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Carolina Cup Gear Review

On Monday at the Shooter’s Log, I took a look at the 2011 Carolina Cup and the kind of match it was.  In short, it was the perfect example of what an IDPA match should be.  Today on Gun Nuts I want to take a look at the gear I used for the match and how it performed, starting with my most important piece of gear: my gun.  I’ve been running a Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical Operations for a while now, and as many people have seen the gun has picked up some customized touches.


The gun is now sporting a 10-8 Performance Flat trigger, TechWell TGO Magwell, 10-8 Performance u-shaped rear notch, and an STI single side thumb safety.  During the Carolina Cup, the Sig went 213 rounds of ammo without a single bobble or malfunction, and has fired over 2000 rounds now since its last stoppage of any type.  One interesting issue I ran in to is something I’ve experienced with Techwell grips in the past, where the grip screws will start backing out after 50 or so rounds of ammo.  I’m going to put some small star washers under the screws to see if that solves the problem, because the current remedy of “tighten the grip screws every couple of stages” is kind of annoying.

My holster remained the same holster I’ve been using all year for IDPA – a Comp-Tac Speed Paddle, although the model I use for the Sig TacOps is somewhat…modified.  To find a holster that fits the Sig’s slide profile, I actually special ordered a Speed Paddle for a Sig P250 with an open muzzle, and then cranked the retention down until it fit the TacOps.  The result is a really great holster that provides excellent retention and speed for IDPA.  At the upcoming Virginia State match this weekend I’m going to be using a Galco Triton, my actual carry holster for the entire match.  My belt is also a Comp-Tac, their polymer reinforced belts are absolutely top notch.

People don’t think that their clothes are part of their gear, but the fact of the matter is that they certainly are.  One of my biggest sponsors is Woolrich Elite Tactical Gear, who has provided me with vests, shirts, and pants for shooting IDPA and USPSA this season.  The Elite Pant has honestly been the best thing that’s happened to me this season.  Even in the sweltering North Carolina heat, I was comfortable in my Woolrich pants, and I was especially glad to be wearing them on a number of stages that involved low cover.  For CDP shooters, the pant’s “cell phone pocket” that’s located on the thigh is the perfect place for the barney mag.  I’ve got to stick that extra round somewhere, and it’s much easier to get to in a simple flap pocket than it would be if I had to fish around in a deep cargo pocket.

My magazines are probably the most important part of the gun, and for mags I have been using Chip McCormick Shooting Star magazines with great success.  They work reliably, are cost effective, and the best part about the screw-on basepads is that they don’t fall off when you’re practicing reloads on an unforgiving concrete surface.  I have 10 of these mags, and whenever I’m at the gunshop I’ll usually buy 2 or 3 more if I can afford it.  Since life is too short for crappy mags, you can’t have too many!

The gear you use is an important part of your competition system.  On Monday I’ll talk about how important it is to have ammo in your gun that you trust 100% in addition to everything else.

ISSC MK22: A Modern Sporting Rifle

An Austrian Solution

At first glance you might be thinking that the ISSC MK22 looks just like an Austrian FN SCAR, and you would be right. You also might ask yourself why you would want a .22 rimfire that looks and feels like the Austrian battle rifle. The answer is simple, ammo. It is far more costly to enjoy an afternoon at the range using 5.56 NATO ammunition. A box of.22LR ammunition, on the other hand won’t put such a huge dent in your wallet.

Under the Hood

When you pick up and handle this weapon, it is apparent that ISSC really took the time and effort to piece together an accurate representation on the SCAR weapons system. The Picatinny-style quad-rail is made of aluminum and offers a significant amount of real estate to accessories like the Sightmark SM13001 red dot sight and the Eminence PM007 vertical grip. This weapon also has a variable and open folding sight. This allows you to switch between a three-dot sight system and a more traditional rifle sight. The adjustable stock has three positions to fit almost any shooter’s length of pull, and folds to the side in the same fashion as the FN SCAR. The stock has an adjustable cheek rest to fit the shooters’ individual style. There are sling mounting points on both sides of the rifle at the barrel end, but only on the left side on the stock end. Left-handed shooters will appreciate the noticeably large safety switch located on both sides of the grip. Cartridge capacity is pretty decent, 22 rounds plus one in the chamber offer plenty of firepower for plinking or varmint hunting. When the magazine release is engaged, the cartridge falls out of the weapon smoothly. The barrel length is a standard 16 inches and has six grooves of rifling. The charging handle can be easily removed and placed in any one of six locations on either side of the gun to allow for endless customization. The trigger pull is rated at approximately four pounds and has little creak.

The Bottom Line

Overall, this seems to be a very well built firearm that is suitable for many roles. Whether you are looking for a practice version of your FN SCAR, a varmint rifle, or just a plinker for the range, the ISSC MK22 delivers. Saving money on ammunition overtime while still getting in quality time at the range can be a little hard to achieve, but this Austrian firearm makes that job just a little bit easier.


  • Caliber: 22LR
  • Overall Length Collapsed: 34.65 inches
  • Overall Length Full: 36 inches
  • Overall Width: 2.81 inches
  • Barrel Length: 16 inches
  • Rifling Length: 15 inches
  • Number of Grooves: 6
  • Sight Length Max: 15.7 inches
  • Weight without Magazine: 6.5 pounds
  • Magazine Weight, Empty: 3.8 ounces
  • Trigger Pull, approx.: 4 pounds
  • Magazine Capacity: 22 rounds

We have ’em in stock, too! CLICK HERE!

Down Zero TV: Classifier Breakdown

On today’s special Down Zero TV, we take a look at our first USPSA Classifier Breakdown.  Today’s classifier is CM 09-14: Eye of the Tiger.  This is a classifier that has given me trouble in the past; when I shot it for the first time I managed to score 18% in what I termed my first ever “classifier meltdown.” So when I had the chance to go after it again, I was pretty excited. Plus I got to play with slow motion on my video editor and mess around with voice overs.

Now, I mentioned in the video that I need to work on my press-out, and that’s very true. The problem is that I’ve developed an excellent physical index for my draw, which means that in most situations when I’m facing the target I can just draw the gun and it will magically appear in the A-zone or the down zero area. This becomes an issue when I’m drawing to a low probability target like a head box or a partially obscured target. You’ll see in the video that my gun comes out to the target, then bobs up as I correct my aim to get the shots on target. That bob is HUGE in terms of the amount of time it takes in the draw stroke and was likely the difference between an A-class score and a B-class score on that particular run.

I’ll always probably be a little intimidated by Eye of the Tiger, since it’s the only classifier that I’ve ever well and truly screwed up on. But to go from an 18% to a 68% is a pretty huge improvement!

Lone Wolf G9 Joins the Pack

Many of us among the shooting community love to shoot AR-style rifles. Some of us build them from the ground up; painstakingly honing each and every component into a thing of precision and beauty. However, when it comes to taking it to the range we face the endless, and sometimes problematic, issue of ammunition cost. It is the same problem drivers face when they go to fill up at the pump. If you want to drive your car, you have to fill it with gas. If you want to fire your weapon, you best be ready to fork over some greenbacks. With the rising cost of ammunition, this has become a problem for many would-be shooters. A common solution, for the person who enjoys the look and feel of an AR-15, are AR-15 .22 conversion kits or AR rifles chambered for the .22, built from scratch. However, what if you want a firearm that offers a more lifelike experience to that of a standard .223 AR-15? Lone Wolf distributors have the answer in their new G9 Carbine.

The G9 Carbine is a 9mm AR-15-style rifle chambered to fit your standard Glock magazines. What are the advantages to shooting 9mm ammunition out of an AR-15 type rifle? Indoor range use comes to mind. There is nothing worse than going to the big outdoor range and experiencing the misfortune of getting rained out. Some of us just shoot better in an indoor environment. If you already own a Glock 9mm, you are in luck. Your magazines will fit perfectly into the lower receiver of the G9. If you bring your Glock and your G9 to the range, you only have to lug along one type of ammo.

This carbine is compatible with many AR-15 parts. If you already own a tricked-out AR-15, customizing this weapon to fit your lifestyle is seamless. The rifle we tested featured a free-float, picatinny-style quad-rail system for mounting whatever accessories you can think of. The Lone Wolf 9mm compensator reduced recoil, but not as much as we would have liked. We used a Burris Fast Fire II red dot sight to aim the rounds downrange and the gun proved to be accurate with a variety of high quality and value brand ammunition. We also experienced no jamming issues while firing at the steel-plate targets. We tested the crisp trigger pull at four and half pounds. When the magazine is empty, the bolt will only hold open if the bolt catch is manually engaged. The spring seemed a little light for the 9mm round. A heavier buffer would have assisted in reducing recoil, but it wasn’t unmanageable.

Designed for the shooter who does not want to take out a second mortgage to buy ammunition, the Lone Wolf G9 Carbine is an excellent choice. Glock owners will be pleased that they do not have to buy a stack of new magazines, and the act of shooting the wider 9mm round gives you a near exact experience to shooting a .223 AR-15.

Specifications and Features:


  • 2.4 lbs
  • 15 5/8″ collapsed
  • 17 7/8″ extended
  • 6 5/8″ high
  • 1 9/16″ wide


  • 4.2 lbs
  • 24 1/4″ long
  • 2 1/2″ high and wide

2011 Carolina Cup Recap

Caleb's Sig 1911 Tactical Operations

If you could only shoot one major IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) Match in the country, it should be the Carolina Cup.  This is what IDPA is all about—a match that squeezes the maximum amount of fun out of IDPA while staying true to the spirit and principles of the sport.  I’ve shot IDPA matches all over the country at all kinds of locations, and I have to say that the crew running the 2011 Carolina Cup was absolutely the best match staff I’ve seen at an IDPA major match.  My hat is off in gratitude and respect for the professional and efficient way that they handled the shooters through the day.  The big “IDPA Pitfalls” were avoided—there were never any questionable rulings, cover was enforced fairly across the board, and all in all it really was the best example I’ve seen in over 4 years of shooting of IDPA of what an IDPA match should look like.

My match started on Stage 13 (not me in the video).  There were a total of 16 stages at the Cup, and most of them were 12-15 rounds.  The total round count was 213, through which my Sig 1911 TacOps ran like a sewing machine with no bobbles or hiccups.  My first stage went okay; I was slower than I wanted to be, but didn’t make any major errors.  Stage 14 went better; I shot nice and fast but somehow dropped 7 points on a 12-shot stage.  The Carolina Cup was a great match for challenging your mental focus – lots of 12-round stages mean that dropping too many points is going to hurt a lot, and you absolutely have to stay on your front sight or you will end up looking at your score sheet wondering “where did that -3 come from?”

My favorite stage at the match was Stage 5, which was a very fast but technically challenging stage.  The shooter steps off the box and activates three disappearing targets simultaneously, all of which moved at different speeds.  You had to have your timing perfect or you’d end up getting behind and dropping a ton of points on the disappearing targets.  This is just one example of the excellent, creative, and challenging stages that you saw at the 2011 Carolina Cup.

And now for the fun part: the Results.  I shot CDP/MA, this being my first major match as a 5-Gun Master.  I definitely felt the pressure to perform to a higher level than I had before.  I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a huge difference between shooting Master class classifiers and performing like a Master in a major match.  I’m very pleased that I was able to bring home a Top 10 finish in CDP!  I finished 9th in CDP Master and 10th Overall in CDP, with first place going to Glenn Shelby, the only Distinguished Master competing in CDP.

This was a great match, and I want to thank all the companies that sponsored and supported the match, especially my main sponsor, Cheaper than Dirt.  Tomorrow, right here on the Shooter’s Log, I’ll take a look at the guns and gear I used to bring home my first Top 10 finish at a major IDPA Match in the 2011 season!

Ammo Stash

Sig 1911 TacOps and BVAC .45 ACP

A few days ago, Tam (if you’re not reading her blog, you should be) put together a list of the various calibers she keeps on hand to shoot through the various guns in her collection. It’s a pretty extensive list, as it should be for a collector of obscure firearms. My own list is a little more mundane, but it also fits my collection of guns which are all primarily uses for competition and heavy shooting. That means that instead of a lot of different calibers, I have a lot of rounds of just a few calibers. On hand right now are the following calibers:

Tiny Gun, Huge Punch

Many people have differing ideas about what a backup gun is. Is it a good idea to sacrifice magazine capacity for size? What caliber is best? What about reliability or accuracy? Some of you might be familiar with small pocket-sized pistols such as the Ruger LC9 or the Kahr PM9. These small, concealable firearms allow shooters to carry a bit of extra firepower out of sight. The new Diamondback firearm is something to consider. What if you had a firearm smaller than most .380 pistols that can carry a six-round magazine of 9mm stopping power, ready to fly at a moments notice? Enter the Diamondback DB9.


The first and most obvious advantage to this firearm is the ballistic superiority of the 9mm cartridge. Some experts say that the .380 round, in general, will expand or penetrate, not both. 9mm ammunition tends not to have this problem. There is a reason why many law enforcement and military personnel use the 9mm. It is light enough to carry a lot of ammunition, and heavy enough to put a bad guy down, which, for a belly gun, seems ideal to me. The next major feature this firearm brings to the table is its incredibly small size. At only .8 inches wide, it is just a tiny bit wider than the handle on my coffee cup. It fits on the inside of my belt line much more comfortably than any other 9mm’s I have tried. This could be, however, due to the lack of a slide catch on the side of the weapon. The grip is still easy to handle despite its ultra thin physique. The extended bottom plate makes holding this firearm much more comfortable. The ridges on the sides of the grip help to hold the gun firmly in your hand. Striations along the slide aid in chambering a round. When empty, the gun weighs in at only 11 ounces and has a very balanced feel. A steel trigger with dual-connecting bars allows for a crisp smooth, five-pound double-action-0nly (DAO) trigger pull. I noticed almost no creaking when cycling the weapon. Accuracy seemed to be spot on, the rounds shot to point of aim with no problem. The three-dot sight system on top of the gun is adjustable for windage, but did not need adjusting out of the box.

In firing the weapon, recoil was fairly pronounced but in a straight line, as opposed to whipping to one side or the other when cycling. We experienced no jamming or feeding problems when firing rounds through the gun.

Overall, the Diamondback DB9 is an excellent choice for a backup or belly gun. I like the idea of carrying something with a bit more bite than your average .380 pocket gun. A lot of firepower in a tiny, travel-sized package is to me, just plain genius.

Specifications and Features:

  • Capacity: 6+1 Rounds
  • Weight: 11 Ounces
  • Length: 5.60″
  • Height: 4.00″ with mag
  • Width: 0.80″
  • Barrel Length: 3.00″
  • Firing Mechanism: Striker Fire

Cheaper Than Dirt! Chats it up with ISSC Owner Mike Weisser

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Mike Weisser, owner of ISSC, the exclusive importer and distributor of the M22 range pistol and MK22 rifle. We discussed where the company comes from and the thoughts behind the ingenious designs they put into their firearms.

Cheaper Than Dirt: Tell me a little bit about how ISSC Austria got started and how they grew into the company they are today.

Mike Weisser: The founder of the company is Austrian Wolfram Kriegleder. He is a graduate of the Austrian technical college which awards degrees in gun engineering and design. It is the only such degree anywhere in the world. It has been there for a long time. Austria of course is a country, along with Germany, that makes very high-quality firearms in both handguns and long guns. Many of the people who are designers or engineers for the Austrian, German and Swiss gun companies went to this college. He originally started as a designer and engineer with WALTHER, a German company that imports into this country through Smith & Wesson. He designed a very popular pistol for them called the P22. After designing that gun for WALTHER and actually having some disagreements with the management of WALTHER over the design, which I’ll get into in a minute, he decided in 2008 to found his own company so that he could design the pistol that he really wanted to design. One thing led to another and he and I met at a trade show in 2008. The gun market is such that if you are not in the United States, you aren’t anywhere. I agreed to import and set up a sister company over here which is also called ISSC and to import and service the American market for his products. So ISSC was founded by Wolfram in Austria 2008, and I founded a separate company over here with the same name in 2009.



Cheaper Than Dirt: So does the United States-based company take the parts and symbols and assemble the gun here?

Mike Weisser: No, the gun is wholly manufactured and completely assembled in Austria, then shipped to us.

Cheaper Than Dirt: I see, so this meets import regulations.

Mike Weisser: Correct. All our guns are made in a factory in Austria which is outside the village of Ried, in western Austria about 40 to 50 kilometers from the German or what we used to call the Bavarian border.

Presbyopia: The Impact of Aging on Vision

We can all remember the first time we were squinting at the range, trying unsuccessfully to get a clear view of both the sights and targets.

Sight comparisons

Sight comparisons. Image credit: EveryDayNoDaysOff.com

As we age, our eyes progressively lose the ability to focus over the full range of vision from far to near. This happens to everyone, regardless of regular distance vision correction, and takes place gradually over time. The cause is presbyopia, a condition in which the eye’s crystalline lens becomes increasingly inflexible.

Presbyopia of the Eye

Presbyopia of the Eye

The eye’s cornea directs light onto the lens, and the lens focuses the light onto the retina. In an eye with perfect distance vision, the relaxed lens will focus a distant object on the retina. When we are young, the lens can change shape (increase curvature) to focus on objects at closer distances. The closer the object, the greater the curvature required. The ability to do this is known as “accommodation.” Accommodation is measured in diopters (D). As we age and the eye’s lens becomes increasingly inflexible, its accommodation declines.

Eye Accommodation Comparison

Eye Accommodation Comparison

Most people first notice a difficulty in adjusting between distances around the age of 45, and by the time they are 65, they will have lost virtually all of their accommodation.

Presbyopia and Nearsightedness

Presbyopia and Nearsightedness

Presbyopia and Nearsightedness

The nearsighted eye is not so perfectly formed. The result is that even with the lens in the eye relaxed, distant objects are focused somewhere short of the retina. A nearsighted person can usually focus on close objects, but distant objects are fuzzy. With distance vision corrected by glasses, the lens in a youthful nearsighted eye can still increase curvature to focus to closer distances. As a nearsighted person begins to experience presbyopia, however, they will find that they need assistance to focus to closer distances as well.


Presbyopia and Farsightedness

Presbyopia and Farsightedness

Presbyopia and Farsightedness

Those who are farsighted have the opposite problem as those who are nearsighted. The focus point for distant objects is somewhere beyond the back of their eye. When the lens in the eye is relaxed, distant objects will be fuzzy, and closer objects will be even fuzzier. The lens in a youthful farsighted eye can increase curvature to focus to distance, and can increase even more to focus on still closer objects. As a farsighted person begins to experience presbyopia, however, they will find that they need assistance to focus on close objects, and, at some point, they will need assistance even to focus on distant objects.


Presbyopia and Astigmatism

Presbyopia and Astigmatism

Presbyopia and Astigmatism

Astigmatism results when the cornea is not perfectly spherical in shape. The result is a “lopsided,” somewhat cylindrical sphere that does not focus all of the light rays entering the eye onto a single point on the retina. This means that objects at all distances will appear somewhat blurred. Astigmatism can often occur in conjunction with nearsightedness or farsightedness, but people with perfect distance vision can also have astigmatism. Most people with astigmatism will need assistance that corrects for “cylinder” all the time, and will need both distance and close vision correction when they begin to experience presbyopia.


Technology and Tips

As a shooter, the inability to focus because of presbyopia is frustrating, and many chalk it up to “losing their edge” or “not having what it takes anymore.” Fortunately, we live in the 21st century and science has delivered technology to help shooters overcome the effects of presbyopia on the range.

In the past, shooters have relied heavily on multifocal lenses to provide the extra curvature that the lens in their eyes is no longer providing. Unfortunately, common multifocals, such as bifocals, trifocals or progressive lenses, only provide a few set focal points, one for near vision, one for far, and sometimes a third for in between. These multifocals typically cause side effects, including: nausea or headaches from the areas of distortion and blurriness, or neck pain from aiming one’s vision through a limited field of view.

Many other shooters resign to suffer the inconvenience of constantly switching between multiple pairs of glasses throughout the day. Fortunately, in today’s age of modern medicine, there are various ways to overcome presbyopia, such as special adjustable glasses, night vision, scopes and other optical sighting devices.

In addition to the new technology listed above, here are some other tips for coping with presbyopia while shooting with iron sights:

  • Keep Your Eyes Moist. It helps to keep your eyes moistened when you are outside in the wind. A couple of drops of Visine early in the day and again after lunch will help your eyes stay moist and keep your vision clear.
  • Contrast the Color of Your Sight and Target. Many shooters blacken their front sight post for more contrast against the manila-colored target. We typically find the traditional carbide lamp to be a better choice with its flat black finish. The spray-on products are too glossy for our tastes.
  • Prioritize the Clarity of Your Front Post. If you must choose between crystal clear focus on the front sight or target, the front sight focus is always more important. Deviation of sight alignment is far more costly than an imperfect picture of the bull’s-eye. Consequently, even the best sighting aids may allow the distant bull’s-eye to be a little fuzzy, while simultaneously keeping the front post clear. When shooting from 600 and 1,000 yards, the bull’s-eye focus has degraded enough to use what most refer to as a frame hold.

About the Author

Caitlin Abele is a shooter who works with Superfocus, the makers of an adjustable focus lens for presbyopia that is popular amongst shooters. She is also a member of Steve’s Angels, the moderators of the Superfocus Staying on Target community for shooters overcoming age-related vision changes. The Staying on Target community and OnTarget blog provides information and commentary on shooting, aging and vision and is located online at http://shoot.superfocus.com.

Birchwood Casey Darkotic Splatter Targets

Are you ready for the Zombie Apocalypse? The CDC has released a preparedness plan in case zombies start roaming the streets! We feel they left out a very important part, firearms! Time to start practicing with Birchwood Casey Darkotic Splatter Targets!

Click a target below to BUY NOW!


9mm 1911s

It is quite obvious that I am a big fan of the 1911 platform, so much so that I will shoot a 1911 in CDP at the inaugural IDPA World Championship later this year. That being said, shooting a lot of .45 ACP can be unpleasant, especially when you are running a 350-round practice session.

Down Zero TV Special: Bushmaster ACR Run & Gun

One of the hottest rifles to hit the market in the last year was the Bushmaster ACR, or Adaptive Combat Rifle. The rifle’s inclusion in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare caused a legion of fanboys to spring up overnight declaring the ACR the best rifle ever. I finally got to shoot one at the 2011 NRA Bianchi Cup, where the side match was sponsored by Bushmaster using the ACR. However, I’m strictly an average rifle shooter. To really see the rifle put through its paces, here’s Dianna Liedorff from Team FNH rocking the Bushmaster ACR at the Bianchi Cup side match.

Dianna is one of the top female 3-gun shooters in the country, so watching her shoot the rifle is a lot of fun. It’s nice to see professionals doing what they do best. If you’re interested in getting one of your own, you can purchase a Bushmaster ACR here, and don’t forget to get some 30 round magazines to go with it!

May E-Postal Match Results: Thinker’s Target

May 2011 Cheaper Than Dirt E-Postal Match Target

May 2011 Cheaper Than Dirt E-Postal Match Target

And the winner is… (drum roll please)

Now did you really think we would give it away that quickly?

This month’s “Thinker’s Target” involved some shooting strategy. Shooters got 11 shots with which to hit 11 circles arranged in order of descending size. As each target got progressively smaller, the point value increased. Shooters had to shoot the targets in order, successfully penetrating the previous target before proceeding to the next. If the shooter missed the designated target and hit a smaller, higher point value one accidentally, that hit and points did not count. After a successful hit, shooters then moved on to the next smaller target. Shooters had the option to continue accruing points by repeatedly shooting the target they were on. For example, you hit the 1 point, 5 point, 10 point, and 15 point target, but did not think you could reliably hit the 20 point target, you were allowed to stop and continue to shoot at the 15 point target with your remaining rounds. However, the targets sent in show that this group of shooters chose to move on to the next smaller size, higher point target.

“Nick1911″ shared with us that he’s only been shooting for about four months now and is absolutely hooked. Welcome to the wonderful world of shooting, Nick!

Now, without further ado, here is this month’s results:

Position Shooter Make and Model Caliber Distance Class Score
1st.: Patrick Ruger 22/45 .22 30 yds 1 201
2nd.: Patrick S&W 29 .44 Magnum 30 yds 3 201
3rd.: Skip B Remington 1911 R-1 .45 10 yds 3 126
4th.: Skip B Heritage 6" Single Action .22 10 yds 1 126
5th.: Billll Ruger MK1 .22LR 8 yds 1 116
6th.: Nick1911 Sig Saur Mosquito .22LR 7 yds 1 61
7th.: Nick1911 Taurus 24/7 9mm 7 yds 3 51
8th.: Skip B Remington 1911 .45 10 yds 3 51
9th.: Rob L S&W 637 .38 Spl 7 yds 5 31
10th.: Rob L Walther P22 .22LR 7 yds 1 16

Dividing your Practice

Caleb shoots the weak hand only string of fire on The Practical Event

Most of us are never going to get in a gunfight. The few of us that do have to draw our firearms in defense of our lives as civilians will probably not have to fire a shot. Those that do have to fire will probably only have to fire less than seven rounds. Now, we all agree that practice and training are important, because if you have accepted that the aforementioned scenario could happen, you want to make sure that you fire only the rounds you need to fire and that they all hit their intended target. So we’re going to assume that “training” is something that you want to do.

With that in mind, how do you divide your training? Obviously, it’s important to practice things that you’re not good at, such as weak hand only shooting, or long range shots, or reloads. Whatever your weakness may be, don’t give in to the natural human temptation to neglect it and just practice the stuff you’re good at. That being said, it’s also important to practice the “high probability” stuff. For example, if you need to use your gun in a defensive situation, there is almost a 100% probability that you’ll have to draw it from a holster. That would mean that practicing the drawstroke is something very, very important to practice and master. On the flip side, there is a fairly low chance of you being wounded in your strong side arm and needing to reload your pistol one-handed, weak hand only. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know how to perform that skill, but mostly that it should be lower on your priority list than “drawing”.

I will usually spend 5 to 10 percent of my practice sessions on strong hand and weak hand shooting. I should probably spend more time on it, but at the same I see a better value in practicing my reloads from concealment. In any IDPA match, there will usually be a stage where I’ll have to shoot strong or weak hand only. One stage, maybe 6 rounds out of a 100 round match. The guy that’s an absolute ninja at shooting SHO will do well on that stage. However, if you’re shooting CDP (which I am) you’ll need to reload from concealment 1-2 times on every stage. That adds up to a huge amount of time if you’re good at reloading and a big advantage.

Practice is important, whether it’s for IDPA or self-defense. Practice your weaknesses…but not at the expense of high percentage gains.

The 2011 NRA Bianchi Cup

Now that it’s Tuesday, I can finally look back and process all the great stuff that happened at the 2011 NRA Bianchi Cup, from the shooting to the events and all the great people that I get to see at that match.  Our previous update took a look at the shooting from Day 1, where I shot the Practical and the Barricades, and needed a strong performance on the Plates to keep me in the running for a win in Production/MM.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, as the Plates struck me down with all their fury and I finished the plates with a disappointing 360-36x.  Even with that score, I had a chance to hit my goal of a 1600 if I shot a 440 or better on the Mover on Day 3…and I came so close, shooting a new match-personal best on the Mover of 438.  That left me with a final score of 1598-80x, which was good enough for 4th Place in Production/MM division.

Now I’m obviously disappointed with that score – I know I can shoot better, but I struggled on the Plates and the Barricade.  However, there are a lot of positive takeaways from this match; one of the big ones is my X-count.  Using a factory stock Sig P250, almost half the rounds I fired were X’s, meaning they hit the 4 inch black circle at the center of the target.  That and my score are definite improvements from 2 years ago when I shot The Cup in ’09.  So obviously I’m getting better…just not fast enough for my taste.

Caleb shooting the Celebrity Pro-Am photo by Maggie Reese www.maggiereeseshooting.com

Saturday brought my favorite day of Bianchi Cup – the Colt Speed Event and Celebrity ProAm Shoot Off.  This event is put on for fans and for bragging rights; it’s a head to head shoot-off at five pieces of steel each.  Fastest time wins.  The top 4 finishers from Production, Metallic, and Open all compete to see who’s top dog, and then the organizers turn the celebs and media in attendance loose for the ProAm.   The Celebrity event follows the same structure as the Colt Speed event, but with a slightly…uh…looser interpretation of the rules.  That loose rule interpretation resulted in me being matched up against Dave Sevigny, and you know what?  I did alright.  I’ll have video of the Caleb vs. Dave matchup and the full story later in the week.

The 2011 NRA Bianchi Cup was a great experience for me this year.  I learn things about my shooting during this match that I couldn’t learn from shooting Steel Challenge, IDPA, or USPSA and those lessons make me better at each of those sports.  I’ll be back at the 2012 Bianchi Cup looking to improve my score by another 150 points, win Production/MM and put myself in the Top 20 again in Production Division overall.

Once again, if you’d like to run any of the gear I used during the Cup, here is the gear breakdown.

The Gear

We’re going to have a tonne of exclusive video and other coverage up this week on the Shooter’s Log from Bianchi Cup, so make sure you check in tomorrow and through the rest of the week as the good stuff keeps on coming in.