I haven’t written here in quite some time. I decided it was time I archived the site.
Nerd Alert: I’m converting the WordPress site to a static HTML site. The posts will remain for reference but they are no longer open for comments. The search boxes no longer work. And if you pull up a category of articles, that page won't display pictures. Just drill down to the specific article and they will reappear. I no longer need to worry about Wordpress maintenance and that is worth a few tradeoffs.
If/when I have the time to write again, I’ll remove this update and do just that.
If you’d like to reach me, my new email address is the name of this blog (with no spaces) at gmail.com.
When filing an insurance claim, be your own advocate
I wasn’t impressed with the agent that handled my insurance claim. I asked several times for an explanation of the coverage and the claim process. I got vague answers. So I pulled out my policy and started reading. It’s important to know if you are covered for RCV or ACV.. Generally speaking, the replacement cash value (RCV) refers to the amount an entity would pay to replace an asset. The actual cash value (ACV), on the other hand, is the cost to replace an item, less depreciation and is a lower amount. My policy stated RCV. I hate to admit that I didn’t know what type of coverage I had until I needed to make a claim.
I made an extensive list of what was taken. When I delivered that to the agent he told me that he’d give me a check for the ACV amount and as I replaced items and provided receipts for items purchased, they would refund the difference. I called his bluff and told him that if he wanted me to send him 100+ receipts over the course of the upcoming months, a few at a time, I could certainly do that. I asked how, exactly, they would determine the ACV amount? After pushing a bit more, the agent told me they typically wait until a few items are replaced, to ensure the money is being used for actual replacement, then they send a check fort he balance of the claim. Since I pushed, He said he’d send me a check for the entire amount of the claim because “he’d never seen a claim submitted that had as much detail” as I provided.It pays to be thorough.
Online shopping provides proof of purchase for past years
I took up shooting in 2012. Most online sellers will provide older invoices if you make the request. I reached out to Freedom Munnitions about ammo purchases as I couldn’t retrieve older invoices from their website due to a change in their software.They were quick to provide the receipt requested.
For the vast majority of the non-gun items in my claim, I just started looking through my purchase history on Amazon and it was a nice reminder of what I’d bought and what to check to see if it was gone. It was easy to do this on eBay as well. For specialty items such as holsters bought from local vendors, I had email confirmation of purchases with prices.
As for the guns and magazines stolen? I gave a list of the items to a sales associate at TSA and asked for a quote after explaining why. They were very helpful and that saved much time in gathering information on current costs.
I tossed all of this in an EXCEL spreadsheet with links to the source of purchase proof if I had that and a link to purchase a replacement and the cost.
The 2nd benefit to this approach was once I had a check from the insurance company, I was able to shop quickly to make replacements.
The good and the bad: new purchase options! Items no longer available 🙁
When you start to replace stolen items, you’ll find some things just are no longer available. I had a Kershaw knife that I really liked. It had been discontinued. I found a “blemished’ version for sale on eBay for more than I paid originally. I bought it anyway. The spring wasn’t working right but I lucked out as the local dealer offered to fix that for me at no charge since she no longer had the knife in stock and I had purchased the original from her. I really appreciated what she did for me. After such a bad experience, this was a bright spot in the rebuilding process.
The fun began when I found that my UpLula, which before only came in black, now was available in a variety of colors! I opted for bright yellow to make it easier to find in my range bag. That was also a positive discovery during this experience.
When shopping for guns, call and compare prices. If you are willing to buy used, ask what is in stock. My #1 priority to replace was my competition gun. When I started calling shops it seemed that every shop I called had a lower price. I found a stellar deal on my first M&P Pro ($425 used). I didn’t find as low a price as I originally paid, but I didn’t have to drive nearly as far this time and I still found a reasonable deal on a replacement pistol.
The Apex Trigger I put in my last M&P Pro was now available in purple! I wasn’t interested in a red trigger, because it’s the color of blood and I just don’t want that reminder around my guns. But I was one of the first to buy the purple! I saw it “back ordered” on the Brownell’s site and called Apex to see how long it would be until they shipped. The woman I spoke too said it was so new they hadn’t yet posted it on their own site but they’d be shipping within two weeks. So another upside to all this trauma, is the really cool looking purple trigger in my replacement M&P Pro. I’ll provide before & after pictures in the next blog post.
Other tasks: Replace all the lost Range Cards
I kept my range cards in my Range bag. It was a nice set of memories. Anytime I visited a new range and need to get a card to shoot at the location, it went in the bag. They were all taken, of course. So I made visits to the Wake County Range and to TSA to get replacements. Both locations made the process fairly easy.
The emotional cost
I’m still struggling with the fact that being a firearms enthusiast made me a target for thieves. It tarnished the feeling of empowerment with a dose of victimization. But mostly I hate the fact that this experience made me question that someone I call friend did this to me. The police asked repeatedly if I suspected who did this? I had no idea, but it made me question all of my friendships, if briefly. They asked who knew I was out of town? All my co-workers as well as several friends.
I’ll never know the who or the why. I calmed down and made changes to my home security. But I really do resent the fact that someone made me doubt those I care for most.
Just over a year ago (September 2016), my home was burglarized. I went to Chicago for two days on business. I arrived home after 10 pm. I was tired and just wanted to drop my luggage and sleep. I came in the front door and immediately noticed that the house wasn’t the way I left it. You just know. At first I thought someone was playing a prank, because nothing seemed to be missing on the first floor. Then I noticed the back door was cracked open. And I got scared.I didn’t get to sleep until hours later.
I’m not going to described the process of discovery, fear, sadness and grief that followed. It’s like picking at a wound that hasn’t ever quite healed. What I do want to do is share some things I learned in the aftermath. And yes, I have taken safety precautions in case the thief decides to return..
Police deal with the theft of guns seriously, but not urgently.
I called the police and an officer and arrived to assess the situation. He called in CSI and she dusted for fingerprints. She was kind enough to tell me how to best clean the mess she was making. My prints are on file due to my concealed carry permit, so in theory they could rule out my prints and ask me about any other prints found. They never did and to be honest, I’m not sure they ever processed the prints they took. When I asked, I was told there was a back log for processing.
The only information the police officer wanted the night I reported the theft was the serial numbers of the firearms taken. They were in a spreadsheet on my laptop. That was also taken. I did have data backups but no computer to use to pull the data until the next day at work. The police report listed 23 items stolen: laptop, guns, knives, pistol magazines, holsters, custom shooting lenses, and ammo. Lots of ammo. The police were not interested in a complete list. They wanted items with serial numbers and that were related to weapons. In contrast, the claim I submitted to my insurance company listed 149 entries.
The guns are probably in New York
The police told me that there appeared to be a gun pipeline up I-95 to New York. The last few guns they had recovered were all found there.
Nothing was recovered
The detective that took my case called with additional questions. He and another officer came to my house a few days later to examine the route of entry and a quick walk through to see where items were taken. There was on follow up call to ask questions to attempt to link this to like crimes, but there didn’t seem to be a link. He asked if I shot at Triangle Shooting Academy? Yes, I did. Then he wanted to know if I have gun decal or stickers on my car. In that case the answer was a firm no. That ended that line of investigation.
The detective called after 90 days as a final follow up to ask if I’d recovered anything. He marked the case as inactive at that point.
I asked several times if they felt there was any chance my items would be recovered. I honestly wanted to hear, “Not really, You should plan on not seeing any things that was taken again.” It would have helped get to closure faster. Instead, I heard, “we just do not know, It’s possible.” which is true but wasn’t really helpful to me. It’s been over a year. At this time, nothing has been recovered.
Save brass casings, label them, and save them separately from your guns.
The CSI asked if I had brass casings that could be associated with the stolen guns. It turns out they have a voluntary program to collect casings shot from stolen firearms. They use the casings to track / determine if the stolen weapons are used in other crimes. I had never heard of this program. I did have quite a few casings but they were all mixed together with other brass I collected at various ranges, so even if I wanted to provide casings, I couldn’t. The brass casings that came with the guns I bought were in the carry cases with the firearms and were also stolen.
Any safe is better than no safe.
I had a loaded gun in a small safe by my bed. The safe was bolted down.
I know they saw the safe because they snatched two loaded magazines and a tactical flashlight that was next to the safe. I didn’t check it until the police officer arrived. I asked him if I could open the safe and disclosed what was in it.. He told me to open it up and it was just as I’d left it. The safe: Gunvault GV1000S Mini Vault Standard Gun Safe for $99.
If you own enough ammo, the thieves can’t carry it all
I had recently placed a large order for ammunition. When I find a good price I stock up. I had stacks of boxes filled with 9mm rounds. I had also been camping the weekend before and after returning from that trip, left a large black duffel bag sitting out in the room with the ammo. The duffel bag was gone and I’m sure they loaded it with as much ammo as they could carry along with everything else that was missing. But I still had some boxes boxes left. Can I just say I hope the weight of the ammo they snatched caused injuries as they attempted to carry it away. And I’m guessing the Lands End duffel carried it all with no problems. It was bomb proof and I really miss it.
The next post discusses the insurance claim, replacement & aftermath.
Making friend is easier when you are willing to help others learn. — Shooter’s Like Us night at the Wake County Range — April 2016.
When I started shooting it was a solo pursuit. I didn’t think I knew anyone I could ask to teach me and then, once I got started, I had trouble finding other shooters I could share this new passion with. Why does that matter? Because making friends who shoot will give you access to a wide range of personal experience, encouragement and support in your pursuit of firearms skills and safety.
I got lucky. When I showed up to my NRA First Steps Pistol class, one of the instructors was an old friend I’d lost track of from over a decade ago. Neither of us were shooters before. She let me shoot some of her guns and helped me select my first pistol to purchase. That was a S&W 22A chambered in .22LR.
She made me aware of a Ladies Handgun group that met once a month. That seems to be unique to women, as I haven’t heard of a support group for men in shooting, but it was a great resource for me. They helped me select my first 9mm handgun: an XDS by Springfield Armory.
I since sold both of these guns, but they were good starting options.
I began networking with people I already knew as I became passionate about shooting. I wasn’t shy about sharing my new interest. After dozens of conversations with gun friendly people, I realized that many firearms enthusiasts don’t actually shoot that often. They have knowledge from the past, or they collect firearms, but due to lack of time or money, they didn’t actually shoot that often.
I wanted to go to the range 2-4 times a month as I was building my skills. I voiced my frustration about people who said they liked to shoot, but didn’t seem to make it to a range. One of my friends who was in that category suggested I talk with a mutual acquaintance I wasn’t aware was a shooter. BINGO! I found a fellow fanatic who talked me into taking classes and then to shoot our first competitive match together. I can’t thank him enough. So keep networking patiently and consistently. It pays off.
Shooting handgun competitions made shooting even more fun for me. And it made me much safer as a shooter. I found shooting a single target in a lane at a shooting range became very tame.
One of the folks I met locally posted this to Facebook and I agree wholeheartedly: “Remember, a shooting match is just a social event occasionally interrupted by gunfire.” I don’t place well in matches, but I consider it a good day to shoot with friends.
It’s great to have access to first hand opinions about other equipment, be able to ask for references on where to buy a gun or find a good gunsmith, and even have friends that can lend you equipment if you have equipment failures. I have one friend that has installed aftermarket triggers for me. In return I’ve helped him clear brush from his private range. Even though shooting can be a rewarding solo experience, I have found having friends in the sport to be very beneficial.
So here are a few tips on making friends in the competitive shooting sports:
Expect people to be a bit cautious. They need to see that you are safe with firearms.
Look for folks that are looking to make a similar time investment. If you are a once a week shooter, you will annoy someone that wants to shoot a few times a year.
Not all shooters are into what you are into: there are many niches in the shooting sports. Respect the differences and look for other shooters that share your particular passion.
If you join a club, they need to see that you will keep showing up before they invest in you. So keep showing up.
If you are interested in an event or competition, volunteer. Then show up as promised and fulfill your volunteer commitments. That is probably the #1 way to get to know people.
Once you make one friend, that person will introduce you to others. Before you know it, you have access to the knowledge and experience of many.
2017 Carolina Cup / Sadie taking a break during the match
All photos courtesy of Parrish Brian. The camera got soaked in the rain so the images suffered a bit, but the full set for the 2017 Carolina Cup can be found here on Facebook.
To read the first part of the article, go back to Part 1.
I started a new job about a month before this match. I had not been shooting as I was focused on coming up to speed at the new job. I had one floating holiday I could use for time off as I hadn’t earned any vacation days. So I didn’t shoot the match. I volunteered instead. The volunteers who do shoot the match do so prior to the match. This year that was on Thursday. The big smile in the photo above shows that I think any day on a range is a good one, even if you are not shooting.
This match is scored on paper. It’s a two part form so a copy can go to the shooter as soon as the stage is scored. The challenge is to remember NOT to keep the current score card at the top of the stack. If you do, the writing will go through at least 2 other scores card carbons. Ask me how I know…. It also is a challenge to keep them dry when running shooters in the rain. An umbrella works OK but it’s hard to juggle a clip board and an umbrella and paste targets. You can read scores just fine on damp score cards though so it works well enough.
We ran Stage 9 and Stage 10 in Bay 5. We had more squads come through Friday than Saturday. I believe their were 12 squads total for the match. I think the largest was 8-10 shooters and the smallest we saw was 4 shooters.
If you’d like to see a shooter bang out our stages, Ben Berry started on our bay and you can see both at the beginning of his match video. He shot Stage 10 first (the bread truck stage) and Stage 9 next (the standards stage). Rusty is calling the commands for both stages in this video of the entire match.
Stage 9 was a standards stage. There were 3 targets and the instructions were straightforward. The stage was limited. That means the shooter could not take any make up shots, only the exact number of shots required by the stage was acceptable. Start from the back shooting line. Shoot 2 shots on each of 3 targets. Reload. Again shoot 2 shots on each of 3 targets. The short version is “6 reload 6”. At this point, the shooter is instructed to reload and reholster their gun. Then we record the time for the first string of shots. The shooter moves forward to the next shooting line. Instructions are to shoot the same 3 targets but this time shoot one shot on each target strong hand, move the gun to your support hand and again shoot one shot on each target.After the shooter unloaded and showed clear we recorded the time for the second string. Then we scored the targets looking for 6 shots each.
And yes, there were a few shooters that didn’t follow the instructions. Any extra shots resulted in a procedural penalty. Then when scoring the target, we pasted over one of the best shots and scored the rest. Any shots taken with the wrong hand on the second string resulted in a procedural penalty. What was the most procedural penalties we gave?
On Saturday, Frank brought a score sheet back with 7 procedural penalties that was shot on Friday. it was my handwriting. He wanted to know if the “7” was correct. . I told him, “Oh yes, I remember that run. Once the shooter finished shooting, he just started laughing because he realized how badly he’s messed up.”
I walked Frank through the penalties: The shooter took a make up shot on string 1. That was the first penalty. Then the shooter shot all 6 shots strong hand on string two. There were 3 penalties for taking the second shot strong hand and 3 penalties for taking no shots with the support hand. I had two shooters do this. But that made a grand total of 7 penalties for one of our shooters. Frank shook his head, grinned in sympathy, and headed back to the office. He wanted verification and I provided it.
2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 5 / Stage 10 Bread truck in the background
Stage 10 was shot inside a bread truck. There were 8 targets total. Two shots each. Instructions were: Start standing beside the driver’s seat facing out the driver’s door. Shoot one target straight ahead (obscured by a junk car). Turn and shoot two targets out the back of the truck behind a short hill. Move forward and slice the pie out the side window of the truck with two targets – each shot through the windows of junk cars. Move forward and shoot two targets directly behind the van flat on the ground and finally, turn left to shoot the last target far to the left of the back of the van. At this point any desired makeup shots could be taken.
Only one shooter shot this stage clean the entire match. It was challenging.
We had a wide variety of shooters: old, young, in jeans, in tactical gear, in shorts, in dull colors, in bright colors, with very short hair, with long hair & long beards, men & women. Only one of the shooters that passed through our stage seemed to be unaware of IDPA rules and wanted to argue about them. Otherwise we found the shooters to be safe and courteous. Since I didn’t work stats I don’t know the total number of shooters this year but I think it was 100 -150 shooters total.
Our oldest shooter was 83. He was not fast but he was very accurate. I hope I’m still shooting at 83!
2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 5 / Waiting for shooters and enjoying the sun
My right foot and left knee were really hurting by the end of the day Friday. You spend a lot of time on your feet running a stage. I spent Friday night on the couch and that was all I needed to recharge. Saturday wasn’t as demanding because but we had more breaks and fewer shooters. We were done running shooters in our bay by 2:30 pm Saturday. Based on our experience with the rain the day before, we broke down the bay while it was dry and had everything packed away prior to the massive rain storm late Saturday.
This year there were only a few minor injuries. No ambulances were called.
The awards ceremony was preceded by dinner with excellent BBQ pig right off the grill. It’s a Carolina Cup Tradition. You can smell that pig cooking all Saturday afternoon.
After the awards ceremony Frank announced this was the 18th Carolina Cup and it would be the last that he would host. That made the experience a bit bittersweet but I was extra glad I made the effort to participate.
There were a few rumors that there would be another Cup, possibly hosted by someone new. It’s as much a family reunion as it is a shooting match and I know many folks want to continue to return for that reason. Frank & Paula may be up for attending rather than hosting in the future.Time will tell.
2017 Carolina Cup / Sadie & Rusty waiting for BBQ before the awards ceremony.
Frank & Paula Glover: Welcome to the 2017 Carolina Cup! All Photos by Parrish Brian.
All photos courtesy of Parrish Brian. The camera got soaked in the rain so the images suffered a bit, but the full set for the 2017 Carolina Cup can be found here on Facebook.
After several years of volunteering for the Carolina Cup at The Range in Oxford, North Carolina by working on the stats team (data entry for scoring), Frank asked me to work as a Safely Officer on one of the bays for the 2017 Carolina Cup. I started running scoring at various local matches and I felt comfortable with that. I agreed to work the Cup also because the leader of the group I would be working with is one of the safest shooters I know.
I worked Bay 5 with 3 other safety officers. Our Team: Rusty, Hal, David and Sadie. We also had an additional volunteer, Joe, for part of Saturday. Rusty was the team lead and my primary point of contact for planning. Instructions were fairly simple: he told me what time to show up. The rest was inferred: Plan for sun or rain. Come with everything you’d bring to a match except your shooting gear. Turns out that water proof boots were a plus. My feet stayed dry.
I opted not to run shooters but I ran scores (recorded times and points down) and pasted targets. The shooters don’t have to paste targets at the Carolina Cup, the Range Safety Officers running the bay take care of that. If you are the score keeper you also call the shooting order. And call it again every time you have a new shooter:
Call the shooter,
Call who is on deck,
Call who is on the hole,
Call who is in the deep hole.
So a shooter should get a heads up about 3 shooters in advance of actually shooting.And they will get a reminder of their position as they move toward shooting.
I had a hacking cough for at least 10 days prior to the match but I figured if I could go to work, I could work the Cup. My voice was a bit squeaky toward the end, but it held out.
We started at 7:30 am Friday and 7 am Saturday. I live an hour away so these were early mornings for me. I always make time for breakfast. I took my first and only vacation day at a new job to work the match. Why did we start earlier on Saturday? That is the morning for the traditional photo of all volunteers in the event t-shirt. This year we were all in Royal Blue. You can see it on Facebook here.
The match had a total of 14 stages, two stages per bay over 7 bays. No stages were shot across the road in the trees this year. Each had unique challenges. Frank is known for offering the unexpected. He didn’t disappoint. Since the match is no longer sanctioned and bound by IDPA rules, various bays offered challenges across a variety of pistol sports: zombie shooting, steel stages and traditional IDPA stages.
On Bay 5, our responsibility for the match, the match director supplied one canopy. One of the volunteers I worked with, Hal, supplied another (note the NCSU logo). These canopies provide shade in the sun and cover in the rain. They are critical for a good match experience. Hal also brought a cooler with water & ice too. There are a couple of volunteers who’s job it is to drive a Gator around to distribute water and pick up scores during the match, but it was very nice to have a cooler with drinks handy in the bay.
Carolina Cup 2017 / Bay 5 / Shooters sheltered from the rain.
As for weather, we saw it all. We ran shooters in a light rain on Friday morning. Then we ran shooters in the sauna that was created by hot sun burning off the rain in the afternoon. Due to the Friday morning rain, we also found every hole that was just waiting to become a puddle. One was so deep and was stepped in so many times we named it in honor of the first guy that fell in. “Hal’s Hole: deep enough to soak your cleats.”.
Running shooters in the rain is slow. We dropped clear plastic bags (dry cleaning bags?) over every target to keep it as dry as possible. Here is the adult part of this post: These are unofficially known as “target condoms”. Yes, I really wrote that. Here’s a photo that Parry took showing these babies in action.
2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 1 / “The Flood”
As you score the stage you must lift each plastic bag to apply a sticker over every hole. in the target. These are called target pasters. They are very difficult to use when they get damp, much less wet. It slows things down considerably. I tried also juggling an umbrella. The umbrella was to attempt to keep the score sheets and pasters dry – with limited effectiveness. We did the best we could do under the circumstances then appreciated the sun when if finally dried things out somewhat.
2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 5 / The dry version
On Saturday we lucked out and were only running shooters when it was dry. It rained at lunch and then in the late afternoon we had a serious downpour. Neither impacted our shooters. But Bay 1 essentially flooded with the Saturday afternoon downpour and they did still have shooters in process. The link above to show rain proofed targets also shows the flooded version of Bay 1.
I’m going to wrap up Part 1 of this post, but not before mentioning the highlight of the day Friday: lunch. We had the traditional southern offering of a bologna burger or a hot dog. I can get hot dogs many places, but I only get the opportunity for bologna burgers at the Cup. I figure I can indulge once a year. They have a food vendor onsite to handle the rush of hungry shooters at lunch both days.The selection is limited but the food is hot and the service is fast.
2017 Carolina Cup / Sadie in line for Friday lunch.
More on the match and my volunteer experience in Part 2.
I realized I was not getting notifications of comments when I had visitors to the blog. I got on the phone with my hosting company last night and got that sorted out. I appreciate all comments and I apologize for being slow to respond this spring. I should be much more responsive in the future.
I haven’t been shooting as much recently due to a change in employment. I was with my previous employer just shy of 8 years. I found shooting and explored shooting pistol matches all while working for that employer. My co-workers were gun friendly and I got to the point of taking that for granted. I haven’t opted to bring up the topic of guns with my new co-workers. Yet. That may be a future topic for the blog.
After an annual skin cancer check, I was told I have a Stage 1A Melanoma on my right forearm. It’s actually no big deal. A 30 minute procedure next week should clear out the cancer and no further treatment is required. They do advise more frequent full body skin cancer checks going forward. The recurrence rate appears to be 2-3% so extremely low.
I feel like I should be freaking out. Instead I’ll just publish this as a reminder that if you are going to be in the sun, use your sunscreen. I love to spend an afternoon on an outdoor range. I just need to add sunscreen to my list of other protective devices. So now the check list is: eyes, ears & skin.
I shot the Wake Action Pistol Match on March 20, 2017. The photo above is from a match 2 years ago. But it’s the same door we opened before shooting targets downrange last Monday.
I’d rather go shoot a match than practice on a “square range”(*) . Why? We deal with many situations and each and every time the range safety officer points out what safety issues will be cause for a disqualification.
In this case: You have a loaded gun in one hand. Don’t sweep your other hand or body with the muzzle of the gun when you reach to open the door. Never, never, never let the muzzle sweep any part of your body.
I don’t have a law enforcement or a military background. Where else would I get exposure to situations I’d never see at square range? At a local pistol competition! So I’ll start posting short descriptions of learning opportunities that reinforce safe gun handling skills as they occur.
(*)Square Range: a typical indoor shooting range where you pay for time to shoot in a lane at a single fixed target that can be set at various distances. You can’t move, or shoot multiple targets, or run a timer to get feedback on speed (if there are also other shooters). At some ranges you can draw from a holster but not all ranges allow this.