Monday, November 07, 2005

Shooting the Texas Star

A few weeks ago, I commented on another blog that there was a good way to shoot the Texas Star target array.

My preference is (assuming the Star is not moving) to shoot the top plate, then to shoot the top descending plate. That plate is descending because that side has more plates. It's heavier. Shooting that plate shifts the balance, so the OTHER side is then heavier. Consequently, the rotation slows, stops, and changes direction. Continue to shoot the top descending plate, and it slows down the movement of the arms so you don't have a difficult fast-moving target for your next shot. Finally, if you do it right (shoot fast, don't miss!), you finish by shooting a stationary plate at the bottom of the array.

I demonstrated this in my Dundee match article, and when you hit your targets consistently it makes it look easy. Well, it is.

* * *

Somewhere, I got hold of a rather large MPG-format file that shows a series of shooters shooting the Star in a completely opposite manner. That is, they shoot the lowest plate first, and then kind of catch whatever they can. The file is 10mb, and I link to it here even though it's not reasonable to download it unless you have high-speed broadband internet access.

(Thank you, Comcast!)

These guys make it look so easy. I sure wish I knew where it was filmed, and who the shooters are. They're much better shooters than I am.

Here's another MPG-format video, 1.4mb, showing someone shooting the star during an actual match. Crank the volume WAY up here.

Finally, for something COMPLETELY different, here's a video I mentioned several months ago. No stars here, but a Las Vegas LEO (Clark County Sheriff's Deputy?) has a little trouble with trigger control while supporting another LEO in the act of cuffing a suspect.

There's a lot of sirens involved, you'll want to turn the volume DOWN a bit.

Originally I advised shooting the top RISING plate, instead of the top DESCENDING plate. That was clearly wrong, so I corrected the error and also added some more descriptive commentary. Also, I added the link to the referenced Dundee match article, for convenience.

By the way, the 'large' video showing several people shooting the star looks to me as if it were filmed in Texas. I make this assumption because of the design on several of the shirts, because one of the shooters looks very much like Penny Riggs, and because they all shoot so well!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Interesting websites about guns and shooting

One of the things I've been doing lately is looking for interesting new websites. I focused on those shooting-related blogs hosted by Blogger.

The first one I found is one that I knew immediately I should have linked to long ago: Matt Burkett's "Shooting Thoughts". I've corrected my lapse and it now has been included on my sidebar under "Gun Bloggers Outside the PNW" (Pacific North Wet).

On top of the blog today is an extended article Matt wrote about the "JP Rocky Mountain 3 gun World Championship". After describing the match, Burkett goes on to give "tips from the match for multi-gun shooting".

Actually, I never understood the difference between "3-gun" and "multi-gun" competition until I read an article in the current Front Sight Magazine this week. In his "From The Editor" column (Page 5, November-December 2005), Dave Thomas describes it:

The difference between "3-Gun" and "Multi-Gun" is that a 3-Gun match is comprised of specific stages for specific firearms while multi-gun blends at least some stages together. In 3-Gun an aggregate championship in each recognized division is awarded as well as individual firearm championships (handgun, shotgun, and rifle) for each division. A Multi-Gun match recognizes only the aggregate championships by division.
If I understand this correctly, 3-gun matches have rifle stages, shotgun stages, and pistol stages. You shoot only one kind of firearm on each stage. At the end you have rifle winners, shotgun winners, and handgun winners (plus division awards, etc.) In Multi-Gun competition there are no Rifle, Shotgun or Handgun winners because they are used in combination in each stage, making it impossible to determine which part of a stage score was earned using which firearm.

Personally, the "Multi-Gun" competition sounds a lot more interesting to me. But I'm just a Geek, so what do I know? However, I HAVE competed in "Practical Shotgun Only" matches, and they were a kick. Literally.

Another blog I reviewed was Nebraska Views, hosted by "CMZNEB". In the four months he has been online, he has posted only three articles but they're worth reading. I wish he would post more, he has some interesting things to say.
First he wrote "Why I don't belong to the NRA anymore . . .", and I half-agree with most of his reasons.
Then he wrote "Why do NE Police Chiefs oppose CCS?". Apparently, he actually attempted to contact a half-dozen police chiefs and/or sheriffs with the question. Most of them didn't reply, but those who DID reply had some interesting things to say.
Finally, last month, he wrote "Gun Shows . . . Worth A Visit? Here he had two eminently quotable quotes: "I have yet to find a great deal at a gun show..." and "One thing you can count on for sure is seeing an interesting crowd of people at gun shows."

Maybe if I send him the link to this article, he will be encouraged to continue writing.

Next up is McGinnis, who describes himself as a " gun toting liberal. There are more of us than you think, but election day is never easy." He has two blogs.
First is (not surprising) the Gun Toting Liberal blog. It's an interesting concept, and I wish he had explored it. He had one blog article, in which he said
The Gun Toting Liberals now have a blog. We are so hip.
Unfortunately, he never posted to that blog again. I'm sure the gun toting liberals of the world have a lot to say, but not here.
The other blog was a lot more productive. Here he describes his Journey to USPSA B-Class. It's a worthy goal, and if he has continued to put as much into practice as he details here, he has made it by now. In August and September, 2004, he developed a plan and then described what he did to follow the plan. He documented his draw-times in practice, and evaluated his progress (but not WHY he progressed.) After a few weeks, he was distracted by his thesis and by the realization that it requires sacrifice and priority to get live-fire range time. By June of 2005, he had allowed his USPSA membership to lapse but stated that he was " 60+ classifier away from B-class in production".

Nothing from him since then. Where-ever you are, McGinnis, I hope you made your goal. You showed a very personal side of yourself, and I'm grateful for your contribution. Maybe it IS easier to make B-class in Limited 10 than in Production, but unless you resume blogging we'll just never know.

Not-so-interesting IPSC-related blogsites:

Shooting with Woody.
First . . . and last . . . blog:

First time

Starting this seems pointless.
I guess it was. He hasn't posted again in the past year. This only goes to show that it ain't easy to run an IPSC blog, folks.

This is about the point when I realized that "continuing this seems pointless". There are tens of thousands of bloggers registered with Blogger, twelve of them list IPSC as an interest, and six of them (many duplicates) list USPSA as an interest. Most of them don't blog at all, some only a few times, and most of the blogs don't have much (or any) IPSC/USPSA related material.

Most important, and the point of this article, is that you have to keep shooting to maintain an interest in The Game. I haven't blogged for two weeks, nor have I shot a match for two weeks. I think there's a correlation there.

Sunday I went to the range and did some practice. I had some new Winchester brass I wanted to load and shoot before I reloaded it for match use, so I burned some of it up working on draw-and-first-shot times. I found a lot of things I was doing wrong, including not getting the dot on the target when I mounted the gun, and rushing the first shot. There's not a whole lot of difference in time between a 1.48 second C-hit and a 1.55 second A-hit, but when you allow yourself to become speed-oriented you lose track of your own personal limitations. That explains why I had so much trouble getting first-shot hits on steel at my last match.

And that link explains why it's important to keep to a regular regimen of writing. You can build on your earlier work, and use it to demonstrate points which occur to you later.

I'm so bored. I can't wait until the ARPC match next Saturday. I may even clean the pistol.

It could happen.

End of the Blogging Hiatus

There may have been a few of you who noticed that I haven’t been writing lately. By “Lately”, I mean since October 23 . . . two full weeks!

The reason I haven’t been writing is that I didn’t feel like it. Not a good excuse, but I’ve been engaged in a few other projects which took up too much of my free time. Also, there haven’t been a lot of IPSC matches in the CCS section lately, and I didn’t ‘feel like’ talking about anything else.

Or maybe it was just writer’s block.

Here is a short list of the things I’ve been doing which have taken up so much of my time:

  • trying to develop a website at

  • trying to establish a GEEK Photo Gallery on that server or on that website

  • adding HALOSCAN commenting system to avoid spammers

  • searching for new and interesting websites that I can link to

The website isn’t working yet. I bought MS FrontPage, but I can’t use the full publishing capabilities because my server doesn’t support it. That means that all the macros which are embedded in the code don’t work, so the templates need to be re-written. For example, the table-formatted link buttons are just not there! I have a lot of work to do before I get all the bugs out, and what little I DO have that works is mostly just a skeletal structure. Even getting the links right is a learning experience for me. Some Geek, eh?

The photo gallery software I chose is powerful, and it’s free. I chose it because it allowed *.mpeg and *.wmv formatted video files to be posted. It also requires installation on the server, and apparently that isn’t going to happen. The alternatives are to either build my own webpages, or use an existing gallery (such as Kodak Gallery) to host the still photos and THEN build my own webpages for the videos. I’ll probably choose the latter.

I’m not sure if the HALOSCAN code is working yet, because I haven’t blogged since I installed it. We’ll see what happens when I have a few comment-worthy articles posted, but I strongly suspect I still have some code changes to make before it’s fully functional.

In an ironic note, the week after I installed HALOSCAN, BLOGGER came up with new functionality on their Comments processing which provided exactly the kind of controls I was looking for. That is, the comments would be routed to me FIRST, and I would choose which would be accepted. This imposed a delay between the time a reader posts a comment and the time when it actually displays, which is not my first choice.

I have found a couple of interesting websites which I haven’t linked to before, and those will be the subject of another post in the immediate future.

Finally, this article represents another new blogging technique. I’m writing this on my MS-WORD software, and publishing it directly to BLOGGER. It’s a lot easier to compose, and it has a HUGE advantage in the immediate spell-checking and grammar checking. (But I have a lot of words to add to my dictionary, such as ‘blogging’ ‘webpages’ and ‘wmv’. In fact, I just did that!)

So this is something of a test of that new technique, and as soon as I figure out the possibilities of using the word processor for creating a new article, I’ll start playing with the techniques for editing in pictures and links.

Gee, this looks funny. IT adds comments and trackback BEFORE the post, as well as the full comments-options lines at the end. Unfortunately, while I'm reasonably certain that this is caused by the interface between MS-Word and Blogger, it may have to do with the incomplete installation of Haloscan coding.

I'll play with this for a while, just to see what it looks like when I use the old technique of writting directly via Blogger post-editing. I may end up deleting this post, eventually, because while it's fun to try new toys . . . it's kind of boring to read about it.