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. 

Not yet

Current Classification

PRODUCTION Class: D Pct: 29.77 High Pct: 29.77

Previous Classification

PRODUCTION Class: D Pct: 27.65 High Pct: 27.65

A few take-aways …

Previous to starting The Quest, I essentially hadn’t done any competitive shooting at all in the past year, aside from staff days prior to the Desert Classic and the Superstition Mountain Mystery 3 Gun. Therefore, I consider this a baseline to grow on rather than the be-all and end-all of my scores in USPSA. 

The practice is working. Even with that long sabbatical from practical shooting, I shot better than this last classifier than the any one before it. A little more accuracy practice and a little more discipline can get me there, I think. 

I think my goal at my next practice session should be to shoot my Presidente’s as cleanly as possible, ignoring speed and dropping every single shot (if I can) into the A Zone. 

Stay tuned….

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Third Report

Dot Torture Drill : 44 out of 50. 

080410

I’m kinda happy about this result. My score was just a bit higher than last time, but groups are definitely tightening up, and that’s a very good thing. 


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

Time 8.41 19.21 8.16 21.37
A’s 7 2 5 4
B’s 1 2
C’s 2 6 3 2
D’s 3 2 3 2
M’s 1 1 2
Points 44 23 27 14
Score 5.23 1.2 3.31 0.66
Draw 2.18 1.93 2.02 3.16
Reload 2.24 2.05 2.42 4.83
Avg. Split 0.4 1.52 0.37 1.34

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.

More …

A mind of many things

At the night shooting class I took a couple of days ago, a good number of people said that they had issues with doing many things at once with a firearm in their hand. They had problems with stashing their flashlight in a safe place, performing reloads and just keeping everything straight in their heads in a semi-stressful environment.

I’ll admit I had some issues with this as well (memo to self: a magazine with four rounds in it and a fully-loaded magazine do NOT weigh the same), but for the most part, I did pretty well.

I credit practical shooting for this. Let’s go back to the simple USPSA stage I diagrammed out last month.

Stage

My initial approach to this stage was to shoot eight rounds at each mini-stage within the larger course for a total 24 rounds. But what happens if, for some bizarre (and all-too-common) reason, I totally charlie-foxtrot a portion of the stage? What if it takes five or six rounds to knock down a popper rather than just one? Now I have to do a standing reload, (which kills your time) and adjust how I shoot the rest of the course accordingly.

This is what practical shooting teaches you: How to respond with a firearm in your hand when things don’t go according to plan. You can learn to shoot a 4″ bullseye at 25 yards on the public range and a training class will teach you the best way to engage targets around barricades, but practical shooting gives you the mindset you need to quickly and safely respond correctly with your firearm when things go all to pieces.

A Shot in the Dark

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. 

Backlighting

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.

* My $25 Coleman flashlight from Wal-Mart was up to the task. Sure, it’s not a Surefire, but it does 90% of what a Surefire does for 30% of the price. Not bad.

* 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. 

Oh, and if you haven’t read any of my posts over at the mothership, I have a tendency to use song titles in my posts, and this one is no different. 🙂

Beyond the basics

Practical shooting is a lot like golf in that it’s a mind game: It’s you and what you can do vs. how the course is laid out. The only person you’re competing with in golf is your confidence in your abilities (“175 yards to hole? I think I can carry that bunker.”). I’m finding out that knowing what I can do and planning each stage based on that knowledge are the keys to a successful run. 

For instance, I shoot Production, which means I start out with 10 rounds in each magazine (and usually another in the chamber at the start) and that gaur-an-frckin-tees I’m going to reload on almost every stage I come across. That also means I’m going to have a slight edge on Single Stack and Revolver shooters who shoot only 8 rounds before they have to reload.

Let’s see how this plays out in reality. Here’s a simple USPSA stage that I built using stagebuilder.com

USPSA Stage

Comstock scoring, 24 rounds 

Now, because the stage designer (me) decided to build the stage in a way that accommodates Revolver and Single Stack shooters, it makes the job of anyone shooting Production and Limited-10 a little easier. Also, there’s no real tricks to this stage: There aren’t multiple paths to each group of targets and no real “gotcha” opportunities for missed targets and failure to engage penalties, it’s pretty much a run and gun scenario, and if you’re shooting Open and have more than 24 rounds in your pistol, a decent shooter should be able to shoot the whole stage without a reload. 

Here’s how I’d run this course. 

If it’s a complicated stage (this one isn’t), I’d offload the thinking part by using making a quick diagram on a Stage Analysis form before I turn in my scorecard for the stage. I’m a kinesthetic learner: I need to physically grasp a concept before I can work on it, and sitting down and drawing out a stage allows me to grasp just what is needed to accomplish my goals. It also means I print out my emails, but that’s another story… 

I then plan my reload points by physically walking the course, determining how many rounds are needed for each group of targets and then miming the act of reloading my pistol in each spot I’ve chosen. The nice thing about this is that I can usually do this part of my planning without interfering the other shooters as they also go through their prep for each stage. In this case, I’d plan on one reload between each group of targets, and hopefully that’d be it. 

Then, as it gets closer to my turn to shoot the stage, I start to work on what order I’ll engage the targets. This is hard to tell from a stage diagram, so it’s something that has to be done on the course itself. 

When I’m in box and getting ready to shoot, my mantra is simple: “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast“, and I try to visualize a good sight picture with my pistol. 

And then the timer goes off, the red mist descends, my brain locks up and all this planning goes out the window. 🙂 

 

Social media FAIL

Not just social media, but a complete and total marketing fail. 

I’m watching “Don’t be a Victim”, a two-hour block of self-defense programming on SpikeTV, and it’s excellent. A half hour show on a bunch of average people taking a five day concealed carry / tactical class, a half-hour show on everyday items for self-defense, a two shows about survivors of violent attacks. It’s hosted by Rick Simon Gerald McRaney, and it’s got top-level sponsors like Ruger, Blackhawk! and Insight. 

And I’d be willing to bet you’ve never heard of it. 

That’s a pity. The shows are first-rate: “Conceal & Carry School” just convinced Mrs. ExKev to get her CCW and some defensive training, but if the marketing people at Orion Productions had taken just a few hours to send out some emails to gunbloggers and post on a few gun boards, it’d be much more popular and well-known. As it is, the shows are definitely worth your time, even though they’re on early Saturday morning. But that’s what DVR’s were invented for. 🙂 

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Second Report

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 

Whoops

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. 

Run P07 1 P07 2 CZ75 1 CZ75 2 CZ75 3 Sccy 1 Sccy 2
Target One A B C D 2A D M 3A C 3C M 4A 2A D M 3A C
Target Two 4A 3C M 2D A C 2A 2C 3A C D A B D M 3A B
Target Three A 2C M 3A D 2C 2D 2C 2D 4A A C D M 2A B C

             
Time 8.48 9.13 8.57 8.16 10.42 12.29 11.92
A’s 6 5 4 2 10 4 8
B’s 1         1 2
C’s 3 3 4 7 1 1 2
D’s 1 2 4 2 1 3  
M’s 1 2   1   3  
Points 33 16 36 23 54 -1 52
Score 3.89 1.75 4.2 2.82 5.18 -0.08 4.36
Draw 1.89 1.79 2.07 1.82 2.16 2.71 2.81
Reload 2.79 3.71 2.61 2.6 2.88 3.99 3.81
Avg. Split 0.38 0.4 0.39 0.37 0.54 0.56 0.53

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. 

Sccy CPX-1

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. 

 

First Report

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

Dot Torture Drill Results

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. 

Run CZ75 #1 CZ75 #2 P07 #1 P07 #2
Target One A, C, 2M 4A 2A, 2C A, 3C
Target Two A, D, 2M 2A, C, D 3A, D 3A, C
Target Three 2A, C, M 2A, 2C 2A, 2C 2A, 2C

Time 9.10 11.43 10.77 11.16
A’s 4 8 7 6
B’s
C’s 2 3 4 6
D’s 1 1 1
M’s 5
Points -23 50 48 48
Score -2.53 4.37 4.46 4.3
Draw 2.33 3.08 2.5 2.88
Reload 2.61 2.61 2.13 2.6
Avg. Split 0.42 0.58 0.53 0.57

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. 

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