The Whole (Sight) Picture.

I first heard the phrase “gross motor skill” in my first NRA class. The idea was that dropping the slide on a reload by racking it was a gross motor skill and therefore better to do under stress than the “fine motor skill” of hitting the slide release lever. 

The instructor then proceeded to spend HOURS on the importance of a smooth trigger press to insure accurate hits on target. 

So “gross motor skills” are good and should be done whenever possible, except when they can’t. 

Uh-huh. 

Why not ditch the idea that some physical movements are more “tactical” than others, and see the process of putting hits quickly on the target under stress as an integrated whole? 

More thoughts on this over at the Osage County Guns blog.

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.

More about double action triggers

Last weekend after we taped another gunsafe versus nightstand test, my Teamgunblogger co-bloggers and I wasted some ammo practiced with a variety of guns by shooting at a couple of plate racks. 

Honestly, if I had one and only one target to shoot at for the rest of my life, it would be a plate rack, because it offers a chance to work on speed, precision and transitions with every shot. We shot at the racks with a bunch of different guns, including a stock LC9, my quasi-tricked out Shield and Robert’s über-schweet XD-M.

LC9 and XD-M

Something happened that I found very interesting: Jaci and Robert are both excellent shots and beat me like a rented mule in shooting competitions as of late, but when it came to clearing a plate rack with the less-than-optimal trigger on the LC9, I beat them, (and handily too, I might add…). Why? I think it was due to the fact that I was used to the long double-action trigger pull because I shot CZ’s and they weren’t. Shooting a DA/SA gun on a regular basis has made me a better shot with guns that I don’t normally shoot. 

Now there is nothing wrong with tweaking your striker-fired gun down to less than a four pound pull, and heaven knows the trigger on a 1911 is one of the Eight Wonders Of The Gun World, but spending a lot of time shooting guns set up for optimal performance put my co-bloggers at a disadvantage when it came time to shoot a sub-optimal gun. They’ll still beat me in the next competition we shoot (like they always do…), but it’s nice to know that I have a few tricks up my sleeve for when I really need them. 

10 things I wish someone had told me about guns

  1. Buying the gun is the cheap part. Feeding it is the expensive part.
  2. Accessory availability matters. I love my CZ’s, but there’s just not the range of add-ons for it as there is for a Glock or M&P.
  3. It’s okay to take a LOT of time before buying a gun.
  4. Spending $100 in ammo on a rental range saves you a lot more money in buyer’s remorse.
  5. Unless you’re a collector, never buy Generation 1 of any gun.
  6. When going to the range for the first time, go with someone who has been there before.
  7. Ask stupid questions. It avoids stupid mistakes.
  8. Gun store clerks know which guns make them money and which guns they like, but not necessarily the best gun for you.
  9. Buy enough gun to stop a threat, but also buy something you’ll enjoy shooting regularly. Defensive guns should not be set in a “In case of Emergency, Break Glass” case, but need to be practiced with on a regular basis. 
  10. No one told me practical shooting was so much fun. I found out that for myself the first time I tried it.

Five Things I’d Change about Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod

CZ's are hipster gunsOr CZ, as some call it. 

I like Ron’s idea: What five things would you change about your favorite gun company. George Hill’s already talked about Sig, Ron’s talked about Smith and Wesson, and I’ve been tasked with talking about CZ. 

I wonder why…

I’m just going to talk about their pistols, because a) that’s what George and Ron mostly talked about and b) I kinda like what CZ is doing with their shotguns and rifle lines right now.  
Ok, so what five things would I change about CZ-UB/CZ-USA? 

1. Get into the concealed carry market in the U.S. in a serious way 
Czech citizens can get a permit to carry a firearm for personal defense MUCH easier than most of their European cousins, so you’d think that CZ would catch on to the idea that American civilians buy more guns than American policemen do. 
And you’d be wrong. Their are two problems with carrying a CZ concealed: Width and weight. The width is because of their unique slide design and a wide CCW gun is an awkward CCW gun. The weight is because CZ likes big metal guns. I like big metal guns too, but they weigh more that plastic does, and even CZ’s polymer P07 weighs a third of a pound more than a Glock 19. A stack and a half polymer gun that holds about 9+1 rounds and is under an inch wide would fill this niche nicely.

2. Support the P07 with more aftermarket parts
I don’t have much of a problem with the P07′s 8+ pound double action trigger pull, but I’d LOVE to have factory parts to take that down a pound or more, along with more of the wiz-bang features that M+P and Glock owners have gotten used to. Speaking of which…

3. Realize there are other practical pistol sports besides IPSC and USPSA. 
I shoot my P07 in IDPA, and it’s kinda like being the turd in the punchbowl in the world of CZ competition shooters. CZ was a sponsor of the IDPA Nationals and there are Dan Wesson 1911′s that are great for IDPA CDP and 3 Gun, but a little ESP love for IDPA would be muchly appreciated.

4. Work on reliability
This is your Achilles Heel. Whatever it takes, be it Six Sigma or whatever processes there are out there (Ron’s the procurement guy, I do marketing…), do it, even if it means another $25-$50 per gun. Realize that reliability in an IPSC match and passing a 2000 round challenge are two different things.

5. Get the word out. 
Look, you’re not going to match the marketing budget of the big guys, so get smart about things. Leverage social media and new media like your company’s life depends on it. Make Hickok45 your new best friend. Give away a gun at Gunblogger Rendezvous. Give a CZ75 Compact SDM to Todd Green to test next year: He hates CZ’s, make him eat his words.*
Your goal should be to get people talking about your guns in the context of something other than USPSA/IPSC, but still sponsor at least one stage and/or Division at the World Shoot this year to stay true to your roots.
Realize your competition in the U.S. is Sig, not Glock. Go for the high end, the luxury brand image. Become the BMW to Sig’s Mercedes, because you’re not going to beat Ruger on innovation, Glock on ubiquity, Smith and Wesson on “Not Glock” or any of those three on price. If Taurus can re-shape their image by hiring a top-notch competitor as a spokesperson, re-brand your image as well. Why not hire Travis Haley or Larry Vickers to talk about how so many cops and anti-terrorism teams around the world trust their lives to CZ’s. 

 

* Notice that I held back from saying “And give free guns to bloggers who talk about CZ all the time?” That’s because being more self-restrained was one of this year’s New Year’s Resolutions. But hey, free guns are ALWAYS welcome here! 

Seventeenth Report

Want to know what happens when you take a year-long break from practicing with your handgun

You suck, that’s what happens. I do these kind of tests because you don’t want to.

Trust me on this. 

16th_report

CZ75 Dot Torture Drill: 47 out of 50 (5 Yards) 

Yay me. I’m actually pretty happy with that result, but that was the highlight of the day. My runs thru the El Prez were painfully slow, but I made up for it with a lack of accuracy. 

  P07 1 P07 2 CZ75 1 CZ75 2 Shield 1 Shield 2
Target One 3AD 3AC 2ACD 3AC 2A2C 2ACD
Target Two 2ACD 4A A2CD 2A2C 2A2C 2C2D
Target Three 2A2C 2ACM 2A2C 2ACD 3AC 3AC
             
Time 13.24 13.89 9.99 11.2 10.25 10.55
A’s 7 9 5 7 6 5
B’s            
C’s 3 2 5 4 5 4
D’s 2   1 3
M’s   1        
Points 46 41 42 48 46 40
Score 3.74 2.95 4.2 4.29 4.49 3.79
Draw 2.56 2.84 2.37 1.81 2.35 2.65
Reload 3.9 3.34 2.24 3.44 3.16 2.97
Avg. Split 0.63 0.76 0.51 0.51 0.476 0.466

The only bright spot in that litany of suck and fail is the times I turned in with the Shield, which, if I’m honest, is a mystery to me. I’m guessing it’s because I short-stroked the trigger at least once on each run because of the shift from the shorter reset of the CZ75 to the longer P07 trigger. Might be time to stop riding the trigger and put what I learned from Rob Leatham into practice.

The Science of Sport

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Growing up in Southern Alberta, I was exposed to skiing from a young age, and some of the best moments of my life were on a pair a skis (Well, except for that one time I caught a tip on Norquay…).
I’ve said for a while now that downhill skiing is one of the closest non-gun sport analogy to practical shooting. The scoring can be a bit weird (yes, it’s time-based, but your spot in the race order can dramatically affect your run time) and the difference between first place and fifteenth place can come down to minute adjustments of movement and angles that’s hard for skiers to explain to people outside of the sport.

Science, not intuition is making the difference in skiing right now, and that science-based approach to success hasn’t popped up yet in practical shooting. Why? Because nutritionists and pschologists and precision GPS tracking gear cost MONEY, that’s why. The money and sponsors to pay for such things just isn’t there for practical shooting right now. That’s changing as the cost of such gear gets cheaper and the prize tables at shooting matches get better, but there’s still a gap between what the amount of science needed to win costs and what shooters can pay for. 

Someday soon, someone will use science to win a World Shoot, just not now.