Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Getting the Mrs. to go shooting

In a comment a while back LadyElf's opinion was asked for how to get your wife or lady friend to go shooting. Here is her response:

(1) Try to arrange a girly day at the range (sans any boys) sometimes
its more fun to shoot around with the ladies at first. I know a
great many women who don't feel comfortable shooting with their men
for one reason or another. Me personally...I like to try different
silly things to see if they help. Positions other than the
"standard" prone positions, sitting, etc. and what I have found is
that sometimes your guy or the guys with you want to "help" and they
end up making you feel awkward.

(2) On the same vain, try not obsessing about guns. When I go to the
range or a class with the guys I will usually get hours and hours of
talk about guns, and different cool things, and what super duper
coolio thing they are going to try, or have. Sometimes I just want
to go to the range, do my thing and leave it behind, or talk about
some of the more simple elegant aspects of shooting. The way the
perfect shot feels (not physically), how to watch the clays fly for
maximal hits, etc. but I don't want to be super intense about it just
sort of be flowy about it.

(3) Taking my pistol and shooting at a piece of paper all
day...boring. Shooting at clay, steel, stuff that moves, taking the
art of rifle and trying to perfect the positions, etc. for an hour or
two excellent.

So really what I am suggesting is, ask your girl what she likes, let
her direct the conversation once in a while, and try to back the
intensity off. When she looks as if she is doing something weird,
but doesn't ask for help...let her go and maybe later ask what she
was trying get more info instead of trying to correct a perceived
mistake. Try different things, maybe suggest she go to a women on
target those are cool. But everyone is different, maybe you are lax
about shooting and she wants to be intense who knows. Hope this

My comments:
1) Don't try to teach her to shoot. Period, then end, full stop. Have her take a class from Jon Green at GOAL. He is the best instructor I know, and if she doesn't like shooting after his class, probably won't ever like it. If thats not an option get a mutual friend who she likes and can deal with to show her the basics.

2) When you do go shooting togeather do it on her terms, not yours. Don't plan to do your regular practice, or your regular plinking or what ever.

3) In the same vein: pay attention to her, but let her have as much space as she wants. Read: don't go talk to your buddy and ignore her until she tells you to get lost and let her shoot.

4) Do something she likes after the range trip. She is likely humoring you until she gets into the shooting sports, so return the favor.

Finally: Once she does get into shooting, and starts to learn what she likes, expect to have some of your guns claimed as 'hers'.

Good luck,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Which Gun should you shoot?

PBD has been ragging on 1911s in a series of posts.

He makes a very good point: your choice of guns matters less (with in reason*) then your choice of training. Spending money on a 'better' gun will not get you as much as spending that money to learn more about shooting**.

*The difference between a 50$ pistol and a 400$ pistol is hugely different then the difference between a 400$ pistol and a 750$ pistol. I would be suspicious of a gun costing less then 200$ or so. It might be great, it might be crap, but there is a reason its so cheap. That said: any modern production pistol from a Named manufacturer is probably going to meet the basic 'goes bang when I press the trigger' test just as well as any other.

**Once again not all trainers are created equal, and each style has strong and weak points. My feeling is that you will get more for your training dollar if you study with multiple instructors then if you spend all that money to become a 'master' in any one instructor's style. This is based on my background in open hand and edged weapons, I haven't had the time and money to confirm it in the realm of shooting instructors.

There is one great big but coming after all that, and its not what Opra sits on: you must like to shoot your gun. If you don't enjoy shooting your defensive gun you wont practice. If you don't practice regularly all the training classes in the world are waisted. You're not going to perfect the techniques in a class during the 3 or 4 days of the class, your going to perfect them over the next 3 or 4 months on your range.

This is why choice of gun is so important: its not the technical .45ACP is better then 9mm, or JMB's guns are better then Mr. Glock's (both are true, but I don't expect any 9mm Glock toting heathens to take it from me:). Its pure preference.

Does the gun fit your hand comfortably?

Does the trigger feel good when you press it? Does it at least not hurt when you press it?

Can you actually conceal the bloody thing on your person? And then carry it around all day?

Can you afford the gun, holster, and ammo to feed it?

Those are the questions that determine which gun you should carry, not the opinion of some crazy guy on the internet.


In the spirit of full disclosure: I carry a 1911, not a Glock, because of the questions listed above, when I'm teaching I suggest students answer those questions, not follow either I or Co-Instructor (the glock toting heathen) into one gun or the other. So far we have had an even split between 1911s, Glocks, and S&W Revolvers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Memo To Massholes on 290 West

If I may riff on Jay_G's common thread:

1) Look before you change lanes. While driving your bimbo-box into my VW Rabit will annoy me as much as it does you, driving it under the rear tires of an 18-wheeler (or Jay's truck) will be the end of you cell phone call, and hopefully your driving career. Try not to kill anyone else being a fsckwit either.

As a note: We at GTWTW HW only support highway deaths that involve Porsches flying backwards over cliffs while on fire. Because clearly you've worked for it :)

2) Speaking of Porsches: If I can overtake your Boxter (again in my stock VW) in a twisty off ramp, while you are visibly trying to outrun me (and have just cut me off getting off the highway), YOUR DOING IT WRONG. Give me the keys, and go back to your Prius.

3) Again with the mirrors. Those are the things sticking off the side of your car. If you look, you will see my car, and I, in the lane next to you. While I'm doing my damnedest to get around your Starbucks drinking, slow, ass, I'm going to be there for a few seconds. If you look before wandering aimlessly into the left lane I, and the guy behind me, would greatly appreciate it.

Drive Safe, and check your Six,

Weekend Shooting

This weekend was the Cup IDPA competition. Jon Green and the guys from Metro West Tactical put together an excellent 8 stage, 120 round count, competition. I know some of the work that went into this, and it was not a small undertaking.

Personally I won my my class in my division, despite my best efforts not to.

Here is video and analysis of a couple of my stages.

Notice the speed of the first 6 shots. Those were all down Zero points (meaning 'perfect' hits, in an 8" circle on the IDPA target), the speed is hardly amazing in the grand scheme of things, but good for me. The next three are at a much longer range, and correspondingly slower. Then a reload, and three more shots at a target you can't see. All of this is about the right pace, and I need to work on my reloads to get better speed.

Now I move to the other side of the stage, for 2 more targets. I put the gun in my left hand now, to make shooting from the left side of cover easier. However the range is too far for this technique, and as a result the shots get much, much, slower. While my reload is okay, but not great, the gun fails to fully go into battery (probably my error, not a gun problem) so I have to clear that before continuing. The result is a score 1o to 15 seconds seconds off the pace.

This stage is an example of how it should look. The first 6 shots are at two targets, engaged Mozambique style: two body shots, one head shot. Tactically this is for shooting some one wearing concealed armor who fails to stop when shot twice in the chest. For IDPA its a way to burn ammo and force a reload (by requiring a minimum of 12 shots all divisions must reload at least once, and no one is required to reload twice). Notice the difference in temp between the body shots (8" circle) and the head shots (5" square, with no room for misses). Even at the top of the game there is a tempo change, but its much much faster all around.

Then a reload with retention on the move to cover, this gives me enough ammo in the gun that I wont have to reload while laying on my belly. It may not save very much time, but it reduces variability because I don't have any risk of having my reload blocked by my vest.

Next is a miss, then one hit to make the target fall, and 2 hits on paper. Repeat on the other side of the car(but with out the miss). As a 1911 operations point the safety did go on while I was switching sides.

Finally note the SO's caution in how he has me kneel up and clear the gun. Safety first.

That was my Sunday, how was your weekend?


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Introducing the Staff

LadyElf, my soon to be bride:

Dr. Indiana Paws, our professional daemon:

Your humble scribe:

Why I Bother

One of my hobbies is teaching folks to shoot. Lissa explains why.

And no, I can't take any credit for her learning to shoot, she seemed to have a good handle on that by the time we met at Jay_G's blogger shoot. All I did was hand her an AR-15 and a full magazine.


North East Blogger Shoot 2008

JayG organized what was apparently the second, not very annual, North East Blogger Shoot. I was there as a 'commenter' on several of the blogs who's authors attended, and on the ride home decided to take the plunge and start my own blog. We'll see how that works out.

The shoot itself was great: a private range, at our host's house in NH (but only just barely), with more guns then we knew what to do with. Unfortunately I had to leave at noon, so I missed out on the sub guns. Next time I'll make sure the whole day is clear, probably by bringing LadyElf.

I had a great time, and got to meet some great folks.


Monday, July 21, 2008


Welcome to my corner of the Internet.

This will be a blog about guns, cars, dogs, Scotch, and what ever else comes to my mind. Hopefully I enjoy it, and you will too.