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.


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?

Inside Job


Why is no one promoting indoor shooting matches? There’s a few indoor IDPA clubs out there, but there is a serious disconnect between the glitz and glam of the Smith & Wesson Indoor Nationals and setting up an IDPA match at Frank N Bubba’s Indoor Shooting Emporium.

NSSF Rimfire Challenge and Scholastic Steel are supposed to be “feeder” sports into the larger world of practical shooting, but because they shoot steel, they are pretty much a no-go indoors,. This leaves indoor shooters with IDPA and outlaw practical pistol as the models for the indoor matches, which are ok, (but not ideal) for people starting out in practical shooting.And even then, the IDPA Classifier requires 60+ feet of range space to run, something that is not to be found on  most indoor ranges.

How hard would it be for Steel Challenge, et al, to publish a slightly revised version of their match rules that is suitable for a 10 yard indoor range? Instead of shooting steel, why not shoot hanging, self-sealing plastic targets that jump when hit? It won’t be the ping! of a well-placed steel hit, but it be instant feedback, which is the point of shooting steel versus paper.

Consider this: Outdoor shooting ranges are getting hassled from the neighbors about noise and safety, and with “guntry” clubs on the upsurge, where is the future of the practical shooting: On an expansive outdoor public range with four+ pistol bays, or indoors, after-hours at luxury gun club? So why is there one (COUNT IT!) one major match (two if you count the BUG Gun Nationals) that even acknowledge the existence of indoor ranges?

Three Guns I’d Like To See At SHOT


… 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?

The Next Step In 3 Gun Competition


First, I’m more than a bit bummed out that I will never, ever shoot the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun match.

“It is with a twinge of sadness that I’m informing you … we have made the strategic decision to formally end the world’s first night time and premiere 3-Gun competition, the Crimson Trace Midnight 3-Gun Invitational,” said CT’s marketing director Kent Thomas. “I know this will be a disappointment to many of you, but after much discussion, deliberation and thought, we’ve decided to go out on top, leaving each of you and the industry wanting more.”

Be not afraid, though, all hope is not lost, and what will replace the Midnight 3 Gun looks REALLY interesting.

The inaugural “Starlight 3-Gun” will feature three-days of amateur and professional competition at an east-coast location yet to be announced. There will be an open enrollment for experienced 3-gun competitors and interested shooters who are new to 3-gun competition will have the opportunity to qualify the Starlight 3-Gun via participation in other qualifying 3-gun events. 

“Our long-term goal is to popularize the concept of athletic shooting competitions and create local, regional and national events where everyone from a young children shooting beginner courses can compete at the same venue as the pros. The full-blown pro circuit will combine TV, online and live events to fill up arenas and athletic facilities across the country. Our goal is to make shooting competitions entertaining- and to do that, we’re amping up the entertainment value- without sacrificing safety.” 

Okay, now I’m interested. Adding more excitement and entertainment to the experience of WATCHING a match will, by default, add interest to the sport. Kudos to Jim Shepherd for trying to take 3 gun out of the action shooting ghetto, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the first match will look like.

File Under Zen, Moment Of.


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.


Tracked and Targeted

mental_toughness“90% of the sport is mental, and the other half is physical.”

– Yogi Berra

Thinking a little more about this post on the mental game of the shooting sports:

  1. I’m fairly happy that I aimed for middle of the pack in my last major match. Based on my level of training and practice, I thought that a reasonable goal for the match was to place in the middle of the pack in Tac Limited, and doggone it if that wasn’t where I placed.
    What this tells me: I have a reasonable grasp of my ability and what I can do on any given day, which helps me set training and match goals.
  2. I’ve used my scores in the El Presidente drill as a way to track my progress in performing the basic skills of practical/tactical shooting, namely, target recognition, draw, follow-up shot speed, transition speed from target to target and fast reloads. My best score on this drill has plateaued as of late, but what’s interesting is that my bad times are now MUCH better than they were two years.
    What this tells me: I’m still not as fast and accurate as I’d like to be right, but I’m also more consistent and not so prone to bonehead mistakes.

Yes, I stole the title from new favorite political podcast.

Sue me.

You are who you thought you were

RaRCoverEven though my musical tastes lean more towards The Ramones and The Smiths than they do to Van Halen, I’m really enjoying Steve Anderson’s “That Shooting Show” podcast. Wednesday’s episode was particularly good, talking about how your perception of yourself as a shooter affects how you shoot.

I can dig it.

I had convinced myself that I was a bad wingshooter with my 930SPX, but yet sonuvagun if I didn’t nail every single flying clay at my last 3 gun match.

I had convinced myself I was a “C” class shooter, but I’m on the cusp of breaking into “B” Class right now because, well, I think that’s where I am.

I went into the Area 3 Multigun Championship with the goal of placing in the middle of Tac Limited, and sonuvagun if I didn’t do exactly that.

To quote The Pixies, where is my mind? Two things.

1. Longer-ranged shots with my competition AR. I struggle with hitting 200 yard LaRues. Heck, I struggle with 100 yard plates. That needs to change, and the struggle ends now

2. Longer-range pistol shots. I’d be IDPA Sharpshooter if I were better at those. That needs to change.

But enough about me. Give Steve’s podcast a listen, especially if you’re interested in the mental game of the shooting sports.

Speaking of CZ…

They’re coming out with a Mil-Spec (-ish) 1911.


“The first CZ-branded pistol to be made in the USA, the CZ 1911 A1 closely resembles the original service pistol, but with a few tasteful changes. Notable differences are the taller, dovetailed sights front and rear, walnut grips and stainless steel barrel. 

Though it looks like an old A1, the biggest differences are the tighter slide-to-frame and slide-to-barrel tolerances, which translate into greater accuracy without compromising reliability.”

First thoughts: Ummn, ok, this is nice… for 2009. However, it’s a little late to the market, and CZ already owns Dan Wesson (who makes some DANDY 1911’s), so why confuse things?

Second thoughts: Why step on the rollout of the Skorpion? 9mm carbines are HOT right now, and it seems like CZ is (for once) ahead of the game with their products.

Third thoughts: Key phrase, “The first CZ-branded pistol to be made in the USA”. Is this the sign of things to come from CZ, like a single-stack CZ75-esque gun for the CCW market that’s made in the USA?

And a quick update: Kudos to Jason and the rest of CZ marketing team for how they’re rolling the Scorpion. Teaming up with new media and Colion Noir has paid off well for them.