who appear grateful for the efforts:

"The majority of Indonesians are quite appreciative, especially the Acehnese. Everyone is just amazed at the capacity of the U.S. with the Abraham Lincoln [aircraft carrier] coming in here and all these Seahawk helicopters," said Rizal Sukma, director of studies at Indonesia's Center for International and Strategic Studies and an Acehnese whose teenage niece is missing after the flood.

"A lot of people think that the U.S. will not pay attention to anything unless it has to do with terrorism, that it doesn't care about democracy or human rights anymore," Sukma said. "This will insert a new element into people's perceptions."

But still, there are citizens of stricken countries who themselves can't seem to separate the practical from the political:

Unfortunately for the U.S., among other elements of that reputation in the region are the highly unpopular invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, anger at tougher visa procedures to enter the U.S. and ire over U.S. support for Israel.

Fault found

Some Indonesians say they are insulted by Western debate about whether Muslims can be democratic. Others blame the U.S. for fueling the radical bombers with its allegedly anti-Muslim foreign policies.


I should have known it. No matter what America does, it's still responsible for all the woes of the world. At least they didn't mention Haliburton. Yet. (Watch This Space.)

Still, I think that America and Americans are doing the right thing, by their efforts to provide as much help as possible to the victims of the Tsunami. India, Sumatra, Indonesia, Thailand, Malasia, The Malfives, etc.

And it's not as if this outpouring of charity doesn't have some negative effect on American charitable contributions, y'know.

The UN is doing its part. Kofi is already dunning nations which have pledged relief to pay up NOW! Well, that's not altogether a bad thing. Nobody really expects the U.S. not to fulfill its promises ... after all, Bush did make sure that he didn't pledge american support in excess of what the situation required. One thing about Bush that we've learned over the past 4 years; when he makes a promise, he carries through. Although a lot of people seem to think that the pledging nations could move a little faster.

So what's the bottom line here? Should Americans continue to help muslim nations in this hour of their greatest need, even though they seem disinclined to appreciate the help because of their political differences? Put it even more strongly: should we help those terrorist bastards muslim peoples who hate us don't agree with our social, political, economic, religious and/or cultural values?


We're not contributing to terrorists here.

Grown-up people realize that when they 'give' something to children, if gratitude is expected the adults can only expect disappointment. It's not about gratitude. It's not about trying to "win hearts and minds" as we so naively expected by our efforts in Vietnam ... and probably expect in Iraq. (If you don't accept the "Adults & Children anology, consider the thousand years of cultural disparity between Fundamental Islamists and Western Civilization.)

It's about hundreds of thousands of people, human beings, who are lost and hurt and have lost everything they owned and sometimes the people they loved.

We may not convince them that they can live in peace with us. Our support may not change the way they thing, the things they do to us. But if we refuse to help people who are in dire extremes, the BEST we can expect is that they will die hating us for our unfeeling response to their hour of need.

I'm not saying that we'll change their minds for the better. I'm not even saying that we'll avoid increasing the gulf between their current mind-set and ours.

All I'm saying is that if we refuse them the help they obviously need, we will have condemned them to anguish which OUR culture doesn't believe should be the fate of any people.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Department of Reduncy Department

Time now for another swooping flyby of the blogosphere, the MSM (Main Stream Media), niche-market websites and other redundant links ... most of which I found by reading recent posts of a few members of the blogosphere (note redundancy).

Rottweiler references a recent post by Diplomadic concerning UN efforts in Tsunami Relief. Essentially, it's another boondogle. We wonder who pays for these 'diplomatic missions'?

That was refreshing. Imagine, some members of the US Diplomatic Corps share our disenchantment with the United Nations.

Dave Spaulding writes in HANDGUNS MAGAZINE about "What Really Happens In A Gunfight?"

Not too surprisingly, he concludes that people who are trained and prepared for a confrontation are more likely to survive the experience. Forgive me if I seem to minimize the events of gunfight survivors, but it seems to me that (I need to make this relative to IPSC in some way) competition experiences somewhat mirror these results. If you have some expectation that an event might happen, and you have already considered what you will do if "A" happens, or if "B" happens, then you are more likely to handle both of these situations successfully. Of course, learning to handle your equipment under stress will also improve your performance, either on the range or on the street ... or in your home.

As long as we're talking about "protection", GeekWithA45 (no relation) reminds us that ...
"Police Have No Duty To Protect Individuals"
Gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling doesn't it? Has a nice ring to it. Be a good name for a radio show, as Pat Butram use to say.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Winter Sux ... IPSC Technical Comments

Why does Winter Suck?

Because travel, plus range vulnerabilities to bad weather, plus holidays when people (who have "A Life" and therefore prefer to spend their weekends with their families) combine to schedule NO matches in December. (Sometimes, not even in November or January.)

Father Amidon Forgive Me, for it has been six weeks since I have been to an IPSC match.

Man, that really sucks a big green one.

The good news is, ARPC scheduled a Classifier Match for January 8. Four classifier stages in the glorious New Classifier Book (CC03) plus two big ol' run&gun stages, just for fun.

SWMBO and I decided that this was a good opportunity for us to Do Good on young classifiers... where the bar hadn't been raised so high by GMs shooting the sameold classifiers (CM99) to death so even if you did really good you still didn't score high by comparison. Over the New Year weekend we scrounged around in various closets and at least one cluttered garageto find guns, ammunition, range bags and various accoutrements . We were going to the range to PRACTICE!

We didn't go Friday, or Saturday ... it was rainy and miserable. Sunday, however, dawned with sunshine and very few clouds (those we saw were high and white, presaging no precipitation.)

No hurry, the day can only get warmer, so we didn't leave until well after 1pm. Got to the range around 2pm, and found that the range had been very much improved by more concrete pads in the covered bays (all 7 of them).

Also, ARPC had bought some new steel target stands. Don't have to scrounge for wooden target stands and sticks to stick in 'em. Just slide the targets into the metal rebar holders and shoot the shit out of 'em. (The targets, not the stands. I regret that I didn't photograph the metal stands, but I'll do that and include pictures in a later post.)

Because we hadn't even pulled pistols out of the cases to do dry-fire practice since the last match, we decided arbitrarily to start out with a few El Presidente runs. I managed to keep my times under 7 seconds with few non-A-zone hits, but couldn't get under 6 seconds without serious miss and D-hit penalties.

One of the classifiers scheduled for the forthcoming match featured both strong-hand-only and weak-hand-only strings. We decided to spend some time working on those techniques.

One word: pitiful.

The weak-hand was awful, the strong-hand only embarrasing. We worked on it using 3-target arrays for about an hour, and at the end we ended up dropping about 5 points on 6-round strings, and our times rarely got below 7 seconds for strong-hand, 8 seconds for weak hand. Usually, we got at least one D-hit on the weak hand no matter how we fought it.("Fought it" ... may be a clue in there somewhere.)

We decided to agree that we would have to practice our weak-handdraw-and-gun-transfer skills at home for the rest of the week. SWMBO had fewer problems than I did getting the gun on the target with weak-hand strings, probably because of the inherent advantages of her close-to-the-barrel OK sight as opposed to my C-more sight. I shot most of the 2004 season peering between the C-more and the barrel, never bothering to spend the time searching for the dot. I had resolved to make every effort to use the dot sight in every target picture for the 2004 season, but privately admitted that this is subject to experiential learning. (Note: there are also disadvantages in using the OK vs the C-More sight, which I will explore at a later date.)

(See below)

Somewhere in the middle of this session, we decided we needed to regain our confidence in basic shooting skills, so we spent some time shooting at the upper A-zone, freestyle, with no time pressure. We discovered that we were both shooting about 1-1/2" below point of aim. Time to sight the guns in again.

After a while, and some judicious adjustments, I was able to beat the crap out of a 3/4"x1/2" tape marker off a rest at 12 yards. SWMBO, who has never felt comfortable shooting off a rest, had a hard time keeping the hits within four inches.

Do you remember the scene in "Butch Cassiday and the Sundance Kid" where Sundance is required to prove his shooting ability to a mine owner who was hiring them to protect his ore shipments? Sundace (Redford's character) couldn't hit squat when he took his time to aim. But if he just did a draw and instinct-shot the target, he broke that stinkin' rock to smithereens. That's sort of the way it is with SWMBO. Force her into a slow, careful, aimed fire off a rest and she has trouble keeping all shots in the A-zone. But if you let her just stand up and shoot, like God intended ... well, you don't want to post your lucky coin downrange as an aiming marker, 'cause sure as hell she'll center punch that sucker.

Fact is, if she could just lose that disturbing tendency to plunk the occasional flyer, she would make it to A-class long before I ever would. I guess we both need to practice more often.

Anyway, we stuck around the range for a couple of hours and practiced the techniques & skills we specifically thought we would be called upon to use during the Classifier Match next weekend. We went home tired, slightly chilled (although it's interesting how little we felt the cold when we shed our coats to shoot, even though we weren't shooting stages which required any running from place to place.)

Today (Monday, January 3) I had the day off work. It's a gratuitous holiday granted to some special State Employees. "Special", as in "Special Education". So I lazed around reading a bunch of Christmas books during the morning, and at about 2pm I packed my gear and headed back to the range.

It's about a 20 minute drive from Corvallis to the ARPC range.

This time I spent all of my time working on strong-hand and weak-hand drills. I wanted to ecide whether it was better to work from right-to-left o rleft-to-right, depending on which shooting hand I was using. (I discovered it was marginally better to go in the direction which allowed me to start on the gun-hand side, and work toward the other end of the target array. This shows the unengaged targets in my view before I move the pistol over to engage the next one, which is IPSC Conventional Wisdom.)

WhatI found out here was that I tended to take a LOT of time trying to shoot Alpha's; but when I didn't take the time I shot C-hits (if I was lucky) or D-hits (if I was not.) And when I wasn't focused on trying to hit the A-zone, it was far too easy to miss the whole darn target ...although I regularly got an A-hit or sometimes a C with my first shot, the second shot hit low and left ("South East") of my first shot. I attribute that to the tendency for the gun I'm using to recover from the recoil low and left ... no, I don't understand this either) and unless I make a conscious effort to wait for the sight picture I will invariably touch the 2nd shot off before I have recovered from the recoil and before it moves back fully onto the A-zone. I have to work on that. Surprisingly (to me) , the consequences of rushing mysecond shot puts the hit in the same place no matter which hand I am shooting with. When I tried to compensate by waiting until the gunsight was fully back into control, and attempted to hold a little to the right for my second shot ... I hit to the right of the A-zone on the target.

Clearly, this is a Crisis of Confidence. There's no use in my trying to compensate for a 'tendency' which doesn't exist. I can only acquire the sight picture needed to get my hit, without attempting to apply any 'Kentucky Windage". (There is no wind, there is no windage, there is only seeing what I need to see and timing my shot when the sights ARE where I intend the shot to hit. No fudging is necessary or acceptable. Note to self: shoot at the aiming point, not at where you expect the aiming point to be when you pull the trigger!!!!!)

For my final working exercise, I attempted to get a hit on the B-zone, weak-hand-only, on the timer, from the draw at a 12-yard target.

The standard was about a 3.05 second time, getting a one-shot hit.

I found there were three ... not five ... elements which determined how quickly I could get my hits in this exercise.

(1) a quick, 'snappy' draw. I had to concentrate on getting the gun out oft he holster to drop this down one or two tenths of a second.
(2) finding the sight. This could happen quickly, or I could lose .3 to .4 seconds looking for the dot.
(3) moving the dot onto the target. I found my natural point-of-aim was somewhere to the South East of where I intended it, shooting Weak-hand.This could also, if done well, drop another tenth or two of a second off my time.

I had expected a fourth element ... the amount of time needed to do the actual gun transfer from the drawing hand to the weak hand. Surprisingly, this wasn't a big problem after a couple of practice draws. In fact, I almost frightened myself by how quickly and confidently I slapped the pistol into the weak hand. But there was never a false move, no problems in gun-handling or safely. I guess it's possible that 20 years of practice have taught me a few skills that I don't lose in two months.

The other element which didn't turn out to be a problem was trigger control. After I got the gun up, transferred, found the dot and got it on target ... I rarely failed to keep the shot on the aiming point. In fact, I got 11 out of 12 shots on the B-zone, and a few of them were actually in the A-zone despite my conscious realization that I was rushing every shot. (The one miss was a C-zone hit, one inch out of the B-zone. Okay, so I may have jerked the trigger down but I suspect that I just allowed the gun to wobble off-target.)

My best time for a one-shot hit on the B-zone was about 2.05 seconds (give or take a few hundredths) That's for a B-zone hit, quick draw, found the dot immediately, and the original point of aim wasn't farther than 10 inches from my intended point of aim.

Clearly, this needs work!

To wrap up the session, I played for about a dozen rounds. I looked for the fastest time I could get 2 freestyle shots into the target, insuring both were in the A-zone. I was getting two A-hits in a 12-yard "Metric" target in about 1.8 seconds with 0.15 - 0.17 second splits. Trying to speed this up (not waiting for a good A-zone hold), I got it down to 1.5 seconds ... but I got no better than a C-zone and a D-zone hit in that timeframe.

I left the range after an hour, sadder but wiser, knowing that I need to do a LOT of work before I am back to the level of competitive competence that I took for granted only 8 weeks ago. Isn't it pitiful how quickly we lose our edge?

Want to hear the worst of it?

I just heard from the guy who is organizing the Classifier Match next weekend. The weatherman has predicted heavy snow for next weekend.Because this may prevent safe travel from the bulk of the people who might reasonably be expected to attend, the match has been rescheduled back another 4 weeks, until the last Saturday in January.

On the other hand, snow and incipient dampness may just be darned inconvenient.

On the other hand, this might be an opportunity for me to practice and regain my skills, if I will only take advantage of it.

Stay tuned. This could be amusing.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Bloggers from Heck

Jesus and Satan were working their own Blogs.

God decided that the constant bickering about who was the best blogger should be decided, once and for all. So He decried that they should both write their finest posts, and the winner would be declared Prince of Whatever.

And so it was written ... Jesus in his own way, and Satan in his own way.

They typed and they typed, and just as both were about to Publish ... the heavenly computers simultaneously displayed the Blue Screen Of Death!

Satan anguished, rent his breast, and cried most pitiously.

Jesus, however, pressed one small, unobtrusive key on his heavenly keyboard. Behold, His penultimate draft appeared on the celestial flatscreen! With a few keystrokes, re-establishing the final Links, His was refreshed, completed, and judged the most piquant post of all.

"Curses!" cursed Satan. "How can this be? We both lost power, we both lost all continuity, yet my worthy opponent recovered and cast me down to the deepest depths of HELL!"

God smiled, and said only:

"Jesus Saves"

And so should you, my blogging friend.

And, next time, so shall I.