Friday, February 29, 2008

I'm itching to shoot again!

Pictures from the Novemeber 07 match. Seems like forever ago these pics were taken. This is Brian S. and Paul S. I'd love to know what that conversation is about. Look at these evil smirks.
Paul S. again, along with Mark C. on clipboard, and Rob B. on timer. One sure way to get your picture on this blog is email me some like Paul S did. Until we start shooting again I'm low on them.

Speaking of shooting again, the weather looks like it may cooperate and allow us to shoot in March. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Why I'm no fan of OO buck

Check out the post at
and you'll see a great post about OO buck. The guy is right on the mark.

Keep in mind that at the closer ranges 6 shot is every bit as deadly, and is a lot safer as far as overpenetration is concerned.

Some of you may remember using it at a shotgun match at Izaak Walton on full size poppers at 35 yards. Even if you got a few on a lightly calibrated popper there was no guarantee it would take it down. Observing good shooters get frustrated on a test that OO should excel at clinched it for me. That is the most overated stuff on the planet. If the targets were any closer birdshot would have been better. Slugs would definitely have been better. There is no room for OO buck on the shelves in my gun room.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Inside Information - Area 8 Multi-gun

Sunday the planning committee met and planned all the stages for the A8MG to be held in Topton June 27th and 28th. Wow! The stages look cool on paper and the round count is impressive. 124 rounds min. for rifle. 114 rounds min. for pistol. 68 birdshot and 12 slugs min. for shotgun. When I say minimum I mean plan on shooting more than that. Dean says the standard for multi-gun is to bring twice minimum round count and I think that's a great idea.

Working from memory, so don't hold me to this, I think the stages look something like this:

1. 32 rounds pistol on all Pepper poppers and 32 rounds of rifle on close metrics.

2. 32 birdshot on US poppers, blowouts, and static clays.

3. A 32 rounds pistol course with 12 steel and 20 rounds on paper.

4. 20 rifle on steel plates at 80 yards from prone, and another 20 rifle on close metrics, followed by 24 rounds of birdshot on static clays.

5. 24 rifle on close metrics, followed by 12 birdshot on static clays, followed by 24 pistol on metrics. All on a huge field course which uses 2 adjoining pits.

6. 16 rifle on 200 yard flash targets and 12 rifle on point blank metrics. 4 at 200 yards will be standing unsupported!

7. 12 slugs on plates at 50 yards, followed by 26 pistol on metrics.

As you can see there is nothing fancy going on here. There's not a mover in the match. Just plain old shooting and a lot of it. Skill should be the decider in this one.

There will only be one time slot Saturday all day. I know the match fee is $125. Alan said the applications should be out anyday now so keep your eyes open for them and don't hesitate to get signed up.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Encoded Ammunition Act

As if ammunition hasn't gotten expensive enough the anti-gunners are trying to ram the Encoded Ammunition Bill, HB #2228, down our throats in PA. From what I hear this is a concerted effort and is taking place in most if not all states.

It entails the serialization of all casings and projectiles in all of our favorite calibers. There is also a tax that goes along with it to pay for the registration database. Handloaded ammunition will be illegal. The cost of ammo will be prohibitive for sports like ours. I expect ammunition companies will refuse to comply and will just quit selling ammo to all but the military and police which are exempt.

If you live in PA go to and find out who your legislators are and tell them to vote against HB #2228. Every phone call and email counts. I talked to my state senator one day personally and he told me very few people actually take the time to communicate with him on any issue. Therefore according to him every call or email is considered to represent thousands of constituents who have remained silent.

If you live in other states find out if a similar bill is in your legislature and fight it like your hobby depends on it. It may.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Storytime with Uncle Tino part II

If you've seen our match calendar you know we changed our May match date from the second Sunday (the 11th)to the second Saturday (the 10th). The point of that change was to move our match off of Mother's Day. Something that should make many wives and mothers happy. However, that leaves us with something special by pure coincidence: A Saturday match which brings all of our shooting buddies into town, and nothing to do the next day except go have dinner with our moms. That makes the night of Saturday the 10th an excellent opportunity for "Storytime with Uncle Tino part II".

If you missed last year's you missed a great time. The idea is simple. After the match we all go about 20 minutes south to a piece of unimproved land I own, set up tents, build a fire, cook things and consume adult beverages until way late into the evening/next morning. The problem with the 2007 version was we had another match the next day. Some of our scores were not what they should have been to say the least.

This year we can sleep in a little, make a hearty breakfast, and there will be no rush to get out of there. I'm sure I'll discuss this more at a later date but mark it on your calendar now. Last year was a blast and I'm sure that the sequel will live up to our expectations.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


So, I used to think youtube was for kids. But go to and in the search box put "uspsa". There are thousands of shooting videos on there. So while you're sitting around this weekend wishing the weather was nicer, and relaxing from all that dryfiring you've been doing check it out. Maybe you can learn something form Eric, Todd, Robbie, Max and the many others on there. Oh, and did I tell you it's free?

Funshoot Pics!

Here are some pics from today's funshoot.

As you can see, a good time was had by all...elsewhere! Yuk! Glad we didn't step in it....

Funny, this happened last year, and we ended up at the show in York. I saw a couple of our funshooters there today. Hope to see all your smiling faces in March.

Brian H.

I don't know when Larry will have Brian ready for competition but as you can see he's been shooting since last summer. I guess it's only a matter of time until this kid is kicking our butts.

The step back drill.

When the weather isn't great and the footing is treacherous at the ranges and you want something to practice by yourself or with a friend and don't want to do a lot of set-up here's something you can do. I call it the step back drill. You can use this drill as a basis to practice the draw, or the reload, or just about any basic skill or combination of skills. Remember it is good to isolate the elements, but it does get boring at some point. You may or may not use a timer. You can run your own timer at practice but it's better if you have a buddy do it for you.

In this example we're going to practice the draw on metric targets, but you can twist this up anyway you like. Set up one target all the way against the backstop. You may need some distance for this if you're good. 50 yards is possible, though not likely at first. So make ready at 2 yards from the target. Yes, 6 feet. Do 6 draws. do them perfectly. If you have 6 A's step back one step. If not repeat it at 2 yards until you get 6 A's. Every time you get the 6 A's you can step back one step. It's really pretty simple, but it will teach you so much through the repetition and testing you're doing. It also reinforces something else that's very important. Only A's are acceptable.

With two people this drill can be fun too. Ben and I put up a target for each of us. We run timer for each other and play by the same rules, but what happens is one of you move back at some point but the other does not. Then you have to bear down and hope they make a mistake so you can catch them and maybe even pass them.

Variations can include all different kinds of draws, reloads, strong and weak hand, upper a/b zones only, hard cover targets, no-shoot obscured targets etc. The possiblites are endless. Just remember A's only. A simple drill like this is really a great technique for learning the basics and is fun and challenging (sometimes frustrating).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Area 8 Mulit-gun Championship!

This year York and Topton will jointly host the first Area 8 Multi-gun Championship at Topton June 27th-29. Our new Area Director Alan M. has entrusted Dean D. and I to produce this match for him. We are excited to annouce it officially. It is already on's major match calendar and I expect applications to be available Monday. As soon as they are I will announce that and link to the application and provide more details.

At this time, I do believe that there will be 7 stages. The match fee will be $125. Your choices for time slots will be Friday 12:00pm until done (primarily staff), Saturday am (start 8:00am finish 4:00pm?), or Sunday am (start 8:00am finish 1:00pm?). I think we'll be asking full time staff to show up Thursday if possible, Friday am at the latest. We'll probably ask everyone who shoots Friday to show up in the am to help with last minute prep if they can. We'll probably ask everyone who shoots Sunday to stay a few extra minutes to help tear down if they can.

I will be in charge of staffing and I am looking for a few good men, or women to RO the match. You do not have to be a certified RO to help. If you're interested in helping email me at and let me know what you think you are capable of doing. We prefer full time staff (Thur-Sun)but if you only have a day or two let me know. Staff will be compensated very fairly.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


The third installment of the 5 things you should be practicing.

Accuracy is a relative term. What is required in practical shooting is not the same as what is required in 1000 yd. benchrest or even Bianchi Cup. I think from my experience that you should strive to hit A zones at 50 yards and Upper A/B zones, or 8" plates at 25 yards. At the Florida Open this year for instance there were several times we had to do the 8" plates at 25 yards and I couldn't count all the times I've had to shoot metric targets at 50 yards. I remember an Area 8 in Fredericksburg with a US popper at 50 yards too. At York our pits aren't very deep as a rule, so you may have a false impression if that's the only place you shoot, but we are going to correct that this year. Take that as a hint of things to come.

To shoot accurately you must do several things:

1. Know where to aim. Every kind of target is different. Look at them up close and learn their sweet spots. On metric targets the A is not in the center of the target it is higher. On classics it is higher still. On poppers you know to aim for the circular part right? What about hard cover targets or one's partially covered with no-shoots? Each one of these is a different case and must be handled as such.

2. Use a good grip and stance. Both hands equal pressure. Firm but not a death grip either. Body leaning forward at the waist a little. Knees bent a little. Feet about shoulder width apart and weak foot just a few inches ahead of the strong.

3. Line up the sights. Hopefully you know how to do this. The only hint I have for you here is that if you're using iron sights the front one is the one you want in perfect focus. Your eyes can't focus on the target, the front, and the rear sight at the same time. If you're shooting a dot then the dot should be clearer than the target.

4. Squeeze the trigger. Not jerk. While you're squeezing with the trigger finger you should not be moving the others.

5. Follow through. This means that the entire time you are pulling the trigger you should be entirely focused on the front sight. Right up until the time the recoil moves the gun and messes up that picture. If you are doing it right you will see the front sight lift.

6. Call your shot. Very important. Your brain should be able to process the information input at the exact instant of the shot and you should know without looking at the target where the shot went. Every shot you ever shoot, all the time, even during a course of fire. If you do this properly it tells you whether you need to make up a miss and theoretically you'll know whether you hit a piece of steel before it falls. If you don't already do this learn it.

How do we practice accuracy?

By now you already knew I was going to say dryfiring didn't you? And you know we do it because it's free and doens't require a trip to the range at night or on a snowy day. When you dryfire for accuracy work on your focus. Work on aiming at the exact right place on the targets. Work on squeezing the trigger and keeping your focus through hammer fall. If your trigger pull is perfect the sights will never move. You can even practice calling your shots if they do move, but hopefully you can't.

At the range. Work on basically the same things as dryfiring. Use different targets at varied distances. I recommend you start out close. Ridiculously close. 2 yards. Now work your way out slowly and gradually until you hit A's at 50 yards and upper A/B's at 25. When you're doing accuracy drills isolate that skill. Don't work on the draw, reload or anything else. Slow down and just shoot accuracy. Gain confidence in your ability to be accurate.

Shoot the fun shoots at Izaak Walton. These shoots are untimed and accuracy is everything. Shooting Claybirds at 20 or 25 yards is quite a test. Shooting a half inch bullseye is too. The fun shoots will really show you things that USPSA matches will not. Even mediocre USPSA shooters can really show off at fun shoots to the average shooter. That's fun. But be warned, there are some pretty good accuracy shooters there. There are also a couple of guys who shoot USPSA fair, but will clean your clock at the fun shoots (Robert P. and Mark C. come to mind)

About Izaak Walton League #67

The Club House
Many people, even members don't really know much about York Izaak Walton #67. We are one chapter of a national organization dedicated to conservation of our environment. Unlike many environmental organizations we understand that conservation means WISE use, not NON use. We support hunting, fishing and shooting as well as all kinds of wildlife projects. We raise fish and pheasants on the grounds. We also do stream restoration and sponsor the York County Envirothon which educates and tests hundreds of students on nature. The ranges and shooting matches are just a small part of what our club is about.
I'll bet a lot of you never even noticed "Lake Tonian". As you drive in the driveway (speed limit 10 mph) it is on the far side of the playground on the other side of the creek, and it is packed with bass, crappies, and bluegills. Members may fish there. Read the sign at the lake for restrictions.

Our chapter has over 1000 members, and has been around over 75 years. There are a lot of different events that you might be interested in. Check out the clubs website at It is undergoing a massive renovation project

The reload

The second of the 5 things you need to practice.

Ever see a GM blow a reload? You probably haven't. That's because the reload is a basic skill that they practice over and over and over.

A reload is best used as a planned manuever. In theory you should know exactly when and where you will do every reload during a course of fire. You may determine that point by knowing when you finish a given target or array it is time to do it, or sometimes you actually know that after you fire the __th round you need to reload. Generally you should try to do it BEFORE you run your gun dry.

You're going to find once again, that you want your movements to be SMOOTH, CONSISTENT, and EFFICIENT.

The reload is about as simple as the draw, yet probably as hard to put into words. I'll try:

1. Finish shooting the last shot. Seems like I shouldn't have to say it, but trust me the opposite happens when you get in too much of a hurry. If you start the reload procedure prematurely and don't follow through enough you're asking for trouble. Maybe a miss or even a no-shoot.

2. Simultaneously hit the mag release and start reaching for a fresh mag with your weak hand. One key point here is to keep the gun up. The gun should remain between your eyes and the target (or wherever you will be looking next) Do not drop your gun down to the mag. You're going to bring the mag up to the gun.

3. As your weak hand picks up the mag your index finger should run along the front of the mag with the fingertip towards the open end of the mag. This allows the index finger to guide the mag into the magwell. As it is being guided in you should be watching the mag start into the gun.

4. After you have seen the mag start into the gun you want to shift your visual focus back to the next target or whatever you need to see next. If you kept the gun up like you were supposed to this should be a quick refocusing not a looking up.

5. When the mag is fully seated (you should feel it click) shift your hands back into the proper firing grip, align the sights and continue firing.

How are we going to practice our reloads?

Dryfiring is once again an excellent (and free) strategy. You're going to use the same basic procedures you use for dryfiring the draw. Super slow motion and perfect several times. Slow motion and perfect several times. Real time but still continuing to be perfectly smooth, and technically correct.

One invaluable aid for dryfiring are a couple of the blue CRTC training mags. These plastic mags are made specifically for different models of guns and are weighted to simulate a loaded mag. The adavntages of these inexpensive mags (Less than $20 each)are manifold.

First, there is no chance of a live round getting into the gun. An empty mag weighs much less than a full mag and doesn't go in as well as one with rounds. Dummy rounds work well in a real mag, but you have to be sure not to get them mixed up with live rounds.

Second, they save your real mags the abuse of putting them in the gun and dropping them on the floor. Mags can be expensive to replace and there's no reason to take a chance bending the feed lips dropping them or wearing out the mag release notch.

Third, the plastic mags don't wear out your mag release like metal mags might. Trust me if you do it enough this can happen.

Fourth, less wear and tear on your mag well.

Fianlly, and this is a big one, they go in you gun easier and faster than real mags do. The plastic is slick and they glide right in as long as you start them properly. It teaches you through our friend muscle memory to do a faster reload.

Live fire, just like with the draw is necessary for the feedback. The same principles we used to live fire the draw also apply to the reload. Start super slow-motion and work your way up to real time after several repetitions. Accept nothing but A's. Slow down if needed. Use targets at all kinds of various distances. Isolate the reload as much as possible when practicing it. Practice it standing, and moving in all directions. It's also a good habit to practice reloading around a barricade some.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Using what you have.

I was thinking about telling new shooters to use what they have as long as it's legal for competition, accurate enough, and reliable. I always tell them that the best place to spend their money is on ammo. Really that goes for all of us. Instead of rushing out to get the newest flashy piece of gear hoping it will make us better shooters we would generally be better off to just buy more ammo and practice with it. If you think that fancy guns are what gets it done you should look closely at Rob Leatham, Todd Jarrett, Dave Sevigny, Max Michel, and Travis Thomasie's guns as I have done. Their guns are just run of the mill, nothing impressive about them. They are eminently reliable, and I'm sure they're plenty accurate. They all have one thing in common. They look like they've been used hard. Lots of practice. Lots of dry firing. Lots of matches. They spend their (or their sponsors) money on ammo.


Always nice to get some new pictures. I put out a call for some good pictures and here are a couple of the ones I received. If you have some please email them to me. I could use some more.
Remember sometime ago in a post I mentioned our resident elk hunters? Here is proof that they are successful elk hunters. I wasn't thinking about non-shooting pictures when I asked for them, but there should be no limitations on this blog. I think a lot of us will find it interesting. That's a nice bull Rob!
Rob ROing Paul S. I've got to tell you I never thought much of Ruger centerfire semi-autos but Paul does a nice job with his. It is accurate enough, and truly reliable. I have always told new shooters to use what they have if they can until they figure out what they like better. When Paul started I thought he would need a new gun asap, but so far I can't see any reason for him to change.

Summer Blast Update - revised!

Just talked to Larry. All Saturday and SUNDAY slots are filled. Friday am and pm slots are still available. If you aren't working the match and you don't have your application in yet you better get it in the mail or you won't be shooting at all.

The draw

The first of the 5 things you need to practice.

Let's start off talking about the basic hands at sides draw. It is the most common and in reality the basics of all draws are the same.

In general the key to the draw is to SMOOTHLY get your gun into your hand in a CONSISTENT manner and bring it between you and the first target SMOOTHLY and EFFICIENTLY.

The three all caps words, SMOOTH, CONSISTENT, and EFFICIENT are probably the most important concepts in practical shooting. If you add these together they equal FAST and ACCURATE. That wins.

You probably understand the draw and should do what works for you, but I'll attempt to explain the draw for the newbies. It is hard to put the perfect draw into words, but I'll try.

Important: You should be looking intently at your first target throughout the draw sequence.

1. Get your strong hand to your pistol and establish your firing grip with that hand right off the bat. It may seems like this takes time, but it accomplishes two things. You won't drop your gun, and I don't have to explain why that's important, and you won't have to correct it later, which wastes time, and leads to inconsistency and inaccuracy. At the same time move your flattened weak hand to your belly area so it's ready for the next step.

2. Smoothly withdraw the gun straight up out of the holster and get the flattened weak hand to the gun and take the section of your index finger closest to your hand and put it into the intersection of your trigger guard and grip like you're doing an gentle upward karate chop.

3. As you pull the gun up to chest level the weak hand should wrap around the grip of the strong hand so that index finger is tight up against the trigger guard and the weak hand wraps the strong hand which has remained in place since step 1. The thumbs should be fairly parallel at this point and pointing generally toward the target.

4. Now that the grip is established you can start extending the arms out towards the target and remove the safety if your pistol is so equipped.

5. When the sights get between your eyes and the target your arms should be at nearly full extension (but never locked) and as the sights line up the gun should be pushed against your trigger finger and fire. I don't pull the trigger. I push the gun forward and stop my trigger finger and as the gun pushes forward into it the gun fires. This technique keeps you from jerking the trigger.

How do we practice the draw?

Dry firing the draw is an incredibly important tool for practicing the draw. Put up some kind of target to aim at. Usually smaller is better because of the reduced distances available. Gear up with absolutely no ammo in the room where you do this. Check to make sure your gun is unloaded. Now go through the steps of the draw in super slow motion several times. Just work on being smooth and efficient. Do everything perfect every time. Now do it in slow motion several times still working to be perfectly smooth and efficient. Now do it in real time until you boredom overcomes you. If you are sloppy and not intent on improving don't do it at all. You'll only be teaching yourself bad habits. Dry firing is free and doesn't take much time because you can do it wihout leaving the house.

Live firing the draw is equally important because you need the feedback the target and the timer can give you. Start out the same way. Super slow motion but perfect several times. Slow motion and perfect several more. Real time and perfect, at targets of various sizes and distances for dozens if not hundreds of rounds. If you're using IPSC targets you should be shooting A's only. Don't accept drawing fast and shooting C's or D's. If you're not shoot A's you should slow down.

Important note: When practicing the draw, only practice the draw. Draw and shoot one round on one target. Reholster. Repeat. Isolate the thing you're working on and do it until it's perfect. If you get bored with practicing the draw, work on something else, but don't just start adding things and tell yourself you're still working on the draw.

I really think the super slow motion and slow motion draws are important to learn the muscle memory important to a smooth and consistent draw.

After you feel comfortable with the hands at sides draw, try wrists above shoulders, back to targets, and all the other draws you have seen at matches. The basics of the draw are the same for any start position really.

Handle your gun a lot. Dry firing every day you can't get to the range would be optimal. Practice the draw more than you think you need to. It may seem too simple and rudimentary for you, but I'll bet the top few still do it more than you can even imagine. We should too.

Izaak Walton member ID cards

For those of you who are Izaak Walton members and are wondering where your 2008 card is I do know they just got to the secretary and she is working on getting them all mailed out. With over 1000 to do this takes time. Don't panic they should be on their way. If you don't have yours by our March match let me know and I'll look into it for you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Practice - a $500 lesson for free

As we head into the season it's time to think about how we practice. Most of us are drawn into the seductive trap of practicing stages. That is where we set up stages or stage-like things and we run them like it is a match. Sometimes they're simple or sometimes they are more complex. It is fun and it seems like the right thing to do.

I'm here to tell you it is not.

If you talk to any of the top few GMs they will tell you they only practice very simple and specific drills. They only shoot stages at matches.

A lot of people take classes or buy DVD's expecting to learn some "great secrets" of practical shooting. I can save you a bunch of money by telling you there are none. Zero. The holy grail you seek does not exist.

There are two real differences between the top few and the rest of us:
1. They are more dedicated. They practice more. They shoot more matches. They will do whatever they need to do to be prepared for the next match.
2. They excel at the basics. They are just better at the really simple things.

What should we do now?

First, you must search your soul and decide how much of yourself you are willing to dedicate to practical shooting. Your goals have to be proportional to the effort you are prepared to put in. We all have other things in our lives. Family, jobs, other hobbies, lots of things. But there are only so many hours in the day.

Are you willing to put everything aside to be the best? I love practical shooting more than most, but I am not putting it at the top of my priority list, and I understand that it will limit my USPSA career. You too must make peace with yourself and know who you are as a shooter. No one else can do that for you. One of the great things about this sport is that you can shoot once a month, not practice at all and still win C, D, or maybe even B once in a while, and if it makes you happy that's cool. Or if you want to practice 4 times a week and shoot 4 or 5 matches a month and 12 majors a year you can be in the top 16 at Nationals and a GM within 2 years. That's cool too. You can be anywhere in between too. Me, I'm happy practicing once a week, shooting 2 matches a month, 3 to 5 majors a year and just being a respectable Master. Sure, I'd like to be better, but I am not willing to make the sacrifices necessary for the GM card, and must accept that.

So let's assume that you have decided that you will practice, maybe a little, or even a lot, you have to make the most of the practice time available. Believe it or not, I used to shoot a lot more and not be progressing as much. Somewhere along the way I learned I had to practice smarter not more. I think I figured out that whenever I taught someone else the basics I learned them better myself and it made me a better shooter. Something practicing stages had not done.

What are the basics? You probably already know them:
- the draw
- the reload
- accuracy
- target acquisition
- movement

All you have to do now is figure out to be better at these 5 things than everyone else. If you practice these 5 things, and nothing but these 5 things, you will improve. I guarantee that. In later posts I will explain some drills that I know that will help you to improve at these 5 things.

For now, review where practical shooting fits into your life, and get it into your head that you are going back to the basics. You're going to build a strong foundation on which to base your match performances.

You better believe I'll be taking my own advice.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A new poll

Check out the new poll. I really care why you are coming here. So far I've just been doing whatever I felt was right, but if there is some direction I should be steering towards I want to know.

The last poll didn't really mean much. I just wanted to know if anyone really cared about the blog at all. Everyone said they liked it. The counter is confirming that. Now I want to know what it will take to keep everyone interested.


This blog is getting a lot of traffic as evidenced by the counter. 185 hits in the last 48 hours is a pretty serious number for a limited interest site like this that maybe 350 people even know about. Still I am surprised, maybe even disappointed, how few people leave comments. Especially in view of the gun cleaning post, which I thought would illicit accusations of heresy by some, and the 460xvr post which I thought would shock many. Your reactions to posts like these or any, are of interest to me and I'm sure many others. Even if it's only to tell us "Sean is a hottie" (my favorite comment, which we all already knew by the way). It takes seconds to leave a comment. Try it.

March USPSA match

Just a little reminder that the March USPSA match at York Izaak Walton is going to be a "special classifier match" with 4 classifiers. This is important if you're trying to move up in class or want your initial classification. It's also a great time to get classified in another division. Single Stack is now an official division. You may want to get classed in that. The 4 classifiers we are looking to use are the 4 new 08 series classifiers.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Random pictures

I thought it was time for a few more pictures, so here's some I had lying around. If you click on any picture posted to this blog it should expand. Most of the newer ones are taken in pretty high resolution and look good. If you ever see one you want me to email you just let me know.

Sean M. "The Colorado Kid" doing his thing. Note the brass just out of the ejection port.

Check out the way Gary is staring down the next target under the watchful eye of RO Sean M.

Greg's grip looks like it might get him in trouble with the 460xvr, but his vise-like grip rocks on the Glock.

VA-MD Section Championship

What does this have the VA-MD Section match have to do with York Pistol? A lot. First, Tino, Barb, and all the people who run that match are great friends and I would gladly advertise anything for them. Second, it is June 6-8th. That is also our match weekend. So what you need to do is get your application in early so that you can get a Saturday slot for that match and shoot our monthly match on Sunday. Two great matches in one weekend! That's a good time. You don't want to miss either one. The VA-MD Section website is Get your application there.

460 XVR accident - Graphic!

A friend sent me this in an email. It is amazing. I looked around the internet and this has happened more than just this one time. It may be a bit graphic for some. It is definitely on and is not a hoax. The one cool thing is the guy says he is not suing anyone on the forum.


"A St. Louis, Missouri guy on my AR-15 forum had a bad accident with his S&W 460XVR Magnum yesterday. He was shooting with a two handed hold and got his left thumb up near the lower front of the cylinder. The normal (powerful) gasses blowing out at the barrel/cylinder gap ripped the top of his left thumb off. I've added some of his posts & some pics.

"No joke, about 1/2 of my left thumb is gone .... what's left is a friggin mess.

It's pretty hard to type, and I'm only posting because you never know, it might save somebody else a thumb. I was using a 2-handed grip, fired off a Cor-Bon DPX .460 ;and the blast came violently out the side of the gun.

At first my thumb was so covered in blood that I couldn't see how bad it was ... and I wsfll of adrenaline and felt no pain. And honestly it looked really bad, my whole hand was covered in blood and it was kinda gushing.

The blown-off thumb was on my support hand. I'll re-create the grip tomorrow to see where my thumb was, but it's not like I didn't already know not to get any body part near the cylinder gap. And even if I totally screwed up and did, taking my thumb clean off seems a bit excessive?

Just be careful with those 460's. That case operates at such high pressure, it's just asking for trouble.

BTW, I bought my 460 new and had exactly 12 rounds through it. Info about the gun, it's a full-size 460 with the 8 3/4' barrel and factory installed compensator. It's one of the Whitetails Unlimited models. Ammo was 200gr Cor-Bon DPX.

The gun only had 12 or 13 rounds of the Cor-Bon through it, and 10 .45 Long Colt rounds through it. So it was essentially still brand new.

Saw a hand specialist while there today. Lots of ways to try and save what's left, but first I just have to hope it doesn't get infected in the next few days ... then surgery early next week.

The hand specialist I spent a few hours with last night said that in gunshot wounds there is always a lot more damage than is first visible ... same with things like fireworks going off in your hand. A lot more flesh around the wound is dead, and will rot and fall off over the next couple days. That's why it's so important to keep clean, and that's also why they can't do surgery now. If they wrapped new skin over dead skin it would just puss out, possibly turn gang-green, and they'd have to start all over again.

This is an example of how he was holding his revolver. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

This is what's left of his thumb.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

L10 Nationals 07 Blog link

While we were at the L10 Nationals my brother started a blog so those at home could keep up with our progress. It's still around even though we don't post to it anymore. He sent me the link so I added it to the link list. You may find it interesting or you may not.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tip of the week 2/15

I read an interesting thing the other day about cleaning your barrel. Go to and click on "barrel cleaning" in the right hand column. This seems to make sense to me unless you're shooting lead. I'm not a fanatic on cleaning my guns anyway, but I never wasted a lot of time on the barrel, except the chamber, and apparently I was doing the right thing. I've never worn a barrel out, and never had problems with accuracy either. I believe if you're shooting lead bullets, especially soft ones, that you've got to get that out of the barrel when it starts building up.

As for the rest of the gun, keep it simple. When you're talking about a firearm you use as much as we do in IPSC there's no reason to detail it like it's going to a show. About once a month, or every 5000 rounds, whichever comes first, I field strip whatever I'm using and clean and lube it. I use WD-40 first and hose down everything that's not wood. WD-40 is cheap and is in my opinion safer for your guns than the products sold specifically for cleaning your guns, and it leaves a slightly protective, and lubricating layer on everything. Like I said earlier I don't really clean my barrels. I do use a copper brush to make sure my chamber is clean. I use a toothbrush to knock crud loose on every part and hose it all down again. Then I use paper towels to wipe everything as clean and dry as I can get it, including the inside of the barrel. I inspect parts for unusual wear, cracks, and breakage as I wipe them off. I then lube all the moving parts where they make contact with a little FP-10 with a needle oiler and reassemble. Wipe down the outside with a paper towel and stick it in the bag. Perfectly spotless? No, but it will be perfectly reliable and won't wear out.

Just about every time I shoot, if I haven't just cleaned the gun I'm using, I will put a drop of FP-10 on all the moving parts I can get to with a needle oiler. Probably unnecessary, but it can't hurt. I'm not into grease or slide-glide, they seem to get gummed up with fouling, and when it's cold they get sticky.

I don't remove the extractor and firing pin every time I clean my pistols. I usually do that every other time. I also disassemble my mags and clean them thoroughly every other time I clean my pistols. That seems to be often enough.

WD-40 is a solvent and if you give it time to work you don't have to scrub as hard. One way to do that effiently is to clean several guns at once in sequence. Disassemble all of them and hose them all down first. Remove the crud and rehose them all. Wipe them all down. Lube them all. Reassemble them all. It helps if you lay them down intelligently and don't get all the parts mixed up.

About every 10-20,000 rounds I like to do a more detailed cleaning, and a closer inspection. That's also a good time to replace the recoil spring, and firing pin spring on most pistols.

This method has worked for me with STIs both in Limited and Open configurations, Glocks, and AR-15s for many years. I do my shotguns differently. That will be the subject of another post. These methods are merely my opinions on cleaning. You should do what the manufacturer recommends or whatever you like to do.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Florida Open pics

Ben hosing some targets at the Florida Open. His match didn't go the way he wanted. He can't win them all.

Greg was 9th overall in production. His 5th match ever. The competition was tough down there. He should be very proud of that finish.

The weather was great. While it was cold and windy in MD and PA we got sunburned.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Florida Open

Kirk M. soaking up the sun and imparting his wisdom on us.

Recognize the guy I'm with? I hadn't seen Russell in a while. We missed him.

Rob B. airgunning stage 5.

Well, we're back from Florida. The weather sure was a lot nicer there. It was in the 70's and 80's and so much sun that we all got sunburned. That is one tough match! A lot of long shots, like plates at 25 yards, and a lot of underclassed, and very good foreign competitors. Greg and I had really clean, very nice matches, and still didn't finish well in our classes. The other guys, well they either were not prepared or things just didn't go the way they would have liked. Like I said, it was a very tough match. Needless to say I picked up some ideas for our matches at York. If you would like to see results they are at

Ben, Kirk and I shot Open. And I didn't do so bad for shooting a gun that has a dot, and jams once in a while. I think I'm done with that for a while. Greg, Russell, Rob, Jeff, and Eric all shot production. The match gave away 120 guns. A bunch to winners of various divisions, categories, and classes, and a bunch randomly, but none of us won anything. Maybe next match.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

More old pics

Here is one from deep in the archives of our IT genius Kevin.
Is that a Limited gun in his hands? We haven't seen that in a while.

Unidentifed shooter being ROed by John Z. This is a match picture from the dark ages where shooting positions could be mandated in field courses. This was part of a stage where you probably had to engage 3 targets from this position, the maybe engage 3 more from around a barricade, then run to a box and engage 3 more. Technically this stuff is still legal at club level matches, but we don't do it at York. Some clubs do, and you can't really blame them. Very few have the tremendous set-up crew we have. 12 to 30 dedicated people at set-ups allow us to run an Area match pretty much every month.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

New sign up email

We have a new sign-up email we are using now. To sign up for our monthly USPSA matches you must email us at up to 5 days before the match. Please include your name, USPSA#, division for this match, and anyone you would like to be squadded with. You should receive a reply within a day or two confirming you are signed up, and containing more details about the match such as start time, round count, and availability of food.

Sign up is beginning now for the Feb 10th match. It is a 4 stage, 110 round match. No classifiers. It will be shot entirely in the back pits. Entry is only $10, but there is no payout for this match. Shooting will start at 11:00am, but we would like you there by 10:30 at the latest.

If you have never competed in a USPSA match we must know this ahead of time. A safety check is required of new shooters. We do not do safety checks the day of the match in York.

If you've never seen a USPSA match please bring your eye and ear protection and come watch and ask questions. Any of our staff or competitors will be happy to help you.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Old pictures

I've been digging up some old pictures.
Here is one of Mike H. and Tino from the 2004 MASC.
Sometimes you'd think these two are married the way they bicker and pick on each other.

Another pic from the 2004 MASC.

Some real characters in this one.

From left to right: Cliff S. Mary H. Mike H. Dave R. and Jeff H. All of them have done a lot for the sport.

Some pics from the archives

This is a bad picture of a tough crew from a January 2003 match.
How many men does it take to set a mover?
I believe this picture is from the 2004 Mid-Atlantic Section Championship.

More Feb practice pics

Ike's resident Elk hunters, Paul S. and Rob B. They also shoot some pretty good pistol.
Bob K. He's faster than he looks. And getting faster all the time.
Of course there has to be a new picture of Ben. We'll be adding new pictures all the time, so come practice with us, help set up, or shoot a match and you might get your picture taken. And smile pretty when you see someone with a camera. You never know when you might appear on our blog.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A couple my major players

Sean R. in start position. He has become one of our most valuable assets the last couple of years . Sean probably attended more set-up details in 2007 than any other member and has really taken an interest in making our program succesful.
Gary a.k.a Eeyore hard at work as usual. Look up dedicated in the dictionary and you may find his picture. Besides being one of the IPSC program's key people he is the man in charge of the Fun Shoots.

Sean M

A funny action shot of Sean M. getting into shooting position. It does illustrate how you should move though. Low center of gravity. Knees bent. Upper body moving independently from your legs taking small quick steps.

Practice pictures

Todd in his usual hosing mode. Notice the brass just below the muzzle.
Here I am chasing Air Jordan.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Nationals 07

Here are a couple pictures from the 2007 L10 Nationals in Missoula MT. I'm sure you recognize Larry. He didn't shoot as well as he would have liked, but he looked good doing it. Ben gave it everything he had and only got a National title to show for it. He is your JR National champion in L10. My right hand Dan watches intensely. You better believe IKE IPSC wouldn't be what it is today without that man.


Still playing around. One is a picture of Ben with his limited gun. The other is an old picture of Phil Strader, Dan Blevins, and I after we won the team stake shoot after an Area 8 match a few years ago in Fredericksburg. Believe it or not Phil did not carry us. Dan and I did our share.


I'm just trying some stuff out. If this is successful we'll know that video is also possible. The video is Ben shooting at Southern Chester last year. He watched this with me the other day and just groaned watching it. He has improved since then but it is still pretty impressive for a 12 year old.