Grace Under Pressure

Grace Under Pressure

Why do we seize up when the pressure is on? Why do we choke? Wy do routine actions suddenly become almost impossible in anxious moments? has a few reasons why, and some things to help us through it. 

So, why do we choke under pressure? A lot of the explanation can be boiled down to the fact that, under pressure, the prefrontal cortex (the very front part of our brain that sits over our eyes) stops working the way it should.

This can result in a lack of brain power available for demanding thinking and reasoning tasks (e.g., taking a test, responding to on-the-spot questions to a client) because worries about messing up co-opt these brain resources. However, under pressure, we also often try and control what we are doing in an attempt to ensure success. Too much attention to the details of activities that are best left outside conscious awareness (e.g., in golf, too much attention devoted to how your elbow is bent as you take a 3-foot putt you have holed thousands of times in the past (or miss the “A” zone at three yards – Ed.)) can disrupt a fluent performance and make you miss the hole.

Some suggestions to help us stay cool when the heat gets turned up are: 

– Close the Gap Between Practice and Competition

– Don’t Dwell

– Focus on the Outcome

– Write It Out

Read, as they say, the whole thing. This is really useful stuff for competition shooters and anyone who’s taken steps to defend their lives if needed. 

P.S. And yes, the title is yet another musical reference.

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The Gun You Have

The gun you have

I still dabble in photography, even though it’s been almost ten years since it was my full-time job, and photographers are still equipment-obsessed, a trait they share with firearms enthusiasts. Camera companies spend millions of dollars on ads that show the wonderful, striking photos you can take with your SuperTouchDeluxe XV3 (now with MondoPixel technology!), and photographers fall for it, thinking that all they need is the latest technology to turn into the next Yousef Karsh.

But the fact is, great photos can be taken with any camera, and chances are, you can defend your life with just about any firearm. It’s not the tools you use, it how you use the tools you have. Tam’s post on The Firing line nails it wonderfully.

Two reasons people are anti-training (perhaps not coincidentally, this is also why people are anti- competing in organized shooting sports):

1) “It costs too much.” Somebody has fifteen guns, a motorcycle, a PS3 with plenty of games hooked to his flat-panel TeeWee (not to mention the PS2 and PlayStation in the attic), and who knows how many other toys, and a $200-$400 handgun training course “costs too much”. Hey, Skippy, how ’bout selling that Taurus Raging Judge you were bragging about buying last week and using the proceeds to get yourself taught how to use one of the fourteen other guns you already had? (And maybe sell one of those and take an MSF class for your motorcyclin’ while you’re at it.) The problem is, people can’t point at new mental furniture and say to their friends “Look what I just bought!”

2) People can’t shoot, but think they can. At the range, nobody is really watching them shoot and, face it, everybody else at the range is awful, too. But if they go to a class or enter a match, it will get proved officially: “Joe/Jane Averageshooter: First Loser”. It takes humility to learn and lose. Humble people don’t boast on their adequacy. So most people go and buy another gun instead, because when they open the box on that gun, it won’t look up at them and say “You stink!”; it’ll say “You just bought the official pistol of SWATSEAL Team 37 1/2! Congratulations!”

If you want to take better pictures, learn about light and get some training, because chances are the camera you have is up to the task. If want to defend your life, learn to use the gun(s) you have, because they’re the ones you’ll need if your life is on the line.

Product Report: Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe

Product Report: Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe

I am an Acolyte (Second Class) in The Cult Of Mac, and one of the liturgies in our faith is The Ritual of the Unboxing, where we carefully document not only our latest purchases from Apple, but how the items were shipped to us in the first place

Yes, it’s a disease, and no, there is no cure. 

So when my Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe arrived in the mail yesterday, it’s only natural (for me, at least) to document how it got here and how it works. 

Disclaimer: I am not a high-speed, low drag operator. I scored a “1” on the mall ninja test only because my AR has a bunch of rails on it. I’m not former law enforcement or special ops, I’m just a guy who wants to protect his family as best as he can.

I had decided on CZ P07 to replace my Sccy CPX-1 as my daily (non-work) carry pistol. Finding a good day-in, day-out holster for the P07 has been a bit of a challenge. I purchased a BladeTech OWB Kydex holster for the P07 for IDPA, and I wanted my carry holster to mimic the retention and reholstering capabilities of the BladeTech but was comfortable enough to wear all the time. Because my holster options for the P07 are limited, I decided to go with a Crossbreed SuperTuck for Springfield XD-M, and it holds the P07 pretty well (more on that later).


For starters, the holder came by regular snail mail, a surprise for someone who’s used to everything being shipped by UPS or Fedex. 


The pack contained my holster, the extra J-Hooks that I ordered in case I wanted more concealment than the normal hooks, a brief letter saying that I should hang on to this if I needed to use their lifetime warranty, a quick guide to reshaping kydex for added retention if needed, and a membership form for the NRA. One thing it didn’t come with is some instructions on how to best use it with your clothing, something that a newbie to the hybrid tuckable holster world like myself could have used. 


The P07 fits the holster quite well. Really well, in fact, considering that it was made for another gun entirely. If the retention on the BladeTech is a 10, the retention on SuperTuck is an 8. Initially, I thought it was a little loose in the holster, but once I had the holster on my belt and the gun the holster, the pressure of the holster against my body made it secure enough to go ahead and use it for now, and if I need to snug up the gun in the holster, I can always follow their instructions on how to reshape the kydex for a tighter fit. 


The holster is incredibly comfortable to wear. My previous experience with an IWB holster has been limited to a Bianchi 100 for my Sccy CPX-1 and Galco 2nd Amendment for my P3AT. In the Crossbreed, my P07 is as easy to carry as the Sccy, even though the P07 is a bigger and heavier pistol. I chose strong backlighting for this shot because it works great (along with strong sidelight) for showing how a gun prints,. You can see in that shot while the Crossbreed does show up as a little asymmetrical, it’s nothing overtly noticeable.


It also seems easy to draw from, but I’ll know more on that later this week after I run it thru an El Presidenté or two at my next practice session. 

All in all, I’m wildly satisfied with the quality, fit and value of the holster, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a comfortable, easy-to-wear and practical holster for their CCW gun. 


Fast Cars And Freedom

Fast Cars and Freedom

The Arizona Rifleman expounds upon the logical connection between personal freedom and personal transportation, and mentions one of my all-time favourite shows, Top Gear.

While it may be difficult to find practical alternatives for long-distance transportation like the Eurostar (though one can make it from the Guildford, UK to Monte Carlo by ferry and car before a train can get you there, according to Top Gear), there’s really no excuse to not have one’s own local transportation. 

What good is the right to bear arms if you can’t go more than a mile from your house because of a bus strike? And what’s the point of the right to free speech if you just walk around shouting out your anger at life’s many injustices inside the walls of your home? 

To borrow from A.E. van Vogt, the right to personal transportation is the right to be free. 

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Moving Pictures

Moving pictures

Steel, PRGC, 10/08A quick update on the iPhone 4 and shot timer apps: They work, but you have to crank up the sensitivity on the things up to 100%.  Which is a good thing to know, because my iPhone has become a very useful thing to have in my range bag. 

First off is the shot timer app: Both Surefire and Taurus have free timer apps out there, and there’s a paid versions as well. Considering that shot timers start at around $120, this app alone is almost worth the price of an iPhone. 

Secondly is the camera: The camera in the iPhone 4 is a 5 megapixel camera with a decent lens and autofocus, and it also shoots 720p video (see below). The camera comes in REALLY handy for documenting stages, and the video is incredibly useful for spotting the many, many mistakes I make on any given stage. 

On the video below is my run thru the stage described on the right, and it’s also the first time I shot my P07 in competition. Right off the bat, I can see that I’ve got to start moving to a new shooting box right after I finish shooting: There’s a noticeable delay between when I stop shooting in the first box, drop my mag and move on to the next box, which is something i’ll need to work on in the next few weeks. Oh, and I need to actually hit the friggin’ target. That’d help, but as this is my first run with a new gun, I’m pretty satisfied with the results. 

Thirdly, the iPhone can store shooting drills, notes, and all the other bits of information needed in any given practice session, and if that’s not enough, Saul Kirsch has some interesting apps for scoring IPSC and Steel Challenge, as well as a practice app to guide your training sessions.

It’s gotten to the point where for any given trip to the range, I need my gun, ammo, eye and ear protection and my iPhone: It’s become my second brain at the range.

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Maybe I Should Have Stayed In Bed

Maybe I should have stayed in bed

I managed to get out to the range nice and early today in order to get in some practice ahead of Thursday Night Steel and make another entry into The Quest For C Class.

Bad mistake. 

First, the red mist descended once again and I totally blew the Dot Torture drill. 44/50, and no, no picture of the results. It’s my own darn fault, as I could tell I was jerking the trigger again, and I know that’s because I haven’t been putting in my dry-fire time as of late. 

And it went downhill from there. 

I thought I’d at least salvage some of the practice session by shooting some El Presidenté drills, but on my very first attempt I forgot to take a spare mag with me to shooting box. Hoping to learn something from that mental error, I looked down to see what my time was on the first six shots and I realized the Surefire shot timer on my brand-new iPhone 4 hadn’t picked up the shots and given me a score. I put my phone right next to the pistol and shot multiple times, but It turns out that the noise-cancelling microphone on the iPhone4 works so well, it makes all the shot timer apps out there obsolete


And then, on top of that, I started to put away my CZ75, and I noticed that my front sight was nowhere to found. Sometime during the failed El Presidenté and the attempts to get the timer working, the front sight had worked it’s way out of the dovetail and zoomed off into space. 

Maybe I should take up needlepoint or something. 

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AR Gratia Artis

AR gratia artis

People say that art can’t have a purpose, that in order for something to be a work of art it must not have a reason for it’s existence other than itself.

Behold, the gun as art *.

* It has to be art, because there’s no other excuse for it that I can figure out.

Not Gonna Make It

Not gonna make it

So the idea was to be a “C” class shooter in the USPSA by the Desert Classic

I may be capable of shooting at the level of a “C” class shooter by then, but it looks I won’t be ranked as such by the time the classic rolls around. The plan was that I’d practice, practice, practice, shoot some low-stress (but non-sanctioned) steel matches to boost my confidence and then shoot an all-classifier match right before the Classic.

However, it looks like there won’t be an all-classifier match prior to the Desert Classic this year, which means I’ll go into it with my current ranking. 

PRODUCTION Class: D Pct: 29.77 High Pct: 29.77 

After the Classic, I’ll start shooting more USPSA-sanctioned matches so I can get a ranking that matches my skills. Either way, the practice I’ve put in will be invaluable to protecting my loved ones from harm, and that’s the reason why I’m doing this in the first place.

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