AAR: Training with Robert Vogel and 10/11/2013 Range Log

Just completed two days of training with Bob Vogel. It was a nice small class with only eight students with only Bob doing the training. It was hosted at the CCCS in Cresson, TX.

I honestly don’t remember the exact sequence of things. But he started in the class room going over the basics of his grip, gear setup, and grip strength. Moving on to basics like trigger control and sight alignment, then to draws, and reloads. Moving further on to more complex topics like swingers, multiple targets, and finally some basics of stage planning.

Equipment wise I used my typical USPSA production setup which consists of my S&W M&P 9 Pro, Comp-tac the International DOH Holster, and my Ghost 360 magazine pouches. No issues with anything but the gun, which had a number of light strikes, which I believe was caused by improperly loaded Freedom Munition remanufactured ammo.

It was nice to get some practice on the swinger, and I learned Bob’s methods for one handed shooting which I will be working on to improve my weak handed shooting at during the Practical event. Beyond that I think I was practicing most of his opinion on grip, I only had to make a minor change to replicate his grip.

10/11/2013 Range Log

Getting ready for the Texas State Steel Challenge Championships. I worked on getting my draws on 15 yard targets, and transitions using the smaller IPSC C/B steel targets. I also did some strings of fire at 25 yards just to verify that the Atlanta Arms 147gr ammo hit fine at 25 yards, and that I can also do it. This was my second practice session at my new range, I got to say that I am really liking it, the bays are much bigger than the previous two I was a number of. It was also my second range trip with a camcorder on a tripod, I got to say it does allow me to see my trigger to see if I am prepping between targets which is a huge improvement. Anyways some pictures below.

AAR: US Steel Nationals 2013

YouTube Preview Image

This is my first sanctioned Steel Challenge match, and my first time shooting all eight of the Steel Challenge stages. I had a very good time, and achieved a personal best on either string time, and/or on the stage times. The best thing about going to a major match like this one is the practice time at most local clubs the steel is pulled out for the match and then put away, you don’t have time to test stage plans on the timer, nor setup stages that aren’t part of the match. While at the Steel Nationals I got to shoot all the stages for the better part of a week. You can also work with people better than you, who can spot issues in your technique.

Equipment wise I was using my S&W M&P 9 Pro Series 5″ which has Warren Tactical sights and Apex parts, in my Comp-tac The International DOH paddle holster. Ammo wise I used Federal Premium white box 115gr ammo, as I knew it was fairly accurate and reliable in my gun. I had no gun issues during the 249 rounds fired at the match. And I only had two failures to fire during the 2,500 rounds of mixed ammo shot during the practice session leading up to the match.

Anyways I came out 10th in Production and 94th overall. I got descent prize package off the prize table. It included a NRA Magnatip Screwdriver set, a Magnatip Glock set, a Brownells aluminum 1911 bushing wrench a Brownells pistol rug, a Benchmade Hk knife, and a Blackhawk water bottle. For those that haven’t owned a Magnatip screwdriver set, they are very well made, in particular their flat heads which are hallow ground so they fit well in the slot, they also make many gun specific bits like the Glock front sight bit included with the Glock set. Well that is about it, the video is above, and the and my stage times are below, no scores sheets as I seemed to have lost them.

Time to put my M&Ps away and get back to practicing for Bianchi, my next match is the Crawfish cup at the end of April. I want to get the practical pretty much down before I go there. Now if I only could get ammo…

  • Speed Option 22.92s stage time – 5.13s best string Personal best string time.
  • Roundabout 16.37s stage time – 3.54s best string Personal best string and stage time.
  • Pendulum 23.34s stage time – 4.79s best string Personal best string time.
  • Outer Limits 19.57s stage time – 5.09s best string First time shooting this stage. I chose to take the stage penalty rather than move from box to box. I am going to practice up to figure out a way that I can compete evenly on this event while moving box to box.
  • Showdown 16.44s stage time – 3.74s best string First time shooting this stage.
  • Smoke and Hope 14.24s stage time – 3.16s best string Personal best string and stage time.
  • Five to Go 21.49s stage time – 4.95s best string Personal best stage time.
  • Accelerator 19.26s stage time – 4.19s best string Personal best string and stage time.

BAPS: Steel Challenge August 2012

This time hoser cam is very true. Frankly I bombed the match exception Smoke and Hope. I was simply in too much of a hoser mode and didn’t get my hits. As such this weekend I will be hitting the range to do a little slow fire accuracy practice. Anyways here is the video for what little it is worth.

YouTube Preview Image

Now one thing to note that on the hoser stage, Smoke and Hope, I got my fastest single run time, and my fastest total time on that stage.


GPS: July USPSA Club Match

July is at and end, and it was capped off with the Generation Practical Shooters USPSA match. This match was a classifier match in that we shot four classifiers and three local stages. The classifiers were

Continue reading

AAR: Tactical Response Alumni Weekend 2012

Well another year another Alumni weekend. For those of you that have never attended a Tactical Response Alumni weekend, it is a social gathering for alumni where they provide short classes, or introduction to topics that wouldn’t normally be covered during a tactical training class. This time the theme was topics that the late Gomez would enjoy, heavy on medical information, and close combatives, combined with a dash of disaster preparedness. Unfortunately due to travel plans, I couldn’t attend the bon fire at the range Friday.

Continue reading

WHSC: Fourth of July Steel Challenge Match

Yesterday I shot the Fourth of July Steel Challenge Match at West Houston Shooters Club. It was only their second Steel Challenge match, and their first four stage Steel Challenge Match.

The stages shot were:

  • Smoke & Hope
  • Speed Option
  • Roundabout
  • Five to Go

My total time was 83.02 which is about the same time I got at the BAPS June Steel Challenge match, but they run different stages. The two stages I could compare show a different story. I was over a second slower on Five to Go because of my misses, but I was a hundredth of a second faster on Smoke and Hope. Mainly I need to work on switching gears, Smoke and Hope was my first stage and set the tone for the match. I was much too fast on stages where I needed to slow down.

Placement wise I was 2nd out of 15 in Production, but honestly I had the benefit of experience so I can’t count on that in the future. Anyways I posted the video below.

Another learning experience here, the GoPro is annoying me as I have no way of checking level. The smartphone app can’t get here fast enough IMO. I did find a couple of issues that I need to address, I didn’t do the text on Five to Go at all, and I didn’t leave any of the stage text long enough. Primarily this is an issue with my computer, I can’t really preview any of the complex effects due to my slow computer. I could fix it, but that would be another 5-6 hours with processing time, and uploading to Youtube. I will just do my best to prevent it in future videos.

Bailey’s: USPSA July Club Match

Well the match got rained out, so we only shot one stage. And that stage I did horribly, frankly I didn’t stage plan it at all, and it showed. In fact I missed one steel, and one cardboard target, I didn’t even shoot at them because I simply wasn’t looking for them.

Now I do hate stages like this, way too confusing for my pea sized brain. But I really need to buckle down and plan them out, or I might as well not even show up.

Anyways I did do some playing with my two video cameras, and I think I got some cool things to try in the future. But my next match is steel challenge where honestly I just need one camera.

Protip: For anyone even considering using a second camera and wanting to do things like PIP, split screen, or switching angles. Just plunk down the money for a professional video editing package. It is so much easier to get things synced up with Final Cut Pro X then it was to manually sync them using iMove 11.

GPS: USPSA June Club Match

Ever just phone in a stage? Just going through the motions so you have a score rather then a DNF. Well that happened today on the last stage, Stage 5. It was 100 degrees, my leg wasn’t fitting right, and I had a headache. So I just got up there and shot the stage with little prep, and not really caring. Shot a no shoot, had to do a slide lock reload, and just generally looked confused.

Match was five stages plus the classifier, the classifier was the classic El Presidente, CM 99-11. We shot them in order except for the last two which we swapped because the squad behind us was running so late. Overall the match was fun, but it was so damn hot that thing started to suck by stage 4.

My performance was a lot better then I expected, I achieved 7 out of 21 in production. That was mostly propelled by excellent hits on stage 3, with no hits to the no shoot, which allowed to achieve second. I did descent in stage 2, and the classifier wasn’t horrible. The rest I would be better off forgetting.

Even though the angle wasn’t quite right, the camera has given me insight on some of the things I need to work on. I think I bring the gun back too often, and I have some extraneous motion on my reloads. Next time I will be moving the up just a tad so it gets a better angle.

Finally I tried something new, I picked up a grip enhancer. Not quite sure what is in, which means it will probably give me cancer (again), but it helps with keeping my hands dry to grip the gun. Only cost me a few bucks at Sports Authority. Combined with my new large grip insert stippling I had zero issues with grip during the match today. Next match I am going to find something to help make the heat more tolerable, I am thinking a spray bottle of water that I can keep in the cooler. I am also hoping to have my new leg by then.

AAR: Tactical Response The Fight

“Jesus Christ, how many fucking guns do you have?”

The Fight – Force on Force Scenarios
Camden, TN – Nov 13-14th 2010
Exercise Controller: Mike
Roleplayers: Jeff, Brian, and Calvin

Writing an AAR for a class like the Fight is so hard, not that there isn’t a lot to talk about, in fact it is the opposite there is a ton to talk about. Instead the trouble comes from that sharing the details of the scenarios would be a disservice to future students. So I will limit this to lessons learned, but first I will describe the class.

The Fight is two days of ego bruising fun, through the two days you will go through a number of scenarios against real live human beings that will respond appropriately to your actions. Many times your actions will decide how the scenario progresses. The scenarios build on top of one another so you aren’t thrown out into the deep end, and they meet the three Rs being that they are recent, relevant to the average person, and realistic. Due to being a late addition to the schedule it was a small class, in fact it was the smallest class you can have, as I was the only student. Being the only student had it’s advantages in that the class was laid back, with more time to try different variations of scenarios, including some brand new scenarios. Though being the only student has its disadvantages too you don’t get to discuss the scenarios with others to hear their opinions and how they responded to the role players. Not meant to be a critique in any way simply an observation of one on one training vs group classes.

Now on to the lessons learned, I will start with the mindset oriented lessons. One big lesson I learned was patience, as a gun gamer I tended to go into “human plate rack” mode after I reached the point that I intended to use the gun, sometimes not waiting long enough for the tactical situation to improve. Next being that this wasn’t my first class with force on force I noticed that I was much less stressed at the end of the scenarios and that I had a much clearer memory of why I did what I did. I experienced the same thing during the medical scenarios during my second time through IAM. Also I noticed that after I flipped the “angry switch” during one scenario that it was easier to get into that high level command mode in the following scenarios. Finally I noticed that staying “up to date” by reading about use of force encounters helped speed up my decision making process, as the scenarios are based on real world bad guy tactics, you have some idea of how the encounter might go.

Next we move onto gear and skill issues. Gear wise I suppose I would mention how rarely I work on shooting in cold weather gear. In general I, like many others, tend to train when the weather is good. That is further exacerbated by the fact that I live in areas where there are mild winters so my practice sessions are rarely when it is cold too. So I rarely have to shoot with gloves and extra layers on. That presented some issues with draws, reloads, and my trigger pull. The scenarios also demonstrated the short comings of using small limited capacity “back up guns.” They are called back up guns for a reason you may not have enough firepower to deal with even one determined bad guy. For skills the point that came across the biggest is to MOVE, even a small amount of movement can propel you into a better tactical position, or at the very least make it harder to attack you. Also as Paul Gomez taught during the Tactical Response Alumni weekend this year, when you shoot in a stressful encounter you tend to do it at an almost cyclic rate. The first shot breaks and you are already resetting the trigger and trying to track the dot back onto the target. IMO practicing that on regular basis made it easier to make the hits I need to survive the encounters. Finally I need to work on shooting moving targets at longer ranges more often, at shorter ranges it makes no difference, but at longer distances you need more of a lead.

In closing I would like to say that I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot to help me refine how I might approach a real world encounter. And that I am surprised that so few people take this class, after taking this class I can say that I agree with James Yeager that this is one of the three Tactical Response classes that every one should take, with the other two being Fighting Pistol and Immediate Action Medical. If you carry a gun, make the time and take this class.

AAR: Tactical Response Alumni Weekend 2010

Recently I was in Camden for Tactical Response’s free Alumni Training Weekend. Tactical Response gives their students two days of free training, often on topics not well covered in the normal Tactical Response curriculum.

On Friday I flew in via Southwest Airlines. I fairly painless process, except for an hour delay. I stayed at a cabin in the Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park, nicknamed the Texas Team Room since it was with a group from the Central Texas Training Group.

The first day of training started early at 07:00 at the Gear Store, with a safety briefing, waiver signing, and splitting up of the groups. I was in the first group that did the classroom section first.

The classroom lectures started with a presentation on Back Up guns by Sherman House. This was a good overviews of the mindset of back up guns, the selection, and the features to look for. Next Sherman did a presentation on simple wound closure, using pigs feet as an example, he showed basic suturing. The classroom lectures ends with a presentation on Information Security by Jason Blackwell. All three are topics not normally covered by Tactical Response in their normal courses, and were a good overview on where to start into the topic.

We broke for lunch where most of the people went to Kody’s for his excellent food. After the extended lunch the we started the second half of the day on the range. The first section of the range was a Shotgun Primer with Tim Morris. This section was a basic intro into scatter guns, a subject which I am sorely lacking, I shot just over 25 rounds of bird shot. Next we moved “Enchacing the fighting grip” with Paul Gomez. This covered getting a better grip on the gun, so you can shot faster with increased accuracy. Finally we moved onto multiple target engagements at different distances, this covered the adjustment from firing at targets at different distances, speeding up on closer targets, while slowing down on farther targets. The target distances adjusted from 3-37 yards. That concluded the training on day one, that evening we went to the Kentucky Lake Friends of the NRA dinner. Followed by hanging out that evening Team Room.

The next day training started at 08:00, this time we started on the range, with a short section of chokes by Aaron, and Rikki Little of Performance Edge Training. Followed by a presentation on Blackjacks, and Saps by Paul Gomez. We then moved back to the Gear Store for the last two lectures of the day which was a presentation on moving between point and aimed fire with how XS Sights fits into the equation. Ending with a lecture on stress by Doc Norman. With the presentations done we broke for lunch, followed by the Swap Meet. Unfortunately I had I fly out that afternoon so I had go back to the cabin to pack.

Overall it was a fun and informative weekend. A bit more laid back then the previous Alumni Weekend which allowed for a bit for socializing with people that we haven’t seen for some time.

My round count for the weekend was just over 25 rounds with a borrowed Remington 870, and 124 rounds through my Sig P229R.