Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Repost: When to Release

Funny how things turnout. Over the past several years I’ve gone down the traditional road of trying to find the proverbial ‘sweet-spot’ for a classic release. You know, when the wobble becomes its most stable. Good Lord, if I could only do this on demand I’d have made Master long ago. I’m certain we all have room for improvement but when is the moment golden?

I’ve written about this before and there’s a secret about this process that I’ll get to in a moment. To me the perfect release has to do with knowing yourself and how the process typically plays outs. The perfect shot is when its released during the most stable part of your hold (duh), but generally by then, for most shooters it’s way too late. I’ve had more than one coach refer to this as being “behind the trigger.” The shooter sees the sights go to its minimum wobble, which visually provides psychological affirmation, and only then applies consistent pressure to the trigger. In the process he releases the shot long after the best part of their minimum arc of movement.

Seeing the perfect sight picture plays with the mind. And unfortunately what must be accomplished during the release process can feel extremely counterintuitive.

In an ideal environment, once committed to the shot a shooter would apply consistent and sustained trigger pressure long before the sights were to settle into their minimum amount of wobble. If that’s so, it begs the question: When do I start to pull the trigger with real commitment?
Since the conscious mind is being used as the initiator for all our actions it needs to be trained right alongside with our subconscious. Most human actions from a conscious perspective take about a tenth of a second to respond. That’s a huge stretch of time relative for what we’re doing. What it comes down to is not so much as when, but how well we’ve interpreted a flowing and non-static sight picture.
While dry firing, you should be far more aware of what is occurring during the last half or quarter of a second before the release—than the actual release itself. Most novice shooters dry fire in an attempt to learn how to release the shot well and consistently. That’s a great starting point, there’s nothing wrong with that, and it should be done extensively. But the next phase from an advanced standpoint is a shooter should know when to initiate the trigger. I don’t believe in a surprise trigger break (because your subconscious knows when that’ll happen), although this type of observation can provide a greater element of control.
So, while watching the front post or the dot, be very aware of what’s happening to that thing as it drifts across your field of view. One item that’s been reported by many Masters and High Masters is they’ll notice clues in the pattern and timing of their movement prior to and during settling in. Those patterns are generally different from one person to the next. Although for the individual, it’s not uncommon for those clues or patterns to be somewhat redundant from shot to shot.

Look for those clues. Learn how it dances pretty much the same way each time and determine for yourself when you should initiate the commitment for your release.
It’s all about timing on a rather small scale. Remember, you’ve got to start a little early to arrive on time.
On the other hand if you’ve become familiar how your typical pattern plays out and then it doesn’t, that’s an ‘indicator of error.’ If that decreasing wobble pattern isn’t similar from shot to shot, take it from me it’s an omen of a different future result. This is another item most novices aren’t quite aware of: Masters and High Masters know when to abort much better than the rest of us and this is one of the tricks in their bag. When there’s indicators of error, it should immediately translate into a flashing red light on your mental dashboard.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Three Free Copies

Typically, I try to stay on topic. But for many of you I wouldn’t be surprised you’re well aware who Brian Atiken is; if not him, possibly the story of his plight? I’ve been following this one for awhile.

In 2010, Brian was a resident of NJ. Through no fault of his own he was arrested for possessing firearms while moving his residence. The original charge, illegal possession of firearms, issued by local NJ police didn’t even exist in the state’s statues and was later amended to unlawful carrying (transportation) of firearms.

That’s right, he was originally charged with a crime that didn’t exist. The guy was just moving stuff from one home to another.
Having a tenacious legal system that presumes guilty until proven otherwise, Brian transitioned from law abiding citizen to convicted felon. By refusing to enter a plea deal with the DA and then demanding a jury trial, he eventually documented his experiences with remiss law enforcement and judicial abuse.
This was a major national news story for over three years.
Luckily for Brian, after his incarceration there was a massive public outcry. And due to that outrage Governor Christy eventually commuted his sentence.

Several weeks ago Brian published a memoir of his encounters with the criminal justice system, titled, The Blue Tent Sky: How the Left’s War on Guns Cost Me My Son and My Freedom.  And if you get a chance to read it, you’ll become dumbfounded how a person who hadn’t committed a crime becomes prosecuted and imprisoned regardless what evidence is produced.
Brian’s memoir illustrates the ingrained institutional dark-side of the Left’s desire to make a safer world. And unfortunately, hundreds of innocent people pay a very high price for their armchair social engineering.
Many of us transport firearms to attend matches in different states, and that process makes this book worth reading. We all need to be very self-aware, informed and careful before we cross state boundaries. And in certain states, for some, just leaving their homes has its drawbacks.

The last time I had a giveaway was during the production of Top Shot. So, just to make things fun I have three ten copies of Brian’s new book that I’d like to give away to my readers. Simply email me your name and address to and I’ll send the first three requesters a copy.

Update: Since the demand was so high, I arbitrarily expanded the book giveaway to total of 10. But the bottom-line is they’re all spoken for.


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

An Open Letter to Shooting Sports USA

I’m certain most of my readers are well aware that as of yesterday, Mr. Dennis Willing published a piece in Shooting Sports USA. It’s a compelling article about bullseye’s declining participation and how electronic targets might be utilized to overcome this dilemma.  If you’ve missed it, use this link .

Within in a matter of minutes after its publication, I was deluged with emails from various individuals within our sport, hoping I would publicly address Mr. Willing. They wanted to respond and I’m not certain this blog is the appropriate venue.
Well, I’ve done this somewhat passively in the past (Post 1, Post 2). In fact, at the very beginning of his article Dennis quickly alluded to the issue of electronic targets, where he made the following statement, “…on Internet forums and emails I have received, both pro and con. To alleviate (or aggravate, depending on your viewpoint) those concerns I offer the following about these systems…”
In the beginning of his piece, we’re given a brief history lesson about how bullseye has changed from the early part of the 20th century to the present. So let me boil it down to I’ll admit there’s need for change—massive change. And most of my peers agree.

We‘ve had declining participation for a very long time. It turned the corner long before most of us even started participating in this sport. Although, because of its long decline it begs a few simple questions that should be addressed before radical changes are made.

·         Since we’re in this downward participation spiral, why hasn’t the NRA invested in us or our sport? Why hasn’t the NRA helped to promote who we are and what we do?

It’s as plain as the noise on your face, they’ve been conspicuously absent for a long time.
What I don’t need to hear is recruitment is a “grass roots” issue that only local clubs can accomplish. We live in a different time than the 1950s. Today is an era where social media, the Internet and cable television are intertwined for almost any form of effective modern marketing.  The way people socially interact today is much different than at any time in the not so distant past. And responsibility for changing the recruitment model from the local to a national level should be seriously considered. On a national basis the public needs be made aware we exist. Something that’s impossible to accomplish locally; it’s a formula for a crash and burn.
Let’s face it, the NRA uses competitive shooters and hunters in their lobbing and public policy efforts. We’re the legitimate users of firearms they conveniently rollout every time they want to showcase responsible gun ownership. Yes, we’re the example to others in polite society, the people who can do good things with guns without anyone getting hurt. Maybe the board of directors need to be reminded of our value to their other activities at the NRA.
·         Let’s not delude ourselves into thinking electronic targets are going to increase participation. 

I get the need for change and I’m all for saving money. And as a longtime participant of the Nationals I realize what the current state of the equipment is at Camp Perry.  It’s almost criminal how it’s been mishandled. We should seriously ponder how we got to where we are before proceeding to a new level; by making certain things like this don’t degrade in the future, be it equipment or participation.
And I’ve been reminded by others what had occurred to International pistol when they migrated to electronic targets: A massive decline in participation that’s never been recovered. At least here in the States, it’s an example of real failure.
Personally, I’m not opposed to electronic targets. Things change. Change is stressful. And sometimes we all simply need to embrace new things for the common good. But I don’t believe the NRA’s current track is going to get us there.
·         The Competitive Shooting Division has taken on (whether they know it or not) the political task of making fundamental changes to our sport. Since we’re their constituents they might want to consider making us a partner in the process.
The biggest complaint I’ve received from other shooters in this debate is—THERE IS NO DEBATE.

Why would anyone dare to think that with changes this extraordinary, the actual participants be excluded from the process? Since this issue has high status with its members, in a different venue its clumsy execution would be considered laughable.

No one likes to be pushed around. Few people like to be told what to do. So in a sense, it begs another question: Why wasn’t a plan crafted to engage shooters from around the country? Their input would have been invaluable. They would have been part of not only the process but the solution as well. And they would have gladly owned the outcome.
There’s a leadership process commonly referred to as “consensus building.” Building the consent of the base has a lot of merit. My suggestion is for someone to start all over again and pick up the phone—call various leaders of our sport across the country and schedule on-site meetings about the issues relative to electronic targets. Yes, a roadshow.  

Whatever method is used to reach out to bullseye shooters isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot work and coordination. But everyone will have had an opportunity to be in the game, if that’s their choosing.

I honestly believe that individuals such as Mr. Willing are well intentioned. And from a practical perspective the Competitive Shooting Division appears to be up against the realities of our sport’s slow and excruciating erosion.
The sport needs solutions for several major issues. But when there’s an enormous game changer such as electronic targets, it’s reasonable to expect the sport’s participants would quickly be divided and repelled through the use of authoritarian and arbitrary practices from their leadership.

Note: I used the above title so that most Internet search engines would easily find this post. My first impression of the SSUSA piece was that it was a little abusive. There doesn’t appear to any real facts to support its forgone conclusions, and reads as though it’s a thinly veiled attempt to artificially steer the narrative. The publisher should have considered labeling this article an Op-ed piece.


Friday, October 31, 2014

The Mainstream Media

Over the past three years I’ve seen firsthand how attendance with women has changed at the Nationals. Even locally, the increased participation with women at our indoor winter league is a welcomed sight.

Apparently, we’re in a new age of inclusiveness. And I think our sport is better for it.

Inserted below is an upbeat CBS This Morning piece titled, Calling the Shots. It deals with new competitive women shooters and how their ranks have swollen over the past several years. The ladies interviewed shoot clays—and I only wish CBS would have come knocking on our door first. 

But it’s one of the few times in recent memory that a dominant mainstream media outlet actually ran a firearms piece that was carefully balanced. CBS clearly went out of their way not to deride or bash anyone on the issue of guns or their owners.

But how could they? These women were just so darn classy.
The interviewees were pumped up, diplomatic and thrilled to share the love they have for their shooting sport.
While watching it, I pondered what it must have been like on the other side of the camera. During CBS’s time at the range I’d like to think, a producer or possibly a reporter, was encouraged to share in the fun too. This was an excellent example of how to deal with a left leaning media outlet.

Friday, October 24, 2014

John Gemmill

There are those of us who labor, simply for the greater good.

Years ago, back in 2006, I shot my first outdoor 2700 match. At the time I was thrilled to have an experienced friend bring me. I didn’t have a clue what to do, or how to do it. Unfortunately, when I got to the line that’s the last I saw of my friend. He was positioned a dozen stations to my left.
The match was held at the Hamburg Rifle & Pistol Club near Shartlesville, PA. It was a clear but unusually cool day in mid-October. I barely knew the basics rules and from my own perspective struggled throughout the day.

Without much thought the match director placed me at the far end of the line away from the Masters. And since I was a newly minted Tyro, I was left to my own devices. Thank heaven, throughout the day I managed not to pull some kind of boneheaded safety error. Unfortunately, I clearly struggled with every target, all day long.
Since the line was only 25 stations wide, a Master who was positioned on the very far left was required to walk to the far right position and score my targets. That’s how I met my friend John Gemmill, he was the first person to ever score me.
At the time I knew nothing about John. But I quickly formed an opinion about him.

While I was emotionally jacked-up with massive anxiety, he casually and gently offered encouragement throughout the day. John spoke in fatherly tones and reminded me of a few things that I already knew. But that serenity was quickly cast off due to my first-time match panic attacks.
After cautioning me to slow down, he even extended the courtesy of teaching me how to score properly.
It was obvious that John felt compelled not only to ease my frustrations, but kindly schooled me on the basics of how to conduct myself at a match. He did it with grace, patience and in a way that was both upbeat and inspiring. I thought it was incredibly generous of him, to go out of his way and instruct a stranger who also happened to be fresh-off-the-boat.
Whether he knows it or not, John’s a role model—and a pretty tough act to follow.

His past encompasses careers as a nuclear submariner, criminal appeals attorney, HM bullseye shooter (with numerous national records), educator, promoter of junior pistol shooting, and was until very recently Pistol Chair for the NJ Association of Rifle and Pistol Clubs.
At times I’ve overheard people respectfully call him, Mr. Bulleye Pistol of New Jersey.

For those of you who attend the Nationals, John’s presence generally cuts a broad path but it’s done in an extremely understated fashion. Typically in tow is one of the largest state contingents of civilian shooters in the country. And as well, he also escorts one of the biggest groups of junior shooters from a single state; I fondly refer to them as The New Jersey Connection.    
Today, NJ’s bullseye participation is a large and robust community but it wasn’t always like this. By the late 1980’s bullseye pistol as a sport was pretty much eviscerated in the state. The census was so insignificant only a handful of participants remained. The community needed to be rebuilt.

NJ is one of the most restrictive states in the nation when it comes to firearm laws, especially handguns. By the late 80’s due to political and social changes, most if not all pistol sports had evaporated within the Garden State.    
After retiring from the Navy and then later entering the legal profession, John felt compelled to address Second Amendment rights in NJ; at the time, it was something that appeared to be endangered. This eventually led him to our sport.
By 1990 John began volunteering at Camp Perry—and to his surprise—noticed very little representation by NJ shooters. This was at a time when the Nationals had extremely high participation. It was an era when more than 900 shooters from around the nation would attend.
A determined man by nature, John decided to act and went down a path of both leadership and instruction.  And in the process, almost singlehandedly engineered the rebirth of bullseye pistol in NJ.

He volunteered to become the state association’s Pistol Chairman and almost immediately started offering seminars on the benefits of bullseye pistol. From one gun club to next, John promoted bullseye as a fun and demanding sport. I’ve been told past National Civilian Pistol Champion, Davy Lang, was in attendance during one of John’s first seminars and then decided to try his hand at our sport.
Over the years he’s also sponsored and operated registered matches, given clinics, rolled up his sleeves to help organize and promote junior pistol events, and has even invited new shooters to his home for reloading instruction.

As an example of the need for change, John and Davy Lang lamented back in 1998 their state championship was pretty much a disaster with only 6 competitors. Both of them had a vision with steadfast commitment to make dramatic changes. Today the New Jersey State Pistol Championship typically attracts about 125 shooters, and it ranks as the third most attended match in the nation.
It’s a match I routinely and proudly attend. None the less, it’s a practical big-hearted instance of people working hard towards a measurable accomplishment.

By my long distance view, it appears John’s generous tenacity pretty much turned the corner for his state’s bullseye community.  At times, I find it amazing what one person with a purpose can accomplish.
John recently retired from his law practice. And as well has given the reins of the state pistol chairmanship to my good friend Frank Greco. Apparently he wants a little time for himself and I can’t think of anyone more deserving.

Thank you, John. You’ve given our friends in NJ and surrounding states a tremendous legacy. Your service to our community is truly incomparable.       

Monday, October 13, 2014

NRA Sharp

Back in May, the NRA unveiled NRA Sharp. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a web based lifestyle magazine designed to promote fashion, style, and pop culture—intertwined with sophisticated high-end consumer products. And somehow staff writers tie it all into our firearm culture.

I have to admit, somebody’s got a budget to operate this thing on a first-class basis. The production value is incredibly impressive.

As an example, for those of us who’ve dreamed of owning a Krieghoff shotgun with all its elegantly crafted detail, it might then be paired with a $236,000 Patek Phillippe wristwatch. The staffers might tastefully link the two as a symbiotic enhancement; whereby the connection simply makes the sum greater than the parts.

To round things out there are pieces on food, travel and music. Yes, even the most sophisticated of us gunnies want to listen to classic John Coltrane saxophone during match breaks, while we sip Pellegrino with a twist of lime.
In some respects it looks like GQ magazine somehow got published out of Thunder Ranch. And on their publishing sleeve they intimate their extension offices are located at Bond Street London, a basement office in Barney’s of NY and the Harajuku District in Tokyo.
The truth is its kinda fun. I don’t have a problem dreaming about stuff that I’ll never to be able to afford.
But liberal media outlets such as The Daily Beast, Media Matters, Huff Post and even the Boston Globe have all taken exception to NRA Sharp. Actually they’re furious as hell.
Because the NRA decided to market—go after—a certain segment of the population that was previously reserved solely for the Left: youthful people with money. This is the same young group that at some point would be expected to promote progressive ideals. Now they’re being enticed to make a turn in our direction.
I’m assuming the magazine was designed to broaden our base with people who wouldn’t even know that we exist. And they’re welcoming them to our culture. In other words, the NRA has turned the tables on the Left and started to use their tactics to promote our ranks.
Good for them! The more the better.
And their new magazine is so well crafted it’s actually a pleasure to read.
So, if you’ve ever given thoughts about hunting a snow leopard in the Himalayas with your newly acquired Holland and Holland bolt action rifle documented by a GoPro, this may be the digital magazine for you.
Here's a link to NRA Sharp

Saturday, October 04, 2014


As I sat on my deck last evening I noticed changes; the subtle transformation of one season to the next. During early twilight the sounds of cicadas are now absent but replaced by the chirping of crickets. The air is dryer, slightly cooler with a crispness that foretells the impending change to the leaves of hardwood trees.

I can smell it in the air. It’s a faint but cool dry musky scent.

On the distant western horizon, the colors pink and crimson cast broad swathes in the lower sky from the recently set sun, vibrating with a riot of blended hues in serene quietness. And in the opposite direction, the sky seems to easily give way to early evening stars without a flicker from their newborn illuminations.

Yes, autumn is here.

This is the time when we all start to wind down. The last of the outdoor season’s matches will be shot within the next few weeks. And for some of us indoor leagues start.

What generally happens is many bullseye shooters unknowingly prepare to take a step back. It’s not uncommon for most of our guns—be they ballguns, revolvers or wadguns—to become temporary safe-queens. For most of us over the winter, we’ll shoot our 22s almost exclusively over the next six months.
This kind of explains why Sectionals are generally shot in or around February.
Years ago I had two different views on this dilemma. The first was it’s not a bad thing to take a break. My own experience has been its much like running a marathon during the outdoor season. After a while, you can simply become worn-out.

After looking in my tattered notebook, I noticed some years where I shot a little over twenty matches during the outdoor season. And that didn’t include two trips a week to my local range to train and practice during the same period of time. For me that equates to about 8,160 .45 ACP and 6,180 .22 LR rounds dispatched downrange, just for the outdoor season. 
Then again there’s the other side.

If you don’t keep moving, especially with the .45, will you backslide when the season opens again in April?
While pursing the same notebook, for me, I’d say yes.

I’ve noticed how much my scores plummet in the early part of the season, only to be where I want them by October. Basically, it’s difficult to springboard to a new classification or skill level if you’re always backtracking in early spring.
One of the few things that most of us don’t do is plan; another item that’s typically neglected in our shooting notebooks.

Not having a roadmap makes any competitive shooter aimless. They trek the same paths redundantly. And in the process become frustrated because they don’t have a sense of accomplishment.
I could easily write 50 pages or more on the subject of planning for the competitive shooter. But the truth is the process doesn’t need to be elaborate, excessively long or for that matter complex.

Listed below is a link to a webpage on the basic elements of planning by Dr. Carter McNamara. He’s done a great job in laying out the basics in easy to understand terms.
Your plan doesn’t have to be slick, complicated or detailed. It just needs to be practical and effective.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Repost: Hold Still … Real Still

Here’s something that’s incredibly boring: Holding drills.

Holding drills have been around as long as there’s been competitive shooting. All forms of shooting such as Biathlon, Small-bore, High Power, International and just about any other form of competitive shooting demand the use of these type of drills. Masters highly suggest holding drills be a part of everyone’s training routine regardless of the gun being used or event pursued.
It comes down to two potential benefits such as stamina and precision. And by happenstance the benefit of reducing your minimum arc of movement is enhanced as well.
Regardless of the type of shooting one may do be it gallery, outdoor 2700s or service matches, you’ll need to finish the course the same way you started it. That means a shooter needs a hold pretty much the same at the end of the day, just like when he or she started. Without some degree of physical stamina scores can take a nosedive as the day progresses.
For obvious reasons, the precision benefits simply seem to follow those who actually train for it. This type of training, in of itself, may possibly be a related form of dry firing but with an emphasis applied on building up the shooter’s physical foundation or platform for the pistol.

2014 Walt Wise Memorial Police Pistol Match winners
After a typical dry firing session try holding the gun on a blank wall, and after settling in, try to obtain a motionless dot or sights for twelve seconds. Take up the weight of the trigger to help settle the sights but don’t drop the hammer. For those who have never tried this, it ain’t easy, twelve seconds is a very long time.  Then take a break—and repeat the process a total of three times. Your goal is to get an almost motionless sight picture for three out of the twelve seconds during three different attempts, within a fifteen minute window.
For those of you who have never done holding drills, my guess is the typical shooter who dry fires every other day and adds this to his or her routine might expect to see positive results after several weeks. Some shooters might actually get better benefits by alternating their dry fire drills on one day, then use holding drills on a subsequent day.
Assuming you’ve accomplished the above drill and wanted to progress, a shooter would extend their reps to four, and later on to five, and so on. It’s fairly important that you don’t actually extend the holding time but increase the number of reps.

During the process you’ll be developing the deltoid and triceps muscles in your shoulder and strong arm. This is the source of most shooter’s steadiness and fine motor abilities to center a shot. More reps develop these muscles and eventually the process becomes easier.
A slightly different drill is to take the pistol in your strong hand, level the gun and dry fire a shot as soon as the gun becomes steady. Drop the gun to your side and repeat the process.
Make a commitment initially to do this ten times. As you become more proficient with this drill extend the number of reps to fifteen or seventeen times. What’s occurring here is twofold: You’re developing those same arm and shoulder muscles to manage the weight of the gun; and you’re also developing a quick release much like one does during an initial sustained fire shot.
The first drill develops your muscles for stamina and weight, while the latter helps with fine motor skills.

While using either drill, what you’re looking for are typical breakdown failures. Avoid developing or ingraining any new physical crutches or bad habits.
Let’s be real, if you’ve never completed any holding drills you’ll be amazed at the number of times your wrist will try to compensate for a poor alignment. Don’t be surprised that you find yourself looking down the sights that have come out of vertical alignment. Or during extended reps you may start to lean backwards in an attempt to overcome a fatigued arm and shoulder. All of these items are clearly bad for any shooter but they are the problems that must be overcome during a prolonged match; they elicit poor shot performance in the later part of the day.
I’ve had more than one coach caution me about the use of free weights. The gun that you shoot in matches should be the only weight used.
Apparently when people start to use much heavier weights it’s been observed their fine motor skills start to center on the new much heavier weight. Yes, it’ll be easier to lift the gun but your fine motor skills could be ruined; during a match your body will be expecting a heavier weight and your new finesse abilities will be centered there. That’s why doing more repetitive drills (not additional weight or time) are so important.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Path with No Obstacles, Leads Nowhere

The mental part of the game is all too important with what we do. At some time almost all of us will fall into the legendary “shooter’s plateau.” And what’s common among these shooters is a decline into the pit of despair. A symptom of which is the process of crafting, and then emotionally embracing excuses.

But making excuses can retard the growth of one’s self-image and personal performance. And in doing so, will make a shooter frustrated with their lack of progress. It’s the frustration of being on that endless treadmill to nowhere.

Excuses can be the result of a poorly motivated shooter who has limited or undefined goals. Given enough slack, it’s fairly easy to come up with an excuse for not striving and reaching their goals. And it’s not uncommon to hear their traditional whines: I don’t feel well, I’m short on cash, I had a bad day at work, my wife kicked the dog this morning, I can’t find reloading components or .22 ammo, my ballgun won’t make weight and my kids are bowlegged.

A shooter can dream up just about anything, even if it’s true. Then hold it tightly next to their heart and believe they’re powerless to move beyond it. 

For those who actually achieve, they have one thing in common: Passion. For those who are passionate about their goals, they generally don’t have time for excuses. Individuals, who are focused and driven, stay determined. A manifestation of this type of mindset induces theses individuals to become positive and upbeat about the hurdles immediately facing them. For them, overcoming a hardship is what makes it fun.

They have dedication—and grit—to reach their goals.

John with a 100-10x TF target

They’re inclined to seek out solutions instead of being held back by their problems. If you want to excel in the sport, be the best you can be in any circumstance or location. Seek the will to overcome, instead of dwelling on those things that can’t be controlled.

Champions seek out solutions to all the struggles that come their way, instead of allowing those struggles to become excuses.

This reminds me of an old proverb that I’ve heard since childhood: “A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn.” ~ Unknown Author

Only moments ago, the image of my friend John Zurek came to mind. For those of you who know him he’s been enthused about competitive pistol shooting for decades. He’s an incredibly upbeat man who loves to not only share techniques with new shooters, but the passion he has for shooting sports and its future.

I have to admit, John’s quite the role model for both mental performance and being a positive human being. As I write this post he’s currently in Granada, Spain to compete in the World Championships.

My point is John didn’t make it to Spain by being negative or making excuses. 

In life, there’re no real excuses. You’re the one in control. You’re the only one who decides whether or not you’ll advance toward your goals or recede from them. But to be realistic, it’s completely understandable there will be times when you’ll face new and great obstacles. So, one has to be adaptable with their goals. We have it in our power to control our desires and limit our own capability by embracing our negativity, doubt and frustration. 

Decide today to pay attention how your inner-monologue talks about your goals. Are you driven, positive and motivated or are you tempted to find excuses? Most of us struggle with this in one way or another. But keep in mind when you give an excuse you could be derailing your advancement, which leads to making your goals even harder to obtain.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Colt’s Camp Perry Model

On occasion, the warm feeling of nostalgia engulfs me when I see something from our sport’s distant past. Not so long ago I came across images of Colt’s Camp Perry Model.

By today’s standards its odd looking. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised when it was initially released it was considered peculiar looking as well.
The CP model was intended as a cross-sell product for Colt. In the 1920s, Colt had a lot of the bullseye pistol market wrapped up.  Back then, a typical competitor would shoot Colt’s Officers’ Model Target for .22 and center fire.  The hardware transition for shooters was basically go from one E frame Colt to another. It’s the same strategy today for those of us using a .22 conversion unit. 
Prior to WWII revolvers dominated the line with the exception of the .45 stage.
Colt began marketing the CP model in the summer of 1920, although, production and retail sales didn’t begin until 1926. When debuted it was lauded as having superior accuracy. Colt’s claim of superior performance was due to the “flat cylinder” design that lined up much better with the barrel than a traditional cylinder. Colt referred to their CP cylinder as having an Embedded Head Chamber.
For those of you who have worked towards Distinguished Revolver status, think of Colt’s sales pitch this way: It’s like shooting everything single-action with a hand-tuned Colt trigger. ...Aaahh! Doesn't the thought of it just make you feel warm and fuzzy all over, like wearing mink lined underwear?

I get it. There’s something very attractive, even today, about pulling a Colt trigger in single action.
Its only practical drawback was being a single shot. And as such, it could only be used for the .22 slow fire stage.

When first released to the public there was enormous interest on the part of target shooters. Remember this was the Roaring 20’s and times were financially robust. Long before the designation High Master was invented by the Association, anyone who thought they were something just had to have one of these pistols.
The manufacturer boasted about its innovative design, match chamber, long sight radius (initially offered in a 10” barrel), and of course, the sexy feel of their legendary trigger.
Like all of Colt’s pre-war target models it included a target front sight that was adjustable for elevation, and windage adjustments were managed by the rear sight. The back strap and trigger were checkered by hand. Typically the pistol came with checkered walnut grips with Colt’s classic silver medallions inserted near the top. And the back of the frame adjacent to the hammer was delicately and lightly stippled for glare reduction. 

The CP model never really caught on despite its reputation for accuracy among competition shooters. Colt apparently over played their advertising hand and assumed another target pistol would easily sell, regardless of its destiny to only shoot 20 shots in a registered match.
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Only 2,525 were made over its fifteen year production life (1926-41) with the majority being manufactured during the later years of production. Since production was so low, CP models are very desirable collector items. A CP model marked with the Serial No. 1 was auctioned in December 2012 at an estimated value of $95,000.

Aside from the first one out the door, typically a 100% CP model with its original box and papers will fetch around $5,200. A 95% NRA grade pistol without a box generally brings between $1,200 to $3,000.

From a historical perspective, Colt attempted to build something that functioned much like a free pistol. But they unintentionally forced it to become an oddity by never fully deliberating its utility value in an actual match environment.