Saturday, June 08, 2013

What's the definition of "Premeditated"

Chief says Santa Monica Killings were Premeditated - Dallas News |

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) - The gunman who went on a chaotic rampage killing four people before being fatally shot by police at a college campus planned the attack and was capable of firing 1,300 rounds of ammunition, the police chief said Saturday. 
 "Any time someone puts on a vest, of some sort, comes out with a bag full of loaded magazines, has an extra receiver, has a handgun and has a semi-automatic rifle, carjacks folks, goes to a college, kills more people and has to be neutralized at the hands of the police, I would say that that's premeditated," said Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks.

OH.   Okay, since you put it that way ....would anyone be offended if I said that makes a weird sort of sense?

It sort of sounds like Dirty Harry's description of how he determined that the naked man he shot "had intentions of rape".

That's it.  That's the "weird sort of sense" I meant.

Does that make the Santa Monica Police Chief "Dirty Jacqui"?

(PS: No, I'm not going to comment on the "just another spree murder" thingie.  If I sound dismissive, it's because  "The officers came in and directly engaged the suspect and he was shot and killed on the scene,"  and that's the way it should have ended.   Just ... earlier.


Best of Web 4 - HD - Zapatou - YouTube: Best of Web 4 - HD - Zapatou

My friend The G-Man spends an inordinate part of his time searching for and finding "amazing stuff" on The Web.   He shares these finds with his friends, almost every day.

THIS (full-screen, opens in a new window) is one of the most amazing finds he has sent out lately.

Or you can watch it here, on a much smaller format. It's a Ten Minute melange of clips short enough that NOBODY can get bored no matter how short their attention span.

It's Explosive!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

El Presidente

During the past year of teaching an "Introduction to USPSA" class at the Albany (Oregon) Rifle and Pistol Club,  we've re-designed our program to emphasize four priorities:

  1. SAFETY!
  2. Teach the rules, including the Seven Deadly Sins of IPSC (see below)
  3. Provide familiarity with Processes, Procedures, and Range Commands
  4. Make it fun!
The first two parts are logically connected, because if you don't know the rules, you don't know what USPSA considers to be an "Unsafe Act".   We teach this in the Classroom Instruction phase of the class.  Although the classroom phase was originally intended to consume only one hour of the three hour class, it has been my experience that it's nearly impossible to adequately cover all of the material in such a short time.   During the longer days of Spring, Summer and Fall I can 'cheat the schedule' by spending more time in the classroom, and still provide the shooters a good two hours in the Live Fire segment.  (In winter .. we're much too hurried.)

The third part is a little complicated, because that mostly develops with drill. Fortunately, we can provide practical experience during the Live Fire segment.  We run it under full-dress USPSA rules of gun handling, and we "mock-DQ" any student to violates a safety rule.  This is embarrassing to the student.   Those lessons are usually learned well .. but not always.

The fourth part ... well, by the time we get to the end of a class, the students are either enervated or they're physically bushed.  They're not disinterested, though, because it's during the Live Fire that they get to shoot!   And that's what we're all there for, ultimately.   The remaining tasks are; (a) to teach them how the scoring system works, and to show them that Practical Pistol competition is fun.   Actually, the expression most commonly used is "What A RUSH!"

Last year (2012) I decided to combine a couple of the technical elements of instruction with a fun wrap-up.

We've been designing teaching stages with three IPSC (Metric) targets set at ten yards away from the shooting box, and two steel targets set at fifteen to twenty yards from the shooting box .. in varying combinations as the exercises become increasingly complicated.  Each stage involves more shots fired, more targets engaged.  The distances vary, and we add the complexities of mandatory reloads, different starting positions, movement, and (time allowing) Strong Hand Only and Weak Hand Only shooting.

All along, we've been teaching students that they must be working for accuracy.  Yes, they have to shoot accurately "quickly", but we assure them that the  "speed will come".  By forcing the students to shoot for A-zone hits, we can help them focus on accurate shooting habits. (Also, can analyze their hit-patterns and suggest ways for them to develop more accurate shooting skills.)

Unfortunately, shooting for A-zone hits is boring.  It seems too much like bullseye-shooting, and usually (if they are experienced shooters and have competed in Shooting Sports) they have already 
"Been There, Done That".  They're looking for something more .. sexy.

All the students see is the raw score minus penalties.  EVERY time they try to push the envelope, they must still meet the accuracy standards or they are reminded (loudly) of "The Most Common Mistake Shooters Make".   That is: shooting too fast.

So for the last exercise of the day, we move the three Metric Targets to Seven Yards, and combine everything they have learned to present:

El Presidente!

In case you forget the exact parameters of the (Classifier 99-11) stage, you can review the USPSA version here.

It's a Virginia Count Stage, three IPSC targets presented 10 yards downrange of the shooter.  Starting position is facing up-range, wrist above shoulders.  On the start signal, turn, draw, and engage each of the three targets with two rounds each.  Make a mandatory reload, and engage each of the three targets with two rounds each.

It's a fast 'n furious speed-shooting stage ... and to make it more rewarding, we move the targets to within seven (7) yards rather than to have them engage them at the ten (10) yards they have become accustomed to, while shooting the cardboard.  That gives them a higher hit factor ...

... but they don't know what hit factor is!

THAT is the other point of the exercise.

They get to "let the dogs out" (they are actively encouraged to see how fast they go, but they are given a practical upper-limit of their stage time of 11 seconds;  if we have a demonstrator, they have the opportunity to observe how he/she shoots it in that time period or less, so they suddenly grasp that time goes slower than perceptions would have you to believe when the targets are so close and fat!)

Not only that, but for the first time in the class we record the points, and the time, for each student.  AND for the Demonstrator.

After all of the students have completed the  final "El Presidente" course of fire, and we have recorded their scores (raw - penalties), we divide each score by their time so we have their hit factor.

Usually, there's a hush on the range when they comprehend where we're going with this.

There's a question on the test:  "Does the fastest shooter win the stage?"  The "by the book" answer is: "NO".  My comment, when we're going through the test questions for discussion, is: "... sometimes the fastest shooter wins!"

They may feel a little betrayed, since they have been castigated for "shooting too fast" and not getting good first-shot hitsm especially when they are shooting at Pepper Poppers and US Poppers for the last three learning stages.  That has introduced them to the reason why shooting fast isn't always the best way to engage a distant, small target.

Now, after they have been convinced that they need to get good hits,  they see that in this kind of stage (when the targets are close and fat) they can get all Alpha-hits and still lose the stage .. dismally!

And the one guy in the class who has been shooting "Spray and Pray" all along?  He often wins the stage.

They go home thinking about this.

This is A Good Thing!


One of the few difficulties about using "El Presidente" is that there needs to be a final demonstration about just how QUICKLY it can be shot.  If I'm the demonstrator, or if the demonstrator is experienced, the bar is usually set as something around the seven-second mark.  (Even with the occasional MISS, the Hit Factor might look good.)

Tonite I surfed YouTube looking for a good example of El Presidente, and I found this video of Todd Jarrett demonstrating El Presente to a class. He stated that he was trying to beat his best time of 3.71 seconds (with all Alpha hits, one presumes), but whatever, he needed to get a hit on the steel plates he was using for targets.  He ends up, on the third try, with a time of 3.50 with no misses.  An impressive score!

Todd Jarrett Shooting Record (El Presidente) - YouTube: Category Sports License Standard YouTube License

It's an impressive performance, with one slight exception.

Jarrett doesn't shoot the stage in the prescribed Classifier configuration.

His starting position is "hands naturally at sides".   The CM99-11 starting position is " ... wrists above respective shoulders".

No, I couldn't shoot the stage "clean" in under four seconds; my best time is over 2.5 seconds slower, and that with a miss.  So I'm not criticizing the man who is arguably one of the greatest enduring IPSC Champions in the world.

I'm just saying that I can't use that video to demonstrate "How To Shoot El Presente" to my class.  Which is regrettable, of course, but when I'm teaching a class I have no intention of comparing it to how Todd Jarrett teaches a class.

(I teach for free; Jarret charges hundreds of dollars per day; I know the relative value of our experience and expertise, and if Jarrett had every heard of me, he would also know the relative value of our comparative experience and expertise.. )

(On the other hand, he does provide a very important object lesson.  He talks about how  ".. on the second shot, my eyes are already moving to the next target ..." and emphasizes that this A Bad Thing.  ALL experienced shooters have dealt with this, and the better ones have developed a  determination to NOT let their bodies drive the gun against their will.   It's a common failing in IPSC competitors, and would probably serve as an example show that even the best IPSC shooters in the world must constantly work on their technique to reinforce "good habits".)


NONE of that takes away from the fun my students have, or the lessons they have learned.  It's not about me; it's about them.

They've learned that ever one wants them to succeed, and to shoot SAFELY, and accurately.  They've also learned that there are times when they need to let it all hang out. And they're the only one in the world who can judge how best to shoot a stage based on their personal skill set.

This lesson may not gestate quickly, but they've been given the seed of doubt.

What they do with it is up to them.


The Seven Deadly Sins of IPSC

  1. MUZZLE (breaking the "180")
  2. FINGER (off the trigger when loading, reloading, clearing a malfunction, and when moving except when actually engaging a target)
  3. SWEEPING (passing the muzzle of your gun so that it covers a portion of your body)
  4. DROPPED GUN (when shooting a stage, a DQ; otherwise, no penalty unless you TOUCH the gun)
  5. D&D ("Drunk and Disorderly"; being  under the influence of narcotic, debilitating or intoxicating substances, aggressive behavior which may bring disrepute to the sport)
  6. OVER THE HILL (firing a round over the berm, or too close to your self, etc.)
  7. CHEATING (any deliberate violation of the rules, especially to gain a competitive advantage, or any other behavior which may bring disrepute to the sport)

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Today is SWMBO's Birthday

She would have been 65 years old.

Lest we forget


.... And lest we forget that she played gun games because they're fun:

three extra videos from 2007:

The Average Joe and Jill

Under Pressure (Three Fat Old Men and One Slender Lady)

SWMBO Takes The Poppers