This weekend

In pursuit of the Quest for Master Class, this weekend I’ll be out at Atlanta Conservation Club putting the Ruger SR9c through its paces.  Starting on Saturday with our 4th of July weekend IDPA match, then continuing on Sunday with a videotaped shoot through of the IDPA classifier.  Here’s the current score report on my IDPA Classifications:

  • Custom Defensive Pistol: Sharpshooter
  • Enhanced Service Pistol: Sharpshooter
  • Stock Service Pistol: Unclassified
  • Stock Service Revolver: Unclassified
  • Enhanced Service Revolver: Master

We’re starting the Quest for Master Class in the two divisions that the Ruger SR9c is eligible for, Stock Service Pistol and Enhanced Service Pistol.  To that end, I’m going for Stock Service Pistol first.  The bar for Master Class in Stock Service Pistol is 98.82 seconds for the entire course of fire.  My goal by the end of all of this is to be able to shoot it in less than or equal two 80 seconds in any division.  That’s actually not has hard as it seems.  It leaves you with about 20 seconds each for the first two stages which are all about speed, and then 40 seconds for the last stage which is very accuracy intensive.  Looking at previous classifiers, I’ve really managed to shave time off the first two stages – for my Master run with the 625 in ESR, I shot stage 1 and 2 in about 25 seconds each, stage 3 in 47 seconds.  That puts me right around 97-98ish seconds, which I should be able to beat using a semi-auto pistol.

To find out how I do on my first classifier run with the Ruger SR9c, check out Downrange.TV’s Quest for Master Class!

The next update to the Quest for Master Class is coming next week, with the full launch of the program!  Make sure to keep your browser pointed at Downrage.TV for all the updates from the shooting sports community!

Indiana Outdoors Radio

Hey Hoosiers – I’ll be on Indiana Outdoors Radio tomorrow morning around 5am (if you’re up, check it out).  It airs in the Indy Metro area on ESPN Radio: AM 1070, and is also carried by local affiliates in Lafayette, Fort Wayne, and other Indiana markets.  I’ll be talking to Bryan Poynter about my experience on Top Shot as well as my background in the shooter sports, and what Top Shot really represents for gun owners in the US.  Check out this Saturday morning on ESPN Radio, AM 1070!

Hoosier Regional Classic GSSF Match results available

Link to the .pdf file is here for the match results from the 14th Hoosier State Regional Classic.  My first GSSF match ever, shooting a borrowed gun?  I’m pretty happy with a 5th place finish in my division.  I shot the gun in two separate divisions, Civilian Stock (like Production) and “Competition”, which is designed for the longslide (G24, G17L, G34 and 35) models although other models may compete as well.  In GSSF, there are two bands of competitors, Masters and Amateurs.  A master is anyone who has won 3 GSSF events, or is a Master or higher in USPSA, ICORE, or NRA AP (not IDPA).  Master and Amateurs compete against one another in the Competition division, however the Civilian Stock division is for Amateurs only.  I am clearly an amateur by their rankings, so I shot Civilian Stock as my primary division and Competition for giggles.

In Civilian Stock division, which was my “primary” division, I finished 5th place out of 68 shooters.  I can live with that!  In the Competition division, I ended up 24th out of 57.  No excuses there, I pulled some really bad shots and just blew up on the plates.  My first two runs on the plates were 3.56 and 4.01, then I pulled a 7.55 followed by a 7.32.  Apparently, I forgot that I had a front sight on my gun.  My score in Competition division was more than 12 seconds slower than my score in Civilian Stock.  Lesson learned – shoot better!

I really did have a blast shooting this match – great people, great stages, and good weather made spending 234 rounds of 9mm well worth my time.  If you’re a Glock owner, check out GSSF’s website to see if there is a match near you.

Movin' on Up

It looks like the Quest for Master Class at Downrange.TV is starting a trend!  Reader and all around good guy Kevin is tracking his own progress trying to move up to C-class in USPSA Production division.  Good luck!  I think he’ll find that being a C-class USPSA shooter will make you a better at running your gun than 90% of the shooting population.  And you definitely picked some good gear for it – a CZ75 worked over by Angus Hobdell and Blade-Tech holsters.

I'll have what they're having

A good friend of mine is now the back page columnist in US Concealed Carry, and in the most recent issue she’s talking about ammo. If you’re not a member of the US Concealed Carry Association, I recommend that you sign up!  The membership is forty-seven bucks a year – and that alone is worth it for the US Concealed Carry Magazine and access to all the back issues of the magazine.  I read a lot of gun magazines.  A lot.  Full disclosure, I don’t pay for a lot of gun magazines, but if I did there are two that I would pay to get: US Concealed Carry and Shooting Illustrated.

Anyway, back to the ammo thing.  The fundamental point of the article (which you should go read) is that you shouldn’t agonize over your ammo choice.  There are so many Tactical DeathRay LaserPenetrator bullets out there that it would be EASY to get confused looking for the right one.  So just find out what your local PD is packing, and then go buy that.  In this case, I 100% practice what I preach.  My Ruger SR9c is currently loaded with Winchester 147 grain Ranger SXT hollow points.  This round is issued to about a hojillion different PDs and Sheriff’s Departments, not the least of which is the LA County Sheriff’s Office (editor’s note: the issue round of LASO may have changed in recent years, but last time I actually checked their 9mms were Winchester Rangers).

Now, I’ve said before that if your gun can’t feed hollowpoints you need a new gun.  However, for the moment let’s just say you’re on a really, really tight budget/hollowpoints are illegal/or for whatever reason we can imagine you just can’t get hollowpoint ammo for your 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP carry gun.  The “I’ll have what they’re having” still applies.  For example, if you have a 9mm and can only get ball ammo, then get Winchester 9mm NATO loads.  It’s a 124 grain FMJ bullet, and while sure it’s less than ideal it has also put more than a couple of smelly badguys in the dirt during its time.  The .40 is a little more tricky – the US Coast Guard when operating in military actions carries (I believe) 165 gr FMJ in their .40s (this could be wrong, I’m running on third hand info), also loaded by Winchester.  Finally, the .45 ACP option – 230 grain FMJ has put a lot of badguys in the ground in the 100 year service life of the pistol.

FMJ is less than ideal.  I think we can all agree that a modern hollowpoint bullet is the best choice…but if you’ve got to do it for whatever reason, look to the US military for your choice of ammo.  In fact, the 9mm NATO load is actually one of my personal favorites for 9mm pistols, because it’s got enough energy to run the slide of even the heaviest all steel pistol.

Gun Nuts Radio: Peter Palma from Top Shot

I nearly died laughing last night during Gun Nuts Radio with my buddy Pete from Top Shot.  We were talking about our mutual loathing of the undead (zombies) and Pete said that while he’d enjoy being able to ride his go-kart from one end of town to the other during a zombie apocalypse, it wouldn’t be that great because you’d not be able to get orange juice any more.  That stream of consciousness is why I am desperately hoping that the Top Shot DVDs will have an “outtakes” and “unused footage” section, so we can get all of Pete’s random thoughts.  To hear our interview with Pete, check out last night’s Gun Nuts Radio.  The show is also available in .mp3 format.

One of our leading source of downloads are our friends on iTunes/iPods/iPhones. That drives a HUGE number of listeners, so thank you to everyone who downloads us via that stream. Here’s the link to Gun where you can pick up the latest episode and all our archives. Thanks again to Pete for coming on last night’s show – to everyone out there, check out his Facebook fan page.

There’s no new episode of Top Shot next week, but we’ll be coming back Tuesday night on the Blogtalkradio Network – next week our big news is the official launch of the HAVA Charity Auction and our first recap of the Quest for Master Class! Listen live, or catch the download at!

Worst 3-gun rigs

So for fun, I was trying to think up ideas for the absolute worst rigs for shooting 3-gun competition.  I tried to imagine what the guy that thinks his Hi-Point is awesome would buy, and here’s what we came up with.  I really want to see your comments as well!

Rifle: Kel-Tec SU16.  The only good think about this is that it takes standard AR15 style magazines, but having seen one once turn into a grenade with factory 55 grain FMJ .223 ammo, I certainly wouldn’t want to put one next to my head and shoot 10,000 rounds through it.  That’s assuming it would even survive 10,000 rounds…

Pistol: Gotta go with the Hi-Point 9mm on this one.  Bonus points if you get the ridiculous compensated one and run it in Open division!  I owned a Hi Point once.  I thought that I would try to be the “anti-gun snob” and see how it worked.  It didn’t.  Failures to feed, failures to extract, and the ergonomics of a brick on the end of a pencil.

Shotgun: This one was the hardest, and I had to actually look around for a bit.  Finally, I settled on the Charles Daly semi-auto shotguns imported from who-knows-where.  All the price of a Mossberg with 50% of the quality and 0% of the customer service!  It’s PERFECT.

Bonus points – I also came up with a rig for my favorite division, Heavy Metal.  HM requires a .308 caliber rifle, a .45 ACP pistol, and a 12 gauge pump action shotgun.  Here’s the worst Heavy Metal rig I could think of.

Rifle: Kel-Tec RFB.  This is perfect.  It costs more than an M14 or .308 AR, it is impossible to find parts for it, it’s a bullpup so the ergonomics are all screwed up, and did I mention that you’re trusting a Kel-Tec to contain the explosion of a .308 RIGHT NEXT TO YOUR HEAD?  Thanks but no thanks.

Pistol: I couldn’t keep beating up on Hi-Point, even though their .45 is just as execrable as their 9mm, it’s not fair to keep beating up on them.  So, we’re going with the Bersa Thunder 45.  The nice thing about the Bersa is that when it breaks after 200 rounds, they’re so cheap you can just buy a second or third one to go with them!

Shotgun: Piece of cake on this one.  Pick any cheapo 870 knockoff imported from countries whose names you can’t even pronounce and you’re all set.

Of course, none of this is complete without the right gear, so make sure that all your holsters are gun show nylon specials that flop around and don’t retain the gun well – buy the crappiest mags possible, and then when people tell you that your gear sucks you retort with “it’s been 100% reliable, I’ve shot over 200 rounds through it!”

While all this is fun and games, there is a point to be had – don’t trust your life to untested gear.  In competition, the worst thing that can happen is you get DQ’d and go home, or you lose a match because your gun breaks.  In a real dynamic critical incident, whether it’s leaving your office or a home invasion, your gear needs to be reliable.  The guns listed above make fun toys, but they’re not something I’d want to bet a trophy on, much less my life.