Thursday, July 26, 2007

Letters: AirSoft

Another letter from the Geek Mailbox:

My name is Caelyn, I am the creator of the Tactical Airosft Pistol Speed Shooting system.

I was going through the stats on my Youtube video page and noticed that one of those ho viewed my ETAPSS demo video there:

Had gotten there through a link from your blog. I tried to find the link on your blog but couldn't find it.

I wanted to thank you for the link. I just hope you had linked it as something interesting, rather than something to make fun of. I have had quite a few eal steel practical shooters giving me shit over my videos. Real Steel is the term used by airsofters to refer to real firearms.

In the end I was forced to close down my range, because of a lack of interest in the airsoft community or the real steel community in southern Ohio (Actually a gun store in Cincinnati refused to let me put up flyers in their store because they were afraid my range to take their bussiness). A lot of them SAID they thought it was a great thing, but not enough of them ever showed up to practices or competition, for me to be able to pay rent.


Thanks Again


Truth is, I never heard of this person or this video, this YouTube page or this "Shooting System."

(Here's the video)


I get a lot of what I consider "spahm" links (deliberately misspelled) and I usually delete it unread, or at least ignore it after reading it.

In this case, I decided to to feature it. If it leads to some folks who go to the website ... if you can find one ... it's not my problem. But this video demonstrates a LOT of unsafe gun-handling, including pointing the gun in an unsafe direction which would never be accepted in IPSC/USPSA competition. This is "Not Having A Clue" central.

Here's my response to the email:

Dear Caelyn,
I never linked to your YouTube website, to my knowledge, but it's possible that I may have visited it. I've shot AirSoft guns before, and they're a lot of fun. I don't own an airsoft, but that's a matter of personal preference. When I pull the trigger, I like it to go *BANG!*, not *pfffttt!*. But that's just Me.

Interesting comment in your email:

"I just hope you had linked it as something interesting, rather than something to make fun of. I have had quite a few real steel practical shooters giving me shit over my videos. Real Steel is the term used by airsofters to refer to real firearms."

Nobody likes to give the impression that they're bigoted, but when I viewed your video I was decidedly convinced that Air-Soft was NOT a good way to learn about safe gunhandling.

Here's why:

Your shooter enters an 'alley' to engage targets, and in retreating turns 180 degrees and runs uprange with his pistol clenched against his belly.

I do not believe that he managed to keep the muzzle of his pistol pointed safely down-range.

IPSC competitors don't like to see the muzzle of a weapon ... and if you don't treat an AirSoft gun as a weapon you will never achieve acceptance from IPSC competitors.

When he's shooting an 'air-soft', it's not an issue. Everybody knows that the pellet of an AirSoft isn't going to hurt anybody.

But when you're packing, for example, a .45ACP with a 230-grain bullet pushed to 800 fps, that 'pellet' is going to pack some serious hurt.

AirSoft folks don't seem to be terribly concerned about the direction their muzzle is pointing, or the consequences of pointing their muzzle in a direction which might conceivably endanger a spectator.

I believe that this is the difference between AirSoft competition and what you define as "real steel". And it's a significant difference.

As long as AirSoft shooters don't treat their pistols as Lethal Weapons, IPSC and other "real steel" shooters will not take them seriously. Well, AirSoft shooters obviously don't take themselves seriously, so why should we?

Thank you for your contribution, and I WILL post your email and your video on my website.

But only as a good example of a bad example.

"You People" (and I use the term advisedly) don't take firearms safety, and good gun-handling, seriously. What you do is encourage folks to play with toys, because playing with toys is what you do.. And you expect your participants to be treated with the same respect of those of us who respect 'real guns'?

And then you complain that 'real steel' people don't take you seriously.
I am unable to express the contempt I feel for you and your ilk. You put the entire group of competition shooters in a bad light. You show no respect for the lethality of guns, yet you expect we who shoot real guns to respect you ... you, with your unsafe gun-handling skills.

Although I admire your dedication, and do not fault your determination to acquire acceptance, I question your training and acquisition of skills necessary to achieve your goals. (NB: not part of the original email.)

I strongly advise you, who seem to desire acceptance, to treat your sport as if you were shooting 'real guns'. When you consistently demonstrate real gun-handling safety, then you may reasonably expect to be treated with the respect to which you obviously desire, but equally obviously are not willing to aspire.
I'm not making fun of your sport. Rather, I am appalled.

Short version: clean it up, or give it up.

Your Choice.

Jerry the Geek

Gun Control Is Bursting Out All Over

San Francisco (h/t Sondra K)
'Frisco (they hate it when you call their poxed Bagdad-on-the-Bay that) has enacted new gun laws.

The laws -- which gained final approval from the Board of Supervisors -- would restrict both the sale and possession of firearms.

Specifically, they would prohibit the possession or sale of firearms on city property, require firearms in residences to be in a locked container or have trigger locks and require firearm dealers to submit an inventory to the chief of police every six months.

The last provision is intended to allow city officials to know how many guns are sold, though there is only one gun shop in the city.

"We're pleased that, as soon as the mayor signs this, San Francisco has the strongest anti-gun laws in the nation," said Nathan Ballard, spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom. The mayor sponsored the legislation, along with Supervisors Sophie Maxwell and Ross Mirkarimi

(emphasis added)

Sounds like just another 'feel-good' law, doesn't it?

"It is silly feel-good legislation with no teeth," (Supervisor Aaron) Peskin said.

This comes on the heels of an especially Draconian proposition from a couple of years ago:

While the mayor has praised these new restrictions, he only expressed tepid support for Proposition H in 2005, which would have required gun owners to surrender their weapons to police and would have made it illegal to buy and sell firearms and ammunition in the city.

Voters passed the proposition with 58 percent in favor, but it is tied up in court after the National Rifle Association challenged its constitutionality. Newsom said the vote amounted to a "public opinion poll."

Cheers for the NRA!


BOSTON (Reuters) - A planned Republican fundraiser in New Hampshire aims to promote gun ownership in America by letting supporters fire powerful military-style weapons -- from Uzi submachine guns to M-16 rifles.

There is some local resistance to the effort:

Local Democrats say the event is in poor taste amid a spike in violent crime in Manchester and seeks to glorify the use of machine guns for political gain. The right to own guns has come under heightened scrutiny since the April shooting at Virginia Tech where a gunman killed 32 people.

"It is downright offensive," Chris Pappas, the Manchester Democratic party chairman, told the Union Leader newspaper.

"Local Democrats". Yeah, right. Since when have they supported the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


In the continuing story of Red's Gun Shop vs BATF, the BatMen (and women!) have been videotaped while 'auditing' the paperwork of firearms transfers.

<>They scrammed, but fast! Then they filed a notice in district court that " ... (t)he inspection was suspended due to the threat to the inspectors' safety."

The threat was that their audit was being filmed by a customer of the store.
<>According to Red's Gun Shop manager Ryan Horsley:
"The person in question who photographed them was a 70-year-old man in a Hawaiian shirt who is balding (Sorry, Al) and has a broken foot. Yet three inspectors felt that they were in danger," he [said].

The Hampton Beach (Va) "Pilot Online had a store about a man who wore a .45 pistol in 'open carry' to a concert, was arrested by the police, and was subsequently released when the judge determined that he was entirely within his rights to 'open carry' because Virginia State Law declared that local jurisdictions were not allowed to enact gun-control laws in contravention to State law. However, the story link (10 hours later) was "not found". One wonders why the story was quashed.

A more diligent search found the story here:

We won't post the whole story, in the hopes that THIS link won't disappear. However, in the interest of preserving the news, we'll post the main text of the story:


Chester Szymecki Jr. was waiting for some music to start at Harborfest when a sheriff's deputy approached.

It was a warm June afternoon, and thousands of people wandered on and off the tall ships moored around Town Point Park. Szymecki had come from Yorktown with his wife, their three children and two children from their neighborhood.

Szymecki had brought along something else, too - a .45-caliber handgun in a holster on his belt.

The deputy asked Szymecki whether he was a police officer. He said no. And then, he said, uniformed city police began closing in. They gave him a choice, he said: Leave the event or face arrest. When he tried to say that there must be a mistake, he was disarmed and led away, handcuffed, he recalled.

Szymecki was charged with violating a local ordinance that the City Council had passed in May, which set up rules to govern Harborfest. Among them was a provision banning handguns and other weapons.

There's just one problem: A few years ago, the General Assembly barred localities from enforcing laws governing the carrying of firearms. That meant state law prevailed. And in Virginia, "open carry" is legal.

Localities today generally do not have the authority to restrict guns, said Mark Flynn, director of legal services for the Virginia Municipal League. A state law last amended in 2004 says localities cannot adopt or enforce laws regarding the purchase, carrying, possession, storage, or sale of firearms.

Szymecki was given a summons and released. When he showed up for court June 22, the case was withdrawn at the request of an assistant city attorney.

The case has enraged the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights group that has successfully challenged local gun restrictions around the commonwealth. Szymecki is a member. In the past the group has protested Norfolk's attempts to prevent the carrying of weapons in city parks.

Philip Van Cleave, the president of the league, says members plan to crowd the City Council chambers in protest at a future date.

The ordinance, he said, was "a huge mistake."

City Attorney Bernard Pishko said the city is not attempting to challenge the state law by imposing restrictions on handguns.

Pishko described the gun ban in the Harborfest ordinance as an oversight, a "housekeeping" issue. "This is one that we missed," he said. An ordinance governing Afr'Am Fest in May contained the same restrictions on weapons. Both ordinances were in effect only for the few days the events ran.

Pishko said his office has since advised police that "the only gun laws in effect for Norfolk are those in effect for Virginia."

Szymecki said the incident has changed the way he views the police. He said he plans to file a lawsuit and have a "neutral court" decide whether police violated his rights.

IF the link above still works, it's worth your while to click on it. The comments (59 as of this writing) are a fascinating commentary on the public opinions concerning 'Open Carry' vs "Concealed Carry' in Virginia.

They are especially poignant in the context of the April Virginia Tech shootings.

Here's one example of the comments ... just the latest one:

When some idiot decides to take the life of you or a family member that you can always call the police. I'm sure you will still be alive by the time they get there. The law states you can carry a firearm in public as long as it's displayed. Get over it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The King Amedment .. protection for anti-terrorist whistle-blowers?

According to the Center for Security Policy, a federal law providing protection for Americans who report "suspicious ... and frightening behavior" will be enacted. See Sondra K for context.

This applies to "The Flying Imams" who were booted off an airplane earlier this year because they were acting like a bunch of lunatics. Fellow passengers were alarmed by their behavior and reported it to the air crew. The result is that the Imams were removed from the airplane. Consequently, the American Islamic leaders vowed to engage the people who reported them in a civil suit, as a means of retaliation for actions ("report suspicious activity ...") which had been encouraged by U.S. Federal Governmental Agencies.

This law would protect such 'whistle-blower' activities, when the result of a 'good faith' concern, from civil penalty.

Some Americans thought the actions of the Imams were part of an attempt to test the system of anti-terrorist measures in the United States.

Letters, we get letters ....

I received an email today from one of the competitors at the R&R Racing NW Challenge 'Multigun Match (July, 2007) who was featured in previous posts and on Jerry the Geek's Video Shooting Gallery:

I can't tell you how happy I am to have found your site! Thank you for all your work photographing the stages and publishing them. I didn't know you were videoing me as I shot stage 7. I'm glad I didn't or I would have had stage fright!
I've never watched myself shoot on video before. Very interesting. I don't appear to be moving as fast as I feel like I'm moving at the time! Maybe that's why my times are usually about double that of the winners! Ha! I don't expect to get much quicker as I get older, either. I need to be thankful that I can even move!
Thanks again! Hope to see you at another match.
Joe Durnbaugh
PS: You even spelled my name right! Thanks!
PPS: You wouldn't have a complete list of the ROs would you? I knew several, but one of them I'll be damned if I can remember his name! I have CRS disease (can't remember shit) real bad!

Tell you the truth, Joe, I'm a charter member of the CRS Survivors' Club and I couldn't tell you all of the RO's names either. Maybe we can get some of the other readers to help out here.

Here are the names I remember for sure, although I'm not willing to guarantee that I have the right stage numbers/names assigned to the ROs:
  1. Scott Hawkins
  2. ?
  3. ?
  4. ?
  5. Steve "The Shipster" Shippey - president-elect of ARPC
  6. Gary Taylor
  7. Bill Salberg
  8. Craig Salman
  9. Bob Higbie
  10. Brent Reddaway
This doesn't include the Assistant RO's, and truthfully there were very few stages where more than one volunteer Range Officer was available.

Joe, I really appreciate your determination to recognize the fine folks who volunteer their time and their energy and their Melanin to work these matches. Your implication that they are the really important people at any major match is bang-on.

I haven't said this enough, and I never will, but THANK YOU to the Match Staff for your contribution to The Game.

(And if any of my readers would be kind enough to identify the other Range Officers at this match, I will post the names here. Lord knows they don't do it for money, 'cause they don't get paid. They deserve at least the recognition and our public gratitude.)

PS: Joe, I would never have figured out how to spell your name if not for the help of the Stats Team, Heidi and Dan.

UPDATE: July 29, 2007 (6:30pm PDT)
Brian Berkley informs us that the RO on Stage 1 is Retired Army Special Forces Command Sergeant Major Scott Hawkins.
Ed Dailey identifies Craig Salman as the RO on Stage 8 and also provides a correction in that "... no stages in this match were 'thrown out'." That last was my misunderstanding, and I apologize for the error.
Thank you, Ed and Brian. All corrections have been applied to the article.

Again, match scores are available here.

eBetts dot com - when you really need your legs broken

Real Story:
My cell phone rang while I was working at my desk and I didn’t recognize the phone number. So I take it outside (personal call, right?) and answer the phone.

Some guy with a guido-sounding voice says “Mr. Geek? Mr. Jerry The Geek? (nah ... he used my real name.) My name’s David Carducci and I’m with eBets dot com. You recently had an online transaction with us and …”

Right now I’m thinking that I’ve been hacked, someone has stolen my identity, they’ve been using it to lay bets on an online gambling website and losing a lot. Now this guy is going to threaten me to pay up or else he sends the leg-breakers to see me!

So I explained: “Listen, pal, I don’t know who you are and I don’t know anything about what you’re talking about.”

He sez: “Didn’t you just buy two batteries for an HP camera and a fast battery recharger from us?”

Oh man … WHEW! They guy was saying eBATTS, not eBETS.

Yeah, I bought the batteries from eBatteries. I had filled out a survey form, indicating that I didn’t know if I was satisfied with the product yet because I hadn’t received it yet (it was a point-of-sale survey, It hadn’t been more than a few minutes since I entered the online order.) The guy only called to follow up, to make sure that I was satisfied with the order and with the quality of the merchandise.

I was so relieved that they weren’t going to kneecap me, I gave him a resounding personal testimonial on the quality of the merchandise and the service and the price and anything else I could think of. He was tickled, after he got done laughing about the leg-breaker line.

I’m much calmer now; I got coffee. Yes, that’s a true story. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

YouTube - FedEx vs. Government Bureaucracy -- Newt Gingrich

YouTube - FedEx vs. Government Bureaucracy -- Newt Gingrich

My great appreciation to "Spicey" O'Shea (the much-better-half of The Hobo Brasser) for sending this along.,

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

CCS Day 2, Stage 4+

One of the more interesting things about the 2007 Columbia Cascade Section Match was the distribution of stages. It may appear to be imbalanced, but that's not the way it worked out.

Here's how the round-count for the twelve stages worked out:

Stage 1: Vegas Windows ........ 16
Stage 2: For Gun Chick ......... 22
Stage 3: Steel on Shoulder ...... 9
Stage 4.1: Miami Smokin' Fast ... 8
Stage 4.2: Steely Speed in NY ..... 6
Stage 4.3: LVPD Peekaboo ......... 8
Stage 5: Stars over NY ........... 32
Stage 6: Hose Vegas ............... 32
Stage 7: Grisom's Special ...... 32
Stage 8: Miniature - Not ........ 32
Stage 9: From Here or There . 32
Stage 10: In The Glades ........ 32

I'm pleased by the stage names ... can you tell that the stage designer was a LEO? He has included a lot of references to American cities, which give something of a cosmopolitan flavor to the match.

But he's got a lot of 32 round stages on one side of the range, a couple of medium-length stages in the middle, and a slew of short stages over here.

The good thing about putting all of the hi-round-count stages together is that once you get into the 'slow-track', everybody completes the stages at about the same speed. Assuming the squads are all about the same size.

I didn't see a lot of squads waiting for the stages to clear,. I can say that we were a short squad (only 9 people, while the preceding squad had 12 shooters), so we were held up on almost all of the long stages except for the last one. This is probably going to happen on almost any match which includes a small squad following a significantly longer squad. Some of us didn't sign up for the match until a few days before it started, and in fairness it's difficult to balance squad sizes when you have to juggle squadding requests with late sign-ups.

Note that three of the 'short stages' were presented together in one bay. We were to shoot all three stages at one time. That is, a competitor shot stage 4.1, then moved over to shoot stage 4.2, and then completed 4.3. Finally, all three stages were scored (this was usually done as the stages were completed by each competitor, except the 4.3 included a 'hidden' target so the RO had to move downrange to see the hits) and then all targets were pasted, all steel reset. This didn't take up a lot of stage time, and the turnaround times were usually shorter for all three stages than for one 32-round stage.

This essentially turned the three short stages into one virtual long stage. That helped balance the match, and reduced the number of times squads were required to wait for preceding squads to clear a stage.

This could have been an absolute boondogle if the short stages in Bay 4 were presented as individual stages. However, the way it was set up Bay 4 acted as a buffer so that individual squads weren't fed into the first 32-round stage too fast. As a result, the match ran much more smoothly than one would expect.

Well, the squad that started on Stage 5 (32 rounds) and encountered six 32-round stages in a row experienced some wait time. I was on that squad, and we spent a lot of time waiting only because we were much smaller than the preceding squad. All in all, we never spent more than 20 minites waiting to get on a stage, and it wasn't really burdensome. Because of the muggy weather, we were often glad for the chance to sit and cool off, and watch the squad ahead of us. Sure, we were the last squad to leave the range on the first day of the match, but we were still out around 3pm and a six-hour day isn't abnormal for a club match in inclement weather.

I'm inclined to say that the match was deliberately organized to conform to the IPSC directive which suggests x-percent of long stages (stages 5 thru 10), y-percent of medium stages (Stages 1 and 2), and z-percent of short stages (Stage 3, and 4.1, 4.3 & 4.3). But while the match managed to feature a fair representation of all three stage types, I was surprised to observe that it actually worked out to the effect that nobody was delayed to the point that the shooting experience became cumbersome.

Well, some of us old guys got pretty tired before we finished our first day's work, but nobody was complaining. (I did my complaining a couple of days ago, and now I can reflect on the match to its credit.)

All in all, I have to say that Competition Director Chuck did an excellent job of balancing the stages to keep the flow of competitors flowing steadily from stage to stage. I didn't believe it at the time, but he gave us a lot of high-round-count stages without injecting a significant bottle-neck. Given the apparent imperative to provide a lot of high round count stages, that's a considerable accomplishment. I didn't realize this at the time, but the match was better balanced than one might reasonably expect.

So here's a heart-felt 'atta-boy', Chuck. You're as good at runnin matches as you are at compiling prize tables. No higher compliment can be offered.

And for those of us who still don't understand how three short stages can be productively presented in one bay, here's a look at the actual outcome of shooting 'Under Pressure".

(This movie is, of course, available at a higher resolution as a 20mb download from the gallery ... here.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

CCS Tournament - Day 2

Final match results of the 2007 Columbia Cascade Section Tournament are available here.

I realize that my previous post seemed singularly ... curmudgeonly.

That wasn't my intention, but I was hot and tired and footsore from running back and forth across HUGE shooting bays for six hours, so I indulged myself.

Rather than go back and edit all the cranky stuff out of my previous post, I think I'll just let it stand and show you the OTHER Side of the picture.

Yes, it was too warm and humid and I am too old for this stuff.

But I keep coming back for more matches because I love what I do in deep gravel on the weekends.

Why? Why have I been doing the same old thing in the same old places for over 20 years?

Because while it may be more of a challenge than I can meet, and my life may be too sedentary to prepare for this six-hours-of-walking-back-and-forth stuff, but I enjoy the activity and I can't get enough of the good people I meet down here in The Pits.

Just to show that the usual IPSC Match (in USPSA, as performed by The Usual Suspects) is more fun than competition:

By the way, as usual the photos from this match may be viewed on Jerry the Geeks Video Shooting Gallery.