Hello world!

This is my first blog post on WordPress. I had a small blog over on the “other” blog site, but I stopped using it when they started censoring firearms and firearms related accessories in their shopping searches, so I decided to move over here. Not sure if I’ll move the entirety of my blog over here or just start over. I guess just a bit of an introduction. My name is John and I’m an IDPA shooter. Not a very good one at the moment unfortunately. For those that don’t know, IDPA stands for International Defensive Pistol Association. It has over 20,000 members world wide and it is a sport which is growing very quickly. When I joined just a little over a year ago, we were at roughly 14,000 members. IDPA is a shooting sport that has you shooting at targets which require speed and accuracy. There is sometimes a requirement for you to move. There is sometimes targets that move. The targets can pop up and down to hide. They will turn to face you and turn away again in quick succession. They can swing from side to side. You will have to shoot targets in a certain order and there will be the “non-threat” targets which you do NOT want to shoot. Each target has multiple scoring zones. Center mass zone and head zones are down 0 or -0, radiating out from there is a down 1 or -1 zone, and then the down 3 or -3 zone. Misses count as down 5 or -5. Each point down counts as a .5 second penalty, so accuracy means a lot. This is what a stage looks like in IDPA.

There aren’t a lot of equipment requirements. A decent gun, typically 9mm or above. Can be semi-automatic or revolver. A holster for your gun is required. A cover garment and storage for extra reloads is needed for your firearms (figure enough for 30 rounds). I shoot a Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm, the standard full size version with a Bladetech holster and two extra magazines for a total of three magazines (I actually have 5 and rotate them out). I do have a cover garment which is a vest that I purchased from sportsmansguide.com which was recommended to me by another shooter. It is a good starter vest with a good weight for movement and good size pockets for storing magazines when I have to “save” them.

Now, who should shoot IDPA. That is a tough question. I’d really suggest you be fairly competent with your gun first. Know how to handle it and be comfortable with it. What worked for me was I actually went and watched an entire match. I contacted the club president and told him I wanted to watch, learn, and help the first time. That really helped me when I actually shot my first match. I wasn’t nearly as nervous and most of my questions had already been answered even before I shot. Clubs will have a new shooters orientation before the match, so always step up and let the club know that you are a new shooter. Sometimes they will match you up with an experienced shooter who will help you out throughout the day that first match.

So, if you shoot pistols and are tired of shooting at the same old tired static target everyday, I’d highly suggest IDPA. The people have been really great and helpful. I’ve made some wonderful friends and had an awesome time at the matches. Go out and give it a shot!

That’s it for me. Remember, shoot safe, shoot straight!



Last post on Blogger

Well, this will be my last post on Blogger. No, I haven’t given up my 2nd Amendment rights and my firearms, and no, I haven’t stopped shooting IDPA, although I am done for the summer until the weather cools. What I am done with is using Blogger which is a Google product. You see, Google has decided to censor guns, ammo, and accessories from it’s shopping results when you do a Google search or “Google Shopping”. This was a great help in finding some of the things I was specifically looking for in regards to IDPA shopping parts  for my competition gun. I was looking for the Apex Duty Carry kit also known as the DCAEK. Easily found with “Google Shopping” at many sites. Now I’ll have to try and dig and find it. For those who haven’t seen it, this was what one of the “vendors” received from Google in regards to their sale items:

Dear Merchant,

We’re writing to let you know about some upcoming changes to the product listings you submit to Google. As we recently announced, we are starting to transition our shopping experience to a commercial model that builds on Product Listing Ads. This new shopping experience is called Google Shopping. As part of this transition, we’ll begin to enforce a set of new policies for Google Shopping in the coming weeks. A new list of the allowed, restricted, and prohibited products on Google Shopping is available on our new policy page – http://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/ApI7UWRj6OCZpd.

Based on a review of the products you’re currently submitting, it appears that some of the content in your Merchant Center account, HamLund Tactical, will be affected by these policy changes. In particular we found that your products may violate the following policies:


When we make this change, Google will disapprove all of the products identified as being in violation of policies. We ask that you make any necessary changes to your feeds and/or site to comply, so that your products can continue to appear on

Google Shopping.

To help you through this new set of policies and how to comply with them, we would like to give you some specific suggestions regarding the changes needed to keep your offers running on Google Shopping.


As highlighted on our new policy page http://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/ApI7UWRj6OCZpd, in order to comply with the Google Shopping policies you need to comply first with the AdWords policies http://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/StQ08jAzM4fVtG. We do not allow the promotion or sale of weapons and any related products such as ammunitions or accessory kits on Google Shopping. In order to comply with our new policies, please remove any weapon-related products from your data feed and then re-submit your feed in the Merchant Center. For more information on this policy please visit http://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/GbBNIGHOribLzf.

We’re constantly reviewing our policies, and updating them when necessary, to ensure we’re offering the best experience possible to our users. We’ve identified a set of policy principles to govern our policy efforts on Google Shopping in the U.S. These principles are:

1) Google Shopping should provide a positive experience to users. Showing users the right products at the right time can truly enhance a user’s experience. When people trust us to deliver them to a destination that’s relevant, original, and easy to navigate this creates a positive online experience to the benefit of both users and merchants.

2 ) Google Shopping should be safe for all users. User safety is everyone’s business, and we can’t do business with those who don’t agree. Scams, phishing, viruses, and other malicious activities on the Internet damage the value of the Internet for everyone. Trying to get around policies or “game the system” is unfair to our users, and we can’t allow that.

3) Google Shopping should comply with local laws and regulations. Many products and services are regulated by law, which can vary from country to country. All advertising, as well as the products and services being advertised, must clearly comply with all applicable laws and regulations. For the most part, our policies aren’t designed to describe every law in every country. All advertisers bear their own responsibility for understanding the laws applicable to their business. Our policies are often more restrictive than the law, because we need to be sure we can offer services that are legal and safe for all users.

4) Google Shopping should be compatible with Google’s brand decisions. Google Shopping must be compatible with company brand decisions. Our company has a strong culture and values, and we’ve chosen not to allow ads that promote products and services that are incompatible with these values. In addition, like all companies, Google sometimes makes decisions based on technical limitations, resource constraints, or requirements from our business partners. Our policies reflect these realities.

We’ve given much thought to our stance on this content, as well as the potential effect our policy decision could have on our Merchants, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

The Google Shopping Team

© 2012 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043 You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important changes to your Google Merchant Center account.

So, there you have it. I know these posts don’t reach a whole lot of folks, so this won’t come as a great loss. I’ll update this post with my new blog site once I’m up and running wherever that may be. Until then, just remember:

Shoot safe, shoot straight!

More range therapy – June 9,2012

Went to the range today to get some more therapy in. Put 150 rounds down range. Wanted to try some more of the Blazer Blaster aluminum case ammo for use in IDPA. I bought two boxes of that from Dicks Sporting Goods and ran that through my M&P.

I started off at 10 yards with 25 rounds at the down zero zone. All 25 rounds were clean, although I did drop one that just barely broke the line for scoring. After that, I ran 25 rounds at the head down zero zone from 10 yards. Out of those 25 rounds, 22 were down zero, 2 were down one, and one was a miss to the left. Not too bad. I’m using the smaller scoring zone of the head to try to focus my head shots when I have to take them at 7 yards. I figure if I can get my head shots at 10 yards, getting them at 7 yards should be easy. Seemed to work out pretty well the last couple of times at IDPA matches with only one miss.

After that 50 rounds, I moved the target up to 7 yards and worked 25 rounds strong hand and weak hand. Strong hand was much better this week with all 25 rounds in the down zero scoring zone. I did use the slightly bent/flexed strong arm technique this week and it definitely worked. After that, I send 25 rounds weak hand and didn’t do quite as well as I hoped. Only placed 20 out of 25 in the down scoring zone with 3 close low and left, but pulled 2 real low and right almost down into the 3 zone. So still have a lot of work to do there. I can say that on those two that I pulled real low and right, I did try to pick the pace up and move a little faster. Probably a little to fast.

Well, that was my “IDPA” practice. After that, I broke out my PT-92 which I hadn’t shot in a while and put up a “Right-hand” shooting chart and sent 50 rounds at it at 10 yards. Put 40 out of 50 rounds into the orange and white center circle. The other 10 rounds were 2 high and a bit right and 7 low and left. Not terrible for not shooting this gun for probably over 6 months. I actually may try shooting this gun at the bowling pin match later this month.

Oh, if anyone has an “IDPA” range training that they can suggest, I’m all ears. The problem that I’m running into is that none of the ranges that are close to me will let me draw from a holster and shoot, so at best, I’m going from low ready. What I’ve written here today, I’ve done the last couple of weeks. As I get better with strong and weak hand, I may get a different target with multiple small targets and work shooting between the targets, but this is pretty much what I have until the weather cools back off and I can get back into the monthly matches.

Well, that’s it for me. Remember, shoot safe, shoot straight!

June 4th 1942 – The Battle of Midway

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. I know, so what does the Battle of Midway have to do with me. Well, nothing directly, but I did serve in the Navy aboard the USS Yorktown, CG-48 which was the 5th ship to bear that name. It was during the Battle of Midway that the USS Yorktown, CV5 was lost due to a combination of bombs and torpedoes.

When I served onboard the “Battle-cruiser” as we called her, I didn’t pay much attention to her previous namesakes. I knew they were there, but I didn’t really know much other than there were a couple of aircraft carriers and one was lost during World War II. We even had a space onboard the ship called “Yorktown Square” which had a park bench and probably 50 or so pictures of the earlier versions of the Yorktown. I looked at them and there was a passing interest, but nothing major. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I started to read about the “Yorktowns” and the Battle of Midway. Just the fact the Yorktown made it to the battle was pretty remarkable itself. She was pretty well damaged at the Battle of the Coral Sea and had expected to go to Bremerton, Washington for repairs after a brief stop in Pearl Harbor. Imagine the crews surprise when the ship was swarmed with yard workers who basically did a months work in roughly 72 hours and got her back out to sea. Without Yorktown to accompany Hornet and Enterprise, Midway may have turned out a lot different than it did.

As it was, Admiral Nimitz gave the yard workers 3 days to get Yorktown back at sea to meet up with Hornet and Enterprise to go against a huge Japanese battle fleet. By size comparison, it wasn’t even close. For the United States side we had:
3 carriers
~25 support ships
233 carrier-based aircraft
127 land-based aircraft
Total: 28 ships

For the Japanese side, they had the following:
4 carriers
2 battleships
~15 support ships
248 carrier-based aircraft
16 floatplanes

Did not participate in battle:
2 light carriers
5 battleships
~41 support ships
116 other ships (including auxiliary and transport vessels)
Total: 185 ships

It was a crazy battle and the United States got lucky by losing formations. Our torpedo bombers were separated from our dive bombers and fighters. They were completely obliterated by the Japanese fighters and only one or two actually got to launch torpedoes. But the Japanese fighters lost focus and followed the bombers and lost altitude. This allowed almost a perfect clear sky for our dive bombers which caught the Japanese aircraft carriers in the midst of re-fueling and re-arming their own bombers. Their fighters had no chance to get back up and provide cover and three carriers were hit and severely damaged in quick succession. 

The Japanese from the carrier Hiryu in turn hit Yorktown with 3 bomb hits which knocked out her boilers and left her dead in the water. However, with good damage control, she was back underway in a little over an hour. Thinking Yorktown sunk in the first raid, the Japanese went after her again assuming she was Enterprise and hit her with 2 torpedoes. Again Yorktown lost her boilers and steerage. Yorktown also took on a 26degree list. Eventually, abandon ship was called for the Yorktown due to the increasing list. However, planes from the Yorktown did assist with the location and destruction of the last Japanese carrier Hiryu by Enterprise planes.

Later, rescue and recovery teams went back aboard Yorktown to see if they could stabilize the ship. The destroyer Hammann was tied alongside to provide power and firefighting as necessary. The teams worked to alleviate the list by cutting away heavy sections of guns, weights, planes, and counter flooding. The teams made good progress and there seemed to be a good chance that the Yorktown might yet be saved even after taking such a heavy pummeling. Alas, the Japanese sub I-168 was able to elude a screen of destroyers and put two more torpedoes into the Yorktown. A third Torpedo hit the Hammann which broke her in two and killed 80 of her crew. The Yorktown finally slipped under the water shortly after 5am on June the 7th. 

Dead in the water


Rolled over

So many things could have changed the outcome of Midway. What would have happened if Yorktown hadn’t made it to Midway? What would have happened if our formations had stayed together instead of getting separated? What would have happened had the Japanese not have been in the middle of switching from land attack to sea attack when our bombers hit? What would have happened if the Japanese had attacked another carrier instead of Yorktown a second time? What would have happened if the Japanese forces had stayed in closer contact instead of being so spread out? It brings up a lot of different and interesting scenarios. For me, it led to Yorktown, CV10 which had it’s own illustrious career serving during World War 2, Korea, Viet Nam, the space programs, and then Yorktown, CG-48, the “Battle-Cruiser”. Had I not been on her, I might not have taken the time to learn about the earlier Yorktowns and what they brought to the history of the Navy.

Going back to the original USS Yorktown, she was a 16-gun sloop of war and mostly served to interdict slave trade during the 1840’s. She struck an un-charted reef off the northern coast of Maio Island of the Cape Verde Islands. She broke up incredibly fast, but the training of the crew ensured that no lives were lost. 
The 2nd USS Yorktown was PG-1 or patrol gunboat. She was a steam powered ship but was also rigged to use sails as well. Her biggest claim to fame was the first successful use of the telescopic gun-sight on Unalaska Island on September 22nd, 1892. 
Well, I guess that’s it for my history lesson today. Didn’t really know where I was going with this and can’t really remember if I have it all right, but it should be fairly close. At 44, almost 45, the brain ain’t quite what it used to be. 
That’s it for me. Remember, shoot safe, shoot straight!

Range Therapy – Sunday June 3rd, 2012

Ok, so no IDPA this weekend. Would have been a good weekend for it as it wasn’t too hot, just nothing close by that I could have done. Allergies and sinuses have been really playing havoc, so I figured maybe some gunpowder therapy would be helpful. So, I headed off to Elite Training Academy in Monroe. My plan was to shoot about 50 rounds freestyle, with another 50 rounds strong and weak hand. I worked my first 25 rounds at 7 yards freestyle on a standard IDPA target and kept everything in the 0 scoring zone, just a little left. After that, I did 25 rounds strong hand, and another 25 rounds weak hand. Of those 75 rounds, I had 7 rounds drop out of the 0 zone. A couple dropped significantly as I was trying to figure out my grip for strong and weak hand. I found that on strong hand, if I don’t fully extend my arm, my groups seem to be much better. I just kept it slightly bent. On weak hand, it was the opposite, I did better with a fully extended arm. Finished up with another 25 rounds at the head zone at 10 yards. Put 21 in the 0 scoring zone, with two low and left 1 scoring zone, one high off the target, and I had one round go off before I was fully sighted (I’m still struggling with the reset point on this gun after a year) which apparently completely missed the paper.

I didn’t get any pictures of the head shots. After I was done with the pistol work, I broke out my rifle and did some .22 work at 25 yards getting the rifle sighted in. Anyway, the very low and right shots were a couple of my first weak hand shots where I had my arm partially bent like my strong hand. After seeing those shots way off, I went back to fully extended and locked for weak hand and my shots were much better. It’s all a learning process.

Well, that’s it for me. Remember, shoot safe, shoot straight!

Scores in from MWDS 5-26-2012 match

Scores are in and they’re pretty much what I figured they would be. I am staying pretty consistent from what I’m seeing. My overall time was 214.69 with 56 points down. Out of 78 shooters, I was the 35 most accurate and the 58th in overall time. That’s pretty much been what I’ve been doing the last 6-8 matches. My accuracy had usually been in or around the top third, but my speed has usually been in the bottom third. Of the 6 stages, I was 58th on stage one , 41st, on stage two, 59th on stage three, 70th on stage four, 70th on stage five, and 44th on stage six. Stages four and five killed me. Both were the one handed stages, so I guess I know where a lot of my time at the range will be spent this summer. Without that hit on the non-threat on stage 4, I move up five places.

Well, that’s it for me. Remember, shoot safe, shoot straight!

IDPA match at MWDS 5-26-2012

Had a great time at the IDPA match at Mecklenburg Wildlife Defensive Shooters yesterday. Good and challenging 6 stages. Bit of a warm day with a high of 92 which definitely affected me. I did wind up with a pretty nasty migraine which I was lucky enough to have my wife with me to drive home. I had hoped with the new medicine, that I’d be able to get by, but it looks like I’ll be done with IDPA for the summer until the weather cools off. Anyway, off to the stages.

Stage 1 has you starting off facing downrange, at buzzer, you turn to your left and engage 3 targets in tactical sequence with 2 rounds while retreating. After that, you engage 4 more targets from around the end of the barrier. See video below:

Stage 2 had you engaging a total of 6 targets with 2 shots. Three targets you engage from a window while slicing the pie. After engaging those, you go to low cover and engage two more targets. After that, you go to the end of the barricade and engage the last target. Lots of folks went to their knees for low cover. I went to a crouch. I was afraid at my age and weight, if I went to my knees, I might not have been able to get back up. Pretty good crouch for a 44 year old pushing 280lbs. See video below:
Stage 3 had the first of our moving targets. The premise is that you are taking out the trash with the trash in your weak hand. At buzzer, you open the trash can with strong hand which activates a pop-up target which you engage with 2 rounds. From there, you move to the right and engage a series of 6 targets shooting furthest to nearest. This simulates a drug addled target closing in on you taking a lot of damage. Unlimited round count, so you’ll see me make up a shot at the end. I wound up getting two shots out of three onto the pop-up in the 3 scoring zone low and just outside the 1. Getting better, but I’m still pretty bad with moving targets. See video below:
Stage 4 had us shooting strong handed. Bleh. I don’t shoot near enough one handed and it showed. From the barricade with briefcase in weak hand, you draw and shoot the first target around the left side of the barricade, then, while moving to the right, you must shoot each of the next 4 targets while moving. Each target must receive at least one shot before you reach the next barricade or you must retreat back to the left side and reload. Once you reach the right side, you can set down the briefcase and shoot two more targets using both hands around the right side of the barricade. Unfortunately, I did get a shot through the non-threat  high on the left shoulder. I should have waited half a second longer to get more to the right before I took that shot. See video below:
Stage 5 had 6 targets, from the buzzer, you draw and shoot in any order, 1 shot to the body strong handed, 1 shot to the body weak handed, and 1 shot to the head free-style (two handed). I decided to go with the head shots first, then strong hand, then weak hand, this way I could do a standard reload after 11 rounds with the gun in my weak hand. Well that was the plan anyway. Slide didn’t lock back after the 11th round, so it threw me off. Anyway, excuse the video, it stops filming while I’m doing my head shots and picks back up when I transition to strong hand and works fine from there. 
Stage 6 had multiple movers. From the buzzer, you move right and shoot one target with two shots, then two steel poppers, the first activates a swinging target and the second a clam-shell. You must shoot both steel before engaging any other paper, so after getting the steel down, I engaged the clam-shell. After the clam-shell, I shoot another target behind the barrels you can’t see, then move to the left side of the barricade and shoot the near target, 3 shots at the swinger, and 2 shots at the last target behind the barrels. As I approached the first target I shot for scoring, I was baffled, I saw only one hole, I couldn’t have missed that badly, but the safety officer pulled me in close and you could see the hole was elongated by two shots. I had key-holed the shot. It looked like a side-ways eight. That was pretty cool. Never done that before. Anyway, see video below.
No scores yet, but I’m not really competing with anyone but myself. Other than winding up with a crappy migraine, I had a great time and really enjoy hanging out with the folks who shoot IDPA. Well, that’s it for me. Remember, shoot safe, shoot straight!