Friday, February 23, 2007

USPSA New Rule Book

For the past two years on this blog (and for ten years before, on The Unofficial IPSC List) I've been complaining about the rules under which we compete in the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA).

I didn't really get 'into it' until July of 2005, when I complained about how easily the rules were misinterpreted because, well, they weren't clearly written or easily understood.

Part of that has been caused by the USPSA rules being essentially the International IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation)

Again in August of 2005, I complained about a "stupid rule" which prohibited a competitor from using a "tool" to clear a jam ... in this case, a pistol had the slide locked back when a magazine was inserted in a bit too forcefully, making it impossible to drop the slide into battery. The resourceful competitor (The Hobo Brasser) used another magazine to pry the jammed magazine loose, allowing the slide to come into battery. He re-inserted the magazine and moved on. The discussion with the Range Officer was interesting, as was the discussion with the Area Director (t was a USPSA Sanction Level II Section Tournament) and the Vice President of USPSA by email days later.

The discussion revolved around whether the magazine was a "tool".

In my mind, the discussion which should have taken place was whether we need such a draconic yet cryptic rule at all.

On May Day of 2006, USPSA announced that they had come to a 'new relationship' with the governing organization, IPSC, allowing the American Region to establish a rule book subtly (actually, substantially) different from that used by the rest of the world.

Why was that necessary?

The United States not only has a much more 'open' (and less 'politically correct') attitude about firearms ownership and usage than do many other nations whose citizens compete in Practical Shooting. And, we have the Second Amendment to put teeth into what some may consider merely a cultural anomaly.

You may think we can "all just get along", but it happens that many people in other countries believe that "the amies" (as they refer to Americans) are not only arrogant, overbearing and childish but also WRONG in failing to appreciate the priorities of the sophisticated and civilized European Union. Americans get so upset over little things, such as the imposition of a new target design because some countries will not allow their citizens to shoot at targets which "represent the human body".

As a consequence, a week after the anouncement of international amity I entered into an embarrasing little kerfluffle with my Hungarian friend, Ivan, over whether IPSC really needed the trouble-making Amies as much as USPSA needed IPSC.

I say it was embarassing, and that's an understatement. I only mention it to show that a new, improved, and distinctly AMERICAN version of the competion rule book is needed. It is needed not only to satisfy the USPSA membership, but also to show what the USPSA thinks are necessary, clearly written rules applicable to our (American) culture and sensibilities.

Finally coming to something like 'a point', about a month before USPSA announced an unprecedented grown in membership they also announced, in a much quieter 'family' mode, that the Board of Directors and National Range Officer Institute had been working on a new rule book.

And they're going about it in the right way, too. After carefully going through the existing (2004) rule book to remove unneccesary rules, rewrite existing rules, and add a few necessary new rules, they then put together a Draft version in PDF and invited the USPSA membership to take a look at it and offer suggestions, comments, criticisms, rants and any other form in which our arrogant, overbearing and childish little minds may offer an opinion.

Of course, they put it much more politely, and sincerely. They truly want to make sure that there are enough people looking at it that errors, ambiguities and unwanted rules are identified before they actually publish it.

We have until March 31 to get our comments in. I've just spent 6 hours working on mine, and I'm only half done.

Here's the good news: USPSA not only uploaded the draft, but also a SUMMARY OF THE CHANGES for our convenience.

The bad news is that they're in PDF form, which are impossible to cut and paste for embedding in any kind of letter or email.

I find it very difficult to work with so much view-only data (the draft is 79 pages long, and I don't want to retype all the new rules), so I used a PDF converter to translate both files into *.DOC files, which can be cut-and-pasted using MS Word.

The PDF converter is imperfect. It didn't handle the tables as well as they might have, with the consequence that when I tried to paste them into the detailed summary of ALL changes I'm working on, I found that I had to create a table and then paste the contents into each individual cell.

But I'll eventually have my detailed summary (already at 40 pages!) ready for uploading to the Internet and submittal to my Area Director.

Don't worry, Bruce, I'll make the version I send to you as small and easy to read as possible.

However, I'll provide some other documents for people who want to go through their own painstaking detail evaluation.

For a start, you can get the 3mb MS-WORD version of the draft here, and also the 92kb MS-WORD version of the change summary here.

When I get all of the documents completed, I'll post them on this site ... that is, I'll post LINKS to them because you know they'll all be Geek Length.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Big and Small Of It

Sometimes we just need a break from 'serious stuff'.

This is one of those times.

Walt posted this to email:
Here's "The Small of It" -- a cell phone pistol.

In a response, Rob posted this:
Here's "The Big Of It" -- a .60 Revolver.

Can you tell which is which without the labels?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I just spent an evening describing the reasons why I have No Confidence in the efficacy of the National Rifle Association in representing your RKBA rights.

You may not agree with me, and that's okay.

But this was curiously timed to coincide with a new Kerfluffle unintentially ( I suspect ) initiated by Jim Zumbo.

Zumbo, it appears, is a professional writer and has contributed articles to both Outdoor Life and Reminton, Inc.

Word is, he mentioned in a sparse pair of sentences (actually, 3 sentences) that he sees no use for semi-automatic rifles in hunting. No, that's a little too faint. What he actually said (in regards to " AR and AK rifles" was:

I call them "assault" rifles, which may upset some people. Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity. I'll go so far as to call them "terrorist" rifles.

I have never read Zumbo before ... he appeals to a different readership ... so I yield to Michael Bane's article on the subject. The link quotes Zumbo's entire article.

Here is a man (Zumbo) who has spent years speaking to the American Sportsman. Shooters of all ilk and discipline. He writes 38 little words, and suddenly he is Anethema.

His blog is gone. His relationship with Remington is gone. His friends call for an immediate retraction, and even though he instantly apologizes for, and explains his statement ... it isn't enough.

His friends are gone.

There are those among the Shooting Community who actually believe that the 2nd Amendment applies to ALL firarms, no matter how ugly or how apparently inappropriate to the use to which they are putl

(And no matter how awkward the sentence construction of those who would write about it!)

Also, there are those among the Shooting Community who actually 'get it'. Those who believe that there is a "legitimate role" for even ugly semi-automatic rifles -- even as hunting tools, go figure!

The 2nd amendment is my primary concern in all of my writings. But perhaps it's timely to mention the 1st Amendment:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Do you see it?

"Congress" made no law "abridging the freedom of speech"; yet, popular acclaim applied its own right to disparage an unpopoular statement. (In truth, I rather suspect that "Congress" would embace Zumbo's statement, if only to put one more brick in the wall betwen Private Citizens and the 2nd Amendment.)

Zumbo has lost his means of livelihood, his Iron rice bowl, yet it is not a result of governmental action. Instead, it is the result of popular opinion.

Or, if you prefer, it is the result of 2nd Amendment Activism.

Perhaps the NRA will pay attention, and discontinue their tendency to defend the 2nd Amendment (weakly!) in terms of hunting, and even more ephemeral concepts.

Perhaps they will defend the 2nd amendment in terms applicable to the original intent of the Constitutional Authors.

It's an Individual Right, and the looks of the Firearm in question are not a significant factor.

The Liberal NRA

Last week, in a moment of banter with my co-workers (most of them confirmed Blue-Staters) who know that my hobby is IPSC competition, I commented that "No, I'm not a member of the NRA. They're too liberal."

Big laugh. They thought I was joking.

I wasn't. Here's why.

The First reason why I think the NRA is too liberal:

Charlton Heston.

Oh yes, I've been a member of the NRA; often, and frequently. For years I was on their mailing list (still am) and they would send me appeals to join. I did. They sent me magazines that didn't give me much more information than I would get at other places, except for "The Armed Citizen". I consider that their greatest contribution to RKBA issues, but it wasn't enough. Sometime in the mid-1990's I declared "enough". Having joined, and quit, three times I finally just ignored their offers.

Then in 1997 they elected Charlton Heston President of the NRA. I thought "Wow! This is great. They finally have a spokesman I know and respect." I remember all of the "I Am The NRA" ads featuring Heston with a broke-breech double-barrel shotgun over his shoulder, and I just knew that he was the iconic figure who could make sense out of the confusion.

My love affair with Charlton Heston lasted until his first public interview as the representative of the NRA, on May 6, 1997. In a San Francisco Radio Interview during the morning drive-time slot, he uttered the fatal words:
"AK-47's are inappropriate for private ownership, of course."
(Thanks to Dean Spier at The Gun Zone)

I was devastated. "Of course."


Up until this very moment, I thought that the NRA stood for the Second Amendment. I thought they understood that it had nothing to do with hunting, or even competition. I thought they understood that it had to do with the right of a private citizen to protection against aggression, whether by a mugger or a State. As a constitutional amendment, and only 2nd among 10 of the Bill of Rights, it was the provision which insured all other rights "when everything else fails".

Most important, I thought it was the entire reason for being of the NRA. It was our protection against losing our protection. It wasn't about the type of arms we deemed necesary to protect our rights. It was objective and the NRA protection of this right applied to all firearms.

(I wish I could find a video, or at least an audio, copy of that interview. I doubt a video exists, but I know I listened to an audio file on the Internet over and again to make sure I heard it right. I did, but after ten years they no longer are available.)

Sure, Heston went on to give many memorable speeches (see here and here), and I loved him as a man, and a performer, and I loved everything he said "after". But I always remembered that when he spoke extemporaneously ... he revealed a soft center. He believed in civilian firarms ownership. But only for 'some' firearms.

He always thought it was about duck hunting, and trap shooting.

Second reason why I think the NRA is too liberal:

Wayne LaPierre.

If there ever was a member of the NRA BOD who impressed me, it isn't him. I know I should be grateful for his contributions for the cause of citizen firearms ownership, but I have to say this is not my idea of a champion for 2nd Amendment Rights.

Surely the NRA can find a stronger voice, a more convincing advocate than this.

As evidence, I offer the "Great UK Gun Rights Debate". This is a debate between Wayne LaPierre and "international gun ban proponent Rebecca Peters."

(Hat Tip to Phil at Soft Green Glow, via Say Uncle.)

While I encourage you to go to both websites in recognition of their contribution, and for their general contribution to The Cause, l've provide the link to YouTube videos of debate segments directly.

There are only four brief segments of the debate offered here, but I have to say that LaPierre's defense (and he is always on the defense) is so weak and ineffectual that even I have to say that Peters outscored him on every point of contention.


Because LaPierre insisted on discussing HER point of "legitimate firearms role" without once referring to either personal defense or the basic reason for the 2nd Amendment ... the ultimate protection of all other civil rights by a tyranical government. As long as he avoids this issue in debate, he will not present a reasonable argument against the concept that guns are only means of hunting and competition. That is to say, "sporting usage" (which the BATF had arbitrarily decided does NOT include IPSC competition.)

LaPierre can't even win a debate in his home country. How does he hope to win a debate in Socialist Nanny-state England, or Australia (home of Rebecca Peters, who presents her home-country record as evidence that "gun control works" regardless of the fact that both England and Australia have seen soaring rates of Violence committed with guns against unarmed citizens since they instituted their own "gun control" laws.)

For example, Peters presents the argument that "there is no justification for semi-automatic rifles to be owned by ... members of the civilian population." She offers this in the context of hunting, and goes on to cite the Australian Professional Hunters' Association, whom she quotes as having said: "Anyone who needed a semi-automatic to kill animals was a 'City Boy', who shouldn't be out there with a gun in the first place!"

She goes on to say: "Yes, we believe that semi-automatic weapons and shotguns have no legitimate role in civilian hands; and not only that, HANDGUNS have no legitimate role in civilian hands!"

What is LaPierre's counter?

"We're just finally getting to the point. I mean, the fact is that Miss Peters ... and her UN crowd believe that EVERY firearm has no legitimate use. Not just semi-autos, but pump-action shotgun(s), any rifle that can shoot over 100 yards ... hunters know that's every rifle out there. Handguns, they don't believe handguns have any legitimate use. The truth is, there's no legitimate role for a firearm. Isn't that your real opinion, Miss Peters?"
Peters replies:

"No. We recognize that hunting, for example, plays an important role in many cultures. You do not need a semi-automatic firearm, you do not need a handgun, to kill a deer. To go hunting. We recognize that target shooting is also a sport in many countries. One of the concerns that was raised with the reform of the gun laws in Australia was that this would affect our Olympic performance. [snip] You can be a sporting nation without semi-automatic rifles or handguns."

The fact is, LaPierre allowed the debate to be conducted entirely by his opponent. He never brought up his own point, beyond "we're not going to let you do that", although he never bothered to say how the NRA could prevail over a well-funded NGO drive against civilian possession of firearms, when he couldn't even prevail over a bright and personable young lady in open debate.

I do not have access to either a video or audio clip, nor the transcript of the entire debate. And while the YouTube video purports to be provided by an "NRA" proponent, it's entirely possible that the linked segments are hosted by an anti-gun faction which deliberately presented only those (edited) clips which shows Peters in the best, and/or LaPierre in the worst light.

Still ....

If this is the NRA, is this is the best defense we can present against the world-wide attempt of socialist nations and agenda-driven NGO onsloughts on the 2nd amendment, then we would do as well to present NO defense and save our (your) membership fees and spend them instead on 4" plastic tubing, super-glue, duct tape and dessicant.

That's right, my friend. If you expect the NRA to defend your right to Keep and Bear Arms, you may as well get started early in the effort to pack up your firearms and bury them in the garden for your grandchildren (optimistically speaking) to dig up in the next century.

No doubt about it. If Wayne LaPierre is your first, best line of defense against gun-grabbers, you might as well give up now and use what remains of your self-reliance to hide your guns against the predations of the inevitable licensing, then registration, then confiscatory measures which will be imposed upon you and your children.

Prove to me that I'm wrong.


Monday, February 19, 2007

IPSC Certification

Do you remember last week's Blog article which depicted a New Shooter who earned a Match Disqualification because he lost track of the 180 Degree rule?

Yeah, that was Les.

Well, he showed up at the next Section match and shot for certification ... clean and safely.
We filmed his performance at the last stage, and recorded the excitement of his squad when they realized he had sataisfied the requirements of the training.

Everyone in the squad was aware of what was at stake, and we were all pleased that he completed his training sccessfully.

This isn't an exciting video .. unless you are inordinately pleased that a New Shoter has proved that he can meet the stringent requirements of this sport.

Dean Speir, Formerly Famous Gun Writer

Last August 17 (2006) I wrote an article about The Glock KaBOOM!

I borrowed extensively, at least in terms of encouragement that my opinion was 'right' and anyone who disagreed with me was 'not right' (my favorite form of fantasy, excepting those fantasies which end up with washing out my lingerie) from a fella named Dean Speir, author of The Gun Zone.

Get the spelling right, he cares about the accuracy of his name speling.

Several days after I published the KaBOOM! Article, I received an email from Dean.

I found his comments to be flattering and informational. We swapped spit (via email only!) for a week or two, and one day I mentioned that I enjoyed his stories about things IPSC and casually asked if I could post them on this blog.

One thing failed to lead to another, we quit corresponding ... mostly because we had just about exhausted the topic of the connections between Leigh Bracket and John Wayne movies ... and we both moved on to other things.

Within the past two weeks, two things occurred to draw my attention back to the original article and to Dean's comments.

First, Dean reread his old emails and sent me his permission to post his email.

Second, a reader identified as "CW" commented on the article, and in the process graciously offered corrections about the various Glock models and their associated calibers.

Reading back on the KaBoom! article, I found that CW's criticisms were accurate, so I scurried about the internet to find a source of Glock technical data. In the process I learned the had been a primary link to some of my technical points but has since been deleted from the Internet ... I needed to fix some of the "404 - Not Found" links.

After fixing those links, the incorrect references to Glock caliber-related models, and various other links, I discovered that I had providently posted Dean's comments on a draft-mode (ie: "not posted") webpage.

Serendipity is A Beautiful Thing, so just to make sure that you don't miss anything I'm going to link here to the original KaBOOM! article, as well as to Dean's comments.

And in case you haven't yet discovered the link on the sidebar, I'll include The Gun Zone link. I'm sure you'll find as many pleasant hours reading about, among other things, the perfidy of the Gun Zine culture. (Translation: Gun Magazine, such as Guns & Ammo)

If you're a blogger, and you decide to link to this article ... for Gawd's Sake, Be Sure To Spell The Name Right! I changed the text on my original article and managed to change "Speirs" to "Speir" and re-publish.

Jerys teh Geeks

Sunday, February 18, 2007

So many Useful Idiots, So Little Time ...

Gilbert and Sullivan, in "Pirates of Penzance", suggest that "A Policeman's Lot Is Not A Happy One".

I submit that "A Gunblogger's Lot Is Not A Happy One", either.

In support of that thesis, I give you H.R. 1022 - To reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and other purposes."

And while I was writing about "Bad Boys in the Outhouse" and other significant IPSC-related stuff, our Congress was hard at work retaking another first step toward taking YOUR legal firearms (when you bought 'em) away from you ... using a legal tactic which was empirically determined to have absolutely NO effect in "reducing gun violence".

Since I don't have a television and don't read newspapers regularly, and since I don't even usually read the internet news in the Friday-through-Sunday period because I'm focused on preparing for, competing in, or whining about IPSC matches I completely missed the new news that the Democ-Rats have resurrected this most infamous of egregious encroachments on the Second Amendment.

In fact, if I hadn't formed the habit of reading Gun Bloggers on Sunday Evenings, I still wouldn't know about the February 13, 2007, attempt of Rep. Carolyn McCarthey (D-NY ... duh!) to demonize what can only be characterized as 'ugly rifles and carbines'.

(Hat Tips too numerous to mention, but just for starters include Michael Bane, LawDog, and Jim Shepherd of The Shooting Wire.)

Here's a short memory course:

  • Remember how in 1994 the Democ-Rats established an Assault Weapons Ban, and the Republicans introduced a Sunset Clause stating that, essentially, "We'll try it, but if after 5 years it doesn't do any good, we'll drop it?
  • Remember how after 5 years it was proven to have absolutely no value in the sense of having reduced crime?
  • Remember how it was dropped like a big brown turd in a Cloistery punchbowl?
  • Remember how, when the Democ-Rats ascended to power in the 2006 elections, they promised that they would work for concensus?
  • Well, they lied ...
  • ... and it's back.
Let's talk about what this bill proposes:
  • A long list of specific rifle and shotgun makes & models would be banned, with a 10 year prison term imposed for their possession (including, for example, the M1 carbine)
  • ten-round magazine (detachable or otherwise) capacity limitations
  • banned semi-automatic rifle with the ability to accept a detachable magazine with features including a folding or telescoping stock; a threaded barrel; a pistol grip; a forward grip; barrel shroud
  • A semi-automatic pistol with the ability to accept a detached magazine, and has a second pistol grip; a threaded barrel (so much for compensators); the capacity to accept a detachable magazine at a location outside of the pistol grip; a fixed magazine of more than 10 rounds
  • A shotgun with a revolving cylinder
  • A conversion kit
  • A semi-automatic rifle or shotgun originally designed for military or law enforcement use or a firearm based on the design of such a firearem, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General.
Further restrictions impose a penalty for transfer of such firearms except through a licensed firearms dealer, including a 'high-capacity magazine" during the sale of an "Assault Weapon", in importation of a "high-capacity magazine".

And there is no sunset clause.


Essentially, all of the bad parts of the original 1994 AWB have been re-proposed, even though the original law has been proven to have had NO EFFECT ON "GUN VIOLENCE" or any other measure of felicitous effect on public disorder. This is not a test; they really mean it this time, and there are no trappings of supposing to have a beneficial effect on public order. The bill is simply a "you can't do this because I say you can't do this, and what I say goes because I say so, dammit!" law.

A gunbloggers lot is not a happy one, because if we didn't bring this to your attention almost immediately, it implies that we're not paying attetention to the priorities of our readership.

Well, I'm not really a gunblogger. I'm a USPSA Competition blogger, and all I want is to be allowed to go to a Practical Pistol match on at least 3 weekends a month and have a good time.

In other words: I'm not causing any problems and neither are my friends, so leave us the heck alone and I'll leave you alone.

Unfortunately, those dimwits in Washington with their newly acquired majority are going power-mad, and this is just an early entry into their heady presumption of authority. The only surprise is that this re-enactment of a bad idea, ill-conceived and poorly executed, arrives so early in their power-curve.

I don't really expect it to pass, but the mere fact that it is number two on their agenda (coming right after the "Get Out Of Vietnam Iraq NOW" movement) is indicitive of their cockey confidence. They really believe that they can make sweeping changes in the culture of their Country, just because they are in the CatBird seat.

As in the 1975 C.W. McCall novelty song, "Convoy", the Democ-Rats are "in the Rocking Chair" and in their rebellion they can do whatever they want because there are too many rebels for the Smokies of civil rights to fight all of them. The Democ-Rats are counting on the weakness of their Republican opponents; the Conservatives can't win all of their fights, so they will pick the fights they can win. Hopefully (for the Dems), this is not a fight worth the effort as the Republican try desperately to regain a small modicum of their previous influence. They will figure that the Republicans are too weak, too frightened, and all too aware that they must husband whatever influence they retain to 'waste' it on what must appear to them to be a niche issue.

We have to help our representative realize that the RKBA issues were central in the 2004 Presidential election, and our determination were based on our core values, not on the personalities of the candidates.

Speaking objectively, the Dems may have chosen a win-able issue, however inadvertently. A small infringement of your 2nd Amendment rights may be the perfect issue to get a toe in the door of Republic self-assertion.

If you don't write to, or phone your representative TODAY with the message that this bill is completely unacceptable to a significant and vocal portion of their constituency, you don't have a dog in this hunt and you haven't established the fact that you care about your civil rights.

And when they come to take your firearms away, when they throw you in jail because you have 14-round magazines, there will be nobody left to speak for you.

I'm writing my congressman tonight with that message. You may think your voice won't be heard. But if you don't speak up, my voice alone won't be enough to protect your rights.