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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?

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.

The new CZ is here…

… and apparently, the Israeli police department does not use holsters, but rather drags their pistols behind the car from callout to callout. The gun is in BAD shape, externally.

new_cz_sm

Sure looks good in pictures, though.

The good news is, the frame to slide fit on the gun is TIGHT and the trigger pull is a clean 12 pounds on double and 6 pounds on single. The plan is to send this gun off to Angus Hobdell and have him install a new hammer, trigger and fiber optic sights (much like he did with my other Pre-B) and then bead-blast the sucker and Cerakote it.

Any ideas for a finish?

New Acquisition: Another CZ!

Gosh, what are the odds?

AIM Surplus had these for sale last night, and I got one for myself (with the wife’s permission, of course) as a combination birthday/Father’s Day gift. Good thing I did, because they sold out an hour later after I bought one.

Used CZ75 for sale

Czech manufacture CZ 75 9mm caliber semi-automatic Handgun. Law Enforcement Trade-Ins from Israel… Incredible single/double action “cock and lock” pistols that feature all steel construction and a hammer forged barrel. These short recoil operated, locked breech handguns are in excellent mechanical condition, just some metal finish wear as the pictures show. Include one 15rd magazine.

So now (with a little work) I’ll have a backup to the Production CZ75 I’ve been using, and CZ-USA has Pre-B mags in-stock.

Cool.

I wonder if he shouted out “TWO ALPHA” after it was over…

Talk about a complete and utter failure in the victim selection process

A doctor was leaving home  to compete in a shooting competition held at Magnolia Pistol Range in Byram at approximately 7:45 AM today. He made several trips from the house to his truck carrying what he needed for the competition. Unknown to him, two black males were cruising Ridgewood Road looking for someone to rob. They happened upon him walking to his truck near the intestection Ridgewood and Eastover roads.  They took him captive at gunpoint and forced him drive to an ATM and withdraw a large amount of money

They stopped at Eastover and Pinewood.  They told him to get out of the vehicle.  The good Doc managed to grab a pistol as he exited the truck and began firing.  He shot and killed an Edwin Robinson of Cooper Road.  One person at the scene said “he shot the sh!t out of him”.

Huh. Musta been shooting Open…

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?

Roadmap

“Run a stage once, and then look at the components of the stage that are giving us trouble. The sport requires the same stuff over and over and over again. All you have to do is identify what those elements are, and then practice them in isolation.”

Steve Anderson

In general, I don’t like comparing myself to other people, because it’s a no-win situation. Someone else will ALWAYS be better than you at something: There is no such thing as a master of everything.

But.

I think I’m pretty good at analyzing where my issues with practical shooting lie, what I lack is having a higher standard to measure myself against. I need to start recording the runs of the A Class shooters (and better) in my squads to see where they are picking up the seconds on a stage compared to my performance. In order to be better, I need to learn from my betters.

Little by little, bit by bit.

This is why people read Brian Enos, for little tidbits of information like this.

But no matter how you do it, the most important thing is that there is no lateral gun movement. You want your body pivoting into your holster and you want to have the gun lifting straight up out of the holster and then going on a straight line to the target. Your hip is just essentially pivoting around that straight line. The gun is always moving in a straight line to the target.

Brian EnosI’ve shot my share of El Prez’s, and I never once thought of the drill in that way. That tip is so simple and so logical, and now that I think about it, so bloody obvious. I’m finding that “Beyond Fundamentals” doesn’t have that “One Weird Trick To Becoming A Better USPSA Shooter” moment, but rather it contains a treasure troves of little nuggets that combine to form one big ol’ shining gold bar of practical shooting wisdom.

Now that I’ve (mostly) cured my trigger jerk, I can start to work on the jerk behind the trigger, and that’s where this book is really helping me see what’s next, where I have to go to get better and what my ultimate goal really is.

I’m not in it to win matches, because as others who do so are finding out, such things are a vain pursuit that is ultimately self-defeating because, as the cliché goes, you can’t win them all.

Clichés don’t get to become clichés unless they’re true.

Rather, I’m defining my goal in terms of what I can do at any given moment, at any given match and look for a consistency in my scores. And yes, I do have a “winning” goal in mind: I’d like to place 1st in “A” Class Production in a major match (Area championship or the like) before the ol’ bod gives out and my skills decline.

Quest for A Class, here I come.