Sunday, April 24, 2005

Match Day, April 2005

¶ . . . Today I brought out my recently acquired Para Ordnance .45 to give it a real - time run at this month's club match. Man, what a difference from my tiny Commander!! This gun shoots real light with its tungsten guide rod and with some not - so - especially - light loads!! I did have some magazine issues, however, but I believe I loaded them up too much to their liking. The mags are a little old, too, so I think I'll tune them up forthwith by getting some new bases, springs, and followers. Again, the pistol itself ran great and my ammo functioned well (although it was recommended I might try shortening them a bit. I'll go to 1.235"). It's larger size sure fills out my hand well, too.
. . . The fact that I have a new pistol DID NOT, however, bring about any miraculous performances!! I'm still getting "lost" on stages ("Pay attention & plan them out!!") and I still don't have a steady hand for the "aimed" shots, i.e. plates, distance, Mozambiques. When I do get a good run it's marred by mikes or no - shoot penalties.
. . .Match Results as soon as they are posted.

Monday, April 18, 2005

V.B.'s Combat Shooting Genesis . . .

(Thought I'd put in this previously unpublished piece from 19 January 2005 about my competition origins. Hopefully it will inspire some that would like to learn to actively use their weapons competitively AND how to keep them running!!)

19 January 2005

¶ - The genesis of my Competitive Shooting career came about when I realized that my ownership of a firearm was, well, pretty dull without regular usage. I wanted to shoot frequently, but the only outlets I was familiar with were the desert or National Forest lands or indoor shooting ranges. The former are fast disappearing due to rapid population influx and the latter are just plain dull! One requires an environment where it is possible to have "free form" workouts. Here is where it all began for me, the great group of men I have been privileged to associate with, and how you, too, can get involved in this great and extremely rewarding pursuit.

About three years past I took the cash I had earned as an umpire and bought a Colt M1911 (Combat Commander,Stainless) pistol. I took it once to an indoor range and another time out to the range in San Francisquito Canyon. What a dud! Standing there slowly, plink...plink...plink..." The places I had known in earlier years were no more; there had to be something better. Sure, I knew about the U.S. Olympic team and Camp Perry, but was there some kind of "combat pistol" competition (a la the combat course in the picture "Magnum Force")?

My best recollection is that an Internet search provided me with the International Defensive Pistol Association and the United States Practical Shooting Association/ International Practical Shooting Confederation.

The IDPA site, while the premise itself was attractive,and has from what I later learned some large names in the sport, appeared to be somewhat of an "upstart" league. Its disgruntled allusion to the USPSA, well, naturally, occasioned my gravitation to the USPSA. The USPSA looked to be THE major entity in the kind of gunplay I was looking for and were the U.S. governing body of the International Practical Shooting Confederation(the "practical" shooting aspect derives from a more "P.C" manner to present the game to the international community.). This looked like a happening scene.

So, after finding a local club with the "club finder," I fire off an e-mail to the director of the Southwest Pistol League and the next day . . .the next day I get a response! I was impressed. The gent instucts me to go up to Piru and check it out. What luck! As I'm standing around with my best lost-and-a-newbie look, the first guy I happen to run into happens to be a champion USPSA shooter and lets me tag along. I observe for one more match after this, this same guy outfits me with my rig, and it's on!!The rest is history in the making! I've been at it ever since! This has become the passion in my spare time, my avocation, as it were. I now am a member of a pretty good club, with "my own" place to practice and practice the way I like, as it pertains to the game.What a hoot!

Oklahoma 2005, Part II

(Read the preceding entry first for chronology's sake!!)
¶ . . . Sunday was to turn out to be a much better outing. I stopped first at Stockyard City in downtown OKC. It was kind of neat for the clothing stores there. Then I went over to the Oklahoma City Memorial.
The Memorial here is very touching and very well done. What struck me most deeply was at the west side adjacent to the Catholic Church was a large statue of Jesus Christ, facing away from the building site with his face in his hands, as if to be crying in shame and despair. I failed to get a picture of this, but I will next time.

Next I visited Bricktown, also downtown; pretty much just a cental watering hole area. Didn't stay here to long.
Next was the real highlight of the whole weekend. Over to the 45th Infantry Division Museum. I spent about three hours here. It is free to go in, they ask only for a donation, but it isn't pushed. Give 'em a couple of bucks: it's definitely worth it. Lots of vehicles on the surrounding grounds, World War II to post-Viet Nam, including trucks, artillery, armor, and aircraft. The small appearance of size of the building from the outside belies the amount of treasures within!! Mostly militaria from World War I through Gulf War I. There is a great tribute to Bill Mauldin, caricaturist of the WWII Dogfaces and a display of a few hundred of his cartoons. Very well done.
The real highlight here however is the museum's weapon collection. Donated by a private citizen it is one of the best I have ever seen. Though relatively small in size, I believe it rivals that of the extremely large collections of the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum, Claremore, OK, and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY. Weapons include pieces from the Colonial Period through Gulf War I, with a good array of WWII and Korea-era battlefield weapons, mortars, recoilless rifles, etc. Any history buff traveling through Oklahoma City should make it a point to reserve time to visit this property, absolutely a true gem!!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Oklahoma 2005, Part I

¶ . . . As promised, some on my trip to Indian Territory . . .
The one weekend I was there I took to the road, as usual. Dodge City, Kansas it was this time, as any real Wild West aficionado, I thought, should make a pilgrimage. This has to be one of the biggest all-time duds I have ever experienced!! What a total letdown!! So-called "Front Street," actually really a front pushed back from U.S. 50, wouldn't have made even a good movie set!! The cowboy town for the S.A.S.S. guys at 5-Dogs in Bakersfield looked more realistic!! And for an added touch of realism, there was an Applebee's restaurant on the corner of it!! Even though it was a Saturday, the Visitor Center was closed; only the kitschy gift shop was open. This didn't even warrant a purchase of the customary 'fridge magnet!! After not even an hour, I was able to call my parents and say for real:
"I'm gettin' out of Dodge!!"
Though this would eventually turn out to be a 700 mile day, I decided I would just head back to Norman (which was a good thing; Sunday's outing was superb. Next post will have that!).
¶ . . . In summary, you can pretty much scratch Kansas off of any list of places I would want to live!! Although my Pop says the run along I-70 to the north is pretty nice, I'm not buyin'!!