Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Part II: 2005 Croc Dundee Banzaii Balistic Match

The scores from the Croc Match are UP!

Yesterday I gave you the walk-through for the first five stages of the Croc Match, along with a representative photo of each stage.

Today, I want to finish the walkthrough. Later, I may be able to give you some of the background and color of the event, even though much of it may be of interest only to the people who actually attended.

(Don't say I didn't warn you that this was a don't-miss-it match. VileBill and Mr. Completely are already kicking themselves that they weren't there, and while I'm not going to give you the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V, if you missed it you will never be able to say "I was there". Maybe next year, eh?)

Stage 6 (Bay 5) Combat Rock

49 rounds, 21 IPSC, 5 PP, 2 plates ... 245 points. Course Designer: Shaun Hescock

Starting the stage with a grubby, slimey diddy-bag in front of you is never an auspicious start. In this case, dozens of grubby, slimey IPSC shooters have probably chosen to grip a flap of the bag (filled with bubble-wrap, not a weight issue) in their teeth in order to free their hands for shooting some significant portion of the first 24 rounds in this 49-round stage. (Yes, Virginia, some of the stages DID require less than 50 rounds to complete them . . . but not by much!)
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Here, you had the opportunity to engage a forward-falling popper to activate a bobber, and if you were really fast you could also engage the backward-falling popper before engaging the moving target. You could even shoot at the first two IPSC targets visible from the start box, even though it provided no advantage for those who weren't limited by a ten-round magazine capacity restriction.

Eventually, though, you had to carry the bag downrange, and there were one or two 4-target arrays to be engaged while carrying the bag . . . depending upon whether you were able to get rid of the bag while shooting these two arrays.

While I was working as the Range Officer for part of my squad, Robbie (a 15-year old shooter from Red Bluff, California, who was there with his father Tim) came up to the line. He obviously planned to move downrange with the bag held in his teeth. I asked him: "Does it bother you that dozens of grubby, slimey IPSC shooters have probably run this stage with the grubby, slimy diddy bag in their teeth, and have doubtless slobbered all over it?"

Robbie replied: "No."

A man don't get no more eloquent than that.

Still, I offer in evidence the Grubby, Slimey Diddy Bag after four or five squads had had their way with it. The bag started out a uniform washed-out brown color. The black part is the flap where several dozen Gurbby, Slimey IPSC shooters had slobbered all over it as they held it in their mouth.
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I wouldn't bite this bag. When I ran this stage, I held it delicately before me betwixt thumb and forefinger . . . and I washed my hands when I was finished with the stage. SWMBO, who was taking lots and lots of excellent photos, tells me that the Super Squad members didn't hold it in their mouth, either. Some of them even threw the bag from the starting position downrange to the brass-colored bucket where they were required to deposit it before engaging the last target array.

Maybe that's how they got to be on the Super Squad. Maybe it's a matter of Survival Instincts. All I know is, most of my squad took the . . . er . . . bag between their teeth and ran with it.

We were not the Super Squad.

Stage 7 (Bay 6 . . . The Pit) Goin' To The Grammy's

57 rounds, 26 IPSC, 3 USP, 2 plates ... 285 points. Course Designer: Bill Marrs

Bill Marrs designed this stage. Anonymous Geek-Blog handle: Barsoom (for reasons which should be obvious who ever read the "John Carter of Mars" novels of Edgar Rice Boroughs ... yes, the same EE Boroughs who wrote the TARZAN series of books. But I digress.)

I never liked the man. He has this EEEVIL streak in him, and once again his stage rose up and bit me in the buttocks.

Okay, so I do like Bill. It's just that I can't shoot a stage designed by him without driving home sitting on one ham.

This one was no different.

Starting out sitting in a "Limo", there is one IPSC target (Hardcover on both sides, naturally, at 50 feet distance) and an 8" plate below it, which can ONLY be engaged by leaning far out of the window of the "Limo". Wouldn't you know it, when/if you hit the plate, it pops up a target.

Wouldn't you know it, the target is a No-shoot. I don't have the numbers to tell you how many people were fooled by this little Barsoom-gambit. I don't think many were sucked into shooting the no-shoot. Still, it gives you a creepy feeling to hit a plate and pop up a no-shoot. From that point on, you just KNOW that the stage designer has been plotting for months to screw you over.
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(John Weil, "Big Dog", is shown here engaging targets through the window of the 'Limo'. Click on the picture to see a hi-res version which actually shows the targets very well.)

Ha ha, Barsoom ... I didn't shoot the No-Shoot! (Well, I may have shot AT it, but if I did, I missed it. Did I mention it was a long distance from the awkward shooting position in the Limo?)

After you shoot (or don't) those targets, there are a lot of other targets you can shoot from that awkward position. However, if you merely climb OUT of the Limo, you find that you can get a lot closer to the targets and shoot them in a more comfortable position. Just another way that Barsoom provides entertainment to the spectators, as they watch you (the shooter) hanging half out of a 'Limo' window to take long-distance shots at targets that would be easier engaged elsewhere.

As soon as you climb out of the 'Limo' ( a cramped, confined prop), you get to shoot four really close targets. This is where I got my single miss on this stage . . . it was one of four IPSC targets about four feet from the muzzle, and I got a Delta-Mike on it. Maybe I lost the dot in the sun, maybe I was a little excited.

There were plenty of targets to run past.
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The shooter is Luke Britain, in a typical pose where he is grabbing another magazine. Luke showed up with only six 10-round magazines, and ran out of ammunition on at least two stages. He's a good shooter, but when the round-count on a stage is way above the 50-round mark and you have a series of 8-round (minimum) target arrays, and some of those targets are awfully small and awfully far away, it's obvious in retrospect that you need to be packing serious bullet-weight on your belt to get through these high-round-count stages.l

Luke will be back next year, with several more magazines. Luke was talking to me on the last stage (see below) about the Croc Match. He said: "People have been telling me about the Croc Match. They say 'Oh, yeah, the CROC MATCH! I'm going to be there for sure!' I never understood what they were talking about until now. Sure, I wish I had had more magazines, but I don't really care. It's a fun match, you can shoot until you run out of ammunition, and I've never SEEN so many targets all together in one stage before."

Well, actually, you didn't really run past the targets so much as run past the very narrow window through where you could engage them . . . bounded by vision barriers which were built of snow-fencing. They wouldn't let you engage them from close distances, but you could still see them sitting there, mocking you through the snow fencing, which was declared hard-cover/impermeable. We have a technical term for this shooting situation. We call it "Nanny Nanny Boo-Boo, you've just screwed yourself!"
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Big Dog has The Perfect Squelch . . . on the back of his shirt.

Stage 8 (The Croc Bay) Graffiti Bridge

54 rounds, 24 IPSC, 6 plates ... 270 points. Course Designer: Trevor Ott

Now, I use to like Trevor. He's a young man, a school teacher (we should honor our teachers), and I don't at all mind that he's a sandbagging son-of-a-gun because as soon as he starts winning in a class . . . he changes division. Always looking for the challenge, Our Trevor, and he certainly presents a challenge on this stage.

This stage was sited katty-wampus on an L-shaped bay. There was a 'bridge' that defined the 180-line, which was actually at a forty-five degree angle to what you might usually consider the perpendicular to the A-line of the bay. The result was an Oregon Vortex, where each shooter experienced more or less confusion about just where he or she was, depending upon how locked in they were mentally to the conventional way of thinking.

I'm a little un-locked, so this was my best stage of the match.

There were two four-target arrays on either side of the Bridge, and you could start on either side. After dumping the 16-rounds (or more) on the relatively close targets, you get to step UP onto the Bridge and walk its parlous planks as you engaged to more close-range 8-round arrays of IPSC targets, and also a 6-plate rack sitting much farther away. It was a classic stage of speed up / slow down / speed up again. Competitors who got carried away on the speed-up portions of the stage couldn't slow down for the more difficult plate targets. Those who got too deeply into the slow-down plates, didn't speed up again for the hoser-arrays (the other two 4-IPSC-target arrays on the other side.)

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Andrew Wesley Drew Jacobson, a local Junior, engages mixed IPSC targets from The Bridge.

In this stage, experience counts. Knowing when to minimize your losses counts. Being able to hose the close targets, and still be an accurate shooter when engaging the plate rack in the middle of the stage . . . was critical.

What a RUSH!

The whole darned match was just one gigantic extended adrenallin rush after another, and after two days pushing the Hormone Hosermatch the was nobody who didn't want to do the whole thing over, and nobody had the energy left to actually shoot another stage.

Well, maybe SOMEBODY did, but certainly none of them were Super Seniors!

December 8, 2005

Photos and Videos (!) from this match are now available at Jerry the Geek's Shooting Gallery.

Day of the Evil Drawstring - Part II

The other day (July 31) I wrote about a reported incident wherein a Marion County Sheriff's Deputy suffered a wound due to a "self-inflicted shooting".

I put the term in quotes, not because I doubt the wound was self-inflicted but because I don't know what else to call it. Accidental, certainly. I use the term "self-inflicted shooting" rather than "accidental" to emphasize that there is no question that no other persons were involved.

This weekend I received a note from Deputy Stephen Cooper, the officer involved, expanding on the description of the incident. I was impressed by the unselfconscious explanation he provided, and I'm a little (well, more than a little) chagrined about referring to the original description as a Rube Goldbergian event. It was, in one sense, but I regret the clear suggestion that the accounting he originally offered was any less than the full unvarnished truth.

This only goes to show that it is far too easy to make judgment when you only hear (or, in this case, read) one side of the story. And I was too ready to make light of the incident, which was unconscionable of me.

The note was in the form of a comment to the original post,

Please use the link to read Deputy Cooper's note. I hope you come away, as I did, with the impression of a long-suffering LEO who has taken so much crap from his brother officers that he can respond to the facetious criticism of a know-nothing blogger with class and humor.

As for you, Deputy Cooper, if you ever find yourself with a free weekend, I hope you'll wander by one of the IPSC matches at Tri-County Gun Club (Sherwood, 3rd Sunday of every month), Chahalem Valley Shooters Club (Dundee, 4th Saturday of every month) or Albany Rifle and Pistol Club (Exit 228 from I-5, south of Albany, 2nd Saturday of every month). Ask anybody there where you can find Jerry the Geek. If you make yourself known to me, I will be grateful for the opportunity to apologize to you in person, in public, and in full sincerity.

Nobody there will bat an eye at your painful tale. We see Accidental Discharges several times a year at IPSC matches. It's just that we always take off our coats and sweatshirts before we holster a gun. It's a luxury which you can't afford.

PS: in the event that you are unable or unwilling to attend, I hope you willsend me an email address where I can, at least, offer you a private apology for ever having doubted you.

Any man who can stand up and say "This is what happened, it doesn't bother me that you're being a dork about it" just naturally deserves to be taken at face value.
UPDATE: 13-JUL-2008
This article contains broken links. For the complete story, see "Day of the Evil Drawstring - Part III".

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you this important bulletin

The Intellectual Activist

Our friend, The Hobo Brasser, sent me a copy of this article today. I thought it important enough to bring it to your attention, and also to give the author recognition by providing a link to the original article rather than to quote it entirely.

The Hobo had cleaned up the "FWD: FWD: FWD ...." chain in the headers, but it seems to have made the rounds over the past four days.

Robert Traciniski wrote it for what appears to be a daily / monthly online opinion webmagazine. To be frank, it's one that I had never encountered before, and I am grateful for the introduction.

Here are a few snippets to pique your interest, but I do recommend that you go read the whole thing. It loads fast, it won't take long to read, but it does give an almost unique perspective on the "Unnatural Disaster" in New Orleans.

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

It took four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it also took me four long days to figure out what was going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists—myself included—did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

. . .

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to speed away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Superdome?

. . .

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit—but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals—and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep—on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

. . .

But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.

People living in piles of their own trash, while petulantly complaining that other people aren't doing enough to take care of them and then shooting at those who come to rescue them—this is not just a description of the chaos at the Superdome. It is a perfect summary of the 40-year history of the welfare state and its public housing projects.
. . .

I've stolen too much, and too shamelessly, from the eloquence of this excellent author. I won't try to gild the lily. Please click on the link at the top of the post, and read the whole thing.

Monday, September 05, 2005

2005 Croc Dundee Banzaii Ballistic Match

At last!

I don't know about you, but I've been waiting for months for the Croc Match.

If you're your familiar with the concept, this is an IPSC match featuring (this year) EIGHT stages with every stage requiring at least 50 rounds.

This year, the match was eight stages. Here's the line-up.

(NOTE: SWMBO spent the entire two days taking pictures. She took 692 photos, including the awards ceremony and a couple of dozen motion-picture videos. She got very tired of taking pictures and interviewing people, but this WILL result in a Front Sight article sometime in the intermediate future. We also have another half-gig of photos from Ron Downs, whose pix may be featured in the article or in future Blog entries. Unless you see the photo credit for Ron ... and thanx for sharing those photos, Ron .... all photo credit is SWMBO.)

Stage 1 (Bay 1) Eye of the Tiger

56 rounds, 25 IPSC, 2 USP, 2 plates ... 280 points. Course Designer: Paul Meier

Shoot 'em on the left, shoot 'em on the right, repeat.
Climb a ramp, shoot the eyes out of the tiger (8" steel plates), shoot the US Poppers (bounded by no-shoots) which activate two swingers.

Our squad (Squad 1) started on this stage on Day 1 of 2. It was a hoser stage, until you started shooting at the Eye of the Tiger. Then ... you had better slow down and get your hits, Bubba, 'cause the Tiger will eat you up if you miss!

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This is Norm the Ungrateful, eying The Tiger back. He smoked the stage and bit the tiger's tail.

Stage 2 (Bay 2) Rock Around The Croc

56 rounds, 26 IPSC, 4 USP ... 280 points. Course Designer: Mike McCarter

Start holding a metal plate on top of head with both hands, drop the plate into the barrel and it starts two swinging targets. You pretty much HAD to start the stage from the downrange-most position possible, and work yourself back uprange engaging 8-round arrays on both sides of the bay as you went. As was the case with almost every stage, those who were limited to 10-round magazines immediately discovered that the best way to shoot the stage is . . . if you're moving, you had BETTER be reloading! Also as was the case with most stages, it's very difficult to fit this many targets into a single limited-sized bay without inadvertently building in "one-eighty traps". That is, between the need for awkward movement and the extreme angle of engagement, the competitor is required to be very aware of the '180 line'. As far as I know, of the 107 competitors at this (the biggest IPSC match in the PNW?), 7 of them were Match-Disqualified, and all of them for 'breaking the 180'.

Safety was the most important part of the match, of course, and the Range Officers (and the seven Squad Leaders) were specifically enjoined by Range Master Mike McCarter during the Shooter Meeting before the match started to "find for the competitor in questions of scoring, but all Safety Rules WILL be strictly enforced".

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The shooter here is Gary Fish, RO is Jerry the Geek. ARO is Charley McAlister, and the observer in the foreground is Area 1 Director Bruce Gary. (More about him later.)

Stage 3 (Bay 3) Over Under Sideways Down

48 rounds, 24 IPSC... 240 points. Course Designer: Barney Brooks

Shoot 'em on the left, shoot 'em on the right,move forward to the window on the left, kneel down to shoot through the low barrel, far right to shoot through the OTHER window, throw yourself down into a prone position to shoot through the low port.

Here Rick Aragon (sporting his sporty Single Stack Match T-shirt) completes the stage under the watchful of RM and RO Mike McCarter.

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Stage 4 (Jungle Run) Soda Shop Boogie

50 rounds, 25 IPSC... 250 points. Course Designer: Lorin & Sherri Orpwood

Shhhhh! It's a Surprise Stage!
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But I can let you in on this much ...
Be vewy vewy quiet. We are hunting Cardboard.

Stage 5 (Bay 4) :The Doors"

62 rounds, 30 IPSC, 2PP ... 310 points. Course Designer: Marty Lee

Marty is such a quiet, unassuming and friendly guy. You would never guess that he has such a mean streak.
This is the highest round-count stage in the match, the most confusing, and features the most bizarre props.

When you hit the Pepper Poppers at the extreme left or right side of the back of the stage, it opens doors (window, actually) which allow you views of another 8-round array, and close off the view of the 9-round array you have just engaged.

The odd thing is, there's still plenty of room to engage the arrays whether the doors are 'open' or 'closed', because the doors (12" x 16" plywood panels) don't fill the windows (16" x 16" holes in the vision barrier". Why should you worry about the doors? Nobody knows, but almost EVERYBODY allowed themselves to be sucked into the mind-vortex of "following directions".

Me too!
I guess this was just one more example of the many ways in which the Croc Dundee cheerfully play with your mind.
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As if that wasn't bad enough, it obfuscated the REAL challenge ... engaging three reclining targets behind barrels on the left side of the stage, which just SCREAMED for you to move&shoot fast.
Unfortunately, it was all too easy to break the 180 while screaming past this earlier barrel-hidden array. Of the 7 DQ's for 180 violations, three of them were in this exact spot!
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This was the last stage that Squad 1 shot on Saturday. I have to tell you, AD1 (Bruce Gary) was the RO when I shot the stage, and he came within a hairs breadth of DQing me for breaking the 180 on that barrel-array. In fact, he actually shouted "STOP!" . . . but I didn't hear him. After I broke for the back wall, he took a close second look at the array, my shooting position (clearly marked by the skid-marks in the gravel surface of the bay, I assume), and decided that although I had come very very close to breaking the 180, I actually engaged the targets within the mandated bounds of safety.

Well, I thought so at the time, but when somebody asked me "where were you when you shot at this target?" I couldn't honestly answer. I was so wrapped up in implementing the best solution to the shooting problem, I was running on auto-pilot and only ASSUMED that I was in a safe position to engage the targets.

It didn't make all THAT much of a difference, as far as my score for that stage was concerned: I had completely blown-by one of the targets, which earned me one procedural penalty and two misses. And I had got Alpha/Mike (or more often Charley/Mike) scores on four other targets, giving me a total of six mikes plus the procedural for a total of eighty points DOWN on a single stage . . . and I still was far from zeroing the stage. That's one good reason for loving a 310-point stage. It's really difficult to zero it unless you do very badly.

Bruce and I spent a lot of time discussing my shoddy performance on that stage, especially (a) whether I realized I was so close to breaking the 180 line (I didn't), and (b) whether he would have actually DQ'd me if I had stopped when he so commanded me to. We never got around to (c) whether I was DQ's even though I failed to stop, or should be DQ'd for not stopping when he gave the command (even though I didn't hear it) just on general principles.

This should be grist for a lot of future discussions, but for now I'm just grateful that I was ultimately judged 'legal' by sufficient margin to be allowed to continue competing on Day 2.

That's all the overview for the first day. Tomorrow, I'll describe the other three stages we so happily endured.

BTW: The match results are not yet available on-line. When they become available, I'll let you know here.