Thursday, September 20, 2007

NRA Leadership

I've often stated, both in public and in private, that I gave up my NRA membership several years ago and that I intend to never re-instate it.

No matter what I say, I always receive comments such as:

"Yeah, all, that, but the NRA is our most powerful and best political weapon against confiscatory and other unconstitutional gun laws."

Okay, it's never stated exactly thus, but the point remains that when people get elected to a leadership position in the NRA, they turn into instant wusses.

I object to that, because it inevitably seems as if the NRA leadership is conceding that the second amendment is based upon hunters being able to keep their favorite goose gun. I've never believed that. I always thought that the 2nd Amendment was about the inalienable right for civilians to own firearms, period.

Now, and for several years past (at least for a decade, which is proven by citations exhibited below), the official spokesmen for the NRA have consciously and deliberately espoused "assault weapon" and "Zero Tolerance" limitations on this right.

Both of these terms are anathema to me, because they have been so easily tolerated by leaders in the NRA.

Why do these supposed supporters of the 2nd Amendment say these things? Are they becoming "politically correct" in order to demonstrate that they are not so radical that they are beyond compromise?

Or is it that they really don't believe in the 2nd Amendment, in its literal interpretation?

I think it's a combination of the two, and the only question is whether they're going more Number One or Number Two.

Let's look at quotes from two Elected Leaders of the NRA, and see which is which.

Number One: Zero Tolerance
The following is thanks to a link from The War on Guns, under "Wayne Says No" Speech by Wayne Lapierre (NRA National Meeting of Members; Denver, Colorado; May 1, 1999)
So I would like to take this opportunity to clearly state our positions in a comprehensive way.

More than anything, I want to frame my remarks as part of a constructive, respectfully-conducted discourse that will surely follow in the weeks to come.

I wouldn't stand before you today if I didn't believe, and I couldn't prove, that our common-sense policies can have a more immediate impact on violence, and make more citizens safer, than anything that anyone else is proposing.

So I'd like to speak in response to the President's recent press conferences and news appearances. And please, listen not just for what we've done, but for what more we can all do.

First, we believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America's schools, period ... with the rare exception of law enforcement officers or trained security personnel.
(Emphasis added)

Strike 1: "Zero - Tolerance" policies are the C.Y.A. guidelines which allow incompetent education-plebe bureaucrats to suspend a middle-school boy for drawing a picture of a gun at school.

Or "In late October 2003, a 9-year-old boy was arrested at gunpoint and handcuffed for waving a toy gun over his head while seated on a bench in downtown Lorain as his mother was getting her hair done at the Northern Institute of Cosmetology on Broadway. ... A police officer pointed his gun at the boy's head, ordered him down on the ground and handcuffed him, according to the report.

No, I'm not in favor of "Zero-Tolerance" rules. God forbid that they become laws. But Wayne LaPierre is in favor of them.

Strike 2: Mandatory "Safe Storage" of firearms
That's why, for over a century, we've written the book on safe storage of firearms. We support and encourage the distribution, development and use of safety locks, trigger locks, gun safes, or any voluntary means necessary and appropriate to keep firearms away from, or inoperable by, those who shouldn't have them. We have always condemned anything less.
So why does the NRA-ILA publish a "Fact Sheet" opposed to Mandatory Storage/Trigger-Lock Legislation?
Everyone knows that firearms must be stored safely, but most Americans feel that it is not the government`s business to dictate how people store things in their homes. There is no compelling need for such invasions of privacy ..."
<>Uh ... wait a minute.
LaPierre says: "We support ... voluntary means necessary and appropriate to keep firearms away from, or inoperable by, those who shouldn't have them." The NRA-ILA is against "mandatory storage/trigger-lock legislation"

Okay, never mind.

Strike 3:

Okay, I don't have a "Strike 3."



Let's move on to Charlton Heston's "There is no reason for anyone to own an AK47" statements.

On May 6, 1997, in a KGO-TV (San Francisco) 'drive-time' interview with Ted Wygant of KGO, newly elected President of NRA Charlton Heston made the following comments:

(Transcript courtesy of WYLDONE on "The Firing Line", December 01, 2001)

The following transcript is verbatim, without alteration, and includes misspellings.

VMS TRANSCRIPTVideo Monitoring Services of America, L.P.720 Harrison Street, Suite 320San Francisco, CA 94107(415)543-3361 (415)543-6148 DATE May 6, 1997 TIME 8:00 - 9:00 AM (PT) STATION KGO-AM (ABC)LOCATION San Francisco PROGRAM Morning Drive Time

Ted Wygant, anchor: Well this is very appropriate to talk with Moses as we talk about it, at least. Now let's say good morning to the man who played it so well, Charleton Heston. Good morning, sir!

Charleton Heston (Actor/NRA Board Member): And good morning to you, Mister Wygant.

Wygant: Well, we're delighted to have you with us, and we appreciate your time because you have taken on a task that I think a lot of folks might have backed away with because a lot of concern about the National Rifle Association.

Heston: Our country belongs to Hercules, doesn't it?

Wygant: Yeah, right. What made you do it? How come you want to get in the middle of this?

Heston: Well, I've, of course, been- found myself in the arena, if you will, on a number of public sector causes. I suppose starting back when I started demonstrating for civil rights back in 1961. Long before it got fashionable in Hollywood. And then the Screen Actors Guild, and the National Endowment For The Arts, and the Separate Theater Group, and so on- and then the Presidential Task force, and the Arts and Humanities. And I've been a member of- of the National Rifle Association for, oh, twenty years or more. When I was a kid in Michigan, in the Depression, I lived in a little hamlet in Northern Michigan with about, oh, a hundred houses which contained easily two hundred and fifty, three hundred fire arms of various kinds. Mostly being used for hunting, of course- food for the table. But I was asked, as is true with all of the jobs I've done. Somebody asked me.

Wygant: Well, you've got quite a task. And- and you've been named first vice president. You- you're a member of the board at-at one point, and gee, you just zipped right up.

Heston: I just was elected to the board on Saturday.

Wygant: Yeah.

Heston: It's the primary defender of the second amendment of the Bill Of Rights, which is, of course, a core document. The Bill Of Rights is right at the basis of the American idea, those wise old dead white guys that made up the country knew what they were about. And you- it is a mainstream issue. Most Americans, in fact, support the second amendment's right to bear and carry arms, and there are, as you suggest, a few extremists, and some of them are- are on the board. And we have, however, we- they elected- or re-elected in the case of Wayne LaPierre, and elected in my case and Cain Robinson's case- police chief Cain Robinson is now second vice president. We re-elected Marion Hammer as president.

Wygant: Mister Heston, could I ask you to stand by here for just a moment? We have to get to traffic, but I- I do want to continue talking with you. Could you hang in for a minute?

Heston: Yeah.

Wygant: Okay, good. Thanks. ****************

Wygant: Okay, right now let's get back to Charleton Heston talking to us from his home in Southern California. Let me ask you, you mentioned that there are some right wing folks- far right wing, still around the NRA. Are you going to try to get them off the board and out of the picture?

Heston: That- that's certainly the intention, and I think it's highly doable. Wayne LaPierre is- is a superb leader, Marion Hammer's a strong president. And I think Cain Robinson and I can provide some useful support there.

Wygant: Now the image of- of the NRA has been an organization that supports the right of people to buy any legal firearms, and, of course, you go to any- any gun store- gun shop and you see things there that are big, and brutal, and deadly, and far more than you need for- for hunting or home protection. Do you stand by- I mean, the image is...

Heston: AK-47's are inappropriate for private ownership, of course.

Wygant: Yeah, but the image is that they're- the fire power of these weapons is far more than a hunter or a homeowner would need. Why is it necessary to have those guns available anyway?

Heston: I just got through telling you. The possession- private possession of AK-47's is entirely inappropriate.

Wygant: Right, but AK-47's one thing, but I've been in a gun shop- I've been in gun shops, and there's fire power there that doest's seem necessary and that people worry about being out there in- in the hands of, you know, potential criminals.

Heston: I'm not certain what you're point is- that there are guns available in gun stores?

Wygant: No, guns that go beyond what a hunter would need. In other words, why does the NRA support guns that have overkill? Let's put it that way. Shouldn't there be some sort of limit?

Heston: Well, for any certain time, AK-47"s are entirely inappropriate for private ownership, and the- the problem, of course, is not guns held by private citizens, but guns held by criminals. And where we have failed, where the government has failed is with entirely cosmetic actions like the Brady Bill, which is meaningless. I'm not even- don't even think it should be repealed because it doesn't do anything. and it's been in- on the books for more than two years. In the course of that time, I think it is, nineteen people have been arrested, and two have been imprisoned felons with felony records for trying to purchase a firearm.

Wygant: Well, we've- we gotta- I really appreciate talking with us. It'll be interesting to see- interesting to see how you handle the public image of the National Rifle Association and those in the far right in the group. And if you don't mind, we'd like to talk to you again.

Heston: I hope we can do that.

Wygant: Alright, thanks very much.

Heston: Mister Wygant.

Wygant: Thank you. Charleton Heston from his home in Southern California, and the KGO Radio News time is 8:23. # # #
(NB: Boldface emphasis from the source)

I saw this interview on television, and I think it's telling that the original video is not available now, nor was it available within a few days of the original interview. Unfortunately, at the time I first saw it I made no effort to capture the film clip. Well, I was a lot less "geeky" then.

I was then incensed, as I am still, that Charlton Heston stated "
AK-47"s (sic) are entirely inappropriate for private ownership..." and "... entirely cosmetic actions like the Brady Bill, which is meaningless. I'm not even- don't even think it should be repealed..." (this last part is speaking of The Brady Bill and not necessarily addressing "AK-47-type firearms.)

But upon reflection, and with the perspective of a decade's though: the interview occurred with mere hours of Heston's assumption of NRA office, and while he may be big on flintlock rifles he may have had personal opinions which were not entirely representative of the National Rifle Association.

In fact, it may even be significant that he never again made public statements to the effect that private ownership this sort of firearm was "... entirely inappropriate ..."


I'm not saying I'm going to run right out and join the NRA. In fact, I'm adamant in my opposition to some of the NRA position AND people.

I still object to the NRA's attempts to force me to subscribe to a magazine which is only marginally interesting ... or well-written ... as part of my membership dues.

And the "Zero-Tolerance" thing still gives me cold chills.

But I am willing to admit that some of the issues which I have long held dear may not be grounded in fact. I guess I have to think on this some more. I still don't LIKE the NRA, in part because I've never thought of the President (Wayne) as being very much of a leader.

Still, they may not be as 'all bad' as I had originally thought.

This may be a good time for The Hobo Brasser to tell me how much he likes "Wayne's World."

I need more ammunition!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

ARPC: Back-to-Back Specialty Matches

Source: Email from Mike McCarter


11th Annual Oregon Single Stack back to back with the 3rd Annual Oregon Glock Championship

Welcome to one big weekend of shooting fun. This year we have decided to put on these two big matches back to back with each other. Here are some answers to questions about one or both of the matches.

What do the stages look like this year? If you check out the USPSA Limited / Production National stages on under the National Matches heading, we will be using a modified version of stages 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 16. We thought this would add a little fun to each match.

Where is the best place to stay overnight at in the Albany area? We have a special deal with Phoenix Inn in Albany and if you mention Albany Rifle and Pistol Club you can get a room for $69 plus tax.

When do the matches begin? Both matches will begin at 9am.

Will the stages be the same at both matches? No, what you shoot on Saturday will be different than Sunday’s match.

Will lunch be available Saturday and Sunday? Yes, if you fill out a lunch order form each morning our neighboring deli will deliver lunch around 12:30 each day. Due to the fact that we are shooting 8 stages at each match there will not be an official lunch break.

Are you giving guns away this year at either of the matches? Yes, we will have 3 Springfield 1911’s given away at the Single Stack Championships (one ticket per entry), one Single Stack to the staff and squad moms, plus we will be giving away, for the first time, 2 Glocks (one ticket per entry) at the Oregon Glock Championships.

Do we have more room for competitors in either match? Yes, we have limited room for the Single Stack and plenty of room for the Glock Championship but don’t tell anyone if you want to increase the odds of winning a handgun.

How are the divisions set up for the Single Stack and Glock matches? The Single Stack match will be the same as we did it last year. L10 for single stacks shooting under the L10 USPSA rules, single stack for competitors shooting under the single stack USPSA rules and Open for other Limited 10 non-single stack guns. L10 division of the 11th SS Championships will shoot for trophies, other divisions for ribbons and everyone is in the drawings for the handguns to be given away. Glock Championships will recognize all divisions of Glocks except for Glock revolver. Awards will be based on the number of entries in each division, class and category. In both matches awards will be mailed directly from the award factory to the winners.

Will there be extra shirts and hats at the Single Stack? Yes, a few extra shirts and hats will be available on a first come first serve basis.

What is the weather going to be like? Only God knows and I’m sure that answer is not high on the priority list for Him. Be prepared for anything. We will have some water available but it is always best to bring your own. I find most competitors are unprepared when it concerns fluid intake during the match.

What rules are these matches conducted under? We are running these matches under the current edition of the USPSA / IPSC rules.

Please feel free to send an email or call if you have additional questions about either match. If you received this email you are either signed up or we are thinking you should be here.

Mike McCarter Tom Chambers
Match Director Range Master

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

D.C. Gun Ban News

If you're not a regular reader of Geek With A .45, you should be.

If your not a regular reader of G45, it's probably for one of the following reasons:
  1. You're new here, and never saw the link on the sidebar
  2. You've been here before, and didn't notice or ignored the sidebar link
  3. You use to read that blog, but quit because G45 hasn't been posting regularly for the past few months.
As is implied in the sidebar classification, G45 is one of the websites I visit EVERY DAY, and for good reason. When he does post, it's usually something worth reading.

Such is the case in his recent reference to a Dave Kopel article published in The Volokh Conspiracy titled "Recent Developments in DC Case on Handguns and Self-Defense Bans."

Essentially, DC appealed in the case of Parker v. District of Columbia, and found that their efforts were being presented to a coldly unimpressed DC Court of Appeals. The District either hadn't done their homework, or the attorneys who drafted the appeal were incompetent.

(NB: The Kopel article includes links to the District's motion and other filings on the case.)

The context of the appeal was reminiscent of throwing the baby from the Troika to distract the pursuing wolves. They seemed willing to concede that long guns were acceptable as self-defense weapons, but having made that concession they argued that it was not necessary for citizens to resort to handguns for the same purpose.

G45 deftly plucked the following quote as most representative of Kopel's dissertation, and I see no better example:

The strategic implications of DC's decision are enormous. It appears that DC has decided that its long-gun self-defense ban is constitutionally indefensible. The most logical inference is that DC (despite statements by the Mayor at press conferences) has concluded that it cannot convince the Supreme Court that the Second Amendment is not an individual right. DC is retreating to position that the individual Second Amendment right is not violated by a handgun ban, as long as individuals can possess other guns.
You and I have suspected that the results of the Parker ruling would prove to be the seminal event which may lead to a Supreme Court re-evaluation of the 2nd Amendment. This may be a giant step in the right direction for firearms owners.

And while I'm at it, I just realized that I haven't linked to The Volokh Conspiracy on my own sidebar. I have corrected that oversight. You'll find it under Other RKBA Websites, along with Dave Kopel's 2nd Amendment website.

TCGC 9/07 Stage 1: Skinny Views

We really took advantage of luck of the draw, pulling this as our first stage of a very difficult Points Patch. It gave us a moment to warm up, and the points penalty wasn't so heavy if we screwed up that it would lose the match before we even got started.

Good thing for me.

This stage featured the only moving target in the entire match, which forced us to slow down right at the end of what was otherwise a 'hoser' stage. Difficult to do, when you're red hot & rolling, but necessary.

That was the theme of this Points Match. Change-ups were included in almost every stage, and you had to be on your toes, be sharp, think it through and understand the challenges involved.

Match Director Norm the Ungrateful (you'll see references to his match-balance expertise again in this six-part series) managed to force us to think our way through the match, instead of just dumbly shoot our way through. If you weren't mentally sharp, if your equipment wasn't reliable, if you were just a little off your best game ... Norm provided us with the perfect opportunity to trash the match on every stage.

I've decided to present the entire match here, and even though you may at first glance decide that the videos and commentary aren't very interesting and you don't really care, you may discover that there are hidden truths to be found here.

Some people thought it was inane when James T. Kirk announced: "We have picked up life signs of an unknown entity"; when Christopher Columbus wrote in his log: "Our course has exceeded the limits of previously navigated waters"; when Captain Piquard mentioned "The Borg are a curious race"; and when Captain W. Bligh wrote: "The crew is restless". But the people who rejected these ominous pronouncements as insignificant were merely demonstrating their own lack of situational awareness.

Read, and heed.

The first stage is presented without scoring. It's short, and it's not very interesting. Except that it postulates some interesting questions.

How do you navigate a stage? Do you go close to the early targets for the easy A-zone hits, or do you stay wide to position yourself for the next target array and save yourself a few steps ... and a couple of seconds of Stage Time?

When you have to engage targets through a port, do you crowd it and trade position on the next array for a few feet closer distance, or do you stay well back so you can engage the activated moving target from a stable position even if you're farther away from it?

These questions and more are addressed by this series, by this match, and by these videos. You are invited to critique every shooter on every stage. You can see many different techniques on every stage, and decide which would be your choice

You may not have been there. You may not have had the opportunity to make these choices in an actual match. But by watching these videos, you may gain some perspective about how you SHOULD shoot these stages (and by extension, similar stages) if/when you find yourself in a similar situation.

You can also view this as a 5MB download at Jerry the Geek's Video Shooting Gallery, or go directly to it here.

TCGC 9/07 Stage 2: Madness

Classifiers are boring ... but they become interesting as soon as you screw up.

That is a certifiable Geek Quote, and you can write it down.

I managed to screw up CM03-08 here, and I worked hard to convince the people in my squad that I was sand-bagging. It wasn't such a hard sell. I caught one no-shoot target, and they were convinced that I MUST have done so on purpose.

Then they shot the stage, and I wasn't the only screw-up.

I've shot this stage, or a variation, several times. I got it right one time, and was very proud of myself. That's gone, now.

Sometimes Practical Pistol shooting is like Figure Skaters doing Figure-Eights. It's a technical test, not fun to watch, but still a definitive test of certain skills. Boring, but necessary.

This stage is essentially a test of accuracy, but it also challenges draw/first shot time, and reloads. It's a good time to push the envelope, spray and pray that you hit the brown cardboard instead of the White.

That never worked for me, either. You either have the skill on demand, or you don't. This is where "Bragging Rights" become meaningful. It's a survival stage ... you won't win the match on this kind of stage, but you can certainly lose it.

This video is also available at Jerry the Geek's Video Shooting Gallery, more specifically at 7t92.wmv.

Monday, September 17, 2007

TCGC 9/07 Stage 3: "W Take 2"

On this stage, the competitor is truly challenged to rein in his urge to hose the stage and, instead, take a little more time to get a good sight picture and sight alignment.

The temptation is almost unbearable, and the risk is nearly unendurable.

The balance ... is a great challenge, and this may be one of the most challenging sneakiest stages of the match.

It's uncommon for such subtlety to be presented at a club match, and the credit goes to Match Director 'Norm the Ungrateful'. During the match I failed to take note of the stage designer credits, but I see the sly hand of Norm in this and many other stages in the match.

Norm tries to push the people who attend his matches. We've seen this before in the Columbia Cascade Section, and it has made better shooters of us no matter how we may whine and grumble.

A few years ago Tom Chambers served as Competition Director for CCS and most of the Points Matches were characterized by stages which emphasized accuracy and moving targets. The things we hated most, he emphasized. The result was that we were forced to learn the skills we had avoided. We didn't much like him for it, but we sure liked the results. When we had a Sectional match, we found that visitors against whom we competed had to work harder to beat us, and it didn't always turn out that way. When we attended major matches (a rarity in that then-insular environment), we finished much higher in the rolls than we had expected, because Tom taught us to shoot more accurately.

Now Norm is teaching us to think, and while his opportunities to influence the way we shoot may not impress us so emphatically, I am confident that we have as much to learn from Norm as we learned from Tom.

I note that this stage stage was the only one of the many penalty-target-infested stages on which I managed to avoid hitting the no-shoots. Would that I had been so cautious on the other stages.

Let's take a look at the video of one squad trying to shoot fast at tight, close targets:

This video is also available at Jerry the Geek's Video Shooting Gallery as 7t93.wmv

TCGC 9/07 Stage 4: Shooting In The Cold

It wasn't cold on this Oregon September match day, but you couldn't prove it by watching the competition.

We saw a couple of competitors with ammunition-feeding problems. Richard was still fighting his perenial magazine problems, and Craig was so plagued that he quit before finishing the stage. It's hard to fault Craig for this decision, and nobody like to be labeled A Quitter, but I believe I would rather have stuck to it if only to engage the last of the 'easy targets' and taken my chances.

Perhaps not. Again, if you're not the guy fighting the gun, it's easier to criticize than to deal with the problems.

This stage was notionally 'free style', except that you had to take the first three targets through a port. In reality, there were only a few variations available on the theme ... when/how you engaged targets T4 and T5, and when you reloaded. About the only advantage you could find was, surprisingly, when and how you engaged the 'difficult' targets in the back left corner from the shooting port in the front right corner of the stage.

There were two cardboard IPSC targets, close to the ground and hidden from any other position, which were bounded by no-shoot penalty targets. Most competitors dove into the port so they could get as close as possible, needlessly wasting a couple of seconds to move closer. I stopped two steps farther away to engage them ... but then, I hit one of the penalty targets and loudly cursed both the course designer and the set-up crew. On the other hand, Al did the same thing with his Limited gun and made the shots, clean. Skill is always a factor, and when they tight, difficult shots come at the end of a 30-second run it's the more physically fit competitors who prove to be ... competitive.

This video is also available at Jerry the Geek's Shooting Gallery as a 15mb download.

TCGC 9/07 Stage 5: MOVE!

IPSC has as its motto, D V C, that is to say, Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas, or accuracy, power and speed, and these three are indivisible in the concept of IPSC shooting. However, the ratio of accuracy, power and speed is up to the competitor.
That's what IPSC says.

In reality, it is a challenge to find the proper balance between shooting fast and shooting accurately.

The 'power' factor is determined before the competitor even starts his trip to the range, being decided by the caliber, bullet weight and the velocity of the ammunition he has chosen for the match.

The balance between SPEED and ACCURACY is partly determined by choices which are similarly made before the match. For example, tuning the trigger and practice determine the speed with which the competitor can make 'double taps' quickly and accurately.

The best way to increase the speed is to move quickly rather than to shoot quickly. For example, evaluating the geometric relationship between targets and shooting positions can save steps, and thus can save time which might otherwise be spent moving.

Choosing the best place and time to reload will also save time, if the choices are wisely made. Generally, the best choice is to reload while moving; 'standing reloads' are anathema to the IPSC competitor.

Equipment plays an important part in IPSC competition. Choosing sights which match your visual acuity, tuning magazines so that they feed ammunition and so that they drop quickly when the magazine release is pressed, both can enhance either accuracy or speed ... or both.

Firearm reliability is based on careful and frequent cleaning, care in reloading ammunition, changing springs as appropriate to insure that every part works correctly every time -- all of these preparatory measures will enhance the competitive experience.

On the range, the competitor needs to know his strengths and weaknesses.

If he is agile and quick, he may find it advantageous to move to the position which is closest to the targets before engaging. If he is accurate, he may find he performs better by engaging targets from a further distance and save time by saving steps.

The cautionary note here is: if you're all A-zone hits, you're probably shooting too slow.

Every competitor needs to know his strengths and weaknesses. Capitalize on his strengths, avoid being caught in a situation where he must rely on a skill in which he is not comfortable.

Free-Style stage design allows the competitor to choose from his personal skill set, rather than be forced to do something he does not perform with alacrity.

This stage allows every competitor to choose his own personal 'best way' to engage the variety of targets. Although the title of the stage suggests that he "MOVE!", it's possible to engage all of the targets from no more than two shooting positions. Ammunition restrictions (magazine capacity) may make it unpalatable to do so.

Those competitors who are limited to no more than 10 rounds in a magazine may find that they need to reload before they can take advantage of the stage, but fortunately the interim targets are readily accessible during movement, if he realizes that he can move as close as he wishes.

All of the difficult targets can be engaged from a position which allows the competitor to stop, plant his feet firmly, and shoot at them after he has taken a breath and acquired a steady, comfortable stance.

Not all competitors recognize these possibilities, and the video demonstrates the ways in which a small group of shooter either take advantage of the design, or else allow themselves to be overwhelmed by the challenge of shooting 26 rounds in less than 30 seconds.

If shooting a stage without malfunctions is a factor which you have not assured, the video, unfortunately, also explores the ways in which firearm reliability can either save you or sink you.

While watching the video, you can test your own grasp of these principles by determining whether you can tell what each competitor is doing correctly, versus what each competitor is mistakenly choosing the wrong skills for this stage.

This video is also available as a 15MB download from Jerry the Geek's Video Shooting Gallery, as 7t95.wmv

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Adam - 20070913

Tonite we're starting a very special series. Letters from an American IPSC shooter, son and brother of American IPSC shooters, who is serving his country "Over There".

Adam S., son of Bill S., has been writing letters home for several months. Bill has shared many of his eldest son's letters with me during this period, and I have been unable to resist asking Bill for his permission to share these letters.

Bill wasn't shy about giving permission, so I'll include Adam's latest letter here and probably many of his earlier letters in the near future. I've saved them all, as I'm sure Adam's family has.

Most of these letters are very personal, but perhaps this is the most personal as Adam has recently come home to meet his newborn child and is here sharing his joy.

These aren't what we usually consider "Letters From The Front". These are "Letters To My Family, and as such are more important.

While you are reading Editorials from the New York Times and ads therein from leftist organizations, I hope you will have also read these letters from an American Soldier ... who we might consider a "Medic" .. and use the content to put a face to these brave men (and sometimes women) who are fighting for their country.

I couldn't believe it! There are endless little 'first-times' streaming around the [S] (2.0) household. Some I hear about formally, most happen to be 'oh by-the-way, Amaya can laugh and grab now', which have both a breaking and melting effect on my heart. I think what I miss most about my little girls is the teaching. I love teaching (to them).

Kristena told me how much fun she had while shooting. Her conclusion is that she wants a gun that is soft, quiet, and doesn't kick hard. I told her that is like dressing a lion as a sheep. Just because you disguise the signs of lethality does not mean it's no longer lethal. The bang and the snap help you to revere what it is you're playing with.

I am excited for Billie Jo's son, though I haven't shown that to [Billie Jo] enough. You always have more support than what is on the surface; I hope to show [Billie Jo] how much I care about her son. The last month has been a period of darkness with communication. I also hope to change that soon as well.

45 degrees at night? I did the math, that's about right for here too. 45C. Which is about 123 f. Glad we're experiencing the same weather! Actually, with today being an exception (115) it has been cooling off some. The nights are getting cooler and the day light is getting shorter. I look forward to the changes of seasons because those changes signify time; well, time elapsed.

I don't have any engraved crystal Beer Stein trophies! I fear that I've fallen quite behind on the trophy count in these past few years...

Life in the desert is lonely and lengthy, but alas it is disciplined and deliberate. For one-week I've had ample time off, but was drained and distracted long enough to not catch up on much correspondence. Today I was briefed on a very large mission which leaves me 3-days to prepare for it. I will obviously fill you in on the details of the mission after it's over. I should not be gone for more than 72 hours, but during this absence pray for strength, endurance, and impact.

I have a curious question for you, I've always assumed the reasons but I don't really recall asking. Thinking back to your early 20's, what was it that inspired you to start KB? Was it the building? Surely there are many trades that involve welding and fabricating. Was it the industry? Was it the fitness? Was it outside sources or inside motives? Needless to say, I proudly say I literally 'grew-up' in a gym. Some may call me a fitness nut, but there is a deep-rooted love for fitness that began in my youth. I loved KB perhaps only second to you, and I will always love the gym.

Oh! I nearly forgot, I have been designing stages! Off-the-wall, some of them. Some very unusual props and reactive components as well. I started drawing and thinking while guarding that Tigris River bridge. The entire theme was Iraq War based, including the bridge (a traffic control point), the dfac (sic), a roof-top guard position, a market, etc. As my mind wandered I even thought of an Adam-oriented side-match fun shoot that involves shooting from an inverted table (the exercise kind we, as kids, used to spin ourselves end over end in)! Safety would be a huge issue obviously, but it could be done. I even rehearsed the physics of drawing from a table upside down and even doing a reload- not as hard as you might think as long as you can keep the blood from rushing to your head!

My mind often wanders to my father (as well as being a father). Sometimes even the strangest memories surface and my heart deeply yearns to revisit those times. Additionally it turns on the desire to re-create those memories with my own children. Such are the thoughts of a young father I suppose; especially one overseas with the time (too much time) for introspection.

"Some men wonder if what they do will ever make a difference in the world. Marines don't have that problem." - Ronald Reagan

I love you (a lot), I miss you (very much), and I can hardly wait to see you again,


Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Now that Summer (for all intents and purposes) and the Major Matches are over, we're back to shooting at Club matches. Some folks refer to this as "The Competitive Season, Part III".

Part I is February until sometime in June, when we have club matches.
Part II is June to Labor Day, when we have Major Matches.
Part III is September through much of November, when most of the big matches have been completed.
Part IV is from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and January after New Years.

All of this leads up to the concept that some people don't do much match shooting except for club matches, and this year I'm one of them. So it is with real pleasure that I note the re-commencement of regular club matches.

That's the good part. The not-quite-so-good part is the slow grind back to shooting up to expectations, rather than to innate ability.

Today was a good example of not shooting up to expectations.

You will recall that a few days ago I talked about the Albany Club Match, wherein I jinxed myself by focusing on shooting a Clean Match (no misses or other penalties) up to the last stage, where I scored three miss penalties.

This week was No-Shoot week. In a match with only one moving target and essentially simple, yet challenging stages, I managed to hit no-shoot penalty targets on 3 out of the six stages.

Worse, I jinxed myself again.

At the end of Stage 4, while waiting for the preceding squad to clear Stage 5 (of 6), I casually mentioned: "Have you noticed that my gun is running much better now? I installed a new recoil spring. I think that fixed the problem of the slide not going into battery."

You guessed it: on the final two stages, I experienced gun problems because my slide wasn't going into battery. Maybe I should switch from a 10# recoil spring to a 12# recoil spring?

I've checked the slide, the barrel and the frame. I am unable to discern any cracks. After Stage 5, I field-stripped the gun, wiped off the powder residue from slide, frame, barrel and recoils spring assembly, and applied another light coat of oil. I did note that I was missing not one but TWO of the five slide-mount screws, so I installed (with Blue loc-tite) replacement screws.

All to no avail. My problem wasn't sight alignment, it was reliability.

I wasn't the only one in my squad experiencing reliability.

Richard installed an Extended Magazine Release on his STI Limited gun. On the first stage, he dropped 3 magazines when he didn't intend to make a reload.

He removed the Extended Magazine Release. I've had the same experience, as have many other shooters of my acquaintance. We've all realized that it offers no advantage, but instead causes problems because we're just not use to that mag release button sticking out so far. As Richard said: "It worked just fine in practice!"

Yep. That's what I said.

After the 3rd stage, Richard decided to install a longer magazine release spring. It was a lost cause, because for some unknown reason he continued to have magazine problems. By the last stage (Stage 5: "Tennessee Two-Step") he was having problems with jams when his gun went to slide-lock and reload jammed the slide.

I note that within the CCS Section, the ARPC 12th annual Single Stack Match (NB: link is an MS Excel spreadsheet) is the last weekend of this month, followed by the Glock Match (NB: link is an MS WORD document) on Sunday.

Lots of local people were shooting Single-Stack, Limited 10 or Production in preparation for those two matches. If nothing else, the experience served to re-acquaint them with the gun they don't usually use in competition. More often, it showed them that they have often forgotten, or have not recently experienced, the idiosyncrasies of the pistols they don't use much anymore.

Getting back to the main subject.

By the last stage, Richard and I were both stuck with guns which were 'occasionally' malfunctioning, and we didn't know why.

We were having fun, regardless of our personal problems. The weather was absolutely perfect: it wasn't raining (much), the wind wasn't blowing targets down, the sun wasn't burning us up and there was no snow on the ground. The company was good, everybody worked (even unto the 'tear-down' at the end of the match -- TCGC doesn't offer 'paid' tear-down as do two of the other clubs in the section, but that's not a problem.

So I admit, the following video puts both Richard and me in A Bad Light, but it's all because of mechanical problems which we attempted, but were unable to correct during a match.

I can't speak for Richard, but if you find it funny it's because you haven't ezperienced the same problems ... yet.

We'll laugh at you then, and expect you to grin and bear it.

Of course, that doesn't excuse my 3 penalties for no-shoots.

Match results are available here, and more pictures and videos will soon be available at Jerry the Geek's Video Shooting Gallery.