WOT Redux

I never did do a follow up to my post on Women On Target.

This is an NRA program that we host at Airfield Shooting Club once or twice a year (which I have allowed my membership to lapse…I was in Germany when renewals were due…and it keeps slipping my mind to get it taken care of).
We generally have several instructors, both men and women, who generously donate their time in the effort to introduce new people to the shooting sports.

Women on Target is specifically designed to provide a non-theatening, low stress environment for ladies to be introduced to the sports with a group of their peers.  Because they’re all beginners and they’re all women, it seems to make for a much more comfortable environment than a mixed crowed of varying experience levels.  There is no feeling of competition…the only goals are to get familiar with the basics, including safety, and do as well as one can…oh…and have fun.

This session started out on a serious note.  ASC’s Chief Instructor, Dale, lost his mother recently, and another ASC supporter and member lost a son, so seven of the instructors, led by Dale’s wife…a retired Naval Officer, fired three volleys in honor and memory of those lost.

As usual, we had women of all ages and demographics in attendance.

We covered all the major disciplines:  Rifle, Shotgun, Pistol and Archery.

The weather was beautiful, if a bit warm for this early in the year.

As usual, it was a great day.  The ladies were a joy to work with, were attentive, engaged and seemed to be having a great time.

There just aren’t very many better ways to spend a Saturday.

A short video to recap the day:

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Just a quick 6,000 words…

…on how I spent my Saturday:

Update:  Primarily for the participants who happen by here:  all 419 photos are now up on my personal web space (Click HERE) for you to see and download.  The Airfield Shooting Club, as well as staff members and participants in the event are free to use the photos in any way they see fit.  Everyone else should consider the photos to fall under standard copyright law and refrain from copying, reproducing or publishing the photos without permission and attribution. Update 2:The images have been removed after a suitable time period. If you were a participant and want copies of any of the images and didn’t get them downloaded, feel free to Contact Me

(As usual…click to make bigger)

Possibly my favorite picture from the whole day:

Poof…it’s gone.

I took over 800 pictures (after eliminating the chaff, I ended up with around 400 good shots), plus video, so I may put more up later with a little commentary about the day.


I won, I won…

Well…unofficially anyway.

Airfield shooting club hosted an “as issued military rifle” match on Saturday.

Not to pick nits, but they did allow a couple of AR style rifle entries, which technically aren’t “as issued military rifles” but it was just a fun match anyway so nobody complained.

I hadn’t been to the range in quite a while.  Considering that I still have half a case or so of .30-06 and the entry fee for club members was only $5, I figured I could spare that and maybe the same amount on gas to participate.

I loaded my M1 Garand (which is too dangerous for us lowly civilians to own, don’t you know…just ask the Brady Campaign…why would anyone want one of those military style rifles anyway?  They’re only good for killing people…or something.  But I digress…as usual) and assorted other shooting paraphernalia onto the bike and hit the range for the first time in a while.

I shot in the third relay.  Another shooter in the second relay was using a Krag carbine.  I’ve seen them at gun shows and places like that, but I’ve never actually seen anyone shooting one…and BOY was he shooting his.  I knew he was going to be a challenge to beat.

I shot pretty well.  I have to admit after shooting my National Match AR for a while, with it’s two stage, four and a half pound trigger, the Garand felt like trying  pull a truck with my trigger finger.   The Garand really does have a good trigger for a stock service rifle…no creep, crisp letoff, but I’d guess the pull weight is around 7 or 8 pounds.  Might be time for a trigger job.

As an added excuse, I lost my reading glasses right before it was my turn to shoot, so I was having a hard time focusing on the front sight.  Interestingly, I realized that my vision is such that, when prone, My eyes are just enough closer to the sights to make the front too close to focus on…but when standing off-hand, it’s a couple of inches farther from my eye, which was enough to make it come clearly into focus when shooting from that position.  I was actually very pleased with my off-hand shooting for the first time in a long time.

Anyway, overall, I was pretty pleased with my shooting…could have been better, but didn’t suck…and after talking to Mr. Krag (also known as Chuck) while scoring my targets, he told me that we had tied on score but that I had beat him in Xs.

The official results were posted today and he was right…except they didn’t post the Xs in the results.  I don’t know why.

So I suppose officially we tied with scores of 261, but I know that he told me he only got 2 Xs to my 3, so I’m declaring myself the unofficial winner.

Not that it’s THAT important to me, but hey, bragging rights are bragging rights…especially because Chuck is a retired Marine.

Go Navy.


Women on Target

We had another very successful Women On Target clinic at Airfield Shooting Club last weekend.

We had about 30 women from various areas of Virginia attend.  I don’t think we had any foreign visitors this time like we did last time, but it was a pretty diverse crowd in every respect (except, perhaps, gender).

They got swag.

They got Instruction.

They got shooty fun.

They got Lunch.

Heck, they even got certificates.

And, to close out the day, the traditional firing of the ceremonial cannon (home-built by one of our several resident engineers).

Of course, we covered all three shooting disciplines again: basic rifle, basic pistol and basic shotgun, but I was helping to mentor the rifle discipline this time so I didn’t have the opportunity to wander around and take pictures of the other disciplines and I didn’t bring the video camera this time.

Based on the number of smiles that were generated, I think we had a pretty good day.

There are pictures of the Shotgun discipline up on Airfield Shooting Club’s site and all of the pictures I took can be found here. I won’t leave them up forever, but they’ll be up at that location for a couple of weeks so participants can download any of them that they want. Once I take them down, I’ll update this page to reflect that they’re no longer available.  UPDATE:  The pictures are no longer available on my private web space.  If you’d like a copy of one, e-mail me using the “Contact Me” link in the sidebar.


4H Instructor weekend

As I mentioned before, the Chief Instructor at Airfield Shooting Club asked me to attend the class and get certified as a 4H shotgun instructor so I can help out with the 4H club that shoots at the Airfield range.

I may have mentioned before that the Airfield Shooting Club facilities are actually located on and shared with the Airfield 4H Education and Conference Center.

I was actually a member of 4H for a few years when I was a kid, but after moving away from the rural community I grew up in, I never really gave it much thought until joining the Airfield shooting club and being exposed to 4H again.

4H shooting education is actually a relatively recent addition to 4H activities and is a great addition at that.

Unlike other shooting clubs, organizations or education programs, the 4H program is as much about using shooting as a vehicle for developing youngsters into productive, contributing citizens as it is about the shooting itself, and it is geared specifically toward teaching 9 to 18 year olds from varying backgrounds and upbringings.  For that reason, the instructor training is a bit more intense and encompassing than the NRA instructor courses.  It’s as much about how to relate to and deal with, and develop the kids as it is about teaching shooting skills.

After having gone through the instructor training, I’m very impressed with the 4H’s approach to dealing with and instructing kids.  I wish I’d gotten my kids into it when they were young and I’m going to try to get my grandkids involved when they get old enough in a few years.

As usual, click pix to make bigger.

I don’t have much to compare it to, but the Airfield 4H center seems like a great facility.

They have conference rooms including the one in this building on Yancey point where we had our classes.

The main “Gray” building is a very nice building with several dining areas and conference rooms.

There are stables and an equestrian area, a gym that I never got the opportunity to see the inside of, lodging, a swimming pool, tennis courts, etc etc etc.

Oh…and, of course, the pistol, rifle, archery, skeet and trap ranges.

In summary, an excellent facility with a lot to offer.

We started out with an introduction to the 4H Instructor program and a long “Risk Management” briefing by Jinx (yes, that’s her real name…I asked) Baney, the Virgina 4H Shooting Education Coordinator, then we got right into the individual classes for our disciplines.

We had excellent instructors in RL Harris, who is the coach for the Virginia 4H Shotgun “Development” team from which the competitors that will make up the Virginia team at the National competition will be chosen.

And Jay Phaup, an accomplished shotgunner and instructor in his own right.

They were both extremely knowledgeable and were excellent instructors.  I couldn’t begin to tell you how much help they were in improving my meager skills with a shotgun and in building my confidence.

Friday and Saturday morning were dedicated to classroom work, but on Saturday afternoon, we hit the range.

The focus was, of course, on learning the techniques and principles of teaching kids to shoot, while also helping them develop into productive citizens.

But, in the process, we also got the chance to bust some clays.

They even got me hitting clays pretty regularly by the end of the day and that’s quite an accomplishment, let me tell you.

This one’s my personal favorite.  The first thing I noticed was the hull still in the air after being ejected from the gun.  The second was the clay target.  The shot cloud was just beginning to break the target as the picture was taken.

A bit closer view of the target.

The wadding is still in the frame and you can actually see hints of the shot as it breaks the clay.

I think this is the best picture I’ve ever gotten of a clay being hit.

I like it anyway.

After some more classroom work Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Late Sunday morning was the “Practicum” where we actually taught a basic shotgun class to some students from another discipline.

As a class, we had some rough spots in our practicum and RL and Jay didn’t pull punches with their critique.  I definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable teaching a class on my own quite yet, but with some practice and under the capable tutelage of Dale, the Airfield Shooting Club chief instructor, I’m certain I’ll be on the ball pretty quickly.

After passing a written test, commencement was at 1400 Sunday afternoon.

And here stands the latest and possibly greatest group of 4H certified shotgun instructors.

We crammed some 25+ hours of instruction into a 48 hour period from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.

Add in mealtimes and the hour plus commute each way each day (most people stayed in the lodging at the center, but I couldn’t afford it this time) and it made for a very long, but rewarding, weekend.

My thanks to RL and Jay for their expert instruction and for the rest of the guys for a pleasant, enjoyable weekend of learning and shooting…and for being very patient and understanding with me as I wandered around shooting pictures everywhere I went.


What a weekend.

Saturday, we were teaching an NRA basic pistol class at Airfield.  I wanted to get in some rifle shooting before the class started so I got up at 0500 so I could get in the road and make the hour and ten minute trek to the range with time to do some shooting.

As usual, I didn’t get out the door as quick as I wanted and ended up only having time to get ten rounds downrange before having to load back up and head to the pistol class.

Oh well, I’ll try to get back out there later in the week.  The Fleet Forces Command and All-Navy matches are the end of next month so I’ve got to get some range time in before that to be ready…and, yes, I did get my registration sent in for the matches, thanks for asking.

Anyway, the pistol class lasted all day.  This is the first time I’ve sat through the classroom part at Airfield.  I’ll tell you that the students get their money’s worth with this class.  One of the instructors is a practicing Virginia attorney.  After the “official” NRA class, he gave about a two hour presentation on the legalities and responsibilities involved with gun ownership, self defense and carrying defensive firearms in Virginia. 

I doubt that you’ll get that at any other basic pistol class in Virginia at any price and definitely not with such a qualified instructor presenting it.  Worth the price of admission by itself.

The other instructors included a 25 year Marine Corps vet and the Airfield Shooting Club’s Chief Instructor.  All of the presentations were excellent, entertaining and informative.  Outstanding class and I’m happy to be involved with this group of people.

After the standard range session using our .22 pistols to teach basic techniques and safety, we encourage the students to bring out their own pistols, if they have them, for further training and to practice.  The ones who did so, did very well and I was very happy with their progress.   I was tired, but satisfied after getting home at about 1900.

Sunday morning saw me heading in for Church.  I help run the A/V booth during services so I have to be there at 0830 for the worship team to practice.  After Church let out at 1230 or so (supposed to end at 1205, but ran a bit over due to some new members being welcomed to the family) , I headed back to the range for a shotgun session with the 4H “Swamp Shooters”.

The 4H instructor class is the weekend after next and what the Airfield Chief Instructor is primarily looking for help with is the shotgun stuff.  I grew up using shotguns in the field so I know how to use them safely, but I haven’t done much shotgun shooting as an adult and I’ve never done it in a formal trap or skeet environment.

Sunday afternoon, I just observed Dale teaching the 4H kids and even participated a bit to get a feel for it.  He loaned me a shotgun to use for the instructor class and so I can go out and get some practice in on my own before it.  I only shot one box of shells, but I broke clays with about half of those so I’m pretty happy with how I did.  Actually better than I thought I would, considering.

Anyway, after that was over, helping Dale troubleshoot an issue with one of the trap machines, and shooting the breeze for awhile, I got home again at about 1830.

A couple of long days, but I can’t really complain about how the time was spent.  A bad day at the range is better than a good day most other places.


Training Opportunities

The Airfield Shooting Club in Wakefield Virginia will be hosting two training opportunities in the near future:

A First Steps Pistol class on March 13, from 9am to 4pm. In addition to the standard NRA First Steps Pistol course of instruction, a practicing Virginia Attorney will present a brief on Virginia Law regarding firearms ownership, use and carry.  Cost is $65

A Women On Target shooting clinic on May 22, from 9am to 4pm.  The NRA Women On Target program is designed to introduce women to the three basic disciplines of the shooting sports (pistol, rifle and shotgun) in a friendly, comfortable environment.  Cost is $50.

Participation is limited and the spots tend to fill up quickly so click the above links and register for the classes today.

Fair warning: I’m already slated to help instruct the rifle portion of the Women On Target clinic and may be involved in the First Steps Pistol class as well.

And, by the way, the costs are only to cover expenses.  All instructors are unpaid volunteers.

Crossposted on The Sentinel


Women On Target

As usual, click all pix to make bigger

It’s no surprise to those who keep up with community news that the shooting sports are catching on with more and more women. Whether it’s as a means of self-defense and empowerment, a way to get out of the “comfort zone” and challenge themselves, an interesting, rewarding and exhilarating hobby, or just a matter of learning a new skill, women are an integral, important and growing segment of the shooting community.

On November 14th, Airfield Shooting Club played a small part in this growth by hosting an NRA “Women on Target” shooting clinic.

The ground still wet from the Nor’Easter formerly known as Ida, having ended a scant day before, 21 women of all ages, backgrounds, statures and experience levels, some from as far away as Washington State, braved the soggy, chilly weather to get a taste of the basic shooting disciplines: rifle, pistol and shotgun.

The experienced and able ASC corps of NRA certified instructors covered the rules of safe gun handling,

range rules and etiquette,

gun components and operation,

and basic shooting techniques,

for each of the disciplines.

And, before long, shells were flying, clay birds were breaking,

metal plates were pinging and the air was tinged by the sweet, sweet fragrance of smokeless powder.

Over the course of the morning and into the early afternoon, the ladies rotated through the three disciplines so that they could get a taste of each of them.

The chill and damp were quickly forgotten as the budding shootists engaged in the sports with eager enthusiasm.

After a long morning of learning and shooting, the group adjourned to the Airfield 4H center’s dining hall for a wonderful buffet of salad, fried chicken, ham, and all the trimmings. The facilities available at the 4H center that hosts the Airfield Shooting club are impressive and very well managed.

Senior Instructor and all-around good guy Dale, handed out certificates of completion and smiles were the uniform of the day.

After a wonderful lunch and good fellowship, back to the range we went. This time, the new shooters were able to choose their favorite discipline(s) for further instruction, practice and fine tuning of their newly acquired skills.

A few of the ladies brought personal firearms to practice with.

And the opportunity was not to be passed by.

Even though Ida did her best to waylay us, we persevered, and the clinic was a great success. The ladies seemed very satisfied with the experience and many expressed an interest in further training at future clinics and classes. It was a long day at the range, it was chilly, damp and a bit muddy. But a bad day at the range is better than a good day almost anywhere else, and this was no exception.

And, finally, I actually thought to take my video camera with me this time, so, for your entertainment and edification…Women on Target at the Airfield Shooting Club:

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