Reload, review, respond

costa-tactical-reload-

One of the problems with shooting IPDA is that even though they go to some lengths to prevent “gaming” the system and make things more realistic, you know just how many targets you need to engage and where they are the minute you load your weapon to start the stage. 

At least you should, and if you don’t, well, that’s why they invented “Failure To Engage” penalties. 

As such, you know exactly when (or if) you need to reload, and going to slide lock is actually a desirable thing because it’s faster in IDPA to reload an empty gun than it is to top off a partially loaded gun. 

This has a pretty big potential to create some training scars, because even though the odds of we civilians running into a half-dozen attackers is very, very small, we want our training to be up to the task if we need it. 

A comparison: While I was, (and am) not satisfied with the training I received at Front Sight, the shoot-house scenario they ran was interesting and eye-opening. As the amount and location of bad guys were unknown to me, so was my “stage strategy” and possible reload points. I ended up doing pretty well in the scenario (including a 7 yard shot on the hostage taker that went right thru the bad guy’s right eyeball), and I credit my background in competition for not getting the shakes and allowing me to make the shot when needed. 

So what is the point of a tactical reload? Why do people who don’t wear uniforms and/or badges need to do one? More thoughts on that subject over at the Osage County Guns blog.

Video shooting games

motherhunter_games_3Cabela’s has a VERY successful line of console games that stretches back several years and cuts across all the popular platforms.

Coin-op video frames are all but gone, but Big Game Hunter stand up arcade games are still thriving. 

Trijicon teams up with EA for special bonus items in Medal Of Honor: Warfighter.

So how come practical shooting has had one (count it, one!) video game to it’s name

You would think that the run n gun format of practical shooting would be perfectly suited to the run n gun style of first person shooters. 

And you’d be wrong. 

Video games are the perfect gateway drug to practical shooting. Maybe one day, the people who run the sports will wake up to this fact, and get more young shooters involved in the sport.

What are you not talking about?

First off, a moment of Zen. 

long range shooting

That’s my Savage 16 on the rifle range at Owensville Gun Club. You’ll note that I haven’t been talking much about that gun lately because I’ve been stuck in a vicious circle of suck: I haven’t been able to get a good group to verify that it’s zeroed, and I don’t want to shoot it because my targets (and what’s NOT on them) make me look like a complete loser.

The source of this loserness wasn’t easy to diagnose, either. It wasn’t something simple like a trigger jerk or a flinch, it required a two-part solution. 

  1. New scope rings. I had Extra High rings on that gun because of the large objective lens of the Millett scope, except that I have a 20 MOA base on the gun that lifts up the scope even more.
    As a result, I had set up my scope WAY above the point where I could get a consistent cheek weld and scope sight picture. 
    Whoops. 
    Changing out to a set of Weaver medium rings has made a HECK of a difference in getting consistent hits on-paper. 
  2. New ammo. I had been using M80 ball of questionable origin (I think it’s Greek surplus, but I may be wrong…) in my practice sessions, and I could get 3MOA out of it, at best. Switching to Hornady Steel Match (which apparently isn’t made anymore. Bummer.) has made a world of difference, and all of a sudden I was making 1MOA any time I wanted to, and that man-shaped piece of steel at 325 yards got rung with boring repeatability. 
    When the Steel Match runs out, I’ll switch to Prvi Partizan Match for practice and maybe even matches, at least until I get my reloading press set up again. 

I wasn’t talking about shooting long-range because I wasn’t any good at shooting long range. Instead of training hard to fill in the gap, I was avoiding the problem in front of me.

Whoops.

Not no more. Now that I’ve identified the problem, I can work on a solution.

And one thing you can’t see in that photo is the flock of wild turkeys that wandered across the range at about 400 yards. I was tempted, VERY tempted to get the main course for next month’s big dinner, but managed to hold back and shoot at the inorganic targets I had in front of me…

Quote of the Day, 10/07 Edition

rp_Rob_Leatham_image.gif“Anyone who undertakes any kind of serious (competition) training program is going to find themselves as the local hot-shot, unless you live in Arizona.” 

- Steve Anderson

Having gone from the über-competitive realms of Phoenix Rod and Gun and Rio Salado to the more laid-back reaches of central Missouri, I can DEFINITELY sympathize.

Ghost With A Machine

wilson-lower-640x347

There’s now a $1200 mill that allows you to mill out an 80% lower at home with zero machining knowledge

Questions for the audience:

  1. How long before a major manufacturer sells an 80% lower and a milling machine rather than a completed AR lower? 
  2. People are using these to mill out AR-15 lowers and 1911 frames: How long before a company sells a package deal of an 80% frame/lower that can ONLY be made on a milling machine such as this, along with the parts needed to turn it into a firearm on your kitchen table?

Gun control laws are a product of mass production: It’s easy to legislate something that is produced en masse and can be easily tracked from factory floor to the sales counter. It’s not so easy to track something that can be handcrafted in a small shop, be it the blacksmith’s forge of 200 years ago or today’s desktop CNC mill. It looks like the future of gun ownership looks a lot like that past of gun ownership.

Training a trainer

Training at night

I got my NRA Instructor Basic Pistol qual a few years ago, but I never pursued training others because a) the market in the Phoenix, Arizona area was super-saturated with firearms trainers and b) a year after I got my qual, Arizona went to Constitutional Carry and demand for the CCW’s went thru the floor.

However, it turns out that there are very few CCW trainers in my corner of Missouri, so I thinking about hanging out my shingle and start teaching defensive pistol.

But.

I’d like to have some more training in firearms instruction than what just came with my NRA class. I’ve had decent level of training (about 200+ hours as I write this), but only 12 hours of that was how to train others. I’m considering either learning from either Gabe Suarez or Rob Pincus because I like the stuff they’re teaching, but I’m not a fan of building a monoculture when it comes to firearms training, so what other schools are out there that will teach firearms training but don’t involve taking 4 years of advanced-level classes first?

The Whole (Sight) Picture.

I first heard the phrase “gross motor skill” in my first NRA class. The idea was that dropping the slide on a reload by racking it was a gross motor skill and therefore better to do under stress than the “fine motor skill” of hitting the slide release lever. 

The instructor then proceeded to spend HOURS on the importance of a smooth trigger press to insure accurate hits on target. 

So “gross motor skills” are good and should be done whenever possible, except when they can’t. 

Uh-huh. 

Why not ditch the idea that some physical movements are more “tactical” than others, and see the process of putting hits quickly on the target under stress as an integrated whole? 

More thoughts on this over at the Osage County Guns blog.