For the next several months the high will be at or in excess of 110 degrees Fahrenheit here in Phoenix. Consequently, I’ll be shooting a “6:00 AM AP 600” which, as the title suggests, is an international (Olympic-style) 600 with the air pistol (AP) starting every day at 6:00 AM. At that time of day, it’s often below 90, shady in parts of the yard, and few others are up and about. It’s a good time of day to focus and concentrate.

To that end, I recently moved my 10 meter AP range to a nicer part of the yard that has shade that time of day.

Firing Point
(Click for larger image)

Here you can see the firing point. In the background is the tool box in which my air pistols are secured. I have an IZH-46M (on the table) and a Crosman 2300S (in the tray to the right of the toolbox). I shoot the former, a hand pump air pistol that was used by Olympians up until the last decade or two, whereas the Crosman is CO2 powered and used more by the grand kids with my supervision.

Incidentally, I have the trigger of the IZH-46M cranked all the way up to its maximum, a couple of pounds. Although I could shoot it better with a lighter trigger, my primary goal with the AP is to learn to shoot difficult triggers, not to get a high score. With the trigger pressure set to its maximum, I get the practice I want. Scores can come later.

In the background you can see the next relay’s “waiting bench”. Although competitions are rare in our single firing point backyard, during family gatherings we do occasionally have a couple of shooters who compete to see who has to clean the barbecue.

Looking Down Range

In this next view looking downrange, the contents of the shooting table are fairly obvious. From right to left you see my morning cup of coffee — yes, I know the caffeine messes up my hold but, gosh darn it, a man’s just gotta have at least one cup to get going — my record book, the open box of pellets and supply tin, the IZH-46M and then my funny glasses. I say “funny” because the right lens is set for close-up and that eye focuses on the front sight. The left lens is set for distance as when moving around but nonetheless, when shooting, it is covered with a blinder clipped to the NASA baseball cap I wear.

The glasses are from China, from Zenni Optical ( and are the cheapest ones I could get. They cost all of about 15 bucks and, at that rate, I can order all sorts of specialized glasses for this sport. I use my “iron sight funny glasses” for AP, EIC and Service Pistol competitions, a set of traditional bi-focals when shooting red dots, and then I wear a pair of progressives for all other times. I seem to be about ready for a slightly stronger prescription for the right lens in the glasses you see here so all I have to do is go to their website and increase that number for the next pair. No need for an eye doctor visit for that simple a change. I’ve written about Zenni Optical before – see for complete details.

The target, as you can probably tell from this vantage point, is hanging in front of our storage shed (which needs paint).

And behind that to the right you can see our “Bobbitt” Saguaro cactus, so named when the power company came by with a chain saw and chopped off the central stalk because it was getting too close to the electrical wires.

You might remember John and Lorena Bobbitt from the news a couple of years ago because of a rather infamous incident you’ll find written up at

Perhaps like a lot of men, I remember that story well. And so years later when the power company tree trimming worker started his chain saw to emasculate my giant Saguaro, well, I nearly passed out. Yes, we’re talking about the possibility of some major psychological trauma for this “bobbing” in my own backyard!

. . .

Uhm, where were we?

Oh yeah, the shooting range.

Target Holder and Backstop

Finally, here’s a close-up of the target holder. Basically it is a 2×2′ piece of 3/4″ plywood fastened to a 1×3 strip of wood with an “L” bracket at the top end. The assembly is stored in the shed and, when I want to shoot, I bring it out and hook it over the peak of the shed. There are no fasteners — it’s just hanging there. That could be a problem on a windy day but since I’m usually shooting in the early morning calm, it hasn’t been an issue.

And although I occasionally have a “flier” outside of the black, the 2×2′ plywood could be regarded as excessive. But for younger shooters, I may find even that to be inadequate. Only time will tell.

But the wife is happy with the size of the 2×2′ backstop. It’s there more for her reassurance than anything else. Besides, if I really do yank one out of the black, off the white and completely outside of the pellet box, that backstop will provide reasonable insurance against my depositing pellets in the Christmas decorations box deep inside the shed.

And for the neighbors, I’m firing away from the one who can look over into my yard the easiest, parallel to and not at the one who is most likely to be out there and wonder at the sounds, and for the one who actually does look over from time to time in a friendly way, his view will be obstructed by the shed as will any shots that miss the backstop.

So, to repeat my previous offer, if you’re in Phoenix — especially around 6:00AM in the morning — stop by and we’ll shoot a few targets. And I’ll make you a cup of coffee if you like.

Keep ’em in the black!

2 thoughts on “6:00 AM AP 600

  1. Ed,
    I like the outdoor range you have there. I am relegated to the dungeon of a basement for my AP practice. I too use the IZh-46M with a heavy trigger for my practice. I attribute this AP shooting to the 10-point jump in my slow fire average. I increased from a 167 average in slow fire to a 178 indoors at 50’ over a 27-match season. AP is a very affordable way to work on the fundamentals of trigger control.
    Lancaster, PA

  2. Hi Joel,
    And if you have an hour and five minutes spare time, you can get in an hour of trigger practice!

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