After Action Report: Bob Vogel World Class Pistol Skills

The basics: The two day class was held at Altair Gun Club, a private range about 45 minutes east of Naples. The class was nine guys, all older, split about 1/3 each “gamers”, 1/3 professionals (LEO or private security and 1/3 casual tactical learners. All of the students had a lot of previous gun skool, none had any “gamer” classes”.

I was pleased that Bob’s shooting philosophy is similar to mine: Shooting is shooting. Delivering the shot on-time and on-target is the same for tactical as it is competition. The point is to be as fast and accurate as possible in any situation. As for tactics, as Bob says, “Speed is a huge tactic”.
Gear-wise, there were five Glocks, two M&P’s, a Grand Power and me with my CZ’s (Yes, plural. More on that later.). As Bob shoots a Glock and the majority of students in the class shot Glocks, there was at least an half hour’s discussion devoted on how to make a Glock run as fast and accurately as a CZ.

You can’t. Game over. 😀

One thing I did appreciate was looking down the sights of Bob’s competition Glock 34. His sights are a LOT wider-spaced than mine: The rear sight groove is bigger, and the front sight is a mere slip with a small fiber dot. I really liked that idea, as it fits in with the faults I’m finding with my competition guns.

The technique training was solid. As Bob says, “Almost anyone can hold a gun on-target at 25 yds. The trick is keeping it on-target as they pull the trigger”. This dovetails nicely with what I learned from Rob Leatham, so there’s something to be pursued further in my dry-fire along those lines. Bob also believes that “The less the gun moves, the better you shoot”, and that’s what his draw, movement on a stage and grip are based around. He grips the gun with the support hand further out towards the muzzle than most people do with the modern isosceles, and he emphasizes using the meaty part of your thumb on both hands, just below the last knuckle, for controlling the gun movement. He also cants his wrists slightly downwards, allowing for the support hand to grab the gun further out of the frame. That grip, he believes, allows you to get your hands closer to the muzzle and therefore closer to where the recoil is happening.

Also, he believes that people should “pinch” the gun in the holster with the middle finger and thumb versus grabbing it with all three fingers. Pinching relates to a higher grip on the gun and a faster draw, as the complete grip assembles itself as the gun is on it’s way towards the target. Straight left wrist  = low hand on gun, cant wrist down. A strong support hand is an essential part of his grip, because the strong hand has to grip the gun and pull the trigger, and the support hand jus grips the gun, so it’s essential for control during the trigger press. If you notice on the video I posted yesterday, his hands are pressing slightly inwards on each other. Torquing them inward like that creates pressure downwards and from side to side, which helps eliminate side to side motion. This also helps press the gun up and right, which works against trigger jerk that tends to push the gun down and to the left.

Another element of recoil control he teaches is grip strength. Bob is a big proponent of the Captains of Crush grip stregtheners, as they helped him, and I’m getting one sent my way to try it out.

To be honest, that was takeaway #1: The physical reality of being a truly great shooter. I got to see Angus Hobdell, Tarn Butler and Rob Leatham shoot many, many times, and no one would ever accuse them of them of being “svelte”. They’re big guys, but they all can move very quickly and explode out of the shooting box when needed. Watching Bob spring from a dead standstill to 6 feet ahead at the drop of a hat was enlightening.

Takeaway #2 was the Bill Drill. To be honest, I had not practiced this drill a lot, but now I see it’s usefulness in finding what you’re doing consistently wrong. If you have an occasional problem with trigger jerk, it WILL show up when you shoot six shots in a row multiple times.

Takeaway #3 was the importance of dry-fire, and practicing measurable things while dry-firing. To be honest, I’d been dry-firing wrong. Having a double-action gun means I can pull the trigger on each target I point my (empty) gun at, but that doesn’t mean I should pull the double-action trigger every time I need it. I’m switching to a true DA/SA trigger practice from now on. True, I won’t have the hammer fall with each shot, but it will be more like the way my gun actually works and allow me to see issues with trigger press and gun movement.

Win – win – win.

Here’s a video of me working my way (slowly) through some of the drills in the class.

This is not a class for everyone; If you’re new to shooting world or haven’t taken a beginning pistol class, take those first ,and shoot a few matches as well. However if you’re ready (as I am) to get really, really good at shooting a pistol under the artificial stress of the range and a timer, this is a great class to help take you to the next level.

And because this was Florida, we had an alligator show up for some free training. He kept to himself, but I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him he needed to wear eye and ear protection while he was watching us shoot.




Match Report: USPSA at SW Florida Practical Shooters, 2/4/16

I shot the weekly USPA match at the Hansen Range prep for this weekend’s class with Bob Vogel, and to spend a little quality time with my new upgraded CZ P-07. Let’s roll the tape!

Overall, I’m not happy with how I shot: I had too many Mikes on targets where they just weren’t justified. This was the first time I shot the P-07 in USPSA, and I had trouble picking up the front sight on strings of fire. I’ve got Meprolight night sights on it right now, and they… suck. They’re hard to pick up because they’re three dot sights (which I hate) and the front sight post is too thick for precise aiming. I got the night sights because the P07 is my regular carry gun in addition to being my IDPA gun, so I need to find a compromise between a race gun sight that’s useful on a square range and night sights useful on a carry gun. I think I may (may!) have found that compromise, so we’ll see how they’ll work out.

My plan was, before tonight, to shoot the P-07 at the Vogel class, but I honestly think shooting the new (old) pre-B CZ75 in the class will better reflect my actual skill level.

Opportunity is knocking


Alas, poor Remington. I knew them, Horatio: a company
of infinite accuracy, of most excellent shotguns: I hath
borne them on my back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination they are!

The Firearm Blog noticed the big grey elephant in big green’s SHOT show booth: Where is the R51, and what happened to Remington Defense?

Let’s face it, Remington has not been on a roll as of late. The Tracking Point rifles where… whelming, and the 700 recall mess-up is tarnishing the reputation of what once was the gold standard in precision rifles. There’s been recalls with their shotguns as well, the purchase of Para-USA, the elimination of Para-USA not going over that well, the iffy quality control on Marlin rifles and the fact that the ACR failed to live up to expectations, and you can see why the execs at the Freedom Group might be gulping down Xanax by the handful right now.

So why not sell to Sig Sauer?

Okay, aside from the fact that Sig probably doesn’t have a billion or so in spare change in the sofa cushions, selling most of (if not all) of Remington to Sig makes a lot of sense, and by “Remington”, I mean Remington as it was five or six years ago, before it went on a buying spree. Sig’s product lines and Remington’s core product lines intersect but lightly. Sig doesn’t make shotguns or bolt guns and their ammunition production pales in comparison to Remington’s, so the two brands wouldn’t cannibailze each other that much. The Remington 1911’s do conflict somewhat with Sig’s 1911’s, but if they cut Para loose again, that problem would solve itself. There’s also the question of Remington’s AR line, but again, Bushmaster is just sitting there, waiting to be turned loose from under Freedom Group’s thumb.

Sig benefitted greatly when Freedom Group snapped up AAC: Sig’s new silencer line and the MCX are just two of the items hatched by John Holister and Kevin Brittingham since they left AAC, and I’m sure there’s more to come. Will Sig snatch up Remington as well? Only time will tell.

Do You Like American Marksman?

icon_american-marksman-redI like American Marksman
Don’t you like American Marksman, too, baybeee? 

Why yes, I am a big fan of the Violent Femmes. Why do you ask? 😉

I’m really excited that The American Marksman is starting to take off. I’ve known about this for over a year and a half, and I think it’s a great way to get people of all skill levels and ages into competitive shooting, which has been my hobbyhorse of late. I’m not going to enter (I have better things to do than shove my ugly mug in front of the camera again), but dude, fifty grand is fifty grand.

Go for it.

The Middle Child

Tam’s work with the P250 is showing that a locked-breech, subcompact .380 is a great choice for people who can’t handle the recoil and slide manipulation of a 9mm. When I worked behind the counter, I’d recommend the very-similar Ruger LC-380 and the not-so-similar KelTec PMR-30 to people who didn’t think they were up to using a 9mm effectively (and there were a LOT of them here in the well-upholstered corner of Heaven’s Waiting Room).

Which got me thinking: There’s good defensive .380ACP ammunition out there that comes close to the FBI standard of 12″ of penetration through gel and four layers of denim, so I’m quite comfortable carrying a .380 on a regular basis, but a little more oomph would always be nicer.

So why doesn’t someone make a locked-breech, striker-fired compact (or subcompact pistol) that has a little more power than .380 and yet is more controllable than 9mm?

Something in 9×18 Makarov, perhaps?

There’s a wide range of inexpensive ammunition out there for that caliber, and some rather respectable self-defense loads as well. The Makarov round has less pressure and less velocity than 9mm, and yet we still think of 9×18 = blowback action, not locked breech.

Look, if we can make a semi-auto gun in a wheelgun caliber like .357 Magnum, we can make a locked-breech gun in a blowback caliber like 9×18 and sell the crap out it to the people with physical limitations that make their need for armed self-defense more urgently than the rest of us.

Ok, Kel-Tec, you’re not afraid to break the rules, let’s make this happen.

Ozymandias, USPSA GM.

Take a few moments to read about the rise and fall of this niche sport, and ask yourself if there are any comparisons to practical shooting.

Practical shooting hasn’t reached the point where there’s million-dollar payouts, and Lord knows it’ll probably never be shown on network TV, but if something like bowling can catch the country’s attention for a few decades, why can’t USPSA?

He Went Full Metcalf. Never Go Full Metcalf.

To be honest, the only reason I can come up with why a “Gun Culture 1.0” writer like Dave Petzal would write something like this is because he doesn’t understand that his love of the outdoors and desire to put food on the plate is pretty much identical to my love of competition and desire to stay safe as a member of “Gun Culture 2.0”.

It’s not one or the other, it’s BOTH.

If You’ve Got a Niche, Scratch it.

I find it very interesting that one of the foremost manufacturers of semi-custom 1911’s stepped back, surveyed the firearms landscape, with years and years of experience building semi-auto guns….
came out with a pocket six-shooter.

That says a lot about the pistol market right now. Aside from an SA/DA sub-compact 9mm, what is there left to do in the pistol market but fill niches that already is being served by some other manufacturer’s product?

And don’t EVEN get me started on AR’s…