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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.

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.

International SWAT Roundup

 
What an experience!


No, I'm not talking about the balmy Florida weather, but the amazing two days spent at the International SWAT Roundup.

The concept is simple: dozens of SWAT teams from around the world, coming together for a competition that, eventually, will crown the best team, but that is really designed to celebrate and test the skills of the heroes that keep countless communities safe and orderly around the world.

Beretta participated by having their products on hand, to display and answer any question about our key tactical products, including the Tx4 tactical shotgun, the Cx4 carbine, the Benelli tactical shotguns, and Sako and Tikka products.

During the five-day competition (I could only attend two, as duty calls back in DC,) each team is tested in competitions that range from hostage rescue, to repelling, to sniping.
On Day One, the teams were confronted with a hostage situation: the objective was to raid a building and neutralize all threats without harming the hostages. In the afternoon, each SWAT team completed a raid that required teamwork between a sniper and short-arm shooters who, after making their way through a door by way of a battering ram, had to confront fast-moving targets. All of this donning gas masks!
On Day Two, the SWAT teams faced a climbing wall, a barricade and a host of other obstacles. Teams were required to rig a zip-line to traverse a small river, rush to the action site and take their place at the shooting site: four members of the team would fire at fast moving objects with their short rifle or handgun, while one sniper would take position atop a roof in an attempt to hit two, four-inch targets roughly 75 yards away, one of which was rigged with explosive, clearing identifying when it was hit.

The adrenaline-filled air was almost palpable, as the teams raced across the large property, focused solely on completing their task.

Team after team, from the Orange Co., Florida, to the Kwaiti SWAT Team, from the men of Lake Co. Sheriff's Office to the Russian, Jamaican, and Bosnian teams, each group tried to out-do the next, to eat a few seconds by running faster, shooting better, or crawling harder.

What impressed me the most, however, was not the indisputable skill of these men, who put their life on the line when "common weapons and tactics" are insufficient. I was actually astonished at the amount of teamwork they exhibited. Each team member had a specific task, whether it was sniping, using the battering ram, clearing a room as the first man in, or covering with fire while others took position; the key to success, however, was not simply to "do your job" but to do it in such way that allowed others, in turn, to complete their task.

On the sideline, other SWAT team members were screaming words of encouragement, rooting for their brothers in blue to complete the course. In those moments, it was not just the sniper crawling, rifle in tow: it was the entire team carrying him toward the finish line.

More images captured during the event can be found on our Official Facebook page albums here and here.
It became clear how the arduous task of special force members in every law enforcement agency is not simply about knowing how to operate a firearm, or snipe a small target at hundreds of miles: the most important skill is the ability to work together, to encourage one another, to stop and turn when you feel that a team member is in trouble. Every SWAT member, whether behind a gas mask, on the field, or behind the stantions, cheering and encouraging, was an active victory-maker. It was as if coordination disappeared, to give way to one solid body, working in unison.

Needless to say: I was impressed.

Eventually, I had to leave the sunny and warm weather of Central Florida and the inspiring tasks of the International SWAT Roundup, but I bring back with me, to DC, the spirit of the games. I may never be in a hostage rescue situation, but I can sure benefit from the lessons taught by these heroes.

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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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