Since I have recently gone to shore duty here in beautiful San Diego I have found myself with more time than I know what to do with. Going from 9/10ths of the year underwater and the majority of the remaining time spent getting the boat ready to go out again, and then coming to a sweet 9-5 job with no duty days will make you feel pretty useless. I promised myself a long time ago that I would start shooting my guns competitively in one way or another. With this in mind, I made my first gun purchase of the year. I bought my first Glock, a model 19. I used to hate Glocks, I was right up there bashing these pieces of combat tupperware with the best of them. That was, until I watched this video. It made me respect the Glock and think about it in a way that I never had before. Plain and simple, they work. All the time, every time, they will work even with the holy hell beaten out of them. It is impressive. That video made me a believer and I got one. I don’t think it’s pretty, it has no soul. They are attractive to me, however, because they continue to function no matter what. I think that’s enough knob polishing for now, don’t you think? Buying the gun was another adventure and a real startling look into how shitty the laws are here in CA. What do you mean I have to wait 10 days to take home my property I just bought from you? Anyway, while talking to the gun store dudes, they gave me a few tips on competition and invited me to a fun steel competition the following weekend. I had only run 250 rounds through it to get a feel for this new beast and I showed up with my new toy, 3 mags, Serpa holster and a Blackhawk double mag pouch. But the most important piece of equipment was left at home. Always, always, always have a decent hat, especially if your hair is like mine, in that you don’t have any anymore(stupid genes, I’m 26 for crying out loud). The competition was very friendly, scores only mattered to the those who cared, and you will not meet a nicer bunch of gun owners than those poor oppressed ones in CA. They cherish their guns a lot more than the average gun owner, probably because they don’t know how much longer they are going to be able to have them for. (Please join the NRA, write to your state rep. and get involved so that our gun rights don’t go the way of the Dodo). The competition was 5 stages, two with movement and the rest static. Scoring was a little wonky, to be revolver friendly only 6 rounds were shot per string (3 strings in a stage) and any misses were a 5 second penalty, no makeup shots allowed. I tell you what, there is nothing out there that will get your heart rate up to Mach 60 as quickly as a simple beep from a shot timer. I spend a lot of time watching 3 Gun Nation and a plethora of training videos (including the silly tacticool ones from Magpul). I know how to properly and efficiently draw from the holster and present to the target. So why does it feel like crap when you have to do it for real the first time. Practice, practice, practice. And when you think you got it down, practice some more. Same goes with reloads and dry firing. You can never practice enough. By the way, those Magpul videos almost got me DQ’d for reloading in front of my face. Keep that muzzle downrange, no matter how good your trigger finger indexing discipline is. Long story short, I didn’t do too bad 37th out of 95 shooters that day. Lots of misses, but my weapon manipulation and reloads were pretty good. I kinda want to get one of those goofy GoPro cameras or similar to watch myself so that I can fix my mistakes. I have attended 5 different competitions so far and all have been the most fun you can have with your pants on. I have been getting better, slowly but surely. 3 Gun Nationals are a long way off, but I will get there some day, at least that’s what I keep telling myself. I need an AR first, I would look pretty silly trying to run an SKS with stripper clips at one of those. Building my first AR is going to be my next gun project. If you like guns for whatever reason, start shooting competition. You will become much more proficient at operating your weapons no matter if you bought them for self-defense or other reasons, and you will have a blast doing it. Don’t worry about winning, just concentrate on making yourself better. You will not be sorry you did.