Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shooting Glasses, Part 2

In response to my earlier article about shooting glasses, I received a question in the COMMENTS asking about specific brand names and whether "they are all polycarbonate lenses".

A few minutes of online research provided more useless information than you want to read here. Essentially, the named brands are "fashion sunglasses", and the emphasis is on shape and finish (or tint). There are categories for "sport glasses", but even there I was unable to find information on "impact resistance" or even, most commonly, UV protection or thickness/light-weight/flexibility of the material of which the lenses are made.

If we're looking for answers, here are a few:
  • Polycarbonate plastics are generally regarded as the standard for impact resistance
  • Polycarbonate lenses provide UV A and UV B protection.
  • UV C protection is that provided in Welders Goggles, and are not typically provided by Polycarbonate materials in lightweight glasses.
  • If the purpose of wearing Range Glasses is to protect your eyes from damage or industry due to the high-velocity impact of small particles of foreign matter, lenses should be made of Polycarbonate plastics at a minimum.
  • When buying Range Glasses, it is not safe to assume that the lenses are made of Polycarbonate material unless the manufacturer specifically says they are.
What other materials are available?

During my research, I ran across this article which defines and describes Polycarbonate plastic as Impact Resistant lense material.

The article also identifies and describes (briefly) another, newer (and more expensive) material called "Trivex".

An article on Trivex vs Polycarbonate describes the differences:

Born from the space race in the 1960's and introduced to the ophthalmic lens market in the late 1970's, polycarbonate has been around the block a few times and enjoys a sizeable [sic] market share, particularly in children's and safety eyewear due to its superior impact resistance. With a higher index of refraction and lower specific gravity, polycarbonate lenses are thinner and lighter than their plastic and glass counterparts. Inherent UV protection and wide product availability also contribute to its popularity.

Polycarbonate, however, is not without its drawbacks. One of the chief complaints about polycarbonate is its optical quality, or lack thereof. With an Abbe value of 29, polycarbonate's chromatic aberration is the highest of any lens material in use today. Furthermore, with the increase in popularity of drill mount frames, some dispensers are hesitant to use polycarbonate because of its lack of tensile strength and likelihood of cracking around drill holes.

Enter Trivex

Introduced in 2001 by PPG [Pittsburgh Plate Glass], as the only lens material other than polycarbonate to pass FDA Impact Resistance Test ... the High Velocity Impact Test, and meet ANSI Z87.1 '89 standards, Trivex has been slowly increasing in both popularity and availability. While Trivex has a slightly lower refractive index (1.53 compared to 1.58), it's specific gravity, 1.11g/cm3, makes it the lightest of any lens material available today. Like polycarbonate, Trivex also has inherent UV protection. However, unlike polycarbonate, Trivex has an Abbe value of 45, making it optically superior. Further distinguishig [sic: 'distinguishing'?] itself, Trivex is ideal for drill mounting. The tensile strength of Trivex makes it highly resistant to cracking around drill holes, so much in fact, Younger Optics guarantees its Trivex products (Trilogy) for life, against stress fractures and drill mount cracking.


In summary, Trivex has the impact resistance and inherent UV protection of polycarbonate. With a lower index of refraction, Trivex may be slightly thicker than polycarbonate, but is lighter, and can be surfaced to the same 1mm center thickness. Trivex rises above polycarbonate with both its optical quality and suitability for drill mounting, however since Trivex is still a relatively new product, availability may be limited.

Finally, when comparing the price of Trivex to polycarbonate, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. If you are looking at an aspheric Trivex product, compare it to an aspheric polycarbonate product; likewise if you are looking at a spherical polycarbonate product, compare it to a spherical Trivex product. You'll likely find the difference to be less than you might think.
I admit, that last paragraph is a little difficult to follow. My understanding is that Trivex is significantly more expensive than Polycarbonate, but may provide other benefits (higher impact resistance, lighter glasses, thinner lenses) that justify the price difference.

Further translations: Polycarbonate lenses may not be as 'clear' (some distortion of the image may be detected), and the frames should provide a heavy, continuous surface because of the relatively lower tensile strength of the material. That last means that an impact may not break the lense, but if the lense is only attached to the frame by a couple of screws the lense may break loose from the frame under impact even if it doesn't break the lense at the point of impact.

Frame-to-Lense construction:

Taking another look in way the three pair of shooting glasses are attached to the bows or frames of the glasses, we can benefit from what we have learned to evaluate the relative 'ruggedness' of the assembly: (Click on the images to see a larger view)

The Claypro is attached to the one-piece lense with two screws, one smaller than the other. There is no other support for the lense. This makes a nice, light pair of sunglasses but based on the above reading) may not keep the lense from breaking loose from the bows.

The Silencio SD one-piece lense is also attached to the bow with only two screws, although they may be more robust than the Claypro because the plastic (Polycarbonate?) material of the frame is 'wrapped' on both sides of the frame. The screws go through the frame, through the lense, and again through the frame. Whether this provides more support to the lense than the Claypro is debatable, but intuitively it would seem to be the case.

The Silencio Nemesis frame is of completely different construction. The plastic (?) frame provides support to the entire top of the frame. There is a nosepiece in the front of the frame, supporting the very narrow section in the center of the lense, which seems to be either glued or otherwise adhered to the lense. The nose supports, on the inside of the lense, is attached to the nosepiece and is between the lense and the face of the wearer. Again, that may provide only marginal support but it may also help prevent the lense from breaking loose from the frame.

Given that the way the frame is attached to the lense may make a difference in the structural integrity of the assembly, it would seem reasonable to assume that the Silencio Nemesis would provide better protection to the eyes and the face from frontal impact.

Getting back to the question of Polycarbonate vs Trivex:

An article from a vendor, ADS Sports Eyewear, provides even more valuable information.

Polycarbonate is virtually indestructible, and it is used exclusively by many of the world's finest sports glasses manufacturers. It is thinner, lighter, and stronger than glass. What's more, polycarbonate lenses can survive a 12-gauge shotgun blast from 10 yards away. (Warning!: If you try this at home, take the glasses off first.)

Polycarbonate naturally blocks almost all of the sun's harmful UV rays. No coatings are required to block UV rays on a polycarbonate lens, so don't let anyone sell you this option.

The strength of polycarbonate is partially derived from its flexibility. It is not brittle and will not shatter. This strength also contributes to its main weakness. Because polycarbonate is so flexible, it is also easily scratched. New lens coatings and hardeners have significantly improved polycarbonate's durability, but choosing a polycarbonate lens still requires an informed consumer. Quality lens treatments match the refractive index of the lens material and allow light to pass directly through. If light passes through the lens coating and the lens at two different speeds, vision will be blurred.


Trivex is a new lens material that is quickly becoming the best thing that has ever happened to sports eyewear. Originally developed for military applications, Trivex is stronger, clearer, and lighter than polycarbonate. Most importantly for sports applications, Trivex minimizes distortion called "chromatic aberration", which is distortion that occurs when objects are viewed away from the optical center.

Chromatic aberration is best measured by its "Abbe value." In prescription eyewear, a higher Abbe value indicates less distortion as your gaze moves away from the center of the lens. Trivex has an Abbe value of 43, while polycarbonate has a value of 30.

Trivex naturally blocks 100% of the sun's harmful UV rays, similar to polycarbonate. Trivex has better scratch resistance than polycarbonate.

Trivex has only been available to the general public since 2003, and is still not offered by most manufacturers as a lens choice. ... Trivex is usually about $25 to $40 more expensive than polycarbonate.

Another point about Trivex, for your general knowledge:


Recognizing the strength of polycarbonate as a safety material for plastics lenses, PPG Industries (Pittsburgh Plate Glass Industries), the originators of CR39 monomer, has introduced its own lightweight safety plastics material known as Trivex'. It is a normal-index material and is claimed to be even stronger than polycarbonate but more flexible, to enhance even further its safety aspect. It offers 100% UV attenuation and is easily tinted by the usual surface dyeing process. Minus lenses can be surfaced down to just 1.0mm centre thickness without the lens losing its inherent safety features. Two lens manufacturers now produce lenses in Trivex" material. Younger Optics calls its lenses Trilogy" and Hoya calls its lenses Phoenix" (PNX). Each company has modified the monomer to its own needs.
In an earlier article, I mentioned that when I bought my latest pair of reading glasses I asked about polycarbonate lenses (which I had specified before) and mentioned that they had been scratched, over time, by the bows when I put them in their carry case. He recommended a new material which they called "Phoenix" ... and reading the above article jogged my memory. I paid the extra expense for "Phoenix" lenses, in a Flexor frame. (This is a light metal frame which completely wraps each lense, and can be flexed over ninety degrees without damage.)

I had wondered if I could use them for shooting glasses, so I could use the bifocular portion of the lense to focus on iron sights and still use the non-corrective 'upper' part of the lense to see objects more than 30 inches away.

The experiment was not as positive as I had hoped. Bifocals tend to be confusing in Action Sports, and while I didn't actually wander around half-lost in a complex Field Problem stage, my shooting wasn't sufficiently improved to make the effort worth the results. There was too much confusing input, being fed to my brain from my eyes, to process as quickly as needed.

Also, it was a sunny day and the reading glasses were clear; I was defeated in the last stage by too much bright sun.

Obviously, a competitor needs at least two pairs of Range Glasses to compensate for different light levels: a smoke or 'dark' pair for bright sunlight, and either a clear or amber pair for low-light conditions, which are prevalent during much of the year here in Oregon.


Polycarbonate lenses are, as stated above, the standard for impact resistant eyewear.
Trivex lenses are even better.

Polycarbonate lenses have been around for several years, and are widely available in a variety of styles, colors, and eyeglass designs. The price of shooting glasses with Polycarbonate lenses will vary based mostly on fashion and trademark. We have seen no evidence that $200 glasses from Oakley, for example, are more effective at protecting your eyes and your face from injury due to impact from small high-velocity fragments.

Trivex lenses have only been available since 2001 (or 2003, depending on your source). They probably are not yet widely available "off the shelf" in your local shooting sports store. At a minimum, they are more expensive. More likely, if you wish to wear impact resistance shooting glasses made from Trivex, you will have to go to your optometrist (or, if you need no optical correction, an optician) and order them custom-made.

When I can buy a pair of Trivex glasses off-the-shelf for no more than twice what I pay for Polycarbonate glasses, I'll make the switch in a heartbeat.

In the meantime, I'll wear only polycarbonate on the Range, and I'll be using the Silencio Nemesis for it's superior rugged design of the frame.

Okay, I'll probably wear the Silencio SD when I lose the Silencio Nemesis . But the Claypro glasses are only for driving, and when I shot Sporting Clays. (Which is never.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shooting Glasses

I've been using 'cheap' Silencio shooting glasses for several years, spending about twelve dollars each, and while I've never had them seriously challenged by experiencing the joy of saving my eyesight by intercepting a bounce-back bullet (as sometimes happens when shooting at steel targets), they've always been comfortable, light-weight, and have stopped the potentially debilitating effect of rock particles, bright sunlight, and wind.

We're talking Polycarbonate lenses here, folks.

What is Polycarbonate material?

Polycarbonate lenses are thinner and lighter than traditional plastic eyeglass lenses. They also offer 100 percent ultraviolet (UV) protection and are up to 10 times more impact-resistant than regular plastic lenses.

This combination of lightweight comfort, UV protection and impact resistance makes polycarbonate lenses an excellent choice for children's glasses, sports eyewear and safety glasses.

Polycarbonate was developed in the 1970s for aerospace applications, and is currently used for the helmet visors of astronauts and for space shuttle windshields. Eyeglass lenses made of polycarbonate were introduced in the early 1980s in response to a demand for lightweight, impact-resistant lenses.

Since then, polycarbonate lenses have become the standard for safety glasses, sports goggles and children's eyewear. Because they are less likely to fracture than regular plastic lenses, polycarbonate lenses are also a good choice for rimless eyewear designs where the lenses are attached to the frame components with drill mountings.

Essentially, we're talking (in the context of Shooting Sports) about frames and lenses which offer an unique combination of lightweight, non-intrusive sunglasses which not only cut out 100% of ultra-violet light, but also are extremely resistant to shattering under the impact of a bullet, parts of a bullet (jacket, etc.) or debris such as rock chips.

In a word: eye protection.

Okay, that's two words.

How "good" are Polycarbonate lenses in terms of protecting your eyes from injury?

Pretty good.

A few years ago, the "Front Sight" Magazine ran an article which compared the then-state-of-the-art glasses from a number of vendors using a variety of materials. The Polycarbonate lenses resisted shattering under the greatest number of assaults, including bird-shot from a shotgun, a .22 caliber rounds, and small-caliber pistol rounds.

(Trust me, if you get shot in the eye at appreciably close range from almost any kind of gun, you will end up looking like Johnny Depp as "Agent Sands" in the closing scene of "Once Upon A Time in Mexico" ... blind, and bleeding copiously from your empty eye socket. We're not talking 100% anytime, anywhere, anything protection here. We're just hoping for a reasonable degree of protection from splash-back, which IS possible.)

Polycarbonate is not perfect.
A couple of years ago I bought a pair of reading glasses and specified Polycarbonate lenses. I discovered that the material was not appropriate for daily use. After less than a year, the glasses were scratched by the wear caused by the (plastic coated) bows as they rode in the glass case.

On the other hand, I once (accidentally) drove my Jeep Cherokee over a pair of Polycarbonate shooting glasses in an asphalt parking lot. The glasses were, predictably, seriously scratched. but the lenses were not broken, shattered, or otherwise compromised as far as the overall integrity of the lenses was concerned. These were Silencio "SD" glasses. (See below)

Today there is a much more scratch-resistant material available: I don't have the link yet, but they are stronger, and they cost more. A lot more ... say, 2 to 10 times as much for the material. (I bought new reading glasses glasses this year, and with the cost for grinding the lenses it's hard to tell how much is spent for the material.)

Here are three glasses types using Polycarbonate material (click on the images for full-size):

Silencie SD: Original cost, about $12.oo

Silencio Nemesis: about $10 if you can find them in your local gunshop

Claypro "Radians":

Personally, I like the Claypro glasses the least, because the wire frames seem more likely to break under constant hard usage.

The heavy plastic frames of the Silencio glasses seem more durable, but perhaps that's just the Buddy Holly in me.

All of the glasses pictured here feature Polycarbonate lenses, rest on the ears and nose bridge without touching eyebrows and cheeks, and offer varying degrees of "wrap-around" protection.

Also, they look pretty weird. That may be a selling point to you; it is to me.

Note that there are a few things to avoid when shopping for shooting glasses. The most important is that the frames shouldn't be heavy, because the become uncomfortable and they tend to droop (as you do) by the end of the day. If the frames are reinforced with extra material which may cause them to touch your forehead, this will soon become unbearably uncomfortable, and may in fact encourage sweating on hot days. Similarly, frames which touch your cheeks will not rest easily on your face for the length of a summer's day.

Note that I also looked at S&W frames. They seemed similar to the Silencio, if more expensive. I saw no added value for the price, but seemed more widely available. If you can't find Silencios, these S&W glasses will probably provide similar protection and comfort, if at a greater price.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bowling for Columbine - The Truth!

David T. Hardy, back in 2003 (right after Michael Moore won the Academy Award for Best Documentary for "Bowling for Columbine"), posted a detailed refutation of the concepts presented in the film. The article is titled "The Truth About Bowling".

By "a detailed refutation", we mean he fisked the crap out of it. That's a big job, because if Hardy is to be believed there was more crap than substance.

The link is offered here FYI, in case you ever want to explore the veracity of Michael Moore's assertions about Firearms Ownership. In truth, it has very little to do with the Columbine Massacre, and even less about the Second Amendment (except as a vitriolic attack, unsupported by the facts, and as an example of Yellow Journalism, 2002 style.)

The most interesting thing about this subject is that a "documentary" must specifically be "Non-Fiction".

In fact, the awards ceremony was when Moore took the opportunity to give his infamous "Shame on You, Mister Bush" speech"
"I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to--they're here in solidarity with me because we like non-fiction. We like non-fiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or fictition of orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up," said Moore. The audience half-booed, half-cheered his angry words.

After Moore left the stage, host Steve Martin joked, "The Teamsters are helping him into the trunk of his limo."
Given that Moore's expert editing of interviews and statements has patently encouraged the viewer to misunderstand the material presented, it is difficult if not impossible to conclude that his personal interpretation of history can be construed as anything but fiction.

Some of the independent critical comments about this film are summarized here:
There are two ways to look at Bowling for Columbine. It is a great piece of entertainment, and only a mediocre serious examination of a real issue. ...

In going about proving his point, Moore develops a scattershot approach at looking for causality. It eventually boils down to a culture of fear, perpetuated by the media and government. Stations televise each bit of news of murder and mayhem because it delivers ratings. It's a long trip to get here, and because of the way that Moore works, it's never that convincing. Instead of presenting a well-developed set of arguments, Moore opts to himself pander to his audience and go for what is most entertaining. In effect, he is creating his own brand of fear. Why interview experts when ambushing Dick Clark or interviewing random dumb people is so much more fun? Granted it makes for great cinema, but feels like tabloid journalism.

... [T]here are ... parts of the film that show just how much of a media whore Moore can become. ... The most potent example of Moore at his best (worst) is when he brings two Columbine survivors with bullets still in their bodies to the Kmart corporate headquarters, asking for refunds on the bullets (they were bought at Kmart). He is extremely effective in using the media to get his point across, to the point of shaming this large corporation into submission. Yes, Moore is good at what he does, but at times there is little to separate the media he demonizes with the way he portrays his ideas. [emphasis added]
(See also Roger Ebert's analysis here.)

In short, Moore has indeed become a Media Whore, and never shows his colors more truly than in this "documentary". The sad part of the story is that, even today, there exist people who are all too willing to take his commercial efforts as fact, rather than media-managed fiction.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Microstamping: Rhode Island Measure Off Agenda

NRA-ILA :: Legislation

According to a recent NRA-ILA release, H7834, the Rhode Island House "Microstamping Ammunition" bill (which would have required that all new pistols sold in the state of Rhode Island be equipped to "Microstamp Ammunition" with every shot fired, has been "... pulled from the agenda of the House Finance Committee."

This essentially sounds the death knell of the legislative bell for this intrusive, expensive and unproven technology in the state of Rhode Island.

We originally reported on this bill on April 20, 2008. As we said then:

This bill came before the House Committee on Judiciary this week, where it will either be passed back to the House for a vote and then advance to the Senate for consideration, or it will 'die in committee'.

This latter result is much preferred by honest gun owners; criminals, of course, don't care. They won't be using firearms which they purchased under their own name from retailers, so microstamped ammunition left at the scene of a crime will never be traced back to them.
Apparently Rhode Island voted for Door Number Two: "Die In Committee".

You may recall that we engaged the "Inventor of Microstamping Technology", Mr. Todd Lizotte, in a dialogue about Microstamping earlier this year. We have yet to hear from Mr. Lizotte in response to our May 5, 2008, concerns about Replacement Parts and other consequences of Microstamping Technology.

Rhode Island also introduced bills requiring "Encoded Ammunition" (encoding by the ammunition manufacturer, not by the firearm) as reported here in March 3 and March 4 of 2008. We have no current information about the status of these bills.

The "Encoded Ammunition" technology is completely different from "Microstamping Ammunition" technology.

However, the consequences of passage of either bill would be / would have been the same: an economically unbearable burden on the ownership of firearms; a dramatic increase on either the cost of ammunition or firarms/firearms replacement parts; and legal accountability imposed on the firearm owner with no demonstrable improvement in the notational areas of crime prevention or delivery of tools to the Law Enforcement Community to resolve crimes.

With all due respect to the contributions of Mr. Lizotte, we cannot help rejoicing in the rejection of either of these measures. Lacking any proof of realistic benefits to society of their passage, and deeply appreciative of the Unspoken Consequences to firearms owners, we must conclude that both technology proposals constitute nothing less than a back-door attack on the Second Amendment by economically targeting the purchase or accountability of ammunition in support of results which are dubious, at best.

June USPSA Training

I arrived at the ARPC range an hour early Saturday, to set up the bay for the "Introduction to USPSA" class. I discussed the exercises to be presented during the class with Mike McCarter ("Mac"), who was responsible for the instruction, and almost as an afterthought I asked him how many students had pre-registered for the class.

"One", Mac said, "and he hasn't shown up yet."

This wasn't as disappointing as you may expect.

While preparing to set up the bay, I had met and introduced myself to an older gentleman, Pete, who explained that he had brought his grandson for Mac's Junior Team Training and Practice.

During our conversation, I mentioned that the sport is addictive, and added "You realize, of course, that if you're going to be bringing your grandson to USPSA matches, you'll soon want to start competing yourself."

Pete said that he had already planned on that. He explained that he had competed in 1996, and although he hadn't participated in over a decade he expected to shoot the matches along with his grandson.

When I told him that certification & training classes were available, he wondered aloud whether he should repeat the training that he had already received in 1996.

I told him that (as an example) I had dropped out of competition for a while in the late 1980's, and when I re-entered the sport I made it a point to re-take the training. I had realized that my shooting skills had atrophied along with my understanding of the rules, so I benefited from the refresher course.

Pete thought it over quickly, and asked if he should register for the July training.

"No need for that," I replied. "I'm teaching the course today. If you have a pistol, holster, magazine carriers and some ammunition with you, why don't you just take the class today? Since you're a returning competitor, I'm sure there will be no problem. And the class is free."

Pete agreed, and after I had double-checked with Mac I had one confirmed student for the class.

In the meantime, Brian B. showed up with his son, Nathan, who was also there for the Junior Practice. Brian had brought along his friend Adam, who was ex-Coast Guard, specifically for the Introduction to USPSA course.

Brian had loaned Adam a Glock, along with an equipment belt (belt, race holster, magazine carriers, and three magazines.) Adam had a brick (250 rounds ... far more than was needed) of ammunition for the Glock, and a healthy attitude toward training.

That's two, which is one more than is necessary to justify a class.

I should mention that the class is essentially a "Field Exercises" class. The students are expected to have completed an online-workbook (requires MS Word) to demonstrate that they have read the current USPSA Competition Rules. They should have completed an open-book test, and they can expect to be questioned about their answers before the range portion of the class begins.

The entire class, both the 'classroom' component and the 'field training' component, is scheduled for two to three hours, total.

Pete hadn't seen a rule book since (assumedly) 1996. Adam had received the workbook, but hadn't completed the test. He had not brought his test, which is a guide for the instructor to re-affirm the basic principles and rules of USPSA competition.

Since I didn't know what my class participants knew ... and worse, what they didn't know ... we had to wing it.

Just to add flavor to the experience, Adam was using a borrowed gun, which he had never fired.
Pete was using a new gun, which he had never fired.

However, both had experience with shooting pistols, so all we had to do was (in nor particular order) :
  1. Gun-handling skills, how to use your pistol, learn the controls (both trigger-safety);
  2. Basic rules of USPSA competition;
  3. Safety rules;
  4. How targets were scored, and how scores are ranked compared to other competitors;
  5. Penalties (Miss, FTE, etc): how , when and why they are applied;
  6. Match Disqualification (DQ) for violation of Safety Rules, and why and when they could be expected to be imposed;
  7. Range etiquette: be ready when it's your turn to shoot; everybody works ... taping targets, resetting steel, painting steel between shooters, etc.
  8. When and how to reload;
  9. Movement, reload, clear jams ... finger obviously OFF the trigger!
  10. Range commands, what the competitor does in response to each command;
  11. Definition of 'in the shooting box', what is 'not in the box', what is 'out of the box';
  12. How to interpret stage procedures, with emphasis on starting position ("Hands naturally at sides", "wrists above shoulders", "facing uprange" [turn, then draw], "pistol laying flat on table" (how to pick up a 'grounded' pistol');
  13. Barricades and ports (stay well back of barricades and ports, don't point the pistol in the air or at your feet when moving to the other side of the barricade, etc.);
  14. "Other" technical considerations [How to avoid tension in shoulders & back when engaging targets, keep hips & shoulders square with the targets, pivot with the legs, not the shoulders, etc.]
Obviously, some of these (especially the last couple of points) are beyond the normal course syllabus. However, although we had to start with basic essentials which are assumed to be already understood before the session begins, we managed to discuss a lot of 'helpful hints' during the allotted time: we started a couple of minutes before 1pm, and completed ... including answering questions ... at 3:08 pm.

Better, we managed to discuss 'New Shooter Self-Consciousness', which in my mind is one of the primary concerns for the person who is looking forward to shooting his first match.

Both Pete and Adam completed the class with the sense that this was not too complicated, that they were welcome by more experienced shooters, and they could expect as much supported as they needed (and probably more help than they really wanted) at future matches.

It's a fact that most USPSA competitors truly enjoy having New Shooters join them. It's a complement to a squad to have a New Shooter assigned to their squad; it is demonstrable affirmation that the squad is sufficiently mature and responsible that they are willing and able to support a nervous "NuGuy", and make him or her feel entirely welcome.

Mike McCarter is the USPSA Junior Program Coordinator, and as such he is dedicated to welcoming and training Junior competitors ... who are the future of The Sport.

At a local level, Mac is committed to ensuring that ALL new competitors enjoy the support and encouragement which they may justifiably expect from a sport which actively recruits. USPSA not only wants to retain as many members as possible, we want to "Grow The Sport". This implies that we are willing and eager to make the shooting experience a positive experience, and that we will take whatever steps are necessary to insure that every competitor is safe, knowledgeable, and welcome.

USPSA competition is a volunteer sport. Only a few people are paid for their contributions; most of the community works for expenses; usually, not even for that.

We enjoy the sport, and there will come a time when every participant is given the opportunity to "Give Back To The Sport".

This is how we pay our dues. If we didn't really enjoy it, we wouldn't do it.

When we completed our training session, Adam and Pete asked if they should help put away the props and targets on the bay.

I explained to them that they don't need to worry about that. The Juniors brought everything to the shooting bay before they started their own practice session; when that is finished, they'll clean it all up and put everything away. Their equipment and ammunition is supplied for them, and this is how they "Give Back To The Sport".

Pete and Adam need to find their own way to contribute. I have no doubt they will find a way.

ARPC: - A Safe Place to Shoot

A recent (June 5, 2008) article in the Albany Democrat-Herald gives the Albany Rifle Pistol Club credit for providing Oregon residents with a Safe Place to Shoot.

Albany Democrat Herald 2008
(Image courtesy Albany Democrat Herald)
The reporter, Les Gehrett, notes:

Finding a place for target practice didn’t use to be that difficult in Oregon.

That’s no longer the case as an increasing number of public and private property owners no longer welcome the practice, leaving many marksmen nowhere to go.

The shortage of options is driving more and more people to join organizations such as the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club

The club added about 250 members over the past year, bringing its total membership to almost 1,300.

“With the difficulty of going up in the woods and finding a place to shoot, and the high price of gas, our membership is growing,” said club president Steve Shippey. “A lot of people are just wanting a nice, close place to shoot, and we offer that.”
To meet this increasing demand for safe, legal shooting venues, the Albany, Oregon club has asked for a change in its conditional use permit to allow for expansion of range facilities, to include improvements on existing bays on the East side of the range and development of an archery-only area.