Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Triggers & Spring

New Trigger w/arrow on Saftey
For my records, I replaced both triggers in my two M&Ps this week.  Both triggers needed to be replaced because I took too much off off the trigger safety after installing the APEX competition kit.  The different trigger spring makes the safety snag on the frame, so in order to fix this you need to take a LITTLE off the tip of the trigger safety.  I took too much off of my other two and inadvertently disabled that safety.  Fixed it with a new trigger and just a touch off the point. Safety works and the trigger is smooth without any snags.

I also cleaned the trigger housing in my main gun.  It needed it.

I also put a new trigger spring in my main gun.  The old one was spreading a bit.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pious Nonsense

I hesitate to write this post.  But I just can't seem to restrain myself.  As most of you know, I am a Presbyterian minister.  I'm not a pastor in the mainline liberal or progressive Presbyterian church.  That organization is scarcely identifiable as a Christian church any more.  I am a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). We broke off from the United Presbyterian church back in 1973 because of rampant unorthodoxy and modernist progressive social dogmatism in their seminaries.  But I digress.

All of that to say that I identify with a tradition of straight-taking, tough-minded Calvinists that do not view the world through rose-colored, liberal glasses.  We are the guys that gifted the fledgling USA with republican government, with its separation of powers and a graded system of courts.  King George III of England referred to the American Revolution as a “Presbyterian War.”  In 1776, the Prime Minister of England Horace Walpole, upon hearing the news of colonial rebellion, said, “Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson!”  He was referring to the intellectual powerhouse behind the framers of the Constitution—John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian minister and college professor.  The Presbyterian system  is a brutally honest approach to governing that arises from a keen sense of the propensity of governments—actually government officials—to go bad quickly.

Presbyterians are also "whole-Bible" Christians. We take the law of God seriously.  The God of the "Old Testament" is not some different, primitive, cruel deity, but the pre-incarnate Son of God.  Jesus was Yahweh in the flesh.  Regrettably, many American evangelicals consider themselves "New Testament" Christians.  And by that they often mean that they come close to being pacifists, believe that "love" is something new since Jesus, think that being heavenly means being above the things of this world like business, law, justice, and government. That's just too messy, they say—Old Testament stuff. We're too heavenly minded for all that. We'll leave the world to others.  Getting saved and going to heaven is all that really matters.  Stuff like that.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Match Review – ARPC IDPA, Feb. 9

I'm something of an instinctual shooter. I'm not sure what I mean by that. But I've been shooting for 30 years and have a "feel" for it. And I've been shooting enough in competition to know that it's really not helpful at all to be thinking too much when you shoot. When I think about everything too much, I don't do very well. I'm referring to shooting technique, not so much to stage analysis and planning. The past two weeks I've been reading a lot of shooting stuff in my spare time (look at my last post on this blog). And so when I shot the match on Saturday my mind was buzzing with all sorts of tips and advice from these books. Not good.

 So what about the match?  First the bad:

 – My M&P is still acting up on me. Arrggghhh. On three stages I had a FTF on my reload. Maybe I really am inadvertently hitting the slide release before the mag is seated. Whatever it is, I've got to fix it. This probably costs me at least 6 seconds (meaning 1st place).

 – I had some trouble with trigger freeze on close targets. It was cold, but I'm not sure that explains it. I normally can shoot close, hoser targets easily with .18 splits. I just wasn't pulling the trigger efficiently. Time for some Bill Drills.

 – I started a reload with retention before I was behind cover. That cost me a procedural, adding 3 points to my score. Sometimes IDPA rules really torque me.

 The good:

 – I had no misses at all. Yay!

 – My hit factor for the entire match was good (second best).

 – My speed was acceptable (even with the trigger freezes and the funky reloads).

 – I enjoyed the match! It's nice to have a bunch of shooters that are now all competing for the top spot. Guys are getting better and that just makes for a fun match.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Books on Competitive Shooting

Let's talk about books on shooting, specifically books that are written to give advice to shooters who want to improve their skills in USPSA and IDPA.

One of the challenges of learning to shoot better is finding the right guys to coach you. When you are on the range with other shooters people will step up with all kinds of advice for you: do this, don't do that, put your thumbs here, etc.  A lot of it is contradictory or simply someone telling you what they read on the internet or watched on some self-proclaimed expert's YouTube video series.   God knows, there's enough shooting nonsense on YouTube to tie you up in knots if you took it all seriously.  If you take these internet shooting experts seriously, you're an idiot.   There are, of course, some recognized names that have a few helpful instructional videos available on line or on DVD—champion shooters like Matt Burkett, Todd Jared, Rob Leatham, Mike Seeklander, and more.  These guys all have a proven track record in competitive shooting.  You're not an idiot if you consider their advice.

But what about books on shooting?  Who's published the most helpful works on competition (or "practical") shooting?   I doubt if I'm competent to judge "the best" and I've not read tons of books on this subject (because there's really not a big pile of them), but I can tell you which one's I've benefited from.

Let me start with the ones I consider the best and work my way down the list.  Here are the top six:
1. Ben Stoeger, Practical Pistol: Fundamental Technique and Competition skills (2013).
2. Ben Stoeger and Jay Hirshberg, Champion Shooting: A Proven Process for Success at Any level, Volume 1 (2013)
3. Steve Anderson's Principles of Performance, Refinement and Repetition 2 (2007)
4. Saul Kirsh, Thinking Practical Shooting: A Guide to Outstanding Match Performance (2004)
5. Brian Enos, Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals (1990)
6. Michael Seeklander, Your Competition Handgun Training Program (2010).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

More Work on my M&P

Last month I replaced the sear housing block on both of my M&Ps.  I did it so that I could put a larger sear spring in and fix the problem of sear bounce (dead trigger).  This would happen occasionally, especially after reloads.

Well, I got that problem fixed. But I noticed I was still having trouble after some reloads.  It wasn't a dead trigger, but two other problems.

On my back up gun the barrel fit is a bit tight and sometimes when I jam in a magazine I will knock the slide slightly out of battery.  This was happening because the fit is tight and my recoil spring is light.  So I put a slightly heavier recoil spring in (13lbs instead of 11lbs).  Unfortunately, that will mess with the feel of the recoil and so won't work for matches.  If my primary gun breaks and I ever have to use my back up gun, I'll just switch out the Storm Lake barrel and recoil spring from the first gun.

The other problem I noticed was that after a reload the first round would not camber.  The round would not even make it close to the chamber.  After testing a bunch of factors I discovered that my magazines were filthy.  I had not cleaned them in months and months.  There are a couple that I use all the time and they were the source of the problem.  So I cleaned them all and made sure my rounds were moving freely into the chamber.  I also cleaned the insides with Fire Clean hoping that will help with cleaning in the future.