Saturday, December 31, 2011

Re-stippled Beretta Grips

I took another shot at my Beretta grips. I had to get a little creative to get them back to a point where I could re-stipple them, but it was worth it. They are 10 times better now.

Training Update: 12/29/31

I hit the range for the first time in a while on Thursday to get in some much needed practice. I think I was going through withdrawal or something :) I started off function checking some new Mec-Gar magazines by shooting 3"x5" index card at 5 and 10 yards, they worked!! I was a little worried because I didn't want to screw up my 2k challenge run by trying out new magazines.

After that I shot a 50/50 Dot Torture at 10ft. I was a bit surprised, considering I haven't even been doing dryfire practice since my last training update with Christmas and all that going on.

I have decided that my split times suck, so I spent the rest of my range trip running pseudo Bill Drills. I say pseudo because I wasn't shooting at an 8" target because I didn't have any (8.5"x11" instead), I wasn't drawing from a holster because it isn't allowed, and the range was so crowded that my shot timer would have picked up everyone else's shots too. So I did the next best thing I could think of, I videoed all my drills, or rather my wife did. These are just a couple of my runs. About four Bill Drills in I started to rotate my left elbow a little higher and you can really tell a difference between the runs in the videos and the runs before the adjustment. Have to work on that so more so that it gets done without me thinking about it.

1,233 rounds to go in the 2k round challenge. I have my fingers crossed. Hope to be back on the range at least three times in January, including an IDPA match on the 21st.

Another interesting bit of news, the Arkansas State IDPA match is going to be held at CASA this year. Just might be my first big match if my work schedule will allow it.

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Skill Set

Tried my hand at stippling, just because I always wanted to try it and had an old set of Beretta grips lying around.

I am mostly pleased with how they turned out, for a first attempt anyway. I also tried a few other random things that were lying around.

2nd attempt. Much better.


Post-stipple. Huge difference.

My favorite so far.
I haven't tried it on an actual firearm yet, but that day is coming. Soon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Holster Decision

I have been carrying AIWB in my Bianchi soft leather IWB holster. For what the holster cost me I have been pleased. It certainly outshines the other "budget" IWB options I have seen on the market. In that time period I have learned a few things about AIWB and the Beretta 96. It is a heck of a long barrelled gun! I think AIWB would be better suited for a more compact, or at least shorter barreled gun. Something along the lines of a G-19 sized handgun would probably work really well for me AIWB, but I am committed to this 96D. So I have opted for the more traditional carry position in the 3-4 o'clock range.

I had a couple recommendations for the Kramer #3 from some accomplished shooters, and just about popped for one but decided to go another route for a couple reasons. There is a holster maker that is local to me by the name of Tommy Theis. I know about him from, and his holster business has been taking off lately with the local conceal carry community. He basically makes a version of the popular hybrid holsters floating around. I am all about supporting the local firearms industry, and since he only lives 15 minutes away from my house I thought this would be worth giving a chance. I have been very pleased with my dealings with Tommy so far. He has been very responsive to e-mails (like 5-10 minute reply responsive!), and seems very committed to delivering a product to meet his customer needs. I asked for a specific type of cut on the leather and he had no problem accommodating me. I am glad to be giving him my business.

Photo from
 This will be the first time I have used a hybrid type holster, I generally stick with all kydex or all leather. Theis holsters have a lifetime warranty, and a two week money back guarantee. So if it breaks I am covered, and if in the first two weeks I decide it just is absolutely not going to work I can return it and not be out any cash. I doubt I will be returning it though.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Competition pistol league...or something like that

In pistol competition it seems like there are a few basic major competition types; USPSA, IDPA and Steel Challenge. Most people, or at least a significant number of people at the range where I compete (or try to) shoot multiple formats. To my knowledge, there isn't really much of an intersection between each of the major formats.

This idea popped into my head after shooting my first Steel Challenge match on December 10th. If a guy wanted to shoot in multiple pistol competition formats, each format is pretty much a stand-alone competition in and of itself. What if instead of having each match basically being its own beginning and end there was a way to create a competition "season" with an overall champion at the end of the "season"? It is cool to say you have won a particular match, but how much cooler would it be to say you bested however many shooters over the course of an entire season. So not only did you outperform for a single match, but you consistently outperformed for multiple matches.

That would be easy enough to do if it were exclusive to a specific competition format, but who shoots just one format? Most of the people who compete on a regular basis (which are the people who would be interested in this because if requires regular participation) also compete in multiple types of matches.

So lets say we put together a pistol competition league of local shooters who shoot USPSA, Steel Challenge and IDPA in the course of a year. They may not shoot every match every month at their local club, but they shoot a fair number of each. How could we create a cumulative scoring system that would work across all three competition types so that at the end of the year (or some other pre-determined amount of time) the scores can be tallied and a champion declared?

To my knowledge (maybe my google-fu isn't good enough) no such system currently exist, and after spending the past few weeks thinking about it I may know why. I can't come up with a reasonable scoring system. The system would have to provide an equal measure of all three competition types so that a rock star Steel Challenge shooter who is just an average IDPA and USPSA shooter doesn't have an advantage over guys who excel in other match types. Ideally the system would work regardless of what matches were actually shot so that it wouldn't be a requirement to attend specific matches, but that may be asking too much.

So assuming we specify which local matches are eligible for the league, it becomes easier to score because shooter performance can be directly compared to other league participants in each specific match and then averaged at the end of the season. The problem the becomes what to do about the different divisions within each match type.

Any ideas on how to make all this work? I think on a local level it would be really cool to see something like this happen. I think it would really help to bring together the community somewhat, in addition to being really fun.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rebuilding the Reload

On advice from ToddG in my first reload post and what I think is sound logic I am in the process of rebuilding my reload technique. It isn't a huge change, I just have to bring the gun in tighter to get my elbow against my torso, and attempt the same with my support hand. In theory, this will give me a repeatable index from reload to reload and allow for more consistency, which is what I am lacking.. I have worked on it a little bit and already think it will lead to a boost in performance. Here is a video of a full speed dryfire reload using the new technique, although not perfectly.

I will give it a run for a while, and then put on the timer and see how I do compared to my previous reloads (1.9 sec avg.). Consistency is the biggest thing. I could pull off some fast reloads before which is the reason for the decent average, just not on a consistent enough basis for me to be pleased with it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Steel Challenge - The Lost Video

A shooting buddy of mine got some video of me shooting Rounabout at the December 10th match.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Steel Challenge Debrief

I had set a goal of having 100% accuracy on 4 of 5 runs for each stage at this match...well that didn't last long. In fact, it didn't survive the first stage (pendulum). This was my first Steel Challenge match, so I was hesitant to set a speed goal, but I ended up hitting a fairly happy medium between the two. I throttled back a little, but still ended up missing more shots that I expected.

I ended up finishing 1st in centerfire division, which was very surprising to me. But then again there weren't that many centerfire shooters. This match was a lot different than the IDPA matches I have been to. A much more relaxed atmosphere, but maybe that was just the squad I was in. Not sure. Anyway, thanks CASA for another great match. I will definitely be adding Steel Challenge to my list of matches to shoot on a regular basis.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Training Update: 12-8-11

I hit the range again while I was out running some errands this afternoon for the purpose of primarily working on getting my elbows up and working on recoil management. Video from the last training session really put in perspective how much I need to work on that.

I started off working target transitions on the same target as the last trip, and then switched to running 5 round rapid fire groups on the 8" tall and 6" wide ovals. There is definitely a visual difference between running elbows up and elbows down at speed. It is much easier to track the sights with elbows up. I was sans a shot timer though, so I don't know how it is going to translate on the timer yet. Hopefully it helps me get my split times down where I want them after I get the technique down.

I followed that with a 48/50 Dot Torture at 4 yards, 5 round rapid fire groups on a 4"x6" index card, and then full blown Bill Drills minus the draw stroke. I was pretty disappointed with the 48/50 on the Dot Torture. I am not sure how I pulled the shot low on Dot #1. That should not be happening. The miss on Dot #10 was the last shot of the drill, and I was just going too fast. I knew it was high as soon as the gun fired.

Only 176 rounds all together, but I think I made some progress in terms of recoil management, or at least started to.

1,584 rounds to go on the 2k round challenge.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

9mm vs. .40

I have been shooting mostly .40 S&W for a while, with the exception of my P226. I was reminded at my last range trip just how nice it is to shoot 9mm. My wife was having some issues with her shooting that we weren't entirely sure was not a gun issue. To check and see if it was a gun issue, I fired a few rounds through the gun to see if we could replicate the problem. I had fogotten how much I prefer 9mm over .40 S&W. This 96D needs to hurry up and break, or I need to hurry up and get master class so I can start a new project (revolver maybe?)

I am very blessed to have a wife that enjoys the same things
I do. Here she is rockin' her Sig.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Training Update: 12-5-11

I finally got to the range a couple days ago, but sadly I have loaned my shot timer to a friend and have not gotten it back yet. Needless to say, I was a little limited on the drills I could run without a shot timer. I decided to focus on target transitions, and getting solid hits on low probability targets as a semi train up for Steel Challenge this weekend.

I started off running transitions at 15 yards on 6"x8" ovals. I followed that by using the Typewriter target at 5yd and working through the numbers once then stopping and hitting the corners (1,3,4,6). That worked out well with my10 round magazines so I wasn't doing slide lock reloads in the middle of the drill. I made about 85% hits.

I think there are some issues I need to work on stance a grip wise, mostly raising my elbows slightly to get more grip pressure on the gun. I worked on it in dryfire, and if I am lucky I may get another range trip in tomorrow to work on it live.

I followed that by working transitions on the 3-two-1 target, but only firing a single round at each target. I shot set the target at 4 yards and in a horizontal orientation (as pictured), and hardly hit the 1" square at all. Most fell low left, something I need to work on. I changed the order I shot the targets in each repetition. My transitions between target sizes still need a lot of work. I have a tendency to just hit a pace and stay there.

As for the Trausch grips, I think they are an improvement over the stock grips, but without a timer I still can't say for sure. Doubtful I will have my timer back before my next range trip either.

In regard to the 2,000 round challenge, 240 down, 1,760 to go, no malfunctions.

I have been struggling with decided on a goal to set for myself for this weekends Steel Challenge match. Not only is it my first time shooting Steel Challenge, but also my first time shooting any type of match with my Beretta. I am hesitant to set any sort of time goals, just because I really have no clue how difficult the stages are. I have seen some high speed shooters take down the Steel Challenge stages in a hurry on youtube, but no way am I going to be able to go that fast, or even attempt to. I would miss every shot. So instead of having a time based goal I have decided to have an accuracy based goal. No misses for 4 out of 5 runs on each stage. That gives me one run to really pick up the speed if I feel like I can, or a mulligan if I need it :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I am fairly active on a couple local gun related forums and also have a friend and former co-worker who teaches firearms classes on the side. Other than the basic course to get a CHCL in the State of Arkansas it seems there is not much interest in firearms instruction around this area. That is why I have to drive to Memphis!!

I don't understand why more people don't seek out instruction. An instructor by the name of Dan Gray who was a long time law enforcement instructor related to me a story about what he always used to tell new recruits in the police academy when it came time to cover firearms "This is the least important thing you will learn, until it is the most important thing you know." The point I think he was trying to make is that the use of a firearm in a defensive context is not something we are going to use every day, or once a year, or once a decade or maybe even a lifetime for that matter. Bottom line is though when we do need it, what we have learned and probably more importantly how well we have learned it becomes the most important thing we can possibly know.

I know a lot of people who carry a firearm as a part of their profession, but even the most dedicated to proficient use of a firearm don't seem to give it much attention relative to what I call the "shooting community". This never ceases to baffle me. A guy who shoots local matches will spend more time trying to improve performance than the guy who as a component of his profession is going to depend on his shooting skill/fighting skill to save his life someday. As an example (and what inspired this post), a few buddies of mine who carry guns for a living and myself had a small impromptu match that was way simple and consisted of a few steel targets and a little bit of running. When all was said and done, most of the guys were pretty close together. Then there I was, the guy who shoots in local matches and isn't even a master class IDPA shooter and was 25% faster than the 2nd fastest guy. Why the disparity? Rant over.


A while back I mentioned working reloads in my dryfire practice. Below is video or a few recent repetitions that were at full speed. I slowed the video down to half speed to make it easier to critique. As you can see I struggle with the magazine insertion. This seems to be a recurring problem, any tips? (That is my training buddy in the background helping me keep up with my dummy rounds)