Anti-Gun Activists on Parade

About 200 people marched on the NRA meeting in April, and I went to talk to a few of them about what inspired them to participate in a protest, what they believed was happening inside the convention, how they felt about concealed carry at such an event, and how they view the Second Amendment.

First, I want to thank reader Adam Z. for taking the pictures. Oh, and for bringing a buddy new to the issue along to Pittsburgh for their first NRA meeting. They both decided to go check the protest out with me, and this video would be missing several of the shots of signs & people if it had not been for Adam. Second, I apologize for the shaky images. Again, forgetting the tripod was not one of my better moments. But, for much of the video, it would not have mattered since I was conducting most of the interview while we were actually marching. During said march, I was dodging construction signs, potholes, and cars.

Lucky Gunner Shoot – Day 2 – Range Master

On Sunday, the folks over at Lucky Gunner treated us to a shortened version, or demo version of you will, of a pistol course from Range Master. Based on what I experienced, I think they have a sound program, and I would recommend it. Their staff are experienced law enforcement officers, and law enforcement and civilian trainers. You can see some of the people we met here. Tom Givens told us that he’s had 53 of his students go on to get into gunfights, and all of them won them. He did unfortunately say he’s had two of his students murdered, but both had forgotten the first rule of gunfighting, which is to bring a gun.

The day started with some basic classroom instruction, focusing largely on the mindset of carrying a firearm, safe firearm handling, and most of the basic stuff you’d expect to have covered. Then we went to the range session, which started with some basic exercises. Despite what our opponents often think, in that training is this magical thing that turns one from a bumbling fool into a competent gun handler, it is not. The purpose of training is to provide the building blocks of competent gun handling that can be practiced, over and over again, until it becomes second nature. Range Master teaches with this is mind, working from the holster to firing the gun in multiple steps and are combined over the course to show the student how to, on his or her’s own, drill those good habits into their brain through repetition and practice.

After drilling on the basics of the draw and presentation of the firearm, we worked up to firing, first one shot, then two, three, along with magazine changes through all the firing drills. One thing I learned was that I carry spare magazines backwards. In truth, and I’ll probably get kicked out of the tacticool club for admitting this, but I almost never carry a reload (unless you count a New York reload). I also learned a pretty good tip for one handed shooting, which was to allow the gun to cant a bit to the side if it helped you get a firmer grip on the pistol. This did seem to improve my one handed shooting, particularly with my left hand.

After lunch we did drills on improving shooting cadence, going from one shot per second, to two shots per second, and up to four shots per second. There are tips for being able to shoot fast accurately, which we didn’t get into very much, but that could be because we were not taking a full Range Master course. After working on cadence, that’s when the target dummies came out. Follow this link to see the web site of DVC Targets, who makes them. These are excellent training tools. They were fully dressed, and set to drop if hit with a clean shot to the vital area by a 9mm (which is what most were shooting, including me). This is the first time I’d ever shot at something that looks like a live person. The drill was to fire two shots into the chest area down zero zone on an IDPA target, at about 5 yards, then engage the dummy at about 10 yards. Two hits down zero at five yards I wasn’t going to sweat, but I was a little apprehensive about how my eye would find center of mass on something human shaped wearing clothing, but I found center of mass just fine and dropped the dummy.

If you’d like to take a class with Range Master, they are in the Memphis area, but do instruction offsite as well. You can find their schedule here. I think they did a pretty good job with us, and were very patient under the time-compressed circumstances. All training helps, and is beneficial, no matter what you think you know and no matter how basic the course. You will learn something new, or pick up a new technique that could end up working for you. I was glad to spend Sunday with Range Master, and thank them for introducing us to them, and to Lucky Gunner for arranging it.

Palin’s Media Circus

I’m thankful I don’t have any errands to run today in Philadelphia because the Palin media circus has come to town. I don’t even understand what the hell this tour is about.

It’s not a family vacation – at least most families don’t launch political action committees to fund a completely wrapped bus in order to promote themselves and ask people to follow along when they head out to visit monuments and parks. It’s not a grassroots tour because she’s refusing to contact local tea party or Republican groups. It’s not a media tour because even though she invited her favorite host for an interview on the bus and is telling people to follow her for updates, she doesn’t really want them to follow her or talk to her. She says that it’s not a publicity tour, yet she’s “about highlighting the great things about America.” Highlight how if not through the press or groups with contacts on the ground in these areas?Highlighting to her staff who are paid to listen to her?

I think that this observation sums up the purpose of the tour:

Sarah Palin and her advisers are refusing to tell members of the media where she is going on her current bus tour – and the former Alaska governor seems to be enjoying the cat and mouse game that’s resulted.

It is the “Pay Attention to Me Tour of 2011.” The way she’s acting based on the Twitter accounts of those following the tour and her comments to the media are really juvenile at this point. If she is trying to sow support from the grassroots activists who will fuel any potential 2012 campaign, she’s not exactly demonstrating competency in putting together these kinds of events with any success.

I don’t need no teenage queen …

… all I want is my M14:

Thanks to Les Jones for taking the video, and he has many more, including some of the women who are a lot cuter than I am. I’m not kidding when I say it’s brutal. Probably the most uncomfortable full auto I shot. Even the BAR was a walk in the park by comparison. You’ll notice my flinch when I drop the hammer on an empty chamber.

More Commentary and Video Coming

By now I was hoping to have some more video, commentary and pictures posted from the Lucky Gunner blogger shoot, but I just arrived home. What was supposed to be an 11 hour drive turned into a 13 hour drive thanks to the incident Bitter mentioned in the previous post. I am both simultaneously exhausted and wide awake. Not normally being a coffee drinker, I make exceptions in cases where I need to stay alert for a protracted period of time. Thank God for Starbucks double espressos, or I never would have made it.

Despite being willing to drive 10 hours at the drop of a hat by myself in my 20s, I think my days of doing that are over. It’s not the body having difficulty so much as the mind. I find I just get fatigued a lot sooner than I did 10 years ago. When I was in my 20s, I’d be throwing back Mountain Dews all the way, arrive at my destination, and go right to sleep. No problem. Now I get back, want to sleep, but can’t because I’m wired from all the caffeine. Nothing a couple of drinks won’t fix, but counteracting stims with depressants is one step away from being found dead on your toilet. If Lucky Gunner does this next year, I’m definitely bringing someone I can share the driving with.

I guess the 10,000 dollar question is, was the weekend worth the drive? You bet it was. More video coming. It’s going to make our opponents wet themselves.

An Interesting End to a Weekend at the Range

Sebastian should be about an hour away from home by now. Unfortunately, he’s still probably about four hours away. Why? Because of a 16 mile back up on I-81 northbound in Southwest Virginia.

Why was traffic backed up for 16 miles? Because a sheriff’s deputy got in his official vehicle, stalked his ex-wife to a gas station, pulled his rifle out and shot her multiple times in front of a child in her car & bystanders nearby. Then he got back in his out-of-county sheriff’s vehicle, evaded state police for a while, then pulled over and shot a state trooper in the leg before getting about a mile down the road and engaging in another shoot-out with two additional state troopers.

Unfortunately, Sebastian didn’t see the traffic until he was just past an exit. Then he spent over an hour trapped while trying to get 5 more miles to the next exit. In an attempt to use AT&T’s cell network, I routed him around the roads where the state police were dropping the rest of 81’s traffic, but it added another hour and a half to his time.

The good news is that the state trooper who was shot is doing fine. The sheriff’s deputy has “life threatening” wounds.

Lucky Gunner Shoot – Videos

The hotel WiFi here is pretty slow, so video is difficult. I am happy to be able to present my shit eating grin moment of the day. Unless tomorrow is remarkably more awesome, this is probably my treat for the weekend, and the reason it was worth it to get down here. These gentlemen you see in confederate uniforms here quite clearly take great pride and joy in their hobby, and it shows. I am very happy they let this Yankee fire part of their Reb artillery battery. This video does not really do the sound these cannon make justice. You can be on the far side of the range and feel it pound against your chest when it fires. It’ll set off car alarms.

In this video you can see them explain to me how to fire the cannon, and what sequence they will go through. You can see them load the live ammunition, aim the cannon, insert the fuse, and eventually I walk into the shot and fire the sucker. As Tam pointed out, it’s a lot different than what you see the park, where they are just firing blank. The cannons in this battery recoil quite a bit when fired with live ammo.