First Gun, Favorite Gun, Next Gun?

S&W K22 and ammo

Borrowing from my friend Jon Gabriel and from Joe Mantegna

What was your first gun, your favorite gun and your next gun?

And by favorite, I mean in terms of sentimental value, i.e. the gun that shows up the most in lies stories that you tell.

Me:

The first gun that I owned, the first one that I bought with my own money, is my beloved pre-B CZ75. I’d shot a lot of guns before that, but they were always somebody else’s.

My favorite gun is the K22 that used to belong to my father-in-law. I love this gun. I love its history. I love its wear. I love how it shoots. There is nothing about it I don’t like.

My next gun will probably be a Kel-Tec CMR30. I’m endlessly fascinated by this gun, as I think it’s the very first affordable “civilian” personal defense weapon out there. Want one. Badly.

I said “affordable”, FNH. Please sit back down.

Ok, your First, Favorite, Next?

80% is Zero Percent

So it turns out that Sierra Nevada Arms, the Rockethub project I supported a year and a half ago (!) is no more. Their phone has been disconnected, their website is “down for maintenance” and Facebook page is pretty much Tango Uniform.

Gone Daddy Gone Sierra Nevada Disarmed

Not happy. I completely understand that I was funding a business, not buying a product, but I invested my money based on good faith, and that faith was betrayed. As I said a year ago,

“At this point, unless you’re wanting the thrill(?) of building it yourself or want to get a firearm without the .gov on your back, just go buy a lower and spare yourself a lot of trouble.”

Well, now that finished lowers are going for just $45, there’s even fewer reasons to get an unfinished, incomplete, DIY lower.

Caveat emptor, as always.

The dangerous trap of gear envy

Don Giannatti is a good friend who gave me my first shot in the photo world. He also gave me my first paying gig as a photographer, handing off a quick editorial job from The National Enquirer into my hands. That’s right, my first gig as a shooter was for the National Enquirer. I have my price, and it is VERY low.

I digress.

Read this bit from his post on gear envy and what it does to photographers, but where it says “camera” think “gun” and “photograph” think “shot”.

  1. If you cannot take a good photograph with an entry level camera and a kit lens, what makes you think your work will be better with a shiny new D760D-X NiKanon?
  2. If your pictures suck with what you have, they will most likely suck with a new camera, but now have the added fun of sucking after spending a boat load of cash.
  3. Perhaps it isn’t your camera, maybe you suck at making photographs.
  4. If your camera is not working ‘correctly’, it could be “user error”… just sayin’.
  5. Bigger file sizes means bigger file sizes. That’s it. (Bigger calibers mean bigger holes. That’s it. - K.)
  6. Yes, yes… that guru on all the awesome YouTubes shoots with some terribly expensive gear, and his pictures are awesomer than yours. Here is something to think about – give them your camera and watch them make the same awesomer shots.
  7. Camera manufacturers pay extraordinarily big money to make you think that their new wizbang will turn your pathetic throw aways into gallery ready pix. You let that crap take hold and you will never have enough gear… ever.

On a not-unrelated topic, here’s a (clickclick) shot I took with a 10 year old Nikon D70, a busted-up Manfrotto tripod and an iPhone. If I subscribed to the good gear = good photos theory, it should suck.

But it doesn’t. Think about THAT the next time you consider shelling out $$$ for some gadget to make you shooter better.

kel-tac_sm

Three Guns I’d Like To See At SHOT

tacticool-tfb

… but probably won’t.

  1. An AR-15 upper chambered in .22 TCM.
    Bonus points if it’s a “pistol length” upper designed for SBR’s AR pistols with a Sig brace.
    I love this cartridge. It’s everything you’d want in an intermediate, “PDW” size round, but right now, the only guns that use it are RIA 1911’s and one bolt-action rifle. The .22TCM is based off a .223 cartridge. It fires a .22 caliber bullet. It’s friggin’ made for the AR platform, let’s make it happen!
    Speaking of which…
  2. The return of the Ruger PC-9.
    Pistol caliber carbines are HOT right now. CZ is coming out with one, JP has one, Beretta has one, heck, even Citadel has one. Ruger had one and decided to not make it anymore. Re-issue it with a folding stock and rails and watch the money roll in.
  3. A defensive pistol chambered in a major caliber with an integrated light and laser.
    Why should the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard and Taurus Curve (both chambered in .380) have all the fun?

Ok, your three?

File Under Zen, Moment Of.

zen

I’ve done more thinking about shooting and where I want to grow as a shooter/competitor in the last three weeks than I have done the previous three years. The interwebz are full of people talking about how to become a GM, but there is precious little about how to become B Class or IDPA Expert.

The fact is, if you cure your trigger jerk and stay awake during a stage, you can make C Class. However, B Class and above requires effort, both physical and mental, and that means a) discipline and b) awareness. When I lived in Arizona, I never was able to see where I actually was in the grand scheme of practical shooting because on any given day, I’d be shooting with Rob Leatham or Kelly Neal or Sara Dunivin or Angus Hobdell or another other top-ranked shooter.

It’s hard to get a grasp of your own abilities (or lack thereof) in such a rarified environment: You don’t know how good you really are because even when you shoot your very best, you’re on the tail end of the match results. C Class is supposed to contain the top 40% to 60% of the shooters in USPSA, but it doesn’t feel like that if you’re competing with the top 10% (or better) all the time.

Three things, however, have re-ignited my passion for improving my skill at the shooting sports.

  1. Having the chance to step back and become the local hot shot at the top of the leaderboard for any given match has given me the chance to put what I’ve learned in context with the sport as a whole. Being C Class in a world where almost everyone is A Class or above means you suck. Being C Class in a world of D Class (or worse) shooters means you’re the top gun.
    This can have a marvelous effect on your self-image. :D
  2. On a related note, taking a breather in the action has given me time to think about where I am and where I want to be, and more importantly, what I need to do get there.
  3. I’ve been playing around with a Sig Sauer light/laser combo on my P07 (more on that later). Having a laser on my dry-fire gun has significantly increased my passion for dry-fire practice, as it gives direct 1-1 feedback on how my muzzle is moving (or not) during the trigger pull.

When I first started this blog, it was called “The Quest for C Class” because that’s what my shooting goal was at the time. I’ve made that goal (and then some), but the quest continues.

Stay tuned.

Update: As I said on Facebook, one thing that popped up right way while doing dry-fire with a laser is how the gun moves during one-handed shooting. I’m finding that if I add a little more bend to my elbow and curl my thumb down a bit more compared to where they are with a conventional, thumbs-foreward grip, the gun moves MUCH less during the trigger pull, making for faster and more accurate shots.

The Balancing Point of Speed And Precision

innovativeOnce you get beyond curing your trigger jerk and taming the red mist that pops up once the buzzer goes off, you’ll hear words like “balance of speed of precision” or “let the target determine the shot” being bandied about in competitive shooting.

That’s nice, but what does that REALLY means in terms of raw numbers? Creating a balance point is easier if there is a goal to strive towards, some kind of hard target to aim towards? (pun intended)

Enter this post at Modern Service Weapons:

I was recently surprised by the insight of a Facebook post on the topic of balancing speed and accuracy in training. Not surprisingly, however, was that it came from my buddy, Shin Tanaka. A USPSA Limited Class Grand Master, gifted machinist, 1911 gunsmith, and contributor to Recoil Magazine, Shin is about as well rounded as they come. His post caught my attention as it quantifies a method of balancing your speed and accuracy when it comes to training. According to his post, using USPSA scoring zones, he uses the point system in USPSA to measure whether or not he is being too conservative or pushing his limits. So assuming 5 points for A zone, 4 points for BC zone, and 3 points for D, and 0 points for a no shoot or miss, Shin uses a percentage score to determine whether or not he is pushing his limits. 93-97% of max score is the goal. Above 97% means you need to push the speed harder, and 93% means you need to dial back the speed.

Ok, chances are it’s not Shin’s idea and this concept of 95% points available was originally written down on a parchment in a monastery somewhere near Higley, Arizona by an acolyte of Saint Enos The First, but it’s new to ME, and it’s something I can use right now to judge when to hit the gas pedal and when to take my time.

Cool.