OPERATION: PHANTOM PIN MARCH 16, 2002
Another new Level One member qualified (with an AK variant, no less!)! Pistol shooting!
And bowling pins that just WOULD NOT DIE!
On Saturday, March 16th, 2002, a vast multitude (okay, ten people) descended upon Camp Stasa in Shiawassee County to participate in Level One training, tactical pin shooting, some handgun training, and (gasp!) sunshine.
The pre-training hours of 10AM-Noon were spent inspecting the range, moving a few things around that had been blown off course by the heavy winds earlier in the week, and firing up the stove in the Griffin's Den ( It turns out that this was not necessary, as the weather was too nice outside for anyone to utilize the tent.) If anyone wants to utilize these two hours for specific training, or to sight in a new rifle, or to practice for the Level one qualifying, please feel free to arrive at 10AM. Somebody should be there to help with any questions you might have, and this might be a good time to work on shooting from different positions or something. For about the last four months or so, Lou and I have been on hand at 10.
There was some function testing, sighting in, and then we did the gear check. Here, I would like to remind everyone to try and mark your first-aid kits, and attach them in an easily identifiable location. (A general tendency is for people to keep their battle dressings either in their upper left pocket, or attached to the upper left of their web gear. Make sure that your buddy/team leader/somebody knows where your first aid kit, especially your battle dressing, is located.) Something as simple as a bit of red yarn tied around your first aid kit will suffice.
Also, for the rifle cleaning kits, a lot of people seem to have the pull-through cleaning snakes as part of their equipment. This is acceptable, but remember, a cleaning snake cannot be used to knock out a stuck casing. (No, I am NOT just jealous. I'll get a snake to carry IN ADDITION TO MY CLEANING ROD.)
Everyone was able to break down their rifle, except one person who expressed concern about re-assembly. (Don't break it down if you can't put it back together.) Since this individual qualified last fall with another rifle that was much easier to break down, we have been reassured that we will see this person next time with the more easily maintained weapon.
Mike, Commander of MMCW-Macomb County, showed up just in time to lead the two mile march. The road was much better that the two previous times up there, but was still muddy and rough in spots. Everyone going for time made it in 35 minutes or less. (Yes, I had to run some of the way. No, it was not fun, especially with whatever sort if respiratory distress and ummm, explosive irregularity I was enjoying that day. Thanks to everyone who kept checking up on me.)
Then the shooting for record (and AR15 sales pitch..) began. Kudos to Larry D for qualifying. Larry was using an AK variant (a Saiga, I believe), and had to make some sight adjustments. When everyone suggested that he simply adjust his point of aim (he had a pretty good group), Tom P the Cabbage Guy stepped in and announced that we would have none of that. "Do it right," he said. So he retrieved his two (yes, TWO) sight adjustment tools and made the adjustments. Thanks to Tom P for working with Larry on this, and for holding us to a better standard. Note to AK and SKS shooters: Get your sight adjustment tools if you need them. Order them online from TAPCO or somewhere, or pick one up at the next gun show. For that matter, anyone who needs a special tool to maintain or adjust their weapon should get these as soon as possible.
We also went through a brief "Hey shoot this!" session, whereby Mike and I put forth our best AR15 sales pitch. Happily, it may have worked.....
Right around this time, Lou set up his video camera to record his CETME in action. This footage was made with the camera resting on the ground. No human would ever, ever be where the camera was. This footage is excellent, too.
Then, we ate some lunch. It was nice to eat outside at the picnic tables in the sunshine for a change. Tom H from Macomb County had a nice Swiss mess kit with a small alcohol stove. This seems to be an impressive setup, and I think Walter also has one, too. We are in the process of compiling a list and review of what we eat in the field, so check back with us soon.
The four pin shoot proved to be a nightmare, due to the sunshine in our eyes, and the holographic, phantom bowling pins that would not die. We have some excellent video footage of angry frustrated militia people not killing bowling pins. There are two things that may have factored in this. One, the sunlight was directly in the shooters' eyes, making scopes all but useless, and Two, most of the pins are mostly hollow (I can't imagine how they got that way...), allowing rounds to pass through them without knocking them down. I took up the mantle of combat videographer, and followed the shooters. This will be fun to watch.....
Following this gleeful episode, Mike then led the fellas down to do some pistol shooting and reloading drills. The drill is basically to start with only two rounds in the mag or revolver, and then rapidly reload, and continue firing. This is a chance to learn where you should keep your extra mags or speedloaders. Heck, even I shot a few rounds out of Frank's 9mm. (Gasp! Lee with a handgun??)
It was a nice, clear day. Good people showed up to train, and to learn from each other. At least one new person qualified, and Dale wants to buy an AR. Being sick didn't seem to matter (but I would advise against endangering your well-being), and I even managed to stave off the convulsive projectile vomiting until I got home...
Next time out is April 6th at Camp Stasa. We will do Level One, fire team movement. and range detail for the April 13th Tax Blast. Hope to see you there, everybody.