Waiting for me when I got home was an envelope from ParaUSA, with a nice letter from Kerby Smith, a 2009 calendar, and a DVD. On that DVD is the entire six-part Down Range TV series on the Gunblogger’s weekend at Blackwater, and in a separate clip, my first run through the shoothouse.
So here, for your viewing pleasure, is my elephantine ass negotiating the shoothouse, with soundtrack and everything:
I obviously need to work on my reload speed.
UPDATE: The original JS-Kit/Echo comment thread for this post is available here, thanks to reader John Hardin.
The Down Range TV coverage of the Para/Blackwater Blogger weekend is now up! In six parts!
Excuse me, I’ve got some video to watch. . .
From a post that’s just full of them, Tam’s ParaUSA LTC After-Action Report:
The special pistol was outfitted with Para’s adjustable rear sights of a BoMar pattern (fauxMars, if you will,) and a fiber optic front. These give a phenomenal, fast-to-acquire sight picture, but their sharp, sure-snag corners make as much sense on an alloy-frame 4.25” carry gun as a kickstand on a tank.
Where does she come up with these phrases?
Going into this event, Tam wasn’t really interested. At the 2nd Amendment Blogger Bash she made it apparent that Para-Ordnance was not high on her list of manufacturers to do business with based on her long experience as a merchant of death at Coal Creek Armory, but this weekend converted her:
The acid test? Well, if I have to sell a kidney or get a paper route to do it, I am buying this gun. I may be a starving artist, but even a starving artist knows the value of a dead reliable, deadeye accurate pistol when she sees one.
Attention Thanos Polyzos and Kerby Smith (not to mention Dan Smith of ICC): You just received the highest praise possible from the gunblogosphere for your product.
As noted, the pistols we shot over the weekend were equipped with Crimson Trace Lasergrips that, if I understood correctly, were sighted in personally by Todd Jarrett for about 12 yards. The laser emitter is located on the right side grip, about half an inch below the centerline of the bore, so the point of aim and the point of impact are not necessarily the same. As a training aid, the laser allows you to see just how much movement you have while aiming. Todd demonstrated this in the classroom by putting the dot from his pistol on the wall about 10 yards from where he was standing.
I didn’t think a human being could be that still. I know I can’t.
On Sunday in the shoot house he had us, three at a time, doing drills on targets while the rest watched. One of the things he wanted us to notice was how high the dot went when a pistol was fired – regardless of whether that pistol was chambered in .45 or 9mm. As you can see in this photo, my .45 comes up quite a bit at full buck. The other thing he wanted us to notice was how far down it comes during recovery. When the pistol is held properly, the dot simply returns to the original point of aim. (He showed us that with a couple of full mags, rapid fire.) Held improperly the dot is all over the target, moving in big loops. This is something you can’t really notice with iron sights only.
Going through the shoot house, a couple of the targets were so close that using the sights was practically redundant, but on the second trip through there were two “long shots” – bad guys behind no-shoots – at about 12 yards. I decided to use the laser, rather than the front sight. I deliberately put the red dot on the left shoulder of a target and touched off a round. A hole appeared where the dot had been.
And I did that three more times in quick succession.
Crimson Trace gave us t-shirts with their logo on it, and this un-PC marketing blurb:
Helping Bad-Guys Make Informed Decisions
To that I would like to add: Helping Put Rounds On Target, FAST.
Apparently we weren’t the only bloggers at Blackwater over the weekend. Mary Katherine Ham, N.Z. Bear, and Armed Liberal were there, too! And nobody introduced us! I’m shocked and outraged by this snub!
Dammit! THEY got to drive on the track!
Until this trip, I’d never checked a firearm while flying. It was an interesting experience. I took my Kimber Ultra CDP II and my Comp-Tac Minotaur holster. I’ve modified the Kimber slightly. At Chris Byrne’s suggestion I’ve added a stainless S&A mag guide with an arched mainspring housing, and replaced the original checkered Double-Diamond grips with a smooth set of Cocobolo grips cut for the magwell from Hogue. I packed these in the original Kimber plastic container along with the factory 7-round and one Chip McCormick 8-round magazine. To meet the “original packaging” requirement, I dug through my reloading bench and found a 20-round box that originally contained Cor-Bon 45ACP+P loads, and put 20 of my handloads in it, then locked the box with two sturdy Masterlocks.
The guy at the Phoenix Delta counter was pleased that I’d followed the rules, gave the pistol a cursory glance to ensure the magazine well was empty, and sent me on my way to the TSA guys and their X-ray machine. They did not ask to see the pistol.
On the way back, the ladies at the Norfolk Delta counter ooh’d and ahhh’d. “That’s pretty!” one of them said. “I really need to learn to shoot,” said another.
As Tam once put it, I love being in American-occupied America.
The TSA guy in Norfolk wanted to look at the gun. Again, all he did was check to ensure the magazine well was empty and the magazines were unloaded. “Nobody ever checks the chamber,” I commented. “We’re not allowed to touch the gun,” he replied, “but when I put it through the X-ray machine, I’ll be able to see if there’s a round in the chamber.”
As I noted below, I made the flight from Atlanta to Phoenix, but my bag didn’t. It’s an uncomfortable feeling knowing that your luggage – with a lot of expensive stuff in it – might not be showing up as scheduled. This further reinforces my resolve to drive where I need to go if at all possible.
Tonight’s exciting episode of Gun Nuts: The Next Generation will be an exclusive follow-up to the Para-USA Weekend at Blackwater. Caleb will be interviewing several of the attendees, including yours truly during the show which will run a full hour rather than the standard 45 minutes.
As always, you can “tune in” at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gunnuts at 11:00PM Eastern, or catch it as a podcast the next day.
After two trips thru the shoot house, this really isn’t that exciting. Hmmm, a motel fire. – Dave Hardy, from a motel in Arlington, VA this morning.
Here’s the view out the front door of his room when he awoke:
Apparently it wasn’t any big deal to the firefighters either. They didn’t bother to evacuate the other lodgers.
Apparently Atlanta is stacked up. We were supposed to push back from the gate here in Norfolk at 4:01PM local time, and arrive in Atlanta at 5:50. Now they tell us that we’ll depart about 5:30, and nobody knows if our connecting flights will still be on the ground when we get to Atlanta or not.
So I just paid $9.95 for a 1Mbps wireless connection so I could get back on the ‘Net and do some surfing. I’m on Boingo. I’m not impressed. When I logged on it immediately gave me a chat screen and a perky salesperson who tried desperately to convince me that I needed to sign up for the $6.95/month service rather than the $9.95 single-use. It was tough to convince her I really didn’t need it. Until I mentioned I was a blogger.
I need to learn to control this power . . .
I think I’m going to be late to work tomorrow.
If I get there at all.
The power of blogging is very limited in scope.
This is one of the high-capacity scenarios we shot Saturday afternoon. The drill was to advance with your partner, firing three shots each onto a stationary plate. Pass through the “doorway” and then split, left and right. Engage the falling plates and put two rounds onto any “mover” that came into your field of vision. On the ground behind the barricade where you can’t see it in this video is another fixed plate you had to shoot twice, then shift to the end and shoot the stationary plate there six times, again putting two rounds onto any mover that entered your field of vision. All reloads had to be done from cover. We were uniformly bad at it, but damn, it was fun!
OK, I have to go to the airport now. No more blogging for a while. Maybe tomorrow.