Don't Tread on my Gun Rights

For my readers in the great state of Washington – this weekend I’ll be at Norpoint Tactical Training Center in Arlington, WA getting people signed up to help with the 2010 Election here in Washington.  See that awesome yard sign?  I’ll have a limited supply of them with me, so make sure you stop by tomorrow from 10am-9pm or Sunday 11am-8pm to sign up and get involved!  Or you can just get a free target and a free button, but if you’re like me, maybe you’re tired of the politicians in DC ignoring you and trying to stomp on your right to keep and bear arms.  If you are tired of it, now’s your chance to do something about it.  Come see me this weekend at Norpoint, or if you’re a Washington resident and can’t make it, email me about how to get involved!

Riddle me this, Batman

More teaser on my upcoming Bianchi Cup 2011 Metallic gun – practicing for the Barricade Stage, one of the hardest stages at the Cup in my opinion.  It’s clearly a revolver, but beyond that it’s pretty hard to tell what exactly it is that I’m shooting.  I will say this though, that gun can shoot.  I was using PMC Bronze 132 grain FMJ because it was cheap and what I had in the ammo can and at 20 yards the gun shot a pretty tight offhand group.

Now, this just isn’t some revolver that I had built for the Cup, no this gun has a story to tell.  Lots of stories to tell, in fact and some that I don’t know and won’t be able to tell on its behalf.  But next May at the 32nd Bianchi Cup I’m going to try and write another chapter in its history – add another story to the list of places and events this revolver has taken part it; and I’m hoping that you’ll come along for the ride.

Oh yeah, that’s right.  It shoots just fine at 20 yards.  Six shots around the barricade in 7 seconds, standard IDPA target.  I do need to get some AP-1 targets for practice starting here pretty soon, but if that was a Bianchi target, that would be 60-6x for sure.  I’m excited about running this gun, and the practice leading up to it!

A failed attempt at gun control

I grew up in a house with three brothers all relatively close in age.  With that many boys running around violence, whether simulated or real was a constant factor.  In my youth I recall that my mother tried to experiment with toy gun control.  My dad was a cop, and while we had guns in the house mom was initially opposed to us having toy guns for reasons that remain clouded to me.  Anyway, mom forbade the use of toy guns, which lasted just about as long as it took us to figure out that you could fabricate a toy gun from LEGO and Construx (if your childhood did not include Construx, I weep for you).  Realizing that toy gun control was futile, she then relented and allowed toy guns in the house.

Playing with toy guns, running around yelling “bang” and “I got you” in the So. Cal desert was an integral part of my childhood.  Cops and robbers wasn’t nearly as popular as Army vs. Iraqis; with the Gulf War going off while I was 8 in similar terrain to my home town, it was a natural expansion of the traditional childhood shoot ’em up.

Eventually I started playing video games, first person shooters like Wolfenstein 3D, Dark Forces, and space games such as Wing Commander and TIE Fighter.  The common thread that ties all that together is that people are constantly getting shot with pretend guns.  An 8 year old kid yelling “bang, I got you” is functionally the same as shooting a pixelated Nazi with an equally pixelated SMG.

But even with all that simulated shooting I did as a kid, when I received my first real firearm, I never once pointed it at another person.  The point of all of this is twofold: first that gun control doesn’t work.  The LEGO analogy is apt; we have thousands of skilled machinists and the tools to manufacture firearms in this country.  Even a total ban on guns wouldn’t be able to stop people that needed the weaponry for nefarious purposes from fabricating it.

The 2nd point is more for current gunnies – education is important.  I didn’t get my first firearm until I was 15 or 16, but before that I had gone shooting with my dad, and learned the 4 rules, learned gun safety.  By the time I was12, I understood the difference between my pretend guns and a real gun, and I lived in mortal terror of touching a real gun without and adult around.  I do need to add the caveat that I don’t have kids, so my advice about raising kids around guns is worth precisely what you paid for it!

iPad vs. Shotgun slug

Go on, guess which one wins.

My favorite part is where it catches on fire. This is extra footage from a commercial for a tax prep company or something; I don’t know what they do and frankly don’t care because they shot an iPad with a shotgun, and that’s quite awesome.

Why we train

Because brain-fade happens.  Action pistol shooters jokingly refer to the timers we use as “brain cell destroyers”; the joke being when the buzzer goes off you forget your whole plan.  Stress is wicked difficult thing to manage, and taking classes that induce stress or competing in a simulated stress environment are ways to ameliorate that problem.

What your carry gun says about you

There are lots of choices out there for carry guns, and because each gun is a personal choice your carry gun is a statement, whether or not you feel it is.  It says something about you.

1911

What you think it says: “I am suave, sophisticated pistolero that will only carry the finest in defensive handguns.”

What it actually says: “I really enjoy buying spare parts and endlessly testing magazines to make sure they work with my archaic firearm.”

Glock

What you think it says: “I am a serious shooter, dedicated to my sport and self defense and so I carry the most popular firearm in law enforcement.”

What it actually says: “I didn’t want to do any actual research before buying a gun, so I just bought this hunk of plastic.”

Smith & Wesson M&P

What you think it says: “I am a smart shooter!  While I value the durability and lightweight of the polymer pistols, you should be able to customize your firearm for your hand size, which is why I carry an M&P.”

What it actually says: “The store was out of Glocks and the guy said this was like a Glock only better.”

Sig

What you think it says: “I am an elite shooter.  This is the weapon of choice of Navy SEALs, and that means it’s awesome, so I’M AWESOME.”

What it actually says:  “Long trigger pulls are okay with me!  First shot accuracy isn’t important anyway, it’s all about volume of fire!”

HK

What you think it says:  “Carrying this pistol means I’m serious about pistol-craft!  I am a civilian WARRIOR.”

What it actually says:  “I suck, and my gun hates me.”

Revolvers

What you think it says:  “This is a more elegant weapon from a more civilized age; I am a connoisseur of firearms akin to the Jedi Knights and their lightsabers.”

What it actually says:  “I have trouble counting past six, and having a lot of ammo in a gunfight isn’t that important to me.”

A Taurus

What you think it says:  “While budget conscious, I am able to spot a deal on a quality firearm and take advantage of it.”

What it actually says:  “Herp-derp.”

What does your carry gun say about you?

SIRT Pistol

The last couple of weeks I’ve had the opportunity to play with a friend’s SIRT Pistol.  This is a neat little training device that allows trigger reset dry-fire with the aid of a laser “impact” on your target to make sure that your practice is actually what you want it to be.  The concept for this is exactly the same as dry firing with your Crimson Trace Lasergrips turned on, as it gives you actual visual feedback on what you’re doing right and wrong during you trigger pull; but the difference with the SIRT pistol is that you don’t have to manually reset the trigger.  There is a great thread at the Enos forum about training with the SIRT and its benefits for dry fire, training your vision, etc.  Right now, the SIRT is only available in the Glock 17/22 frame configuration, and can be had with the red slide (pictured), a clear coat slide, or a black slide which simulates the appearance of your standard Glock.  Future models will apparently include a Sig P226, Smith & Wesson M&P, Springfield XD, and most interestingly an AR 15 SIRT that will be an inert lower receiver that works with your existing upper.  That should be cool.

Living in Indiana the past few years it was always difficult to get valuable practice in the winter.  The snow and bitter cold made it impossible to get to the range, and like many people I get bored easily with dry fire.  I’m not going to buy a SIRT yet as I don’t have a Glock and have intentions of changing to the platform, but just from playing with one that belongs to a friend I can easily see the benefit in the SIRT as a training device.  If you’re a revo shooter and want most of the benefit of a SIRT, you can also get a set of Lasergrips for you competition revolver!

Quest for Master Class: Spotling on FAS

Today on the Quest for Master Class at Downrange.TV, we’ve got the spotlight on one of the venues that’s become a primary training facility; the Firearms Academy of Seattle.  Check out our look at the top notch training destination in Washington State only on Downrange.TV!

IPSC Shoe

Seen at the Firearm Blog, apparently DoubleAlpha is marketing an outdoors shoe as the perfect shoe for IPSC.  IPSC and USPSA do require a good shoe selection – often you’re shooting on sand, grass, mud, wooden planks as the ad for the shoe describes.  Many shooters wear cleats or other high traction shoes; the IPSC Shoe takes it one step (ha!) further and gives you the benefit of a metal cleat for soggy boards without sacrificing traction on other surfaces.  That being said, I don’t know if the performance edge is worth the $170 USD price tag.  I tend to take a more moderate approach to shoes – a good off-road trail running shoe will provide the traction you need for most surfaces (with the possible exception of wet gravel) and also not break the bank.  Plus, I use my USPSA shoes for IDPA, and actually for trail running.  My favorite shoe is the Adidas Kanadia TR 2 which I hope they never discontinue.  As you can see it has a very aggressive tread pattern on the bottom of the shoe, without  having the extremely high ankle that you see on the “IPSC Shoe” (which is something I don’t enjoy).  I’m actually thinking about trying the Vibrams trail running “shoes” for USPSA and IDPA, as a lot of people I know outside the shooting world swear by them for running.

The thing about USPSA and IDPA is that it is as physical as you want to make it.  If sprinting from shooting box to shooting box is what you’d like to do, then you’ll need good shoes.  If you’d rather move slower, that’s awesome too – the nice thing about these games is that it is entirely up to the shooter to determine the pace that they shoot a particular stage.  Oh, and by way of disclaimer – I have received precisely diddly-squat from Adidas.  Somehow I don’t think they’d be too keen on an action pistol sponsorship…