Thursday, July 28, 2005

The General, Part II

Six months ago I wrote of my friend, Michael R. Jones, who had passed away and who had left a legacy which will long be remembered by all of his friends.

This week another of his friends, Randy S., announced the First Annual Mike Jones Memorial Classic Battle Rifle Match. This well be held August 13, 2005, at Tri-County Gun Club.

Rather than clutter up the announcement with my own proselytizing, I'll just present the entire email message. You will find that it not only describes the match and sets the background, it includes many accolades the the United States Marine Corps. Well deserved, and thank you, Randy, for including it. jB)

[NB: the following is the entire, unedited text of the announcement]

Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2005 12:08 AM
To: practical-rifle
Subject: [Practical-Rifle] Classic Battle Rifle Match August 13th! (Modern rifles welcome, too.)

Classic Battle Rifle Match

This match is intended to honor the memory of our friend and warrior, Mike Jones.

The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!

Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945

Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem. Ronald Reagan, President of the United States; 1985

Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat.

RAdm. "Jay" R. Stark, USN; 10 November 1995

On August 13th, 2005, Practical Rifle will have the first annual Mike Jones Memorial Classic Battle Rifle Match. As you know, Mike Jones was a former Marine and was active in practical pistol, tactical and practical rifle shooting at Tri-County Gun Club for decades, actively competing until his death at age 76 earlier this year. He was truly an inspiration to all shooters who begin to feel the effects of aging.

The Marine Corps was very important to Mike. Every year, on November 10th, Mike organized a get-together of former Marines to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday. In a movie, R. Lee Ermy once said, "Marines die, that's what we're here for, but the Marine Corps lives forever and that means you live forever."

Mike was a man of incredible depth, intelligence and experience. I remember once when we were having lunch together at a Chinese restaurant when Mike struck up a conversation with the restaurant owner in Mandarin Chinese! Mike will live forever in the memory of all of us who knew him well. If you are connected to the Marine Corps in any way, contact me so we can continue the birthday tradition that Mike Jones organized for so many years.

You may shoot this match with either a classic battle rifle or with a modern rifle. A trophy will be awarded to the top battle rifle, and plaques awarded to the 2-5th place battle rifles and top manually operated rifle. As usual, certificates will be handed out for the top ten, regardless of rifle type.

The Classic Battle Rifle is a military rifle that was manufactured and in service between the years of 1900 and 1945. For the purpose of this match rifles will be in unmodified service rifle configuration. There will be two categories: manually operated rifle and semi-automatic rifle.
NOTE: Modern rifles are welcome to compete in the Classic Battle match, but will be scored separately from the classics.

Examples of manually operated rifles are U.S. Springfield 03 or 03A3, Lee Enfield #1, #4, #5, any Mauser, Mosin/Nagant, Schmidt/Rubin K-31, etc. Examples of semi-automatics are U.S. M-1 Garand, 30 carbine SVT-40, G-41, Johnson Automatic, etc. I believe the SKS fits this description but the AK does not.

This match will use only cardboard targets. Therefore, our usual ban against steel-core or steel-jacketed ammo will not be enforced, as there are no steel targets to damage.

This match requires 76 rounds to complete if you don’t miss. Bring 84 if you plan to miss any shots. I don’t think anything will be over 50 yards.

Below are the stages as I envision them so far. They are subject to change, but I thought you’d want to see them in their draft form.

Classic Battle Rifle Match stages:

All targets are cardboard so steel core ammo is okay for this match only.

Stage One – Eight cardboard targets are 25-50 yards out. Two “step” barricades are placed 10 yards apart, with one 5 yards ahead of the other. Each barricade has five possible shooting ports. You must take at two shots only from only four different shooting ports at each barricade. Each target must have two scoring hits to be neutralized.

Score is your time, plus 10 second penalty added for each target not neutralized, plus 10 seconds for each procedural (less than four ports, or less than two shots from a port, or more than two shots from a port, etc.)

Stage Two – A table will be set up near the starting point so the next shooter can load and make ready while facing the rock wall (with the supervision of an auxiliary range officer.) On signal, you will run to each of 12 shooting areas and engage one target from each area. You must use any available cover. Each target must have two scoring hits to be neutralized. Extra shots are okay.

Score is time plus 10 seconds added for each target not neutralized and 10 seconds added for each failure to use available cover. (To avoid penalty for failure to use cover, do not expose your nipples to the targets.)

All targets will be quite close (5-15 yards). RO and scorekeeper will score and tape while returning to start position. Next shooter will be loaded at prep table, waiting for RO to return.

Stage Three – Eight targets face you at about 35 yards away. From standing, you will hit each target one time only from a standing position, move to a kneeling position, reload, and hit each target once more, then move to a prone position, reload again and hit each target a third time.

Score is your time, plus ten seconds for each target that has more or less than three scoring hits. Failure to reload when required is another 10 second penalty added to your time. If you have a bolt action, or any gun with a capacity less than eight, you may reload only when necessary, without penalty.

Stage Four – Start position is standing, fully loaded, behind a large barricade with six different shooting ports, numbered 1-6. On signal, you will pick up the two dice from inside a box, and roll them, inside the box. You will shoot the single target that faces you with one shot from each of the shooting ports designated by the dice. Repeat this sequence for a total of six times, shooting only 12 shots at the target.

Score is your time, plus penalty of ten seconds added for each hit more or less than twelve hits on the target, and each procedural, such as shooting from the wrong port, shooting more than one shot from port (unless you roll doubles), failing to remove finger from trigger guard while moving, etc.

The Marine as seen by.........


A Stout, Handsome, Highly-Trained Professional Killer and Female Idol, who wears a star sapphire ring, carries a finely honed K-Bar, is covered with a crisp cammie cover, and is always on time due to the reliability of his Seiko Diver's Watch.

His Wife:

A stinking, gross, foul mouthed bum, who arrives home every 6 months or so with a seabag full of filthy utilities, a huge ugly watch, an oversized knife, and a filthy hat.

Headquarters Marine Corps:

A drunken Brawling, HMMWV stealing, women corrupting liar, with a star sapphire ring, Seiko watch, unauthorized K-Bar, and a screwed up cover.

His Commanding Officer:

A fine specimen of a drunken Brawling, HMMWV stealing, women corrupting bullshitter, with a star sapphire ring, fantastically accurate Seiko watch, finely honed razor sharp K-Bar, and a salty cammie cover.


An over paid, over-rated, tax burden, who is however, indispensable since he will volunteer to go anywhere, at any time, and kill whoever he is told to, as long as he can, drink, brawl, steal HMMWV's, corrupt women, kick cats, lie, sing dirty songs, wear filthy cammies, big sapphire rings, over-sized knives, Seiko watches and really screwed up covers.

Ronald Reagan, former President of the United States:

"Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines don't have that problem. "

General Douglas MacArthur, U.S. Army:

". . . these Marines have the swagger, confidence, and hardness that must have been in Stonewall Jackson's Army of the Shenandoah. They remind me of the Coldstreams at Dunkerque."

Admiral Chester Nimitz, U.S. Navy, of the Marine Corps battle for Iwo Jima:

"Uncommon valour was a common virtue"

General Douglas MacArthur, US Army:

"I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world!"

Lieutenant Colonel T.R. Fehrenbach, US Army in "This Kind of War":

"The man who will go where his colors will go, without asking, who will fight a phantom foe in a jungle and mountain range, without counting, and who will suffer and die in the midst of incredible hardship, without complaint, is still what he has always been, from Imperial Rome to sceptered Britain to Democratic America. He is the stuff of which legions are made. His pride is his colors and his regiment, his training hard and thorough and coldly realistic, to fit him for what he must face, and his obedience is to his orders. As a legionaire, he held the gates of civilization for the classical world... today he has been called United States Marine."

An Anonymous Canadian Citizen:

"Marines are about the most peculiar breed of human beings I have ever witnessed. They treat their service as if it was some kind of cult, plastering their emblem on almost everything they own, making themselves up to look like insane fanatics with haircuts to ungentlemanly lengths, worshipping their Commandant almost as if he was a god, and making weird animal noises like a band of savages. They'll fight like rabid dogs at the drop of a hat just for the sake of a little action, and are the cockiest SOB's I have ever known. Most have the foulest mouths and drink well beyond man's normal limits, but their high spirits and sense of brotherhood set them apart and, generally speaking, of the United States Marines I've come in contact with, are the most professional soldiers and the finest men I have had the pleasure to meet. "

General Pershing, U.S. Army:

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle! "

General Mark Clark, U. S. Army:

"The more Marines I have around the better I like it! "

General Johnson, U. S. Army:

"I can never again see a United States Marine without experiencing a feeling of reverence. "

Richard Harding Davis, war correspondent (1885):

"The Marines have landed, and the situation is well in hand. "

An Anonymous U.S. Marine:

"I recently attended a Kansas City Chiefs football game at Arrowhead Stadium. It was their annual Veteran's day salute so members of all the services were asked to participate in the festivities.

A color guard for the National Anthem was provided by the Buffalo Soldiers Association. They looked very sharp in their 1800's era U.S. Army Cavalry uniforms. Following that the U.S. Navy parachute team put on an impressive display that brought great cheers from the 78,000 football fans in attendance. Shortly after that we were treated to the truly awesome sight of an Air Force B-2 Stealth bomber flyover as well as a few other aircraft. All of these sights were truly appreciated by the crowd (especially the B-2) who let it be known by their cheers. I expected that was all that we would see of the Military that day.

I thought we would see a high school or college marching band during halftime. Few watch these shows anyway because they have to use the head or grab another beer (or two) during the intermission.

Shortly before half time, however, I looked down on the sidelines near the end zone and saw the Silent Drill Platoon forming up. As the halftime started the players left the field and the announcer came on the public address system and advised us of the Platoons performance. Many of us Marines have seen these performances in the past and they are always awe-inspiring. I did not expect that the large "civilian" crowd of football fans would be as appreciative of the Silent Drill Platoon as they had been of the high-tech B-2, or the daring of the Navy parachute team. I however was on the edge of my seat. As the Platoon marched onto the field it was very noticeable that the crowd was growing quieter. Soon the Platoon was fully into their demonstration and the stadium was silent.

From high in the stands upper reaches where my seats were I was able to hear the "snap and pop" of hand striking rifle. Both big screen scoreboards displayed close ups of the Marines as they went through their routine. As they completed their platoon demonstration and lined up for the inspection the crowd began cheering as the Marines twirled their rifles in impossible fashion. Then came the inspection. Again the crowd fell silent and watched intently as rifles were thrown, caught, twirled, inspected and thrown some more. Each well practiced feat brought a "wow" or "did you see that?" from those sitting behind me or next to me.

I sat there in my silent pride as I watched my brother Marines exit the field. A young girl behind me asked her mother a question about how the Marines learn to do the things they just did. The mother replied "They practice long and hard and they're Marines, so they're the best."

Semper Fidelis!!!

I hope to see you all at the range!


An Armed Society is a Polite Society

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Fish Bait

One of my shooting friends, a member of The Usual Suspects, is a little dissatisfied with the flack he has to take on a semi-regular basis.

Why is he criticized?

He's altitudenally challenged
diminuetively statured
just a meter less than eight feet tall


He's short.

Not tall.


The reason this came up in discussion is, we both attended an IPSC match at Dundee last weekend, and one of the stages (Bay 1) featured a close-array of IPSC targets which were protected by a four-foot vision barrier which had been designated as 'hard cover'.
This was an issue because ... no, I'll let him tell it in his own words:

Put a 4-foot wall in front of a 5'2" shooter and hide targets down behind it and I'll ask for a step up every time. I shouldn't have to hang over a wall up to my armpits to shoot targets. That does not present the same challenge to all shooters as should be the case.
Let me see:
Five Foot Two figures out to 62 inches. Subtract four feet (48") from that, and you have 14 inches 'overhang'. I haven't done the math in detail, but since I'm 6' tall (72") this is roughly equivalent to requiring me to hang my frame over a five-foot fence. Because the targets were within three feet of the barrier, a shorter person has to hang his entire upper-body, from armpits up, over the barrier in order to get a clear shot at the targets. My armpits are 57" from the ground, which is 4'9". Fish's armpits are approximately 11" lower than mine, which means that he can easily address targets behind a (4'9" minus 11" = 3'10") vision barrier which is two inches shorter ... but NOT one that is 4' high!

Okay, my math may suck and you think that I'm making a mountain out of a mole-hill, but the fact remains that a target array which is easily and comfortably available for me is neither for Fish.

In point of fact, it is similarly uncomfortable for juniors and lady shooters who of similar stature.

What, aren't we trying (in IPSC and USPSA) to encourage these 'minority groups' to compete?
If so, why aren't we trying to encourage them?


In the actual event, Fish requested a 'step-box' which would allow him to achieve the height necessary to compete at the same level of his taller bretheren. Nobody helped him on this ... he's a man, he can deal with his own problems ... but he showed up when it was his turn to shoot the stage with part of a vision barrier build on a 2x4 frame with what was effectively a 2'x3' shooting platform (board) on top of it. He placed this in front of the tall barrier, and turned in a respectable time on the stage.

If he hadn't been able to find his own 'step-box', which allowed him to engage the target array with the same height advantage which most of us enjoyed, he would have found himself at a considerable DIS-advantage. His score for the stage would have suffered accordingly.

Here's the bottom line:

If you are the stage designer for a match, you owe it to your CUSTOMER BASE to make sure that there is no significant advantage in being "tall". By "tall", I'm talking about, say, five and a half feet from ground to pate.

The reason that the vision barrier was 4' tall, is that it's easy to build a vision barrier by cutting an 8' support stick in half. I don't think that there was a conscious effort to make the barrier 'too high' for people who aren't tall. I believe that it was an oversight. A convenience to the setup crew.

But when a shooter has to drag a platform onto a stage just to let him shoot the stage without incurring a disadvantage, two things happen:
(1) He makes a big disruption to the stage and within the squad,
(2) some folks think he's a dork because ... well, because they're dorks and the only way they can understanding THEIR shortcomings is to make a big deal out of the other guy's shortcomings.

So to speak. (I've already decided that there is no way to avoid the word "short" in this blog, so I'm not even going to try. So much for Politically Correct speech, which is just another way of saying "You're DIFFERENT from us, and we're going to rub your nose in it by SEEMING to avoid the word.")

The bottom line is, if you're a stage designer and you want to put up a 'low wall' on your stage ... how about avoiding the four-foot wall? Do your friends a favor and make it a 3.5 feet tall instead.

How hard is that?


BTW, Fish send me this link, which purports to represent grafitti found on a concrete support column near the 2005 USPSA Nationals "Off I-72). I haven't bothered to follow up the Thread on the source (the Brian Enos Forum), but I'm inclined to believe it if only because it perfectly illustrates the informal rivalry between Limited and Open-Gun users.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Dundee in July

Now that we have the administrivia out of the way (see previous post), I can tell you some of what I have been doing since we last talked.

The BIG thing is, I went to a club match at the Dundee range.

Yeah, I had a great time, and that ornery SOB named Barsoom beat me again. I don't understand it, I was BRILLIANT! Unfortunately for my ego, he was even more brilliant. Also more accurate, and faster. It seems as if no matter how good (and pure and true) I am, there's always someone who is better ... faster ... stronger.

At least, I'm prettier.

(In a better world, I would post comparison photos here so you could see for yourself. But because I'm too lazy to resize the hi-res photos so they load in less than a half-hour on your computer, as a courtesy to YOU I will allow you to take my word for it rather than require you to judge for yourself. No, don't thank me. It's just part of the service here at Geekistan Central.)

Where was I?
Doing ... Dundee ... fun ... loser ... Barsoom ... prettier ... Geekistan ....

Oh, yeah.

The thing about Summer is that it's hot. Even in Oregon, we're talking about 85 degrees. As an Old Guy, I find that I don't handle heat as well as I use to. This sounds like an excuse even to me, but it's just a fact of life. Unfortunately, it doesn't work as an alibi this time. It wasn't all that hot, I just got beat, straight up. I only mention it because a hot day, with no rain, is such an unusual phenomenon in Oregon that I thought it worthy of mention.

As we were going through the walkthrough prior to the start of the match, Prince Andrew walked up and introduced himself to me. "Hey, you're The Geek?"

No, not the Prince Andrew you're thinking about. This is another Prince Andrew, a guy from Hillsboro who has read some of my work. (As usual, nicknames are used rather than Real Names, to protect the innocent in case anyone I meet or talk about here happens to be innocent. Hasn't happened yet, but it could!) We've exchanged some emails, Prince Andrew and I. He is a pistol shooter, but hasn't ever been to an IPSC match. I had invited him to come out to one of our local matches, and his appearance was in response to this.

Apparently, he posts as "FreddyBoomBoom", but I like Prince Andrew better, don't you? It has such a ... regal ring to it.

I invited P.A. to stick with us so we could chat during the match, and I would
answer any questions he had about the game of practical shooting. He chose to do so, and I enjoyed his company. He's not as pretty as I am, and FAR less pretty than SWMBO, but he's still prettier than Barsoom!

It's unfortunate that I was pretty busy during the match, but I had introduced him to the rest of the squad (The Usual Suspects, plus Bob; not Bob the Contrarian but a local shooter who, if I'm not mistaken, also beat me in the match.) Since everybody knew him, I wasn't the only one who was filling his head with IPSC trivia, lore and legend.

As P.A. followed us around, he was privileged to view some of the fun moments in IPSC History.

For example, Big Dog has recently bought a Hoser Cam from Nolan Smythe. We had played with this at the match the previous weekend at Tri County Gun club, and I'm sure we'll enjoy it when Big Dog finally gets the DVDs cut and distributed. In the meantime, we're taking turns wearing the hoser cam. The first time I tried it this match, I was looking REALLY good on the first two target arrays, but by the time I got to the third array I had become aware that I was "On Candid Camera" so I tried to go REALLY fast. The result was that it took me 15 shots to clear a six-plate plate rack and two Pepper Poppers. That's one DVD I would pay real money to suppress.

When we got to the Classifier Stage (Six Chickens, CM03-02) we learned that someone had worked out that the hit-factor necessary to accumulate a B-open score was to clean the 12-round stage in under 12 seconds. Most of us who tried to achieve this rediculous goal caught one of the many no-shoot targets; some of us crashed even more severely. But I bet it was fun watching us trying to catch up with this mythical standard.

I know that I took a lot of pictures, and when I couldn't man the camera, SWMBO took over and got some GREAT movies. In all, we took about 50 movies of the squad shooting the match, and a couple of dozen still photos of individuals. Due to limitations on acceptible bandwidth (and threats of bodily harm from squad members), we won't be showing any of them here. But someday, I'll get some online storage so you can download movies of Great Moments in Usual Suspects Competition. My life won't be worth a plugged nickle from that time on, but I'll be able to post some of Big Dog's Hoser Cam cuts, too, so maybe he will draw the fire for me.

Moving along, we found that Stage Four, "Mean Steal", was a stage which required you to START in Box "A", but all shots must be FIRED from "Box B". Every shot fired outside of "Box B" was penalized ten points. There was no advantaged gained by shooting from "Box A", but you would be amazed at how many people forgot to move to the adjacent "Box B" before they started shooting. Most of them had zeroed the stage before they took the first step on this 125-point stage. One of our squad had a very fast trigger, but a slow sight-picture. It happens, but it's always scarey. There was no Match Disqualification, because the gun was pointed in a safe direction. However, it rattled him and he didn't shoot the rest as well as he usually does. Too bad, it's a major distraction when you have to shoot a stage under such a handicap. But P.A. got to see that even experienced shooters suffer a phychological condition called "Brain Farts" and throw their whole match away in a moment or two of slight distraction.

This stage was such a disaster to so many people, the Section Coordinator decided to include it in the Columbia Cascade Section Match, which occurs on August 6 & 7 of this year. It will be presented on the same stage, so (parenthetically speaking) if you think you have the presence of mind to overcome cranial flatulance I would like to invite you all to shoot the match, which will be called "Keystone Kops".

By the end of the day, we were all tired and happy. Lots of shooting, everyone had the opportunity to make a damned fool of himself or herself (and most of us did), and I told P.A. that the club had arranged to hire a crew to tear down the stages. This is a pretty good deal. The club charges each competitor an extra two dollars ... match fees are $17 instead of the usual $15 ... and we don't have to haul heavy steel and props up the hill to the Conex storage units. We decided to celebrate by adjourning as a squad to Abby's Pizza in Newburg (home of the world famous Linguica Pizza and Blitz Weinhard "Heffeweisen" wheat beer). Then we got the word that the tear-down crew was a no-show. P.A. had already left, along with more than half of the other competitors, before we got the word.

When the remaining competitor list was finally shook out, we had a dozen workers left, including the entire CCS Junior Team (along with Mike McCarter, Section Coordinator and Junior Team coach.) Surprisingly, it took no more than a half-hour to tear the whole match down, and nobody was particularly unhappy about the experience. Speaking personally, the extra labor helped work out some thigh-muscle spasms I was suffering from having to go to a kneeling position on TWO stages in the match, and I felt pretty darned good.

Sure, we missed the Pizza Fest at Abby's, and I could have used a tall cool glass of Wheat Beer. Would have liked to meet P.A.'s wife, too. (Would she be "Princess Andrew"?)

But the best part of the day was when the Match Director (Barsoom, who turns out NOT to be such a bad guy after all) pulled the extra two-dollars-per shooter funds out of the cash box and donated it to the Junior Team. Well, it was only fair ... they did the most of the work.

I think that kind of leadership is an investment in the future.

After all, when I'm old and grey (next year?) I want to know that there's a new generation already on the path to being as devoted to IPSC competition as we are.

This is especially important, when the new generation demonstrates such a clear willingness to do my work for me tear down the stages after the match.

Is This Thing Turned On?

Father forgive me, it has been three days since my last post.

It's not that I haven't been doing 'wrong' things which require confession and absolution, it's just that I've been busy shooting and working on "other projects".

In the spirit of catching up, and in keeping with the basic philosophy of "It's MY blog and I'll talk about things that I think are important", I'll start with something near and dear to my heart:

Reader Interaction.
AKA, Reader Response, or "Is this thing turned on?"

I received an email today from my old pal Bob the Contrarian, the IPSC-list poster formerly known as Antipoda. At the bottom, he asked a sage question of universal interest. I think it's appropriate to take some of your time and attention to provide an answer to his question:

P.S. how does one post to your blog?

Ahhh, good question!

At the bottom of each article, you will find the word "0 Comments".

(If someone has already commented, it will read "2 Comments", or whatever count is appropriate to reflect the number of readers who have already commented.)

Click on that 'link' (you can choose to open it in another window, if you right-click it), the article replaces the blog and at the bottom you can read all of the numerous comments which have already been posted.

At the bottom of the page is another link: "Post a Comment". Click on THAT link and another window replaces it. You can write whatever you have to say in the "Leave A Comment" window, preview it to see what it will look like when it is posted, and when you are satisfied with the results click on the blue Login and Publish button.

If you choose to remain anonymous, that's your choice. However, it's more helpful to ME if you identify yourself by clicking on the "Other" radio button and filling in your name.

All of the comments are permanently posted when you publish them. After that point, you cannot change them. If you have more to say, or want to make a correction, you have to post another comment.

Also, all of the comments not only publish to the website, they are forwarded to me as emails.
That has the salutatory effect of permitting me (if I happen to know the email address associated with that name, or if your email address or website URL is available) to reply to you privately. Otherwise, I have no alternative but to cut you to ribbons in the public forum.
Your choice.

Easy, huh?