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.

I don’t want to take a tactical training class. Ever.

Not all that tactical, reall

Looks REALLY tactical, doesn’t? Actually, it’s not.

Paul Carlson linked on Facebook to my review of his class with the caveat, “When you read, keep in mind this course isn’t a course in tactics.” 

It wasn’t, and if you reader got that impression, I apologize. I don’t ever want to take a “tactical” course, (especially something like this), because a course in tactics means you are learning a planned response to a pre-planned scenario, much like a kata in the martial arts. Kata is good and necessary, but kata is not sparring and sparring is not combat. I’d much rather have the tools to build a self-defense plan that I can adapt to the chaos of the worst day of my life than a “if this, then that” series of preprogrammed responses.

The APH class expanded the range of tools I have at my disposable, but it didn’t mandate a given response to a given situation, which that is a very good thing. The closest I want to get to a class in pre-programmed responses is something like Fred Mastison’s executive protection classes, where I can learn some techniques I can use to protect my family when I am carrying a firearm. 

An example: Last week I spent two and a half days in the world of Combat Focus Shooting, training for self-defense with a firearm. There wasn’t a timer to be seen nor a pre-planned course of fire and yet I had a blast. Later that week, I shot a USPSA match at Phoenix Rod and Gun club, where there WAS a timer and a pre-planned course of fire and nary a peep about “getting off the X” or volume of fire.

The skills and mindset transferred over, though. There were several long shots at that match that required a greater degree of skill and concentration than the close targets, and I put an extra round into those targets to make sure I “got my hits.”

See where this is going? Rather than learn something that is applicable only on one range, the training I had with Paul and shooting a USPSA match I shot at night combined to strengthen each other and increase my confidence to defend my life and the lives of my loved ones with a firearm. 

Win-win.

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.

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: My home range, Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club, is THE hotbed of USPSA west of the Mississippi. 

Of the 60 people on the U.S. 2014 IPSC World Shoot roster, four six of them are from Rio Salado.* Congrats to them and everyone else who made the team.

Rob Leatham
Nils Johannson
Christopher Oosthuisen
Leighton Oosthuisen
Sara Dunivin
Jacob Hetherington

Ten percent of the U.S. national IPSC team shoots at Rio Salado, that’s not counting first-rank USPSA shooters like Angus Hobdell, Matt Burkett, Kippi Leatham and Joe Bridgeman.

In a word, at Rio, we don’t suck. 

* Thanks to Robert from Teamgunblogger for the updated list.

A few more thoughts on Area 2

Yeah, turns out I stunk up the joint pretty bad, ending up almost bottom-of-the-barrel in C Production. 

What went wrong? 

  1. I haven’t really practiced all year. Despite having training time with Rob Leatham and Gabe Saurez in the past few weeks, my actual month in, month out practice time has been diddly and/or squat. 
    Lesson learned: You can’t cram for a USPSA match.
  2. I fell back into a bad habit, namely not adjusting the speed of which I shoot a target to the difficulty of the shot. 
    Lesson learned: The target you’re shooting at determines the speed with which you engage it.
  3. Despite not shooting well, I had a great time and didn’t let my performance (or lack thereof) get in the way of having a good time. 
    Lesson learned: Have a good time, and let the shooting come to you. 

Oh, and I got to meet the dudes from The Firearms Report, my CZ75 ran perfectly, I REALLY like my new 9mm load, I won 1000 Billy Bullets off the table and it was STILL better than my best day at work.

So there’s that.