Friday, January 25, 2013

Gun Control Ammo

Here's a little sanity in the midst of massive media idiocy regarding newly proposed gun control legislation.
David Mamet – Gun Laws and the Fools of Chelm (Daily Beast).  This is must reading. 
Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts – (Factcheck.org) 
John Fund – Facts about Mass Shootings (National Review) 
John Lott – The Facts about Assault Weapons and Crime (WSJ) 
Thomas Sowell – Invincible Ignorance 
Peter Ferarra – "Assault Weapon" Is Just A PR Stunt Meant To Fool The Gullible (Forbes) 
Ben Stein – God Help us (The American Spectator) 
David Kopel – Guns, Mental Illness and Newtown (Wall Street Journal) 
Gun Owners of America – Just for Skeptics 
James Slack – The Most Violent Country in Europe: England
James Taranto – The Medium is the Motive (Wall Street Journal)
Aaron Goldstein – Liberals Who Cling to their Guns 
Thomas Sowell – Replacing What Works with What Sounds Good (my title, not his)
Sen. Feinstein wants to confiscate them all  
Jeffrey Goldberg – The Case for More Guns (and More Gun Control) 
Joyce Lee Malcom – Two Cautionary Tales of Gun Control.  "Strict gun laws in Great Britain and Australia haven't made their people noticeably safer, nor have they prevented massacres. The two major countries held up as models for the U.S. don't provide much evidence that strict gun laws will solve our problems." 
Frank Miniter – Why Obama's Gun Control Proposals Already Seem Poised To Fail.  "Instead of treating gun owners as the opposition, President Obama should acknowledge that gun owners are also parents and grandparents who want schools and streets to be safe." (1/10/2013) 
Andrew Napolitano - Guns and Freedom
Who Needs More Than 10 Rounds?  This is a great little essay.
Bill Flax - The Second Amendment is What Makes the Other Nine Possible (Forbes)
David Sherfinski – States' Crime Rates Show Scant Linkage to Gun Laws (Washington Times) 
Gun crime has plunged, but Americans think it's up (LA Times) 
This pretty much sums it all up
 I plan to keep this post updated with the best articles available. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Steel Match Review – January 19, 2013

I intended to shoot the Benchrest IDPA match this past Saturday, but I had an unexpected house guest and couldn't get away early enough to make it all the way up to Wright City in time.  So I scooted on down to ARPC for the steel plates match.

Not everyone likes shooting steel plates.  I do.  It's great practice for live-fire drawing and also for working on your transitions.  Shooting five strings on five stages gives you twenty-five times to draw on the buzzer.  Can't beat that.  And moving the gun from plate to plate quickly while shooting accurate shots is great practice.

This time I worked on making sure I was being deliberate on the first few strings of each stage.  Not necessarily slow, but deliberate.  Then I increased my speed for a string or two to see how far I could push it.  This seemed to work for me.

I believe I'm getting the hang of "indexing" my shots on steel stages depending on the distance and size of the steel plates.  This takes some practice.  It has to do with "stage planning" in a way. There's nothing as complex as the planning involved in a USPSA stage.  But before you get up to the line you still need to walk through the sequence of plates in your mind focusing on the cadence of your shoots.

Monday, January 14, 2013

ARPC IDPA Match Review - January 12, 2013

The first match of the year for me wasn't a good one.  Nope.

The weather was great—50 degrees, perfect for shooting.  We had six relatively short, fast stages to shoot.

I got there early to help supervise the setup, but had to leave by 9 AM in order to get to a memorial service for a dear member of my congregation.  This meant that I had to "play through" and shoot all the stages in about 1/2 hour or so.  This is never a good way to shoot a match.  Not enough time to think through a stage plan and run through it in your mind before shooting.  I walked from one stage to another and shot with virtually no time to rest or think about the stage.

But the first stage ruined it for me.  It was a "super" El Presidente stage (Stage #2).  I typically nail these El Prez stages.  But I was the first to shoot it and I made a huge mental error.  I got up to the line and at the "load and make ready" command I checked my equipment, my magazines, inserted a magazine, but forgot to chamber a round. Buzzer goes off and I spun around and click, no bang.

Why did that happen?  I think I have an answer.  Besides being rushed, there's another reason (excuse). I've been dry-fire practicing hard for two weeks or so.  And when I've been dry firing this past week I've been mostly practicing reloads.  And I haven't usually been chambering my dummy rounds when I'm doing these reloads drills.  Idiot, me.  Lesson learned.

In addition to this, my M&P was not fixed as I thought it was and I am pissed.  As I said in a recent post, I recently I got new sear housing blocks for both guns and reinstalled everything with a new firmer sear spring.  This was supposed to correct my dead trigger issues, supposedly caused by sear bounce during reloads.

Well, 4 of the 7 reloads I did at the match on Saturday ended with a dead trigger. I had to recharge the gun, loosing a round and adding about 2 more seconds on each stage.  The only bright spot in this match was my performance on Stage #1 and #3 (the only two stages that I didn't get a dead trigger after my reload; and I'm not counting the cluster on Stage #2).

I was on the phone with Apex Tactical today and I will be sending them my pistols to fix. They were very helpful. Hopefully, I can get them in the mail in a day or so.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Winter Reading, Part 1

Perhaps winter is a good time to scan through some of my books on shooting and see if there's anything helpful.  These are books I got three years ago or so when I was just starting to take competitive shooting seriously.  Since then I've put a lot of lead down range.  It's fun reading through these books and seeing what I highlighted back then.

I'll start with Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos.  The book begins with a lot of mystical stuff about shooting: concentration vs. focus, meditation, awareness, etc.  I'm not always sure about what to do with this.  As I read over this section there's a lot that makes sense and fits with what I have experienced the past few years in practice and matches.

For example, Enos rightly notes that there is way too much going on when you are shooting at high speed to "concentrate" on any one thing or another.  You really do have to let your subconscious mind take over.  If you are concentrating on aiming, then you are way too focused on one thing.  Everything needs to flow, to work together—grip, stance, splits, transitions, movement, footwork, target sequencing, reloads, gun handling, speed of engagement, execution of stage plan, etc.  His point is that you cannot consciously think about how all of these factors will work together.  Heck, you don't have time to think about any one of them in most cases.  You just shoot.

This is why repetitive practice is so important. The shooter who doesn't make certain common skills "second nature" will have to think his way through too much in any given match. And that, of course, adds us to a huge amount of time and loss of accuracy.
I rehearse everything I will do on a particular stage before I get to the line—I concentrate on it.  But when I raise my hands [get into the starting position], I also raise my awareness.  I shift my control to automatic and shift my focus to the correct point to successfully shoot the stage.  Then I quite my mind by focusing on the present tense as I immediately prepare to shoot.  I no longer follow any plan. I stop thinking.  I start shooting.  And I act on what I actually see, not on what I planned on seeing (p. 22).
I can relate to that.  But I'm not sure I'm able to shut down conscious thinking and planning while shooting as thoroughly as Enos suggests.  But it sounds like a worthy goal.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Proper Grip, Stance, and Attitude

Okay, I don't claim to be an "instructor" when it comes to teaching proper grip and stance.  So I'll let someone who is a certified expert trainer help you with some advanced techniques.


And the best way to get really good is to practice this at home in your front yard with an airsoft gun or something like that.  Remember to keep it real.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Winter Dry Fire

For the past 3 weeks I've been dry-fire practicing almost every day.  In the past few years I've dry fired maybe once a week.  But that's probably overstating things.  During the Spring, Summer, and Fall I will have a live-fire practice once a week and a match almost every Saturday (IDPA, USPSA, or Steel), so I haven't felt the need to do a lot of dry firing at home.  I'm not sure if that was the best. I've noticed significant improvements in my reloads and gun handling over the past few weeks.  I think this is what I need to move to the next level. I'm only doing 15-30 minutes a day, but it really seems to be helping.

I met my competitive shooting goals in 2012—Master in IDPA SSP and A Class in USPSA Production (by the skin of my teeth in December).  My goals for 2013 require more finesse.  I'd like to classify or get bumped to Master in both ESP and CDP in IDPA.  But more significantly, I plan to make Master in USPSA Production division by the end of the year.  That will require some consistent gun-handling skills, improvements in my accuracy, and a mastering of the mental game, particularly stage planning and execution.  I'm hoping that regular, but short dry-fire practice sessions every week will help get me over the hump.

Last night I got Ben Stoeger's new book on dry-fire practice.  This is a very reasonable, common-sense approach to dry-fire practice.  I liked the intro section.  It doesn't encourage OCD log keeping.  I don't need another set of numbers to crunch. Live-fire drills give me enough of that.

Their comments about "honesty" are spot on, too. Dry-firing is not so you can show off your numbers on the interwebs or post videos of you hosing your little targets in the basement with make-believe bullets.  It's about developing your skills for matches.  There are a lot of drills in the book. That's nice. I've been using full-sized targets in the past.  I need to get some of those little 1/3 scale targets so I can do the more complex stages in my basement.