Saturday, October 19, 2019

Lessons from Low Light Training

This quarter's training is shooting in low light. I dug out all of my flashlights and spent last night/today charging all of my lights. Seemed like a good time to make sure everything was ready. Thanks to the Year of the Lumen (2018), I have a few to choose from. Any time Greg Ellifritz or Dustin Ellermann posted about a new light, I had to buy it.

Rayovac "The Beast"; Bolder by Anker (x2);
Streamlight ProTac HL-2; Streamlight Microstream USB;
Olight Valkyrie PL-2; SureFire Sidekick

I knew we had some cool stuff planned, so I was pretty excited about tonight's range time. At twilight, I used the Streamlight I keep on my belt to look at something downrange and decided I didn't like the throw. I thought it was too short, so I decided to swap it out for one of the Ankers that I usually just keep in my bag.

When it was my turn to run the stage, I slipped the Anker into my carrier and threw my Streamlight in my bag. I've been practicing with the Anker at the range, since that's what's in my bag, so I thought it would be fine.

I was so wrong. So, so wrong.

What I forgot about the Anker is that it has variable settings and that in order to keep it from cycling through the settings, I had to press the button to turn it on and then let go. Failure to do so, or keeping the button depressed with my thumb will start it to cycle.

I did okay for my first two targets, but when I went to light up my next two, suddenly I had a strobe light. I said bad words and took my shots anyway. But did I remember to definitely turn on and off the light? No, because why would my brain work when it needed to?

When I lit up my next set of targets, I'd cycled to medium power. That was okay, at least the light stream was steady. By this time, I'd remembered to fully depress the on/off button and let go, so my last few targets were easier to shoot.


It was ugly, but I learned a couple of important lessons: 1) don't make a last minute gear change (that should be obvious), and 2) commit to turning on/off the light instead of just using my thumb as a momentary on switch.

I don't have a holster that will accommodate a WML, but I have a really nice Olight that I wanted to try out. Once everyone was done shooting, I attached my Olight and just plinked off a few rounds. I've dry fired with the Olight, but while dry fire is great for practicing fundamentals, I needed some live rounds through. I found that my little Olight really lights up the target beautifully, but in order to activate the light I have to break my grip and really rock my support hand forward. My little girl thumb doesn't reach the switch well.

Again, I didn't commit to turning the light on, instead just used my thumb as a momentary on switch, which worked great for identifying the target, but as soon as the trigger broke and the recoil hit, my thumb lost contact with the switch and I lost my light. I either need to learn to keep my thumb in contact with the switch or hit the button to turn it on and let go.

I'm seeing a pattern here. I have trouble committing with my lights. Push the damn button, turn it on, and then get my damn thumb out of the way.

The one thing I do wish is that there was a way to get more low light practice. I do practice with my lights, but shooting on an already well-lit range with a flashlight is vastly different from shooting in the dark with one. Since I know my problem is not fully turning on the light, that's something I can work on even during the day.

My hope is by practicing the one thing I screwed up so badly, that next month when I shoot at night, I'll see a vast improvement.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

[Slobber, Drool]

I saw this recently on the Book of Face.

Viking themed engraving on a 1911 slide. Given that I am roughly 38% Swede, this appeals to me on a genetic level. I don't know how much he charges for this level of work, but I'm guessing it's not enough and more than I can afford. Sigh.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Politics of Guns: David Hogg proves the need for private gun ownership.

I know you don't believe it, but David Hogg himself just proved why we have the second amendment and why private ownership of guns is mandatory for safety and security. (And why we shouldn't let the government have guns)
Hogg-boy was doing an interview with Chris Hayes of MSN (or is it MSLSD?) and was talking about how todays mass shootings are related to the massacres of the 1800's and linked to white supremacy. I don't understand the link either but it's David Hogg talking, so there is no logic or coherence behind it.
Anyway, Hogg was referencing the massacre of Wounded Knee. Well, the massacre happened because the US government had rounded up a group of indians and WERE CONFISCATING THEIR GUNS when the massacre occurred. He commented how history might be different if the indians were armed.
Gee, ya think? Since we are equating history with modern times, could it be that we today want to keep our guns for the same reason the indians did? To not be murdered by the government, or anyone for that matter.
And the first step to genocide is GUN CONFISCATION! And on top of that, what makes gun confiscation easier? Licensing and Registration of guns!
So let's all thank David Hogg for making our point for us.
I'm glad Hogg-boy is coming around to our point of view.
P.S. to the anti-gunners, here is a pro tip, don't let David Hogg speak. Ever! He is the worst image for your cause.
-Gundude Mez

Monday, August 5, 2019

Mistaken Couple-dom

I ran into one of my oldest shooting buddies today at the grocery store where he works. I had some things for him, so I ran out to my car to grab the bag of goodies I've been driving around with for months. When I got back in the store, I handed him the bag and gave him a big side hug. One of the customers looked over and said, "that's so sweet, you guys are so cute together!"
I was stunned into silence for a moment, then laughed and said, "thanks, I'll be sure to tell his wife." Robbie said, "and I'll be sure to tell her husband."
I realized she thought I was his wife bringing him lunch and I'm flattered she thought we were a cute couple.
And then I started thinking ... whenever I'm with a male shooting buddy, people assume we're a couple. Always. Doesn't matter which one I'm with: John, Mez, Robbie, Mike, any of them.
So then I started thinking (always a dangerous thing), WHY do people think that I'm "with" a male friend? Is it because they can't wrap their heads around the fact that I can be friends with men?
Or is it because there's an easy (but platonic) intimacy with someone you spend a lot of time with, especially when the time you're spending with them involves deadly weapons? I spend a lot of time with my friends at the range watching them carefully, and vice versa. You get into a rhythm of anticipating what they're going to do or what they're going to need. Shooting can be a very collaborative thing, and I think after spending countless hours and rounds down range that intimacy naturally develops.
All of my shooting buddies pre-date my marriage, so I'm thankful that I have a husband who is not at all bothered by this.
Have you noticed this? Have you and a shooting buddy ever been mistaken for a couple? Why do you think that is?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Frankford arsenal platinum case trimming center

After a recent back surgery, I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands. When I started feeling better I went out to my reloading bench and looked around. You know what I saw? I saw what a lot of reloaders see way too often, so much empty brass. Looking at the task ahead of me was a little intimidating to say the least.The longest, boring, and meticulous job in all of reloading to me,is deprimming ,sizing and trimming the case and getting it all ready to reload.

After doing it the old-fashioned way for a couple of thousand cases,my hands were so cramped up and sore from holding onto the trimmer and drill that I was about to go crazy. I thought to myself there has to be a quicker easy way to do all of this. After doing some research and looking online I found my answer. Enter the Frankford arsenal platinum case trimming center.

While there are other tools that can do the job just as well each one that I found is caliber specific and cost around the same amount as the Frankford arsenal platinum case trimming center. While it’s not the cheapest reloading tool on the bench it will do almost any bottle neck rifle cartridge that you can think of, and for around $150-$175,and in my mind it’s a steal.

Set up for this trimmer is simple; Just pick the cullet ( 3 come with the machine) that fits halfway down the shoulder and inserts it into the trimmer position, Then pick the bushing ( it comes with 5) that fits the case and put back together.  One very nice feature is that there is a little tool cubby on the top of the machine to hold all the pieces. Trust me, It’s so easy that even I could figure it out. Next you just add the chamfer tools, One for both inside and outside, then add the primer pocket tool and you are all set to go. Adjusting the trimmer for your desired case Length couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is trim one case the old fashion way then insert it into the case holder and adjust the case until it touches the cutter and tighten the locking ring. Now you can rock and roll. Just save that case for future reference. Now all you have to do is pick out some good music and start plugging away.

By using this machine I was able to trim a little over 7000 cases in just over three days. Each case took less than 10 seconds to trim and chamfer. Without the case trimmer it would have taken me 10 times as long to do them. One nice thing about this prep center as you can position it in three different ways; vertical-meaning the case is up and down while being worked on, flat-meaning that the case is horizontal,Or one that I prefer is that the machine is at a 30° angle to your workbench.The nice thing about which ever way you have it facing is that it will have a good grip due to the rubber feet.The motor seems to me to be pretty good because it doesn’t bog down at all, Even when using it all day long. The only downside that I can see is that they don’t make adapters so you can trim pistol cases. If they did my reloading bench would be much less cluttered. Now all I have to do is go out and buy more primers, powder and bullets.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

No Means No. Always.

I think we can all agree on that, right?

But "no means no" is usually associated with sexual assault. One person wants something, another doesn't, and we're all on the no means no bandwagon.

The problem is, though, that we, as a society, don't enforce this across the board. Here's an example that a friend of mine posted, along with her own story of being shamed for not drinking:

Here's the text that accompanies the picture. The gist of it is, people need to take no for an answer, even if it's something "trivial". There were example after example of people who'd been shamed for turning down something on the original post. 

My friend's sharing of the post, along with her own story, brought about many comments; in fact, the friend who posted it even felt the need to say that she does drink, she just didn't want to drink then. That broke my heart. No one should ever have to explain why they don't want to engage in an activity. Many of the comments were helpful excuses to help curb the shaming. Comments with a qualifier, such as "no thanks, I'm driving", "no thanks, I've got to go get my kids". Reading the comments, I got angry. We owe no one an explanation once we say no.

I'll admit, I might be a bit sensitive about the issue, but I truly believe in my heart that no means no and that no is a complete sentence. Period. If I have a visitor, and I offer them food or drink and they tell me no, then that's it. I will usually say, "if you change your mind, just let me know", but I don't shame them. And I certainly don't badger them to change their mind.

A couple of years ago my boss found out my first name, which I don't use. I'm a middle name kid, always have been. I have to use my first name occasionally for things like airplane tickets, because it's my legal name, but it's not the name I use. My boss thought it would be funny to call me by my first name. I told her that my name is my middle name and that I didn't want to be called by my first name. But she thought it was funny and proceeded to continue to call me by my first name, in a van full of co-workers, even after I'd told her not to. Our co-workers rapidly got uncomfortable with her easy dismissal of my no, and my refusal to laugh it off; they were laughing nervously and shifting in their seats every time I corrected her.

She continued to insist on calling me by my first name (and thought it was funny), throughout that day and into the next before I lost my shit and yelled at her in public, in the middle of Temple Square. I'm sure the other tourists loved that. 

I had set a boundary with my no and she continued to trample it, thinking it was funny.

Later that evening, we were at dinner with a co-worker. I ordered an alcoholic beverage, my boss ordered an alcoholic beverage, but our co-worker did not. To me, no big deal. My boss, however, refused to take no for an answer until he explained that as a diabetic, he couldn't drink alcohol. She then proceeded to look at me and say, "wouldn't it be funny if we just slipped him some alcohol one day?"

Here's the deal lady, no means no. 

Those incidents really opened my eyes to how we might say "no means no", but rarely is it believed. In seemingly innocuous situations, saying "no" opens the door for negotiation. If that's the case, is it no wonder that people don't abide by the word?

I think, in order to change anything, we need to start with ourselves, to take an honest look at ourselves. 
  • If someone tells us no, do we abide by it?
  • Are we making excuses for why we said no? (No is absolutely a complete sentence, though I prefer the more polite, "no, thank you".)
  • If we tell someone no and they ignore it, or start badgering us, do we engage in negotiation with them, or do we stand firm in our no?
I've seen memes that say we train people how to treat us. If that's the case, we can change the power of our no. In self defense, we talk a lot about boundaries. Setting them, enforcing them. This is a boundary that we need to enforce at all times if we want to see any change.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Year of the 22. Tikka T1x First Impression

If you watched our post SHOT show videos you know I said 2019, for me, would be the year of the 22.  Well, true to my word, it has started.

I recently purchased a Tikka T1x and here is a real fast first impression of this riffle.

Things I like:

1. Overall fit and finish is excellent.
2. The polymer stock is solid and sturdy.  Not flimsy in any way.  Excellent if you like the all weather capability of a polymer stock.
3. The receiver has the same inlet pattern as its big brother the T3x.  So you can use the same stock for both rifles.
4. 10 round detachable magazine.
5. medium weight barrel with threaded muzzle for your favorite muzzle device.
6. Trigger is amazing for a factory trigger.  User adjustable from 2.5 Lbs - 5 Lbs.  Single stage which means no slack, no creep, just a clean, crisp break.  For a mass produced factory trigger it is one of the best.
7.  Accuracy is excellent.  Using quality ammunition you can get near one hole groups at 25 and 50 yards.  Decent accuracy at 100 yards is also attainable.  The Tikka would be a viable candidate as a 22 trainer for your long range, precision rifle.  (this is what I'm using it for).
8. Bolt throw is only 45 degrees.  So plenty of room to mount any scope you want.

Things I don't like:

1. A little pricey.  In my area it retails for $470.  More than your average 22.  But I do think you get good value for your dollars.
2. Standard 11mm dovetail for scope rings.  This is a European standard but less common here in America.  I would  like to see the factory put on a standard 1913 Picatinny rail.  (Good news is, there are aftermarket options available)
3. The magazine protrudes down below the stock.  I would like to have a flush mounted magazine like the old Ruger 77/22 rifles.  This is mostly a preference than a true negative.
4.  The polymer stock could use more checkering.  It is slick where there is no checkering.
5.  The stock has no provision for an elevated cheek rest when mounting a scope.  You need to add an aftermarket pad to get a good cheek weld to the stock.  Or buy an aftermarket stock.
6.  No option for iron sights.  Though iron sights are going the way of the Dodo bird, it would be nice to have them as an option.

Final Thoughts:

 Would I buy this rifle again?  Yes!  Though a little on the expensive side for a 22, I think you get good value for your dollars.  I see the quality good enough you can pass this down to your children and even grandchildren.

If you are looking for a good general purpose target rifle or a hunting rifle, this is an excellent choice. If you want to build a 22 trainer to match your Tikka T3x, again, this is an excellent choice.

Yes, I do like this rifle.  I'll do a more detailed review later once I have more trigger time with it and make desired upgrades.

Now enjoy some photos of my latest outing with the rifle.

April 2019

Stock rifle:

Shoots well with several brands of 22

At 100 yards, I think this rifle is capable of better groups.  I have shot smaller groups in the past.  
I will experiment with other brands of ammunition and practice more to verify.
I'll also weasel a bit and say the indoor ventilation was running on high and might have caused a few shots to drift.