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About Grunt

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  1. The Early Days of IPSC

    It was 1992 and I was at the Area 1 championship. By then, Matt McLearn and and I were hanging out a good bit at matches. We grabbed breakfast prior to the match one morning, along with Bruce Gray, and Ross Dean (remember Doctor Dot?). We all had fun that morning picking on Matt who was, at the time, Sponsored by Nowlin. He was sporting a fancy uniform with logos and stripes. It was quite nice, but we had to razz him a bit. The banter settled down once our orders arrived and we started to eat. And then, out of no where, I hear Matt say in an angry tone, "You've got to be kidding me!" I look over to see that he and his uniform is covered with oatmeal. I notice right away that the "shot group" pattern of the hot cereal has some vertical stringing to it (such observations are a hazard of the sport). I then glance across the table and there's Bruce with a sh*t eating grin on his face. He's holding a spoon in his right hand, with his left index finger in a position as if he had just flung hot, wet, rolled oats in the direction of Matt. Immediately, a nervous laughter erupted at the table. Matt begins to verbally accost Bruce, who's only excuse was, "I don't know why but I just wanted to flick oatmeal at you." Matt was incensed, explaining that his uniform is now unfit for wear. Needless to say, the mood for the rest of the meal was a bit tense. But, Matt wasn't going to allow Bruce to get away with this. The scheming began. A few days later, Matt emerged victoriously at the Area 1 (that was a good year for him.) We're all at the awards banquet listening to the announcements and watching the prizes be awarded. Everyone is having fun. Then, Matt walks up to the announcer and hands him a note. The announcer reads it and then says, "Is this for real?" Matt nods that it is. The announcer then says, "Ladies and Gentleman, I've just received word that Bruce Gray has learned that his girlfriend is expecting a baby and they have set a date for marriage next month." It was fun watching Bruce *literally* chase Matt around the banquet room. Grunt
  2. The Early Days of IPSC

    I shot a match in South Africa once, many moons ago. It was a championship match and a lot of countries were represented. A couple of British shooters had finished for the day when two South African police officers approached them and asked a few questions about the match. (They had heard about it and figured they'd stop by to check it out.) The brits explain the basics of IPSC and the four chatted for a while. Somewhere in the conversation the idea of "ride-along" was proposed, where the Brits would ride along with the the two cops that night during their patrol. The brits think, "sure, that'd be interesting." Then the cops advise them to bring along their street guns (as opposed to their comp guns.) The brits hesitate for a second with a "huh?" look on their faces, but then think nothing of it and agree. "Probably just a precaution," they say. Now, this was early 1990's and Apartheid was still in the throws of its demise. Joberg was still a very dangerous city (that remains to this day) and this was illustrated by the high walls, with barbed wire on top which surrounded many residences. So, these two brits show up at the police station that night with their pistols concealed in IWB holsters. The police welcome them and the four take off in the squad car. As they tour the city the brits begin to see the underbelly of the city (where else would police patrol?) They are a couple hours into it when the police radio begins squawking. The one officer answers it, speaking in Afrikaans. The brits don't speak the language, but they can tell the dialog between the cop and the dispatch is getting more tense. Then the cop begins talking to to the other cop, again in a very serious tone. Finally, the driver flicks on the lights and sirens, steps on the gas, and the car speeds through traffic. The brits are completely in shock when the one cop turns around and explains the situation. "OK, we're going to a call. Its a bit serious. Just remember one thing. If you have to shoot anyone.......don't worry about it." Both brits lean forward, draw their pistols, chamber a round, and re-holster. They exchange WTF glances at each other. In the end, the brits stayed in the car and nothing horrible happened. But man, what a great story that made at the range the next day. It always ended with, "Remember, if a South African police officer asks if you want to go on a ride along, just say no." Grunt
  3. The Early Days of IPSC

    I was at the Coors-Springfield Armory Challenge in Durango, Colorado, I think in 1989, maybe '90. The top 16 shoot-off was underway and two of Colorado's best were pitting against each other; Eddie Rhodes and Charlie Putman. Charlie was shooting a single-stack 1911 in 38 Super and wore a Safariland 008 holster. This was as good as it got back then. Eddie, on the other hand, was shooting an single-stack .45, no-comp, and an old Davis holster that he wore behind his hip. Charlie had also started shooting isosceles, and Eddie was still using that classic Weaver technique. Eddie was literally old-school before old-school came into fashion. At times, folks liked to poke fun at him, not because he refused to upgrade, but because he was still DAMN good inspite of that. Anyway, they both step to the line to shoot. Eddie takes the first one, then Charlie takes the next. In the final round, Eddie wins and everyone is applauding this old-school guy. As they are walking off the line, Eddie turns to Charlie, and in a very audible voice says, "…and don't ever make fun of my holster again." He had a great sense of humor. RIP Eddie. Grunt
  4. The Early Days of IPSC

    While I doubt I can top Patrick's stories, I'll offer a few of my own. This must have been '89 or '90, but the transition from .45 to 38 Super was still underway for many folks. A buddy of mine had recently received his new single-stack 38 Super which was build identical to his 45 comp gun. While excited to play with this "new" technology, he was still skeptical if the Super really gave you an advantage, other than the +2 rounds in the mag. So, during a local match he decided to enter twice. He'd shoot his Super for the first run, then switch to his .45 for the second run, and then compare the time for each run. Not exactly the most scientific, but he was interested nonetheless. He's on the final stage of the match and had just finished his first run with the Super. He's convinced that the Super's recoil is more manageable and can see that he'll soon be retiring his .45. But, he has one last run to make. He steps to the line, with .45 in holster, and the RO tells him to load and make ready. He pulls his gun from his holster, inserts a magazine and racks the slide. And with everyone watching, the most peculiar things happens. An entire loaded cartridge launches out of the front of the barrel and tumbles to the ground in front of him. He, and everyone else, are looking at this phenomenon in amazement. Then it dawns on him, he swapped out his pistols, but not the magazines. He put a Super magazine into his .45 and yes, those little rounds will fit completely down the barrel of a .45. We all laughed pretty hard at that one. Grunt
  5. What do sights do?

    Sights are a visual reference that may be used to determine where the gun is pointed. Grunt
  6. BE said it. Track the front sight. For me, I was shooting before and after the introduction of scopes. It may sound odd, but to this day I can still see (in my mind) my front sight at the 1990 Nationals on a swinger at 25 yards. I timed the target and saw that I had about .4-.5 seconds to get two shots on the target as it paused left or right. Since I knew I could get off two shots at .3 splits (with iron sights), I was confident that I could gain an advantage on this stage. While shooting I saw an A and a C, and that's exactly what was on paper when it came time to score. BUT, this came only through many rounds of agressive practice. I was pretty in tune with what the "big boys" were capable of (i.e. their times, the target distances, etc.) so I used that as a goal and then pushed toward that during practice. What I learned was that I could deliver hits beyond what I was visually comfortable with. Note, that's not to say I did not see my sights. I simply learned to accept a different visual reference to know if the shot was good, or not. And regardless of how fast you shoot, tracking the front sight will be **the** way to determine this. Learn to see the sight lift off the target. Start with slow fire and don't progress until you can see the front sight lift. Then pick up the pace a little. Then continue to shoot a bit faster. You'll be surprised what you can do at speed. BTW, one of my favorite drills with newer shooters was to have them empy a magazine into a berm with no target. The only goal being, see the front sight lift for every shot. That's step one. Once you learn to stop blinking and focus on the front sight, then introduce a target. Once you learn your abilities and limitations at varous distances, that will carry you a long way in matches. Grunt
  7. Consistant Sight Return?

    +1 For a right hander, you are seeing what every other right hander sees. The sight tracks up and to the right. Congrats!! You are seeing the front sight in recoil. IMO, this is a huge first step toward improvement. Experimentation is critical with so many parts of this, and other, sports. Play with the extremes to see the results and then find the theoretical middle-ground which is usually what works for you. Re: the grip, this is essential to ensure the sights return to the same alignment. A slight change in grip can impact this and effect how the sights align on subsequent shots. With targets at close range this is less of an issue. But as the distance increase, this can become a problem. Obviously, coming out of the holster, or picking up the gun from a table, may impact how you end up gripping the gun. Generally speaking, take the close shots first and transition to the long shots (making any grip adjustments required along the way). You may not actually regrip the gun, but slight pressure changes in the grip will help keep the gun recoiling in a consitant manner. Note, this is not a mechanical thing. Its more of an intuitive thing, which takes practice. Grunt
  8. Strange thing at a match yesterday.

    +1 See "trick of the day" in Brian's book. I'll bargain that the more you shoot in rainy conditions, the worse your shooting will get. Grunt
  9. Contest: Name that old timer Part 3

    Sorry, found this one very late into the game. Re the comment: "Do the 2 guys in the top row, far left have their holsters located damn near right on their mid-line, where most people would have their 1st mag pouch?" Yes, I believe we used to jokingly call that the vasectomy position. I remember Rick Byfield. I shot against him in the shoot-offs one year.....and lost. Re: the group photo, I think I can help. I'm pretty sure the guy to the left of Zubiena is Canadian Murray Gardner. He always had an incredibly tight Weave stance with the gun about 6-8" from his face. Also, I think the guy to the left of John Shaw may/may be Dan Predovich, from Colorado (although I agree, it does look a bit like Ron Avery). I've only met Dan him a couple of times, but he was a top shooter and I wouldn't be surprised if he finished in the top 16 during this time frame. Grunt
  10. +1. If you are new, or trying something new, it is always best to break it down in to smaller components. And its perfectly fine to have an entire practice session on only simplified drills. But at some point it is helpful to "assemble" these parts into something more complex. Grunt
  11. From the Lanny Bassham Newsletter...

    Yup, a great post. I remember things really started to click for me once my focus shifted away from winning and over to performance. Suddenly practice was fun in and of itself. The timer became fun to shoot against, instead of a simple measuring device of success/failure. Experimentation started to thrive and overall I began to relax. It was a pivotal time for my shooting. Oddly, today it still holds true for bullseye shooting. I know this may sound funny, but I can have a lot of fun just dry-firing at black dot. When the hammer falls and the sights don't move or drift, I know it was a 10. That is performance. Grunt
  12. Foot Work?

    Another thing to consider is your center of gravity. I played tight end in H.S. football and learned to run a lot of patterns. One of the best "tools" we used was to lower our center of gravity when we wanted to decelerate quickly (like a stop and turn). Its amazing how quickly you can slow down by squatting your knees and lowering your hips. This works equally well in IPSC, especially on field courses when you have a fair amount of distance between shooting positions. Grunt
  13. Do you do your grocery list?

    59B, that's a great story. Thanks for posting it. I would agree that spending too much time watching others shoot can wear you out, especially if you are already a bit nervous. For me, I would spend a good bit of time during the walk through programming my plan and focusing on some of the nuances that might be a bit trickier than others. But afterwards, as long as I wasn't due to shoot soon, I would mostly switch off. Fortunately, I've always been pretty social and could spend most of my time, while waiting to shoot, chatting with folks, telling jokes, etc. It was always fun, and a great distraction from the task that awaited me. At times, I might mentally revisit the COF or a particular part of it, and I also watched other shooters but without too much seriousness. When brassing, that would give me one last chance to revisit any part of the COF since I would be down range. But once I was in the hole, or on deck, I would walk away from the activity and isolate myself. During that time I'd would not think about shooting. Rather, I'd do some simple stretches and focus on my muscles, trying release any tension. Many times I found a lot of peace in just observing nature; the trees, sky, birds, etc. It was just a complete mental break from what I was about to do. But once the person in front of me fired their last shot, I'd switch back on and mentally "get up" for what I was about to do. Grunt
  14. 1990 Western States

    Ha, I remember that match. Fun to watch the video and see the stages again (I think I remember most of them.) Was good to see 'ol Cal and even Wil Schumann toward the end. Grunt
  15. Tanking Stages---How Do I Avoid It?

    I don't want to minimize the impact of age on anything we do. Yes, youth does have its benefits in this area. But, every time I want to lean on that as a reason for not performing well I have to remember Ken Tapp. That guy could shoot. He was about your age and made regular appearances in the top 16 of major matches. Not bad for an "old" guy. Grunt