18. October 2012 · Comments Off on Three-Gun for the Masses · Categories: Competition, Staffing

Wow, am I behind. I did this event in September. I feel compelled to write about it though.

I got to see the other side of the fence, helping run a huge event for our range (the one we use for rifles). It had over 150 participants and a whole lot of volunteers. I didn’t get to set up the stages because of schedules and other difficulties, but I got to help run one of the stages. I am grateful for this experience. I got to see what it’s like to be on the other side, trying to enforce safety, and keep people moving at the same time. It’s definitely a different experience when you are the worrying about who’s pointing their barrel the wrong way. And on top of that, there were a whole lot of low-experience people that needed a lot of reminders. I caught one guy resting the end of his barrel on his foot. Yeah.

This was a lot of fun. There eight stages that used a rifle, a shotgun, a pistol, or a combination. There was also one air rifle stage (and it was set up as a shot house!). A great variety of sets and scenarios. I wish I could have shown up earlier to help build, and to help ahem, test, the stages! Next time!

16. August 2012 · Comments Off on Carbine Camp · Categories: Carbine, Competition · Tags: ,

I’m getting a little behind on my write-ups!

I attended another carbine event that had a lot of fun activities squeezed into a long day. The first thing we did was shoot at movers. Unlike the first time, I had my scope with me so I was able to play this round. I made a couple hits! I was pretty thrilled to get my first hit on a moving target (I haven’t been back to a shotgun event yet).

Next we went down to the short distance range and got in some serious close-quarters action. We started at 50 and advanced towards our targets doing different drills. Unfortunately I was already past the 20 yard mark when someone pointed out my shots were all low and reminded me that as you get closer, the zero isn’t going to work so great anymore. Uh, yeah. I took a sideways look at my rifle, I recalled the enormous gap between the red dot location and the barrel, and I switched my tactics to line that barrel right up with the center of the target. I did better then.

I’ve got to say that the red dot makes target acquisition ridiculously quick. It also looks like I have pretty good familiarity with my trigger now, at least in these nearly point-blank applications. Quick target acquisition followed by two smooth squeezes while taking advantage of the trigger reset led to consistently good timing.

There was one point where we had to work offhand, because we had to shoot from both sides of a barrier. Someone else on the line reassured me that everyone has this problem, where they are squishing their face around so that they can get their dominant eye on the sight, because, most people don’t train with off-hand work. I did the face-squish and pulled it off. It may be one of those cases where the raised rail gap worked to my advantage.

The last portion didn’t work out for me. We were really hot and during a water break I noticed my hands shaking. Calling that out resulted in a whole lot of well-intended scrutiny.

Anyway, things got a little confusing when it came down to the pistol drawing stage. I of course had to be there with my P22 with its weird mag release and external hammer and 50 safety features (I’ve at least taken care of some of these oddities now that my PPQ’s holster arrived). I decided not to take that round.

I find that in a stressful situation, having a half dozen people trying to give you uninformed directions is pretty stressful. I would recommend that the guy in charge be the one to deliver instructions and call it a day. I expect that people will feel safer all around.

Having the magazine release be part of the trigger guard really freaks people out. I will have to remember that when I am in these events in the future and clearly articulate when I’m going to drop my magazine.

Well that last part was embarrassing but overall it was a great day. This is the most fun event I’ve been in to date.

21. June 2012 · Comments Off on USPSA · Categories: Competition · Tags:

Wow, this was such an awesome experience in so many ways! I went to a indoor USPSA indoor event. As a first-timer to this style of competition, we got a walkthrough of the rules from one of the regulars. He was very friendly and welcoming on first appearances, and continued to be a great help throughout the night. As a side note, he assured me that there are usually women playing this game too, they just happened to not be there that night.

In this game, the creative organizers set up different scenarios right down to the “starting conditions” as in, the situation you are in when you presumably grab your gun and take down the corrugated enemy. People run through the stages one at a time and try to get in shots that count.

We observed for a while, and in a oddly terrifying initiation ritual, we went through the motions to demonstrate we understand the rules, shooting at a couple targets. I took my turn and we went over to have a look. Some of my bullets made irregular holes…. The bystanders had perplexed looks. “I’ve never seen that before.”

I then took around at the first course. The idea was to shoot a couple mean cardboard cutouts through a window, slide over and shoot through a barrel without hitting the “hostage”, then run to another wall and take out the remainder.

That barrel was alarming.

I completed the course and we went over to check out how I did. We discover an unusual number of misses and some tumbled bullets.

With more puzzled looks, we shuffled outside and a number of people tried to figure it out. First, they tried to clean the barrel. After some effort and a lot of grease, elbow and otherwise, they worked a sliver of caked-on lead out of the barrel. Yeah, that’d make a bullet tumble. Whew, we got it together just in time for the next stage. I charged right into it, and then it started jamming… I thought. Well it just simply stopped firing. Back to the drawing boardsafe table.

Apparently we had a couple gunsmiths. They figured it had something to do with the safety, which makes sense I’d been having trouble with that safety for the last stretch. At some point, the firing pin spring fell on the ground, and there was a spring-hunt with several eyes glued to the floor. The whole thing had gotten gunked up. Finally, cleaned, the smiths put it back together. We borrowed some time between stages to try it out and found it firing only every other bullet. Someone thought we could try different ammunition to see if it was some sort of speed thing to troubleshoot it. Another pause between stages and this time it simply stopped firing.

Oh well. That’s one way to find out your gun needs high-level cleaning.

My gun being out of commission isn’t a great outcome, but I had a great time. This is a nice group to hang out with and I intend to jump back in as soon as I can.

19. June 2012 · Comments Off on Action Shooting · Categories: Competition · Tags:

I didn’t know what “action” meant before. I assumed you moved around. In this case, action means the steel responds when you hit it, as opposed to static steel.

I was a little alarmed when I saw they were setting up 30-40 targets per stage.

I showed up ill-prepared with the only thing I had that could have the capacity to compete these courses, my little .22 pistol with five 10-round magazines. I soon realized these plates aren’t going to move. The folks who were stuck with us were kind enough to humor my incompetent equipment. In the first stage, they listened and watched for my shots . Some of them actually fell over! After that, they put me up first on freshly painted targets so they could see if I hit or not. That was quite generous of them.

Our group had some serious competitors and trainers. It was great hanging out with them. I also got a lot of free tips. Although on the last stage I was on my last magazine, “relax” wasn’t too helpful because I was tired!

I can see how fun this could be. To pull off a series of shots and make the steel sing would be very satisfying, although the flying bits of steel going all over the place wasn’t that fun.

This is a bit expensive for a game. I’ll try again when I’m better armed and I’m not wasting too much money. If I can’t do it in five magazines, I probably shouldn’t.


18. June 2012 · Comments Off on PPC · Categories: Competition · Tags:

Police Pistol Combat seems to be the user-friendly group around here. It’s surprising how friendly people can be when there are real dangers afoot, especially with the clumsiness and cluelessness of newbies.

In this indoor game, there are several stages where one goes through different stances. This is a relay style game where multiple people do it in batches. There was a wide range of people here. Plenty of teens. I’d say it was about 25% female, which is the highest gender ratio I’ve seen so far. These guys really get to know each other as they wait for rounds. They score very efficiently, reusing targets. The range safety officer was especially helpful.

He let me know after the fact that the woman to my right got disqualified for breaking the 180 degree line in my direction. No big deal right?!?!?! Good thing he’s attentive.

Well, I can say I did better than the two people who got disqualified that night. Hah!

08. June 2012 · Comments Off on Volunteering · Categories: Carbine, Competition · Tags:

Two weeks ago we drove 2 hours and spent a night in another city so that the next day we could participate in a carbine event. They are shortened rifles which is one of the features of my PS90. (After someone corrected me about carbines, I went to look it up and now I’m more confused. OK!) They are usually meant for close quarters and mid-range because they are easier to carry and aren’t as accurate as a specialized rifle.

We got to the club, paid for the event, and soon found out that most of it was at pretty long ranges. While there was a carbine class and a separate precision class, most of the events were at the 200-400 yard range for the carbines.We were not equipped for this. We didn’t have scopes or other forms of magnification set up. I was having a lot of trouble, which was of little surprise. It also looked like a lot of people had trouble with one of the events (everyone without a scope kept missing).

I was pretty bummed out about that until I found out that the close quarters expert who was going to help out ended up canceling. So the short range volunteer wasn’t there and the long range volunteer was doing his best. Well yeah, one would have different expectations then. I forgot these guys aren’t exactly doing this for a salary.

Another guy took the cartridge people over, leaving the long-range guy with the precision people, and we had a lot more fun at that point.

Tonight, I am going to my third event, at a third club, using a third kind of gun but two new accessories. I’ll be more gracious this time.

24. May 2012 · Comments Off on Carbine Competition · Categories: Carbine, Competition, Shooting · Tags: ,

I will be entering my first carbine competition on Saturday. This will be the second time I’ll be taking my PS90 out so I’m kind of nervous. At least the red dot is zeroed in and ready to go for the short range portions.

It turns out you need a lot of gear for these competitions. In addition to having 3 magazines and the red dot, we picked up a sling so I can do the portion where you drag a dummy across the ground as part of the scenario (SERIOUSLY??? That is so cool!). Once my lovely Leupold gets zeroed in, I’ll be able to swap it out with the red dot as the distance changes.

Similarly, prepping for pistol competitions, I have a couple (not enough!) magazines for my Walther P22 and ordered in a new holster (I still don’t get who thought up the term “Third Eye” stance….) and get this! a glowing-green fiberoptic front sight! Frickin’ laser beams!

On a side note, the Skyfall trailer has me really excited about practicing doubletaps or, the new convention of 2+1. Drool! I literally asked “Can he do that?!” as I had a suspicion the speed was only possible in movies. Yet another thing I can work on!

I I’m kind of glad he’s still using the PPK but given he’s drinking Heineken, maybe he should just move to a Glock.