First HAVA Charity item ending soon

Today is your last chance until 6pm Eastern time to bid on the first item in the HAVA Charity Auction!  We’ll be following it up shortly with the second item as quick as possible!  Click here to bid on the Sig Sauer 1911 with Crimson Trace Laser Grips!  And it’s for a good cause!

Weekend shooting: Speed shoots

On the first installment of the Quest for Master Class, I shot the IDPA classifier with a tight focus on accuracy.  This was to establish a baseline level for one component of a successful competition shooter.  This weekend, I’ll be shooting it for speed.  I am going to shoot the classifier as fast as I can physically drive the gun while still being safe.  We’ll do this to establish the other end of the spectrum – pure, raw speed.  Accuracy will be less important than raw times, but I’m also not going to intentionally take bad shots.

After we get the bases established for speed and accuracy, the next couple of installments will focus on combining the two concepts into a holistic approach to shooting the classifier, finding the balance of speed and accuracy necessary to get the hits you need.  To do that, we’ll break down each stage of the classifier and look for places to cut time or improve accuracy on the classifier, all the while providing training tips and drills to do the same.  Check back next Wednesday for the post and video about the next installment in the Quest for Master Class – the speed run!

Do you log your rounds?

In the Hi Point Challenge thread at Tam’s, someone asked me about round count.  I know I’ve talked about tracking rounds before, but here’s a copy of a single page of the spreadsheet that I use.

Link to Spreadsheet here.

This has worked very well for me to keep track of what I’m shooting, when I’m shooting it, etc. As you can see, the list of guns from 2009 is kind of psychotic – I spent a good chunk of 2009 going back and forth from one gun to another, until I settled on my S&W 625 near the end of the year. But the round counts and the malf counts are pretty accurate – I never go to the range without a pencil and a notepad, so that if something happens with a gun then I’m 100% aware of what’s going on with it. Another to note on there is that with the exception of the rounds I shot at Gunsite, I didn’t count .22 LR. It’s just not worth it to keep track of that, because I can go through 1k rounds of .22 like it’s not even there.

Now, my wife would say that I’m a spreadsheet geek (I am), but there’s value in this. If something happens to my gun at the range, I can look back at this and see if it’s a new problem, if it’s a problem that only occurs with this type of ammo, which means I can take measures to reduce the problem in the future. For example, my ParaUSA Tac-5 had continued failures to extract using 115 grain FMJ ammo, but when I used the hotter 124 grain NATO ammo it ran like a top. My 625 and S&B primers didn’t get along, so I didn’t use S&B ammo in my 625. The list goes on and on. Don’t like my format? That’s okay, because you can get one of your own!

Exercises for shooting

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of fitness.  I often get asked “what exercises should do if I want to shoot better/faster?”  The problem with that question is that the answer is different depending on your personal level of fitness, how much time you have to invest, and how hard you’re willing to work.  For example, if you have an hour a day, six days a week to work out, then try Crossfit or P90x or one of the “extreme” fitness programs.  Those are probably the best, because they’re total body workouts that build your athletic strength and functionality.  I’d eschew “just” weight lifting, especially the way most people lift weights, which is “go to gym, do a set, sit for like 4 minutes, do another set, sit for like 4 or 5 minutes, get some water, do a set”.

But hey, a lot of people have lives and they don’t have an hour a day, six days a week.  The most some people can do is come up with 20 minutes, 3 days a week.  If that’s the time you have, make the most of it.  Work out hard.  Simplefit is a great program for that, as it consists of bodyweight exercises, the “perfect trio” of pull ups, push ups, and squats.  If you can squeeze another 20 minutes out of one more day, add a little cardio.  My very FAVORITE cardio exercise for the shooting sports?  Shuttle runs.  The bane of high school gym class for certain, but also a GREAT exercise for the shooting sports and for real life.  Shuttle runs train the body to explode over short distances in “stop and go” sports like basketball, not unlike the short bursts of speed needed in USPSA…or running from an attacker.

Now, the great thing about firearms is that they provide equal footing in self defense.  Before guns, if you weren’t strong and/or well-trained, it was much more difficult to defend yourself.  Firearms allow Granny Goodness to equal the force presented by a mugger with a baseball bat, but they’re also not a panacea.  Don’t toss that shiny new 1911 in your holster and saunter out thinking that you don’t need to train, both with the gun and without.  A gun by itself is better than nothing, sure.  A gun that’s backed up a user who has trained with the gun and trained their body as well?  That’s a deadly combo.

Worth a thousand…words

Gander Mountain recently had a price drop on ammo.

What you see before you represents 250 bucks after taxes, which is better than anywhere I could find the same ammo online.

Plus, not worrying whether UPS would make it in time for the match is nice.  I have recently become a fan of the Remington UMC 250 round bulk packs, because they’re efficient.  I can drag one mini-case to the range a lot easier than 5 loose boxes of ammo, or if I’m settling in for a long session a couple of those are pretty easy to manage.  All of this should be shot up before the end of the month – between the Quest for Master Class and the upcoming USPSA Section Match at the end of July, I’ve got a lot of blasting to do!

More on the IDPA Defensive Multigun rules

Are they perfect?  Absolutely not.  Are they a step in the right direction?  Absolutely! Do I share the same concerns as cjr?  Yes.  The only way this is going to work is with support of shooters and local match directors.  Just because I’m excited about it doesn’t mean that people will come out and shoot it, especially if the matches are somewhat haphazard and not well organized.  There needs to be a cohesive push and effort behind it to get people to shoot it.  Now, the nice thing is that there is the potential for crossover between the big Outlaw 3-gun matches and IDPA Defensive Multigun.  Your tactical iron sight rig could be IDPA legal, and bringing over the shooters from the existing matches could be huge.

The bottom line though is that these rules aren’t perfect, but I cannot stress enough that we need to support IDPA by shooting these matches and giving them constructive feedback.  It’s been FIVE YEARS since IDPA made any changes in the way rules were released and handled, and if we just turn our backs and say “you’ve broken my heart for too long” then things won’t get any better.  Let bygones be bygones and let’s get on with bringing IDPA to the forefront of the shooting sports again!