Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Follow-Through Blog

Ya wanna know what pisses me off? Ya wanna know what makes me so angry I could scream? So angry I just want to stick bamboo shoots under my finger nails? So angry I want to swallow a bunch of helium and untie my belly button so I fly around backwards until I land flat as a pancake???

It’s when a DJ is playing a song and talks throughout the instrumental introduction and/or finish of the song as if only the singing matters. The other day on the radio I was jamming along with my man Mark Knopfler’s Speedway at Nazareth. The old boy got done singing and I was ready for the searing and precise and under-stated guitar work at the end when the DJ started yakking.  Inexcusable under any circumstances!

Well, it’s inexcusable unless the DJ is Elizabeth Cook. (You might remember her from my March "Devil’s DNA" blog.) She can talk endlessly and I’d listen to that all day. Her accent is hot.  Hell, she’s hot. A bit under fed, but still hot….  

Anyway, “what the hell has this got to do with shooting,” you ask?

Plenty, it turns out.  A good song is like a good shot.  I’ve blogged about topics like breathing, trigger control and shooting on slopes. Here’s a blog on follow-through. Think of the final instrumental jam a the end of a song as the composer’s or arranger’s follow trough. It is, to the composer, and indispensable part of the song and the song is incomplete without it.

When teaching shooters, one of the hardest things to get them to do is follow through.  Hell, they just navigated their way through sight alignment, sight picture, grip, stance, breath control and trigger control. They want to see where they hit. And right now, damn it, they want to see what they hit.  So what do they do?  Almost as one motion with the trigger breaking, they drop the gun a tad and look. And they miss. Duh! Of course they missed. They moved the gun out of alignment before the damn bullet could clear the barrel.

This is where follow through comes in, and it is crucial to any shot. After the trigger breaks the gun is going to buck. It’s physics; nothing can be done about it. The key is to roll with it and to maintain the exact marriage between you and the gun. The same grip, cheek weld, everything. As the gun settles down from the recoil, it should return to where it was before the shot. This is follow through. And it can make or break a shot.

So, you in the back with your hand up. I know what you’re going to ask. “How do I develop follow through?”

Easy. Start with a decision. A decision to follow through. Then practice with dry firing. Remember dry firing? It is one of the most important practice techniques.  Dry fire endlessly until follow through is ingrained. Then head to the range. And do it all again. Dry fire a few times and then add ammunition. After each trigger break, picture yourself in concert. The shot is the end of the words, but you still have to play some more. Give it just a second or two of follow through and see the results. Shooting fast-action combat? Fine. The idea is the same. If you ingrain the follow through, even the smallest amount, your groups will improve. In the end it isn’t the duration of your follow through, it is simply the act of doing it.

The weather is fine now. Winter cold and spring storms have mostly passed. Get some ammo, head to the range, and put some rounds down range.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Edging-Out Rust Blog

“Damn, they’re right. This blade doesn’t rust!” I was pleased to see this be the case. I had ordered a particular knife, made with Spyderco’s H-1 blade material that they claim cannot rust.  With salt water scuba in mind, I thought they had to be exaggerating. They were not.

Let’s face it: knives are cool. No EDC gear collection is complete without at least one.  Often two or more are needed depending upon the circumstances.  I’ve carried either a Spyderco or a Cold Steel with me on duty for my entire career.  Sometimes I carried both. For me, they are tools.  I used them all the time and carry a knife religiously day in and day out.

A few years ago I bought new dive gear and the new buoyancy vest I bought hasn’t got room to mount a proper knife sheath for a fixed blade knife.  My thoughts turned to getting a good folder like my Spyderco I carry all the time, but the issue of corrosion was a problem.

Then I read about Spyderco’s H-1 material and figured it was worth a try. So,I bought a Spyderco Salt series knife. I clip it onto the thigh pocket of the board shorts in which I dive. The clip keeps it in place and, even with almost two weeks of 2+ dives a day with basically no rinsing, there is no rust on the knife.

I’m basically a smooth blade guy, but for this knife I opted for the serrated edge for emergency cutting of rope, fishing line, pirate’s carotid arteries… oh, sorry, I got carried away there for a moment.

Of course, other blade materials are available, too, and there is sure to be a Spyderco model that will fit your needs well.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Smith Optics- Now I Understand

We've carried Smith Optics sunglasses and tactical goggles since day one.  I've checked them out over the past year and a half and felt that they were nice, but I never really got the whole thing about them.  It is almost like a cult following with some of their fans.

So, I bought two pairs.  Mrs. Blog Sarge liked one pair so much that she stole 'em from me!

Now that I have tried them, I understand their loyal following.  Here's some of the things I like about them...

  • Smith's technology makes great lenses; both in glass and a plastic material they call carbonic. Their lens shapes are made to project the image onto your eye in an optimum way, avoiding the distortion and waves sometimes seen in lesser optics. This is great for those like me whose eyes are not quite as sharp as they once were.

  • The carbonic lenses are extremely impact resistant. They say they are the most impact resistant lenses available. Sorry, but I'm not gonna test them by shooting pellets at them.

  • They add a coating to their lenses that repels moisture and contaminants, too. Which is great in a maritime environment with salt spray and suntan lotion.

  • One thing that drives me to distraction is seeing light reflections from behind me on the inside of the lenses. Smith uses an anti-reflective coating on the inside of their lenses to avoid this.

  • Up to 100% UV protection

So, in order to test them, and to give loyal blog readers an accurate assessment of how good they really are, I sacrificed Mrs. Blog Sarge and myself by flying down to the Caribbean just to test them out.

Grand Cayman is a sunny place. With lots of water. And lots of UV rays.  And lots of salt spray.  And lots of suntan lotion. And lots of bikinis... Ahem, sorry, I digress.....

So, after careful research, here's my assessment...

Clarity? Top notch.

Glare reduction? Top notch.

Contaminant/moisture repelling? Top notch

Style?  Well, there's only so much that can be done with me, but they do the best they can (and Mrs. Blog Sarge looks good in the pair she stole from me, damn it all).

So yes, I am now a fan of Smith Optics eyewear. We have a good stock and can order anything else in.

And another benefit, especially in the bikini-land of the Caribbean, with dark glasses they can't see what you're really looking at!