Monday was the day things went bang. Firearms, basic and advanced. We began with safety instruction and refresher by the lovely Lynda, emphasizing three basic rules: (1) Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, (2) Finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, and (3) keep ammunition separated from weapons until you are at the firing line with the range hot. We were instructed in how to check and clear weapons.
A walk down to the range and instruction in range safety protocols followed, including basics like safe direction and continuing to range commands Then Lynda took the Basic Firearms people off for more classroom instruction and the Advanced class (Marcus, Scott Kennedy, a gentleman named John Guest who I know and like from SF fandom, and myself) went off to the range to have fun shooting stuff.
My first gun of the day was a CZ-52, a Czech-made semiautomatic firing 7.62mm ammo. Pleasant enough, but what I really liked was the CZ Rami. Same maker, but firing .40S&W; short frame, relatively heavy, and with a ride (recoil quality) a lot like the short-barrel .45ACP semis I favor. It was instant comfort zone.
I also got to fire a Heckler & Koch CETME (G3) Battle Rifle. This is a semiautomatic assault rifle firing 7.62 rifle. Sal had done a trigger job on his that made the pull lighter than the recoil, so if you don’t ride the recoil just right you tend to get automatic fire in 2-to-4-shot bursts.
The challenge with this particular gun, therefore, is to get off just one shot, which I actually managed on my third try. Thank you, exceptional upper-body strength; one of its uses is for handling recoil gracefully.
After lunch we did fire and tactical-movement exercises in the woods with paintball guns. The mission was to double-tap every tree between approximately 4 and approximately 8 inches in diameter; this made target selection nontrivial. We did the exercise in pairs; twice in close formation with one shooter covering right and the other left, twice with ten-foot separation and each shooter covering a 90-degree frontal arc.
About three minutes into the first run I dropped into a hyperesthetic flow state. My senses became extra acute and clear, and I dropped into a repeating loop of track-fire, track-fire, track-fire with almost no conscious thought involved at all. This probably will not surprise anyone familiar with such states: I don’t think I wasted more than three rounds out of probably 50 or 60 paintballs I fired in the whole run.
My next three runs weren’t quite as sweet; I didn’t achieve continuous flow again and my accuracy dropped accordingly. Still, I was doing pretty well; point-shooting rapidly and with precision. Couldn’t do more than a walking pace, though, and had to stop and settle the few times I used the sights for a long-range target. I suck at rapid movement in rough country at the best of times, and if I had even tried it would have soaked up too much processing time that I needed for shooting.
I haven’t described a lot of incidents in this report, but it was a long, hot, effortful day. The end-of-day tourney got changed from the original format because the instructors detected that most of the campers were fairly exhausted. We did four runs of a VIP Escort scenario: One team has a non-fighting principal they most protect, the other team can win by touching the principal with a weapon. The escort team wins by moving the VIP through some number of rally points without his getting tagged.
Rob Landley played the principal in the first three runs. I was on his escort team for the first two, in which the attackers defeated us by using glaives and run-and-gun tactics. I dropped out, exhausted, after that; Lynda-the-instructor told us a few minutes later that all the instructors were pretty much expecting things to wrap up early as most of the attendees elected to recoup their scattered forces.
I’ve seen this happen on the night of Day Three in previous Sword Camps; it seems to be a natural pause point in the seven-day schedule. Tomorrow is Tactics Day; that should be interesting.