When I wintered in the frozen wastelands, I always tried to shoot some qualifications out in the snow and cold and wind. When you carry a pistol for police duty or self-defense and you’re working in weather that would give Nanuk of the North the shivers, you want to know you can run the gun under those conditions. Gloves affect that. So does altered range of movement due to heavy clothing.  And, for fun shooting, I could generally get to an indoor range, even if the nearest match was an hour or three away.

This year’s Holiday Season finds me in the Deep South. With my teaching schedule complete for 2013 and work schedule reduced to writing and legal stuff, Significant Other and I have been able to play catch-up after a year of missing match after match because we had training obligations elsewhere by the time the tournament dates were announced.  I’ve discovered I’ve gotten rusty.  So far this month:

Jacksonville, Florida: IDPA match. Nailed High Law Enforcement and First Master in Stock Service Pistol shooting a subcompact Glock 26 9mm, but got knocked down to second in that gun division by straight-shooting Expert Miguel Coles.  Same venue, came in second again using the same pistol in a side match for little backup guns, a tenth of a second slower than Mark Few.  Valdosta, GA IDPA Match: Won High LE, high geezer and the Stock Service Pistol division shooting a 9mm Timberwolf, Lone Wolf’s clone of the Glock  17, but came in second overall to John Strayer, who wielded a custom Springfield XDm 5.25 in Enhanced Service Pistol division.  Valdosta again, combat shotgun match, came in second to that darn Strayer, both of us using the same slide-action Nighthawk Custom Remington 870 12 gauge against shooters with autoloaders.  Valdosta another weekend for a steel match, with the little G26 capturing Compact class for me but finishing fourth overall behind Lee Ovaert, Lee Turner and Roy Backer. Shot a turkey shoot in McAlpin, Florida last week with the same 870; didn’t win a damn thing but had a ball. Finished my shooting year with an IDPA match in Live Oak, FL where the little G26 won me the Stock Service pistol division and the LE and geezer titles, but still left me in third overall behind That Darn Strayer who took ESP with his Springfield, and Dave “the Blaze” Blazek who captured Custom Defense Pistol division with a Les Baer .45.

That was more recreational shooting in a month than the Evil Princess and I were able to get in all summer, and we enjoyed it immensely. Each event was a chance to mingle with good Shooter Folk.

It reminded me I need to sharpen up some. I muttered to the Evil Princess after the last match, “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.”  She looked at me in mock horror and exclaimed, “I’m with a man who wants to be someone’s bride?”

That’s my sweetie. She always knows the right thing to say…kind of…


  1. I gave up trying to argue with her. Besides she being dangerous, she can contact my wife and kill me by proxy. 🙂

  2. Glad to see you’re catching up on your trigger time. With your schedule, if it’s as busy as this years, you’ll be hard pressed to do much sharpening up.Good to see you taking the geezer class. I think it’s evolution that’s making the younger guys faster than it used to. Not that any of us are slowing down, no can’t be.
    Stay shootin.

  3. Nearly always first or second; yeah you are awfully rusty all right. Glad to hear your unenviable schedule allowed some competition time for a change. I really like my G19 but your success with the G26 makes me wonder why I don’t have one of those too. But then I also wonder why my Ben Hogan golf clubs do not score for me like Ben’s did for him.

  4. I have done very little shooting for the last six months. Need two fusion L2-L3 and L4-L5 in my back. But tonight my dog was raising cane and I went out side to see what was going on and a big dog was coming straight at me. I stomped my foot and yelled at my dog which gave me enough time to draw my MP. The dog came at me with teeth bared and I put 1 124 +p in him he turned and ran off but I new I hit him good. Went back into the house to get my shotgun that I keep a light on and found him about 50 yards away dead. I love dogs I have 2 that I love and hated to have to shoot that dog but had no choice. I have been carrying for around 20 yrs and I have a pistol on me at all times unless in the shower or in bed.

  5. Gee Mas, if that isn’t enough “sharpening up” …. ??? 🙂

    Getting old just ain’t for sissies, is it!

    Thanks for all the great articles. Keep ’em coming.

    All the best to you and yours in 2014!

  6. Mas, you really have to slow down. Us geezers can’t always be on top you know:) eventually the young bucks move in and take over. (That is what’s known as a double-entendre:)

    I would agree that it is a good idea to get out in the winter and do some shooting; to know what to expect when the balloon goes up. However, right now my outside temp is 14 below and is not likely to get much above +5.

    Me thinks I will retreat to my man cave and do some reloading. Santa brought me 10,000 primers and that is a lot of reloading.

    Yesterday I spent most of the day reading and taking notes of the Illinois Concealed Carry Act. All 168 pages and 170 Sections. I kept notes and compiled them into a sort of outline so that I can refer to a particular section when needed. It has some really funky rules. For instance, a restaurant that has over 50% sales in booze and knowingly allows civilian concealed carry holders on the premises can be fined $5,000. How does the owner tell the difference between a civilian and a plainclothes cop? There should be a tag line to that! Of course the civilian would be in violation of the law too. The legislators must be worried that biker bars would spring up like dandelions with everybody carrying. Imagine that.

    The last match I shot was back in Oct (GSSF) except for the Qualification Course for my CCW permit, which was only 30 rnds Our club has some really funky rules about going in front of the firing line to shoot targets at a closer distance. Our pistol range is 25 yds. They don’t allow moving forward even if you are the only one there. So much for shooting the plates at 11 yds! We are supposed to have a meeting to discuss this problem.

    Well, everyone stay sober and if you can’t; then lock those guns up and don’t drive.

  7. @Tony, I’m getting to the point that back surgery is probably inevitable. It really makes things that were fun in the past, painful in the present. Hopefully your surgery will prove successful. Has anyone out there had experience with back issues and shooting an Appleseed Shoot?

  8. Tony:

    I just under went the same vertabrae fusion of my lower back about 7 weeks ago.

    So far, I am still in a wheel chair, and undergoing Physical Theapy, with at least six more weeks to go.

    I wish you luck with your fusion, and hope your Physical Therapy goes well too.

    Don’t know your age, and past history, but I was told over twenty years ago, that the disks in my back were about shot, and I was lucky to be able to stand up, and to walk. Well, just after my 78th birthday, it caught up to me too. Like they say, “If I had known I would survive this long, I would have taken better care of myself”.

    Hope I too can eventually get back to sharpening up my pistolm skills too, Mas?

    As far as the killing the dog goes, better the dog, than you, and that goes for any animal that attacks a person, including the so-called protected endangered animals too.

  9. Careful, Mas! It’s talk like that that got some TV duck hunter in a boatload of trouble! Glad to hear that She Who Must Be Obeyed has a sense of humor too.

    Happy shooting in 2014 and ahead!

  10. Been a bad year for my firearms practice/training.
    -geezer-hood hit me hard this past year.
    -I have my own steel range, but the worst consistently bad weather on the mountain since retirement, coupled with a hesitancy to shoot up my stash with no guarantees of replacement components cut into my range time.
    -returned from out of state Christmas trip to be with family with a desire and commitment to practice more.
    -instead I brought home the worst case of the flu I’ve ever contracted.

    Happy New Year !

  11. Saddened to hear that so many on here are experiencing physical problems. My best wishes to all for early recuperation.

    Tommy Sewall, the Appleseeders I’ve seen bent over backwards (no pun intended) to allow for those rifle-folk with any sort of physical limitation.

  12. Mas and friends:

    a few comments

    1) Happy New Year

    2) Mas- the way you shoot you dont seem too decrepit to me; I reckon that anyone who jumps you will be in a similar situation to the Glock commercial where Gunny Ermey looks at the camera and calmly intones ” someone picked the WRONG house”

    3) I need to shoot in bad weather more, but here in North Texas we just dont get enough wretched weather; should I be unhappy?

    4) Pet Peeve – please bear with me.

    I commonly read in discussions of police referring to non-police as “civilians”. When police refer to private citizens as ” civilians” it is grating to my ear. It is also inappropriate, and use of the term blurs the distinction between police and the military.

    Police, unless they are “Military Police”, are civilians. Even the bulk of the personnel, special agents, of NCIS and Army CID are “civilians”, in that they are NOT military members subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    Thats the key – if a person is subject to UCMJ, they are a soldier, sailor, airman, Marine or Coastie.

    Any job you can quit by tossing your badge on the table and walking away, is “civilian”, even if its “The Job”.

    Police are not military, and their reference to the people they work for as “civilians” creates an “us /them” situation that Sir Robert Peel was very much against. A free society does not need Centurians, we dont need Carabinieri, we need upstanding citizens who are constitutional peace officers for a living ; civilian citizens serving and protecting other civilian citizens.

    Civilian police are “public officers” serving “private citizens”.

    I would suggest that a much better and more appropriate differentiation is ” sworn officers” vis a vis “private citizen”.

    Ok, Im done.

    Regards to all.

  13. Eric, that particular G26 has fixed Ameri-Glo sights with three bright green dots, which glow even brighter if you play a flashlight on them for a bit. Works great for differing light conditions.

    Greg, on the “police and civilians” thing: I hear your argument, and that’s why I’ll put quotes around the word “civilian” when speaking or writing in that context. However, another definition of “civilian” is someone who does not work in the emergency services.

    Combat Semantics 101, I guess…

  14. Well, It’s New Years Eve. Here’s to a happy , healthy and prosperous new year to Mas, Gail and all the good gunners.

  15. For Greg Tag: Hi Greg, since I guess you were referring to me having called myself a civilian and not a private citizen. I will try to explain myself: 1. civilian is easier to type than private citizen. 2. When shooting in GSSF matches (Glock Sport Shooting Foundation) I shoot in Civilian class, Police shoot in Guardian class along with firemen and active Military. They may also shoot in Civilian but not both. You say that a “cop” should be referred to as a “sworn officer”. Again it is easier to type “cop” than “sworn officer”.

    Let’s us say that I am stopped by a cop for speeding and I contest the ticket. I go before a judge and jury and defend myself . Why is it automatic that because a “cop” is a “sworn officer” that my word counts for less than his?
    Is it because he is sworn or taken an oath? Taking an oath has become just a means to an end and means nothing. The Sworn officer in question was running an illegal speed trap and he and his Chief were arrested 6 months later by the Illinois State Police for stealing bond money. All True.

    Politicians take an oath of office too. Yet how many actually live up to it. When people get married they take an oath and yet how many marriages end in divorce. When hanging around with cops I sometimes am assumed to be a cop. When cops are among their own they begin to swap stories. I have heard some of the most racist talk by anyone. While riding with a “Sworn Officer” he was pulled over for speeding and used his badge and just got a verbal “take it easy when traveling through here, OK?

    When I was dating my future wife, she had a learners permit and her own car. So, on a date we took her car and she could drive and get some experience. Before I could stop her she made a left turn in front of an oncoming car and he hit us. The responding deputies were ruthless, in my opinion. My future wife was crying and on the verge of hysteria. When the deputies put her into the squad, I tried to get in also. They told me to stay out and I tried to explain that technically I was her instructor and should be in the squad too. It didn’t make any difference. They just got even more obnoxious. This was a traffic accident not a bank heist. Why the interrogation, especially when a person is obviously distressed? They took her to the Police station and told me to take her car, which was drivable to a gas station and pump up a tire that had lost 70% of the air and to go to the police station and I HAD BETTER DO EXACTALLY AS TOLD. At the station, I luckily had enough money on me to post bond and get her out. About a week later I got a phone call from her insurance company and they wanted to take a deposition over the phone, which I did. Turns out one of the individuals in the other car had a father who was an attorney. Coincidence? What would have happened if the other car had hit us?

    Our local sheriff from a few terms ago would have a wild game dinner as a fund raiser. So far so good. Until he and a lieutenant from our local PD were caught with about 11 fresh deer kills. The lieutenant had been grooming the widow that owned the property they were hunting on, for some time, to gain her trust. They were caught by the DNA (department of Natural Resources) Their penalty was a $1000 fine each and $1000 donation to their favorite charity. Having hunted in Texas, I know that hunting laws in Texas were somewhat lax. In Illinois any “civilian” would have had their vehicle impounded along with their firearm and have done at least a year in prison as this would have been a felony. Of course, while sitting in prison, I would have lost my job. These 2 kept their jobs. Why, because they are “sworn officers”?

    Get yourself a subscription to the Chicago Tribune or listen to John Cass on WLS radio 890 am 9:00 cst streamed on the internet. Find out what’s going on in Chicago. Find out about the bar maid that refused an off duty “Sworn Officer” any more booze. Find out about how he went behind the bar and beat the crap out of her. Find out about how the Dept. tried to cover it up. Luckily there was a video tape that surfaced.

    I could go on, but you get the point. Don’t get me wrong about this. I don’t have anything against cops. I count Mas as a good friend and have known him for over 30 years. I have tried out for “the job” twice. The first time the small dept. lost funding after I had the job sown up. The second time I couldn’t get my ass over a solid 6 foot barricade in 20 seconds.

    Well, I’ve had my say and vented.

    Take Care and don’t let semantics get you down,