What a weekend. I Got to participate in the LuckyGunner.com Blogger Shoot in Lenoir City, Tennessee. Here are my thoughts and impressions from the weekend:
The drive to Tennessee, and an informal pizza dinner with the whole crew. I thought I would be fashionably late. This means I was the last one there and had to squeeze into the table with Jake from LuckyGunner, and Great Satan. Well, not the Prince of Darkness himself, but the couple who run the blog of the same name. But it was okay – Reverend Kenn Blanchard was there, too.
After dinner, I chatted with the LuckyGunner staff, including Angela Degloma, who put together the whole weekend for us. A big shout out of thanks to Angela!
Breakfast, rules, and a caravan to a gun nut’s dream – all the ammo I could shoot, courtesy of Magtech, Sellior & Bellot, and other ammo suppliers. And if I wanted to shoot ammo for guns I didn’t own – say for a MG-42 – that was okay.
I love to make lists, and here is the list of what I shot Saturday:
Glock 17 (Bruce)
Glock 21 (The Duke)
Mosin Nagant (Vasilliy)
The borrowed AR
Other People’s Guns:
Someone else’s Mosin Nagant
The atmosphere was incredible. In front of us was 300 yards of reactive targets, everything from bowling pins to empty gas bottles to cars and school buses. Where I was located, under a camo field net, we stood shoulder to shoulder, and I found out that it would have been awfully annoying in the Revolution or War Between the States to have stood like this and shot AR’s. My back was constantly pelted by hot spent brass from my neighbors. Did I mind? Not until one got down my collar and laid a nice burn on my back.
To my left about 30 yards away were a pair of Civil War era cannons, crewed by a battery of appropriately dressed soldiers. To my right, 75 yards away, was a German howitzer. I never really got used to the shock wave moving through the line when these artillery would go off.
The howitzer had at the school bus a while, till the cease-fire horn sounded, and out came a Sherman tank and a deuce-and-a-half sporting all sorts of belt fed weapons. They lit into the bus. It was no contest.
Shortly before lunch, the Knox County SWAT team circled the field in their helicopter, and landed. I tweeted at the time “Oh, crap, someone called the SWAT team. No, wait. They’re here for lunch.”
I found out a few things on Saturday:
* I can put a lot of lead down range when I want to. Full auto makes it worse. Or better.
* My guns are very reliable. I shot more rounds through my SKS and Mosin Nagant in one day than I probably have, total, up until then, with absolutely no failures of any kind. The only problems I had involved the polymer SKS magazines – the feed lips tended to spread too wide for me to be able to feed a new magazine quickly. I think I’m going to look for metal US made magazines.
* The stock on my SKS had some mold marks on it right where it meets my thumb. This was no big deal if I was shooting 60 rounds, but when I shot 360 rounds, it dug a neat furrow in my thumb knuckle. A little Dremel work on the stock when I got home fixed that.
* My gun cart worked exactly as designed. I love it.
That night was the Blogger Shoot Banquet and the presentation of the Gunnie Awards. I got to sit with M.J. Mollenhour, author of the terrorist thriller Arcturus, as well as with bloggers Robert of My Tumultuous Adventure, Sebastian from Snowflakes in Hell, SaysUncle, and WizardPC from Walls of the City. Sebastian won the Gunnie for Best Blog, Political. The rest of the winners can be found here.
I also got to meet a lot of good people, regular people, who love guns, love blogging about guns, and love their freedom.
Most of my day Sunday was spent in a defensive pistol training class with Tom Givens of Rangemaster, from Memphis. Tom’s teaching style is at once informal and easy to understand, while also being no-nonsense, with a very low tolerance for bull. He delivered a lot of real-world information gathered from over 30 years of Law Enforcement and LE training.
Not knowing the level of the 30 or so students, Tom began with the basics, the Four Rules of Gun Safety. He then took us through the rationale for carrying a gun in the first place – because you might run into somebody who need to be shot. Yessir, nothing politically correct here. And that’s as it should be.
We then moved through the steps of an efficient presentation, to aiming, to smooth trigger press and delivery of the shot, to follow up. This was by far the part of the class I got the most out of. Follow through means consciously following the sights of the gun back on to the target, and releasing the trigger only back to the reset, in anticipation that this person will need to be shot again. As Tom said, for X shots, there are X plus 1 sight pictures required.
When we got into the actual shooting, it took me a few shots to take this follow up concept to heart, but once I did, it made a big difference in how fast I was able to deliver multiple shots. By the end of the class we were delivering shots at quarter second intervals – 4 per second – all in the A circle of an IDPA target from 7 yards. In the end of the class, my target was one ragged hole.
I found out a few things on Sunday:
* These really good gun bloggers haven’t just spent their time looking at guns – they’ve been shooting, and shooting well. Sebastian and SaysUncle, in particular, shot very well in our training class.
* I can shoot my .45ACP Glock 21SF very well, better than I thought I could. My idea in shooting the .45 in class was kind’ve like using a batting donut – the heavy .45 would make my 9mm seem light and easy. Well, I found I like the .45. It makes me pay attention, and shoot with determination. I’m going to carry it whenever I can.
* Eastern Tennessee has some damn fine barbecue. Then again, Memphis has always been my bellwether, and this is the same state.
I spent the rest of Sunday shooting Other People’s Guns, till the cease fire horn sounded one final time. The 2011 Blogger Shoot was over, and I was already looking forward to next year.