Of Rimfire Pistols, Steel Challenge, and Android

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Suffering from a bit of insomnia, so why not do something useful?

This post is my first attempt to blog via the WordPress for Android app.

It was fairly easy to install. As for gun content, if all goes as planned there should be a photo of a Ruger 22/45 in this post.

It’s one of the first guns I ever bought, and recently I had some custom work done to it. The marketing gimmick for the 22/45 is that the grip is supposedly the same as on a 1911.

This is untrue. The angle may be the same, but the grip has never had the same feel as a government model. So I took a spare pair of 1911 grips that were sitting in a miscellaneous parts bin, and dropped the pistol off with a local smith, who shaved down the original plastic grip, installed some anchors for the grip screws, and then fit the 1911 grips to the pistol.

I also had him install a scope rail, allowing me to mount an Adco red dot scope on top. (I won the scope earlier this year at The Superstition Mountain Mystery 3 Gun match.)

This pistol has quickly become my favorite Steel Challenge gun, as well as my gun for training newbies to shoot a pistol.

Fun with Search Results

So, my understanding is that in order to be a proper blogger, you have to watch your stats to see what search terms people are using to find your blog.

Evidently, someone found WotMG yesterday via this search:

“can you make a living off of competitive”

I’m going to assume the search was truncated, and the full term was “can you make a living off of competitive shooting?”

In a word, No.

To expand on that, no, you can’t make a living as a competitive shooter unless you possess both an exceptional level of shooting talent, and have a decent amount of business acumen.

From what I’ve seen, you can pretty well count the number of people who are paid to shoot matches for a living on one hand.

The other shooters who are able to do it for a living shoot as a way of promoting their own business. For instance, from what I’ve seen, Matt Burkett, makes a living conducting training courses, selling instructional DVDs, and gun parts.

A step down from that, and you’ve got shooters who are sponsored well enough to cover the costs of attending a large match; travel, lodging, food, guns, and ammo. While this isn’t “shooting for a living” it is “having a day job and a free hobby.”

After that, you’ve got shooters who are sponsored with just one or two of the above elements. Note that this isn’t a bad place to be. For example, if you’re good enough to have someone cover your ammo costs, that takes a huge bite out of the expense of practicing and attending matches with large round counts.

Likewise, free guns or other shooting accessories are always a good thing.

Of course, if you are sponsored, you’ll have to be a salesman. You’ll be expected to wear a jersey with company logos, as well as make appearances and talk to people about the products/services you represent. You’ll also be expected to perform well at matches, which means winning on a consistent basis. From what I’m told, this can be stressful and take a lot of the fun out of the sport.

On the upside of things, you do not have to be a professional shooter to win matches. 3gun is a sport that is dominated by amateur shooters, and the advantages of being sponsored with gear or ammo don’t create as wide of a gap as some would think.

New Addition to the Blog Roll: Kelly Neal’s 3Gun Blog

Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve added a new link in the blog roll to Kelly Neal’s 3-Gun Blog.

Kelly is one of the top 3-gun shooters in the country, and a nice guy to boot. It was pretty cool getting to meet him at the IBPO/FOP 3 Gun Match earlier this month. Watching him run the stage I designed like it was something he’d been practicing for a week was impressive as all get out. (FWIW, he ran it in 66 seconds, a full 13 seconds faster than my time.)

Anyway, if you want some good video and commentary on how to effectively run a 3 Gun stage, go take a look.

On Toting Gear at a 3Gun Match

Recently a discussion over at The High Road got bumped up out of the archives about how to carry gear at a 3gun match.

If there’s one downside to shooting 3gun, it’s the sheer amount of gear you have to schlep around with you; rifle, pistol, shotgun, ammo for all of them, magazines, shell carriers, mag carriers, safety gear, brass bag, and various other things like sun block.

At a match held at a somewhat traditional range with parking right next to the shooting areas, this isn’t such a big deal. You can just go to the back of your vehicle, grab whatever guns and gear you need, and haul it the twenty feet or so to the line.

At matches that have large numbers of participants, inconvenient parking, or that take place in more open field settings that require a bit of a walk to get to the shooting area, this approach can be problematic, as the last thing you want to happen is to walk 1/4 of a mile only to realize you’ve left your score sheets in the car. (Ask me how I know this…)

So in those situations, it pays to be a bit more organized. To that end, there are a couple of different solutions. There are at least a couple of companies that make 3-wheeled carts for toting gear around.

I’m against the carts for wholly irrational reasons. Frankly, I think they look stupid.
In the THR discussion, Zak Smith makes a couple of points about them, saying that some of the cart fans seem to have sub-par safety skills (though this isn’t a result of the carts themselves) and also that the carts don’t work so well when the ground gets wet. The second point is clearly the most valid argument against them.

I’ve toyed around with carrying guns in various cases, including separate cases for rifle and shotgun, as well as a hard case that can store both- (the Starlight case that I did a writeup on awhile back.)

I’ve found that the hard cases are great for transporting stuff to the range, but once you’re there, they become a pain to carry around with you simply because they’re so unwieldy. Also, if your rifle is stacked on top of the shotgun, it can result in having to dig through the case to get to the gun you need.

So far, the best solution I’ve found comes from the company Eberlestock. They make a number of backpacks for carrying gear, including long guns. The pack I have is the Gunslinger. It’s got a central storage area for all of my gear, and a customized area for toting a rifle. I also added one of the shotgun side scabbards.

With this setup, I’m able to carry both of my long guns, and pretty much all of my gear without much trouble. My only complaint about the system is that the shotgun scabbard is a bit short. I would prefer it if the scabbard was long enough to cover the trigger on the shotgun, but this is more of a personal preference thing, as I’ve had no issues with the shotgun falling out of the scabbard.

So, if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for carrying your 3gun gear, take a look at the products offered by Eberlestock. They’re well made and will keep you organized.

Lancer Systems L15 Lower Receiver

I was up in PA this past Sunday, shooting in the Topton 3-Man Team Multigun match. Lancer Systems was there as a major match sponsor, and had a prototype of the new L15 AR lower to show off.  Although I didn’t get to take one home off the prize table, I did get to fondle the prototype for a bit.

First impression – wicked cool.  This is the first billet lower that has really caught my attention.  I’m hoping to get one built up soon so I can do some testing at the range.

-C

IBPO/FOP Tactical 3-Gun Match

This weekend was the IBPO/FOP Tactical 3-Gun Match. This is a 3gun match that’s open only to law enforcement and military shooters. The rules are somewhat different from a typical 3gun match, and are geared more towards real-world duty gear. There’s no open division. So no scoped pistols or shotguns, ghost holsters, or tech loaders. A lot of the competitors show up and run the equipment that they use in the real world.

I was lucky enough to be invited to not only act as a range officer, but to design one of the stages. So, on Friday morning I rolled down to the range, set up a combined pistol/shotgun stage (5 slugs, 25 rounds of pistol, 8 rounds of shot).

The stage started off with five slug targets at distances from 20-50 yards, required the competitor to carry or sling their shotgun while navigating the course of fire and engaging pistol targets, and then finally had them transition back to the shotgun to engage some static clays and plates through low ports, shooting strong-side, prone, and weak-side.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos from the stage since I was chasing people with a shot timer all day, but I was later told it was the hardest course of fire at the entire match. Some of that difficultly was deliberate, and some of it unintentional and could have been dealt with via more solid stage design.

Still, the best runs on the stage were around 65-66 seconds, average was about 95-110 seconds. My run on it was about 79 seconds, though I wasn’t a competitor due to the fact that I’m not a cop or military guy.

We were able to run all of the competitors through the individual and team qualifier stage the first day, leaving Sunday open for the team stage and awards ceremony.

In memory of Eddie Rhodes, the match tshirts had his picture on it, along with the phrase “Prepare for glory!” and the RO’s and most of the competitors wore black arm bands in his memory.

A Little Housecleaning.

Just a quick update to the sidebar links.

Ben Stoeger is a USPSA Production Grandmaster and a prolific shooting blogger.  I’ve been using his dryfire drills for the past few months, and I really like them.  Check him out.

The Katar has a pretty new blog, geared more towards the fighting side of gunplay.  I’ve trained with Jay, and he’s seriously worth listening to.

-C

The Greatest Marksmanship Tool Ever Devised…

Top Shot has now aired its second episode. If you were to judge by the howling on the webtertron, you’d think the producers simply picked the competitors by riffling through a phone book and grabbing sixteen names at random.

Everyone, it seems, believes themselves to be a better shot than the contestants on the show. The disparagement has come flying fast and furious, and I imagine there will be no end in sight, even after the conclusion of the season.

A tremendously impressive feat of marksmanship in the making.

A tremendously impressive feat of marksmanship in the making.

I’ll be honest. Criticism from people who watch without doing kind of annoys me. Anyone can claim to be a skilled shooter when sitting behind a keyboard. Doing it in real life, under competitive pressure, on the clock, with a camera crew surrounding you, and with an unfamiliar weapon is going to generate a tad bit more mental strain than an idle afternoon spent at the range plinking off of the bench with your favorite gun.