I’ve always found that a shooting match is win-win. If you win, you get positive reinforcement and of course, warm fuzzies. If you lose, you get a learning experience. For me, the latest IDPA National Championship was…instructive.

The scores are out, and many fine people were in the winner’s circle. I had told my buddy Jon Strayer that I thought the most exciting race of the match was going to be in Stock Service Revolver division, where long-time champ Curt Nichols of Oklahoma stood to be closely challenged by Craig Buckland of Massachusetts and Cliff Walsh of Florida. I expected a photo-finish reminiscent of the race between Ernest Langdon with an S&W .45, David Olhasso with an XD .45, and Dave Sevigny with a Glock .45 in the Custom Defense Pistol division a few years ago. Cliff couldn’t make it to the match, but Curt and Craig dueled shot for shot over seventeen demanding courses of fire, with Craig upsetting the national champ and taking the title by four seconds over all those stages, shooting a Smith & Wesson .357 Combat Magnum.  In the Enhanced Service Revolver division, of course, the legendary Jerry Miculek and his trademark S&W Model 625 .45 revolver added another link to his unbroken chain of national champion titles.

Enhanced Service Pistol was captured by Taran Butler (dunno what he was shooting), and Stock Service Pistol for the umpteenth time was captured by Sevigny with his Glock 34 9mm.  As I had predicted a few entries ago in this blog, my Team EOTAC teammate Bob Vogel won the Custom Defense Pistol division with a Glock 21 SF .45. A full time patrolman in Ohio, Bob also took the high lawman award, once again disproving the canard that cops can’t shoot.  Julie Goloski-Golub was the Woman Champion, shooting a Smith & Wesson.

I’m proud to have all of these fine people as champions in a sport I enjoy, and I can attest that they’re all good folks. I know all but one personally, and while I’ve never had a chance to talk with Taran Butler, the interviews I’ve heard him give show him to be a no-BS guy who’s happy to share the secrets of his success with new shooters.

Me? I’d predicted earlier that I’d shoot like a sloth on Thorazine; it turned out to be more like a sloth on Nembutal. I was satisfied with my accuracy, apparently in the top 20 in that respect out of almost 400 shooters, and second most accurate on the demanding Standards stage with three points down from perfect out of 42 shots fired.  I just did it too slo-o-owly. Lesson learned: gotta honk up the pace.

I couldn’t help but notice that the one guy who shot the Standards with fewer points down than I did was also the single most accurate shooter of the overall tournament, an Enhanced Service Pistol Master named … Juan Valdez.

If that isn’t a sign an old shooter who’s slowing down should heed, I dunno what is.

To me, the lesson was starkly clear: Next match, bring coffee to the firing line…

Firing a Model 19 S&W with .38 Special ammo, Craig Buckland shoots his way to the 2010 National Championship of IDPA Stock Service Revolver shooting.

Craig Buckland

A slow, but reasonably accurate, old guy with gray whiskers shoots a Wilson 1911 .45 auto while wearing a heavy-ass backpack and straddling a bike…something which, for him, will probably not occur in nature.

Mas on Mini-bike

One lesson learned at the match: next time, bring coffee to the firing line. Wilson Combat CQB Elite .45 with new Wilson “Battle Sights” is shown with some Yuppie java from shooter-friendly Starbucks.



  1. We always knew some cops can shoot…you are one of the first examples that conme to mind. Good shooting doesn’t mean you have to come in first place. Just wish some of those matches would come to NY. Imagine shooting outside in Buffalo with a foot of snow on the ground…haha!

  2. Thanks for the plug Mass – great shooting with you and Gail.

    I hope I did you proud. You were one of my early revolver heroes. I still have my autographed LFI target over my reloading bench!

  3. Mas, do you know where I can see a picture of the new Wilson “Battle Sights”. I’ve spoke with Julie G. (S&W) and she
    shoots Warren Tactical WAVE sights with WIDE U-notch on her 1911. I’m an Marine veteran, 65 w/older eyes, I shoot a new S&W 1911PD (Commander size). A very accurate pistol. I know a wider notch with NO rear dots will help me pick up the front sight faster.
    Tony Yates
    Winston-Salem, NC

  4. Tony, we’re pretty close in age, and I’ve found the Wilson Battle Sights are indeed good “geezer sights.”

    Let me see if I can’t take a picture and post it here. Stay tuned.


  5. Hmm….

    That left foot looks to be breaking cover there Craig!

    Seriously, congratulations on your performance. Now it’s your turn to keep the wolves at bay! 🙂

    Thanks for the coverage of the match Mas, I hope you and Gail enjoyed it!

  6. Mas,

    You may’ve slowed down a little but you’re still top of the mark. To be in the top 20 of accuracy across a field of 400 with champions like that — well, most of us won’t be there.

    Now, that Wilson Combat CQB Elite is my favorite Wilson Combat format — that’s a great gun!

    To your continued success,


  7. A full time patrolman in Ohio, Bob also took the high lawman award, once again disproving the canard that cops can’t shoot.

    IMO, the canard (perpetuated by those in law enforcement and elsewhere who don’t want to see citizens carrying guns) has not been that cops can’t shoot, but that only cops are qualified to carry guns. This is why examples of their lack of marksmanship skill are called out to disprove it. Any person who puts time and effort into training can shoot competently. This includes some cops and some citizens. Just because a person is a cop doesn’t mean he or she is a competent shot, and just because a person is a citizen doesn’t mean he or she is an incompetent one.