Penguicon 2012 Geeks With Guns

The party for Armed & Dangerous readers is still on for Friday night at Penguicon, and we have a new event – actually, the return of an old favorite: Geeks with Guns.

This year’s GWG is scheduled for 2:00PM on Friday the 27th; it will take place at the Firing Line range. We will be teaching basic firearms safety, handling, and pistol marksmanship; first-time shooters are welcome. Experienced shooters are also welcome and may be drafted as range officers and assistant instructors. Yes, I’ve done this before, and no, we’ve never had an injury – pistol shooting is statistically safer than golf.

Important: please mail guns@penguicon.org with your intention to attend. We need to give the range advance notice of roughly how many people will be showing. Two dozen is pretty typical.

Thanks to regular John D. Bell for organizing. John will be passing around the hat for a few bucks each to cover the range fees. Bring your own weapon if you have one, otherwise you can rent at the range or possibly borrow a friend’s. Newbs seeking instruction will be expected to buy their own ammunition.

42 thoughts on “Penguicon 2012 Geeks With Guns

  1. Well, as it turns out I will be at a training evolution after all. No surprise there really, the fun never stops. Damn the bad luck.

    But, its a worthy cause and I’d like to contribute, seems monetarily is the only way at this point. Would like to contribute for range fees and ammunition. Any way I can do that? Maybe your tip jar? Some other way?

  2. When you are guest at Windycon in the fall…there is a nice range in Addison, IL … the Article II range.

  3. >Maybe your tip jar?

    Yes, if you drop money in my tip jar I will pass it to the range-fee fund. And thanks, and I’m sorry you won’t be there; I had quite looked forward to meeting you.

  4. >When you are guest at Windycon in the fall…there is a nice range in Addison, IL … the Article II range.

    Yes, I believe a GWG is being organized there.

  5. Can you cite a source for the statement that pistol shooting is safer than golf? I’m not questioning the notion; I’m sure it’s true. I’d just like to be able to cite that source myself when refuting the nonsensical claims of hoplophobes.

  6. >Can you cite a source for the statement that pistol shooting is safer than golf?

    Here’s a representative news story with statistics from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Note that hunting is more dangerous than target shooting, but even so safer than any sports other than camping and billiards.

    The reason I mentioned golf is that serious injury or death by flying ball actually happens often enough to make that a more serious risk than being shot while target-shooting. I went searching with Google and was unable to find any instances at all of accidental shootings at ranges; Yahoo Answers reports than none of the people who answered can report even hearing of one in the last 40 years.

    I can report that in a lifetime of shooting with pistols and rifles I have seen only two sorts of minor accident – one fairly common, the other quite rare. The common kind is hot brass landing on you after being ejected from someone’s weapon; ladies, this is a good reason not to wear low-cut tops, because spent cartridges seem to be as attracted to your cleavage as the gentleman shooters are.

    The other thing you’ll see (rarely) is bullet ricochets – not as bad as it sounds because they tend to have had highly inelastic collisions with walls and backplates that soaked up most of the kv**2. My wife once got thwacked in the shoulder by what turned out to be a pancake-shaped blob of deformed lead bullet, but while she was understandably startled she was completely uninjured.

    The reason shooting-related injuries are so rare is the rigid safety culture. Which we’ll be teaching at Geeks With Guns.

  7. The common kind is hot brass landing on you after being ejected from someone’s weapon; ladies, this is a good reason not to wear low-cut tops…

    I was wearing a full-collared buttoned-up shirt. One of my 9mm empties bounced off the post that holds up the roof over the pistol firing line. It went down my shirt and left 3 distinct blisters in a row before it settled at my belt line. Most dangerous thing was that I might shoot myself trying to get my shirt off.

    Been shooting all my life and that is the first I ever realized just how *very* hot the spent cases are.

  8. RE: spent casings;

    These things are always a good lesson in the strange ways that the laws of probability sometimes demonstrate as. In our training exercises, we always leave the area “better than we found it” and this always involves fun with picking up shell casings. An element of some of this training is learning to count your shots automatically and sometimes verify with casing counts.

    Last year during combat pistol quals, I had a hell of time find one of my spent casings. Looked everywhere, no dice. Eventually found it in my left breast BDU blouse pocket. The strange thing is, I always leave those pockets buttoned or Velcroed shut. But there is a pen slot cut into the top of these pockets, and it is literally no wider than a standard pen. The 9mm casing had turned perfectly straight and fallen perfectly even to slide right through the pen slot. How’s that for probability? If this had happened yesterday, I’d be buying a lottery ticket today.

    So yeah, avoid the low cut tops, and be safe. Murphy is omnipresent, the bastard.

  9. Considering that the brass serves as a container for a very hot, fast fire, it’s not a surprise at all that it’s going to be quite hot when ejected.

    Anyone know what temperature smokeless powder burns at?

  10. RE: “I had quite looked forward to meeting you.”

    Aye sir, and I you. As well as some of these other characters around here ;-)

    I rarely read any blogs, opinion pieces, social media, and skip the mainstream news/pundit/talking head sites altogether. Wouldn’t read them even if I had the time. But this is one of half a dozen that I read as regularly as possible. I have learned much here, and have found pleasant exchange among like-minded individuals and intelligent debate amongst others. I enjoy and support your work and efforts and would have welcomed the opportunity to meet the man himself behind it. Perhaps next year, eh?

    As well, I have family in PA, and a two close comrades are from PA, one of whom has returned. Next time a find myself there, mayhap we can grab some coffee (as I understand that you don’t drink) or some such for a few minutes as a by-the-by.

  11. As well, I would have enjoyed meeting Mr. Maynard. Always pleasant to talk to a fellow small-craft pilot, though for myself, I enjoy flying helos more than planes – but I have a passion for both.

  12. Anyone know what temperature smokeless powder burns at?

    Regardless of the usual temperature of combustion at atmospheric pressure, the very fact that the reaction is contained in such a small chamber would dramatically raise the temperature at that point for an instant–PV=nRT and all.

  13. >mayhap we can grab some coffee (as I understand that you don’t drink) or some such for a few minutes as a by-the-by.

    That would be welcome.

  14. @esr:

    Thank you for publicizing this.

    @WCC:

    I also regret not being able to meet you in person. If you are ever in the Toledo area, please drop me an email ( jdb at systemsartisans dot com ), and perhaps we can get together F2F.

    @ALL_SHOOTERS:

    I just now have paid for 90 min. of pistol range time (only 8 lanes available, so we are going to have to double up) starting Friday the 27th at 2:00 PM. For those of you who have already emailed “guns@penguicon.org”, you will receive a blanket confirmation email with details; those with specific questions will also receive a personalized follow-up. Regrettably, since I have already received 16 specific confirmations, I am going to have to turn the rest of you away. :-{ Perhaps we need a bigger range next year?!

    Please direct all questions via “guns@penguicon.org”, and let’s not bother Eric and his blog.

    “Happiness Is A Warm Gun (Bang, Bang! Shoot, Shoot!)”

  15. WCC: I’d love to get some stick time in a helicopter. Unfortunately, that’s even more expensive these days than a fixed-wing trainer, even for an R22.

    I wish we’d have met three or four years ago, so I could take you for a ride in my Zodiac. I miss that airplane.

  16. Awesome event, BTW. Cheers to everyone involved.

    I was wearing a full-collared buttoned-up shirt. One of my 9mm empties bounced off the post that holds up the roof over the pistol firing line. It went down my shirt and left 3 distinct blisters in a row before it settled at my belt line. Most dangerous thing was that I might shoot myself trying to get my shirt off.

    I’ve only ever shot at an indoor range. I don’t tuck in my shirt- it’s easier to shoo out the casings that find their way in your collar (and I don’t have to worry about getting cold). For some reason this seems to happen to me regularly. I also am inclined to start wearing a hat, as casings in the hair cause a nasty smell. But the worst was when I had one get stuck between my eyebrow and the top of my glasses.

  17. The reason I mentioned golf is that serious injury or death by flying ball actually happens often enough to make that a more serious risk than being shot while target-shooting. I went searching with Google and was unable to find any instances at all of accidental shootings at ranges; Yahoo Answers reports than none of the people who answered can report even hearing of one in the last 40 years.

    I don’t want to scare anyone, but safety is IMPORTANT. Accidental shootings do happen at ranges, though they are rare. This made the rounds and caused quite a stir last year:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYvAx…&feature=feedu

    Yes, he really did shoot himself. He was training with a problematic holster that a large portion of the gun community considers to be a poor, unsafe design.

  18. John D. Bell, if I ever find myself in Toledo, or OH really, I will most assuredly look you up. I haven’t had much occasion to go to OH but have been to Dayton and foresee being there again, and I do find myself in West VA at times – certainly wouldn’t mind finding a reason to swing through OH. If fortune finds fit, I’ll email you next time I’m in that area.

  19. Aye, Jay Maynard, helo is a good deal of fun and it has been far too expensive to qual up. Yet someday, I shall have my own. And when I do, lets fly.

    I wish we had met as well. The irony is that I have been reading A&D since 2009, but until the last year or so I never commented. It just wasn’t something I did, and still don’t really do on most of what I read (just don’t have the patience for it, nor often the time), but find myself doing so more and more frequently. Well, at A&D anyway – its a different caliber of folk around here. Was always quiet, but maybe I’m getting talkative as I get older, I dunno.

    Anyway I wish I could have flown in your Zodiac. Very, very cool that you had one. By all accounts, a sweet little bird. Must have been fun acquiring her and getting her airworthy.

  20. @Jay Maynard “Considering that the brass serves as a container for a very hot, fast fire, it’s not a surprise at all that it’s going to be quite hot when ejected.”

    Yep. I suppose the fact that they are exposed to this intense heat only for a tiny fraction of a second begs a false notion they shouldn’t get all that hot. Plus they cool down so quickly … picking up the empties only a few moments later and they are barely warm.

  21. @Greg -

    Did you mean this video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYvAxLX6OzE

    Remembering that I am a shooting noob, it looks to me like he made a couple of critical errors – (1) solo on the range (no safety buddy); (2) practicing a ‘quick draw’ under live-fire circumstances without having adequately mastered the same “weapons cold”.

    Would our volunteer instructors / RSOs care to comment? karrde, WCC, HedgeMage, esr?

  22. not to reply to myself, but….

    I hadn’t watched the video to the end before I posted my last. The shooter went on to explain the control confusion problem he had with the “thumb drive holster” and his Kimber pistol. So maybe he had practiced that exercise enough, but I think I would have been leery of using that gun and holster combination, precisely because of the risk of “pushing the wrong button”.

    Still think he should have had a buddy on the range with him. Like SCUBA – never do it alone….

  23. esr on Friday, March 30 2012 at 12:05 pm said:
    > ladies, this is a good reason not to wear low-cut tops, because spent cartridges seem to be as attracted to your cleavage

    That happened to me once — not the cleavage, but did bounce off and landed on my arm. Hurt like heck. I always wear long sleeves now.

    Sorry I won’t be there. Maybe next time, maybe next time Geeks With Groove too. I know Eric is not a big drinker, but I bet it would have been fun to hit the bar with some of you guys. I think I owe WCC a case of beer. Can’t quite remember why, but he seemed to make a convincing case at the time. These army boys always seem to make a convincing case that you owe them a beer. I guess they learn that in basic training.

  24. Gawd I miss America.

    Hot brass catching on things (including getting caught between the frame of my glasses and my face) doesn’t really bother me all that much. I train in/for combat of various sorts, and if a little hot brass is going to throw me off then I’m probably not doing it right.

  25. >Hot brass catching on things (including getting caught between the frame of my glasses and my face)

    Aaagh. Been there, and that’s the worst way to catch one.

    Still and all, I love the smell of hot brass and gunpowder in the morning. It smells like…liberty.

  26. @ESR:
    >Still and all, I love the smell of hot brass and
    >gunpowder in the morning. It smells like…liberty.

    That or a coup.

  27. John Bell,

    I can’t see the video right now (workplace net doesn’t like streaming media).

    If the guy was using poorly-designed holsters, that is probably the problem. But I think you’re dead-on if he didn’t practice his draw with an unloaded weapon.

    Was he also doing it quick?

    All the advice I’ve seen is that “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast”. That is, practice slow, gain smoothness, and speed will come with practice.

    (I’m low on draw-and-fire practice myself…mostly because every range I’ve visited doesn’t allow such. However, I also consider myself a noob. Because I haven’t taken any classes with a pistol, nor done any competitions with one.)

  28. I always wear a ball cap when shooting, precisely to protect my face and collar from hot brass raining down from overhead. I suppose I ought to wear a full brim hat to protect the back of my neck as well, but I’ve only had impacts on my front so far. Note that if you’re doing it right, you always have glasses on at the range

  29. @karrde, RE: “All the advice I’ve seen is that “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast”. That is, practice slow, gain smoothness, and speed will come with practice. “

    That is absolutely 110% correct. I have had that mantra drilled into my head so many times it runs on auto-pilot. Given enough training, slow doesn’t remain slow (even though it seems that way in your head). That phrase also goes hand in hand with “first time every time.” And “NO F***ING SAFETY VIOLATIONS YOU A**HOLES!” Okay the last isn’t a training meme so much as something you hear that you wish you hadn’t. And you’re unlikely to hear too many times before you’re out.

  30. @Ian Argent, RE: “I always wear a ball cap when shooting, precisely to protect my face and collar from hot brass raining down from overhead. I suppose I ought to wear a full brim hat to protect the back of my neck as well, but I’ve only had impacts on my front so far.”

    A boonie hat is ideal for shooting and will provide all-round head cover. Shoot enough times and you will catch one down the back eventually.

    “Note that if you’re doing it right, you always have glasses on at the range”

    Both statements you made are sage advice.

  31. After learning to shoot safely and proficiently from a total geek perspective, I locked my 9mm Glock 17 up in storage for the duration. Shooting is fairly expensive, and I decided that it would be most cost-effective, and in more ways than one, to have a more experienced shooting partner long term –I’m very keen on the buddy system. That said, learning that particular skill set is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I’ll pick it up again, hopefully when some poor soul isn’t committing suicide at the local range. http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/03/28/2054757/investigators-say-final-report.html

  32. @John,

    I still feel like a newbie in the gun world, myself. At least, when I see videos of guys going through USPSA-shooting matches, or IDPA stages.

  33. Remembering that I am a shooting noob, it looks to me like he made a couple of critical errors – (1) solo on the range (no safety buddy); (2) practicing a ‘quick draw’ under live-fire circumstances without having adequately mastered the same “weapons cold”.

    I didn’t meant to drag everything off topic, that was just a video of an actual accidental shooting in a range setting that I could remember off the top of my head. It made the rounds in a big way on gun blogs/boards/discussion groups last year. The main problem was the holster he was using, which has a low opinion in much of the gun world.

    Anyway, my real point was that shooting sports in general are extremely safe (don’t have exact numbers, but I believe you are safer at the range than you are driving there) but that you NEED to follow, compulsively, certain safety rules. Those safety rules, and the serious way gun people follow them, is exactly why shooting sports are so safe. But the shooting sports become not so safe if you don’t follow them, if you get my point (nothing gets that across like watching some klutz shoot himself).

  34. Aye Jessica Boxer, convincing someone that they owe you a drink, or many, is a much sought-after and developed skill. And the training process begins early on. And its not much important as to WHY you owe me a case of beer, only that you do ;-)

    But, sharing is caring, and I’m a sharer, so you will have to help me drink it. And the more the merrier, so should this ever happen, I hope that as many of the folks here as possible will share in the libations.

  35. Hm. That makes two good uses for a boonie hat (the other is flying sailplanes; every picture of a sailplane pilot I’ve seen has them wearing one). I picked one up at the Yellowstone Park gift shop when I went through there last summer. Think I’ll hang onto it.

    One of the best IPSC shooters it’s ever been my pleasure to watch (not compete against; I fired the same courses as him a few times, but I’m as much competition for him as Windows Phone 7 is to an iPhone (how’s that for tying topics together, hmmm?)) had THINK SMOOTH prominently displayed on his range bag. I’ve always taken that to heart.

  36. @Jay Maynard
    > That brings up a thought: Perhaps next year for GwG we can organize
    > a beginner’s IPSC or IDPA shoot?

    Jay, that sounds like a lot of fun. I would guess that the two things it would depend upon would be [a] the ratio of shooting noobs to experienced gunners we have (I can’t imagine trying a competition when some of us are still trying to figure out which end of the thing is the handle, and which end is the business one), and [b] if we could find an appropriate range within a reasonable distance from the hotel.

    Since I’m going to volunteer to organize next Penguicon’s GwG also, I will be sure to keep it in mind.

  37. Shooting is fairly expensive, and I decided that it would be most cost-effective, and in more ways than one, to have a more experienced shooting partner long term –I’m very keen on the buddy system.

    1. Get your wife shooting.

    I’ve found that women will get involved, if other women are around, and it almost doesn’t matter what sport it is. Cowboy action shooting groups are very family friendly, so you’ll find many wives at the range, typically to the tune of 33% of the group; it’s the only consistently mixed group I’ve seen at any range. Second Amendment Sisters is an all women shooting group that actively encourages female participation, but they tend to only run out of one range in any given region, to concentrate their efforts, so you may have to travel quite a ways to find them.

    2. Join a group at your range.

    There are lots and lots of shooting groups at most ranges. Look at the newsletters, figure out their schedules, and just show up. Shooters are friendly and welcome new blood. At my old range, I ended up in the cowboy and IPSC groups, while at my new range, I’m doing cowboy and skeet.

    3. Learn how to reload.

    While it is a bit expensive initially, the long term costs are much lower. Besides reusing brass and shooting pure lead (much cheaper than jacketed ammo), it is common to reload lighter, which means less gunpowder. For example, shooting minors in IPSC is probably half the gunpowder as shooting majors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <pre lang="" line="" escaped="" highlight="">