I took another pistol class last Saturday. It was taught by a friend of mine, George Hill, the Ogre of www.madogre.com. George has teamed up with Crusader Weaponry to teach carbine, shotgun, and pistol out at the Buckskin Hills range in Vernal. This was his basic class, but I never turn down any opportunity to take any shooting class, ever. Even the worst class I’ve ever taken I’ve still managed to learn something, even if it was, “I will never do THAT!” Luckily, since George is an awesome instructor, it was totally worth the refresher.
My buddy/D6 co-author Nightcrawler had just gotten back from EOD school, and hadn’t hardly shot for a year. I’m rusty as heck, and the last time I’ve actually managed to touch off a round was about six months ago. (Yes, I know, I suck—but in my defense, deadlines and moving!) Hopefully, we figured we wouldn’t embarrass ourselves too badly. To help not look like a completely ineffectual dork, I decided to take my STI Cheater Heater, i.e. the gun that makes me look like I’m better than I actually am. This was a surprisingly easy decision, since because of the move, I’ve only kept out three handguns, one is a teensy-tiny Kahr MK9, the other is a poly Kimber 1911 but somehow I managed to pack all my spare mags for it in the wrong box, that is buried somewhere in storage.
Then, I discovered that somebody who helped me move had very helpfully put the box that held most of my holsters and gear into the wrong truck, so all my good stuff for the STI was stashed somewhere in the storage unit. (yes, building a house is a pain). Because the STI 4.15 Tactical is an odd gun, you can’t just pick up good kydex at Sportsman’s. I tried to get a good range holster shipped in, and managed to get one on the way (thanks, Rabbit) but it didn’t arrive in time, so I ended up sticking my $1,500 gun into a floppy, crappy, $20 Uncle Mike’s Nylon POS pancake. Bleh. Good holsters spoil you.
On Saturday, at the absurd hour of 4:30 in the AM, Nightcrawler and I set out on the four hour drive to Vernal. The Uintah Basin is a pretty area, and would probably do just fine if society collapsed, provided they even noticed. I made one last ditch stop at George’s store Basin Sports in Vernal to see if they had something better than the Uncle Mike’s for my STI, but no luck. Though it was pretty awesome for my ego when I opened my pistol case and the guy at the counter saw my MHI grips and said “Holy crap! Are you Larry Correia!?” Normally, when I get that reaction it is because A. I somehow owe them money. Or B. They want me to autograph a book. Luckily this was B.
We hit the range and class started at 9:00. The Buckskin Hill’s range is nice and has a great view. I don’t think I’d seen George in person since 2008. We got rolling, and had a great time. It took me a few mags to get warmed up, but after I got switched on, I shot surprisingly well.
Nightcrawler did extremely well. He’s an odd duck, in that he’s a young guy who shoots a revolver, and to be even weirder, he does it left handed. This was about a 250 round class, so as you can imagine, he really had to work those speed loaders. With me shooting my half-a-box of 9mm per mag STI, he had to reload 3 or 4 times for every one of mine. But the scary thing is, that even with all that reloading, Mike keeps up. The two of us were the most experienced shooters amongst the students, so it was a good thing that we actually represented, because George really talked us up to the others before we got started. Nightcrawler also surprised everyone at one point by running his .357 dry with two targets left on a drill, but smoothly drawing his .38 snubby backup from his pocket to give each a controlled pair. He also managed to do it on video, so Mike wins the internets.
Dave Sohm and his father showed up to do some videotaping for George. Dave was one of my old students, and it was really good to see that he’s still shooting really well. Plus, I’m glad he brought his dad, because as they were being introduced, he stopped, and said, “Wow. You’re Larry Correia? THE Larry Correia?” And I didn’t owe him money, either! This novelist thing is pretty sweet.
I felt rusty, and my movements weren’t nearly as efficient as they should be. I’ve been neglecting my practice for too long, and have been too busy to shoot any 3gun, IPSC, or IDPA, and it showed, but I do have to admit that I’m pretty pleased with how I did overall. I brought close to 300 rounds, fired all of them, but only missed about ten shots (and I remember Every. Single. One.) My personal belief is that when I’m shooting a 9mm, I try to shoot twice as much as everybody else, that way they can’t give me any crap about shooting a wimpy cartridge. And I so love my STI. It really does shoot like a .22. So my goal when I shoot a 9mm is to make that thing sound like a full auto. For example, here Mike and I engage a target while retreating. I think I fired ten rounds on that one, all COM hits.
George’s class was great. The refresher was good, and it was even better to see the new folks soaking up information. He really is a personable teacher, and has a good set of instruction. If you are looking for some firearms instruction in the Utah area, I totally recommend giving the Mad Ogre a call. Plus, he’s running for the Utah state legislature. This is the kind of guy who needs our support. I have no doubt George would kick ass in the legislature.