Archive | November 2015

Who’s Lives Actually Matter

A week ago (yeah, I’m a bit late) the Black Lives Matter gang at Dartmouth decided to get all protesty on campus and ran around shouting racist nonsense and being generally criminal and violent. Big shock there. We’ve come to expect the BLM movement to act like a racist criminal gang rather than a focused social movement. We’ve come to expect it because really they’re no different than the Ku Klux Klan in the way they act. Violent and unwilling to engage in any useful discourse which might find solutions to their perceived ills or at least identify that, yes they do perceive problems and no, none of us have been able to find a solution for butthurt so they might just get the hell over it.

The whole thing started over (apparently) a BLM shirt display being vandalized. Ok jerk move there, vandalism is never ok. Still it’s usually predictable. The BLM movement is inherently racist. If you don’t think so then ask yourself what you’d do if whites started a #WhiteLivesMatter movement to protest the nearly 50 unarmed whites that have been killed by cops this year (according to the BLM stats which I’m going to just call bullshit on right now). Would you not expect a KKK shirt display on a university campus to be vandalized? Of fucking course. At least the Klan knows to keep their displays out of public atrium of a private university.

Universities are the locus of politically correct intolerance, strident advocacy of narrow concerns and emotional immaturity. The utterly idiotic and self contradictory nature of some terms in the previous sentence and the ideas that make the whole next couple sentences true might strike you like it did me while writing them. The social justice warriors that infest universities fight vigorously against organizations, people and ideas that don’t comport exactly with the SJW’s, often violently and always uncivilly. You can’t possibly agree properly with all of the idiotic and frequently self contradictory ideas of SJW’s so you’re bound to run afoul of them no matter what you do. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Ok, we know they’re incapable of actual tolerance, that’s fine. We’ll accept that, much like ISIS they are defining now what is tolerance and it’s not defined by the actual meaning of the word. Ok, fine. So why then were they so surprised and pissed about the shirt display being vandalized and then removed? BLM as a movement denies the fact that blacks have it better now than ever and that it only keeps getting better for them with more handouts and societal tolerance that now spans the gamut from simply ignoring their systematic destruction of the English language and music to downright deification of the least respectable and most criminal among them. Being blind to the realities of the situation they’re capable of reacting with superhuman cognitive dissonance and vigor to the most banal of mundane agora.

Originally Posted by
The display shows 74 shirts representing the 74 unarmed individuals who lost their lives to police brutality this year. Twenty-eight of these shirts were black, representing the 28 unarmed black individuals killed by police brutality in 2015.

As we all know, shooting an unarmed person is always questionable but not always unjustified. If you make me think you have a weapon or just the ability and intent to do me great bodily harm and you won’t back down then I’m under no obligation to not kill your stupid ass nor am I under an obligation to determine your current weapons status and intent before taking decisive action to stop you from carrying out your intended malicious action. Nobody unarmed gets killed by a cop simply for being unarmed. You might get killed by a cop for simply being armed but the other way around is beyond unlikely and in the realm of ridiculousness. You have to do something else other than not be armed and just having a killer tan you can’t get rid of doesn’t get it. Yes, there have been and always will be some really bad shoots every year and those are always dealt with though not always to the satisfaction of the public. Nonetheless I think the BLM movement might want to consider that there’s a reason blacks are a disproportionately large component of the kill count, and of the prison population of the USA. They have sown a culture of tribal criminality, violence and willful ignorance and reaped a bumper crop. What the hell did they think was going to happen?

If BLM wants blacks to stop being disproportionately imprisoned, shot, beaten, suspected, distrusted and stereotyped then they should stop disproportionately commiting crimes (or otherwise properly asking for it) and start disproportionately pushing their kids to be honorable, educated, driven and successful. If they did that they could just as well rise above whites on the economic ladder much in the way that Asians do. Why do I bring up Asians? You don’t think that broke ass China was able to flood the USA with tens of thousands of brilliant engineers, doctors and scientists because they ignored their kids running around Beijing in criminal gangs do you? No, the parents in China pushed their kids, frequently to the breaking point, to get educated and to be honorable and hard working, to move to the USA and get a career and to succeed at all personal cost. In so doing they’ve become an unnoticed economic power in the USA and other than interesting jokes about driving and diet they’re treated no differently than whites. In fact, most whites I know seem to trust Asians more than they do whites. If blacks want equality they have to earn it and not just stand around bitching, stealing, dealing drugs and hurting people. The parents in black households need to control their damned kids and push them to success the way Asian parents do. If black kids die because of stress induced suicide instead of drug induced homicide it’s somehow a little more honorable. It’s black America’s unwillingness to do what needs to be done to raise their kids in a competitive world that allows negative perceptions of black culture to persist. They’re allowing; almost encouraging, negative aspects of black culture to persist and dominate. There are good and bad things in every culture and it’s not racist to point out those things that are unhealthy for society. Tolerance isn’t giving a thumbs up. Tolerance is giving a middle finger up and taking it no further.

Earnings by Race 1967-2012

Black lives matter exactly as much as white lives and brown lives and yellow lives: Not a damned bit. What matters is what you do with your life, not the fact that you have/had one.

2nd Place, It’s Not First Place But It’s Close

On Saturday I went to do the last smallbore (rimfire) metallic silhouette match I could this year before the big Ted May match next weekend. I wasn’t shooting up to my potential but I did ok and would eventually take 2nd place.

This time the match was a turkey shoot in acknowledgement of the coming feast day. That being the case the winner of each class got a turkey, I didn’t get a turkey because I didn’t win. However, 1 of 10 targets in each stage was colored differently than the rest. For chickens the center chicken was yellow, the center pig was pink, the center turkey was red and the center ram was black. The other targets were white. If you knocked down the specially colored target then you got a prize. For chickens it was a can of whole kernel corn, for pigs it was a can of Spam, for turkeys it was a can of cranberry sauce and for rams it was a can of black olives. 2nd place in each class got a pumpkin pie and 3rd place got a large acorn squash. The overall match winner got one of each which is basically a whole TG dinner.

I decided that since I had recently been bumped up a class in heavy gun division I’d try my hand at the light gun division and get a ranking, hopefully a nice low ranking but one that doesn’t require me sandbagging my own performance. Well, I ended up ranking in the same class as I’m now in for heavy gun. Sigh. Can’t catch a break 😉 .

I did shoot both guns but I was competing with the light gun and the other was just for score of record. As it happens I was shooting well under my usual level and barely cleared 30% hits. If I’d have shot up to my usual level I’d have crushed the field and not just won my class, I’d have smoked it. I’ve gotten to where I shoot slightly above 40% on average in heavy gun but I decided to spend some time really working out the trigger control on the heavy gun and figuring out how I’d hold the light one. The heavy gun has a 2-stage trigger and we recently lightened the pull. It’s now running 0 ounce first stage and a half ounce 2nd stage. It’s not a trigger for the inexperienced or impatient and is very difficult to run even if you know how. It does make for amazingly precise firing when standing up if you can run it. The whole rifle is built such that once you chuck it into your shoulder and get a stance and get your eye through the amazingly tiny 1.2mm exit pupil on the scope there’s exactly zero ability to hold it wrong or even any differently. It fits together with a shooter like the whole system was designed by someone very clever and obsessive in Switzerland.

I started out on the pigs and did ok. 40% hits out of the gate. Then to the turkeys where things turned deeply south. I shot poorly there and in the middle of it my back decided had a very firm and pointed discussion with me about it being dragged out of bed and made to strain out in the cold without so much as a good stretch. To complicate matters we were running without spotters, my coach and I were shooting next to each other and in the same relays. To make matters as hard as possible, me and my coach would run one relay, then trade guns and run another right away. That’s a lot of sustained rifle holding and standing still and trying to NOT MOVE YOUR FEET lest you destroy your well planted stance.

After languishing on turkeys I did pretty well on the rams and then back to marginal on the chickens. In the end I managed to win 2 cans of spam, 2 cans of olives, 2 cans of corn and a Sara Lee pumpkin pie. I had a great time shooting and an even better time chatting with the many really great people that frequent these events.

Here’s some video from March 14th match.


More videos can be seen at my YouTube channel:

The Ted May memorial match is an annual 2 day rimfire event with 4 matches spread across those 2 days. This is a gnarly event and really takes a physical toll. I’m, of course, pretty excited to go. There will be tons of prizes and tons of competitors. I encourage anyone in reach of central California to come out and give it a try. The entry fee is 100 bucks and you’ll have a hard time finding more fun to be had or a better bunch of folks to have it with. The event is being held November 21st and 22nd at Avenal Gun Club. You can camp at the range or stay at one of the motels in Coalinga. Ted May was, before his passing in 2011, a hugely important part of the California silhouette shooting scene and this match is just as huge in remembrance and celebration of his life. Come out and play with us. All you need is a .22lr rifle and a few hundred rounds of some match grade ammo.

A Rant About the Failure of Tracking Point

What started out as a brilliant idea was seemingly handled by people who were uneducated on the subject matter and ultimately led to the demise of the first iteration of the company. It’s hard to think of a step taken or decision made or feature enabled that was done without harm to the company or the product or the goal. The real shame was that there was a product in there that could have been made great. TP decided to make a product whose superficial flaws almost completely obscured the fundamental flaws. Probably the single biggest flaw was forgetting their target market.

The pricing basically made this into unobtanium and moved it out of what might be considered for military procurement. The Pentagon telling them it’s ITAR classified doesn’t mean it’s worth a damn. In fact that ITAR restriction means TP can’t sell it to friendly nations without a big hassle. No regular joe is going to save up 9 grand for a base model TP rifle and since the scope is integral to the rifle the cost can’t be spread out at all. What we’ve got is a really really expensive scope and a terrible idea (electronically actuated trigger) bonded in such a way that it makes little sense. If TP didn’t get in the way of the fire control system and try to make a guided electronic gun then it might not have been ITAR’d.

Custom Ammo:
For the system to work the computer has to know the ammo performance and ballistics to a high degree of precision. This means you have to buy your ammo from TP or very precisely duplicate its performance. They don’t advertise the ability to update your ballistics inputs which means that this gun can not be reasonably fed from a shelf either. Enough bad things can’t be said about this. You can’t use your own custom ammo, or military ball ammo or whatever you have access to even if you have access to thorough, accurate and complete ballistics data for them. Just can’t.

Custom Gun:
What caused them to decide that they needed to interfere with the trigger is obvious. They were hung up on the idea of the gun improving the skill of crappy shooters artificially. The only justification for a 9,000 dollar rifle that’s no good in battle is to sell it to dolts with more dollars than sense who want the one-pill solution to all of the problems they encounter. These are the customers you don’t want. They’re not going to respect the weapon, they’re just going to use it. They advertised it as a military level solution to all problems a bullet could solve then implemented it in a way only good for dilettantes, fart-abouts and eccentric layabouts.

No wind handling:
This is a critical and fundamental flaw. The system cannot tell how fast the wind is moving or in what direction and worse it depends on a manual input. Winds change. The reason most serious shooters of long range targets hold off manually for wind because it changes so suddenly. TP offers half MPH increments to the wind inputs as well which is overly granular. Even the best readers of wind in the world can’t be that precise. Most of us like to use the 0-5, 5-10, 10-15, 15-20, 20+ rule and unless we’re in a competition environment that’s all that’s really going to be necessary. Even in competition because sighter shots are normally granted for long range matches the issue is doubly meaningless and useless to include. Again this is a case of catering to crappy shooters but not delivering a product that caters well to their actual needs so much as their personal fantasies of what their needs will be.

Fire control system interference
I can’t imagine the legal jeopardy that their EULA absolves them of. Design a lethal product and then make it make the decision to pull the trigger as long as the user doesn’t veto it by moving too far off the target or releasing the trigger before the gun fires. So what’s the first malfunction going to buy the user? A day in court? What about TP’s liability. Only a test case will decide. Additionally, good/proper trigger control is being deleted from this weapon system as a requirement for it to perform. The user then picks up another non-TP rifle and finds that they’re completely incompetent or even dangerous because they’ve trained themselves to a modified procedure. Well, we’ve now just made a weapon system that requires not just its own training and familiarization but those are going to be different than any other rifle that looks similar.

Fire control battery
The gun will fire with a dead battery. I’m not sure this is a good idea. The whole idea behind it is the guided trigger. As much a fan as I am of manual overrides one has to wonder what edge cases are going to be found.

Radiation emissions
The scope emits infrared radiation for the rangefinder to work. Prematurely broadcasting radiation across the battlefield is a bad idea. Plain ol’ optical scopes are really better suited to the kind of mission that TP rifles would be great for if it wasn’t designed with that capability almost specifically excluded: Use by skilled operators for hard target interdiction. You know what those operators use? Conventional optical scopes and conventional manually operated or semi-auto rifles without gizmos. If that won’t do the trick they call in an airstrike.

Weight and Size
The scope is huge and does not at all help the lines or balance and it increases the visibility profile of anyone using it. The red and blue lenses are beacons to any countersniper seeking to stop the user from successfully engaging their target.

Range limitation
Range is limited by the LRF inside the scope. The LRF’s don’t closely approach the range of these weapon systems and cannot lock on targets farther than the LRF is useful for against non-reflective targets.

If TP wanted to make this device really catch on they should have designed something more like a mix between a Timney trigger, a DBAL, a 1-mile capable laser rangefinder, a kestrel and a ballistic computer using something like Applied Ballistics software. That could be easily packaged into a rifle which was meant to have all that stuff packaged into it instead of retro-fitting already well engineered rifles like AR-10 and AR-15 and Remington 700 style rifles with what really is a bolt-on accessory.

You don’t make an integrated weapon system by bolting bits of other shit onto existing designs. That’s not what integration means or how it’s spelled.

Tracking Point took a great concept and ruined it with an abysmal implementation.

2nd Competition Win In A Row

After winning my class in the CRPA California State Championships in Standard Gun Smallbore Metallic Silhouette rifle competition with what was one of my worst scores ever I have been itching to do another match to make myself feel better. Unfortunately scheduling and financing and a new job have gotten in the way. That is until yesterday.

I just got back Friday night from a nice long trip to a customer site. For those that don’t know I’m a geek by trade and in my current job I do my geek job in a services capacity instead of, as has been the case for the last 20 years, as in internal resource. Trips to customer sites are usually sudden and open ended which is stressful and has had a severe impact on my ability to make the normal silhouette match circuit.

Getting in late Friday night I was very much not looking forward to waking up 4 hours later, then driving 2.5 hours to the Monterey County Swiss Rifle Club, competing for 4 hours then driving home for another 2.5 hours and then finally getting to some errands I had to run. That sort of running around and lacking sleep usually has a serious negative effect on my scores. Fast food breakfast and orange juice just aren’t good for the nerves after abbreviated sleep and jet lag.

The trigger on my Standard Class rim fire gun has a 2 ounce first stage and (now) a half ounce second stage. It’s a wickedly amazingly horrifically sensitive trigger that’s honestly extremely difficult to use for anyone that’s not as calm as the Buddha.

If I’m having an on day then that trigger and the 36x44mm scope and the custom stock that fits me like the barrel in an HK P4 fits in the slide (that is to say snugly and precisely) become a unit and I’ll shoot a class or two (more commonly 2) above my rank. If it’s not an on day then the scores start dropping back to my normal ranking quickly. For some scale, my ranking is what you get for having a 35% or less hit average. When I’m on like I was at the rams during the match Saturday then I make closer to 70% hits with that gun.

The day started out cold and calm with good sun but frigid air. We started out with a little practice and DOPE confirmation shooting. I always shoot a round or two at each range to check my DOPE then I’ll run 5 or 10 rounds at each range to make sure my shooter DOPE is what it usually is (that’s the delta between my rifle shooting from a bench and how I’m shooting that day). Turned out I needed to drop a half minute because I was breaking the trigger late and add 2 clicks of wind on the rams and zero it out at the other 3 targets. I was hitting 85% in practice and was thinking I might have a really epic day but, history has taught me that amazing performance in practice doesn’t net amazing performance in competition.

At the end of the day I walked out with 37.5% hits and won my class by 4 hits. Because it was the 2nd time in a row I’d shot out of my ranking in standard gun small bore I got bumped to the next class which was a goal of mine for this calendar year. I was hoping to get bumped in all 4 of the divisions I’m in (both standard and hunter gun for small bore and high power) but so far I’ve only got both high power and rim fire standard gun. I don’t shoot hunter gun that often. As it happened this match was a prize match with a drawing and I didn’t know about that beforehand. For winning my class I got a bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling cider and a 1.5lbs block of Toberlone. Neither of those things I enjoy but the wife and kids love that stuff.

When the drawing came up I won one of the prizes. All the prizes were the same, a folding allen key set or a set of drill bits. I already have an allen key set but I was plum out of complete sets of drill bits. My coach took 3rd overall and tied for 2nd in his class. His eldest son took second in his class (the same class I was in, kid’s a seriously good shot) and his eldest also won himself a set of drill bits.

My hits were 2 turkeys at 77m then 7 rams at 100m then 4 chickens at 40m and finally 3 pigs at 60m for a total of 15/40. Starting on turkeys is rough. I usually like to start on pigs. Starting on the turkeys I was having trouble keeping stable and was shivering in the cold. Then the sun came out for a few minutes and shone right on me at the rams and I smoked em’. Up to the chickens and I was doing ok. The 36x scope is a lot that close and made things a little difficult because the targets were just a little far apart to have 2 show up in the optic at one time. That means I had to count left to right in a 36x scope. Not easy. Time for the pigs came up and boy was fatigue setting in and it showed in my score. I normally hit 40-60% on pigs as they’re the easiest to do. This time it just wasn’t there and I missed every pig in my first bank of 5. I pulled it out on the 2nd bank and took the first 3 of 5 and just could not hold steady enough to hit the last 2. Thankfully I didn’t need to hit the last two to take the win.

After the match and the drive home and errands I curled up with a good (well actually terrible, and intentionally so by all appearances) zombie flick and a couple Lagunitas Maximus beers.

For those that wonder about shooting a .22lr at 100m. I printed a .7″ group using SK Rifle Match from that Anschutz 54 from the bench then without a word my coach picked it up and printed a 1.2″ group standing offhand. I think he was just showing off.

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to compete in some form of shooting match please go out and try it. Metallic Silhouette is the hardest form there is but there are other things to do out there. GSSF uses stock to wild glock pistols in IPSC style scenarios, international trap only needs your hunting shotgun, sporting clays is a shotgun match with a low barrier to entry, IPSC is just fun runnin’ and gunnin’ like Glock but not brand specific, PRS matches and F-Class are held all over the country, etc…

You don’t need to win and you should not hope to. Hope to go out and do your best. Hope to have a good time, learn something and start making some more high quality life long friends. All of those hopes can easily come true. After a couple matches you’ll probably start winning or placing and watching your scores improve.

I don’t compete to know I can shoot well, I compete to learn to shoot well. So does everyone else.

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