First Tactical Rifle Match of the Season!

Overall, the first match of the year was pretty successful, though we did have to overcome a few difficulties. For the first half of the match, competitors had to put up with howling cross winds of 25+ mph that made it difficult to both hit and score the furthest distance target.

We also had an issue with scoring hits on the furthest target of the match, a steel IPSC target at about 375 yards. This will be corrected at the next match by setting the targets up to activate a strobe light when hit.

Probably the biggest success of the match was our introduction of an open-terrain, non-square range stage that challenged competitors to move down a hill and up and onto a structure.

The introduction of a VTAC wall as one of the stages presented some technical challenges that required shooters to engage a steel target at 125 yards from a multitude of positions. This also threw in the added challenge of requiring competitors to move into and out of position, which is something that not many people (including yours truly) practice with any regularity.

Overall, I think this match was a success, despite some of the bugs, which will be corrected in time for the next match.


Note the bolt is in the process of ejecting the spent casing.


RELOAD!


Not often you catch muzzle flash in full daylight.

We introduced a new thing to the match this year. Every other month, we’ll be running a standards course using a VTAC wall. Despite the relatively close distance of the target, this proved to be very challenging. The hardest part of shooting through this thing, besides the awkward shooting positions, is transitioning between the ports.


Flying brass looks awesome.

Zombies. Machineguns. Shotguns. Awesome!

Two of the most well-known shooting personalities in the state (and nation) have joined forces to create something that’s pretty awesome.

Michael Bane of Shooting Gallery fame and Alan Samuel from Machinegun Tours have joined forces to do some belt-fed zombie slaying.

Behold!

More POV Match Footage

Here’s some more POV footage I shot at a match this last weekend. Marvel as I tank a classifier. Be astounded as I execute a standing reload to fire a single shot at the end of a stage.

Despite the screwups, and the fact that I was shooting Limited Minor, I still managed to come in 9th out of 29 shooters in the division.

Glow Ammo Review

So, here’s the review that I hinted at a few days ago.

At SHOT I bumped into the owners of the company who make a new product called Glow Ammo.

They were kind enough to supply me with a couple of product samples to try out, and on Monday night I did just that.

The product itself are little adhesive plastic discs that you stick on the base of your pistol bullets. Click here to see what they look like when adhered to the base of some bullets.

The owners of Whistling Pines Gun Club were kind enough to let us run a few magazines of the ammo I loaded up, and we shot some video to see what the results would be.

Here’s the video:

Overall impression is very positive. Glow ammo, unlike traditional tracers, is non-pyrotechnic, so it’s safe to use at indoor ranges or places where actual tracers would present a fire hazard. The one downside to this product, and one that the manufacturer is very up front about, is that it will not be visible in full daylight. It will work on indoor ranges, as well as late-afternoon/dusk outdoors.

The trace itself was very visible in a low-light setting, and made spotting hits extremely easy, though in some cases, muzzle flash made it a little bit hard to see the trace for the shooter.

That said, I think this product will prove to be an extremely useful training aid, especially for those who find themselves in the position of coaching a new shooter, or diagnosing another shooter who’s having problems making consistent hits. Feedback from shots fired is instant and easily spotted, allowing a trainer/spotter to give immediate feedback (you can see some of this in the video) without the need for a spotting scope or guesswork.

Additionally, this product could be tremendously useful for competitive shooters who want to post match videos on YouTube or Vimeo, as it allows a viewer to get an idea of where the shots are landing on the target.

Overall, I’m looking forward to testing this product further, and hope to get out to the range to try it under various shooting conditions.

Some footage from this weekend’s match

So, yesterday we rode up to Aurora to shoot a local match. I was lucky enough to be able to run my M&P in both Production and Limited/Minor. It turned out to be a pretty good match, I had some good runs (no results yet, they scored my as having shot Limited/Major, which bumped me up higher in the rankings than I should have been.)

As luck would have it, the keychain video cameras I’d ordered after seeing this story about their use at a Miami Subgun match had come in, so with the application of some velcro to the brim of my hat and the bottom of the camera, I was able to shoot some POV footage, so enjoy!

I’ll be shooting a two-stage indoor match tonight, as well as testing that ammo I hinted about a few days ago, so keep your eye peeled for updates in the next day or so.

Back to the local matches…

I shot a two-stage local match last Monday night and managed to land slightly above middle of the pack in all divisions, 13th out of 29 shooters, and, surprisingly, first place in Production Division.

Not too shabby for as little range time as I’ve been getting lately.

On the gear side of things, I’m really, really liking the M&P Pro. After the match, I sent the gun off to get a trigger job on it. It’s about the best M&P trigger I’ve ever felt, and I’ll have more info on it once I get a chance to test fire it at the range.

Next up will be a couple of magazine extensions for shooting 3gun, and I should have all of my pistol bases covered.

Hmmmm…Kind of Want?

So, recently over at The High Road, this dicussion popped up, talking about the development of a product that will automatically eject the magazine from an AR15 upon being emptied.

Now, generally speaking, when running a COF, it’s rare to actually run a gun dry. Going to slide/bolt lock wastes time, because it adds extra required movements to your reloading process. If you don’t run a rifle dry, all you do is hit the mag release, slap in a new magazine and continue shooting.

In the event that you do run a rifle dry, you have to dump the empty magazine, slap in a fresh one, and hit the bolt release. So there’s at least one extra movement to the whole process, and that adds time.

That said, the idea of automatically ejecting empty magazines seems like a decent idea on the face of it, but I’d be curious to know if there would be any drawbacks to something like this.

Thoughts on 3 Gun Shotguns

Unlike pistols and rifles, shotguns seem to exist in their own little world. With pistols and rifles, there’s a fair amount of crossover in how they work. Trigger control, sight picture, reloading, internal mechanics (to some extent) and even the ammunition are not tremendously dissimilar.

Shotguns, on the other hand, are so different that in my less charitable moments, I find myself wondering if they should even be considered real guns. There’s no crossover whatsoever. You aim them differently, use the trigger differently, reloading requires a fair amount of dexterity in order to do it quickly*, and the ammunition comes in a bewildering array of configurations, all of it denoted with nomenclature that looks like it was dreamed up by some guy with a monocle and mutton chops. (Drams?! Gauge?! Ought?! SRSLY, WTF dood?!)

Further complicating this are the demands that modern 3 Gun matches place on shotguns. Shotgun-oriented 3 Gun stages can include all sorts of targets, including clays (aerial, rabbits, and static), steel plates for shot, steel gongs for slugs, and paper targets for slugs. On top of this, sadistic match directors can and will intermix all of those targets together, forcing the competitor to come up with a strategy to engage those targets in the most efficient order, and woe unto you if you screw up and drill a steel target that’s only rated for birdshot with a shotgun slug! (At RM3G, doing that is a $25 “donation” to the Junior program, and a 30 second penalty. At other matches, it means you’ve just bought yourself a steel target with a nice concave dent in it.)

Not that I’m griping. After all, the name of the game is 3 Gun, and the expectation is that you will have your skills and abilities tested on all three commonly available firearms platforms. But shotguns have special considerations, especially when it comes to firing different kinds of ammunition through them.

Which brings me to my biggest gripe about shotguns.

With birdshot, my fiber optic front rail is pretty well spot on, so long as I have a consistent hold and cheek weld, it’s perfectly adequate for moving and static targets.

But with slugs…

The fiber optic does fine to about fifty yards. Beyond that, it could best be described as barely adequate. My shotgun has a tendency to throw slugs low and left, which means that I have to compensate for it. For gongs at 80 yards, I’m holding on the upper right edge of the target. This is sub-optimal for a couple of obvious reasons:
– If my cheek weld is not consistent, it will result in a miss.
– Having such a drastically different point of aim means that I have to stop and think about how I’m going to engage the target, rather than just lining up the sights and pressing the trigger.
– If the target is a nonstandard size, I have to take a best guess approach to how I’m going to hold on it, press the trigger and hope for the best.

This is less than ideal, especially since the bigger 3 Gun matches are putting slug gongs out to further distances, with 70-80 yards becoming common, and 100 yards not unheard of. My understanding is that at Blue Ridge this year, they had half-size slug gongs at 100 yards.

So, I’m thinking some sort of flip-up or retractable rear sight is going to get added to my shotgun in the near future. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, though. I’m leaning towards something like the sights you see on a Ruger 10/22 or Marlin. Roughly adjustable for windage/elevation, and can be flipped down out of the way when not needed. So long as I could zero it to be dead on at 100 yards, that would be the ticket.

I guess it’s time to put a call in with the gunsmith.

*Yes, I know about the Saiga, Molot, and XRail. However, I shoot Tactical Scope/Limited Scope, and any of those guns/accessories would put me squarely in Open Class where all the kids with the scoped/compensated pistols, dual-optic rifles, and mag-fed shotguns play.