The Left Hand Of Bang*.

The Left Hand Of Bang*.

My article on left-handed long-range shooting on a budget is now available. I had a blast writing the article, and learning how to shoot long-range has made me want to shoot it more, mostly because it’s FUN!

The .308 Savage mentioned in the article is at Gulf Coast Precision Rifles as I type this, getting bedded into an MDT chassis and threaded for my SIG Sauer silencer. The optics on the gun are getting upgraded to a new, truly cool Primary Arms optic that’s coming out before SHOT, and then I’m headed out to train more and shoot more.

A question was asked in a Facebook group I belong to about how to avoid burnout. I’ve been writing about guns (professionally and otherwise) for over a dozen years now, and yeah, it does get kinda boring to write “Top Ten Guns For Concealed Carry” over and over and over again. This is how I avoid burnout: I get reasonably competent at one part of the sport, then move on to another.


* I’m kinda happy with how I managed to mashup two book titles into one with that headline.

Earth To Hunting Shows… Come In, Hunting Shows.

Earth To Hunting Shows… Come In, Hunting Shows.

Ok, Gun Culture 1.0… now that you’re realized that your recruiting methods suck and they are not bringing in new hunters like you thought they would, maybe it’s time to look at hunting shows as well. Do we really want another “whispering in the hunting blind” program that’s nothing more than “Hey, here’s the sponsor’s product, here’s me shooting something with that product, thanks for watching!”?


Hog hunting is an obvious in-road, maybe one that focuses on bringing in shooters who are non-hunters into the sport, something like, say, a 3 gunner, or maybe a tactical Timmy of some sort. And then there is the obvious tie-in with Big Buck Hunter, one of the most-popular stand-up video games out there, so why not take high-score winners in that video game out on an actual hunt?

Missing Links.

Missing Links.

Tam makes a good point, as she is wont to do.

“I’m never going to need tactical fantasy band camp!”

Ignore the safety apparel; the plates and helmet in the shoot house are as necessary as eyes and ears on the square range. Do you think that moving in a structure and problem-solving with a gun in your hand is a skill that might someday be necessary?

I’ve done a LOT of problem-solving with a gun in my hand; it’s called practical shooting, and I’m… ok at it. One thing I’ve not done, though, is take a class using either my defensive shotgun or my defensive rifle inside of a structure, which is kinda sorta how I foresee using said devices.

Whoops. Time to change that.

Guns Are Serious Business.

Guns Are Serious Business.

There are two types of gun shops near me… the ones for the local rednecks, and the ones that are there to take money from the rich Republican retirees here. The local redneck stores don’t know crap*. The rich people’s gun stores know a lot about rich people’s guns. There are, however, two good gun store/range combinations near me: One of them I refuse to deal with because of their crooked, crooked ways, and the other is one of the best shops in the business. It’s not only making a living, but thriving, and they’re looking to open up a second shop in the future. It’s clean, well-lit, has good retail branding and a 15 lane air-conditioned range that goes out to 25 yards.

This situation reminds me of the old days of the computer industry, where there was a Bits N Bytes Shop (or some other cheesy name) store in every strip mall, run by local people who were into computers but not into business, and they spoke the language of computer nerds. Then Computerland came along, and because they were first and foremost a business, they spoke the language of business, and they sold a metric buttload of computers to businesses.

It’s worth noting that with advent of a more computer-literate workforce, even the Computerland model has gone away**, and companies are either have their own IT departments and buy direct, or they outsource that to the same kind of mom and pop shops that were around in 1983. The big computer store didn’t kill off the local Bit Shop: Those stores survived by nibbling away at the edges of the bigger market for information technology.

For the last 10 years (maybe even the last 25 years, since the AWB…), the only marketing a local gun shop (and for that matter, gun makers as well) have had to do is just say “Look, it’s in stock… You wanna buy it, or what?”

The stores that are thriving are adapting to a new market. The ones that don’t adapt are goners.


* To give you an idea of how little they know, I had one good ol’ boy behind the counter tell me that an FN FiveSeven was “an AR-15 you can carry around in your pocket.”
** From the linked Computerland story above: “(computer) Retailers still are amateurish enough to consider themselves competitors … They are just too immature to realize that they’re complementary, not competitive.”
That pretty much describes today’s retail gun market as well…

Shooting By The Book.

Shooting By The Book.

Much fun was had last week talking on social media about what we’d do with the outrageous amount of money we’d have at our disposal if we won Mega Millions.

What would I do? Like you have to ask

However, two friends of mine suggested independently of each other that they’d use the money to help build shooting ranges in areas of the country where there are none.

What an interesting idea.

There is precedent for it. Literacy in the poorer parts of the nation was vastly improved by the creation of Carnegie libraries where there were no libraries, and Rosenwald Schools where there were no schools. If the right to self-defence is an inherit right enshrouded in the Constitution, (and it is) isn’t it the government’s business to ensure that right can be used? After all, it ain’t private businesses that are used as polling places, it’s schools, churches and other community centers.

Along with people like myself who support the NRA with our meager donations, there are wealthy people out there who are donating scads of cash to advance gun rights. This is good, and it should continue. However, donating a gazillion dollars to advance gun rights means squat if there are no places to shoot. Maybe it’s time for a program, funded much like the Carnegie Libraries were, that will give people a place to exercise the Second Amendment rights we’ve fought so hard for.

Okay, Koch brothers. There’s the idea. Now hire me to run it. 🙂

Problem, Solved

Problem, Solved

So I had a range session with Jeff Street of Step By Step Gun Training last week, and I think we FINALLY solved my issues with my CZ P07.

After analyzing my hits on the target, we noticed that my shots were way, way to the left of the bullseye and they were being strung out in a vertical line.

What was causing this is a three-fold issue:

  1. I was holding on to it too strongly with my right hand, which was pushing my shots off to the left
  2. I wasn’t holding the gun tight enough with my ring finger and pinkie, which caused some barrel movement as I pressed the trigger
  3. I’m old, and I wear bifocals, and so I needed to remember that I need to keep my head straight so the front sight isn’t fuzzy.

Once those two issues were solved, I was able to turn in some pretty decent 15 yard groups.

Now, onto the NRA Instructor Qualification!

How Much Does It Cost To Shoot Precision Rifle?

How Much Does It Cost To Shoot Precision Rifle?

So we know how much it costs to show up to a 3 Gun match, and how much it costs to shoot 3 Gun and not embarrass yourself much.

So what does it cost to shoot Precision Rifle?

The temptation here is to buy a stock, no-frills Ruger Precision Rifle and call it done, but there is a LOT more the sport of Precision Rifle than just buying a rifle, as I am finding out.

I’ll have the full writeup on all this stuff in an upcoming article for Shooting Sports USA, but here’s what I’d consider to be the minimum amount of gear to shoot a Precision Rifle match and do well.

Precision Rifle Gear 

Precision Rifle$1030.00Ruger Precision Rifle - 6.5mm Creedmoor
2 Mags$80Magpul Polymer AI
Optic$700.00SIG Sauer Tango 6-24x50
Rear Bag$31.00Wilderness Tactical
Front Bag$70.00Weibad
Mat$135.00Wilderness Tactical
Wind gauge$149.00Kestrel 3000
Baliistics Calculator$12.00Strelok Pro
Bipod$97.00Harris S-BRM
Spotting Scope$479.00Vortex Diamondback 20-60x80
Total Cost$3156.00

That Sig scope is a bit of a change-up… I’m seriously impressed with Sig’s optics, and a 6×24 scope first focal plane scope for under a grand (way under) is a pretty good deal. I left off a sling (whoops) and an arm pillow (a massively useful thing to have) so yeah, it might cost you a little more up-front to shoot Precision Rifle than it would 3 Gun, and it’s also going to cost you more to shoot, as 6.5 Creedmoor match ammo, even when bought in bulk, ain’t cheap.

The Essential 3 Gun

The Essential 3 Gun

Picking up from Friday, what should you expect to spend on a decent, but not extravagant 3 Gun rig?

Well, as I found out a few years ago, it costs about the same as a “barbecue gun” 1911 might cost you.

Barbecue Gun 1911 

"Entry Level" high-end 1911$2,865.00Wilson Combat CQB .45
Gun Belt$85.00Dragon Leatherworks
Holster$164.00Milt Sparks
6 Magazines$144.00Wilson Combat
Magazine Pouch$70.00Milt Sparks
Total Purchase Cost$3,328.00

As I said before, if anything, I’ve lowballed that rig… there’s no elaborate stitching on the holster nor engraving on the gun, so it barely meets the requirements for something that’s meant to dazzle your friends at a social get-together.

So what does $3k+ buy you in 3 Gun? A nice little rig.

Beginner’s 3 Gun Setup

3 Gun Rifle$964.00Colt 6920 Trooper
Low Power Variable Scope$350.00Primary Arms 1-6x
3 Extra Magazines$45.00MagPul Gen 3
Mag Pouch$40.00Blade-Tech
Total (Rifle)$1489.00
3 Gun Shotgun$699.00Stoeger Mk3 Freedom
Speedstrippers (2)$86.00TacCom
Mounting Hardware (2)$24.00Blade-Tech
Total (Shotgun)823.00
3 Gun Pistol$550.00Glock 17 Gen 5
Gun Mods$200Trigger, mag baseplates, etc.
Extra Magazines (4)$80.00Brownells
Holster & Mag Pouch$77.00Blade-Tech
Magazine Pouch$25.00Blackhawk!
Gun Belt$55.00Wilderness Tactical
Total (Pistol)$932.00

If you can’t shoot a typical 3 Gun match with this setup and shoot it well, the problem is with you, not your gear. The 6920 is a terrific AR–15, and the Stoeger in particular is a legitimate bargain, giving you all the benefits of more expensive shotgun, at one-third the price. The Glock 17 is a good entry-level pistol that you can shoot IDPA and USPSA with as well and upgrade to your heart’s content.

With that gear, you’ll be competing in Tac Optics, which does have the downside of being the most popular division in the sport, so be advised you’ll have a lot of people contending for top spot in the division. If that’s not your cup of tea, drop this optic on your gun and compete in Tac Limited instead.

Tomorrow we’re going to see which is more expensive to get into: 3 Gun, or Precision Rifle.

Stay tuned.

How Much Does It Cost To Shoot 3 Gun?

How Much Does It Cost To Shoot 3 Gun?

… so the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) published an article on “How to get started in 3 Gun,” and halfway through it was this little tidbit:

Once the bug bites — and it will — with today’s prices, you can buy all three guns for less than $1,000.

Wait, what? Buy all three guns for shooting a 3 Gun match for less than $1000? Now, I will agree that it’s possible (very possible) to buy EACH of the guns for 3 Gun for less than $1000, and that’ll be the topic of a later post.

But buy a rifle, pistol and shotgun for 3 Gun for $1000 total that will allow you to complete a typical 3 Gun course of fire? Is that even possible?

Well yes… sorta.

Budget 3 Gun Setup 

Budget AR-15$450DMPS Panther
Rifle Optic$65Bushnell TRS-25
Shotgun$190Mossberg Maverick
Pistol$280Remington RP-9
Total Cost$985

That’s enough to allow to shoot a course of fire in a typical club-level 3 Gun match. With that red dot on your AR-15 and no other optics, you’ll be competing in Tac Limited, and because you’re using a pump-action shotgun with less capacity than most 3 Gun shotguns, you’re probably not going to win. There’s also the little matter of spare magazines for your rifle and pistol and some way to carry your shotgun ammo so you can reload your scattergun in fourteen minutes or less. That gear, at a very minimum, will run you at least another $200 or more. MUCH more.

Budget 3 Gun Accessories

Pistol Magazine$31Brownells
Holster$60Mission First
Mag Pouch$17Uncle Mike's
Extra Rifle Mag$15Magpul Gen 3
Shotshell Holders (2)$90TacCom
Mounting Hardware (2)$20Tek-Lok Ripoffs
Accessories Total$233

And then there’s ammo costs, which at around 100 rounds each of .223 and 9mm and 50 shotgun rounds per match, can add up REALLY quickly.

CAN you shoot 3 Gun with that rig? Yes. In fact, I shot my very first 3 Gun match with a pump-action Mossberg 500, and I had a lot of fun, but I quickly upgraded all my gear, if for no other reason than my squad mates quickly grew tired of watching me struggle through each stage. What SHOULD you consider to be an entry-level 3 Gun rig? More on that later.