Grading On A Curve.

Taurus-Curve-side

I’m going to hold my fire on the new Taurus Curve until I get my hands on one at SHOT and/or get one out on the range. 

At least Taurus is trying something different. When Glock (finally) comes out with their single stack 9mm at SHOT, everyone will scream “OMG, Best…Gun… EVER!!!” and then praise the gun’s innovative style and looks. Maybe The Curve is a flaming hive of suck and villainy, maybe it’s not, but at least it’s not a cookie-cutter look alike of something Kel-Tec brought out in 2004

Update: 
Left this as a comment over at Triangle Tactical and thought I’d share it here as well.

I look at this gun as the spiritual cousin of all those goofy cars that Pontiac came out with before they left us. Sure, they came out with the single ugliest car ever made (the Aztek) but also came out with Solstice and the insanely great GTO.
Or maybe a better example would the Mac Cube, or the stupid hockey puck mouse the original iMac shipped with. They never caught on, but they were signposts that pointed towards a design language that changed how EVERYTHING is designed.

Update 2: 
Miguel weighs in

If this thing goes ‘bang” every time and has no major issues, I expect Taurus to sell this thing like there is no tomorrow.  We might be seeing The Judge part 2. The Fudd among us will still cringe at the thought of being seen holding and shooting one of these babies, but it was not that long ago (OK it has been) that the idea of shooting an European gun made of plastic and not based on the designs of John Moses Browning was enough to send you to solitary confinement at your local range.

Again, I go back to the iMac. NOBODY knew what to make of it when it first came out. “What? USB ONLY? NO FLOPPY? INTEGRATED MONITOR? ARE YOU INSANE?” is what the computer reviewers said, but it turns out that people wanted a computer that “just worked”. The iMac was the starting point of something huge, a computer and accessory ecosystem that gave us the iPod, easy and cheap media downloads, every modern smartphone on the planet* and turned Apple into the biggest company in the world.

So what happens when we get a defensive firearm that “just works”? Not sure, and I’m not sure this is it, but something is happening here, and other gun manufacturers should pay attention. 

*Yes, Android fans, search your feelings, you know it to be true. Take a look at what Samsung phones looked like before the iPhone and what they looked like afterwards. Acknowledge the obvious, and get on with your lives…

Couldn’t agree more.

John van Swearigen makes the same point that I’ve been saying for a while: There is no dividing line between “tactical shooting” and “competitive shooting”, there is your ability to make the shot on-time and on-demand, or not. 

As a portion of the shooting community, advanced competitive shooters can generally run any given firearm (more) proficiently than their peers. No, they may not have a tactically sound or particularly defensive mindset, but they can drive their gun like they freaking stole it. Everyone that shoots (especially those that count on their firearm to defend themselves and others) can learn something from that. 

The biggest difference is the way the best competitors practice. They don’t just drill shooting positions or situations. They drill the very basics of firearms manipulation to an excess. Dry-firing. Reloads. Drawing to a sight picture. It is not unreasonable to claim that the best competitive shooters can shoot weak-handed while moving with a higher degree of proficiency than the average patrol officer can shoot two-handed.

The ability to make the shot should be first and foremost in ANY firearms training class, be it tactical or competitive. All that stage planning, all that practice with tactical reloads, all those times getting quickly into (sub)urban prone means SQUAT if you shoot slow and inaccurately, and sonuvagun if the “balance of speed and precision” I learned in Combat Focus Shooting isn’t pretty much the same as what I learned training with Rob Leatham. 

It’s almost as if there’s not real secrets to this, just stuff we need to re-learn from time to time.

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.