“Something something dumpster fire,” shall be the epitaph for the memorable year that no one would like to remember? Holy cow, as much weird and terrible stuff happened over the past twelve months, it’s definitely been an eventful, challenging, and rewarding one for yours truly. As events and happenings in the macro are mirrored in some way in the micro, the rumbles in the firearm community translated into ripples in my tiny corner of the multiverse.
The 124 gr. Gorilla in the Room
Ammo shortage, ammo shortage, goes with guns just like a… Kia Sportage?
The run on hardware and consumables (i.e., guns and bullets) was and remains big news. For a multitude of reasons literally millions of folks bought themselves guns this year, and between the inexorable crush of supply/demand and pandemic crimpage, a trip to the FLGS (fine local gun shop) became a lot more frustrating, time-consuming, MSRP-exceeding, and often empty-handing. Hell, even air gun supplies weren’t immune!
On the other hand, through careful husbanding (helped at times by the gun ranges being closed and thus shutting off consumption…) the shortage hadn’t harshed my mellow too badly.
(Just Like Soylent Green) It’s People!
I’m of the opinion that the “gun community” is actually a conglomeration of tribes that happens to find commonality in the Second Amendment. They may be politically or culturally opposed in places, but there’s a sufficient number of grown-ups in the room to bring people together for fun, profit, training, learning, humblebragging, what have you.
That Was in January?!
In January of this year, the Oregon chapter of the Liberal Gun Club had its range day at The Place To Shoot. It was a fine day to meet and greet and pew pew, followed by an equally fine lunch offsite.
My First Shootin' Match
In February I attended my very first IDPA event at the Tri-County Gun Club. It was as much a learning opportunity as it was a “competition” (with oneself actually). I pride myself in not doing anything unsafe that would have gotten me DQ’d (disqualified).
A Weekend At Douglas Ridge
The following weekend I took part in a rifle workshop hosted and presented by the volunteers at Project Appleseed. A phenomenal weekend of history and marksmanship where I got some much needed instruction on handling a long gun.
Taking the Mystery out of the AR
Turns out February was a very busy month! The Liberal Gun Club hosted an AR lower assembly workshop where I got to wrangle the bits and springs that make up a figurative half of an AR-style rifle. Just as those advertisements claim, some assembly is required, and you may need to ask your friends for help, but this was a fantastic opportunity to see what’s inside the metal and plastic.
Big Wheel Keep on Turnin', I Get to Keep on Learnin'
In addition to these amazing opportunities to learn and participate, I continued on the path of training in the classroom, the range, and even at home.
Under the instruction of the incomparable Gabe White, myself and a handful of fellow students furthered our skills of defensive handgun use. This two-day course happened just before the lockdowns started (and right after I’d had my most recent haircut…).
If You Can’t Make It to the Range
With the pandemic restrictions shutting down the PSTC gun range, I redoubled my efforts at practicing at home. A laser training cartridge and a phone app made dry-fire practice so much less dry.
I got my hands on a Sig Sauer Precision Super Target Air Pistol and set up a practice environment in the garage. I later acquired a Sig Sauer P320-M17 Air Pistol to get a rough facsimile of recoil.
Getting my hands on a Mantis X10 widget kicked things up a number of notches. And I even got patches for my work!
Nine months after PST 102, I completed its successor course, PST 103! I’m still mentally unpacking and organizing what I’d learned that weekend, and documenting these findings will likely continue well into 2021.
If You Wanna Really Learn, Then Teach
Nothing forces you to really know what you’re doing like having to teach someone what you’re doing. At least that’s part of the reason behind becoming certified with the Liberal Gun Club’s instructor program. Through a combination of remote and (socially distanced) in-person sessions, I’ve been teaching classes from the LGC’s training curriculum to folks who are new to firearms and are keen to learn the safe handling thereof.
This has been a fantastic way of engaging with and giving back to the local firearm community, and I’ve definitely made new friends while sharing what I know (and learning something myself from each encounter).
Keep Calm and Carry on Blogging
Thanks to a colleague, I’ve been encouraged to become more active with this blog. You may notice that December in particular has been a busy month of missives, and I intend to maintain this trajectory going forward into the new year.
There’s a lot that isn’t included in this recap, and that’s okay. One thing I do intend to work on in future posts is brevity, as I start every post with the goal of a ~300 word count and end up exceeding it more often than not.