Pre-visualization

USPSA/IDPA targets and stage props are available for free download and free use in Google Sketchup

Testing 1, 2, 3

Now stage designers can see how a stage flows and looks in before one target stand gets hauled out of storage. Sketchup is easy to use and learn (heck, my nieces used it to re-design their bedroom) and has become the de-facto standard in consumer-level 3D CAD programs.

It may take too much time to create a stage in Sketchup versus Stagebuilder or Powerpoint for club matches, but this is *perfect* for Area Championships and big matches, as it allows a stage designer to pre-flight and run a virtual walk-through on a stage as it’s being planned. 

 

Planning for Plan B

Pocket Protector

Michael Bane talked about training to your weakness this week on his podcast, and I realized I’ve been neglecting to train with my usual daily carry gun, a Kel-Tec P3AT. 

Oh sure, I’ll go the range with it to try a quick El Prez or the like, but I don’t train with if (or any of pistols, for that matter) in any other situation than standing up. 

But I can’t guarantee I’ll be standing upright if I need to defend my life: I may be sitting, I may be kneeling, I may be face down in the dirt, but I need to know how to get my pistol into action as quickly as possible from all of those positions, and that’s something I’ve never trained. 

For safety’s sake, though, it’s best if I do this in two distinct parts. One is practicing my draw and presentation with an unloaded gun at home. Ideally I should use a blue gun for this, but they don’t make a P3AT blue gun just yet, so instead I’ll use a homemade chamber flag and multiple, multiple chamber checks to make sure the gun’s empty and stays empty throughout my practice. I’ve not had a negligent discharge (yet) and I fully intend never to have one. 

The second part is practicing shooting from sitting, kneeling and prone positions with my P3AT and other carry guns on the range, a fairly easy task to accomplish.

All this practice and training probably won’t make me into a robot mutant cyborg, but it will make me more fast and accurate on the worst day of my life. 

And that’s a good thing.

Flight of fancy

USPSA v. FBI QITI wanted to see how my daily carry rig stood up to a standardized pistol drill, and I chose the Air Marshal standards course, as it seemed to be (and was) a good test of my skills and equipment.

The rig I used was my CZ P07 in a Crossbreed SuperTuck, concealed with an oversized t-shirt. My spare mag was stored in my weak-side front pocket. I don’t have any FBI QIT targets, so I used a USPSA Metric target. I scored A, B and C hits as 5 pts, D hits as 2, and misses as zero.

The drill, and my results

All strings are shot from a distance of seven yards.
Qualification: Time: Cannot exceed total time for each drill. Example: Drill #1 – 1st time 1.70 seconds, 2nd time 1.55 seconds; Total = 3.25 seconds = Go. Must achieve a “GO” on each drill. Accuracy: Target is FBI “QIT” (bottle). Total rounds fired is 30. Point value inside bottle = 5. Point value touching line or outside bottle = 2. Maximum possible score = 150. Mininum qualifying score = 135. All stages must equal “GO” to qualify.

Individual Drill Starting Position Time Allowed Actual Time Score Pass/Fail
One Round (Twice)
3.3 Seconds Total
Concealed from Holster 1.65 seconds 1.92 5 F
1.65 seconds 1.82 5 F
Double Tap (twice)
2.70 Seconds Total
Low Ready 1.35 seconds .98 10 P
1.35 seconds 1.07 10 P
Rhythm; fire 6 rounds at one target; no more than 0.6 second between each shot.
3 Seconds Total
Low Ready 3.0 seconds 2.62 30 P
One Shot, speed reload, one shot (twice).
6.5 Seconds Total
Low Ready 3.25 seconds 2.89 10 P
3.25 seconds 5.35 10 F
One Round each at two targets three yards apart (twice).
3.3 Seconds Total
Low Ready 1.65 seconds 1.35 10 P
1.65 seconds .89 7 P
180° pivot. One round each at three targets (twice). Turn left, then right.
7.0 Seconds Total
Concealed from Holster 3.5 seconds 2.84 15 P
3.5 seconds 2.75 10 P (?)
One Round, slide locks back; drop to one knee; reload; fire one round. (twice).
8.0 Seconds Total
Low Ready 4.0 seconds 5.1 10 F
4.0 seconds 4.7 10 F
Result: (1 miss on one of the pivot drill strings)       142 Fail

A few thoughts…

FAIL.

I love my Crossbreed Supertuck, but it sucks to draw from. I need to start thinking about a pancake or yaqui slide holster for the P07 and use the Crossbreed only as a tuckable IWB holster, or else modify the Supertuck so I can get a quicker draw.

And no, switching to a “shoot me first” vest isn’t something I’m considering, mainly because I never wore them in the past, even when I was a full-time photographer, and in the heat of a 115+ Phoenix summer, adding on additional layers of clothing doesn’t seem that wise. Besides, I’m more of The Dude than I am Walter Sobchak .

I need a better way to store spare mags than my front pocket. I blew one string because I wasted a couple of seconds playing pocket pool with my reload, and failed two others for much the same reason.

All in all, though, I like the drill as it tests both my skill set and the tools I use. When I didn’t hav to draw or reload, I easily beat the required par times. A few tweaks to my holster and accessories, and I should pass the next time I run this drill.

Seventh Report

It’s been far too long in between practice sessions. I’ve been shooting matches and keeping to my schedule, just not practicing.

Dot Torture Drill: 46/50

March 2

I was doing SO good on this until I let my brain slip into neutral and my trigger jerk showed up. As to what’s going on in Dot 10 there, I have no idea… 

030211 CZ75 1 CZ75 2 CZ75 3
Target One 2A C M 2A C M 4A
Target Two 2A 2C 4C 2A 2C
Target Three 2A C D 2A C D 3A D

Time 9.43 7.86 9.07
A’s 6 4 9
B’s
C’s 4 6 2
D’s 1 1 1
M’s 1 1
Points 33 29 52
Score 3.5 3.69 5.73

One ammo-related misfire

And a new high score on the drill! Let’s compare how much I’ve come along in the past 9 months with just one practice session and one match a month (or so). 

070710 CZ75 1 CZ75 2
Target One A, C, M, M 4A
Target Two A, D, M, M 2A, 1C, 1D
Target Three 2A, 1C, 1M 2A, 2C
Time 9.1 11.43
A’s 4 8
B’s
C’s 2 3
D’s 1 1
M’s 5
Points -23 50
Score -2.53 4.37
Draw 2.33 3.08

9.1 seconds with 5 Mikes versus 9.07 with 9 Alphas, and my draw is now in the 1.8-ish range (I forget to write that stuff down this session).

How fast I’m improving could be better, but I don’t have the time and $$$ I need to do more than I already am, and besides, this is FUN. Anymore worrying about it, and it’d seem too much like work.

More …

Maybe I was wrong after all

I wanted to go up to the range and run through my practice drills, but the near-freezing temperatures in Phoenix last week talked me out of it. Instead, ExurbanSteve and I went to Caswell’s and shot on their indoor range, and ended up I working on my strong hand and weak hand only shooting. 

I also wanted to see if there was a noticeable difference in accuracy and controllability between my compact (-ish) 9mm CZ P07, my subcompact Sccy 9mm and my .380 Kel-Tec P3AT. The range rules at Caswell’s don’t allow me to draw from a holster, so instead I ran through three Mozambique drills each from low ready with each gun. 

And son of a gun, but the little 9mm Sccy was significantly harder to control and less accurate than the even-littler (but less powerful) P3AT, even though the sights on the P3AT are, at best, limited (actually, “pitiful” would be the word I’d use). 

I won’t know until I get out on the range, shoot from a holster and time my runs, but my first impression is that if you’re looking for a compact, easily concealable CCW gun, skip the subcompact 9mm and get a pocket .380. 

Sixth Report

Remember how I said “next time, it’ll be perfect?” 

I lied. 

4 to go

Dot Torture Drill: 46 out of 50

Not unexpected: I’ve not had any range time of note since the Classic last month, and while dry-fire is good, live-fire is better. 

El Presidente Scores 

CZ75 1 CZ75 2 CZ75 3  CZ75 4
Target One A 2C D A B D M 1A 3C 1A 3C
Target Two 3A D 2A C D 2A 2C 2A 2 C
Target Three A 2C D 3C D 3A 1C 3A 1C

Time 8.78 8.88 8.98 8.51
A’s 4 6 6 6
B’s
C’s 5 5 6 6
D’s 2 1
M’s 1
Points 27 46 48 48
Score 3.08 5.18 5.35 5.64
Draw 2.09 1.95 2.09 2.05
Reload 2.52 2.89 3.08 2.48
Avg. Split 0.42 0.39 0.39 0.38

Even with sucky draw times, I scored my best El Prez score ever, and all of my runs were sub-10 seconds.

I’ll take that. 

More …

Fifth Report

“Diligentia – Vis – Celeritas”
“Accuracy – Power – Speed”

– USPSA Motto

Behold, the (almost) perfect Dot Torture Drill. 

091510 Report

Dot Torture Drill: 49 out of 50. 

And the instant I dropped that one shot, I knew it was because I let my concentration slip. Next time, it’ll be perfect. 

El Presidente Scores


CZ75 1 CZ75 2 CZ75 3 P3AT
Target One A 2C D A B D M 2A 2C A B 2D
Target Two 3A D 2A C D 2A 2C 2A C M
Target Three A 2C D 3C D A B C D A C 2D

Time 8.1 8.65 10.09 15.81
A’s 5 3 5 5
B’s 1 1
C’s 4 3 5 8
D’s 3 3 1 3
M’s 1 1
Points 40 20 44 42
Score 4.94 2.31 4.36 2.66
Draw 1.88 1.95 2.09 4.46
Reload 2.51 2.89 3.08 5.85
Avg. Split 0.36 0.35 0.45 0.57

I wanted to get in some more time with my P3AT, and at first blush, my times with the CZ look really bad, as my scores were much lower than last time, including one really awful run there in the middle. 

But. 

Let’s compare where I was back in July versus where I am now. 


07/16/10 09/15/10
Target One 3C M A 2C D
Target Two 2A 2C 3A D
Target Three 2C 2D A 2C D

Time 8.16 8.1
A’s 2 5
B’s
C’s 7 4
D’s 2 3
M’s 1
Points 23 40
Score 2.82 4.94
Draw 1.82 1.88
Reload 2.6 2.51
Avg. Split 0.37 0.36

The times for everything are about the same, however, my accuracy has definitely improved, which was the point of all of this all along.

Cool.

More …

Train up a child in the way they should go

I remember one of the major network newsmagazine shows did an entire show on kids and guns a few years back. They gave a bunch of eight year olds the standard “If you see a gun, don’t touch, run, and tell a grown-up lecture”, and then later in the day, set up a deactivated gun in an unattended location with a hidden camera on it in order to record the kids reaction. 

And the kids not only touched the gun, some of them picked it up and played with it. Why? Because kids are curious about stuff they’re not used to, that’s why. Their conclusion was simple: If you have guns, you shouldn’t have kids (I wonder if they feel the same way about kids and swimming pools. I digress.).

My kids know not touch a gun or ammunition, but they are also used to guns, in fact, my youngest is a bit bonkers for them, I have GOT to get him an air rifle as soon as I can.Now I’m not saying my sons are impervious to the temptation of reaching for the forbidden fruit, but both of them were playing unsupervised in our master bedroom yesterday, and my unloaded rifle and unloaded shotgun were resting on the bed, waiting to be put away after my three gun match. I snuck in and watched what they were doing, and rather than play with Daddy’s guns, which were sitting there right out in the open, they were playing with our cat. 

That’s good to know. I’m still going to lock everything up, but that’s still good to know. 

Fourth Report

“90% of the game is mental, and the other half is physical.” 

– Yogi Berra 

I took a different approach to how I approached the Dot Torture drill this time. Rather than worrying about trigger press and front sight picture, I visualized the result I wanted to see, and then just shot. 

And it made a difference. 

082510

Dot Torture Drill: 46 out of 50. 

And it could have been perfect if I had kept my mind in the game.

Thinking about the end result is far more natural for me than thinking about the process. When I was a shooter (of photos), I began every assignment with a pre-visualization: I saw the photo I wanted in my mid first, the rest was getting it done. Ansel Adams was the master of this; the Zone System is nothing more than a way of defining how you want the final print to appear before you even set up your tripod. 

If I can see it , I can do it, and I’ve known that this is the way that I think since my senior year of High School, when I’d get C’s in Algebra but A+’s in Geo-Trig. However, this is not how I’ve been training up to this point: I’ve been relying on the slow, methodical process of analysis so typical to left-brain thinking. However, I’m a right-brain thinker, and I learn via the creative process. 

Now, the fact is, the actual methodology is pretty much the same: Drills and practice routines are still a part of both disciplines, but how I approach training will change. Instead of relying on a slow progress and analytical thinking, I have to wait (and trust) for the “Eureka!” moments, and then build upon that. 

The first of which was today, when I remembered how I think. 

El Presidente Scores

 

CZ75 1

CZ75 2

P07 1

Target One

3A C

3A C

3A C

Target Two

3A C

3A C

2A C D

Target Three

3A D

3A C

3A C

       

Time

10.86

11.94

14.16

A’s

9

9

5

B’s

     

C’s

2

3

8

D’s

1

 

3

M’s

   

1

Points

52

54

42

Score

4.79

4.52

2.97

Draw

2.58

2.28

2.27

Reload

2.98

3.53

4.18

Avg. Split

0.48

0.58

0..76

Not a lot to say here, except that I’m happy that I’m not seeing a lot of swings in my scores. They may be low, but they’re not shifting into the utter horrible on occasion

 

Mommie Oakley

The Washington Post is shocked, shocked to discover that firearms are a part of American culture

On a June evening that had cooled to a mere 110 degrees, more than a dozen women waited for a timed competition as Carol Ruh, president of the Arizona Women’s Shooting Associates, went over safety rules.

The group’s oldest member is 89. The youngest is Susan Bitter Smith’s 16-year-old daughter, who has brought her AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and her American history homework to the range. Some look like anyone’s grandmother — silvery hair possibly just styled at the salon, pastel-colored golf shirts, pressed slacks, orthopedically correct shoes — but for the handguns on their hips.

Aaaaaaahhhhh!!!! Oh noes!!!1!! Pistol-packin’ mommas on every street corner! No permit for concealed carry! The streets must be overflowing with blood! 

Eeerrr, not so much. 

But gun rights advocates say that the District’s gun control laws — not to mention prohibitions against murder — did not prevent a drive-by shooting in March that involved illegal weapons. They also say that despite having nearly 158,000 people with concealed weapons in Arizona, their homicide rate of 6.3 per 100,000 is lower than the District’s, 31.4. That’s true of Phoenix, too, where the homicide rate is 10.5 per 100,000.

It’s almost as if criminals break the law or something.