Brand Ambassadors For A Country No One Has Ever Heard About.

Brand Ambassadors For A Country No One Has Ever Heard About.

I’m a bit of a gearhead. I drive a hot hatch, and I exceed the posted speed limit on a regular basis.

Perhaps a little TOO regular, if I’m honest.

I digress…

I watch The Grand Tour and Top Gear, and I love seeing all the exotic cars that show up here in this particularly plushly-upholstered section of God’s waiting room.

However, even I couldn’t tell you who the current Indy Car Champion is, and if, say, Lewis Hamilton showed up at a local Mercedes dealer to hawk some wares, I probably wouldn’t go see him.

Now admittedly, I am kinda celebrity-shy: I’m not really impressed by people who are famous, so that does color my judgement somewhat.

With that in mind, I have to ask myself, what is the purpose of a sponsored shooter? To advance the brand of the companies who sponsor them, that’s what, no matter how big or small the brand is.

This is why I’m very interested in what Shoot Center has done. They’re a local range who’s sponsored a shooter who shoots USPSA very well, and I think there’s a real opportunity for them and other local ranges to use a really good shooter to increase the prestige of the range. It doesn’t have to be much: In return, for, say, a case of 9mm every other month or so or maybe access to employee pricing on reloading supplies, have your sponsored shooter do a Facebook video on what makes a good defensive handgun. Or how to shoot better. Or how the safety rules on an indoor range. Heck, just do a video of the shooter punching out the X ring of a target at 25 yards: There’s a TV program dedicated to “Impossible Shots“, why not have your sponsored shooter strut his stuff on your range and show off how much of an authority he/she is on shooting?

A sponsored shooter brings some gravitas and authenticity to what’s being said, and store/range who has one and shows them off therefore appears more clued-in than its competitors, making it appear to be a better place to go shoot than the other ranges in town.

This is why people want to go shoot on a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus or Greg Norman: They want the ego boost that comes from doing something associated with someone who is famous for doing what they enjoy doing.

If you got it, flaunt it.

Don’t Try To Understand ‘Em…

Don’t Try To Understand ‘Em…

… just rope ’em, tie ’em and brand ’em
Soon we’ll be living high and wide.

My heart’s calculatin’
My true love will be waitin’
Be waitin’ at the end of my ride

Move ’em on, head ’em up
Head ’em up, move ’em on
Move ’em on, head ’em up
Rawhide

A quick roundup of some articles I wrote that aren’t SHOT-related.

That Dropzone article is my first article for Shooting Sports USA, and they’ll be more articles over there by me in the near future. One thing that happened at SHOT this year is that I really diversified the number of places I’m writing for: Look for stuff on Beretta’s blog, the USCCA and even (gasp) American Hunter sometime this year.

Speaking of roundups (and bad segues), I’m outta here later today, off to take ECQC with Craig Douglas this weekend. This is a class I’m really looking forward to (even though I’ll probably get my @ss kicked in new and exciting ways) because it’s an area of self-defense that a) I know little about and b) have noticed for awhile now that there are a lot of people teaching a gun solution to violence and a lot of people teaching a martial art solution to violence but there are very few people integrating the empty handed skills of martial arts into the gun world.

Well, Craig is one of those people, so I am really looking forward to this class, no matter what it does to my poor, decrepit body.

The Missionary And The Socialite

The Missionary and the Socialite

One of the nicer things about climbing higher and higher up the gun writer caste system is that the signal to noise ratio gets A LOT better. The people I talk with on social media are really, really clued-in, and the amount of bad advice they hand out is pretty much derp-free.

But there is a price to be paid for being one of the Illuminati, and that price is that you really, really don’t want to suffer fools gladly, and it becomes very, very easy to look down on people less clueful than you.

Which is why Michael Bane’s podcast from a few weeks ago hit me pretty hard. Yes, it’s fun, (a LOT of fun) hanging out with smart people, but that needs to tempered with the realization that other people need to brought up, not put down.

An anecdote…

At the first Arizona Bloggershoot at the Casa Grande Public range a few years ago with Kevin Baker from The Smallest Minority, the benches to the south of us were occupied with a bunch of locals who were havin’ a grand ol’ time shootin’ things up with a half-dozen Mosins, a few HiPoints, a Mossberg Maverick and a Taurus PT145.

They were being safe, they weren’t muzzling us, and they were introducing a young boy to shooting. Who am I to tell them not to have such a good time just because their guns were cheap?

If we want new gun owners to shoot their guns more frequently, we need to create a gun culture that encourages such things. Speaking as someone who has paid money for a post-secondary education on how to evangelize, telling people they are not worthy of your church isn’t going to fill the pews…

Match Report, Louland Practical Pistol, January 11

Match Report, Louland Practical Pistol, January 11

As part of commitment to shoot more matches this year, I was able to squeeze in the Thursday night practical match at Louland Gun Club last week.

It’s a very lightweight match, usually all-steel courses of fire that have designated shooting boxes and less than 30 rounds apiece. One bay, though, is set up as a more typical USPSA stage, and that’s what we’ll look at here.

Stage Briefing
Targets A and B must be engaged from shooting area 1, else wise it’s shoot ’em as you see ’em. Target C back there is a right bastard of a shot that can only be engaged from the gap in the shooting area at the top left.

All in all, a fun little stage with a mix of hoser shots and a tight, tough shots with no-shoots.

How’d I do? Not bad.

Some things I like here:

  • I’m up and running as I do the reload. Not much hesitation at all, and I am up and on-target as quick as I can.
  • I shot the two targets at the end of the shooting area on the move, and then the last two as quickly as the ones before them. In fact, on the waveforms in the audio portion of the video, the spaces between all four shots are pretty much the same.
  • Most competitors shot the first two targets on the left side in the main shooting area from one spot, then moved up a few feet to take the partials behind the barrel. I figured out that I could split the difference and engage all four from one spot, saving me a few seconds on the stage.

Some things I don’t like here:

  • All that time shooting three shots at that first target, and I went Alpha-Mike. I figure I must have jerked the first shot (Ah, the joys of a DA/SA gun…), hit the second shot and then got a little anxious on the last one and tossed it off into the bar somewhere.
  • Everything looks good, but everything looks… slow. If I could speed everything up by a third, I’d be happy.

All in all, a good run for me. Had I not thrown that Mike, I’d have been the top non-Open shooter. As it is, I wound up third amongst iron sight shooters.

Ruger Continues To Break New Ground.

Ruger Continues To Break New Ground.

A Ruger shooting team? Anchored by Doug Koenig? Will wonders never cease?

Ruger’s never had a professional team, but today’s product mix gives them guns capable of competing in everything from cowboy action and rimfire challenge matches to practical disciplines like IDPA and USPSA, Steel Challenge, Bianchi Cup, even long range precision rifle matches.

What will raise eyebrows even higher across the industry is the identity of their new team captain: Doug Koenig.

After fourteen very successful years as a Smith & Wesson shooter, Koenig will now be shooting Rugers. And not just in the practical disciplines. Koenig tells me he’ll be expanding his schedule to include precision rifle competitions.

And this little bit from Doug is VERY intriguing.

“When I talked with Ruger engineers, they asked me what I thought – instead of telling me what they were going to do. So, I told them what I would like to see in a Ruger competition pistol, and it seemed like they were really listening.”

Let’s face it. Yes, Jessie shoots for Taurus, but does anyone REALLY think that her Open gun has any Taurus parts in it whatsoever? However, a competition-ready 1911 from Ruger, built to Doug Koening’s specifications would give Colt and SIG a run for their money.

Interesting times ahead.

New Year, New Goals

New Year, New Goals

My goals for last year was to be and not do, and boy howdy, did I do, err, be, that. I filled in some huge gaps in my training with a Law Of Self Defense Class, a MAG40, The Armed Parent/Guardian class and a class on how to dispense spicy treats onto the annoying people in your life.

This year, I’ve got SHOT, my first go-round through ECQC with Southnarc, TacCon and then probably a long-range rifle class as well. All of that will happen before May is over. Whew!

I still need to work at getting better at movement, and my overall conditioning in general. This means getting up a half hour earlier to work out. Ugh.

The good news is, I’ll be working out only ever other day. The days in-between, I’ll be working on dry-fire. I finally got serious and bought Ben’s book. Now to put that into practice.

I’m also working on a deal for a two-day hog hunt in central Florida, but more on that when and if it happens.

As for guns, I’m thinking about getting a Smith&Wesson J-Frame. I’ve been writing a lot about pocket guns as of late, and I figure it’s time I get one of the O.G. pocket pistols. I’m getting in a Colt Competition 1911 for an article I’m writing, and if I like it, it’ll go into my collection as well. Also, as a long-range class might be in my future, it’s time to change the bottom metal on my Savage so it can take detachable mags. Also, I’ve had it up to HERE with my little Lee reloading press, so a progressive press is definitely in my future.

So, those are my goals. What are yours?

The Year In Guns

The Year In Guns

It’s been a good year this year. I’ve managed to bring in a decent amount of side-job money, and that meant I had the wherewithal to buy myself some toys.

First up is the .300BLK pistol that I wrote up for Shooting Illustrated. I’ve tweaked it a bit with a Vickers sling and whatnot, and I like shooting it quite a lot.

Next is my suppressor for that gun, a SIG Sauer SRD762-QD. With wait times steadily falling on NFATracker.com, I expect to have it in-hand around March, if not a little sooner.

I hope.

I then put the Mossberg 930SPX that I had been using for 3 Gun out to pasture in favor of it’s gamer cousin, the 930 JM Pro. More competition is in the cards for me later this year, and so this gun will have a baptism by fire in the near future.

Smith and Wesson had a fire-sale on the first-edition 9mm Shields, and I picked up without a safety to replace the one I was carrying which had a safety. With the bladed trigger and other bits, there’s really no reason for an external safety on the Shield, and the darn thing is so small, it’s tough to flick off if accidentally switched on. Better not safety than sorry, I believe…

Lastly, I upgraded my 3 Gun AR with a new hand guard from Midwest Industries and an anodized aluminum stock from LeadStar Arms. That bloomin’ (literally) Bushnell red dot is leaving soon, probably swapped out for a Holosun dot.

As I said, a good year. Better than most.

See you in 2018!

Ruger Did It Again.

Ruger Did It Again.

First, it was ripping off my idea for a slogan, now they’re ripping off my ideas for guns.

Me, five years ago:

Bring Back The PC-9

A few reasons.

  • There are very few inexpensive but nice 9mm carbines. There’s the Beretta CX4, and then my choices are pricey (9mm upper), average (Kel-Tec Sub2k) or charitably low-end (Hi-Point).
  • Caracal’s coming out with one, so is Tavor and Saiga’s got a new one too. If there weren’t the demand for them, they wouldn’t make ’em. Speaking of which…
  • “Tactical Carbine/Shotgun” matches are popping up all over the place, allowing people shoot 3 Gun-style matches without having to deal with rifle-strength targets or have a 300+ yard range nearby.
  • A 9mm Carbine makes a dandy home-defense long gun, giving you the increased control and added thump of more muzzle velocity of a long gun without the over-penetration worries of a rifle-caliber carbine.
  • And it makes a dandy bug-out gun, too. Having to carry around one kind of ammo and carry one set of magazines makes a lot of sense when you’re dealing with limited space and weight. A 9mm carbine maxes out at about 100 yards, but that’s all you’ll be likely to need in anything other than a complete and total “SHTF” scenario.

Memo to Ruger: Take the PC-9, slap on the furniture from your tactical Mini-14, and you’re there.

Ruger, today:

Ruger 9mm Carbine

I need to send them an invoice for services rendered. This is getting ridiculous.

If this carbine comes in anywhere near Kel-Tec Sub2000 prices, they have a winner on their hands. And considering that 90% of the tooling for this gun probably already exists, it just might do exactly that.

UPDATE: The post is now live at Recoil. $549 MSRP, so expect to see street prices starting about $100 below that. Takes 10/22 trigger components.  Wowza. This is a) a shot across the bow of Kel-Tec and b) going to put some serious price pressure on the 9mm AR market.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1141-1260

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1141-1260

I managed to squeeze in a little range time earlier this month to try out my new Comp-Tac Holster (spoiler alert: I *love* it) and shoot some more rounds through the LCP ][.

I started out with 70 rounds of Mozambique drill practice, done from 5 yards, and I’m kinda happy with the results.

Aside from the four obvious jerks (more on that later), that dude ain’t goin’ nowhere. I then threw caution into the wind and tried a Dot Torture at three yards, with predictable results.

Whoops

What’s interesting is what I learned from the shots I missed: Pretty much every missed shot on that target was because I was using the laser to aim, not my sights, and when I saw the green dot wobbling around on-target, I snatched the trigger, with very predictable results. When I took my time to aim, as I did on Dot 3, I did pretty well.

Lesson learned.

The other half of the range session was devoted to working with the new holster for my CZ P07 Duty, a Comp-Tac CTAC. I’d been hanging on too long the Crossbreed I first got for it, to my everlasting shame. With a class with Ernest Langdon in my future, I wanted something I could use with confidence on the range and in everyday life. The CTAC more than fits that bill. It uses kydex to hold the gun, with two leather bolsters attached to belt clips to help keep the gun comfortable. The kydex extends up and covers the slide of your pistol, yet still allows you to get a full firing grip on the gun before you draw it from the holster.

I started out shooting a series of ball and dummy drills, and then switched to shooting another Dot Torture with the CZ and the new holster, and quickly ran into an issue with shooting it one-handed. To be honest, I’d concentrated so much on shooting my striker-fired S&W Shield these past few months, running the DA/SA trigger on the P07 with just one hand proved to be my undoing, and I totally bombed both the strong hand and support hand parts of the drill.

So I finished things up with just shooting one dot with one hand, mixing in double action and single action until I was satisfied with the results.

And I am.

All in all, a good range session. I shot 120 rounds through the LCP][, with no hiccups whatsoever.

Rounds Fired: 120 Rounds Winchester White Box .380 ACP

2000 Round Challenge Results
Total Rounds Fired: 1260
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993
Failure to feed: Round 873

Hog Wild.

Hog Wild.

Whole Hog

Michael Bane brought up an interesting idea on last week’s podcast: Hog hunting, specifically eradicating feral hogs in the Southeast, has saved the sport of hunting in the U.S.

And he’s probably right.

Getting into hog hunting is really easy, especially for people like me who are middle aged and have never hunted. As I’ve said before, it’s actually easier for my wife and my kids to get into a regular hunting training program than it is for me to get into one.

However, getting into hog hunting is actually pretty easy: I snagged an evening’s trip awhile back to help me evaluate a cheap little IR sight, and there’s two-day classes on hunting hogs available near me as well that I’ll probably take advantage of next year.

And then there’s the simple fact that hogs are an invasive species, and blasting them into oblivion is like fishing for lion fish or hunting for Burmese Pythons: Yes, it’s hunting, but it’s hunting that tries to restore the balance to the ecosystem, and even the most fervent of tree-huggers understands that getting rid of invasive species is a good idea for everyone.

So go out and blast Wilbur into oblivion, and do so knowing that not only are you restoring balance to the environment, you’re also creating an on-ramp for generations of hunters to come.

And organically-grown, free-range, antibiotic-free bacon is just icing on the cake.