Day at the Range

I spent the day at the gun range with my kids and coauthor Mike Kupari.

I used to practice a lot. Back when I was shooting competition or teaching I spent a lot of time at the range. At one point I was pretty damned good. After I got out of the gun business I didn’t shoot nearly as much. Frankly, launching a writing career sucked up most of my time, and after doing it full time for a few years I was burned out. I still shot often enough to stay proficient, but sitting at a keyboard all day, I wasn’t the speed machine I used to be.

But my kids are getting older, so for the last year I’ve recommitted to shooting at least a couple times a month so that I could get them up to speed. We’ve been having a lot of fun with it, and they’re actually getting good.

All this means that I’ve been getting back into the groove too. It turned out that once I started practicing regularly again I’m still pretty good at this stuff. It is like riding a bicycle. Only I was always really bad at riding a bicycle, but really fast and accurate with a gun.

I don’t put pictures of my kids on the internet, (I’ve got way too many crazy people who hate me, so they all post under fake names) but they’re all looking pretty bad ass.

My oldest, we’ll call her Correia 2.1, is getting good enough that I’m going to start taking her to pistol matches this year. I’ve had her try out everything, but she is taking after her father and so far appears to be a 1911 fan. Which I think might just be an excuse for her to claim that Dragon Leatherworks Sad Puppies holster I was given as a gift.

2.2 is a Smith & Wesson M&P girl. She’s our lefty, which caused some trouble at the beginning because I was trying to teach her on a Buckmark. But holy moly, over the last year she’s taken off. The girl is a fast learner. She is also the recoil junky, and she loves my Crusader Broadsword AR-10, which at about 75 cents a round gets expensive very quickly.

Here’s one of Correia 2.3, which I can post because you can’t see his face. He’s 10. So far he is more comfortable with rifles than pistols, but he’s getting pretty decent with both. (Rock River heavy barrel 20 inch, Tactical Innovations suppressor)


Today we worked on transition drills, random number of rounds in the rifle mag, shoot to empty, drop and transition to pistol. Mike snapped some shots.

It started coming back to me. Ha! Look at that. Last piece of brass still in the air and already starting the draw stroke. That’s a Daniel Defense V11 with an Aimpoint Micro I picked up last month. I’ve got some rail covers and a VFG coming for the keymod forearm, because that sucker gets hot fast. Very nice gun.  If you’re in Utah, Bob at Sandy Shooters Supply has really good deals on DD stuff.

Transition drill

3 pieces of brass in the air, pistol barely moving, all hits. But to be fair, this is my custom STI 2011 4.15 (the Lorenzo gun for those of you who’ve read Dead Six) which is a fantastic gun. George Hill once referred to in a pistol class of his as my Cheater Heater.  Probably because it holds a box of ammo, recoils like a .22, and I can keep up an accurate rate of fire that sounds like an UZI. 🙂

Transition 2


Overall, really good shooting day. When I did some slow fire pistol, I shot a group I could cover with my thumb from 20. The accuracy was still there and my old speed is starting to come back.


Mike with his PTR-91. But then he had some bad luck and got into a car accident on the way home. He’s fine, but his front body panel is toast and we had to bend it out with a crow bar so he could drive it. It wasn’t his fault. An oncoming car turned left directly in front of him while he was going straight down the highway. He hit the brakes and swerved, so he barely scraped them instead of hitting head on. That was lucky. If he’d not reacted in time he would’ve t-boned them.

He sent me a text that he made it home fine, and next time he’ll accept my wife’s invitation to stay for dinner. 🙂

An interview I did with the Portuguese American Journal
Grimnoir is on the Audible Summer Binge Listening Sale

75 thoughts on “Day at the Range”

  1. I’ve never been better than so-so with a pistol, but at one time I was darned good with the SMG. Unfortunately it has been over ten years since I’ve fired the poor thing.

    I set up the dies and my wife reloads 500 rounds at a time on the old Lee single stage press.

  2. Nice! Out of curiosity, what did you get customized on your Cheater Heater?

    And I’ve gotta say, damn in your hands that gun looks *tiny*

    1. Y’know, I didn’t notice that till you mentioned it, and scrolled up. That does look like a very tiny gun in Larry’s hands… O_o

    2. I got a trigger job and the mercury recoil reducer. Other than that it is just your typical, highly polished, hand fitted, built with tender love and care STI. 🙂

      1. Cool. I did notice that it looked stock on the outside (that is if you can call an STI stock…).

        Was the trigger job done in house?

        Now the 4 in barrel? Was that for weight/concealability or asthetic preference?

        I have heard rumors that the 5in barrel is less reliable than the 4in. But have not gotten any hard numbers (IE failures per 1k rounds). So I’ve got no idea if true or not.

        1. This one is fairly stock. You should see the 10mm/40 MHI super gun they built for me.

          The 4.15 was just because I thought it felt better. At the time they didn’t have a frame rail 2011 with the full length dust cover. Between the two Tactical models I tried out, I just found this one a little nicer. I actually originally ordered this gun for a customer, they backed out, and I had it inventory, was already in love with it, and took it home.

          No idea on the reliability between the two, as this thing runs amazing. I broke the ejector about 2k rounds in, and even then it only stove piped on the last round in the magazine. Got that replaced, haven’t had a problem since. I’m guessing about 3k since, and I’m not exactly religious in my gun cleaning.

          1. Thanks! I’ll confess I was considering the 5 in version earlier this week and found this post nicely fortuitous.

            One final question, how’s their customer service? I’m wondering if I should just call and ask them directly on 4 vs 5.

          2. I’ve had really good experiences with their customer service. They’ve been excellent every time. I’m not sure how they would answer that though.

  3. Like Mike’s taste. I have a PTR-91 that I enjoy more than should really be allowed. Bummer about the car, but he’s right: that’ll teach him about turning down dinner invitations. Happy shooting.

  4. Glad Mr. Kupari is okay. Would have sucked to have made it through all that time abroad with things that could go boom only to get home and be taken out by an idiot who failed to yield.

    Also, have the newer Correia models tried something in .38 super? It’s a great round, lot of energy, very manageable recoil compared to straight .45.

    1. He’d start frothing about nuclear weapons and endangered species and crap.

      So, pretty much the same thing.

  5. I haven’t fired anything since retiring from the service in ’08. I was always a fair shot with the service pistol and rifle. Being right handed and left eye dominant was always awkward with the pistol and I never really had time to train myself to shoot a handgun left handed, so it was always cross-eye for me. Having gotten so comfortable on the rifle with my left hand as the trigger hand, it shouldn’t be too hard.

    Now I just have to find the time…

  6. Love to go but I’m disabled and not fond of going out to the Arizona desert to shoot by myself. Grew up on a farm so until the wife retires or I can talk my sons into going out have to wait for cooler weather. Do make it a few times and it is still the best fun with your pants on. Really is to hot in August.

  7. Nice toys.

    My main thing right now is informal smallbore pistol, now that a tiny trickle of .22 LR ammunition is starting to reappear on the shelves after an absence of almost three years. I have a Ruger Mk. III that is vastly more accurate than I am (currently I am just about able to hold 4″ to 5″ 10 shot groups at 25 yards over a period of about 30-40 seconds), although it’s also finicky about ammunition and rather difficult and unpleasant to disassemble and reassemble for maintenance.

    1. I detail-stripped a MkII that was more than 30 years old and had never been cleaned. I had to scrape carbonized layers of crud out with dental picks.

      An hour or more of that, all the cleaned parts laid out on shop rags, reassembly… it took about three hours, not counting a couple of picture-by-picture tutorials and a couple of YouTube videos.

      The trick is probably obvious when you’re used to it, but in my case success was probably more due to random chance than the tutorials.

      I’m not a complete schmuck; I have demonstrated my ability to field-strip and reassemble both the Model 1911 and Avtomat Kalashnikov while blindfolded. But the little Ruger was someone’s evil joke…

      1. Yeah. I sometimes think about getting a cheap Chinese ultrasonic cleaner at Harbor Freight just for mine.

        The worst part about reassembling a Ruger .22 pistol of this series is holding the frame upside down and jiggling it, trying to line up the tip of the hammer strut with the mainspring cap in order to get it back together. Well, getting the extractor into and out of the bolt sucks too, but this part is worst.

        This can be avoided–for a while–if you install a Majestic Arms “speed strip kit,” but it doesn’t exactly do what you might think from the name. It’s a split bolt stop pin, more or less, with a heat-treated stainless top end, upon which one uses a smallish hex key. You unscrew and remove the top of the bolt stop pin and the bolt slides right out the back into your hand. But you still have to disassemble it conventionally in order to separate the upper and lower receivers for a more thorough cleaning.

        For carbon fouling I have found that a good long soak–like, several days–in an old pickle jar with paint thinner softens the worst of the stubborn fouling, allowing it to be more or less neatly wiped away with a cloth after a bit of scraping. Or, when I am in more of a hurry, the disassembled bolt and the upper receiver can sit in an old pie pan and soak with some of the cheap Wal-Mart store brand engine degreasing foam, which I have found cuts carbon fouling quite well. Scrub stubborn spots with old toothbrush, rinse with boiling water, reapply if needed. When it’s clean, rinse the parts with rubbing alcohol to remove the water, then acetone to remove the alcohol and any trace of water that remains. Lubricate lightly–I have found that Mobil 1 10w30 synthetic motor oil makes a very good firearms oil–and reassemble.

        I note also that as the gun starts to get really dirty after two to three thousand rounds a drop of oil applied to the extractor slot on the bolt before shooting helps reliability, but if you keep shooting eventually the carbon builds up to the point where it interferes with the travel of the firing pin and the motion of the extractor. You start getting duds and extraction problems. Then it’s time to break out the pie pan and engine degreasing foam again. There’s no way around it, alas. Unlike an oven it has no self-cleaning setting.

      2. All I’m going to say is I’ve seen a professional gunsmith take 45 minutes to reassemble a Ruger 22/45. I love that pistol, but reassembly is a beyotch.

  8. Your daughters sound like two of mine. They enjoy the rifles but love my 1911. I picked them up a Rock Island 22tcm/45 that they love and my youngest the 15 year old informed I needed two of them because they both need one.

    1. Oh and my oldest is also a bit of a recoil junky. She’s 17 and maybe weighs 110 soaking wet but her all time favorite pistol she’s ever shot was a buddy’s S&W 460.

        1. Paint it pink, maybe name it Trixie?

          Hey Larry!
          If John Ringo is doing MHI stories, any plans to return the favor with Graveyard Skies?

    2. A 1911 is a far more practical gift than shoes, clothing, music, or a phone that will be out of fashion long before the “new” is off the gun…

  9. Fortunately it does come back. Shooting is a perishable skill, but at least its easy to knock the rust off. I’ve always been an avid shooter but when I got back from deployment (and retired) I didn’t keep it up much for about two years. Also, bouncing around in a Bradley for 14 straight months didn’t exactly afford a lot of dedicated range time for side arms, or that never to be sufficiently damned M4.

    I felt like I was going to literally trip over my own two feet and AD myself the fist time I “walked” a transition line. I still work and shoot on payday weekends. Not at the competition level I once was as a patrol officer (Retired from that too) but still a fair enough hand to keep the squirrels terrified, and out of my damn yard!

    Good shooting to you and yours Larry

  10. I’ve been playing with a couple of Para P-16s I had converted to 10mm all summer. Lot of fun, but every other week or so I mutter “Why did I do this again?”

    Good call on not showing your kid’s faces or posting their names. This has always bothered me that other authors don’t. The only way to even try to defend against crazy is to be.proactive.

  11. Re: Girls liking recoil

    It’s been my experience that girls are very much aware that they’re never going to physically catch up with guys, and being able to control and direct the largest of guns into controlled destruction enough to overcome any of them is a very, very comforting thing.

    Besides, once you learn to ride the recoil, you can shoot darn near anything liftable. I practice a lot with my siaga-12 one handed. I just let it buck and put it back, sort of like an extremely slow motion Owen popping 4 ghouls and a vampire.

    1. You’re probably already aware of it, but recoil sensitivity doesn’t follow any logical pattern.

      My wife won’t shoot the Security Six, even with very mild .38 reloads, because “it kicks too hard.” She’ll shoot the .44 Desert Eagle until the ammo is gone or it gets dark, whichever comes first. Despite her small hands barely hanging on to the giant DE grip, and bystanders betting on whether the front sight is going to gouge her forehead on recoil. She thinks the 1911 is okay, but .45 ACP is sort of wimpy.

      On the other hand, when I started putting a new .460 Rowland 1911 together out of parts, she paid the difference between a regular slide and the long slide because she thought the long slide looked better.

    1. My hubby has asked me for permission to stay out late some nights to get in some practice range time so he can do his round two Cross Rifles test (He already has the badge, but he has to re-test to keep it for good.) I told him that he better get re-certified for his Cross Rifles patch or I shall be an unhappy little missus. My only regret is that I can’t go (it’s on base.)

  12. Larry (and others) — how old were your kids when you started them shooting? And what did you start them out with?

    1. I don’t know about the others, but my father started me with an airsoft rifle / BB rifle thing when I was three years old. The gap between then and my picking up a firearm again was about 30 years but I didn’t do too badly.

    2. Depends on the kid, but highly supervised, me pretty holding onto their arms, 5-6. From then on it just depends on the kid’s maturity. By the time my oldest was 10 she’d shot quite a bit, knew the safety rules, and was a decent shot, but that was when I was burned out from doing it professionally so I wasn’t giving her as much instruction, help, and time as I should have. So a lot of it is just giving them the time and ammo to get confident.

      1. I just started my grandson with a Savage Rascal. He’s worked his way up to shooting the Sunday Rimfire Rifle match and just beat his first adult. Grandpa was so proud.

  13. Man, Larry, I am jealous of that hardware. Sounds like a fun day at the range.

    Seriously good to read that Mr. Kupari made it okay.

    *grin* I used to raid my Dad’s closet for his work shirts as a teenager (“I think I recognize that shirt…”) so as a daughter, I think erm… permanently borrowing… Daddy’s shiny things is an expression of daughterly attachment to Daddy.

    (psst, Correia 2.1, I just gave my Dad my most brilliant smile, and told him I love my Daddy. My dad gave my mom this resigned expression and amused sigh.)

  14. Larry this all looks like huge amounts of fun. If you’re still interested here in October I would love to get you some time with some guns made up here in the land of the ice and snow. I know I already promised you time with the Bobergs, but I’ll definitely be seeing about getting you time with some JP Enterpeises as well.

    1. I’ve got my flight times so I just need to figure out how much free time I’ve got while I’m there.

    2. Have you put up a review of your Bobergs anywhere? A friend of mine has been dithering about buying one, but it would have to be sight unseen since none of his local shops has one to fondle.

  15. Looks like fun. Currently learning long range shooting from a former Marine sniper. On good shots he yells “OUT F^%$&ING STANDING” on bad he yells “BULL F^%$&ING S&^%T” which apparently is Marine for “Hit” and “Miss.” .308 DOES get plenty of expensive.

    1. Have you considered reloading? It’s labor-expensive and the components aren’t always widely available, but in .308 it is hard to do better than the 168gr Sierra MatchKing bullet, which has been setting records for almost sixty years. The short list of propellants that people generally seem to find work will in most .308 rifles with that bullet is IMR4064, Alliant Reloder 15, Ramshot TAC, and Hodgdon Varget. If you can find some old, pre-1997 Accurate Arms 2520, that was also very good stuff, back when every batch was made in the same plant by IMI in Israel. Federal Large Rifle Match and Large Rifle Magnum Match primers are pretty popular for this kind of thing.

      1. I used to reload a lot. The main reason I don’t do it now is time. Though if the kids keep going like this I can always put them to work.

        1. Something that gnifty is probably illegal here in the People’s Republic of California. But a gal can dream.

  16. Let my 3-year-old fire a few thousand rounds from a Ma Deuce last night. It was his first time with a gun, kid just keeps firing till it overheats. Fortunately ammo is cheap in Kyrat.

    1. Gloves, hats, and shoes are a pain in the ass for me to buy. Which makes it extra funny when some prog spouts off with the typical line about how I only have guns to compensate for a tiny penis. 😀

  17. This question is coming from a gun-hating commie pinko liberal, so feel free to laugh, but still:

    If I’m shooting skeet with a shotgun, is it better to keep one eye closed, or both eyes open ? My shotgun accuracy is somehow inexplicably terrible, and I’d like to improve, but every time I ask a gun range instructor this question, I get a different answer.

    Oddly enough, I am much more accurate with a pistol — which is weird, since pistols aren’t even cone-effect weapons…

  18. Why is it that whenever I see a post where you mention your children, you only mention them in the context of their relationship with firearms?

    1. Because I try really hard not to give out much information about my kids online. I’ve got too many crazy enemies. Most anything I’d say about them would only spur the haters on, but I figure letting it be known that they can shoot people is good info to put out there. 🙂

  19. Woo Hoo! Next time you’re in Southern Utah bring your stuff and come out to the SUPS range and shoot with us. We’ll set up some stuff and shoot some steel and have an absolute ball. Bring the kids and make a family day of it! USPSA first and third weekends and multi gun second and fourth weekends if you get the itch.

    1. That depends entirely on you. Does your $600 Glock really shoot six times better than a High Point? Is it twice as good as a Ruger? No? But you still feel it is better? Well, then I guess we pay more for incremental increases now, don’t we? 🙂

  20. Well this seems like the appropriate time for a gun question: I’m looking to acquire my first gun later this year, and I’m leaning strongly towards a pistol. Recommendations?

    I’ve shot a number of times, but I’m not super familiar with firearms for what it’s worth.

    1. Okay. What do you intend to do with it? Training? Plinking? Home defense? Give us a purpose and maybe we can make specific recommendations. Thanks.

    2. My most basic bit of starter advice is a Glock 19 and a good class.
      Then, you shoot it a lot.
      Next, start shooting in some sort of competitions.
      After a while, you will have a good baseline for what to look for in other guns.

      And why a Glock 19 9mm? It’s a common gun, not too expensive, not too esoteric, not too complicated. You can get parts & accessories at pretty much every gunshop around. It’s not so big that it’s hard to carry, not so small that it’s hard to shoot. And, it’s pretty much a “disposable” gun.

      And please note- I’m a Beretta 92D fanboi.

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