Top Shot Questions: The backpacks

If there is one question I have gotten over and over and over about Top Shot it has been “what are you guys carrying in those backpacks?”  If you watch any episode of the show, you’ll see us roll to the practices, team challenges, and elimination challenges with backpacks.  Because the show only takes an hour, I understand wondering why we’d need the gear for what appears to last maybe 2 or 3 minutes.

That’s the magic of TV.  Suffice to say, filming the practices and challenges usually took a lot longer than it appears, so the backpacks were a necessity.  If you watch Team Challenge in Episode 4, I go from wearing a polo to wearing a fleece, and then I’m wearing a fleece and gloves.  It got COLD that day and fast, and I was shivering, so I went in to the backpack for my gear to stay warm.  That’s what we had in the bags, water, snacks, sunscreen, rain gear, cold weather gear, and of course hearing and eye protection.  We had to stay prepared because we never knew what a challenge would throw at us.

Honored American Veterans Afield Charity Auction

It is my great pleasure to announce that starting July 5th, Gun Nuts Media will be sponsoring the first ever Honored American Veterans Afield Charity Auction.  With the support of the firearms industry coming from Sig Sauer, DPMS, Leupold, Crimson Trace, and Mossberg we will be auctioning off over $5,000 in firearms and accessories.  Each week in July we’ll be offering a new package through our partners at GunBroker, who will be hosting the auction to make it available to all interested parties across the United States!

Starting July 5th, we’ll open the auction with a bang – sending a Sig Sauer pistol out as our first item, which will include a set of Crimson Trace Laser grips to go with the gun.  Following that on July 12th, the next gun becomes available, our donation from Mossberg.  The auction continues the week of the 19th with a personal donation from my collection, and then closes out the week of the 26th with a bang – our competition ready package from DPMS, featuring one of their fine rifles!

I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this, and I cannot thank the supporters within the firearms community enough for making this possible.  I hope that when we launch the auctions on July 5th with our gun from Sig that the readers of Gun Nuts and the firearms community will step up to help our Honored American Veterans.

Top Shot Episode 4: Friend or Foe

As usual, major spoilers follow beneath the jump, so if you’ve not yet watched Episode 4 of Top Shot, then wait until it hits Hulu and watch it before you read this post.  Otherwise, hit the jump for my breakdown Top Shot: Friend or Foe.

Continue reading “Top Shot Episode 4: Friend or Foe”

Glock Shooting Sports Foundation Match AAR

Big thanks to Dave Sevigny and Chris Edwards from Glock for turning me on to the GSSF match being held in Indy this past weekend; and to the weather for raining out the Indiana USPSA Section Match and getting it moved to July.  That allowed me the time to go shoot the Glock match, which was a great experience.  Right up front, I have to say thanks again – see, I don’t own a Glock, having sold my competition rigged Glock 24 a while ago.  So Glock was kind enough to loan me not one, but two guns – first one of the new Gen 4 Glock 17s, then to follow that up a Gen 3 Glock 17 with the RTF-2 frame for comparison.

Starting off I shot the Gen 4 Glock 17 – I have to say that I liked it, and I liked it a lot except for one minor issue.  The grip really is smaller with the adjustable backstrap, and the new recoil spring system really does soak up a lot of the recoil.  Felt recoil with 115 grain FMJ was lower than you’d expect for a 9mm, which made the gun shoot very flat.  However, it did also create a problem – the gun was brand new and the spring was slightly overweight, so it actually had some problems feeding the lightly loaded factory ammo.  Glock is shipping the newer guns with lighter springs from the factory, which will rectify this particular issue.

I also shot the Gen 3 Glock with the RTF-2 frame – if you remember that’s the gun with the “fishgill” slide cuts and the aggressively textured frame to make it grippier.  I actually really liked this particular frame.  The grip and everything is the same as a regular Gen 3 Glock, but the texturing on the frame actually does help you hold on to the gun better, which is important when you’re shooting for score.  I liked it so much that my next project (which will start after the Quest for Master Class) will probably be built on an RTF frame.

But enough about all of this, because I want to talk about the actual match.  To do this, you need a little background on GSSF.  The Glock Shooting Sports Foundation was founded to bring competition shooting to people in a newbie shooter friendly format, and it’s been a huge success.  It has the widest membership very high participation levels, and you have to give kudos for Glock for their level of investment in the shooting sports.  Each GSSF match is based around 3 stages: Glock the Plates, Glock ‘M, and 5 to Glock.  The courses are inspired by none other than Bianchi Cup, as they use the NRA D1 target, (except for the Plates) and have an extreme emphasis on accuracy.  Hits in the A and B zones add no time, hits in the C zone add 1 second, and Ds add THREE SECONDS to your time.  The Glock the Plates is simple – a plate rack at 10 yards, with six plates, knock them down as fast as possible.

When you’re looking at the stages, it looks easy – deceptively easy.  The emphasis on accuracy means that going too fast can cost you a lot of points, as there’s no major power factor and no forgiveness for Deltas.  I really, really enjoyed this match – it’s kind of a combo of my two favorite games, Steel Challenge and Bianchi Cup and will actually challenge both your speed and your accuracy.  In fact, I liked it so much that I’m probably going to buy a Glock now, just so I can have a gun to play in these matches.

Once again, big thanks to the guys at GSSF for loaning me guns and getting me squared away with this match, I had a great time!

If I could only have 2

I shoot a lot of different shooting disciplines.  IDPA, USPSA, Steel Challenge, Bianchi Cup, ICORE, and even occasionally bowling pins.  From the mailbag comes the following question: Caleb, I saw your article in Cheaper than Dirt and I was wondering if you had to give up all but one sport which would it be?”

I have often thought of this.  Being a married man with 1.5 full time jobs, plus shooting is kind of a tax on my time.  If I had to drastically cut my shooting time back, what would I cut it back it back to?  To be honest, I couldn’t cut it back to just one.  I just couldn’t do it.  But I could cut it back to two disciplines.  If tomorrow I could only shoot and practice for two games, here’s what they’d be: Bianchi Cup & Steel Challenge.

That seems weird, doesn’t it?  Bianchi Cup is very accuracy focused, and Steel Challenge is all about speed – one would think that on their surface they’re the opposite ends of the shooting sport.  I actually disagree, because I believe that Bianchi Cup and Steel Challenge represent the shooting sports at their purest.  Bianchi Cup is the ultimate accuracy challenge in the shooting sports – hitting an eight-inch scoring ring at 50 yards with a pistol is no easy feat, and yet I’ve done it, and it’s done VERY WELL by the top pros at the game.  Bianchi presents the shooter with the ultimate challenge in accuracy – hitting difficult targets at extreme ranges for a pistol.

Steel Challenge seems to be different on the surface – but when you really get down to it, Steel Challenge is just an accuracy challenge at extremely high speed.  With Steel, there’s no C, or Down-1 zone to forgive a bad shot.  It’s either hit or miss, and if you miss you have to take extra shots, which means extra time to make that hit.  While the margins for error in terms of accuracy in Steel Challenge are more forgiving, you still need to make accurate hits…just a lot faster than at Bianchi Cup.

The thing about Steel Challenge and Bianchi Cup is that unlike IDPA or USPSA, Steel and Bianchi test one thing and one thing only – your fundamental shooting skills.  There’s no reloading on the clock, minimal movement (in Steel Challenge only) and no “stage strategy” like in USPSA or IDPA.  I’m not saying that there isn’t a mental aspect to these games, but because of their nature the only skills that are tested are you shooting skills.  That’s what makes them, in my opinion the purest examples of shooting skill available.

Mall Cops: Mall of America

Caleb does TV blogging that is only tangentially related to firearms.  I sat down and watched an episode of this truly dreadful show last night.  I am not kidding, there is a TV that is dedicated to the rent-a-cops servicing the Mall of America.  Now look, mall security is important and I’m sure mall cops provide a valuable service (although I’ve never utilized it, whatever it is).  The problem is that mall cops aren’t cops.  I found myself watching the show and every time they would detain someone, I’d end up yelling at the TV “and then you wait for the real police!”  Plus, every time one of the rent-a-cops would use the word “arrest”, my brain would die a little bit.  Mall cops can’t arrest you.  They’re not real cops.  Unless your mall is one of those malls that has actual sworn, armed police officers in it, mall security cannot arrest you.  In fact, they can’t even detain you if you don’t want to be detained!  The worst that mall security can do to you is ask you to leave the mall premises.  Which, if you don’t do, they can call the cops.  The real cops.  With badges and guns.  The real cops who can actually arrest you.

Thus, I’m watching this last night, and the mall security guys detain some dude.  I’m almost yelling at the screen, because this guy is just standing there, allowing himself to be detained.  I wanted to shout “DUDE JUST LEAVE THEY CAN’T DO ANYTHING TO YOU” because the guy in question had not committed a crime.  He was just a weird dude that was using the free makeup samples on himself.  Which is certainly weird, but not a crime.

The moral of the story?  Unless you’re actually committing a crime, mall security can’t do diddly to you.  I hate this show, because the last thing we need is more rent-a-cops with a sense of authority and entitlement that they didn’t earn acting like petty dictators when they get a tiny bit of power.  Although I will say this about the Mall of America security staff – they’re about 100000% more professional than any TSA screener I’ve ever encountered.


And here’s the other half of the package from Comp-Tac, the CTAC concealment holster.  The CTAC is a tuckable IWB holster that uses the clips positioned fore and aft of the holster to provide much more stability than many other IWB holsters.  It’s a dramatic step up from the previous IWB holsters I’ve been using, and after only a day of carry I can also say it’s a lot more comfortable.  The weight is much more evenly distributed across my belt, and most importantly the two clips keep the holster in the exact same position.  No need to adjust every time I stand up!