Monday, April 14, 2014

This Week!

Back from the excellent Battle in the Bluegrass - managed to finish 4th (85%) of Ben. I'll take it.
May have some video up later on.

  • McHenry USPSA on Wednesday at Alpha Range in McHenry, IL
  • Winnequah USPSA on Saturday in Lodi, WI
  • Please note that Oconomowoc USPSA was cancelled for Easter.
  • NISA pre-registration is now open:

  • Excel IDPA on Tuesday at Article 2 in Lombard, IL
  • Excel IDPA Classifier on Friday at Article 2 in Lombard, IL
  • Racine IDPA on Saturday at Racine County Line Range, WI (Check the rules because who can attend and who can't has gotten decoder-ringish lately...)
  • North Porter IDPA Match on Sunday in Chesterton, IN

  • Practical Rifle on Saturday at Aurora Sportsmen's Club in Waterman, IL

  • Maxon's Action Pistol Tonight in Des Plaines, IL
  • Pine Tree Defensive Pistol on Sunday in Rockford, IL
  • Pine Tree Steel Match following the IDPA match on Sunday in Rockford, IL

  • Excel Skills and Drill tonight at RKA Gallery in Plano, IL
  • Excel's Handgun Phase 2 on Wednesday at Gat Guns in Dundee, IL
  • Excel's Holster Class on Thursday at Article 2 in Lombard, IL

Heads up again

I don't always train...
But when I do...
I train with Minks.
Matt Mink's "Awesomesauce" Training Class is edging closer and there are two slots left!!

2 days at the wonderful Alpha Range in McHenry, IL -  Matt will run Skills and Drills on Saturday, then he'll shoot and help coach you through the match on Sunday.

Sign up at the link above!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Be Careful!

Be careful! 

Reloading helps keep the costs down, but folks have to be "on it" when doing it. 

The shooter was ok, other than feeling like he was hit in the hand with a sledge hammer... The devastation from a double charge of Titegroup is shocking: The slide in two fragments, the barrel peeled back like a cartoon. I'm amazed that he wasn't injured more seriously...

Monday, April 7, 2014

This Week!

Sorry for getting this out there kinda late...


  • Battle in the Bluegrass is this weekend... 
  • Oak Park Sportsmen's Club shoots this Sunday in Plainfield, IL
  • Schultz' shoots this Sunday in Muskego, WI


  • Wildcat Valley on Saturday in Brookston, IN (Hour ahead!)
  • I've listed Aurora Sportsmen's Club matches on the calendar!


  • Practical Precision Rifle match at Aurora SC on Saturday in Waterman, IL


  • NSSF Rimfire Challenge match on Saturday at Pine Tree Pistol Club in Rockford, IL
  • North Porter Steel Plate match on Saturday in Chesterton, IN
  • Pine Tree PPC match on Sunday in Rockford, IL


  • Excel Skills and Drills on Tuesday at Article 2 in Lombard, IL
  • Four Leaf Skills and Drills on Wednesday at Alpha Range in McHenry, IL
  • Excel's Women's Intro to Handguns on Wednesday at Gat Guns, Dundee, IL
  • Excel's Women's Intro to Handguns on Thursday at Article 2 in Lombard, IL
  • Permanent Solutions 1&1/2 day Pistol class on Friday and Saturday at Alpha Range in McHenry, IL - Good guys! (My review of the longer 2&1/2 class...)
On the Radar
  • Matt Mink's USPSA Baller Class is coming up soon! Get your tickets! Price includes USPSA match the next day with personalized coaching by Mink!
  • Pine Tree Pistol Club moved Four Leaf's Intro to Competition Pistol course to May - if you know anyone looking for a solid start to the game, check it out!
  • Big Up! to Jay Carillo who dominated the 3-gun open division at Polo this past weekend!

Monday, March 31, 2014

This Week!

Back from the cold, muddy, but fun, Indiana Production/SS/Revo USPSA match. Managed to edge out some ballers, by shooting consistently, but still lost my ass to Ben Stoeger. I'll take 2nd with a dose of humble pie and the knowledge of what I've got to work on more...

Anyway... This week:


  • McHenry USPSA on Wednesday at Alpha Range in McHenry, IL
  • Wildcat Valley USPSA on Saturday in Indiana (They're ahead 1 hour!)
  • Pine Tree USPSA on Sunday in Rockford, IL


  • Racine IDPA on Saturday at Shooter in Racine, WI
  • Oak Park IDPA on Sunday in Plainfield, IL


  • Tri County 3-Gun on Sunday in Polo, IL
  • Wildcat Valley 3-Gun on Sunday in Indiana (They're ahead 1 hour!)
  • Spartan's Lowlight Tactics class is this coming weekend at Alpha Range! John Krupa is my #1 goto "the man" when it comes to anything related to defensive handgun!
  • Excel's Holster class on Tuesday at RKA Range in Plano, IL
  • Excel's Coed Intro to handguns on Wednesday at GAT Guns in Dundee, IL

Coming up!

Monday, March 24, 2014

This Week!

Not quite this yet...
The outdoor season begins!


  • Excel USPSA mini-match on Tuesday at Article 2 in Lombard, IL
  • Indiana SS/Production/Revo Championship this weekend in Warsaw, IN


  • McHenry IDPA Classifier Match on Wednesday at On Target in Crystal Lake, IL
  • Oak Park Sportsmen's Club 3-Gun Match on Sunday in Plainfield, IL
  • North Porter Co "Tactical Shotgun" Match on Sunday in Chesterton, IN
  • Excel's Women's Intro to Handgun at GAT Guns in Dundee, IL
  • Permanent Solutions 2&1/2 Day Combat Pistol this weekend at Alpha Range in McHenry, IL - See the review!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: Permanent Solutions Tactical 2&1/2 Day Combat Handgun

While my focus is primarily USPSA competition and competition handgun training, I had the chance to spend a weekend attending Permanent Solutions 2 1/2 Day Combat Handgun class at the Alpha Range in McHenry. I came away very impressed!

I decided to take the class based on what I’d observed at at the Alpha Range when they were conducting previous classes in December. See, in order to understand how firearm training “doctrine” is advancing, I make it a habit to take at least two formal classes related to shooting every season -  sometimes these are weighted towards defensive firearm usage and sometimes they’re oriented towards competition. I’m certain that having this exposure makes me a better instructor and a better-equiped competitor; It seems that every class I take allows me to glean some insight or another, even though most instructors have somewhat varying viewpoints.

Working cover from barricades.
The course covered a broad section of handgun fundamentals, such as the grip, stance, rudimentary shooting on the move, reloads, malfunction clearance, group shooting and speed shooting, in a a highly structured curriculum that built one skill upon the next. The topics were presented via
lecture/demonstration, with a QA session directly after so that questions could be addressed for the benefit of the entire class. The small group setting (more on this in a second) made it easy to build an atmosphere of trust where questions were encouraged.

Each day started and ended with a two part standard test consisting of rapid firing into a target while being able to clear a snap cap-induced malfunction and a 14-shot, 10 yard headshot accuracy standard. Metrics were collected after each test so that students would be able to see their progression from start to end.

What I found most interesting about the Permanent Solution approach is that, in spite of the highly structured curriculum, they treated each student as unique and coached us on a, more-or-less, personal level offering insights without being too rigidly locked into some concept. For example, to say that I’ve draw a fair bit would be an understatement… So they observed, offered some insights based of their methodology, but understood that changing things might be exceedingly difficult over a weekend setting and might not be entirely possible with the habits I’ve formed. The high instructor to student ratio (3:2) made it easy for topics to be re-presented and answered in varying ways in hopes that one explanation would actually answer/shed light on the question at hand. While the instructors varied a bit over the classes, each was courteous, professional and understood the material presented at a comprehensive level.

One fascinating aspect was the ever-present usage of video feedback to analyze stance, grip, structure, and timing of the drills. After almost each drill, video feedback, with commentary, was presented and analyzed back to the student. (Specifically, the instructors made heavy use of the “Coach's Eye” program.) The course culminated in a final review of scores from the first night to the last session: it was impressive to see the other students grow as shooters in such a short time.

Matt Mink-tuned CZ P01
Speaking of other shooters, I was one of four students taking the class; the other shooters, it seemed were fairly new to the topics presented: all, other than I, were from out of state. One ran a new GLOCK 19 and the others ran Sig 226's.

The disparity on skill-level didn’t stop the instructors from heaping on difficulty during the drills to keep me engaged and challenged as many of their drills tested cognitive abilities and the ability to keep making good decisions while on your feet. (The instructors kept stressing that they wanted to develop “thinking shooters” that could solve problems, even when they had a gun in the hand and, perhaps, reflexes or training that stressed only a shooting element.)

I cycled much more often through the drills than my fellow classmates as I came equipped with ten or so magazines, managing to shoot ~800 rounds of my 5.2gr Longshot and 124 gr Bayou 9mm practice loads on Saturday and about half as much on Sunday. By the end of Saturday my hands had serious welts and blisters. I ran my carry gun, a lightly tuned (by Matt Mink)Automatic Accuracy CZ P01 with VZ “Tactical Diamondback" grips. It performed admirably, digesting all but one squib even though the decocking lever tried to burrow a hole through my strong hand thumb. (I had a sideways primer - interestingly, the Federal American Eagle 147gr factory ammo that the other guys were using had roughly 5 out of 1000 bad rounds! I don’t have the lot #, but I think those guys will be sending it in!)

After regulating the CZ night-sights (I had not shot the gun before the class), the little P01 was capable of surprising accuracy, giving me a nice 1” 5-shot group at 10 yard from freestyle. Interestingly, the sights are regulated to hit POA==POI at 10-12 yards and rising ~2” at 25 yards much like the CZ/Dawson sight combination on my other Automatic Accuracy guns. Compared to my USPSA production guns, I did notice that it took longer for me to split (~.18-.19’s vs .16-.18’s) when I read some of my times off the timer, but otherwise felt “normal”. (I’ve made it a point to have my carry setup to largely mirror the firearms I compete with: when i shot a Beretta, I carried a Beretta Compact. When I shot GLOCK’s, I carried a SubCompact G27.)

JM Kydex AIWB Gear
Throughout the course, I used a JM Kydex appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) holster with a standard ride height belt loop and the "extra tuck" feature on a Ares Ranger belt with some awesome ReadyTac pouches from SKDTactical. While I’m not a stranger to appendix carry, this was my first time running the JM holster: I liked it a lot! The “extra tuck” pushes the handle closer to the body without it being obtrusive. I will, however, be smoothing out a spot right under the trigger guard that just seemed to keep grabbing my middle finger. Additionally, I may experiment a bit with ride height to see if it offers a more reliable grasp during the draw; the ride height of the standard belt loop being optimized for discreet carry. I’m a big guy, so I think a higher ride would still conceal well on me.
Extra-Tuck, no sweat shield.

I came away from the class having validated my carry gear, learning some refinements to my shooting on the move skills, and learning all about the fascinating world of video coaching. I’ll definitely be back to take some more of their classes - look for training dates on the WIILSHOOT calendar!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Calendar Updates!

Oak Park 3-Gun Matches are also now on the calendar!

Aurora Practical Rifle and Practical Precision Rifle Matches are now updated!

Winnequah USPSA Schedule is also Updated!

Tri County USPSA Matches are also Updated!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SNS' New 125gr 9mm Bullet Profile

Looks like SNS slimmed these bullets out a bit and increased the curvature (made more pointy) of the ogive... Very nice!

Buy some?

Monday, March 17, 2014

This Week & Updates!

Calendar Updates

Oak Park USPSA starts on April 13th! The date was shown on some calendars and not on others...

McHenry IDPA has a classifier on March 26th. Additionally, McIDPA is no longer doing new shooter skills and drills on the 2nd Wednesday of the month...

  • McHenry IPSC on Wednesday at Alpha Range in McHenry, IL
  • McHenry IPSC on Sunday, all classifier match, at Alpha Range in McHenry, IL - tickets go on sale on Thursday at 8PM. (Must be a USPSA member to shoot)
  • NISA kicks off the season this weekend on Sunday in Muskego, WI:
We're gonna go for it.  We have 5 bays open and probably a 6th by next weekend.  Outside chance of a 7th but wouldn't count on it.  It's going to be muddy but what's new.  The main problem will be getting the trailer up from the woods.  It is currently plowed in but we may be able to pull it out if we get enough thaw.  Worst case, a few of us may need to ferry stuff from it up to the range with our trucks.  One way or another we'll shoot.  The stages will be somewhat basic and should be posted within a few days.

Registration is up now at or use the direct link at the website

Remember that you need to be in the check in line no later than 8:30.  See the website if you didn't get the memo.

See you there,

  • Excel IDPA on Tuesday at Article 2 in Lombard, IL


  • Excel's Women's Intro to Handguns on Monday at RKA in Plano, IL
  • Excel's Handgun Phase 2 on Wednesday at Gat Guns in Dundee, IL
  • Excel's Handgun and Holsters Course on Thursday at Article 2 in Lombard, IL
  • Excel's Women's Intro to Handguns on Friday at Article 2 in Lombard, IL
Seats for National Champion Matt Mink's Competition Class are filling up! Get a slot today!