2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Shooting Steel Plates is Awsome!

I made a new friend on Facebook recently that is also a shooter located here in Central Ohio. He is a friend of my supervisor at work so when he offered to take me steel plate shooting down in Pickaway County South of Columbus I felt compelled to go. This turned out to be one of the most positive post-military shooting experiences that I have had.

(left)Waiting for the safety briefing before the match, Glock 22 by my side.

Eric and his son, Chris

Myself, OSU Pistol coach Jim Sweeney, Chris and Eric at the end of the days competition.

For those not familiar, steel plate shooting is a sport that involves shooting a course of fire involving targets made from steel plating placed out in front of the shooter in assorted patterns that he must engage as quicky as he can with his firearm. The shooter starts with a holstered weapon (unless they are using a .22 rimfire pistol, in which case you start from low ready) with hands above your shoulders. The timer holds a buzzer by your head and uses it to signal that time is started. Once time is started it is ended when the shooter engages a designated "stop plate" that signals the last target in the sequence, also known as a "run". In the competition we shot in there were five stations and you shot five "runs" at each stage.

The ranges at the Pickaway County Sportsmen Club were fantastic!

The family that shoots together...is not to be messed with by bad guys! This is not the portrait that the anti-gunners want you to think about when they try and pass their draconian gun laws.

This is a typical stage for a steel plate match, the target second from left with the red pole is the "stop plate"

Yours truly trying to make the plates go "PING!" with .40 rounds

Theoretically you would only need 125 rounds to complete the competition, but I shot a bit more as I had a few misses which do not count against your time and which you can re-engage before hitting the stop plate. Your best run time for each stage is used to computer your overall score and placement within your division. Divisions are based on type of firearm and sighting systems. Categories are either centerfire autoloaders, rimfire autoloaders or revolvers. They are further broken down by either limited (using only stock configurations and sights) or open (using modified weapons and equipment to include optical sights). I competed in the centerfire limited division using my Glock 22 with a Blackhawk Serpa rig.

Here are some of the custom speed rigs we were up against !

Anyone can shoot in these matches as long as you safely handle your weapon and obey all rules. There were a myriad of people competing including my friend Eric and his son Chris, a family of 3 and a lot of gentlemen that do this often with a lot of money invested in custom pistols and gun belt rigs. Both Eric and I used stock weapons in normal carry holsters. Eric used his CCW holster and I used the Serpa which is close to using my CCW holster. I am glad to say that the Glock reputation for dependability and accuracy was working for me as I had no malfunctions or ohter weapon related errors and shot really well (in my opinion). Eric was using a Glock 17 and his front sight fell off while drawing during the competition. He has fired over 20,000 rounds through it and this is the most serious thing that has happened. I told him it was a good excuse to go spend the money on getting a good pair of Trijicon night sites and having them installed. I think we both got some good practical training out of this exercise as we both used more or less the same type of setup that we would use in an actual self defense situation. The speed rigs were awesome, but I seriously doubt any of these folks walk around town with them on. Some of the shooters would get into the ready box and dial their holster's tension adjustments to where they were barely being kept in them for drawing. Meanwhile, my Serpa has a retention latch that I have to manually defeat with my trigger finger while drawing each time. I think I held my own.

Overall, this was great fun and provided some good training too. Some people may say that shooting IDPA is the way to train for defensive hand gunning, and I agree. But lets not discount plate shooting. It offers some challenges for the defensive minded shooter to train on.

  • You draw from a holster
  • You shoot targets no bigger than the torso of an average person
  • You engage multiple targets
  • You do it as quickly as possible

They all sound like things that you may have to accomplish in a self defense scenario to me!

As an added bonus we discovered that one of our fellow shooters was Ohio State's pistol team coach Jim Sweeney. He has multiple national championships to his credit and really was a great guy to shoot with. He was a definite marksman and out shot me. Boy talk about an opportunity to get a few pointers!

A big thank you goes out to Pickaway County Sportsmen, Inc. They have a great club down there, were very friendly and great to shoot with. I will definitely be going back!

If you are in central Ohio and would like to find out more click this link.

Shoot often and shoot safe!

No comments: