I remember sitting in the waiting room, in New York City, thinking that at some point, this moment will feel so very long ago. I thought to myself, it could not happen soon enough. My wife and I waited for 9 hours since arriving at the hospital to hear word of how my youngest daughter, Olivia, surgery went. The words I am writing cannot begin to detail the exact emotions and thoughts from that time looking out the windows watching the same tree sway for hours on-end. It is only four months later where I am not so overwhelmed with emotion to get some of my thoughts written down. Olivia had a successful Chiara Malformation surgery to decompress the back of her skull enabling her cranial fluid to move around more freely. The compression caused a Syrinx to form on her Spinal Cord. This Syrinx was growing at a steady pace as we monitored the situation. No one wants to make the decision regarding surgery, but if we did not paralysis was imminent. We are thankful the surgery was a success, and no one can tell this day that she had surgery, we are truly blessed.
The last couple of years have been filled with medical adversity in my immediate family. Shortly after my daughter’s surgery I ended up with an 8 day and 7 amazing night stay at the hospital with Ecoli, Sepsis, and having to have my Gallbladder removed. This was the most pain I have ever had in my life and it was steady for close to 24hours. You truly find out who you are and what you are made of going through these types of situations. Today I feel better than I have in a very long time.
My immediate family and close friends have seen the adversity we have experienced from significant mental health struggles, Vanessa’s Scoliosis surgery, to Olivia’s Surgery, the passing of my mother-in-law, and what I have gone through. People say that they feel bad for us and all I see is gratitude and appreciation for those around us. There is always someone who has it worse, we are still intact living our best life. I wanted to share with those who are reading this, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is this community who has helped take the edge off, brought comfort during some challenging times these past couple of years. Thank you for all the love and support, even when I said we did not need anything. Your friendship means more to me and my family than you will ever know. People ask me why I choose to give back as much as I do, now you have a glimpse of the appreciation I feel. It is all our responsibility to fuel the next generation in the sport.
We will always remember the love and support from our immediate and extended family. Thank you!
My first introduction to the world of Pistol Caliber Carbines (PCCs) was at the Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships in 2016. After shooting a JP Rifles (JP) GMR13 at a side match, I understand quickly what all the excitement was about. In the past five years, there has been a surge of companies bringing their own PCCs to the market. Innovation has been relatively limited to weight reduction, ergonomics, and different recoil systems. They have all focused on the widely adopted AR 15 design, until recently. JP announced the JP5: a 9mm PCC based on the Roller Delayed Blowback System. Why has the Internet been buzzing? Let’s first understand the history of the Roller Delayed Blowback System and why it is important to the world of PCC.
The Roller Delayed Blowback System was originally discovered by Mauser engineers during World War II in Germany. The most famous example of the Roller Delayed Blowback System is the Heckler & Koch (H&K) MP5 submachine gun chambered in 9 X 19mm Parabellum developed in the 1960s which is one of the most widely used sub-machine guns around the world. While discussing the MP5 design, JP Marketing Director, Jesse Gangl shared: “For gun buffs and law enforcement, the H&K MP5 and its roller delayed operating system is a landmark of firearm design. Both in terms of reliability and felt recoil, it’s a marvel of a system that some JP guys have enjoyed for decades now. While it definitely adds more components and complexity to the operating system compared to a direct blowback, the advantages for the shooter are very noticeable. And thanks to H&K, it’s a proven concept.”
The traditional blowback system is widely used because it is simplistic in design with recoil tuning the average gun owner can do with basic tools such as the Silent Capture System (SCS) from JP. The felt recoil is manage by adding or taking away weight with steel and tungsten weights. In addition, there are various springs used to give the ‘feel’ the shooter desires. The JP5 design is drastically different. The main platform of the gun is completely different from a traditional AR15 although the two platforms share peripheral items such as grip, stock, handguard, and fire controls. The barrels, recoil system, upper receiver and bolts are not interchangeable.
After receiving my Steel Challenge configured JP5, I sat down with Jesse with JP to discuss the Roller Delayed System and how it works.Jesse shared with me: “The bolt of the JP-5 uses two rollers that engage with the trunnion and resist the bolt opening. These rollers bear on the locking piece. These locking pieces are available in multiple angles, which affects how the rollers interact with it, and hence, how much resistance there is to the bolt opening. Higher angles require less pressure to open the bolt, while lower angles require more. This allows the operating system to be tuned and optimized to run best with specific combinations of barrel lengths, ammunitions, suppressors, etc.” Each of the new JP5s will be sent out with an ‘all-purpose’ locking piece and alternate angles will be available for shooters to optimize for different loads.
After receiving my JP5, I broke down the bolt, which took 3 seconds, to separate the locking piece. My gun came with a marked ‘90’ locking piece. I have run a couple thousand rounds 115 power factor loads and I am happy to report it has run flawless, recoil impulse is short, soft, and the dot remains on target. At the 2021 World Speed Shoot Championships in Talladega, Alabama, I spent time with JP’s Dustin Sanchez with the first JP5 and tested this innovative gun. I ran a PCC Steel Challenge load from PNR Ammo which is a 135 grain bullet going approximately 850 feet per second out of my Ultralight Weight Barrel in my GMR15. After trying a couple locking devices, the ‘70’ optimized the platform for this load. People over use the statement my gun shoots like a .22, well this JP5 shot smoother than a .22. It is noted, we did not change out the SCS of the rifle but unsure how further improvement could be made over the felt recoil. Double taps on targets were routine with negligible dot movement at 15 yards.
The first production run sold out like a New Kids on the Block reunion tour: in just moments. These rifles will be delivered in the 4th quarter of 2021. JP is currently offering the JP5 in 3 configurations for pre-order for delivery in late 2nd quarter of 2022 into early 3rd quarter. The configurations for pre-order are: JP5 All-Purpose Carbine (MSRP $3199), JP5 Competition PCC (MSRP $3269), and the JP5 Steel Challenge Carbine (MSRP $3349). All configurations are outfitted with the same Machined Billet JP5 940 receiver set, 14.5” Supermatch light contoured 1:10” twist barrel, Radian Raptor top-charge handle, 3.5-4.0lb trigger, Hogue grip, and a 9mm JP5 Silent captured Spring. The main differences in the three models are barrel finishes, compensators, handguards, and stocks. The All-Purpose Carbine features a Black Teflon barrel finish with a tactical compensator, MK III Rapid Configuration 12.5” Handguard and Hogue Overmolded stock. The JP5 Competition PCC has polished steel barrel with competition compensator, MKIII Rapid Configuration 12.5” Handguard and Hogue Overmolded stock. Finally, the JP5 Steel Challenge Carbine has a titanium pin and welded compensator, M-Lok series 12.5” handguard with a Mission first Tactical stock. The Steel Challenge setup drops the overall weight from 6lbs to just over 5.5lbs as verified with my Steel Challenge setup. For those who are interested in a full custom build, JP will be opening up full-custom builds at some point in 2022.
In the Steel Challenge community, we are greatly anticipating the release of the Ultra Light Weight (ULW) barrel. The 5.5” shrouded barrel should get the JP5 just under the 5lb barrier resulting in one of the lightest PCCs on the market. The weight of the 14.5” barrel with a pinned and welded Titanium compensator feels uncompromised while transitioning the gun from target to target at speed. The M-Lok handguard shaves a couple of ounces off the MKIII handguard to mitigate left over weight of the light contour barrel. One of the surprises of the JP5 is the built-in ambidextrous controls with a bolt release on the right hand side of the gun. From a shooter perspective, you can tell there is weight removed from both the bolt as well as the recoil system allowing the gun to feel ‘faster’ in operation compared to my GMR 15. The gun is always ready for me to pull the trigger. The height over bore of the JP5 offers the familiarity we have with the AR15 style GMR15.
With all of these options coming to market, JP has us remembering why they are the market leader in Rifles. If you are interested in ordering your own JP5 of any other JP products, visit JPRifles.com.
Over the past six years I have truly been blessed to meet so many great people through the shooting sports. There has been a lull in shooting major matches since the World Speed Shoot. In addition the club that got me into shooting Steel Challenge, which has hosted some of the largest level I and level II matches in the country suddenly called it quits. This has spurred me and several others to get back to why we compete, it is not only winning (that is fun too!), but to spend time with our friends. Some we have known for many years and I always look forward to meeting new ones out on the range.
A couple weeks ago Chris Barrett and myself decided to meet up at a range we don’t shoot often, it has been three years since I last shot there. I texted one of our Steel Target Paint team members Teddie Gartman and he brought two of his kids. When we arrived, it reminded me of the days of when the Steel Target Paint Shooting team first started. A small local match with friends and family. To my surprise, I saw Allan Owens, one of the OGs of Rimfire in the North Atlanta area and first members of the Steel Target Paint Shooting team.
The first match I shot with him six years ago he had to meet the person who barely edged him out. This time was truly amazing. Alan was there with his amazing wife Diana, their daughter and their three grandkids. It was inspiring to see three generations of one family enjoying a Sunday afternoon at the range. Not a single person without a smile on their face.
Each of us looks for something out of the shooting sports. Some of us are ultra competitive and want to do our best at every match we shoot. For some of us it is about connecting with our families. Some of us like to spend time with our friends. After all, I have never met a stranger out on the range. There is something for everyone. If you are waivering about taking someone to the range, just go ahead and do it. I have not walked away from a range session thinking, “I wish I didn’t do that”.
Growing up I had a coach who told me, “It is only when you are mentally prepared then you will be physically ready to play.” The year I heard this our basketball team went undefeated for the year. There is a direct correlation between preparation and success. It may have sounded corny, but we had the same game ready music. We erupted onto the floor listening to “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N Roses. Every time I hear this song I flash back to a simplier and but yet more competitive time in my life. Basketball was a way of life for the majority of my younger childhood. We would ‘shoot hoops’ five days a week. We knew if we were not practicing our shot, someone else was. This was also the time in my life when I was in the best shape of my life. Before we could get physically ready, we had to be mentally ready.
A couple of weeks ago I shot with Chris Barrett at his range getting ready for the 2021 season. As Chris stepped into the box on our first stage, Five to Go, I gave him the make ready command. As he unbagged his Magnum Research Switchbolt he took several dry-fire strings. Each time he ran the stage he would pull the trigger when the sight was on the plate and he said “Bang”. I started laughing and I stopped him. He said what. I said are you saying “Bang..Bang..Bang..Bang..Bang?” He said yes and we both starting laughing uncontrollably. After we composed ourselves I asked him why. He said that it helped him mentally prepare to shoot the stage.
As I got into the shooters box next, I took my normal dry fire sight picture as I always do. Then, I created my own new sound effect, “Pew..Pew..Pew..Pew..Pew”. Everyone started laughing. I have found a lot of value in taking a dry sight picture on every stage. What I have told students over the years is I want my subscious to see last is perfection. I dry fire the stage at the speed I intend to shoot it. I have done this for years. What I have added is a deliberate trigger pull on each target with a sound effect. Through reflection a dry sight picture is probably not enough to mentally prepare. Doing all of the steps including adding a noise to mimic the shot of the gun may help, even if it gives me the slightest advantage.
Last weekend, after employing this technique, I shot a personal best of sub-7 seconds on Pendulum. Did the extra “pews” help? Was it because my mental preparedness was better when the timer went off? Or maybe I just got lucky.. hmm. Something to consider on your next range trip.
My wife and I are extremely fortunate to have two amazing daughters. Over the years, the amount of time it takes them to get ready for anything has grown significantly. Admittedly, I appreciate their willingness to put themselves together before going out of the house, but 2 hours seems a bit excessive. Over the course of time, they have developed a strong level of discipline to be on time, even when others are not. This takes a lot of discipline to plan ahead with the end goal of a departure time in mind.
This same level of discipline is as important on the range. When working with a couple of shooters in the past couple of weeks a trend has emerged which is tough to break, you have to have Visual Discipline. You have to ensure the dot is on the target before you pull the trigger to get your hit. If your eyes leave the target before the shot has broken, your odds of missing the target exponentially increase. Have you ever noticed when you are driving and you look down to the right, the car goes to the right? If you are gazing out the window to the left while behind the wheel you get a lot closer to the solid line? This is not a coincidence. The gun goes to where the eyes go. If you focus on the dot or front sight in Steel Challenge everything is where it needs to be when you pull the trigger. You are able to call your hits better, why? Because you are actually looking at the sights.
If you are someone who cuts their eyes to the target and you miss on the leading edge of the target, this is because you have switched to a target focus. You are subconsciously expecting the sights to be there, but it is not. This is why I reinforce you have to keep your index and move your upper torso, driven by your legs all together as one unit. Some people have asked for some clarification based on my ‘handsy’ comment on the podcast. If you drive the gun with your hands you will lose stability. You may get away with it for a short while, but as with anything else, if you apply more speed or pressure to anything you will find the weakness.
You know who you are. Just because you can point shoot a couple of targets and get some success does not mean this is a high percentage play when shooting. Sometimes you can get the false sense of security by getting a couple of hits… If you want a higher percentage play.. you paid good money for that dot or front sight, use it. Steel Challenge is about control. If you want to score well, remember you have to have Visual Discipline.
Just a few thoughts the next time you are out on the range.
Recently, I wrote a blog post discussing shooting segmentation and the batching process that can happen when shooting. Let’s spend a few minutes and discuss the segmentation part of shooting. I was recently training with someone who was at a plateau shooting Steel Challenge Stage Outer Limits. The first shot was assertive and towards the center of the plate every single shot. The second shot on Plate #2 was a little bit more sporadic, but was hitting the plate 95%+ of the time. There was a brief pause after the shot was fired which included a slight delay until either an audible ring or enough time for the brain to process the sights were in the right location when the shot was fired. The third, fourth, and fifth shot were at an acceptable pace. The overall times were right around 4.00 seconds a string. This is a high Master level shooter on all of the other stages, with some in the Grand Master time range.
My job, as a coach, was to identify their shooting tendency and provide them with a way to correct it to become more effective and more efficient. I shared with this person they were hesitating on plate #2 and I asked if they knew that they were doing this. They said that they could feel from time to time they were. I then walked through the psychology of shooting this stage and the fear of leaving the first box and going to the next and not missing the second plate. I told them I wanted them to speed up the second shot and not think about it being the second shot on Outer Limits, but a second shot on any other stage where you see the dot on the plate and pull the trigger. What happened next was interesting, but not all that uncommon. They shot the first shot slightly more aggressively .10 seconds faster, the back shot was much faster and .93 seconds total time on the first two shots. This pace is in where the top third of most Grand Masters in Rimfire Rifle Open are logged. Then they shot plate #4 aggressively, they were not stable into the box and it took 3 shots to hit plate #4 before they finished off with plate #3 and the stop plate. Total time was 4.25 seconds with two pickup shots.
This is where shooting segmentation comes in. Just because you push the pace on one shot, this does not mean you push the pace on all of the shots on the stage or array. You segment your cadence on each target giving each one what it needs. You can’t treat every single shot the same or batch them together. When you watch the top shooters in the sport, they do not shoot all targets at the same speed, there is variation because every target needs its own sight picture and discipline. If your transition from box #1 to box#2 is assertive, but in control and you hit plate #4 99+% of the time, you may not need to speed this shot up.
After reviewing some video, they were able to make the correct adjustments and were shooting in the 3.5-3.6s when they put all of the steps together. If you are not getting the results you are looking for on a stage, with a particular division, step back and look to see where the time is to be lowered. Just shooting everything fast is not the recipe for success. Sometimes you have to break down each shot and transition to find it. Keep this in mind the next time you go to the practice range and find your time!
It has been an interesting experience these past two weeks, there are babies on the “farm”. As some of you may have heard over the past couple of years, my wife and I made a decision to move to the country to have property to have a shooting range. What I did not expect was my wife to want to satisfy her youth fantasy of having a goat farm. Admittedly, I did not get it for a while.. until the last couple of weeks. A year and a half ago I took my wife to buy her first two Nigerian Dwarfs – blue-eyed with a great pedigree. As the goats settled in as young kids, my wife had plans to breed the goats to have babies and she would sell some to offset costs. As of three weeks ago, we had a total of ten goats without selling a single one. I talked to my wife and she said our first two goats were pregnant and she would sell some to offset costs. I skeptically raised an eye-brow and went back to a project I was working on.
As with many of you reading this, 2020 has been filled with fun and excitement. My mother-in-law was at and end of life situation and my wife went to spend the last couple weeks with her in North Carolina, which I strongly supported. Reality quickly set in there were two pregnant goats on the farm and the last time we had our own child I woke up with nurses looking at me. That’s a story for another time. Where I am going, I am the least prepared person to deliver babies and to care for them. The one thing that went well is both goats waited until the week my wife came back to have their babies. The first goat, Bonnie, had three healthy babies; two girls and one boy.
Watching the baby goats and the new mom interact was magical. The babies knew right what to do. They knew where to go to eat. They made noises to indicate to the mom they were hungry and she would walk right over to feed them. This made me reflect on my high school psychology classes thinking about Freud’s Id, Ego, and SuperEgo. As I remember it, the Id is the part of our personality from birth. It is the unconscious pleasure principle looking for immediate gratification of needs and wants. If we don’t get them, it can turn into tension or anxiety.
In the last two years I have been fortunate to work with shooting students from all over the country. One of the promises I make to each and every one of them is we will find out what their Shooting Tendency is, and put a plan in place to mitigate it. What I have found is the majority of people have an issue with their Id. How many times have you seen a shooter shoot a string of 1.55 on Smoke and Hope and they try to shoot the same exact time and they end up shooting a 1.50 or a 2.20 because they had a couple of misses? If you ask them, 95% of the time, they will say they were going slower or the same speed. Remember, the Id is the unconscious mind so we do not consciously tell ourselves to speed up, but we do it anyway. For the purpose of this discussion, I am going to call this concept the Foster Reflex.
In the past I have addressed part of this discussion with the insatiable need to go faster. This remains true, but this is the conscious coefficient of the shooting equation. The Foster Reflex is the unconscious coefficient. I have not met a shooter on the range who was not competitive and wanted to score well, this is the desire part of the Id. Because this is unconscious, we need to now focus on conscious strategies to mitigate our unconscious.
What strategy do we employ to help this? Read the The Edge and the Targeted Edge Dial articles. Going to the range is much more than producing empty cases.
Thirty-eight years ago, I pulled the trigger on my first gun; it was a bolt action Rimifre Rifle. The loud crack of the bullet leaving the rifle and then hitting the intended soda can lit a spark inside of me, which has developed into a burning passion in the Shooting Sports. My father was a skilled marksman who has a training heart with a “Safety First” mantra in everything we explored while growing up. Steel Challenge is a great place for new shooters and youth shooters to begin their shooting career. Some of us haven’t left. Why Steel Challenge? Shooting sports such as USPSA’s owned Steel Challenge has a low barrier to entry to get your younger family members involved in competitive shooting. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet an amazing young man. His name is Tucker, and he is 9 years old. I squadded with his father Andy Browne at a tier 1 match in Tennessee. Tucker was enthusiastic about shooting, had lots or questions, and loved to spray targets with Steel Target Paint. Tucker did not shoot this match but was in attendance because his father wanted to gauge his interest and readiness to attend his first match. Shortly after meeting Tucker, his father reached out to me and stated he had successfully shot his first match. I sat down with Tucker and his father to answer some questions many of us, as parents, have about getting their children or younger family members into competitive shooting.
USPSA: Andy, you are a competitive shooter, can you tell me where your home range is and what involvement do you have in the sport? IE Match Director for X, you shoot Steel Challenge, etc.
AB: I am currently a member of the Steel Target Paint shooting team and compete in Steel Challenge competitions. I also serve as the match director for Dead Zero Steel Challenge, at the Dead Zero Shooting Park in Spencer, TN, where we host monthly matches along with hosting the Tennessee State Steel Challenge Championship this year.
USPSA: With the lack of matches being held, I traveled to Tennessee to shoot a local match with you, and I met your son Tucker. How old is he, and what is his interest in shooting?
AB: Tucker is 9 years old, and he is interested in all things shooting. He has started competing in some of our local Steel Challenge matches and shows a great deal of excitement about the shooting sports. Tucker came to watch me at some matches and really expressed an interest in competing. He saw my teammates Steve Foster and Chris Barrett at a match and he was completely hooked. After that match, he shot some of the rifles used by the team, including Larry Joe Steeley’s JP GMR-15 PCC and Vanessa Foster’s CWA Rimfire pistol. The level of excitement he showed me after that match let me know that we were on the right track to getting him involved in competition.
USPSA: Why do you think he is so interested in shooting?
AB: I have been involved in shooting for over 40 years, so Tucker has been exposed to shooting his whole life. We have spent many days as a family at the range having fun.
USPSA: Tucker – Why are you interested in shooting?
TB: I like shooting guns and being able to go shoot with my dad.
USPSA: Tucker – what is it you like most about the sport?
TB: I like to get to shoot and try to get better every time I shoot.
USPSA: Tucker – What do you like least about the sport?
TB: There isn’t anything that I don’t really like about shooting.
USPSA: Andy, why are you supporting him in his pursuit of shooting?
AB: Part of my job as a dad is to support Tucker as he chases dreams. His interest in the shooting sports is something that is easy to get behind since it such a positive activity. This also allows me to spend time with him as he grows.
USPSA: What are your goals for him in the sport? We should talk about the ease of shooting Steel Challenge with the family atmosphere.
AB: The number one goal I have for Tucker is for him to enjoy shooting. If he isn’t having fun, then he is free to walk away from it. I have been this way with him through other sports he has been involved with. I want him to feel excited for every match he attends. Now, on the competitive end, I would love to see him become one of the next rising stars in Steel Challenge. This particular sport has so many talented young shooters, and they will carry the sport for us as the next generation. Getting Tucker involved in Steel Challenge was a pretty easy decision since it offers very few barriers to entry. We also have a great group of local shooters that include entire families. The environment at Steel Challenge matches is like a family gathering. I also liked the fact that there is not much movement involved in Steel Challenge stages, something that allows young shooters to better focus on safety and shooting fundamentals.
USPSA: Let’s talk about the different divisions in Steel Challenge. Which do you think is the best to start him off with? What would your advice be for other parents who are looking to get their son/daughter/niece/nephew involved in the shooting sports?
AB: We started Tucker off in RFRO for a couple of reasons. Our Magnum Research Switchbolt rifles are lightweight, so even smaller folks can handle them well. The rimfire platform also has very little recoil, so it helps keep him from feeling like his rifle is beating him up. The use of an optical sight helps with the overall learning curve of picking up speed in the stages as a new shooter.
For anyone who is looking to get a youngster involved in the shooting sports, I would tell them to not feel intimidated. Even if you do not have personal experience, there are very capable shooters at the matches that will gladly help a young shooter get started. Patience seems to be abundant at matches, particularly when young shooters are involved.
USPSA: Are you concerned at all for his safety shooting at the age of 9?
AB: We exposed Tucker to firearms at a young age so that we could start to build healthy respect for them. With the many safety features built into Steel Challenge matches, we have been very comfortable with getting Tucker involved. Tucker had to show me that he could safely handle a firearm, clear malfunctions, and shoot with reasonable accuracy before he was able to shoot in a match.
USPSA: For our readers who are considering getting a young person involved in shooting, what gear do you recommend for a new shooter and why? IE Guns, glasses, ears, etc.
AB: One of great things about Steel Challenge is the ease of getting started. As I mentioned, Tucker is using a Magnum Research Switchbolt rifle, and it has been great. We have six magazines that he uses for matches: one for each string and a spare. Something to consider with young shooters is their physical size and how a firearm or accessory will fit them. This has been something that was challenging with Tucker when we were working on hearing protection. The “in-ear” hearing protection proved to be uncomfortable for him, so he has settled on a traditional style of ear muffs. Since being comfortable is important, you will want to get feedback from the young shooter on their hearing protection. Pro Ears most likely offers hearing protection that will work for both your budget and the shooter’s comfort. Comfortable eyewear is also an important consideration. Tucker had received a nice pair of shooting glasses from his grandparents at Christmas, so he was ready with those. Comfortable footwear is another consideration since the shooters will be on their feet quite a bit. Also, remember to bring snacks and drinks to the range. This helps keep your young shooter fueled up throughout the match.
USPSA: Anything other recommendations you would like to share with our readers on getting younger people involved in the sport?
AB: It is imperative that we pass the shooting sports on to our younger shooters. If you have a young person who is interested, give them all the help you can. If you are unsure about how to get them involved, reach out to your local club, and I am confident you will find them to be welcoming. All of the local clubs I shoot at go to great lengths to help youngsters or new shooters get going and feel comfortable.
USPSA: Tucker – what message would you send to others who are not certain about shooting that are your age? What would you tell them to give them confidence?
TB: I would tell them to concentrate on being safe and get started. I would also tell them to start with the smaller caliber guns and then work on the larger guns. It helps confidence by remembering that it is not about winning, it is about having fun and being safe.
In the spring of 2016 an idea emerged to design a rimfire compensator, which was effective, has a cool aesthetic, and would be a value for most shooters. I have never taken a concept and brought it to market, but despite the perceived complexity, I knew it was something I wanted to do. I will save you from the mundane details of finding partners with design/machining capability who had the same passion as I did around this project. I approached Todd at Wiland USA and he was excited about the opportunity.
We agreed to the terms of our partnership in the project and the creative juices started to flow. In the spirit of sharing some perspective without giving away trade secrets, I will walk you through some of the design and trial phase. We set a time to talk through an initial design with the list of characteristics I would like to see and below is the first sketch of one of the concepts for the Rimfire compensator. I was enthusiastic the design I had in my head was starting to actually materialize.
The next iteration after resolving some of the dimensions of what will work with the most barrels out on the market was key. Afterall, as a competitive shooter I wanted to make sure I did not ‘feel’ the compensator at the end of the gun. Too many times other designs feel ‘clunky’ when starting and stopping guns as we make hard transitions. The next step in the design phase was to incorporate the rest of the list of the design elements. Initially, the front of the compensator did not have the extra 45 degree cut and Todd drew it up with it. It was a great example of collaboration. It was lighter at the end of the gun where it matters most and it had the styling cues of a fighter jet. Below is the next working design.
The top port went from an elongated hole to a key styled hole to create a progressive gas escape pattern pushing down on the front of the gun harder. We then smoothed out the key-hole design to create a better functional aesthetic with a ‘tear-drop’ style top-port.
Shortly after we polished up the design we had to actually make one to see how the Two-dimensional drawing would translate into a Three-dimensional part people would get excited about. Thorugh the use of a 3D printer, our drawing became a reality as seen below.
The first time I saw it, I wanted to shoot it so bad! Afterall, we had to test our design and move the project to the trial phase. Not knowing if the 3D generated prototype would take the pressure of a high-velocity round, we agreed to make two working compensators out of aluminum for proof of concept and design. Todd at Wiland USA created the first two;
The machine work was amazing, especially for two ‘one-offs’. Todd asked me for my logo and where we think it should be placed and I told him it would be great to have on the compensator, but I wanted it discreet, which was an important branding decision. For these two he powder coated them and engraved my logo. It was at this point, the reality of bringing this project to fruition was upon me. Words cannot describe how I felt.
After I received the two prototypes I immediately went to the range. I put the compensator on the lightest handgun I could find to see how it reacted. The testing exceeded my expectations – it was flattest shooting Ruger 22/45 lite I have ever shot. Below is a picture in the dark to get a flavor for the compensator in action. You can see what is left of the fireball coming out of the top of the gun with residual fire and gas escaping from both sides of the gun.
Now the tough part came, what do we name our new product? After a lot of brainstorming, we chose the Falcon because the compensator mimics the downward force of the bird when attacking its prey and no creature on earth can match its speed. This speaks to how stable and fast the gun transitions, its effortless.
After 9 full months of successful testing and over 40K rounds shot through the new Falcon Rimfire Compensator, it was now time for full production and bring our product to market.
Here is a summary of the specifications of the compensator:
Anodized 6061 Aluminum – for minimal weight at the end of the gun for fast and easy transitions
Progressive port with proprietary angles and chamber to increase down force at the end of the gun – keeps the lightest of guns flat
45 degree side ports for stabilization and sound for timers to pick up
Chamfered rear for included O ring timing and mounting
Aggressive 45 degree cuts on the front of the compensator not only for aesthetics, but to reduce weight at the end of the gun for fast and easy transitions.
Aggressive and aesthetically pleasing style unlike any other compensator out on the market
1911 style crown – well because it’s just cool.
Designed and Manufactured in a state of the art facility right here in the USA
It has been humbling to see all of the Falcons out in the wild! Get yours today at:
Recently, I posted a video on the Steve Foster – Competitive Shooter page on facebook (also found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-To_zIg8I8 ) talking through my thought process of shooting my CWA Rimfire Pistol Open gun on a plate rack. In the last few months I have been trying to ‘push’ my Targeted Edge Dial a little too hard with my pistols. I believe, this is a direct result of all the time I have been putting in with my Magnum Research Switchbolt and JP PCC. The Edge for each of these guns is different and I need to do a better job remembering this when I get to the firing line. Of all the tools I have in my bag and out on the range, the Plate rack is setup exactly the same and it can be measured equally, every time. When I am struggling to shoot with the fundamentals of marksmanship, I turn my attention to the plate rack and it ‘settles’ the Targeted Edge Dial to the appropriate percentage.
My GT Targets plate rack has six 8” plates and when I shoot it at 12 yards away, I know I need to have a proper sight focus to make my hits. From time to time, I can get away with an occasional target focus, but this is not a consistent way to shoot. As I walk through in the video, I need to be able to know where my Edge is of my capability to shoot a good time. I know my 100% is in the 1.80 second range, needless to say, I don’t go into the first string trying turn my Targeted Edge Dial to 100% or greater. I start at ~ 85% to get my hits and then turn my dial to the appropriate % to start to push the pace, but remain in control as I demonstrate in the video.
There has been a lot of discussion and personal reflection in the past couple of weeks around how to shoot well and my video sparked some discussion around does my Targeted Edge seem different from day to day or match to match. First, let me share some reflections and opinions of what can influence the Targeted Edge as well as subconscious shooting:
Gun or ammunition failures
Poorly setup targets or targets themselves
Impact of shooting a major match – without a lot of major match experience
First, gun or ammunition failures can be more than a distraction and something, which can be frustrating. When shooting speed competitions such as Steel Challenge or Rimfire Challenge you need to be shooting in the subconscious. As we have talked through previously, subconscious shooting is always faster. Anything that interrupts this information flow effectively, slows down the process whether we know it or not. As the range command is given, “Are you ready… Stand by..” if you are wondering if your gun will go bang, you will not be able to let your subconscious take over. Now, you are thinking about the gun running and looking, feeling, or trying to be proactive with anything, which does not seem right. This takes attention away from what you are here to do. Your Edge has not changed at all, but your ability to perform at the Targeted Edge has changed.
Similar to gun or ammunition failures, poorly setup targets or targets with exposed hangers can have the same impact on a shooter. With an exposed hanger, if you call a shot high and you don’t have a second validation of an audible ring or a clear ability to see a hit you question your ability to shoot which results in double tapping a target you have already hit. Some are particular to how stages are setup in Steel Challenge competitions because we rely on doing the same thing over and over again. In a recent match, I missed the stop plate twice on Five to Go (both strings with make-ups) because I was relying on my natural swing of my body and gun and I was shooting just over the top of the target. After the second string I realized the Stop plate was 6-8” low, I made a mental adjustment and followed-through with eye on the sight, on the stop plate without missing the remaining three strings. Needless to say, my second and third strings were slower than where I like to shoot in a match, but I knew I had to “dial” things back to shoot more consciously to score well. My 4th and 5th strings were back in the 85-90% range.
Lastly, shooting at a major match or traveling to a new club can increase the ‘nervous’ feeling we have while shooting. In my experience, this is when the Foster Effect rises to the surface. I have to reassure my 85-90% times are good enough and trying to shoot 110% strings on my first string of my first stage is not a recipe for success. After all, I have a tried this numerous times without success.
In summary, our shooting Edge does not change overnight, but it can change with time and practice. Therefore, the Targeted Edge Dial does not change either. What does change is the mental influence we allow to impact our shooting performance. If you feel the Edge has changed for you in a division or on a stage, a match is not the place to make this determination… it is to be questioned and validated on the practice range.