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 www.blogtalkradio.com/gunnuts!

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.

Indiana USPSA Section Match

As mentioned previously, the Indiana USPSA Section Match has been moved to July 23rd-25th.  Due to some competitors not being able to make it that weekend, we’ve had several slots open up for the match.

9 slots on Friday

9 slots on Saturday

12 slots on Sunday

Go to the USPSA Indiana Section website for info on how to sign up!

1 down, 4 to go

The first notch in the proverbial gun belt is officially notched.  As of yesterday I am officially (and finally) and Enhanced Service Revolver Master (of evil).  That’s pretty cool, and it’s rewarding to see a year’s worth of practice and shooting pay off in the advanced classification.

This also forms a nice dovetail for the Quest for Master Class – the first piece is now posted at Downrange.TV, which explains the purpose of the Quest and details the equipment that we’re going to be using.  Head over to DRTV to check out the beginning of The Quest for Master Class!

It's the little things

I think I’m in love with my CTAC.  On Saturday, I was working at an outdoor event that required occasional bursts of rapid movement.  Through the entire event I was wearing my Ruger SR9c in my CTAC holster, and not once did it shift or require me to re-adjust its position.  My only concealment was a white, untucked polo shirt, and with a decent sized crowd milling about, not a one of them noticed the gun.  I’ve had a lot of holsters, and I can honestly say that the CTAC is the first IWB holster I’ve had that I would recommend without reservation to anyone.  This really is a phenomenal rig.

Full recoil

My buddy Kyle snagged this picture of me running the Gen4 Glock at the recent GSSF match.  Slide’s opened up, brass is just leaving the gun, and it’s interesting to see just how much muzzle rise there is on the 9mm pistol.

One of the most interesting experiments I was ever part of was two years ago at the Gun Blogger Shoot at (then) Blackwater USA with Todd Jarrett, sponsored by Crimson Trace and ParaUSA.  All of the guns we were shooting were equipped with Crimson Trace laser grips, and on the day we shot indoors Todd did a demonstration that kind of put the whole “recoil” thing in perspective.  With the lasers switched on, he shot the 9mm, and then shot the .45 ACP.  The students tracked the laser’s rise on the berm to see how high it got, and much to our surprise the 9mm laser had almost as much travel as the dot from the laser on the .45 ACP.

Now, I’m not saying that a .45 has the same felt recoil as a 9mm, because we know it doesn’t.  But what that did for me was create perspective on controlling recoil.  Muzzle flip is going to happen, unless you’re shooting a .22 with a ridiculously effective compensator on it.  Remembering that, and gripping the gun 20% harder will help you control that muzzle flip and bring the gun back on target for fast follow up shots.  Also, doing pull-ups helps as well.

Gun Nuts Tonight: The one and only Pete Palma

That’s right guys, joining me tonight on Gun Nuts Radio at 9pm Eastern time is the one, the only, Pete Palma from Top Shot on History!  I had the pleasure of getting to know Pete over our time in the house on the set of Top Shot, and I can say without a doubt that he has one of the most unique gifts for humor in anyone I’ve ever met, and also shares my deep loathing of zombies.  Pete was a blast to talk to in the house, and I think you’ll enjoy listening to him tonight on Gun Nuts Radio at 9pm Eastern time.  So join us tonight at www.blogtalkradio.com/gunnuts to hear Pete talk about his experience in the Top Shot house, thoughts on the show, and life in general!  Tonight at 9pm Eastern time, www.blogtalkradio.com/gunnuts – and always available for download the next day.