Saturday, February 26, 2005

Shards of Honor

Posted by Hello

Our friend, Harold the ("Ah-CHOO!") Barbarian, joined us at an IPSC match today at the Dundee Practical Shooters range in Dundee, Oregon.

One of the stages featured a lot of Pepper Poppers and IPSC Targets hidden in a veritable forest of plastic barrels. Harold discovered that there was a 'sweet spot' which allowed him to engage all targets from a single position ... if he just sorta leaned to the right so he could see the last Pepper Popper.

We think he leaned too far. Maybe he just missed the shot. Either way, he hit the rim of a target-obscuring plastic barrel and BLEW a piece of it off!

The six-inch "shard" flew off, and sliced into an adjacent IPSC target in a manner reminiscent of Genghis Kahn. No, the Range Officer did not give him credit for the C-zone hit. Missing a golden opportunity for "The Perfect Squelch", he also failed to ask: "Do you feel lucky?"

BTW, the title for this post comes from a Lois McMaster Bujold novel, the first of the Miles Vorkosigan series which I am currently rereading for the 3rd time.

Friday, February 25, 2005

.357 Magnum Flashlight

Our friend Wadcutter posted this a couple of days ago, and it's just too -- trick -- to be ignored. If you don't read Cutter frequently, you may have noticed the link on any of several other RKBA websites.

For those among you who are "good with your hands" (I am not), the article includes complete and detailed materials and construction specifications. While you're at it, buy two of everything and make one for me, will you? I'll provide the .357 Magnum brass. I have a bunch of it laying around, some of it even new/unprimed.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


As of today, I am no longer eligible for awards in the Senior Category.

I suppose it had to happen sometime. I console myself that growing old(er) is not so bad, considering the alternatives.

But I'm thinking, why did it have to happen NOW! Now that I'm finally figuring out how to play this game. Now that I finally have accumulated good equipment that works reliably, and I no longer am handicapped by my gear. Now that I have the leisure time, and sufficient disposable income, to afford to shoot regularly.

My once-skinny frame (I'm six feet tall, and when I got out of the Army in 1970 I only weighed 126 pounds) now has a prominent bulge above my belt, and the waist-line is now AT my hip-bones, not ABOVE them. My eyes are becoming increasingly short-sighted, so the iron sights of a pistol are just a grey blur. I tire more easily, I lose energy in hot weather, I'm generally weaker and my endurance ... didn't endure.

Okay, so I'm whining. I should be grateful for all of these things I just listed, that I have my health, that I live in a great country which recognises my right to participate in shooting competitions. I know that.

Unfortunately, one thing I don't have is talent. We see some people who compete in IPSC matches and they seem to just fly through the stages. They have the coordination and the natural ability to move quickly, hit the targets, and make it look easy.

Me? I have to work at it, every time. It has taken me over 20 years to learn how to shoot IPSC with some small degree of competence.

I do have a few arrows in my quiver.

A few years ago I took a one-day shooting class from Travis Tomasie. He taught me to take just a LITTLE more time on double-taps and save time on indexing between targets. He taught me how to move into a shooting position and out of it again without wasting time. Other lessons improved my reloading speed and reliability, grip and trigger-control, and the best way to 'dope' a stage. The main result of these lessons was that I learned how to save time on a stage without sacrificing accuracy; eliminate unneccessary movement, and use every tenth of a second productively. One of the most productive lessons was learning to call my shots.

I moved from Limited to Open class, where the electronic dot-sight minimized the loss of visual accuity. This also allowed use of a compensator which saved time between shots, and the 'big-stick' magazine which eliminated some reloads in most stages.

The chances are that I'll never shoot much BETTER, so I'm learning to shoot SMARTER. Frequently, there are ways to shoot a stage that cater to my presonal strengths. Seeing these opportunities is necessary before I can take advantage of them, so I've put a lot of time into analyzing each stage before I shoot it.

I can still shoot on the move, call my shots, and when necessary shoot over the top of the slide instead of looking for a sight on hoser stages. (At a match last weekend I turned my dot OFF so I wouldn't be distracted by it when engaging a dozen very close targets. I got mostly A-hits, but was penalized on a string of pepper poppers backed by a fat no-shoot ... which I dinged.)

Brian Enos's "Practical Shooting - Beyond Fundamentals" is at my elbow as I write. I've read it several times, and will continue to re-read it because it provides valuable reinforcement of the skills I know I have ... but sometimes during the excitement of a stage I forget about them and try to go faster than I can shoot accurately.

On days when everything is working together and I'm focused, everything is easy and without effort. It's the days when I start out already tired, or work too hard in non-shooting activities (resetting moving targets, RO-ing) or I'm otherwise distracted that I make a lot of foolish mistakes. I still need to learn to pace myself. I need to husband my strength instead of trying to do my job plus the work that others can do.

But you know what? I still love this game.

I find that I have just as much fun on days when every stage falls into the toilet as I do when everything clicks. I enjoy the opportunity to be outdoors, to spend time with my friends; the old chums as well as the new friends I hadn't met before. It means a lot to me, that I can spend a day at the range with SWMBO making loud noises and slaughtering innocent sheets of cardboard.

Yep, the years have taken a lot away from me. But they have given me rewards that I would never have imagined before.

And sometimes I can pass on some of the techniques and tips I've learned over the years to some of the young men and women who are new to the game.

Watching them grow, and learn to love the game, is probably the best reward of all.

Maybe growing old(er) gracefully is just another new lesson for me to learn.

I'll work on that.

Goblin Count Updated In Virginia

SANDLICK - After being shot in the leg and scared that he and his wife would would be killed by the two men who had held them hostage for two hours as they ransacked their home, Clyde Colley decided to defend his life and home, investigators say. Now, one Kentucky man is dead and another is in jail on a long list of charges. Colley, 84, is in Dickenson Community Hospital recovering from the gunshot wound.
Kim du Tuit would appreciate this.

< style="font-weight: bold;">Mrs. Colley answered a knock on her door that night to find Sexton standing outside it, said Hall. After showing her the gun he carried, Sexton allegedly forced his way into the home, then used a walkie-talkie to notify Howard he was inside.

Mrs. Colley told police Sexton was wearing a toboggan when she answered the door. When he entered the home, however, he pulled it over his face and she saw it was actually a ski mask. Hall said Howard then entered the home, his face also covered by a ski mask, and began ordering the Colleys around, telling them to get on the floor.
Wearing a "Toboggan"? Obviously, this has an entirely different connotation in Virginia!

During their ordeal, the elderly couple was reportedly held at gun point by one of the intruders while the other went through their home and vandalized it. At some point during the vandalism, Sexton allegedly shot Mr. Colley
No 'justification' for this shooting is proposed in the bare-bones article, but you can go read the whole thing ... maybe you can make more sense out of it.

Here's the "Money Quote"
When officers Scottie Owens and Brett Stallard arrived at the Colley home, they found Hubert Howard Jr., 39, of Letcher County, Ky., dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Police say the shot was fired from a .38-caliber special that belongs to Colley.
It's not clear how this happened, given that the original article said:
Hall said Mr. Colley told investigators later that he knew he and his wife were in grave danger, and he also knew where he could get to a gun in his home.

So he told the intruders he wasn't feeling well and needed to sit down. The elderly man was then able to get to his gun and fired a shot at Howard, said Hall. That shot missed, so Colley fired again, this time wounding Howard, according to Hall.
So what's the REAL story?
Apparently, Howard was 'wounded', but later died from his head wound.

And what happened to the other assailant, Sexton?

Sexton is charged with two counts of robbery, two counts of abduction, two counts of burglary, maliciously shooting with intent to kill, use of a firearm while committing a felony and unlawfully shooting Colley in the commission of a felony.
The really GOOD news (besides that the score of Victims: 1.5, Goblins 0) is that since someone died during the felonious assault, the 'accomplice' may be subject to charges of "murder during commission of a felony". This ups the score to Victims: 2, Goblins 0.

This is A Good Thing, and just might provide future wannabe Goblins in Virginia with cause to rethink their plans to assault Old Virginians.

I don't have an AK, as does Kim, but it's clearly time for someone to perform the Happy Dance!

Monday, February 21, 2005

USPSA Ohio Section Classifier Percentage Calculators

UPDATE: 14 April, 2008
This link is obsolete. see here for the current link.

USPSA Ohio Section Classifier Percentage Calculators

Hat Tip to Normie:
"Flex" provided this URL, which allows you to enter your hit-factor and division to determine your probable National ranking on USPSA Classifier Stages. I've tried it, and the results were within a few hundredths of the actual position assigned by USPSA.'

You can give it a try, and perhaps discover how you are likely to be seeded based on your Classifer scores ... before USPSA gets around to publishing the current results.

Or, you can use it to hypothesize how quickly you need to complete a give Classifier stage, given a ssupposed degree of accuracy.

Whatever works for you. My experience is that this handy tool is surprisingly accurate, and it helps to answer the question: "What IS the Top Score for this classifier?"

NY Bill A03371 - Gun Grabbers Get Greedy

NY Bill A-3372

The New York assembly entered a new bill which will make ALL "assault weapons" illegal to possess as of January 1, 2006.

Adds semiautomatic rifles, shotguns or pistols or a replica or a duplicate thereof manufactured on October 1, 1993 and semiautomatic rifles, shotguns or semiautomatic pistols lawfully possessed prior to September 14, 1994 to the definition of assault weapon; provides for the superintendent of the division of state police to accept surrendered assault weapons; declares such assault weapons surrendered a nuisance.
Why did they do this?
To repeal the grandfather clause in the definition of assault weapon which currently allows the possession of an assault weapon if the weapon was lawfully possessed prior to September fourteenth, nineteen hundred ninety-four or if the weapon was manufactured on of before October first, nineteen hundred ninety-three; to provide for the surrender and destruction of such weapons.

No, I mean WHY did they do this!

As nearly as I can tell, the NY assembly decided that, since the Feds allowed the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) to sunset, as it was originally intended to do if/when events demonstrated that it failed to serve its stated purpose of reducing crime and violence, their efforts to enforce a demonstrably ineffective law were justified because ... well, because they are empowered to arbitrarily make laws abridging the constitutional rights of their citizens.

You may think of this as the logical extention to absurdity of the "state's rights" movement.

I don't know enough about the background of this movement. I assume that some years back they enacted a state law which banned some 'assault weapons', but accepted others, base upon the year of manufacture.

You may recall that California enacted a similar law several years back, which required that 'some assault weapons' were permitted but the owners of these 'assault weapons' were required to REGISTER the firearms. Later, California decided to outlaw these allowed-but-registered firearms as well. Since many of them had been registered, the state had a handy list of "who had what" and it was easy to determine whether all previously legal 'assault weapons' had been turned in.

As far as I can tell, there is no provision in the proposed New York law to reimburse owners for their confiscated property. It seems to me that California at least paid a few cents on the dollar for the cost of the firearms, though I may be wrong.

Can anyone tell me whether these New York 'assault weapons' had been required to be registered? Is this, as it seems, a simple confiscation augmented by a state Registration list?