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!

Quest for Master Class: Run and Gun

The latest episode of the Quest for Master Class is available at Downrange.TV!  We shot the Ruger SR9c at the Indiana State USPSA Section Match, and I actually had a pretty good match.  The SR9c now has over 1000 rounds through it, and a malfunction rate of 0.00% when using ammo other than Remington 115 grain FMJ.

Check out the latest episode of the Quest for Master Class: Run and Gun!

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!

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!

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!

A question of purity

As the gap closes between the start of The Quest for Master Class and myself, I’m faced with a difficult question.  As I asked on my Facebook fan page (sign up!) the Ruger SR9c that I’ll be shooting comes with two types of magazines.  The first magazine is a flush fitting 10 round magazine.  This doesn’t add any length to the grip of the pistol, and is definitely easier to conceal.  My other option is to use the 17 round magazines that are normally designed for the SR9 full size.  When used with the grip adapter, these add about an inch and a half to the length of the grip of the SR9c.  They really make the gun easier to hold on to, and since I’ll be shooting this gun in competition will definitely make the gun more controllable in fast shooting.

Here’s my ethical dilemma though.  I’m going to carry the gun in the exact same condition that I shoot it in competition.  That means that if I’m shooting the big mags in competition, then I’m carrying the big mags.  The issue arises in that I feel like using the big mags is partially subverting the whole point of the exercise – which is to prove that you can not only compete, but compete at a high level with your carry gear.  I kind of feel like using the big mags with their extended and easier to hold grip isn’t in the spirit of that exercise.

But it’s not my decision to make – the Quest for Master Class is about what you want to see, so I’ll put the question to you guys.  Should I use the compact 10 round mags, or use the 17 round magazines with the extension?  Both types of magazine come with the pistol and are viable carry options, so the decision is yours!  You can either comment here or go to my Facebook fan page and leave a comment.

A tale of three heaters

I went down to Beech Grove firearms yesterday to pick up the Ruger SR9c that I’ll be using for the Quest for Master Class, sponsored by Ruger Firearms and Downrange.TV.  The Ruger SR9c is designed as a carry gun, so what did I do after pulling it out of the box?  Whip out my iPhone and start taking pictures compared to other guns that I’ve carried.  First, three carry guns together – the Ruger SR9c, a ParaUSA LTC 9mm, and my S&W Model 60 Pro Series.

On a side note, I deeply love my iPhone.  If there is one thing that has revolutionized blogging for me, it’s the ability to take decent quality pictures and upload them to the internet all from one device.  Anyway, back to the guns.  You can kind of get an idea for the relative size of all the guns in that picture – dimensionally speaking, the Ruger is the smallest of the three.  It’s shorter in both length and height than the Commander sized 1911, and shorter in OAL than the Model 60.  In defense of the 60, a lot of that length comes from the 3 inch barrel, which is a little unusual on J-frame revolvers.  The weight of the SR9c is another factor – unloaded it weighs a little bit less than the J-frame and the LTC, although this was measured by the tried and true “heft” method.  But it holds almost double the ammo of the J-frame, and 1 more round than the LTC.  Plus, if I want to use the full size mags from the SR9 with the adapter, I can get my little gun up to 17+1 rounds of ammo.

Yesterday, when discussing the merits of a long barrel vs a long grip for concealment, the topic of how thick the handgun is came up as a factor in its relative concealability.  The 1911 style pistol is widely known for it’s ability to be readily concealed and carried, and the LTC, with it’s aluminum frame and 4.25 inch barrel is one of the best at it.

Yet, the LTC is in fact thicker than the Ruger SR9c.  In a couple of key areas, the Commander sized 1911 is thicker than the SR9c – obviously the ambi thumb safety isn’t helping, and the awesome Crimson Trace Laser Grips are a bit bulkier than the standard grips on a 1911.  But that aside, the SR9c is well, skinny.  I don’t have big hands, but I’m able to get a lot of meat on the gun, which means faster follow up shots and faster hits on target.

The Ruger S9c comes with a 3.5 inch barrel, 3 dot sights, a single 10 round magazine and a 17 round magazine with the adapter to give you a full grip profile.  For the matches that I’ll be shooting this gun in, I’ll definitely be using the full grip profile magazines, although I need to be careful to not catch the meat of my hand in between the adapter and the magwell.

The trigger on both of the SR9c pistols that I have measured at about 6.5 lbs – after shooting revolvers with 8-12 pound triggers for the last year, that felt like pulling a feather.  I think with a couple of thousand dry fires and some live ammo, it will settle in quite nicely.  In preparation for the Quest for Master Class, where I’ll try to achieve the rank of IDPA Master in Enhanced Service Pistol and Stock Service Pistol using this gun, I’m going to be shooting the Ruger SR9c in the upcoming USPSA Indiana State Section Match.  That should be a nice little “warm-up” before the Quest starts in earnest.

I think the weirdest thing for me to get used to is that the slide stop on the SR9c isn’t also a slide release.  With the slide locked back and a full magazine inserted, pressing down on the lever doesn’t release the slide.  You need to slingshot the slide to get it to go forward, and that’s not a technique that I’ve actually practiced that much.  I’m actually toying with the idea of only doing retention reloads in IDPA matches…just to amp up the difficulty of things.  We’ll see about that!

The Quest for Master Class and all future articles are sponsored in part by Ruger Firearms, who have provided the guns being used for the series that will appear starting in July on DownRange.TV.  Find Ruger, and all their excellent products online at