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Forty minutes into this week’s Triangle Tactical podcast, Ben and Luke knock it out of the park and suggest that IDPA and USPSA should do more than just send out a new membership card when you move up the ranks and get a new classification.

Couldn’t. Agree. More.

The comparison Ben and Luke make is to the belt ceremonies in martial arts, and it’s a good one. Even if it’s not the formalized ritual of getting a new belt, it should be something more than a first-class stamp. A form letter from Phil/Joyce at the VERY least, and I love their idea of tossing in a few items that might help (books, shot timers, etc) from the online store of either organization as a way to get to the next level.

But that would mean that IDPA and/or USPSA has a robust email marketing and/or CRM program that can handle such things, and they obviously don’t. I haven’t shot an IDPA classifier in over a year, but did I get a email warning me of such a thing? Nope. All it would take make happen, though, is a saved search in the database, an email template and an email service provider like Mailchimp.

It’s called “customer service” guys. Ramp up your game, or watch as your customer base ages and goes away.

Spitballin’ here…

… but what would the modern-day equivalent of the NRA’s original raison d’être look like?

A refresher:

Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,” according to a magazine editorial written by Church.

After being granted a charter by the state of New York on November 17, 1871, the NRA was founded. Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who was also the former governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. Senator, became the fledgling NRA’s first president.

The thing is, we’re not lining up troops into squares and fixing bayonets to repel cavalry charges anymore: Today’s battle lines go across countries and continents and can even show up on the homefront.

So what would an NRA program to help stem the tide of ISIS look like, and would that even be a good idea?

Match Report: IDPA at SWFLPS.

I like the Hansen range. It is, by far, the class act of the outdoor practical shooting clubs in the Ft. Myers/ Naples area. I need to shoot there more often, especially more 3 Gun. It’s also concealment-optional in the summer months, but I chose to shoot this match with my current carry gear, a CZ P07 in a Crossbreed, concealed by a untucked t-shirt. I let my gamer flag fly in USPSA, in IDPA, I’m more concerned about learning lessons I can apply to the real world.

As to the match, well, the good news is, I know what problems I need to work on. The bad news is, I’ve known what those problems are foe a while now, and I’m still unable to get past them.

The fact of the matter is, I suck at long shots with the P07. My Classifiers go great, right up until Stage Three when the wheels come FLYING off and I get stuff in Marksman yet again.

Evidence of this fact is to be found in Stages Two and Four of this video, where I go Down Six and an FTN on at least one target per stage, but on stage Three, I went Down Three.

The remedy? More dry-fire, and some range time specifically devoted to one-handed and long-range precision work with the P07. There’s a Classifier coming up in August, and it’d be good not to suck.

Mind the (age) gap

I shot an IDPA match up at Hansen last week (match video to follow) and noticed once again how OLD my fellow competitors were. I’m no spring chicken, and yet I was smack dab in the middle of the age demographic for the match.

This is NOT a sign of a vibrant, growing sport, which is why I’m such a HUGE fan of the Scholastic Pistol Program and other efforts out there to replenish the ranks of shooters in practical pistol. There are millions and millions of young people out there running around with (virtual) guns in their hands every day: It’d be nice to get just a few of them off of the couch and out to the range.

71.5 Million People Are The Market

Now, what are we going to do to reach them?

In 2013, it was estimated that approximately 71,500,000 people worldwide watched competitive gaming. The increasing availability of online streaming media platforms, particularly Twitch.tv, has become central to the growth and promotion of eSports competitions. Demographically, Major League Gaming has reported viewership that is approximately 85% male and 15% female, with 60% of viewers between the ages of 18 and 34.

That is seventy one and a half MILLION people who play video games and sit and watch other people play video games, . What if 10% of them shot? What if 1% of them shot practical pistol? Are we even capable of thinking what 70,000+ new, excited, MOTIVATED new shooters would do to USPSA/IDPA/3 Gun?

Nineteenth (-ish) Report

Let’s not talk about the Dot Torture Drill, shall we? I ended up in the mid-30’s, my worst Dot Torture ever, and I trashed the target before I took a picture of it.

The reason? My trigger jerk showed up again. I haven’t been dry-firing as of late, so I have no reason to expect good results from my range time, and guess what, that’s what I got.

Fortunately, I was semi-expecting such things, so I brought along my S&W 22A and picked up 300 Mini-Mags at the range (yes, we have them in-stock) and started to isolate on my trigger.

I *really* like a .22 pistol and a red-dot for such things. The recoil on a .22 is almost non-existent, and the red dot allows me to see how my point of aim is moving around during the trigger press.

100 rounds later, this happened at 15 yards, firing rapidly.

M22a_w_red_dot

I can dig it.

classifier-244x300Another issue I need to work on is the IDPA Classifier, specifically the third stage. The last time I shot it, it was a disaster, with SIXTY-ONE (count ‘em!, 61!) points down on the third stage.

So I decided to practice just the 1st string of fire in the third stage, which goes as follows:

String #1 Shooter Position 4 – Draw and fire 2 shots each at T1 – T3 in Tactical Priority from either side of the barricade using cover, do a Loaded Chamber Reload and fire 2 shots each at T1 – T3 in Tactical Priority from the opposite side of the barricade using cover. (12 shots)

The last time I shot Stage 3, I shot String #1 in 18.7 seconds. Today, I shot it three times, averaging 19.28 seconds, with the target at 12.5 yards, and I’m pretty happy with the results.

IMG_4385b

That semi-transperant target is the IDPA target reduced to 50% (because I shot this at 12.5 yards, not 20 yards), and I’m down just 35 points total.

That averages out to 19.28 seconds and 12 points down. Cool.

Tab Clearing, 05/12/15 Edition

A few notes in passing…

Congratulations to my TeamGunblogger cohort Jaci Janes for joining Team Sig Sauer! Jaci’s innate talent and commitment to the shooting sports far exceeds mine, so it’s good to see all her hard work rewarded in this way.

Ben and Luke over at Triangle Tactical tackle my question about practical shooting drills for an indoor range, and I like their ideas. I should note that the Surefire Shot Timer app comes with a dandy par timer setting which would work well with their suggestions.

Should you ever shoot someone in the back? Good question. About 15 years ago, I did a run through the Tempe Police Department video simulator, and did quite well on the shoot/no shoot tests, right up to the point where I refused to back-shoot someone who had just shot my partner. The prep made it to cover, and shot me. Game over. Looking back on it now, the programmers of the sim decided the dude was an “imminent deadly threat” because he already offed a (virtual) cop and therefore was likely to kill again. Which he did. I get the idea, but still, shooting someone in the back seems…

This is how the media SHOULD be talking about practical shooting

Take a few moments to read this story on Wired.com about a big-time “Big Buck Hunter” video game contest, and ask yourself what it would take for Wired or Stuff or some other trendy media outlet to talk about USPSA or 3 Gun with the same amount of enthusiasm.

Some select points from the article:

“It’s all patterns,” he’d say. “If you want to win, just know the patterns.”

Patterns are key. Bucks appear in specific places at specific times. Knowing the patterns requires practice. Practice requires time. Time requires money. But my friends and I are young. We can find time and money.

Sounds a lot like Steel Challenge to me…

“Andy (a gamer in the article) touches on the growing trend of players owning personal Big Buck machines. “You used to be a douchebag if you did that,” he says. “But then those people started winning championships. So.”

Waiting for the inevitable “Playing Big Buck Hunter will get you killed in the woods” comments…

“The stereotype is that most of the people who love BBH are Republican, pro-gun, NRA members. That’s true, but only to an extent.”

No comment.

“By the time I get to The Pourhouse, (the site of the championship), the atmosphere is much as I remember it from Friday. Same faces, same outfits, same rodeo energy. The emcee implores the crowd to drink Old Milwaukee, because it’s the sponsor and it’s free. A hype video introducing “Big Buck Hunter HD Wild” plays on a screen. It has lots of new animals.”

Think about how SOCIAL playing this game is, and then think about how social the average USPSA match is. Sure, the guys on the squad trash talk with each other and have fun, but when’s the last time you were at a match that a) had spectators b) had facilities for spectators or c) encouraged spectators to be social and root for their favorites.

The finals offer a three-trek format, a change that benefits Tower, who tends to be a faster shot. He pulls away early, blasting at bucks even as they materialize. He hits them all. It’s freakish, and unstoppable. He takes the match. Green and orange confetti falls from the rafters. Tower raises his arms in triumph.

I catch up with him a little later. He’s glowing with excitement and perhaps alcohol. “Only had four beers all day,” he says. I have trouble believing him. Then he says he’s the fastest Big Buck Hunter shot in the world. I have no trouble believing him. I ask if he’s got any advice.

“Aim small, hit small,” he says.

I have no idea what this means, but damned if it doesn’t sound good.

Hey, look, a competitor who can differentiate his type of performance from everyone else out there! How fresh! How exciting! How completely absent from USPSA! We call Rob Leatham “The Great One” (and he is) but WHY is he the great one? What makes his style so dominating versus Max or Eric or Jerry? How do we expect to stimulate interest in our sport if the people who shoot it aren’t interesting?

Playing a video game in a bar is exciting, social and popular. Shooting a match is exciting, and if we can figure out a way to make it social, we can make it popular.

The question is, is that what we want to do?