A Mile Wide, An Inch Deep

A mile wide, an inch deep

Something I’ve found out after almost a year on the other side of the gun counter: If you want to work in the industry, having some knowledge about a bunch of firearms related things trumps knowing every little thing there is to know about, say, the AR-15. You never know who is going to walk in the door / send you an email / call on the phone, so being able to talk intelligently about sporting clays with one guy and then switch over and chat about concealed carry for women five minutes later is a very, very useful skill.

And not just “Yeah, my Dad had a gun like that, but I never shot it” type conversations, either. If I have one piece of advice for anyone who wants to get into the industry, it’s shoot a bunch of guns in a bunch of different settings. Don’t just go to one range and do one type of shooting all the time: If you plink, try shooting clays. If you shoot scatter guns, try precision rifle. Take a good pistol course. Shoot 3 gun, bullseye and go hunting. Learn a little bit about a bunch of things, because that helps you understand HOW your customers use their guns, and that helps you sell them the guns they want and or/need to enjoy those activities a little bit more.

Match Report, Louland Pistol Match, March 19

Match Report, Louland Pistol Match, March 19

I decided to try something different this time. Rather than shoot the match USPSA-style with my tuned CZ-75 and gamer rig, I shot it with my P-07 and my carry rig.

I had zero expectations about this match: The only reason I was shooting it was to get used to my carry rig again and to flex my IDPA muscles a bit. To be honest, I could have shot it better, but overall, I’m ok with my results as they reflect where I am as a shooter right now. I’ve not been dry-firing as much as of late, and it shows.

Ok, not that bad for a dead-stock gun. Memo to self: Next time, listen to the stage briefing, that way the RO doesn’t need to coach you halfway through your run.

I'm Not Much Of A Hunter But…

I'm not much of a hunter but…

I went to the local Safari Club International dinner over the weekend, and there was one trip up for grabs on the live auction that I would have bought in a heartbeat had I anything resembling the spare cash/credit to buy it.

A week’s hunting for Red Stag, accommodations included, on the Balmoral Estate of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

balmoral-castle

No, you wouldn’t be staying in the palace. I checked.

Look, I get that there’s still a lot of reverse snobbery from Americans about the British royalty, but for someone Canadian-born like myself, the Queen is a BIG deal, she is the embodiment of the country, and to be anywhere near a) the Highlands and b) Balmoral is almost overwhelming for someone like me.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled American stuff.

Still Got The Shutter Bug.

Still got the shutter bug.

Even though it’s been at least a dozen years since I tripped the the shutter for a living (and five years since my last big gig), I can still pull out a good shot or two when needed.

Did a day’s worth of shooting for the day job over the weekend, and I’m pretty happy with the results.

< Shooting range The Alamo by Lotus Gunworks SUCKS Women shooting

Gear for the shoot, if you must know, was this cheap-o Chinese lighting kit, a flex reflector and my old D70.

Oh, and gaffer’s tape, foam core and a-clamps, because let’s face it, when you get right down to it, those are more important than the camera.

No, really.

Things might have gone a bit smoother on the shoot if I had access to my old reliable Speedotrons, but hey, time (and gear) marches on. Besides, I picked up the entire new system for the price of one flash head from my old lighting kit. Granted, I now have four 200w/s monoblocks instead of 9600w/s worth of lights that can (and have) lit up a basketball arena, but what I have works for me, and that’s the way I like it.

Match Report: USPSA At SWFPS

Match Report: USPSA at SWFPS

Had a chance to shoot an actual, honest-to-goodness USPSA match over the weekend, my first since October of last year. The match was held at the Southwest Florida Practical Shooters range up in Ft. Myers, about an hour away from my house (man, I miss the days of having 3 good ranges within an hour’s drive…). The range itself is a nice little gun club, with 5 bays, a 200 yard rifle range and stand for shotgun.

And man, it felt good to shoot some actual honest-to-goodness USPSA again!

The stages were nicely designed and the competition pretty decent, with two Master-Class Open shooters on my squad. I had been working a bit on my draw and my moving while reloading before the match, so I was curious to see what effect that would have on my times. In addition to this, I’ve been digging into Beyond Fundamentals quite a lot recently (having just re-bought it in Kindle Edition so I don’t lose the durn thing again), and I was interested in seeing what effect that would have on my shooting.

Here’s video of stages five and six.

First impressions: I’m quite happy with my movement: I’m setting up nicely for ports and  moving in and out of shooting positions quite well, sometimes TOO well, because I left a popper standing (a popper that fell in calibration, of course. Sonuva&@#$!….). Stage strategy is good, as is adjusting between the difficulty of the targets, for the most part. I still need to work on focus with my long shots, but other than that, I can see progress. Maybe not the progress I want at the speed I want, but progress nevertheless.

Update: Looking at the scores, I came in second in Production on stage six.

Out of two Production shooters in the match.

I was beaten by an A class shooter who ran it two seconds faster than me with 6 more points. The good news is, I know where I can pick up those two seconds (moving out of shooting positions faster) and where I can pick up the six points (better hits on closer targets).

Cool.

Learning For A Lifetime

Learning for a lifetime

Thinking more about yesterday’s post, what’s more important: Teaching techniques, or instilling the passion to learn how to stay safe?

It seems to me that tactical trainers get caught up in the superiority of the gun-fu they’re teaching and then forget that what they’re actually doing is *teaching* first, perfecting gun-fu second.

An example:

There’s a small husband and wife firearms training team here in Naples that could teach the big boys a thing or two about customer service and creating repeat business. They both have great training creds (Givens, Farnham, Suarez and others), and work well together. They have a weekly demonstration/lecture class at a local church and then host a “range day” on the weekend where people can practice what they learned earlier. Their clientele is both single men and woman, and more couples than I’m used to seeing in a firearms training class. They also have a lot of older, retired people in their classes, but you know what? That’s the market here in “Heaven’s Waiting Room”.

In other words, they create loyal customers by knowing their market and teaching to their market. They don’t teach advanced-level gun-fu, but they get people used to using their guns and stay aware of their surroundings. I’ve seen how they train people, and I know they’ve made an impact on the lives of the people they’ve taught.

And unsurprisingly, one of them is also a middle-school math teacher.

So it turns out that people who are good at teaching also make good firearms teachers.

Who knew?