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’s 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.
Click to enlarge
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. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tony’s Bullseye Blog 8th Anniversary

Every year near the end of August, I write a post about the blog’s anniversary. And in doing so, I’m reminded how grateful I am to have the honor and privilege of being associated with a sport that has so many fine people.

In the past, I’ve made the claim, “I get far more out of this thing than I put into it.” And as time passes, it validates my observation.
When I first sat down to craft this post, my first inclination was to do a recap of some the better posts and interviews previously published over the past eight years. But that seemed a little hollow.

It really didn’t dawn on me until recently that I had a mission statement for the blog. I want the blog to be informative, helpfully to new shooters and promote the general well-being of the sport.
Listed below are the items I try to limit myself to, and why.

Occasionally I attempt to provide information that some may perceive as news or basic updates relative to the sport. There’re plenty of old posts in the blog dealing with upcoming matches, analysis of ammo and components, highlights about shooting products—and at times—rule  changes.
In our modern era, it’s important to be reasonably informed on the issues that shape our sport.

Unfortunately there are instances when politics percolates to the surface.

Over the past month and a half I’ve tried to keep you informed, especially those who don’t attend the Nationals, about the evolving issue of electronic targets.

My own opinion is it’s a game changer. But it’s also an issue rightly deserving proper investigation.
Allow me to clarify a few things. First off, I’m not a journalist or reporter. Hopefully none of you ever came away with the impression that I attempted to be one.

Since I have absolutely no credentialing or standing as a member of the media, it’s a one-way street. What you read on my blog comes from my keyboard directly to your monitor or smartphone. Be apprised, I’m biased. I believe in basic but intangible things such as tradition, fair play and the simple but elegant respect we typically have for one another.

As to the current issue with electronic targets, in an earlier time, most of us would have simply awakened one morning and found to our surprise the game and its related rules had substantially changed.
Currently the jury’s still out as to whether I’ll publish future posts on this topic. I’ll wait to see what presents itself, and then decide.

As a group of people we’re extremely safety conscious, almost to the point of being labeled anal. And if others want to call us Safety Snobs; so be it. None the less, near the first week of January I typically write a piece encouraging everyone on being vigilant with safety.
Even the most experienced shooter can have a momentary and unintentional lapse of judgment.  And the price to be paid can be extremely high.

Aside from a few safety tips that I typically peel off, I’ll throw in some Driver’s Ed nightmare photos to shove the point home.
I’ve been fortunate that many of the individuals who posed for those photos genuinely wanted them distributed for the benefit of the shooting public. (read as: please don't ever do what I just did) And many of them were kind enough to collaborate with me on many of the older safety posts.

The basic message is pretty simple: Sometimes s!*t happens and then you can’t un-ring the bell. It’s a message I feel is important for newbies entering the sport. We handle loaded firearms all day long. Be cognizant that its incredibility easy to drift into complacency, and then do something dumb by not giving the most basic safety guidelines a second thought.

Training and Tips
When I first started to write my blog it wasn’t intended for anyone other than me. That was a long time ago. In the beginning, access to cloud service wasn’t even offered to the public. The blog was my digital shooting diary. It conveniently appeared no matter where I was or when I wanted it. It couldn’t burn, be carried away by the family pet or unintentionally castoff by my lovely spouse while she did spring cleaning. Availability was always a click away.

Working hard on the mental aspect
The pieces I wrote during the first three years were the things others taught me, insights to problems I overcame, and items I didn’t want to relearn after extended periods of time.

For the last several years most of the tips (if you want to call them that) I posted were offered from others far more skilled than me.  And I’m very thankful for all their help.

A post having a disclaimer is a sign I’m broadcasting caution about the quality of the content: Those were pieces where I was completely unassisted and enlightened by my own experiences.  You know, flying solo.
Although, when it comes to training I feel confident most new shooters are like sponges. They’re enthused and amped-up to go somewhere. I hope they’ve been assisted here to some minor degree.

Promoting the Sport
I’ve been in love with bullseye for almost nine years. There are so many things that are unique to its basic chemistry. Just about everyone is gracious, helpful, encouraging, and in general simply standup type people. The community has its own charm intertwined with its natural selflessness.

Every time I walk onto the firing line I’m reminded how I and everyone else involved benefits from our community.  
This is one of the common threads we easily recognize between each other. And it’s something I’ve tried to broadcast to outsiders who might be potential new entrants.     

I’m all for growing our sport. And if we can’t assist with that, at least encourage others who sit on the sidelines to come and jump into the deep-end of the pool with us. Let’s face it, there are lots of people who shoot gallery or action pistol who don’t know what we do—or what we’re like. They should be actively encouraged to seek membership into our clan.   

If you’ve taken the time to read this far, I’m amiable to guest posts. Simple, use the information listed above as guidance. You can reach me at:
For everyone else, enjoy the remainder of the outdoor season.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

2014 Lobster Match

The Scarborough Fish & Game Association has politely asked me to post their invitation for you to attend the 24th Annual Lobster Match. Game days are September 5, 6 and 7.

For many years this match has been on my bucket-list. And I’ve felt the pangs of anguish every time I let it slip me by.

There are Regional matches and then there are marquee matches. Regardless how you label them, few venues come close to providing a shooter with great competition and that something Else.  

That else isn’t a lobster. It’s the culmination of being in beautiful New England with great comradery. Keep in mind that life’s short and the opportunity to shoot a marquee match doesn’t come along every day.

By the way, Scarborough F&G has just received a five station Meyton electronic target system. And it’s been configured for bullseye. Yes, bullseye! But please keep in mind the Regional will be shot on traditional paper targets.
For those of you who have never used such a device here’s your chance. Scarborough F&G is looking for polite inputbefore and after the matchon how to best use these new devices for bullseye, junior development and general club enrollments.

Here is the link to Scarborough Fish & Game, Pistol Page where you can download the program and registration form.

Monday, August 18, 2014

CCP .22 Conversion Unit

In late July, I posted about several items that I thought were really cool. Actually, I own all the featured items but one.

That one item really caught my eye. It was Chambers Custom Pistols new .22 conversation unit.
Unlike others in what appears to be a crowed niche market, this unit really shines. And it appears to be incredibly accurate. The best part of my experience was its shootability.

At the Practice Range with the CCP unit
Let me define “shootablility.” It’s a process where the shooter feels as though the gun is easy to shoot well, be it slow fire or sustained. Granted it’s a subjective observation. And I’m certain there are several unique things going on inside this unit that makes one get such an impression.
Some guns just feel easy to shoot.

Others guns, like the Model 52 (with its legendary unforgiving nature), have the ability to make a shooter struggle to make a well placed shot. A gun like this feels as though every shot released during a string must be perfectly executed—micromanaged—simply to stay out of trouble. Whereby having a relaxed shot process is pretty much thrown out the window because of how it functions.
Mid-week at the Nationals, I had an opportunity to take CCP’s .22 conversion through its paces. At the time the range conditions were breezy, humid and cloudy with a sight amount of occasional precipitation. 

I own an aluminum Marvel Conversion. And with its extremely lite weight the darn thing leaps around on me during sustained fire. 
When I shot the CCP conversion unit, the first thing that came to mind was how easy it was to maintain a natural point of aim immediately after the recoil pulse. It felt as though the reticule would leap straight back at you. My sight-picture recovery came from the adjacent scoring ring or slightly less; not half way across the equivalent of a repair-center as is the case with my aluminum gun. The darn thing didn’t move much.
To my surprise without ever previously picking up this unit, I immediately cleaned one timed fire target and a rapid. It just seemed easy. I’m assuming that by using a heavier slide and having a well thought-out balancing act with the springs produced a welcomed reduction in perceived recoil.

My time on the range with this conversion unit was truly a pleasurable experience.
As I looked at this fine accomplishment of pistol craftsmanship, I was told the upper was made from a stress-proof carbon steel billet.

This thing had been coached by hand with flawless surface polishing which made its blued slide glisten, in the available but somewhat limited daylight. The CCP logo is prominently located just behind its cocking serrations. 

Occasionally I’ll tease Mr. Chambers about his “piano finish.” At others times, I’ll refer to this type of work as a “museum piece.”  Finding another 22 conversion unit this attractive will be very difficult to do.
I was assured the barrels were made to match quality. And CCP claims they’re specifically chambered to optimize the most commonly available standard velocity .22 ammo.

As well, the barrel has been threaded to accept barrel weights or a suppressor.
The rib has a unique design to help facilitate an efficient method of mounting a T series Aimpoint. Although an Ultradot can easily be attached there as well through the use of Weaver rings. And there’s an available configuration for open sights.   

Apparently several options are available with the rib. Special decorative cuts or stippling can be requested.  It all depends on your personal desire for glare mitigation, or how much you want to personalize the unit.
And as part of the package, the conversion unit comes with four polymer mags and a mag loading tool.
But the basic concept with this conversion unit was when installed on a frame, to be very close in weight to a 1911 wadgun. Give or take 2 ounces.

Five shots at fifty yards
Until recently, it was pretty much a dream many shooters desired but never fully realized: The ability to go across the course with the same type lower and similar triggers. Looks like it’s doable now.  

Mr. Chambers informs me, initially these conversion units will be sold as complete guns or “fitted” to a client’s existing lower.
Have you ever owned a .22 conversion unit that just wouldn’t reliably function?

Well, I've had that problem in the past.

Then you can understand why the smith wants them all to be fitted. Not all 1911 frames regardless who manufactures them, maintain the same or similar tolerances.  There are a lot of conversion units out there that just aren’t reliable because of this reason.

If you have an interest in a new .22 conversion unit, consider looking at CCP’s website or contract Joe Chambers directly.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Gary Anderson’s Ten Lessons for Competitive Shooters

Friends, what’s listed here is a repost of a repost. I noticed it the other day on my friend John Boul’s blog and thought it was useful.

It’s a summary of an article that Gary Anderson (CMP DCM-Emeritus) wrote on the subject of progressing in the shooting sports. It was originally published in On The Mark, on June of 2013 and titled Ten Lessons I Wished I Learned As A Young Shooter.
(You also need hard work, training effort and perseverance.)
(The key to recovering from a bad shot is to stay cool, no matter what happens.)
(Today, error analysis is one of the most powerful tools for improving scores.)
(A shot plan is a detailed breakdown of each of the steps involved in firing a shot.)
(Most competitions are fired in windy conditions or where there are plenty of distractions.)
(Negative shooters expect bad results; positive shooters expect to train hard to change bad results.)
(It’s about how hard you try to win.)
(Hopefully your coach, parents and friends won’t bite you either.)
(Winning can go to our heads. We start thinking we are so good we don’t have to work hard any more.)
(Great champions are always looking for ways to improve.)
Basically On The Mark is a publication intended for Junior shooters and their coaches. This may explain why so few of us have seen it. Granted the publication is intended for a much younger audience but it’s worth reading.

Here’s the link for the full text. It runs from page 4 to 9. And don’t be put-off by all the pictures of youthful smallbore shooters; it translates well into our sport too.