Man To Man To Some Other Man

Thinking more about my comment from last week,

It’s rather rare to have more than two shooters with the same Classification/Division on any given squad, making man-to-man comparisons pretty much impossible.

Maybe that’s another reason why practical shooting sucks to watch in person. Yes, there are Super Squads stuffed to the gills with people at the top of the game, but even within the Super Squad, you’ll have Production shooters and Open Shooters and Limited Shooters and even a few freaks shooting wheel guns, so when that squad runs through a stage, at best you’ll have three runs that can be directly compared to each other, and those runs will probably be interspersed between the other ten or so people on the squad, killing the tension and suspense.

Watching, say, Max vs. Chris Tilley vs. KC compete in Open is exciting. Watching Max shoot Open, then Jerry shoot Revolver and Rob shoot Single Stack and Chris Tilley shoot Open and Nils shoot Limited and Phil shoot Limited and THEN AND ONLY THEN watch KC shoot in Open is whole lot less so.

We’re All On The Same Team. And That’s A Bad Thing.

Thinking more about the shooting sports as a television sport, why is it that in a sport that is all about about intense competition, there are zero rivalries? Football grew in the 70’s when it was the clean-cut Cowboys vs the bad boys of Oakland or Pittsburgh. Basketball grew with Bird vs. Magic (and then Jordan). Baseball grew with the dominance of the Yankees in the 20’s/30’s. In each of these cases, we had someone to root for and we had someone to root against.

Cubs fans, of course, continue to cheer for their team, and cheerfully deny reality.

I digress.

It’s great that everyone in practical shooting pretty much gets along and helps each other out. That sort of thing makes it a fun sport to shoot every weekend, but it makes for lousy TV because there is nothing to get excited about. We like to cheer for the rebels, the rule-breakers. NASCAR blossomed when there was a face/heel competition between good ol’ boy Dale Earnhardt and slick Yankee Jeff Gordon. Who are the rebels in practical shooting? Where are the rivalries? Why isn’t Glock vs. S&W vs. Sig as big a deal as Ferrari vs. McLaren vs. Mercedes?

Top Shot did this brilliantly. Yes, there was constant whinging from shooters about the drama, but you know what? We also secretly and not-so-secretly cheered for our heroes and booed for villains. We complained, but it worked.

Give us conflict. Give us rivalries. Give us somebody/something to cheer for, and we’ll give you the ratings.

Challenge accepted, Mark Passemeneck

The question was asked on Facebook:

If I were to tell you to set up a match for your 100 closest friends, what would it look like?

1. What discipline(s)
2. How many stages
3. How many days
4. Physicality
5. Hoser, precision, mix type of stages
6. Set schedule or carnival style
7. You are not rich, so you do have an entry fee…how much?
8. Match meals or no
9. Other group activities or no
10. Prize table or no.

To answer each question,

  1. What discipline(s)
    IDPA, USPSA, Steel Challenge, 3-Gun, Precision Rifle and Sporting Clays
  2. How many stages?
    A blind tactical pistol stage run under IDPA-esque rules where the shooters don’t get to do a walk thru or even see where the targets are before the buzzer goes off, another “regular” IDPA Stage, Outer Limits, a USPSA stage, two 3 Gun stages, a Precision Rifle Stage and some clays.
  3. How many days?
  4. Physicality
    Moderate. No IronMan-esque stages, but not Bullseye either.
  5. Hoser, precision, mix type of stages
    The blind stage would be accuracy-heavy and the rest a mix of hoser/precision, with cool props a la Mystery Mountain.
  6. Set schedule or carnival style
    Carnival style
  7. You are not rich, so you do have an entry fee…how much?
    Enough to cover expenses and kick in something for the RO’s and the prize table. Let’s say $200, max.
  8. Match meals or no?
    Depending on the venue. Rio Salado has restaurants a half-hour away, but others don’t have that luxury. I kinda like match meals, those, as it helps with socialization.
  9. Other group activities
    Factory demos are always good, and maybe a pay-for-play full auto demo.
  10. Prize Table or no
    Definitely yes, with prizes given out at random and for best scores.

I like the mix of speed, tactical, long-range and shotgun work that a match like would provide. Your ideas?

Dear Sponsored Shooters

Aside from my pre-existing recognition and affiliation with the brands you wear on your shirt, why should I take interest in your shooting abilities? Are you a compelling person on and off the gun range who advances the brand recognition of your sponsors? Are you the type of person who makes people want to buy the products named on your shirt? Can make me more likely to buy your sponsor’s products?

You can’t?

Then why are you wearing that shirt?

Time to move on, CZ.

First off, congrats on this accomplishment. You trounced the likes of Glock and Smith&Wesson, and that’s a good thing.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.34.17 PM

Secondly, you’ve done a couple of the things that I suggested over a year ago, namely supporting the P07 with more stuff and rolling out new product via new media, with some spectacularly good results.

Well done.

But now it’s time to realize that the only thing driving the gun market these days is concealed carry. Can you PLEASE build an SA/DA gun that is lightweight, skinny that holds 10 rounds or so? There is literally nothing like that on the market right now (I said skinny and lightweight, Rami, please sit down), so you would have the market to yourself.

Make friends, win valuable prizes!


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?