Monthly Archives: November 2011

Richard Bogath – Jewish Marksman and Blogger

Blogger Richard Bogath runs the blog “Jews Don’t Shoot Guns” which describes itself as:

The realities of a Jewish shooting enthusiast having been told by other Jews that “We (Jews) don’t shoot guns”. Sharing experiences as well as reviewing and testing equipment related to shooting sports.

His recent posts describe his latest pursuit, NRA Bullseye competition. Check it out! (http://www.jewsdontshootguns.com/)

Norton Schwartz – Air Force General and Jewish Marksman

Wikipedia tell us that:

Norton Allan Schwartz (born December 14, 1951) is a United States Air Force general who is serving as the 19th Chief of Staff of the Air Force. He previously served as Commander, United States Transportation Command from September 2005 to August 2008. As Chief of Staff, he serves as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of nearly 700,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the general and other service chiefs function as military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and the President. He assumed his current assignment on August 12, 2008.

Schwartz grew up in Toms River, New Jersey, the son of a typewriter salesman. The first Jewish Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Schwartz was a member of the U.S. Air Force Academy Jewish choir before his 1973 graduation. In 2004 General Schwartz was awarded the Jewish Community Center’s Military Leadership Award. In accepting the award, General Schwartz said he was “proud to be identified as Jewish as well as an American military leader.”

That’s all well and good, but most important to this blog’s readers is the fact he earned the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon. The ribbon is awarded for proficiency with either a service rifle or handgun, but we don’t know which one in General Schwartz’s case. I do not see a bronze service star on his ribbon in the photo, which would indicate he earned the ribbon with both weapons. I suppose for now it will be a mystery that perhaps one our readers can shed some light on!

Thanks to reader Brad_in_MA for suggesting a profile of General Schwartz!

Great Post on Israel as Symbol of Inner Strength at Women of Caliber Blog

The Women of Caliber Blog describes itself as follows:

Women of Caliber is committed to empowering women physical and firearm self-defense, for women – by women. This education is in part through a proprietary shooting method which teaches accurate and competent execution, even in climatic scenarios. Women of Caliber also teaches the UT Concealed Firearm Permit Classes. Additionally, Women of Caliber is actively involved in Second Amendment rights and defending the Constitution of the United States.

The Women of Caliber Director of Training holds the most extensive NRA discipline certifications than any other female in the Western States.

Its administrator, Kellene Bishop, recently posted at length about the parallels she sees between women and Jews as historically oppressed, and the liberating effect that having the ability and will to defend yourself provides. She gives an extensive and educated description of the role firearms and other weapons played in the Jews’ ability to declare Israel’s independence. She also talks about her site’s logo and its symbolism. Her post is worth a read by clicking here.

Her post reminded me of an old post of I pic I made here

Jewish Marksman’s Links on Semi-Auto Failures

I’ve blogged before about my views on revolvers vs. semi-autos for civilian self-defense. I continue to be very much in the revolver camp, primarily because they are vastly more reliable than semi-autos. For typical self defense purposes, the greater capacity of semi-autos is a moot point.

Note, I’m not a semi-auto “hater.” I use them for sport. In fact, the sports I compete in allow for one do-over when a semi-auto jams. But I don’t rely on semi-autos for defense and I advise others to strongly consider revolvers.

It amazes me the amount of denial out there about semi-auto reliability. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had where someone insists their semi-auto has run perfectly for them. However, when I start a serious cross examination, the answer always changes to “oh yeah, well it did have a few failures to feed with a certain type of ammo, but that wasn’t the gun’s fault,” or “oh yeah, well I did have a few stove pipe jams but that was my fault not holding the gun properly,” or “oh yea, well I did have jams with older magazines but that was fixed when I put in new springs,” and so on.

Are revolvers perfectly reliable? No, but both by inherent design and the fact they’ve been around much longer, they are far more reliable. Whereas most of the time I suspect a semi-auto owner is not being truthful when telling me his gun has run through thousands of rounds without a hiccup, I will always give the revolver owner the benefit of the doubt.

I thought I might maintain an ongoing list of links to blog posts describing various reliability difficulties with semi-autos, which I will try to update occasionally:

  • 11/17/11 Blogger “Shelly Rae” of Gun Nuts Media describes magazine feeding problems causing malfunctions with her S&W M&P semi-auto pistol.
  • 11/17/11 Blogger Kelleen Bishop of Women of Caliber describes malfunctions with her semi-auto caused by underpowered ammunition.
  • 11/16/11 Blogger Aaron Spuler of the The Weapon Blog reports that while field testing a semi-auto Diamondback DB380, he experienced a high misfeed rate.
  • 12/03/11 Jewish Marksman’s Ar-15 rifle suffers a dud primer in the middle of an NRA High Power match. I suppose a bolt rifle is no better off, but the point is that occasional dud primers happen. With handguns, the revolver just needs its trigger pulled again, but the semi-auto needs its slide reset.

Justice Elena Kagan – Jewish Markswoman?

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, simply by virtue of being an Obama appointee, is generally presumed to be hostile towards Second Amendment gun rights. There may be some debate as to whether this is a fair portrayal. But in any case, we do know she has joined the ranks of Jewish shooters:

She recalled paying a courtesy call on Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) shortly after her nomination to the court by President Obama in May 2010. Risch asked her about gun rights, and remarked she may not realize how important the issue was to some Americans, especially in his home state.

She admitted never having owned or fired a gun before. “But I told the senator if I was fortunate enough to be confirmed, I would go hunting with Justice Scalia.”

And she has, joining her conservative colleague on an excursion to a Washington-area shooting range and on several hunting trips, until now never reported. Her host at the synagogue event was surprised.

“You’re Jewish,” deadpanned Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg.

“Yeah, but it turns out, it’s kind of fun,” said Kagan, laughing.

I think her comments suggest she has an open mind about guns serving a positive role in society, which is a good start.

Jewish Marksman’s Shooting Update

For those following my NRA High Power adventures, the past couple months have been boring on the surface, but big developments are hopefully brewing. My last two matches were roller coaster rides, both just barely squeaking by with Master scores. But I made a number of very significant changes (at least in my view) to my off hand and prone positions, and am starting to see the benefits of my experiments.

For standing off hand, I switched from using the magazine as a palm rest, and now hold the rifle more or less around the delta ring, with my thumb on the right side of the barrel and my fingers on the left. My left elbow rests on my rib cage instead of my hip. The position has proven much more stable. My scores don’t show it, because I’m still tweaking the exact position of my elbow and my NPA (natural point of aim) is not stable yet. However, the rifle settles very well and on the scatt I am getting much longer holds in the 10 ring. The problem in matches has been that I get a little too aggressive and pull the trigger on any halfway decent stable sight picture. I definitely have the hold now where I can reject the shot, adjust my NPA and try again. In practice I am routinely getting 95-98 on the scatt. Soon things should come together in a match.

In prone, I finally figured out how to get the rifle out of my palm and more onto the fat of my thumb, which really lets me straighten my hand out more as well. This has really improved circulation in my support hand, so that now it doesn’t fall asleep as quickly, sometimes going the whole 20 minutes with no circulation problems. My slow prone is good with this.

I’m dealing with a minor issue where my rapid prone zero moves down mid-string, I think I don’t keep a consistent cheek weld shot-to-shot and am probably not seeing the sights right. So my first shot or two will be an X, and then the shots will form a knot at the bottom of the 9-ring. Either that, or I am not getting the same cheek weld after the reload. Either way, an easy problem to fix with a little practice and trying to be conscious of it.

So I made Master this year, but its looking like a few things need to be tweaked before I’ll make High Master. I am hoping by April I’ll have done it. I have 3 other rifles waiting for me to shoot (one being the Garand!), but I just can’t bring myself to put down the AR-15 until I get that High Master card!

Rabbi Judah HaChassid – Scholar and Marksman

He lived between 1150-1217, and wrote “Sefer Hachasidim,” the Book of the Pious. According to Chabad:

“Sefer Hachasidim,” the Book of the Pious, is undoubtedly a most valuable contribution to Jewish religious literature of all times. It was not only the most popular and widely read book of Mussar (Jewish Ethics) during the Middle Ages, but it is still a highly inspiring collection of thoughts and principles of the orthodox Jewish faith.

But just as important to this blog, Rabbi Judah was an expert archer!

We are told that in his youth Judah was anything but a scholar. He preferred to wander in the fields and play with bow and arrow. He is said to have captured many prizes in marksmanship in contest with the nobility of the Rhineland.

Here a some biographical links for those interested in learning more about his teachings:
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/111829/jewish/Rabbi-Judah-HaChassid.htm
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/9020-judah-ben-samuel-he-hasid-of-regensburg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judah_ben_Samuel_of_Regensburg