Friday, December 14, 2012

"How To Shoot" .... Part Deux

Okay, so a little while ago I posted an article on "How To Shoot".  The lesson was:  "Practice".

Here's how it all comes together when you have the talent, you have the equipment, you've developed the skills, and you PRACTICE!


So .. folks, I don't know what to tell you that I haven't already said.  Except maybe .. BEWARE NORM THE UNGRATEFUL!

And by the way,  look out for his youngest son, Justin the Avenger.
My only hope is to see Justin kick some Old Man Butt real soon now.  But I notice that Norm hasn't had the nerve to bring Justin to an ARPC match yet.  Maybe he's just hoping to put off the day.

Norms older son, Zac, has already shown that he can push the limits.   I kinda think Zac has discovered girls; don't see him on the range much any more.  Now it's Justin's turn.

Learn to shoot.  Teach your spouse and your kids to shoot.

It's a family sport.

Y'all come on down now, y'hear?

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I recently received the (below) post from a person who identifies herself as "Leela Kidwell"..

My name is Leela Kidwell,i am 69 years old and was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago.I will be going for an operation later today and i wish to give you access to my will. I WILL/DONATE the sum of (Twenty Four Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) to you for you to use for the good work of the Lord and for charity as well. Contact my lawyer with this email:<>  his name is Gilbert MacEntee Esq. Tell him that i have willed the sum of $24,500,000 to you by quoting my personal reference number Gil/Lee/678/4567/sfti/uk and i have also notified him that i have Willed that amount to you.

Remain Blessed. Please contact my Lawyer directly with the email above do not contact me.
Leela Kidwell.

This email has been scanned by the Symantec Email service.
For more information please visit
As eager as I am to receive twenty four million dollars from a total stranger, I have to admit that I am slightly ... dubious .. about the veracity of the information provided.  In fact, I have the strangest feeling that the sender is not being entirely honest!

Why am I so dubious?

Because I'm not a total idiot!

Oh .. and by the way?  That little disclaimer at the bottom of the email (attached by my Internet Provider) does NOT mean that it's not a scam; it only means that there is no bogus software being delivered.  No, my dears, this is just a 'social scam', which means it preys on trusting benign souls who are inclined to think the best of anyone who cares to contact them.

It doesn't really mean "Hey!  This Is Safe!!!"

If you, or your friends or family, receive this kind of solicitation (I'm sure there's a "hidden agenda" in here somewhere), please heed this counsel:

Laugh, rejoice in her ascendency to A Higher Level, and delete it without comment.

These jokers are just trying to get YOUR money; they have absolutely no intention of giving you THEIR money.

What a bunch of maroons!

Massacre In The Mall ... Oregon!

Gunman opens fire in Portland mall; 3 dead | General Headlines | Comcast:

PORTLAND, Ore. — A masked gunman wearing camouflage opened fire Tuesday in a busy Portland mall, leaving the gunman and two others dead and forcing the mall's Santa Claus and hundreds of Christmas shoppers and employees to flee or hide among store displays.

Austin Patty, 20, who works at Macy's, said he saw a man in a white mask carrying a rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest. He heard the gunman say, "I am the shooter," as if announcing himself. A series of rapid-fire shots in short succession followed as Christmas music played. Patty said he ducked to the ground and then ran.

His Macy's co-worker, Pam Moore, told The Associated Press the gunman was short, with dark hair. Witnesses said he started firing his military-style weapon just outside Macy's in the food court of Clackamas Town Center.

Brance Wilson, the mall Santa, said he heard gunshots and dove for the floor. By the time he looked up, seconds later, everyone around him had cleared out. Merchandise was scattered in some stores as he made his way to the door.

"Santa will be back," Wilson said. "It's not going to keep Santa away from the mall."

Jacob Roberts (26) entered a food court and started blazing away with a stolen AR15.   Killed two people, wounded a young woman, then shot himself in the head.  (See also the OREGONLIVE profile, where his age was given as '22', not '26'..)

The Chicago Tribune has a video:

(temporarily deleted because it's really obnoxious December 23, 2012)

The Clackamas Town Center is just a little bit smug because they recently performed some training for exactly this scenario.   Their solution?  Run, and hide.  There was apparently no effort to explore the possibility of an aggressive defense.

The Media is working hard on the "WHY?" issue.  His 'mother' (actually his aunt ... his mother died of Hodgkins Disease when he was 2 years old) said he wanted to be a Marine, but he had broken his foot when he was seventeen an after that " ... he just changed ...".  Apparently, he was REALLY disappointed that he didn't qualify to be a member of the Marines, so he decided to be a sick fuck instead.

The latest bit of Media Blarney (because I'm too polite to say "BULLSHIT!" online) is that he may have been influenced by a video game;  the scenario is reminiscent of "Grand Theft Auto".  That is where the "player" dons a white hockey mask and attacks the customers of a mall food court with a rifle.


The answer to the question:  "WHY?" is ...   because he could.

We don't have to do any research.  It has been 20 years since I've been to the Clackamas Town Center Mall, but I will guarantee you that at all the entrances there is a notice to the effect that "This Is A Gun-Free Zone".


You can buy 'em the books, but that don't mean they're gonna learn nuttin'.   Remember ... this (Portland, Oregon)  is the geopolitical center of a state which (among others) voted overwhelmingly to re-elect Barack Obama to a second term.

[Okay, "WE" re-elected the man who in a single term built a national debt of fourteen TRILLION dollars.    {update: it's now $16.3 trillion dollars, an increase of  $5.7 trillion since 2008.}  My understanding (I got this from the Internet, so it must be true), is this is more money than actually exists in the world today.   If we can believe that this is not a 'problem', then it probably seems reasonable that re-electing this economic genius would be a reasonable thing to do.   He'll fix it ... we HOPE!   In the meantime, mister, can I bother you for a little spare CHANGE?   The point is ... gee, our national consciousness has changed from one of individual freedom and responsibility to dependence on our 'rulers' and confidence that 'someone else' will take care of us.   Read Alexis de Tocqueville]

No, no, I'm not saying that the state and people of Oregon "deserved" this.  Nobody deserves to be subjected to the predations of madmen.   (It's just that Oregon is a "Liberal" state, and Liberals tend to expect "The Nanny State" to take care of them; generally speaking, they have no concept of the need to provide for their own well-being.)

The fatal victims, Steve Forsythe and Cindy Ann Yuille, and the wounded 15-year-young woman Kristina ("... just trying to catch a train ... ") Shevchenko deserve more attention.  But they aren't going to get it because the world is more focused on "guns are bad" and "guns kill people" rather than acknowledging that "people deserve to exercise the right to defend themselves and protect others, without being seen as 'paranoid' if they choose to exercise their rights".

We won't list 'the madman' as a victim.  He chose his path.  The victims .. did not.

What I AM saying is that ... well, you already know what I'm going to say.
  • "Gun Free Zones" are the moral equivalent of "Please Shoot Me .. You KNOW I'm Not Going To Fight Back!" Zones.
  • If the madman had thought that the Christmas Shopping Mob at the Clackamas Town Center mall included a lot of people who were armed .. he would have gone somewhere else to act out his sick fantasy.
  • Go look at The Hobo Brasser's blog for December 7; his comments are something that we should live by, and they are directly applicable to THIS situation.
  • People who carry concealed weapons in public do so for the same reason as other responsible people wear their seat belts while driving or riding in a car.  They don't HOPE for a disaster; they merely wish to be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best.
  • And the iconic best quote of all?  "When an emergency occurs and a defense is needed in a matter of seconds, the police are only minutes away.
Yeah, that last one is so obvious that it's almost trite.  Still, I noticed that among all of the quotes being published by the MSM, not ONE person said: "I had my gun with me, even though the signs said it was forbidden;  I'm glad I did, because I shot that sick fuck before he had a chance to hurt anyone else."

Apparently, none of the potential victims at the mall came forward to say that he (or she) was armed, although he/she may not have been in the vicinity of the shooter during the time unarmed people were being shot murdered,

On the other hand, comments from readers of various articles included:

"Whether it is an accident while cleaning a gun, a loaded gun left out where a child finds it, or a stolen gun from family or others, guns kill people." 

Well, somebody had to say it.  We all have a talent for being trite.

Trite?  I'll give you trite.

The massacre stopped when the madman shot himself in the head.  Our question is: why didn't he START with that action?  Even if he chose to go to the mall to do it, and even though it would have been 'traumatic' for people to watch him blow his own damned head off ... it would have been a LOT less traumatic for the people who were actually shot before he chose to take his own life.

Here's a video dated 12/12/12 (is the date significant?) .. before much information was available:

I've talked about this before .. actually several times.

But I'll say it again.

This kid was a sick f*ck and I'm glad his dead.
I only wish he had followed Kipling's advice to "The Young British Soldier":

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

Real American Sick F*cks .. do that FIRST.


"How To Shoot"

Last month (and I haven't been doing a lot of posting lately, so my apologies for letting mold grow on this blog) I wrote an article entitled "Error Analysis and Correction".   The gist of it was that I found a diagram which helped analyze shooting problems based on shot placement, and I thought I might use it in future teaching situations.

This article received a surprising amount of feedback (okay, six comments; that's a lot for me!) and it occurred to me that the amount of interest warranted some expansion.

Many of the comments appropriately addressed shooting skills;  some people have them, some don't.  But almost everyone can learn to shoot well, to some degree.   In competition, we pit people with 'skill' against people with 'talent';  people with experience against people with determination; and people with "dedication" against people with "interest".

Obviously, the people with talent and dedication and experience are going to  beat the rest of us.  We ..." the rest of us" (among whom I obviously count myself) can only measure ourselves against our own group, and hope that the "Good Shooters" will occasionally muck up a stage here and there, so we can look better than we really are.

Our only hope here is that we work harder.  Put this in the category of "Determination", if you will, because frankly, competitive shooting is like any other kind of competition.  If you don't work at it, you will never rise above the "Mediocre Middle"

The folks who commented included a couple of folks who are new to The Sport, and I thought that they were the people who demonstrated the kind of determination which will give them room to grow competitively.


First, Steve asked:

After taking the intro to USPSA safety training class, where can I get additional training to develop a higher level of competency? 

Steve, the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club (ARPC) offers classes in "Basic Handgun:", and I think that's a good place for everyone to start.  Anyone who wants to enter competitive shooting should have those skills and, if he/she does not, that should be the first stop on the road.  Unfortunately, in an effort to encourage new shooters, ARPC doesn't have the mechanism in place to require and confirm a basic degree of shooting skills before new shooters are accepted into the "Introduction to USPSA" class.  During the class, we try to include as much instruction in basic skills as possible, but ultimately as long as students don't seem "unsafe" and do seem to have basic gun-handling skills,  we're going to allow you to enter into competition regardless of your shooting skills.

There are professionals who offer instruction on "How To Shoot", and there are sports (such as "Bullseye Shooting" which rely on accuracy to such a degree that the competitor must improve, or he will ultimately be discouraged.

You know this, and what I just said isn't very helpful.  I can suggest people who will coach you to improve your accuracy, but the best teacher is always experience.  And both private training and experience include a relatively large investment in time and money.

Having said that, here is my personal offer;  I will gladly spend some range time giving you such instruction in shooting skills as I can, limited to "I'm not going to spend my life on this" so that you can improve your shooting.  This will cost you time (weekends are fine, I know you're a working man) and money (ammunition isn't cheap, and you will have to do a LOT of shooting!), and you have to show up at every class.   You already have my personal email address and my phone number;  contact me, and we'll work out a schedule of classes at ARPC.

It's up to you; the offer is on the table.


Randy offered this observation:
Ok I read this several weeks ago and have been thinking about it off and on. First thought was I hope he was not talking about me as the last match it took me 18 rounds to knock down 6 steel target. (I was hitting them but to low, but that is another story.) But it does bring me to my comment. I can hit a 2in traget (sic) 9 out of 10 times at 30 feet. However when I get in a match I have trouble (sometimes) hitting the broad side of a barn. So not all shooting issues are technique some of them are appllying (sic) the technique during a match.

Before I took the intro to USPSA I had completed a NRA class that covered safety and how to shoot. I think everyone should be reauired (sic) to go through something like that.

Randy is absolutely correct.  Shooting Skills should be among the early goal to achieve before entering into a competitive venue.  Unfortunately, not everyone is as prepared to acknowledge that skills are leaned incrementally.

We would VERY much like to have the time to go through all of this during the class, but we just don't have the time.  We can teach you how to shoot safely, and according to the rules.

We can't teach you much about how to be competitive, nor how to combine accuracy and speed (well, that's pretty much the basis of 'competitive', isn't it?)


Here, the steps are:
  1. learn to handle a firearm safely
  2. learn to shoot a firearm accurately
  3. learn to shoot with confidence
  4. learn the rules of competition
  5. learn to shoot a firearm safely, confidently and accurately within the (time-restricted) limits of competition.
This sequence is subject to some sub-topics.  For example, "gun handling" is not mentioned.  It's imperative that the "New Shooter" is completely familiar with his firearm, including "Stoppage Drills"  (what do you do when your gun jams), how to draw from the holster, how to engage the first target quickly and accurately, etc.  You need to be comfortable and confident that you know where all the 'controls' are;  how to reload quickly and smoothly.

There are other concerns, and the emphasis is always SAFETY .. but competence in handling your firearm is a broad subject and one which not everyone is as comfortable with as he may think before he begins to shoot competitively.

In the Introduction to USPSA classes, we teach: (1) safety; (2) range commands; (3) rules of competition.  Everything else is thrown in as time allows, but we don't pretend to be able to teach EVERYTHING in the very limited time available. We have no choice but to throw the shooter into the deep water, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  Often, new shooters are "busted" during their very first match because they become so fixated on being competitive that they forget the rules of safety.

So, how are new shooters to learn to shoot accurately, quickly?

There's a very very old joke, about a man who is visiting New York City for the very first time.  He approaches a stranger and asks:  "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?"   The answer is:  "Practice, Practice Practice!"

That's the same answer for Competitive Shooting.  If you would shoot well, you must practice.

Practice gun drills at home.

Practice dry firing, daily .. or nightly, as the case may be. 
Safety considerations: make sure your gun is empty, remove ALL ammunition from the room, point your gun in a 'safe direction' (a brick wall .. any other impenetrable barrier just in case you screwed up that first step), and learn to SQUEEZE the trigger.  Perfectly done, you should be able to balance a coin on the slide and drop the hammer without losing the coin.  ALWAYS have a 'target', such as a spot on the wall (light switch?) as an aiming point so you can see if the muzzle wobbles when you squeeze the trigger.

Practice reloads.
Empty gun, empty magazines.  Dry fire, then grab an EMPTY magazine from your magazine pouch and insert it smoothly into the magazine well.  Squeeze the trigger as in dry firing (always use one exercise to reenforce another) and then reload again.  Use your full equipment belt with magazine carriers and empty magazines in each magazine carrier, so you build the 'muscle memory' which allows to always catch the next magazine on your belt.  If you're shooting Single Stack, and use 10-round magazines .. mix them up so you load a short (7-round or 8-round magazine) one time, and a 10-round magazine the next.  It shouldn't matter which you draw ... the reload should be as quick and as consistent no matter which you are reloading, although the ergonomics are slightly different for the different magazine lengths.

Practice the draw
The draw should always be the same; quick, smooth, effortless ... you shouldn't need to think about it.  The gun clears the holster, raises toward the target (always have an aiming point in every exercise because the goal is to get on the target and break a clean first shot) and if your pistol is single-action you ALWAYS drop the safety after the gun clears the holster and before your sights align on the target.  Of course, your finger is OFF the trigger until you are prepared to engage the target .. even if your sights are not yet quite aligned with the A-zone.


We don't usually teach these things in the "Introduction to USPSA" class.

As any experienced competitive shooter will cheerfully tell you .. after you have gone though the introductory course, you don't know squat.  All you really know is how to act when the RO gives you a Range Command, and  .. oh, by the way?   You know how to screw up.  And how to avoid it.  And why it is considered a "No No" to, for example, keep your finger on the trigger when moving, loading, unloading, clearing a jam. (the very most common way to Screw Up) or to "Break the 180" (the second most common way to Screw Up).

But let's back of from the Safety issue, because we already know about this stuff, don't we?  This article is intended to speak to the New Shooter who already GETS that, but wants to learn how to shoot.

Practice, Practice, Practice. 

Practice until you don't want to shoot anymore.

Which is, incidentally a good indicator that you're not going to learn any more from practicing. 

There are two schools of though about 'over-training'.
  • when you're tired of shooting; quit
  • when you're tired of training, train for exactly the same number of rounds you used until you got tired, because THIS is where you really can learn something
For myself, I generally set a limit;  shoot 200 rounds (more or less), and then go home and think about what you've learned.

But before you quit, do something 'fun'.   Set up the "El Presidente" stage and shoot it for time.

In a word ...

"Practice, Practice, Practice ...."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Now Everyone Can be a Sniper (if this works)

Now Everyone Can be a Sniper (if this works)

I'm still not sure, after viewing this video several times, exactly what the advantages may be of this expensive innovation. My best guess, it eliminated the 'trigger pull' problems involved in precision shooting. Specifically, when you pull the trigger to make the shot, the equipment places the shot where you put the dot -- assuming that you have the 'dot' within the lens of the scope. Do you just wave the rifle around until you happen to cover the dot, and then the rifle fires? Is this just for people who don't have the skill to shoot accurately?

What if the target is moving?    I can't imagine that the 'dot' will track a moving target?

In the words of Arte Johnson:  "Verrrrrry Interesting .. but stupid!"