Friday, June 25, 2010

Beyond Target Shooting: AAR

Last weekend I traveled to Bastrop, Texas (down past Austin), and took their one day class 'Beyond Target Shooting'. A friend of mine got some much needed training out of this class and I got to get together with some friends that I don't see very often, and meet some new ones. The class was a beginner level concealed carry class. It primarily focused on the basics of concealed carry and basic draw techniques and malfunction drills.

Topics covered included:
o Mindset and tactics to increase you’re situational awareness.
o Gear Selection
o Carry options
o Drawing from concealment
o Firearm care and maintenance
o Marksmanship fundamentals
o Malfunction clearing
o Various shooting drills to become more proficient and prepared with a handgun for personal protection.

It was a eight hour class and they covered ALOT of material. There was about 18 people in the class and 6 to 8 instructors. From what I gather, the Central Texas Training Group (CTTG) is trying to break into the world of firearms training. They consist of a nice range outside of Bastrop. Affectionately called 'The Farm', and yes, if you caught the reference to cheesy 80's novels, they did it on purpose. The cadre is composed of like minded and well trained people that are willing to pass their knowledge onto others.

The Good; The Bad; The Ugly:

The Good- The range is located in a beautiful area, they share the area with a SASS group, It is levelled off, grassy, and has plenty of mature trees for shade. Currently it is only one berm, with no real bays to speak of. I have been told that there is plans to change that.

The classroom portion of the class dumped alot of information. I consider this to be a good thing because even if you only retain 5% of it, you can do more research later on your own. I also enjoyed how they spoke on mindset and avoiding a fight if at all possible.

Range Drills were your basic draw and fire at the target. Alot of attention was given to proper draw stroke and presentation. Again, this was a basic class, but this is where you lay your foundation. Alot of shooters do not have a firm foundation. As such, they are never consistent and have problems with alot of more advanced techniques.

The Bad- You could tell that this was the first public class that this group had put on. Their syllabus could use some streamlining, brought more into focus with what they want to get out in the time that they have to work with.
They did cover what I consider to be some more advanced material. Namely one handed malfunction drills. I dont think that it was appropriate to this class and that time could have been better spent on other material. That and I am not so sure that I want to be standing next to the local mall ninja who thinks that muzzle discipline goes out the window because he gets to rack his slide on his belt.

The Ugly- There was a few safety range issues. Two students were not up to par with the rest of the class and they were pulled aside. While I agree that was the correct choice, one was on the right end of the line, the other on the left. They each had their own instructor, also a good call. The issue was the fact that the range master would call for a safe line, and they would still be hot. This posses a problem for trying to secure equipment that was forward of the line. It happened twice to me personally. When I hear the RO call the range safe, I am trusting in him to know that it is safe. It wasn't and I was a bit upset about that. What should have happened is that the two shooters should have been put together somewhere away from the rest of the class. But, with only a berm and no real bays, there was no good options.

All in all, I would gladly take another class with them, when CTTG finishes cutting their teeth on these classes and makes the planned range improvements, it will make for a good place to take a class in the Austin area.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Just like it sounds only different. For those of you that dont know I have been eating healthier and generally avoiding things like extra sugars and caffeine. A few months ago I went from 40 oz of soda or so a day to about 20oz every other day.

This weekend I payed for it. Sunday I went to a defensive pistol class down past Austin (AAR to follow). The nine hour drive home was a bit brutal. I hit a 20oz Mountain Dew at 10pm, followed by water, and a Monster energy drink that I nursed from about Midnight til 2am. I arrived home at 3:15 and slept til 8. That was when the company phone started ringing. For the rest of Monday, I felt like I was hung over. I tried to sweat it out with an intense workout, that made me feel better for an hour or two.

No more energy drinks for me. It's like poisoning your body.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I HAVE been that guy

Salamander has a post up about this pic:

No, it's not the fact that it looks like a fistfight between Rush Limbaugh and Joey Buttafuoco, being broken up by David Arquette (but that really is David). It's Mr. Smooth there in the upper right hand corner.

Several years ago I was at a Goose hunting trip in BF SD, it's just like BFE only in South Dakota instead of Egypt, we arrived into town at about 1am, of course my passengers wanted to partake of the libations so off to the bar we went. The smoke hung in the air, the bar was vacant except for the bartender and two guys playing pool. They were obviously no strangers to this establishment, and they were obviously quite drunk. The three of us sat at the bar and ordered (I, of course, partook of the Roy Rodgers). Ten minutes or so into our drinks, the two gentlemen break out into a fist fight, dragging each other along the bar in a drunken fight of not so epic proportions. Non pulsed I grabbed my drink off the bar, lest I lose my cherry, and swivel the seat around to watch them writhe at my feet as the bartender splits them up.

The bartender throws them out, with a passing reminder that they were welcome back tomorrow, and we finish off our own drinks. The really funny part was when we left, they were in the parking lot, apologizing to each other and pledging their everlasting friendship.

I knew there was a reason I generally avoid bars....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

So You Think You Can Shoot a Pistol?

That question was asked of me at a friends farm last weekend. The second statement went like this: "Grab that Sig of yours and come on over here, I'm going to show you a thing or two."

I pondered to myself what exactly he had in mind. I wander over to the side of the barn where I find six full beer cans set out at about 15 yards (dont worry, it was just Bud Light). He tells me, "Shoot until you miss." I fire and miss low and left about a 1/2 inch. He shoots and misses by a foot. My second shot goes the same place, as does his. My third shot is on target, and I clear three cans. He misses again and I clear the next two when he complains, "You're not going to leave me any to shoot!" I let him shoot the last one and figure we are done with our little shooting escapade.

As Master Yoda would say, "Mistaken you were, hmmm?"

He walks over to the scrap pile and picks up a old aluminium sauce pot and tells me to shoot it twice as he throws it in the air. The pot goes flying and I shoot twice, hitting it both times. Now while I may not be shooting coins anytime soon, this was actually a fairly easy shot and after a bit of this I was asking him what part of it he wanted me to hit. I ran thru two mags of carry ammo during this escapade, and my wallet was starting to feel the pain of $1 plus per bang. We wrapped it up and went in the house.

As a parting shot, I asked him, "Did you really think I couldnt shoot a pistol."

"No," he replied. "I knew you could, I just wanted to see what you could actually do."

The Big Red Boar part II

The short version of this story is only one sentence; No shot, no sign. He seems to have either left the area or ran into a farmer with his rifle handy. I did get to work on my farmer tan, I must say it's coming along nicely.

About the only excitement came later in the afternoon. I managed to kick up a coyote during the heat of the day. I only caught a glimpse of him as he disappeared into the tall grass. I rushed to go set up where I thought he would come out. I caught sight of him a few times, but was unsure of the exact species of the animal (I would feel really bad if I shot a fawn). He came out of the grass right where I thought he would, about 200 yards away from me. I paused long enough to confirm that is was indeed a coyote, he paused long enough to confirm that I indeed was going to shoot at him. He started running and I started shooting. I fired three rounds at him (Those three 338/06 cases are long gone. I really need to stop dropping those). The first round went over the top of his head and between his ears. He promptly changed direction, I adjusted my lead and shot again. This shot went over his back, my partner said that it was damn close, an inch or less, but a miss is a miss. He changed direction again and picked up the pace. I led him by eight body lengths and figured his distance at 350 to 400 yards. The shot went behind him. One day I will make that shot, and never have a problem with it again. Hindsight tells me that I need to quit shooting at the whole coyote and pick a spot. 'Aim small, miss small'

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Big Red Boar

Several weekends ago I received a call, a large red boar was decimating crops and making a general nuisance of himself about 90 miles south of me. Grudgingly (raise your hand if you believe that), I headed south to see what assistance I could lend to this problem. A few hours of scouting told me where he was bedding down at, where he was eating, where he was wallowing and the routes he took during these events. But he was nowhere to be seen.

Most of the scouting was being done on four wheelers, now most of you know that I am not a huge fan of hunting on quads, but, this hog was causing problems and had to be found. It had recently rained several inches and there was a bit of mud scattered about. This led me to my fateful decision of the day, I left my rifle in the truck. Instead, I loaded my Ruger revolver with some super powerful loads that should put your average boar down. After all, who wants to clean a muddy rifle after a hunt?

We came across some VERY fresh sign in a field that still had quite a bit of last years corn stubble in it. Parking the four wheeler, I walked some brushy stuff along the edge of the field, the tracks were fresh. I knew that at any moment I was going to smell him. My revolver was in my hand, at a low ready, thumb poised like a old west gunfighter, ready to instantly cock the hammer. A glint of movement caught my eye. Almost 100 yards away was this big red boar, making a run for the fence line, and safety.

What is that rule again? Never take a pistol when you can take a rifle? That choice was the only reason I wont be having home made sausage tomorrow morning for breakfast. But, this weekend I will try again, and maybe I will have some tusks to show off, and more importantly, fresh sausage.
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