45 ACP Bullets

Posted: December 29, 2011 in IDPA
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.45 ACP 230gr Jacketed Hollow Point Zero Bullets

For the past three of years I’ve been using Montana Gold Bullets, switching between their CMJ and JHP flavors in 185gr and 230gr. I’ve heard good things about Zero Bullets, so I decided to give them a try. I came across them on Christmas Eve while browsing the shootersconnection.com website by chance. They had the zero bullets in stock so I decided to buy them. After placing the order I got the usual automated order confirmation email, then on Christmas Day, another email saying that they’ve been shipped! Huh!?!?

I actually feel a bit guilty for placing the order on Christmas Eve. I expected them to take a few days off during the holiday and was expecting the order to be processed some time after that, but no, they got right on it and shipped them out. Had I known that these guys work during the holidays I would have waited to place my order. I think everyone deserves some time away from work relaxing, hanging out with family and friends, traveling out of town or whatever your heart desires. While I appreciate the speedy response, the order was for a box of bullets, not one for a box of critical medical supplies.

The people at shootersconnection.com obviously work hard. I really appreciate their effort to ship my bullets quickly and will definitely buy from them again. They definitely exceeded my expectations, which is always a great thing to do.

Montana Gold Bullet 185gr JHP vs Zero Bullet 230gr JHP

Now it’s time for me to get some of these zero bullets loaded up and see what I can do with them. You can see from the image that I was previously shooting 185 grain JHP from Montana Gold Bullet, so I’m going to have to adjust my load recipe again, but that’s not a bad thing. My Dillon XL 650 needs some lubrication and recalibration anyway, so it would be a good time to get some maintenance work done to it while I’m switching loads.

Basic Gun Control

Posted: November 27, 2011 in IDPA
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One of my coworkers wanted me to accompany him to the local indoor range for some paper punching, so naturally I obliged. I hadn’t shot in a while so I wanted to work on my trigger control. We threw some targets out maybe 20 feet and unloaded about 3 or 4 mags.

After that I started to watch him and pay attention to the three fundamentals, stance, grip and trigger control. This guy has been shooting for a while, but would still be classified as a novice in IDPA standards, essentially he’s the typical average Joe off the street. After watching him it was clear he really needed some help. I offered some advice on what I thought he was doing wrong just from observing. Due to the lighting and me not wearing my glasses, I couldn’t see the holes in the paper. He looked at me with some skepticism when I called his group, but that quickly turned to amazement when the target was brought back and the group was exactly where I told him (low left).

His stance was a really awkward looking semi-weaver, the grip was almost the olde cup n saucer and his trigger control was like he was having a seizure.

I straightened him out into an isosceles, changed his grip to the typical competition style Enos/Leatham grip and let him run another couple of mags through the gun. His group had tightened but was still low and just a tad left of center. His trigger control was still herky jerky, but that was ok, I wanted him to first feel the difference in stance and grip. It didn’t help that he was shooting a DAO 9mm compact (the brand/model is irrelevant). After I’d put a couple of mags through it, I got him to dry fire it a few times and told him to stage the trigger, since it had quite a long pull. His group tightened up again and raised up closer to the center. There were still some low fliers where he was flinching, but we can work on that later, since that’s a project unto itself.

I gave him some dry fire homework to do making sure that he only works on those three things and sent him Todd Jarrett’s excellent video on how to grip a gun.  I can’t wait to hit the range again and see what he can do.

But it just goes to show, shooting IDPA for 5+ years and doing thousands of reps of dry fire really does put your basic skill level WAY above the average Joe. And just think, my skill level is nowhere near the levels of the top dogs.

I turned around and something had changed

Posted: November 27, 2011 in IDPA

You know, sometimes life gets complicated really quickly. Just when I wanted to get going again a couple of things changed and I wasn’t able to shoot as much as I’d hoped. I was distracted with taking on additional work on the side, a new side gig in photography, my dog developing cancer, then various family events popped up and one of the local ranges closing meant that I missed most of the locally sanctioned matches.

Naturally this has caused me to take a huge step backwards in my abilities. With the current political and economic climate, I think it’s time I renewed my basic gun handling skills and got back out onto the range. I know that my skills will have declined, so my times and placement will suffer. That’s ok, I will take the next couple of matches slowly and get back up to speed in my own time.

One of my coworkers is a shooter, so I have asked him to twist my arm to get me back out to the local range. A couple of other coworkers have also expressed interest in trying out IDPA. They don’t have any gear at all and have never shot a gun of any type. Before they go to an IDPA match I will have to take them to a local range a few times to make sure they have a grasp on the basics of gun operation and handling.

I’ve cleared out the man cave and loaded up some ammo. I’ve also been to a local indoor range and started giving a different coworker some basic shooting tips.

I will be posting here a lot more frequently as things settle down and I’m able to get back out to the range more often.

Time to turn around

Posted: May 30, 2010 in IDPA

It’s been a long time since I posted here. I’ve shot a few matches and really, I haven’t done very well. Since the 2009 OH State match, I’ve lost sight of my overall goal of becoming a master class shooter because I haven’t established any intermediate goals. What this means is that I lost motivation to dry fire through the winter and this season’s performance really shows.

Although I’ve been winning matches and my division locally, I haven’t felt like I’ve actually improved in my shooting ability. The past couple of matches I’ve performed especially badly. I can make excuses on lack of sleep, drinking the night before, etc but they’re just excuses. If Bob Vogel can drive through the night, enter a match the next day, perform and win a major match, I should be in a position where I can have some sleep and perform adequately.

Rather than beat myself up any more, I need to channel my energy in a positive way. I now have an airsoft pistol and have an assortment of PVC pipe and parts. I’ll be building 3 or 4 targets so I can start doing combinations of dry fire and practice with airsoft.

The beauty of airsoft is that you cannot cheat your trigger pull, you have to have visual patience with the sights and maintain your sight picture.

In the near future I’m going to get some work done to my gun including having a new beavertail/grip safety fitted, as well as a new hammer, sear, disconnecter set and a fiber optic front sight. I guess my age is starting to catch up with me since I’m finding it harder to track the current black on black notch and post set up.

June 1st will also mark the start of my new fitness routine, so together with dry fire, airsoft and more regular live fire practice, I hope to take my classifier scores well below 100s in ESP. Last month I shot the classifier and did it in 104s.

So, in a nutshell, it’s time to turn around and stop sliding down the slippery slope of mediocrity, get my butt in shape and continue on my way to becoming a master class shooter.

IDPA Is Not Tactical Training

Posted: October 29, 2009 in IDPA
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Tonight I completed the last class of an eleven week course called the Civilian Police Academy. Every Thursday night I’d go down to the station around 6pm, eat dinner, then sit through about 3 hours of presentations and demos by seasoned officers and detectives on the various aspects of Police work.

The course covered a kinds of things, some included:
History of Policing
Internet Crimes
Sexual Crimes
Animal Control
Search and Seizure
Domestic Violence
Community Services
K9 unit

The last class tonight was about building searches and as part of it, we did a live demo where we had to clear an office. As I’ve shot IDPA for a few years now, I thought I definitely had an advantage.

They gave us very brief overviews of techniques then basically set us loose to find the bad guy who could be hiding anywhere in a 3000 square foot office. I was in a group of 3 and we all had plastic red guns and flashlights.

Now one of IDPA’s things is to use cover (well ok, concealment in the real world) and to slice the pie. Those are usually things that we do at virtually every match, even in the classifier, so I was comfortable with that. However, it was a completely different experience knowing that there was a bad guy hiding in there who could be hiding motionless, moving around or waiting to jump out. Due to the construction of shooting ranges, your line of sight is pretty limited, however, in an office we had to look up at the ceiling tiles and at one point I had my gun pointed almost vertically. I broke the 180 countless times and probably swept my comrades a few times as we negotiated the tight confines of the cubicles. When clearing a building there’s no one standing there with a timer and in this scenario there was only one target and there was certainly no rush to move from one position to another.

I did eventually find the bad guy (well girl actually), she was hiding behind a box under a desk. At first I just saw a piece of gray cloth, so I kept my flashlight on it, then I saw it move just a tiny bit as she breathed. I shouted something like “Let me see your hands” and at that moment I saw a hand come out holding a red gun. It was moving up towards me so I shouted bang bang and that was that! I was really glad that we managed to get the bad guy and not get shot, but it was quite an experience to say the least.

While I felt like I did have some advantages over people who had never done any IDPA, there’s a whole lot more to the tactics and communications aspects, especially when working with others, which is one thing that you can never get in IDPA.

I know we did a ton of things wrong, but hey, we had absolutely no training, so I think we did ok considering. I’ve always heard people say that IDPA is just a game and I’ve always approached it that way myself. My view has always been that if someone’s timing me and keeping score, then it’s a game, it’s that simple. Now IDPA is good for working on basic gun handling skills, but when it comes to real defensive shooting or room clearing, as many scenarios have us do, IDPA is not and can never be used as training.

Of course now I can’t sleep and am itching to do a class at one of the firearms training centers.

Oct 2009 Big Darby Creek IDPA Match

Posted: October 25, 2009 in IDPA

I had a great match this weekend at Big Darby Creek. I got all my equipment squared away, got my head sorted out and shot a great match. When I came to the line to shoot, my head was right where it needed to be. I was focussed, ready and knew what I needed to do. It may have helped that I’d already shot a few of the stages in the recent OH state match, but even so, they were different enough that I don’t think that it really made much difference.

It was also really quite interesting to see how a lot of people get put off by the simplest of things. One of the stages had a starting position where both hands were submersed in a bowl of water. With the 50 degree fall weather the first thing people started worrying about was how cold their hands were going to get. This was actually the last thing I was thinking about. The water and temperature is just one of those distractions course designers like to put in the stage. You just have to recognize it as such and decided to think about the more important things. I was more concerned about the transition from the window to the next firing position to make sure I was going to driving the gun out and could slice the pie with minimal footwork.

The last stage of the match was a quick draw – one round stage. While not blazing fast, my draw is quick enough that my time isn’t going to make much difference overall. My time was a 1.71s which was a very comfortable pace. My strategy was to make it quick but controlled to ensure I got my shot in the 0 down. Taking that extra .1 or .2 seconds is worth it to ensure I didn’t get .5s added to my time.

It was also my first time shooting a match with my new Merrell hiking boots and I absolutely love them. They’re waterproof and light with a sturdy sole and ankle support. They feel more like a running shoe than a boot, but footing on gravel or grass was very secure. With my previous footwear I was always slipping around on gravel and actually fell one time during the SO class. If you’re looking for new IDPA shoes, I’d definitely recommend the Merrells, which I bought at my local Dicks Sporting Goods store.

No Match Today

Posted: September 26, 2009 in IDPA

It’s my wife’s birthday today so I won’t be shooting the local match at Big Darby today. It would have been nice because they’re shooting the postal match, which I also missed at Circleville at the beginning of the month. I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to shoot the postal. I think I’ve missed every single postal match for the past 4 years for various reasons.

My parents were over visiting for a couple of weeks and left yesterday. So for the past 2 weeks I also took a mini vacation and didn’t work out or do any dry firing. Tomorrow I’m going to get back into my usual routine again with a morning workout and some dryfiring in the evening once the kids are in bed. At some point I also have to load up some more ammo.

Next week my buddy Jon will be back from the nationals and will hopefully get some video from the OH state match, which I’ll post on YT. I don’t know if all major matches are run this way, but I have a duplicate copy of times and scores from each stage, so I’ll try to superimpose them on the video.