My best score on the El Presidente, ever! (Ignore the FTF on the second run. Please. I’m begging you.) On the third run, I tried to push my speed a bit with less-than-stellar (and predictable) results.
I also ran my Kel-Tec P3AT through an El Prez as well, just to get in some practice with it and see how it performs versus my competition gun.
The short answer? It doesn’t. I drew it from the same pocket holster I use for everyday carry, and I had my spare mag in my off hand pocket, just like I do when I carry it around with me. If I need to use my P3AT, I’ll need to rely on my awareness of my surroundings and have it prepped and ready to use, rather than relying on stopping someone from a draw with it.
I had the opportunity to go to a four-hour “Fight at Night” training class over at Rio Salado on Saturday night, put on by Brad Parker of Defend University. I took the class because I knew I had a big gap in my training when it came to low light and night encounters. Most lethal force incidents happen in low-light conditions, but for reasons of safety and convenience, we do most of our practice and training on clean, well-lit ranges. It’s like a karate student who spends all of his time in the dojo doing kata and never does any sparring.
The class covered many of the standardized flashlight and pistol grips, types of lighting (backlit, frontlit, etc.), how to manipulate your firearm with a flashlight (your prirmary hand armpit, btw, makes a handy-dandy flashlight holder when you need both hands free), the basics of using a flashlight as a defensive tool and some of the physiological effects of darkness on the human body.
And then we got to the shooting. And it was unlike anything I’ve done before.
Here we’re trying to learn to shoot with our off-hand while trying to deal with a backlit target without illumination from with our flashlights. The glow you see behind the steel targets comes from a couple of dozen road flares strewn about the berm, and I’m kinda happy I was able to get a couple of muzzle flashes in the shot. For safety reasons, we all wore glowsticks so the RO’s could keep track of our whereabouts, and the firing line was designated by glowsticks as well. If this sort of thing looks cool, well, it was. 🙂
I learned a LOT for this class.
* This was the first time I’d used my new CZ for anything other than practice on the range, and it performed without a hiccup, which increases my confidence for using it as an everyday carry pistol.
* I need night sights, a flashlight and/or a laser for every firearm I may use in a self-defense situation. The sights on my P07 are great in broad daylight or at sunset, but once the lights go out, they’re utterly invisible.
* I learned I can trust my instincts. One of the drills we did was in total darkness: No lights, no nuthin’, just the backscatter of the lights of Mesa off the clouds overhead. Despite the lack of light, I was able to bang the steel four times out of four. Maybe I should close my eyes each time I go shooting…
The class was DEFINITELY worth the modest registration fee, and I’d recommend it (or any other low-light training class) to anyone who is serious about defending their life or the lives of their loved ones.
First, the bad news. The speed demon had me it it’s claws again, and I blew the Dot Torture Drill.
Dot Torture Drill (3 yards): 40 out of 50
But despite going backwards, I was able to narrow my focus more on maintaining a good front sight picture and accuracy, which resulted in better El Presidente times.
A B C D
2A D M
2A D M
2D A C
3A C D
A B D M
A 2C M
A C D M
2A B C
2 runs with P07, 3 runs with the CZ75, and 2 with my current carry gun, a Sccy CPX-1 (more on that gun later).
Run #2 was done for speed, run #3 for accuracy. Overall, my scores are MUCH improved from my last practice, so I have reason to be hopeful.
And I wanted to shoot my carry gun. It doesn’t do me much good to be a whiz with a megasuperdeluxeautoblaster competition gun and then fall to pieces when I need my pistol the most. My setup was my CPX-1 in an IWB holster concealed by a t-shirt and a spare mag in my offhand jeans pocket. The first run was for speed, the second for accuracy, and I’m pretty pleased with the results.
The Sccy has been a bit of a problem child for me: It’s gone back to the factory three times, and each time they’ve sent a new gun back to me along with two extra mags. Great service, but I prefer guns that have good warranties but never need them, and that’s why I got the P07.
“Know thy enemy, know thyself, and you will be invincible.”
– Sun Tzu
When I was a professional photographer, once someone found out what I did for a living, I’d usually at a party, “Say, I want to take better pictures, what kind of camera should I get?”
My answer to this was always “Well, that depends. How many rolls of film do you shoot each week?”, which would usually end that part of the conversation as the would-be photographer grapples with the concept of shooting an entire 36-shot roll of film each week, much less more than one, where it was not uncommon for me to burn through two dozen rolls of HP5+ or TMZ covering just one high school basketball game.
The point I was trying to make is that it’s not the camera that limits the photographer, it’s his or her ability to put in the time necessary to realize their vision and their desire to push their creativity that limits a photographer.
Looking back on this now, I realize my answer to the wannabe photogs was/is snarky and condescending: People want to take better pictures not to become the next Mark Seliger, they want to capture memories that are more evocative and aesthetic, something all of us share.
Which brings me to practical shooting. I’m blessed/cursed to call Rio Salado Sportsmans Club my home range. It’s loaded to the gills with USPSA Grandmasters. It’s a blessing in that each match is challenging and exciting, but each match is meant to be challenging and exciting to shooters like Rob Leatham, Vic Pickett and Matt Burkett.
This can (and does) discourage beginning shooters. Imagine cranking off the best golf drive in your life and then have Tiger Woods shoot behind you and out-drive you by 100 yards.
The upside to this, though, is that in the words of The Chairman Of The Board, if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere. And another great thing about shooting at Rio is the opportunity to participate and shoot in some 1st-class matches like the Desert Classic and Mystery 3 Gun, which bring in shooters from around the country. I get to meet some of the best shooters in the world, and the prize tables for each match can be really good.
All of this explains why I’m shooting a laid-back, easy-to-shoot steel match with friends on a regular basis rather than the more difficult but less friendly USPSA matches at Rio. I like Rio: I do all my practicing there and I’ll still shoot a USPSA match there as often as I can, but right now, it’s important that I believe I can shoot well and do so when needed, even in the toughest of competitions. My practice sessions are there for me to prepare me physically, the steel matches are there to prepare me mentally. My standard for success needs to be me and the progress I have made, not the best shooters in the world can do.
I suck. But I already knew that because I’m a D Class shooter and not, in the words of Brad Engmann, a USPSA Grandmaster.
Dot Torture Drill (3 Yards) 43/50
Seems like I need to work on my draw from holster and my strong-hand only shooting. And that trigger jerk is STILL there. Grrrr.
El Presidente: 2 Runs
Actually, 4 runs, as I wanted to get in some trigger time with my brand-new CZ P07.
A, C, 2M
A, D, 2M
2A, C, D
2A, C, M
That first run was a disaster: I’m shooting too fast and missing, and half-second splits are way too slow. What do I need to improve on? Everything, but I need to learn to take my time and at least glimpse the front sight before I shoot most of all. On second run, I made sure to get a flash sight picture on each shot, and it sure made a difference
It could be worse, I guess. Everyone, with the possible exception of Rob Leatham, had to start at the bottom and learn this stuff along the way, and this is my first real attempt to get better at a sport I’ve been participating in for over two years.
The good news is my CZ P07 is just fine right out of the box, which is very comforting to me, as I’ll soon start using that as my everyday carry pistol.
2. I like the freestyle run-and-gun format of IPSC/USPSA more than IDPA’s shorter, more controlled stages.
3. The Desert Classic is a USPSA match, and the whole reason I’m doing this is so I don’t embarrass myself at this year’s match.
I shoot Production in USPSA, and I’m NOT a big fan of Open class, so there are few practical differences between how I shoot a USPSA match and how I shoot an IDPA match. IDPA teaches good use of cover, IPSC teaches on-your-feet thinking a little better, IMO. Both are good at providing artificial stress, which is the reason why I got into this.
This is not to say that IDPA isn’t worthwhile or I won’t ever shoot it ever ever. Quite the opposite. Here’s proof.
Yep, it’s another CZ, a brand-new, dead-stock P07 Duty, courtesy of Armed American Arsenal. This will soon be my new daily carry pistol and it’ll also serve as my IDPA gun. I’m putting it through it’s paces right now, and once I’ve put 500 or so rounds through it, I’ll team it up with some kind of tuckable IWB holster (still figuring out which one. If you make hybrid holsters and need a website, call me 🙂 UPDATE:I went with a Crossbreed Supertuck for the Springfield XD). Once I get that all done, the P07 will be my new my day off /after work sidearm, and because I firmly believe in “fight like you train, train like you fight”, I’ll also use it in IDPA starting next year, probably the Tuesday night matches at the Phoenix Rod and Gun Club. But that’ll wait ’til I get to where I’m going in USPSA.
Looks nice, but what you can’t see is the heat. 105 degrees in the shade when we started shooting tonight. And by “we” I mean me, Danno from Sandcastle Scrolls and Capitalist Pig and Mz. Vast Ring Wing Conspiracy from Great Satan Inc.
This was the first match I’ve shot when there’s been somebody I know socially to chum along with, and it won’t be my last. It makes a fun sport even better, and I highly, highly recommend it.
And I shot pretty good, too, which makes it even more better.