Sooner or later, your friends will find out you’re into the shooting sports, and this will lead to one of four reactions:
1. “Huh. I never knew that about you.”, followed by a gradually distancing of the relationship as your friend doesn’t like being around a “gun nut”.
2. “Huh, I never knew that about you”, followed by a normal continuation of the relationship as your friend thinks that the shooting sports is just another hobby, akin to building ships in bottles or needlepoint.
3. “Cool. Whaddaya shoot?” (The best outcome).
4. “Huh. I never knew that about you. Say, I’ve been thinking about getting a gun for the home and…”
That last answer is the trickiest. Giving advice to another person on what gun they should buy is kinda like married people giving dating advice to a single person. Yes, I know what works for me, but that’s only because I’ve made some mistakes, thought about things, and put a lot of time and effort into selecting what I shoot.
A PGB (Potential Gun Buyer) should start by asking himself several questions. What do I want this gun to do for me? Is it for self defense? Will I carry it concealed? How large are my hands? Will I seek professional training? Once trained, how often will I practice? Do I know what level of recoil I can tolerate? Who else in my home will have access to this firearm? Would my spouse have the necessary skills to use this firearm? Once you have made this list you should prioritize your requirements.
Unfortunately for the PGB, there isn’t a whole lot of resources out there for guiding such decisions. There’s a lot of places for raw data, such as gun manufacturers websites, online gun stores and gun magazines, but very few places that have a list of guns in a certain price range and with a list of the the pros and cons of each, and worst of all is the gun-owning friend him/herself, who has the tendency to evangelize what they shoot and like to any all (buyCZs!:) ) around them.
That’s why I always, always, recommend that a PGB goes to a gun range that has a rental counter before making their first gun purchase, and ideally, go with a friend who can steady their nerves and help guide (but not direct) a PGB through the process. Spending $50 and trying out a few guns before they buy will help calm nerves and give a sense of empowerment: It’ll be the the PGB who makes the decision of what they’re buying based on their experience and their priorities, not someone else handing them a gun and saying “Here, this is the gun for you.”
Owning a gun for personal protection is fundamentally an act of self-reliance: It is taking your safety and the safety of your loved ones literally in your hands. Anything we as the shooting community can do to extend that sense of self-empowerment to the selection and buying process can only add new shooters to our ranks.
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.
Gun: I bought a CZ75 three years ago for home defence, and I had Angus Hobdell work it over so it can also be used for USPSA. He removed the magazine brake so the mags can drop free, added a competition hammer and Novak sights and did a trigger job on it.
And he made a good gun even better. It’s a heck of a shooter now, and it won’t be my gun that’ll keep me from making C Class. The gun cost me $400 at a local gun show, and I’ve got about $200 of modifications into it, so for $600 dollars I have a gun that can compete with the best of them. Not bad.
Holster:A BladeTech dropped-offset Kydex holster. I found out the hard way that lowballing your holster just doesn’t work. I started out with a Fobus paddle holster, and it had the annoying (and dangerous) habit of grabbing the pistol too hard and not letting me pull it out.
This had an adverse effect on my stage times.
The BladeTech is just top-notch, and definitely worth the price. I’ve paired it with a couple of BladeTech double mag pouches and a CR Speed belt. the whole setup cost me less than a $125 bucks, and it’s just great for USPSA Production.
Ammo: Either plain ol’ boring 115 grain Winchester White Box, or my own reloads. I have a Lee Turret press, and my 9mm round of choice is 115 grain Montana Gold FMJ’s with CCI primers and Power Pistol powder. The load is controllable and easy to shoot, but is still about 10% over minimum power factor.
Training: I can shoot fast, but I have problems shooting fact and accurately.
Actually, I have problems shooting accurately almost all the time. I’ve been jerking the trigger since I started shooting, and I’ve only recently got it under control. What I need to do now is integrate a smooth trigger press into quick transitions and a fast draw, so I’ve added pistol-training.com ‘s Dot Torture Drill into my practice. Speaking of which…
I want to shoot an El Presidente or a similar USPSA classifier drill each month to get ready for my next attempt to break into C Class, and the Hackathorn defensive drill will help me train myself for any real-world encounters, which is, after all, the reason why I got into this in the first place.
Competition: I want to compete in at least one club match each month, ideally a steel match (either at Rio on Tuesdays or Phoenix Rod and Gun on Thursdays) and the 3 gun match at Rio. While these aren’t USPSA matches, it’s the competition that I need right now. I’ll mix in a USPSA match every once in a while, but I need to get into the rhythm of competition and keep honing my skills. Shooting is a perishable skill, and it’d be better for me to compete in an 80 round run and gun steel match once a month than not compete at all.
Deadline: November 10, 2010. I want to be in C Class for the Rio Desert Classic, which means that I’ll actually need to be ready to go a month before that, as typically, Rio puts on an all-classifier match to accommodate people who want to shoot the classic in a new class or with a new gun.
A few years ago, after a pair of brutal home invasions in the Phoenix area, my wife and I decided that we needed to improve the protection of our home and family. We installed a burglar alarm, and I bought a pistol for home defence.
I decided on a CZ75 after trying all the 9mm pistols at Caswell’s Indoor Range. I tried Glocks, S&W’s, Springfields and my groups were the tightest with the CZ, so I went to a gun show the next week and bought a pre-B CZ75 from a dealer there for $400.
Then I went to get training. I took the NRA FIrst Steps class at Rio and learned about something called “Practical Pistol”, and it looked like a good way to get myself used to using a handgun in a semi-stressfful environment.
This intrigued me, as I knew I was good enough to shoot well at a static target on a firing range, but I also knew that wasn’t any guarantee that I’d be able to shoot well when the lives of my loved ones depended on it, and USPSA looked like a good way to learn how to shoot fast and accurately as fast as possible.
So I gave it a try. And I liked it. A lot. I shot about once every other month, and I got to the point where I became a “D” Class shooter. Better than the lower 2% of shooters out there, but there’s lot of shooters better than me.
Classification Bracket Percentages
Grand Master – 95 to 100% Master – 85 to 94.9% A – 75 to 84.9% B – 60 to 74.9% C – 40 to 59.9% D – 2 to 40%
That’s got to change. And that’s what this blog is about.