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.

The World Shooting Championship! (or at least our version of it)

Muhammed AliI used to be a big, big fan of boxing. However, I was not a big fan of Mike Tyson, to be honest, but I respected his talent, and I also respected the fact that when he fought, he fought for ALL the titles. 

Then Riddick Bowe walked away from the WBC title and we’ve got the current hodge-podge of belts and titles and champions, and I don’t have the time or energy to keep track of who’s the champion of what. 

Which brings me to the shooting sports. The World Action Pistol Championship wrapped up last weekend, with Doug Koenig and Jessie Duff winning the Men’s and Women’s overall championships. 

World Action Pistol Championship is is NOT the World Shoot, which is NOT the IPDA Worlds, which is NOT the World Shooting Championship, and none of this has anything to do with the ISSF

Got that? Me neither. 

Well-rounded, well-armed

Armed Culture did a great little post on finding good gun advice, and I like this part in particular: 

The four factors of expertise

#1. Breadth of experience.

A guy who has one brand of wine that he drinks is not a wine expert, even if he drinks a lot of wine. Taste only comes with broad exposure. When someone tells you that a product is good, always ask, “Compared to what?”

The typical gun reviewers who lack in this area are military and competition shooters. Many servicemen have extensive experience with the weapons provided to them by the government. But they know little to nothing about the wealth of options available in the civilian world. If your dad got you into sporting clays as a kid, you might be an Olympic class shooter… but that won’t make you an authority on handguns or rifles, or even hunting shotguns.

After reading that, I realized why I was going for “a mind of many things” approach to my journey through firearms culture. I will listen to anything that Rob Leatham or Angus Hobdell have to say about USPSA, but I wouldn’t go to them for rifle advice. In the same manner, I know people who can bust clays with just their mind (and a shotgun), but know diddly about handguns. 

I want to know enough to speak rationally on most gun topics, and I want to be good enough so that when someone says “Hey, do you want to go shoot (insert name of firearms-related activity here)?”, I know I’ll be good enough to enjoy it and have some measure of success at whatever it is. 

As I’ve said before, life is too short to shoot just one gun.

Product Review: Vortex Diamondback Spotting Scope


Advantages: Great optics, ruggedly built, low price
Disadvantages: Some cloudiness in the optics 
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I got this scope to replace the ancient Bushnell I inherited from my father in law. 10 years as a commercial photographer taught me what to look for in a a piece of glass, and this scope offers excellent results at a price that won’t break the bank.


The controls are logically placed and have everything you want in a serious spotting scope such as a rotating tripod mount for bench or prone use and a sensitive, easy to use focusing knob. The scope is rugged built and comes with a convenient soft carry case that also doubles as a thermal cover (a nice touch)..

The Vortex Diamondback scope is easy to use in the field or on the bench and transmits colors and details to the eye cleanly with little optical aberrations such as color shifting or fringing, but there is a general cloudiness in the lens. Is there a difference in clarity at higher powers between this scope and something costing five or ten times as much? Yes. Are those other scopes five or ten times clearer and easier to see through? Oh heck no.

If you have to have the very best and are willing to spend for it, go for it and get a $2000+ scope. If you want a spotting scope to do the job day in, day out, this is the scope for you.

The Carbine In Context


My AR-15′s and the SU-16C aren’t my “go-to” weapon. It’s not even my secondary weapon, (that’s the Mossberg I have in my safe room), the rifle is my third choice: It’s gun that I would use if I need something more than my CCW gun if I’m outside the house. I’ve taken a really good defensive carbine training class, but I need some defensive shotgun training, as (God forbid), that would be my secondary weapon I’d go to not my AR-15.

Oh, and I need a good class in first aid/trauma. That too. 

Lower For Hire

Speaking of that Fealty Arms Lower, I know have an extra one hanging around, or at least I will when my 80% lower FINALLY ships. I’ll use the Fealty lower to build a lower for my long-range gun, and the CavArms lower is now dedicated to my CMMG .22 adapter and my 3 Gun AR is just about where I want it (I do need to swap out the handguard and gas block on it), so I actually don’t actually have a need for another AR-15 right now. 

I know, since when does need have anything to do with guns? 

I’m leaning towards making a 9mm “pistol” out of it via a Sig Arms brace, and a pistol 9mm upper, but what would you suggest? 

The Best Match In Practical Shooting…

… is the Superstition Mountain Mystery 3 Gun match at Rio Salado.

But hey, don’t take my word for it, ask our match participants! 

Here’s Travis Gibson shooting the stage I worked on this year, Stage 4, Heath Robinson’s Revenge. 

Watching competitor’s faces when all those movers activated during the walkthrough was a highlight of the match. ;) 

Because of work constraints, I didn’t have the time off to shoot the whole match this year, but I did shoot this stage during the protest period, and I did it 34 seconds with one UnHit Target and one Failure to Engage. 

I’ll take it. 

And on the prize table side, I ended up with a Fealty Arms Lower and an OPMOD messenger bag. 


The bag is a nice size, about perfect for a day hike and with a lot of MOLLE straps for future expansion, and I’ll turn the lower into a permanent part of Tiger’s Revenge

Product Review: Inteliscope iPhone Adapter

inteliscope iphone review Advantages: Shows off what’s possible with everyday electronic devices
Disadvantages: Limited by the iPhone’s screen 
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I’ve been been writing for a while now about how the revolution in personal electronics will affect firearms development, and now we’re seeing products like Tracking Point and Colt’s SWORD system change how we think about small arms. 

But those are systems that cost thousands of dollars and are of marginal use to civilians: What’s out there for people like us who don’t wear MOLLE straps to work each day? 


The Inteliscope on top of my CavArms AR-15

The Inteliscope iPhone Scope is one of those options, and it uses features already on your smartphone such as an inclinometer, camera and far more computing power than my first computer to do (in theory) a lot of what Tracking Point and other systems do for thousands of dollars more. 

rifle_typesThe first thing I noticed about the Inteliscope system was how nicely-packaged it was. Apple owners are used to a first-class experience when opening up new stuff, and the Inteliscope does not dissapppoint. Setup on the top of my competition AR-15 was easy, and downloading the app from the iTunes was simple and free. 

ammo_typesI took rifle to range to sight it in, and decided to set it up for shooting .22LR through my AR before I set it up to shoot .223, because I’m cheap, that’s why. The mount was easy to install on my gun and once my phone was locked onto the it, nothing moved, it was VERY sold. Setting up the scope for zeroing caused a brief moment of panic as I’d forgotten where that screen was on the included app. The app includes a screen where rifle and ammo data can be entered for the built-in ballistic computer, and setting up the Inteliscope was for the most part easy and logical. However, a a one-page instruction manual would help smooth the process for dunderheads like me. I also like the fact you can remove items from the display screen such as GPS info and the inclinometer, but I’d like an option to customize it further and remove the optional light switch and timer button as well. One thing on the screen that I really liked was the option to include local wind and weather data. Knowing at a glance where the prevailing wind was coming from and how strong it was could be a big hand in making longer-distance shots.

actual_screenThe sighting-in process began to highlight some of the limitations of this device. Because the Inteliscope uses the iPhone’s 5x digital zoom, the details of the target 25 yards away were very blurry and I couldn’t get a good sighting group no matter how hard I tried. The image to the right shows the problem: The app was willing, but alas, the display on my iPhone 4S was weak. I set up five targets to shoot with my .22 to test out how the Inteliscope handles target transitions, and the results were disappointing. 

I spent much more time hunting for the plates with the Inteliscope than I do with my 1x red dot. The Inteliscope just didn’t resolve the low-contrast between the plates and the dirt berm well enough for me to shoot quickly and accurately (although it’s really cool to FINALLY have true “gun camera” footage from my AR…) The bright sunlight of a clear Arizona morning was also too much for the scope, and I couldn’t get a good view of the screen unless I shaded it with the brim of my cap. I also noticed that this gizmo uses a lot of battery power: My iphone went from 95% to 25% charged in just an hour of use. 

Bottom Line - Inteliscope iPhone Review 

I’ll admit that I really loved the idea of this product and I want it to succeed, and the people at Inteliscope deserve praise for raising the bar on what electronics can do in conjunction with firearms. What I’ve learned throughout this review is that this product shows a lot of potential and is a fun little toy to play around with, but it needs some improvements in order to deal with the limits of the iPhone’s digital zoom and poor screen performance in daylight before it can be used in competition or on a defensive firearm. Options for a sunscreen and an optical zoom adapter would go a long way to improve this gadget’s utility and make it a serious alternative to a conventional red dot or optical scope.