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Thursday, June 30, 2011

From the Bench..

I think my friends Handgun started out as a Ruger MkIII. He HATES bowling pins. He wants to dispatch them with all speed. So he wandered by tonight to apply some locktite to the bolt assist gismo.

I think it looks like a space gun carried by Marvin the Martian. That's just me (click to enbiggen):

So with the mods he shot well last weekend, and props to him. Red Dot optic, trigger job, etc, etc. Perhaps I am becoming a Luddite? 

If I am going to shoot pins with a .22 I would much rather have this:

Colt Match Target Woodsman. The first pistol I fired! I will try it to see if technology is a match for decades of experience!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy 50th!

Wedding anniversary that is! In the great Lottery of Life I pulled the right numbers here. My Parents are celebrating 50 years together. I cannot say enough about what great parents, teachers, mentors, and friends they are to me to this day. They sacrificed much for me. Enjoy this day and I love y'all! (Click to enbiggen) 

Added bonus on the pic, Jennifer asked on her Blog how you became a gunnie? Answer in pic! I wish I could find that shadow box on the wall now!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I am really tired of seeing bowling pins! Our fundraiser ran all month and the finals were Friday. We raised over 1500 dollars for the domestic violence shelter here. Many thinks to my friends Brigid and Murphy's Law who posted about the event on their Blogs. Thanks again!

To add to the bowling pin overdose my range had its usually scheduled match today. A lot of people I have not met before showed up to shoot! The event is sponsored by Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte.

Older Gentleman showed up today and whipped out a "race gun". He announced that he was 71 and his range bag was covered in "I shot in this match" pins. I figured he would smoke everyone or really suck. He smoked it:

3.6 seconds! 

FTC thingy- I did not receive any compensation for mentioning the range or Hyatt's. So there!  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What a Country!

So I can take this class and possibly meet Murphy's Law as a classmate ? I think he is sandbagging me as he has already done it once. Oh, and while I am in Virgina I can possibly get a ride in this

Hey, Old NFO? want to join us? We would be glad to have ya!

Wish I had a correct piece of hardware to put in this for the flight as I will be wearing a parachute!

Monday, June 20, 2011

USTC Day Four

So after the Basic Pistol class I hang around for the one day M1911 Armorer Class. My associate left after the Basic Pistol class giving me the first real nights sleep in three days. So it looks like this again:

They brought out Rock Island Mil-Spec 1911's for all three of us (I was the only civilian there). So take this:

And make it look like this oh, about 4 or 5 times:

The instructor was knowledgeable and cussed like a sailor throughout the day. I had my Series 80 with me during the class. USTC has a very dim view of the Series 80 Firing pin safety and the instructor immediately told me from memory the Brownell's part number for the frame shim to remove it from my pistol.

One of my fellow students was accompanied by a large black Lab dog. I thought nothing of it at the time but noticed later that he was a double amputee on both legs. He was young and a USTC employee. He said that Jonsie (the service dog) was going to get "stripper glitter" on him that evening in Elizabeth City. Wanted to know if I wanted to come. Sadly, I was leaving after this class. 

So in the morning I am looking at what I think is a old school overhead projector. Wrong! Looks like this:
Whatever he was doing to the gun was displayed on 6 flat screen monitors and he had the ability to zoom in on whatever part he was working with.
I DID learn some stuff. I will not tell everything here, but for starters: Cleaning firearms with ultrasonic cleaners with 50% Simple Green and 50% water. RIG grease is the USTC preferred grease. Synthetic motor oil for lube. Interesting stuff. 

So I had to come home and do this to my Pistol:


She had a bath in the ultrasonic cleaner and I am replacing the original trigger with the Pachmayr match target trigger.

I also removed the Series 80 Firing pin parts.

The trigger is adjustable for overstop and I dialed that in. It does make a difference on shooting this gun and finding reset. Other than that I really could not tell a difference on the removal of the Series 80 stuff, but less moving parts are better right?

If you go to USTC, the Food Lion grocery store is you friend. Do not spend ten bucks for lunch at the Chow Hall. Selection on the weekends for this class is limited. Grab a cup of coffee and something out of the vending machine if the Pro Shop is closed.

I enjoyed it and perhaps I will go back for Tactical Pistol I sometime.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day Pop!

Jennifer asks how you became a "gunnie". I have not responded to that post. I know no other path. My Father and Grandfather's always had several around. For defense, for putting food on the table. To me pistols, rifles, and shotguns were simply tools, much like the axe in the wood shed or a coal bucket for the stove. 

I have several common mechanical items that tie me to my Father. The 1971 Mustang that he purchased new is here. The 1966 Mustang we purchased and restored is here. The most enjoyable mechanical thing that links me to my Father is this (click to embiggen):

He tells me about his training in the Army with it as an MP. He's pretty damn good with one still after all of these years. 

I hope to shoot with him again soon. We will of course be shooting a M1911. For all of my degrees on the "I love me wall" in my house he is most proud of certifications associated with these tools. 

So don't be this person.

If they are still with you cherish it. Make the effort to talk to them on this day. We DO have disagreements but I am proud to be his son. I hope I have lived up to his expectations of me.

Happy Fathers Day Pop. I love you! 


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ok, I won't!

Tam says to not take her word for it on the Aim Fast Shoot fast class. Ok I won't! I will be there in September! Murphy, do you want to come along to laugh at my feeble attempts? Let me know!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

USTC Day Three

The morning brought Thunderstorms to the range. Arriving at 8:15 in the admin area was the armorer I spoke to the night before. He brought a STI brand slidestop. We install and I THINK I am back at it. After the TStorms leave but still raining we go at it. If you go, bring rain gear. They do indeed shoot in the rain here! 

The draw and malfunction drills again in the rain! Pulling a Pistol from a holster and reloading showed that rain gear is really not conducive to achieving great times, but well worth the effort. However, I am now encountering a failure to feed on the Colt. At lunch I go back to the room to troubleshoot. The new slidestop magazine piece is so long in the mag well it is pressing down on the actual bullet preventing a feed up to the ramp. So using Ninja gunsmithing skills with a permanent marker we can see where to file the slidestop.  

So now I ask the instructor if he has a file. Visions of Drill Sargent Hartman come to mind: "Private keads why are you doing this to me and my beloved Core, are you trying to be different?" etc. He says he does not. Time for plan "B". Sorta like "Robin if I can reach my Bat gunsmithing tool on my utility belt we can get out of this".

Behold gunsmithing tool retrieved from the car:

So during the next break to top off mags and "hydrate" (that used to mean drink some water), the class is watching me grind on the lever with the file. Some were freaked looking at a field stripped M1911 and I working over a part held on an ammo can. So much the better! 

We go back at it and shoot standing, kneeling, and prone. Distances increase here. So much the better! One student whips out an air mattress for this. You are kidding right ? My redneck gunsmithing has payed off. NO failure to feed or fire.

After lunch we get to a Rogers Range. USTC looks like this with eight bays of this:


In motion it looks like this minus the soundtrack:

The instruction was great, the facility was fantastic. If you want to push yourself with a Firearm there are worse places to start! I took 1300 rounds and came back with less than 50. 

Armorer class and additional info later! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


So after figuring out that no, that is not a Caterpillar generator outside the window at night it is in fact my roomie, we head out for the next day. Again a safety briefing with nearest medical centers distance and average response times, we go at it again.

Speed vs accuracy drills, presentation from holster, first shot was timed for 1.5 seconds from holster. One second shot drills, .5 second and .25 drills followed. The instructor always demonstrated the course of fire first. He was simply put impressive. 

If you had a slide bite or other appendage bleeding the instructors had band aids. Both whipped out the most garish "Hello Kitty" bandages for you to wear as your badge of shame for the day. I did not ask for one but my left forefinger got split at the cuticle from reaching around and digging in the left rear pocket for magazines. I had plenty of less demeaning Band-Aids in the range bag.  

We play the ballistic version of basketball horse, where your partner calls the first shot and then you have two attempts to put a bullet in the same hole. NOW everyone is my friend after I was named "single stack". They all say I have the biggest target for them to aim for. I stick with my partner and we go at it. That was fun! 

Then the malfunction drills come. Double feed, click, no bang, etc. After a progression of administrative, tactical, and emergency reload drills we get to the drill I hated "the everything gone wrong" scenario. A double feed followed with a magazine with one round then another with a full load. 

We get to the "scan and assess" drills. You really need to do a full 360 assessment from the high ready and if you do not you will miss an instructor behind you with a forefinger to his head or two fingers to his chest signifying additional head or center mass shots are required on your target. 

Near the end of the day I have a malfunction. Pistol is not going to slidestop. Of course this is during the final string of reload drills. Instructor asks me why I am not going to slidestop. I tell him I do not know but it must be the slidestop lever or magazines. He asked what type of mags I have and I tell him Wolff.

I also spot a fellow classmate with a jug of disposable foam ear plugs and ask If I can get some for the coming night of wall rattling snoring. They graciously give me several. 

After going to dinner with the guys from the aforementioned Suburban in town I get to take a look.

Slidestop lever (on left) sheared off. At least the broken parts did not get up into the slide and grind around up there!  I had a complete spring kit and firing pin for the old girl on hand. I was not expecting a slidestop lever problem!

So, knowing the Proshop is closed on Sunday and I cannot get a replacement or rent a gun for the final day I wander down to the front desk and explain my problem to the young lady at the front desk. She gets on the radio and calls range control. They give her a phone number and in 5 minutes I am talking to a Blackwater USTC Armorer. He asks what range I am at in the morning and at what time. 

Tomorrow awaits, but really frustrated on the failure.    

Guess what happens if.....

You come home for lunch from work and replace a light bulb while simultaneously pressing the red key on this fob that is in your front pocket against the kitchen counter?
Why two of these show up in the driveway and the Gentlemen from them are REALLY interested in seeing your identification!

That's what I get for hitting the silent panic button on the alarm! Guess I will pay my 115 buck annual alarm monitoring fee again!

Monday, June 13, 2011

US Training Center Basic Pistol and Armorer Class Pt 1

OK, OK, I'm back! Thanks for waiting. First the FTC disclaimer. I paid for the trip, lodging, food, and classes. The only Swag I received was during the one day M1911 armorer class. Looks like this:


The first thing of interest is that ALL Blackwater logo stuff is now verboten. The pocket notepad and pen came from the instructors "personal stash". Every sign on the compound site was sporting the USTC logo.

My associate and I arrive in separate vehicles. The Garmin goes blank as soon as we hit it. We are parked in a waiting area as credentials are checked, vehicle passes are issued and instructions to the Black Bear Inn are given. We drive. A long time. Past the airport, a bunch of Ford Crown Vics, Hummers, and other assorted motor vehicles are parked next to the driving training grounds. I roll the window down. The sound of gunfire and tires squealing immediately come to my ears.  This should be fun!

We check in and assess our home for the next few days, a semi-private room sharing a bathroom with the adjacent room:

Do not expect a turn down service or mint on the pillow here! 

Here is an exterior door to the BBI:

The signs read: "No loaded weapons in the building" and "DO NOT leave weapons unattended". Certanly not standard fare for a Motel!

In the parking lot next to us is a Suburban in black with tinted windows sporting a less than standard license plate and a low profile light bar on the top. We hang with the people from it for a while. They are there for driving, we are here for shooting. 
Next morning we go to class. After 2 hours of safety and "we love us" orientation we are on a range! 

Please consider that our hosts were less than receptive to pictures or videos. 

The first range!

After orientation in the class I know that I am the only one shooting a 1911. Everyone else is sporting the usual; Glocks, Sig's, Springfield XD, S&W M&P's, Beretta's. There were 13 of us in the class and the max is 14. I am using a 25+ year old single stack gun with a leather concealment holster. I was the dinosaur here. A Father and Daughter are here. A Father and Son are here. My associate to the left of me on the line and a young man on my right.  

The first shooting drill was in retrospect a skill assessment. We moved from there real quick! We shot paper, we shot steel plates. We shot! 

I am proud that I kept up with 6 magazines in my back pocket with the paddle mag holder on my side with 2 in reserve. 

Instructors payed attention. This was not a "get them in shoot and get them out" deal. I received personal instruction on my grip, stance, and trigger finger placement. I have never received any formal instruction so I took to it. It DID make a difference! 
First day over and we await tomorrow! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This sums it up!

Just got the Colt 1911 back together. That is a story in and of itself. 

Every weekend this month is consumed with the Charity shoot. I leave you with this for now (click to embiggen):

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ah.. Needed to back off for a minute.

I will post my review of USTC classes as soon as I can. In the meantime, this:

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm Back!

And I am exhausted, sore, sunburned, and humbled with my skill with a handgun. I DO however have a large smile on my face!

More later!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Ready to go:

I thought about going to see my old friend "The Showboat" after leaving this, but going from the top of the widest part of the State to the other end was not practical. Plus, it is like a kabillion degrees here. Yeah, lets run around on a big metal thing! I did really want to try out the 1MC circuit like someone else I know. I have always braved the heat it the past, I think I can avoid the tourists and have a better time in the fall or winter on the State's WWII Memorial.

I will be real close to Norfolk, VA and perhaps OldNFO can provide tips to seeing stuff in Norfolk.