Here thar be treasure

Why do I shoot / RO big matches like the Superstition Mountain Three Gun and the Desert Classic

First off, they’re FUN, even for a quasi-sucky shooter like me.

Secondly, there’s some great people working on the match, and I always have a great time.

Lastly, the loot!  


This is the haul from placing 29th out of 35 in Tactical Limited and what I got from being drawn in the middle of the pack on the Range Officer table. 

Some highlights: 

– A Samson Manufacturing mid-length rail (MSRP $290)
– A year’s family membership to Caswell’s Shooting Range (MSRP $390)
– A $100 Gift Certificate for a Warne Scope mount
– An ADCO eDot scope ($75)
– A POF roller cam pin for an AR bolt ($25) 
– Two (count ’em) two Brownell’s 30 round mags
Oh, and if anyone needs a Safariland hearing protection belt clip, I have a few to spare… 🙂

All in all, I figure I have about $1000 worth of stuff here. 

And competitors wonder why the staff at Rio is alway so happy and eager to work the big matches there… 🙂

Stage 7

Despite a few issues (Yes, that is a CZ75, and yes, it did FTE. And don’t ask about the first mag load on the rifle. Please. I’m begging you.), I had a blast shooting this stage. 

Update: A Quick Self-Critique 

1:05 Yep, a Failure To Eject. I cleaned my CZ the night before, so I’m guessing I’m to blame here and I limp-wristed the sucker, but just to be sure, I’m going to clean the gun again and pay close attention to the extractor. 

1:12 That plate just would NOT go down, so I settled in, got into a more comfortable stance, shifted my target, and voilá! 

1:22 A decent reload there. 

1:39 Didn’t slap the magazine in hard enough. D’oh! 

1:48 Didn’t charge the gun. D’oh!2 

1:50-2:23 I hit the close (100 yards-ish) MGM’s quickly (for me), but I had some trouble with the longer-range targets. Again, a quick stance shift and calming breath sorted things out.

2:43 I need to get better on my shotgun loading (who doesn’t?) and going for all three poppers instead of the clays almost backfired on me: What saved me was the far-right clay tumbling off its holder. 

2:55 MUCH better. I’m actually quite proud of this sequence here, as I shot everything as fast and as clean as I know how. 

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Stage 10

This is where I’ll be the rest of the weekend: 15 targets (13 IPSC Metric, two poppers, #00 Buckshot (12ga) or #3 Buckshot (20ga) only. 

Stage 10

Yep, that’s right, a buckshot-only stage with paper targets. With up nine holes (plus the shotcup) punched in each target, this stage *requires* the shooters to pitch in and help tape and reset targets, and they’ve been very helpful so far. Here’s Cowboy Blob’s run on the stage, shooting Heavy Metal Optics.

Two things I’ve learned on this stage:

Never underestimate the power of 00 Buck: Even with all the taping help, the shot chews up the targets so bad we need to refresh after each squad. 

Federal Flight Control ammo is *awesome*: No matter the choke or scattergun, it’d put all nine pellets in a tight group (I really can’t call it a pattern) that was easily 1/3 the size of the other buckshot rounds fired on the stage. If you’re looking for a tight-patterning buckshot round for personal defense, Federal should be your first choice. 

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Hanging out with one gun

When I said that Stage 1 was going to be popular on YouTube, I wasn’t kidding. 

Stage briefing: Start hanging out, feet on X’s. If you touch the ground, it’s a procedural. If you shoot while touching the ground, each shot is a procedural. A grenade must be thrown into a window before you can shoot targets through a window. 12 IPSC Metric targets.

SO much fun, and just perfect for all the Counterstrike kiddies out there. Seriously, they should give you a procedural for not yelling out “Fire in the hole!” before each grenade. 🙂 

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Hold your fire

– Schadenfreude (n) “To delight in another person’s misfortune” 

Of course, before we came up with a fancy German name for it, we called it “Being a sore winner” or “Gloating” and it was shameful behaviour. Now we call it something else, and it’s ok. 

I digress. 

I’m not in the habit of trashing one firearm and raising up one gun above all others. Yes, I like my CZ’s but I like them because they work for me for what I want them to do and I fully realize they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. I had no dog in the great “1911’s suck” debate because I don’t care if they do suck or not: I like ’em and I’ll buy one soon, but I I tend to shy away from Glocks, not because of any anti-fanboy backlash but because they don’t point well for me and don’t fit my hand well. I will eventually overcome that with enough practice, but for now, a CZ75 for competition and a CZ P07 for defence works just fine for me. 

My 20-year-old CZ75 is a bit of a problem child, I’ll admit. If it gets too dirty, it’ll burp and choke and spit up like a baby eating salsa. I realize this, though, and I don’t push that gun beyond its limits: I use it for competition only, and clean it after each match.

My P07, on the other hand, has had 500+ rounds through it with nary a hiccup, and while I’m not going to torture it like Todd G does his guns, I have full confidence in my P07 as a defensive carry piece. 

The bottom line is that “perfection” is an absolute, as is “clunker“, and in this world, there no absolutes (well, aside from “The Cubs will absolutely never win another World Series and light beer absolutely sucks.” I digress. Again.): Knowing what your gun is and is not capable of is far more important than saying “X Gun is the über-gun above all others and Y-Gun is a disaster waiting to happen”. Every gun has its merits, every gun has its flaws: What you do with a handgun is more important than the handgun you do it with. 

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I did the IDPA

I’ve shot IDPA once before. And by “shot” I mean I shot 1 1/2 stages on a club match and DQ’d myself by sweeping my arm with an empty gun while doing a reload, so when I heard Phoenix Rod and Gun was doing an “Intro to IDPA” match, I jumped at the chance to go. As an added bonus, the peeps from Great Satan were there as well, making it even more fun. 

The match was really simple: One twelve round stage that tested shooting from cover and reloads, and one stage with two different strings to teach tactical priority versus tactical sequence and shooting from low cover, and we shot each stage twice.

To quote the man, the myth and legend that is Pete Palma… 

Ok, it’s not QUITE that bad, but oh my, the rules! 

I understand that the rules are there to pound in the some of the ideas of defensive shooting and I’ve (thankfully) never been shot at, but I like to think that if I was, I wouldn’t worry about not dropping a mag loaded with only one round onto the ground in order to avoid a penalty. 

But I like the cover rules. For example, my gun malfed at an NRA class a few months ago, and rather than duck behind cover and clear it, I stood out in the open and tap-rack-banged, just like I would have on a USPSA stage. 

Bad idea in a real gunfight.

On the other hand, I think USPSA’s freeform style teaches critical reaction skills a little bit better than IDPA, but USPSA doesn’t help with drawing from concealment but IDPA is usually shot with everyday carry guns but USPSA… 

You get the idea.

Overall, though, I liked shooting IDPA, and I’ll do it again. l shoot practical pistol not because I want to become Todd Jarrett in my middle age, but because I want to think and react quickly and clearly on the worst day of my life.

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Something tells me I shoulda stood in bed.

As far as I could tell, I needed a 41% or better to move up to C class today. 

CM03 03 Take 'Em Down

According to, I shot a 38%, even though I tagged two no-shoots (and quite well, too).

To quote The Pixies, where is my mind?

That’s the bad news.

The good news is, I made a conscious effort to speed up my shooting, and I think that helped as I full-tilt on stage 3 and didn’t drop too many shots. Now I just need to learn to turn it up and turn it down depending on the type of stage I’m on. 

And now it’s off to Phoenix Rod and Gun Club for their Intro to IDPA match, where I’ll shoot  my P07 and try not to suck as much as I did this morning.

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