Saturday, May 23, 2009

You need to play IDPA

For those that don't know, IDPA is an acronym for International Defensive Pistol Association. It was organized in 1996, and it was meant to simulate real life defensive scenarios. The folks that designed it also intended for the average Joe to be able to 'play'. No high dollar "race" guns in this sport. Practical gear and practical weapons only. It's challenging, and at the same time, just plain ol' fun.

My weapon of choice for this match was my CZ 75b. I can't speak too highly of this pistol. It melts into my hands, and really does become an extension of said hand. It's natural aiming characteristics are not matched by anything else in my safe.

Some of the scenarios require a lot of movement, and you have to shoot while you move. While this looks easy when the Hollywood types do it on TV and the big screen, it's not. The sight picture moves with every step, and it's quite difficult to keep the weapon on target. Not only are there "bad" or "threat" targets, there are also "non-threat" targets. Sometimes the non-threat targets are moving in front of the threats, and your timing has to be just right so that the non-threats remain solid (as in, no holes in them). Unfortunately, I plugged one non-threat right in the forehead. Whoops.

Here are some pictures from the match. Momma Schu was kind enough to come along. She took a few pictures, not to mention scavenged a TON of brass for me. She's an awesome chick.

The pic above was taken as I was running from one barricade to another, while engaging five targets on the way. I received a 'procedural' penalty here because I dropped a magazine while reloading while there was still a round in the chamber. Meh.... learn the rules as you go.

Moving backwards while firing.... the Range Safety Officer (RSO) follows your every move - not just so the timer can keep the score, but to make sure you are safe. He also keeps everyone else on the range safe. It's a normally thankless job. This guy was good. Not only did he offer good advice on engaging targets, he also explained many things.

More movement. The black on the targets represents what is called 'hard cover'. In other words, if you hit the target where there is black, the hit doesn't count as a hit. It counts as a miss.

Here, the RSO is asking me if I am ready. In this scenario, the shooter stands with his back to the bad guys, hands in the air. When the buzzer sounds, the shooter spins, draws, and engages all of the targets. My cover garment was too heavy for this weather. Next time I will wear a shirt similar to the RSO's.

Shooting from cover. Leaning to one side or the other while both feet stay behind the barricade. Again, the RSO is close by, making sure I don't do anything stupid.
Words can't describe how much fun this type of shooting is. It challenges the shooter to something different each time. The people involved in this are really nice. I've only shot two matches, and I have yet to hear any foul language or trash talk. Then again, it wouldn't be wise to start talking trash to a person(s) carrying a sidearm. An armed society is a polite society, and for good reason.
I highly recommend shooting in an IDPA match. Go to to search for matches being held in your area. You don't have to be a member of any range or gun club. IDPA will help hone your shooting skills, as well as your 'tactical' awareness. It will teach you speed and accuracy, and will show you where you need to practice. Competition generally makes one try harder, and when that happens, you will improve your skills.
Get out and shoot. Don't wait. Don't think you need to practice more. Go compete. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

CZ Range Report

I took the new CZ 75b out to the range today. Kelly was nice enough to come with me and take a few pictures. And I took a picture of her.

I have to admit - my mouth fell agape after the first three rounds from this pistol. The recoil was so incredibly manageable. I honestly could not get over it for a little while. Follow up shots were so easy. The pistol points very naturally. All I had to do was bring it forward and raise it to my line of sight, and the sights were almost always lined up on target.

The picture of me above, and the picture just below this paragraph were taken during my first set of double tap drills. The first picture was taken during the warm-up, and the second after I had become a little more familar with the pistol.

On to triple taps. Two to the chest, one to the head. This is really very easy with this pistol. The weight of the all steel frame really helps absorb the recoil. It doesn't hurt that the pistol is chambered for 9x19, either. This is UMC 115 grain round nose ammunition. I should have put the chronograph on them, but I didn't bring it with me this time. I also need to work on keeping my tongue in my mouth. One of these days I'm gonna bite it off.

As you can see in the picture above, the slide is completely recoiled. Yet muzzle flip is very minimal. Three pieces of brass in the air. Not too bad. And my tongue is where it belongs - behind my teeth.

Accuracy wasn't bad either.

The following is an 8" paper plate that was hung on the target board at a distance of ten yards. These groups were made firing about as fast as I could pull the trigger. The magazine was loaded with fifteen rounds, and the fun began.

Not too bad, really. My shots fall in the center of the target to start with, and then I walk them to the left almost every time. I will have to work on that. And the whole tongue thing.

Kelly got in on the action, too. She put a couple of rounds through the CZ, and you can see by the smile on her face that she enjoyed it.

I think she had more fun with the Browning Buckmark, though. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the range with my wife. Any time I can spend with her is good time. By the looks of things, I may just have to get her a .22 pistol of her own.

The downside?
While the magazine release is easy to reach (even for my short fingers), the magazines would not readily fall from the pistol. I had to grab the base of the mag and pull it out in order to reload. I am not sure how I will handle this problem yet, but when I come up with a solution, I will post it here.

Overall, this pistol has now moved to the number one spot. It ranks above the Browning Hi Power only because it feels better in my hands than the Hi Power does. However, I have ordered a set of slim grips for the Hi Power, and when they come in I will have to compare the two side by side. That will be a post for a different day.

Until then, the CZ will remain on my hip as I go about my business in Texas. It is a little heavier than most pistols on the market today, but one gets used to the extra weight. Especially when the trade-off is performance like this.

So, if you are considering a first pistol, or if you are thinking about adding another one to your stable, you would be well served to go and fondle one of CZ's many offerings. If all steel isn't your gig, then check out the SP01. It has a very similar feel to the 75b, but it's frame is polymer. Fit and finish on both pistols is above standard, and they are both very slim.

Very dependable - at least the first time out. I plan on putting several thousand rounds through the CZ75, and I will report on it as I do.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hope, Change, and Shortage

This is my new toy (thanks Kelly!). I added it to the stable about two days ago. It's a CZ 75B, and it's chambered in 9x19.

Slide fit to frame is nice. It needs to have a good workout, and I plan on doing that very soon.

I've been looking at purchasing this pistol for quite some time (about a year), and finally did it.

Some would protest the 9mm cartridge, and they have that right. I own several handguns, chambered in cartridges from 22LR to .50 AE. While I do like my 1911 pistols (.45 ACP), I have recently begun to have a penchant for the 9mm. There are several reasons for that, but I won't go into them here.

The day after I purchased the CZ, I ventured out to a few places near Houston to find powder and primer so that I could continue to reload (a task which I will perform today after updating this blog). The first place I went to was completely out of powder and primer. Well, that's not altogether true. They did have a couple of pounds left, but it was specialty powder. They were completely out of primer. I've never seen anything like it.

So, I came home and started checking out the internet. I was able to find about five pounds of powder. It's a different powder than I am used to, but I will have to give it a try. It just may be the thing for the new pistol. Then again, maybe not. Either way, it is certainly better than having no powder.

The search for primer still continues. I looked online this morning for close to two hours, and I turned up empty. Most places aren't even taking orders on primer because the suppliers are backed up for months.

What's going on?

Recently the government tried to prevent the sale of expended military brass to the public. The edict went out a few months ago. The public could still buy the brass, but it would have to be destroyed first. That makes a lot of sense.

The outcry, as one would imagine, was great. Eventually, the government rescinded that order, and the sale of mil-surp brass is once again available to the public.

However, this started a panic. American shooters don't like the idea of being limited in what they can purchase. At one time, I did a fairly good amount of shooting. I burned about four hundred rounds each week practicing. I can't do that anymore. There just isn't the supply that there once was. Ammunition is hard to come by, and now so are the components to make ammunition on my own.

To top things off, the Federal government decided that they would test the waters in yet another area by threatening to make it illegal for me to assemble my own ammunition at home. Not only that, but it may also be illegal for me to purchase the parts to assemble my own rifle or pistol at home. This is absolutely ridiculous. Few ever thought this day would come in the US, but here it is.

This prompted Montana to pass a law that basically tells the Federal government to p*ss off. They decided that Montana citizens would no longer have to be holden to federal laws regarding firearms made in Montana and sold to Montana citizens. Ammunition is also going to be covered under this law. In short, any Montana citizen that purchases a firearm made in Montana, or ammuntion assembled in Montana, would not have to concern themselves with any federal paperwork. This is a fantastic step in the right direction, as the federal government has no business dabbling in the personal lives of it's citizens. This, and other laws recently passed by several states, has caused a line to be drawn in the sand. Texas has similar legislation on the books, and I hope it gets voted on before September.

We have to remember that the federal government exists to do two things (basically).
Their assignment is to protect the borders of the United States (defend us from our enemies), and punish those that break certain laws. The Fed has been given certain specific responsibilities, and beyond that, the duties of that wchich remains belongs to the States or it's citizens. That is why we have the right to practice any religion of our choice (or not practice at all). Of course, the practice of said religion cannot cause harm on someone else, nor can that religion be racist in nature. We also have the right to do as we choose.

In short, the federal government has no more authority to do any more than you or I can do.
Yet, they over step those boundaries every day.

For example:
Let's say that your neighbor has a nice car. You decide that you want that car. You cannot go to your neighbor's place and remove this car from his/her possession. You just can't. You can't go to your neighbor's house and take his money (no matter how much you feel you should be able to do so). You can't do this (nor would you) even if your neighbor has more than enough money. That would be stealing. Yet this is exactly what is getting ready to happen. The feds will be (and have been) deciding that certain people make "enough" money, and therefore these people should pay more taxes. So, the feds pass a law that you are forced to obey, and they take more money from some folks' paychecks than other people's paychecks.

So, why is there a shortage of ammo?
People are really freaking out. They are concerned that the government is going to come and take things from them. Some say it can't happen. The same things were said through out history. And the people with power did exactly what they wanted to do. It can happen here. All signs point to just that.

Don't get me wrong. I would rather cast a ballot instead of fire a bullet.

We can make the change. But we all have to get involved, and we all have to learn our history.

Most people are fine with small changes as long as their "stuff" isn't in danger of going away. If someone went to your neighbor's place and removed their classic car from their garage because it wasn't "needed", many people wouldn't think anything of it. When those same people came to your house to remove your hobby because it wasn't "needed", you would wail. Too late. The "change" is already started.

C'mon folks. Get involved. Learn your history. Learn that we cannot make the mistakes that China, Vietnam, Russia, et al, made not too long ago. Take a stand.

Stay independent Texas.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Random ->

It's been a while.

Nothing really to blog about, not many people read it anyway. But, it is good to get things off of one's chest now and again.

I just got finished with a short run. I am not as young as I used to be. The gray in the hair is more prominent. My body certainly cannot do what it used to be able to do. I still think it can, though. I ran for about one and a half miles tonight, and I mixed some walking in there. Oddly, the legs and back can take the punishment. The lungs? Not so much. But they are getting there. Slowly but surely, they are getting there.

So, why do it? Why run? Why keep in shape? Everyone has their reasons. I have mine, and they have to do with health. But more than that, I want to be able to hike through the Hill Country in Texas. I want to hike the Grand Canyon. I want to paddle the Pecos River with my family. Just us, a couple of canoes, and whatever we can fit in the boat. Two weeks on the water in the wilderness. I want to pit myself against the wild. I have to know that I can do it.

When I was younger, I played a lot of basketball. I played baseball, too, but not as much as I played and loved basketball. I remember many nights when I was in college I would meet several of my friends in our church parking lot and play basketball until two or three o'clock in the morning. I would open the trunk of my Beretta and crank up the stereo. Guns 'n Roses, Ozzy, AC/DC.... you get the picture. The punishment on the body was more than I realized.

About six years ago, I was playing softball in a men's D league. I pitched (mostly because everyone else was scared to pitch). My foot had some problems with pain, so I went to a podiatrist. I found out I had a broken bone. Nice.

While I was there, the doc asked if I had experienced any trauma. I didn't believe I had, so I told her no. Then she showed me the x-rays of my feet.
Holy crap.

My ankles were both white in the x-ray. This was the result of having my ankles trashed many times during my 'career'. I had a cast on each ankle at least six times (each). Basketball is not a non-contact sport. It's also hard on the knees.

All of that came flooding back tonight as I was running. I had really forgotten what it was like to experience sharp pains like that. In a sick way, it felt kind of good, as long as I was running. It's hard to explain, but it reminds me that I am still alive. It's amazing.

This evening's run was a good ending to an otherwise surreal day.
The day started out well enough, until I realized I was going to miss an early morning meeting today at work. No worries. Not much was covered anyway.

Work trucked along just fine until lunch. I opened up my microwave dinner (Asian pot stickers), and noticed the box was a little damp. I thought it was because the box spent the last few days in the freezer. So, I opened the box, and immediately filled my sock with "juice". All of the sweet and sour sauce that was in the package apparently was now in my shoe. 'Salright? 'Salright.

Later, after lunch, it was time for a snack, and I had a cupcake. Sounds good, no?
It would have been, but somehow when I opened the package the cupcake literally exploded. I know that sounds funny, but it did. The package popped, and the cupcake split into about six pieces, most of them landing on my shirt.

Oh, well. The day was almost over.

After I got home, momma decided that she wanted to go eat at a place called Kappa's in Pearland. They have fantastic sushi. I had the jalapeno roll. Very good. Jalapeno roll is not good, however, if you plan on running for a while afterwards. All the food stayed where it was supposed to, though, and the night ended on a good note.

I'll do my best to muster up some decent topics in the coming days. For now, however, it is time to go to bed. I have to be at work early tomorrow.

Goodnight, Texas.