There are two parts to this evening’s post: a lament and a quiz (below the mark).

First, the weepings of my tortured soul.

It is clear after today’s “performance” with the ball gun that every gun is different and must be learned on its own. While there are many skills that overlap, there are many that do not.

Today I fired my worst ever service pistol National Match Course scores. And I do mean worst “ever“. It’s almost too embarrassing to admit but, dear souls, you may now ridicule my manhood.

I shot a 29-1 in the Slow Fire stage.


And what is worse is that nothing was on-call!

After scoping each of the first two shots in Slow Fire, I thought something must be wrong with the gun. I unloaded it, looked it over for missing or broken parts, shook it to see if anything rattled but, no, there were no obvious problems.

I reloaded and went on with the eight remaining Slow Fire shots, scoping and then having to search all around each target for every one of them. I ended with four shots in the scoring rings, two in the paper outside the 5 ring but no hint of the remaining four.

Utterly mystified, I shook my head but plunged on to the next stage.

Timed Fire was slightly better: all ten shots counted, but they still were not where I thought they should be, and they didn’t tally up to any hint of competence.

At that point, I got mad.

“Dammit!” I said to myself as the cadence for Rapid Fire began, “I’m gonna shoot this son of a bitch even if it looks like crap!”

And I scored in the mid 80s!


And then it dawned on me.

It’s not the gun. It’s me. Being mad helps because I was gripping the S41T out of it and bearing forward very, very hard. And the shots went where they were supposed to.

Obviously, I won’t get far in this sport if it takes two butchered targets to shoot one halfway OK. And getting mad at the gun or myself is bad for the blood pressure.

Obviously, I need to practice more, a lot more, with that gun and figure out how to “grip the S41T out of it” and “bear down” and “crush the trigger slowly so all the juice slowly trickles out as it gets squished harder, and harder, and harder …” without needing to actually get mad.

But that’s enough of my humiliation.

Tonight I pigged out for dinner with a bean tostada and a beef taco followed by a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and then a cheese crisp, all to soothe my abused psyche. And I cleaned the wadder for tomorrow’s 45 individual 900. I will soon hit the hay after taking a couple of aspirin — standing for all that time, even if it was in a different pair of shoes from yesterday, still makes my feet hurt.

Hopefully the thought of tomorrow’s EIC with the ball gun won’t be haunting my dreams.

— Ye Olde Mark —

Here’s a quick quiz.

Examine the picture below: Which of Jeff Cooper’s Four Rules of Gun Safety are being violated?

  1. All guns are always loaded.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
  4. Identify your target, and what is behind it.


Next, raise your hand if you’ve shot the table.

(My hand is up, I’m sorry to say.)

And finally, here are the NRA’s three rules for gun safety.

  1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  3. Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

Which NRA rule is this Bullseye shooter breaking, and which NRA rule is he complying with that will keep the other shooters on the line safe if he has an Accidental Discharge?

If you don’t believe “shooting the table” is common, ask Gary at the Phoenix Rod and Gun Club: he’s the guy that patches and paints the holes in the table. It hasn’t happened so far this week but, well, tomorrow’s another day.

Pleasant dreams!

2 thoughts on “Desert Midwinter 2013, Day #3 of 4

  1. The wind was up today, not enough to bother the shots, but more than enough to keep it on the cold side for us humans. Wish I’d worn a thicker jacket, a scarf for my neck and some gloves. (We’re a wimpy bunch with a 10 MPH breeze in 60 degrees!)

    It would’ve been fun to see you, Tony. Sorry you couldn’t make it but, between us, we’ll find another meet-up match somewhere soon. The indoor range you have in PA is just about the best I’ve seen and I’d love to see you there again.

    Cara was here from Mass with the National Guard, and many others you would know.

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