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Shooting handguns with my brother.


 My youngest brother came to shoot at a pistol match with me. He has some experience shooting a pistol. It’s not very much. He does need to learn more of the fundamentals of how you handle it tactically. But he is very enthusiastic to learn.

 I have my 92FS for him to use at the match. We shared it. I don't own any other 9mm handguns to use. What a great weapon for him to learn with. All the safety features that you can't go wrong with when teaching gun safety. He followed every step. It was about 22 degrees out that day in the middle of January. And the 92FS worked flawlessly for my brother as a first time shooter in that weather.

 The first stage of the match was shooting 6 steal plates at 11 yards. You shoot as many rounds as it takes till all 6 plates are down. Rules are that the first magazine is to hold only 11 rounds. All other magazines after that are 10. I have seen as many as 20 to 25 used. But there are some shooters who do so well that they only use 6 to 8 rounds.

 They let me shoot before my brother so he can watch how it’s done. When you load the first round with the 92FS, you can take the safety off before you holster the weapon. But the hammer has to be forward. Then when you draw to shoot the first round, it will be double action first pull. It was cold and I usually never get the first plate on the first shot. So this time, when I drew the weapon and raise it up to shoot, I cocked the hammer manually. The first plate went down with the first shot. It took me less time to do that then to take the time to waste the first shot on double action pull. I plan on doing that every time from now on. No more wasting that first round.

 SAM 0388

This is a picture of my brother shooting for the first time ever for a competition. They allowed another shooter between us so we can have time to change over the weapon from my hip to his. And during that time I can answer any of my brother’s questions. What is best about the people I shoot with is that we all get along great. Anybody and everybody there is willing to help eachother. Its the best part of being there. After that it came time for my brother to shoot. He never competed before. His experience shooting a handgun involved just plinking. Mostly aiming at the general direction of the target and shooting for fun. This was his first time ever where every round counts and thats it timed. Now, I love my brother. But I honestly was a little worried how he would do. I thought to myself. “Please don’t waste a lot of ammo”. “Please don’t miss”. “Please don’t go to fast”.  “Please don’t break a rule”. To my amazement, and everybody else’s, he did great. He even manually cocked the hammer for the first shot and hit the first plate like he has done it before. The norm is usually to try to shoot the plates down in less than 1 magazine. With eleven rounds in the first magazine, he did it with ten. The first 3 plates went down with his first 3 shots. Then he took 7 more shots to take down the other 3. I think he started rushing it. But he got the right idea. After that, the other stages were like nothing to him. He paid attention to everything and shot groups like he was a natural. I am very proud of him.

 My brother talked a lot about how much he loved shooting the 92FS. Still does. He had so much fun that I foresee him coming out to compete more often. He even talked about how interested he is on possibly purchasing his own handgun. Until then, I would proudly allow him to continue to use my Beretta. 

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Ode to the Range Bag

by: Phil McNaughton, Guest Contributor
More thoughts and theories, this time regarding that most abused, underrated piece of gear: the range bag.
When I started shooting, I went to the range with a Beretta and a box of ammo.  Now I have a range bag that is bigger than my first car, and my ammo won’t even fit in it.
Before you leave for the range, make sure the magazines in your range bag fit the guns in your range bag.  Ditto for holsters.
Carry extra eye and ear protection in your bag.  Somebody will show up without them.
Multigun Match Math: 1 range bag + 2 arms + 3 guns + 4 types of ammo + 5 stages = GET A CART.
Yoda: “When using range bag for rifle rest, mindful of muzzle blast, you will be.”
Use black duct tape for patching your range bag.  It’s more tacticool than the gray stuff.
Spare gun:  if your race blaster goes down in the middle of a match, and you drove 4.5 hours to get there, are you going to just leave?  Of course not, that’s why you carry that huge bag!  Break out the backup and get back in the game.
Got fiber optic sights on your favorite blaster?  Got extra fiber optic rod in the bag?
A shooter should have a caddy, like a golfer.  I’ve tried offering the job to those girls in the lingerie catalog, but they don’t return my calls. L
Electronic optic?  Check.  Electronic hearing protection?  Check.  Batteries for both? 
At one time or another, there has been a holster, magazine, or part in your bag for a gun you don’t own.
I carry two towels in my range bag: one for my guns and one for me.  When I leave the range, my face is covered in gun oil and my guns are covered in sweat.
First Aid: small bandages, sunscreen, bug spray, and Skittles are necessities for every range bag.  
Whenever a “discussion” ensues about the rules of a specific shooting sport, someone pulls a rulebook out of their bag.  I’m that guy.
Ink pens are scarcer than humility at a match.  Carry a few, loan them out.  You will never see them again.
Squib rod: $10.  Small screwdrivers: $5.  Multi-tool: $30.  That funky doohickey that adjusts my front sight: free with purchase.  Having the right tool in your bag for quick repairs and adjustments at the range: PRICELESS.
Stapler & staples:  ever drive to range and realize you have nothing to put your targets up with?
Gloves:  if you’re an asset to our sport, you help with match setup and teardown.   So just remember, splinters in the trigger finger can ruin your day.
Guys, if you are carrying a range bag that is smaller than say, a child’s backpack, it is perfectly acceptable for your shooting pals to call it a “man purse.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube


This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

The PSA Shootout

by Phil McNaughton- Guest Contributor

Springtime is wonderful in South Central PA.  Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and if you listen closely, the musical dings of lead pounding steel echo through the countryside.  That's right, it’s spring, and it’s time for the PSA Shootout.  Held annually at the Palmyra Sportsmen’s Association, the PSA Shootout is the largest knock-down steel match in the country, bringing in nearly 600 shooters for an all-steel speed shooting match. 
There are 6 stages, with 25-35 falling steel targets per stage.  With approximately 180 plates, at 600 shooters... Yeah, that's well over 100,000 rounds downrange over the course of the 4-day event.
The game is pretty simple: shoot all the plates until they are down, as fast as you can.  There are 4 handgun divisions:  Stock Auto (iron sights, no comps), Open Auto (optics, compensators, etc), Stock Revolver (iron sights, no comps), and Open Revolver (optics, comps, etc).  Shooters can enter multiple divisions with different guns. 
Automatics are downloaded to 10 rounds in a magazine, and revolvers are limited to 6 shots before a reload.  The start position is either holstered, or gun in hand with the muzzle touching the table, and reloads can be done off your belt, or the table.
The stages contained large plates, spaced closely together for those clutch-dumping speed runs, along with just enough small plates so you had to slam on the brakes and really see that front sight.  Someone in Texas must have read my post about the Star, and decided to teach me a lesson by stacking 2 stars on top of each other in Stage 1. 
Although my Beretta 92G Elite II ran flawlessly all day, the rest of my squad fought with an abundance of gun malfunctions.  Failures to feed, fire, eject, and who knows what else seemed to pop up on every other run.  At least one shooter had to break out the back up gun.  This is one of those events where folks like to see how light they can load their ammo, but I try to stay away from the sub-power factor bunny fart loads.  It might shoot soft, but it might also not cycle your gun reliably, or knock down the steel.
This was my first year at PSA, I managed to squeak by in 60th place, out of 271 shooters in Stock Auto.  I had solid runs all day, with only 1 stage that disappointed me... yeah, the one with the stars...
So next spring, if you’re looking to start your shooting season off with a bang, or a ding, try the PSA Shootout.  You'll see some old friends, meet some new ones, and have a blast.  Just bring your safe attitude, your favorite pistols, and ammo.  Lots of ammo.
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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Hello, Texas? You can have your star back…

by Phil Mcnaughton- Guest Contributor
This is a Texas Star target. 
It is a common array at practical and steel shooting events.  The 5 plates at the points of the star are the actual targets.  Shoot a plate, it falls to the ground. 
I know, it sounds pretty simple.  Until you factor in the axle.  Yes, an axle, in the center of the star.  With all the plates in place, the star is balanced.  Knock one plate off, the balance is gone, and the star spins, eventually swinging back and forth like a pendulum until all the plates are down.    
It’s typically shot with pistols or shotguns, the latter being a little easier on the nerves if you have the right shot pattern.  Although I have personally never seen it, I suppose you could use rifles on it, if the distance was far enough, and the steel was rated for rifle rounds, although the very thought of trying to clear this thing with a rifle, at distance, gives me nightmares.
There are some wicked variations of the star.  I’ve seen paper targets in place of the steel, with weights added to keep the star in constant motion.  Adding strategically-placed no-shoot targets (the ones you don’t want to put holes in), anywhere near the star tends to result in no-shoots with a lot of holes in them.  Even better: let’s put 2 stars together on the same axle.  We’ll put paper or steel targets on one star, and no-shoots on the other.  Then we’ll make them spin in opposite directions!
Good grief, who thinks of this stuff?
There are some “tricks” to clearing the star.  Start at the top, work your way down.  This keeps the center of gravity near the bottom, which limits the swinging.  It also helps to pick a spot and wait for the plate.  When it passes, hose it.  A good place to hold your sight is the point where the plates pause to change direction.  This works well, unless a devious match director has hidden that magical spot behind a steel wall, or a no-shoot.  Yes, it happens.
I don’t recommend chasing the moving plates with bullets.  That’s a surefire way to burn up rounds.  The crowd will get a good laugh, but in the end you may be left standing there with an empty gun, as those little plates mock you, merrily swinging along, untouched. 
“Ok, but bad guys don’t move like that.”  I’ve heard folks say that the star doesn’t represent any sort of “real world” target, whatever that is.  I view any challenge on the range as something that will make me a better shooter.  Hopefully none of us ever have to use our shooting skills off the range, but if we do, experience with targets like the star might just give us the edge we need to get home that day.
I really don’t know why it’s called a Texas Star.  It is a big star, after all, and Texas is big on stars.  Maybe its origins can be traced to the Lone Star State?  Sometimes I want to send it back to wherever it came from, but deep down I’m glad someone made this thing.  It’s made me a better shooter. 
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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube


This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Practical Shooting 101

by Phil McNaughton-Guest Contributor

Welcome to Practical Shooting 101.  There are no textbooks in this class.  All you need is your favorite firearm, a safe attitude, and the desire to have fun! 

What did you do during your last range trip?  Did you stand on a firing line and shoot a static paper target?  If you said yes, that’s okay.  The fundamentals of basic marksmanship should be practiced early and often in one’s shooting career.  Nevertheless, consider your shooting abilities beyond static target shooting.  Have you ever shot at a moving target?  Have you ever shot at a target while you were moving?   What if you have to engage a target from an unusual position, like under a table or over a barrel?  These are the sorts of things you encounter in practical shooting competition. 

The textbook definition of practical shooting would be using a firearm to engage targets in a dynamic scenario.  Practical shooting finds its roots in law enforcement and military training.  The people who protect us don’t know what they will encounter in the real world, so they need to know how to run their gun in any situation.  Practical shooting gives everyone a chance to learn these same skills.

What do you actually do in practical shooting?  The courses, targets, and procedures vary between the disciplines, but the fundamentals are the same.  Get the gun in your hand and engage the targets, avoid the no-shoot targets, move as necessary, and manage your ammo.  The timer is running, and accuracy is a big part of the score.  The goal is be fast and accurate.

In addition to improving our gun handling skills, practical shooting has a lot to offer the competitor in all of us.  The various sanctioning bodies have local, regional, national, and international matches, which draw major sponsors.  There are divisions for almost any firearm and classification systems that allow shooters of similar abilities to compete against each other.  No matter your skill level, your equipment, or where you live, there is a place for you. 

Gun owners have the ultimate responsibility of safety, and practical shooting will reinforce the safe mindset.  Thousands of competitive shooters prove every year that you can draw, move, and shoot your firearm quickly, and accurately, all while not hurting anyone and having a lot of fun. 

What does this have to do with Beretta, you ask?   There are many national and international wins for the Beretta pistol in the practical shooting scene.  I have competed with the 92FS, the PX4 Storm, and the M9A1.  Although I have tried other guns, I keep coming back to Beretta, simply because they always work.  When the pressure is on at a match, I only have to worry about how I will perform, not how the gun will perform. 

Your homework for next time:  check out some of the info on the web about practical shooting.  It’s one of the most challenging and exciting shooting sports, and we always need new folks. 
Next time we’ll talk about the gear you need and how to get started.  Class dismissed. 

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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