My First IDPA; a request for information

I plan to attend my first IDPA match this Friday. Hopefully (I haven’t heard they have a new shooter spot yet).

For those uninitiated: IDPA stands (in this case, there are other acronyms using the same letters) for International Defensive Pistol Association which describes itself thusly:

The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is the governing body of a shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real life encounters. It was founded in 1996 as a response to the desires of shooters worldwide. The organization now boasts membership of more than 17,008, including members in 50 foreign countries.

The link is here, but you must agree to indemnify me if your eyes are harmed after following the link. It’s not a pretty web site.

I mention this as I’m not interested in showing up and looking like an idiot. I have the requisite gear, and have shot a little (ahem), but always like to be prepared and hate looking like an unprepared person.

So, for those who’ve been before, what should I take beyond the minimum, and what should I anticipate that reading the FAQ doesn’t prepare me for?

Crime Time: Juror arrested for trying to enter Fort Worth courthouse with loaded gun

This isn’t the part that made me roll my eyes:

FORT WORTH — A juror was arrested Tuesday morning as she attempted to enter a courthouse with a loaded handgun and after deputies saw the weapon during a screening, a Tarrant County official said.The incident occurred about 8:30 a.m. at the south entrance to the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center.

This was:

Authorities did not release any information on why she had a loaded 32-caliber handgun at the courthouse.
via Crime Time: Juror arrested for trying to enter Fort Worth courthouse with loaded gun.

A .32? Why?

amednews: Federal judge bars Florida ‘don’t ask’ gun law

Huh. That’s what I argued. Right again. #fb

In a victory for Florida pediatricians and family physicians, a federal judge has blocked a state law that restricted physicians from asking patients if they have guns at home, calling the measure unconstitutional.

The NRA and others said asking patients about guns in the home was a violation of privacy.

In her Sept. 14 opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke said the loss of doctors’ First Amendment freedoms, even for a minimal period, constituted an irreparable injury.

“The evidence on the record shows that practitioners have eliminated questions about firearm ownership from intake questionnaires and either curtailed or stopped routine counseling on firearm safety as a result of this law,” Cooke said. “Practitioners are self-censoring themselves out of fear of disciplinary actions. Plaintiffs’ injury is their chilled free speech.”

via amednews: Federal judge bars Florida ‘don’t ask’ gun law :: Sept. 26, 2011 … American Medical News.

So, it took a Federal court to make sure the US Constitution is upheld. Too bad. That’s what they’re for. Also, not just for Florida Peds and FP’s. It’s for every American.

I was quite disheartened by the number of commenters in the linked threads who were quite certain squashing physician speech was totally legal as long as their gun owning ox didn’t get gored. (‘Business licensure’, like how dry cleaners cannot ask what that stain in the shirt is, grasping at straws gun owners should never resort to). Which is of course short sighted. And stupid.

Yeah, there may well be a challenge, but as only Florida (so far) has been as credulous as to pass this NRA sponsored legislation (disclaimer: I’m an NRA Life Member, and yes, the NRA sometimes screws up), hopefully the appeal won’t be taken up.

Look, I understand the American Academy of Pediatrics is, well, nuts on this issue (‘until recently’, when they stopped advocating for gun control, or whatever peeved the NRA), but that is NOT, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, an excuse to suppress speech. First amendment, right above the second. (And, as I say, the second assures the first).

Speech is sometimes unpleasant, and there are places where all unpleasant speech is suppressed. You won’t like it there.

Great Moments in PR: RFID tags, guns and how not to allay fears…

Agreed.

The sale of Chiappa firearms in the USA is about to plummet. They have just made the worst gun industry PR move of the decade.

via Chiappa adding RFID Chips to their guns. MKS suggests concerned consumers “wrap the revolver and their head in aluminum foil” | The Firearm Blog.

Intruder calls 911, afraid homeowner may have gun – CNN.com

A man who broke into a house in Portland, Oregon, called police — afraid the homeowner may have a gun.

via Intruder calls 911, afraid homeowner may have gun – CNN.com.

Wow. Interesting.

Obama gives TCU rifle team a warm welcome at White House | Fort Worth | News from Fort W…

WASHINGTON — The five female members of Texas Christian University’s national championship rifle team were already beside themselves to be on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday evening at a celebration of all NCAA sports champions when President Barack Obama gave them the first shout-out.

“We’ve got the sharpshooters from the TCU rifle squad. Where are they?” asked Obama as the team members, standing near the camera risers, screamed. “I think that they may be able to give the Secret Service a run for their money.”

The TCU rifle team came in for some extra attention because it is the first all-female national rifle championship winner in NCAA history — the sport can have all-male, mixed gender and all-female teams.

via Obama gives TCU rifle team a warm welcome at White House | Fort Worth | News from Fort W….

Good for them!

I must talk a good game

I took another total-newbie to the pistol range the other day, a place I go to quite a bit and feel comfortable with. I like taking novice shooters out: it’s a skill I think everyone should at least be able to perform (if not like it, I’m not saying everyone should love it) and many continue, citing their positive early experiences.

I try my best to instill safety (x3) and fun. Everyone enjoys their first trip to shoot with me so far, and I’ve taken several. I like this.

We start with a single action .22 pistol I bought from Kim DuToit a long time ago, and progress as the shooter gets comfortable. Next is a Ruger .22 automatic, then a 9mm, .40 (both Sigs), then to cap the experience some shots through a Desert Eagle in 44 Mag. (It’s a long story, I wasn’t looking for it, it found me).

Adding to this range session was my latest acquisition, a .45 Springfield XD-45. After the novitiate was comfortably independently shooting the 9mm, I started getting to know the .45, and it’s fine. More than fine, it shoots like I want it to, and well. More on this someday.

(Like most people who go to the range with some frequency, I also watch all the shooters on the line and get a feel for how they handle their weapons, how they shoot generally, with an eye for when I need to get myself and my shooters off the line. This day, no real worries, except for That Guy. TG was shooting some very big calibers from pistols, and was reliably hitting the back wall. That and he’s not a safety hazard to others were the best that could be said). (The lady getting the lesson would easily qualify for her CHL, and good for her).

We’re shooting for an hour and a half or so, with a decent amount of the gentle instruction needed, the very occasional safety thing (thumbs on autos are most common), and life is very good. I have some Zombie Targets to keep shooters having fun (be honest, shooting round dots on paper gets boring), and I’m having some fun emptying/testing new mags on one of the zombies from the new XD. (Zombie Steve didn’t make it).

So, we’re packing up, and That Guy turned and asked me “Do you have a card”? (I froze; I’ve never been asked this on a range, several times in the ED, but I have learned to expect that.) “Uh, no..?” I lamely replied, and TG confessed “I’ve bought these guns and can’t hit anything, I need some lessons”. Aah, I have an answer for you: this range has a couple of good instructors, so as tactfully as I could I recommended he contact the ranges’ instruction staff.

Made me feel good, though. Maybe I should do some instruction. Wouldn’t replace my day job, though…

All Work and No Play

has made my blog barren, joyless, and, well, dull.

It seems I’ve been working nonstop, and when I’ve had time to myself it’s been consumed with plans for my yearly MegaParty for our Scribes. It’ll be a good one (Seventh, for you counters). (Unless you’ve gotten an invitation, you’re welcome to throw your own party).

Work has drama, but it’s micro-political and therefore sounds whiny when I type it out. I’ll spare you. You’re welcome.

Our joint has started being very aggressive about Induced Hypothermia in resuscitated arrests, and I contributed to a success story, something that’s rare in medicine: a resuscitated arrest that left the hospital neurologically intact 1 week later. Anecdotal, I know, but still. I don’t know if I’ve had one of these before. I hope it’s a trend.

As for shootin’ stuff, I’ve had a self-imposed restriction on adding any new calibers of firearms, as at a certain point keeping up with all the different ammo types can be daunting, and expensive. That took care of itself recently when I was shooting my new 357Sig rounds through my Sigs with Barsto barrels (which I had just dropped in, and not had fitted by a gunsmith). I got talked into 357Sig rather than choosing it, but thought it deserved a good try.

That try had 6 failures to feed in 100 rounds, and said gear has been shelved. As I wasn’t crazy about it to start with the extra effort to make it work was easy to avoid.

Therefore, a new caliber opened up. I’ve never owned a .45, and that’ll change soon. I have my eye on the Springfield XD in 45, I’ve shot the range loaner and found it surprisingly likable and well-fitting for a non-Sig pistol (I’m mostly a Sig pistol snob), so different experiences pay off.

For those screaming at their screens that I need to get a 1911-style 45, rest assured I’ve shot several of them over the years, shot one recently, and, eh. I can shoot it, don’t like it, and you may now call me a Philistine.

Tomorrow I get to take another shooting-newbie out and teach him from zero, an experience I relish. So, good. Some play!

Man suspected of trying to run down officer in Stockyards arrested | Crime and Safety | …

I’m more interested in the sub-plot of this cops and robbers, and armed citizen story:

FORT WORTH — A 55-year-old man who police suspect tried to run down a Fort Worth officer last month, prompting the officer and a concerned citizen to open fire at the car, is now in jail, police officials confirmed Tuesday.

The officer, unaware of the 911 call, had gone to investigate the businessman’s report when the driver of the Mercedes suddenly accelerated toward him, police have said. The officer was able to dodge the car and fired several shots at the fleeing Mercedes.

A citizen who heard the gunfire and believed the officer had been shot and killed, retrieved his own gun and also shot multiple times at the Mercedes as it passed him on West Exchange, police have said.

Criado said the concerned citizen did not have a concealed handgun license but “we don’t see any reason to charge the citizen who fired at the suspects believing they had killed the officer.”

via Man suspected of trying to run down officer in Stockyards arrested | Crime and Safety | ….

In many lesser states our Concerned Citizen would be in huge trouble.  But this is Texas; let this be a lesson to you.

Even the ladybug doesn’t get it

It’s a 45 round from a factory box of Fiocci ammo. The round is loaded pointy end first.

I have a hobby.

Writing about shooting is probably not going to broaden my audience (as this isn’t a shooting blog, I’m not an expert by any means so there’s no reason to consider what I write) and runs the risk of driving away a few readers.

OTOH, it’s my blog, and this is what interests me.  Also, there’s no HIPAA for shooting, so I can talk about it.

I’ve recently become interested in long-range shooting, have taken a long class, gotten myself a very nice setup, and done a little practice.  I do it for a lot of reasons: I like the precision and self-control required, there’s plenty of technology (more than I thought), feedback is immediate on the target, and I finally found a sport I can do lying down.

(I’m not a hunter.  Mostly because it doesn’t interest me, and I’m not hungry.  Should I miss a few meals, I’ll have no trouble becoming a hunter, and this training would come in handy.)

Speaking of training, I am fortunate to live fairly close to a high-end training center that specializes in just that.  I took one of their courses, bought a very much better rifle after the class, and did some training afterward, though not enough (dang job).  One of the best ways to see if you’re learning something is to compete, so off to a long range shootout yesterday.

The competition was quite well organized, well (and safely) run.  The competition was to shoot sporting clays, which were 120mm (4.7”), 90mm (3.5”) and 60mm (2.4”) orange targets.  From 400 yards.  Clays are fun to shoot as they usually break very nicely, visible through the rifle scope, so hit/miss is easily discernible.  Big=10 pts, medium=20, little=30, so relay max =150 points, with 5 relays in the competition.  Oh, and you get 8 minutes to fire a maximum of 10 shots per relay.

There was a sighting-in period, then the competition.  I had to move my firing position after sight-in, as my rifle has a muzzle brake (it reduces my felt recoil substantially: my rifle goes boom but doesn’t kick) but it blows air backwards.  This was showering the shooter next to me with dirt.  So moved, built a little barrier with a soft rifle case, and he’s good.

First frame I had the first-competition jitters: all these guys are better than me, and I haven’t actually practiced at this distance; there were a bunch of shooters who brought massive shooting benches from home, with clamps to hold their amazingly detailed rifles and their 40 power scopes in place, I’m shooting prone.

Before my first shot, my goal: be in the middle.  At the end of my 10 rounds, new goal: don’t be last.  Terrible shooting, just awful, and it’s all me.

Second frame: better, but left the two little ones; cleaned the third frame, and left one little one on 4&5.  I might make the middle!  As with most things, being comfortable makes all the difference.

There were 6 perfect scores, all bench shooters, and they had a one-shot shootoff; 48 shooters, I scored 550, for 16th place.  Upper third!  That’s encouraging, but the gunner in me now has to do better.  I enjoyed it, and exceeded my expectations quite a bit (especially with quite the inauspicious start).

Next: handloading!  Time to get the variation out of the ammo…

Many thanks to the Tarleton State High Power Rifle Team for pulling and resetting targets.  They did a quick and terrific job, helping the competition go as smoothly as I can imagine.