Monthly Archives: March 2012

Saul Kirsch – European Jewish IPSC Marksman and Activist

As some readers might have noticed, the Jewish Marksmanship blog has yet to claim a Jewish IPSC shooter. This is odd, because next to Cowboy Action (we’ve discovered quite a few of those), practical shooting games like IPSC or IDPA are probably the most popular in the US. I’m sure there are many Jews competing in clubs that we just haven’t learned about yet.
But now, thanks to a reader tip, we learn about Saul Kirsch, and it turns out he needs our help! According to one bio:
Saul Kirsch is the founder and director of Double-Alpha Academy. He is consistently ranked as one of the top International IPSC shooters in the world today.
Saul was born in South Africa and grew up in Israel. He now lives in the city of Waalwijk in the Netherlands.

Saul’s involvement in the shooting sports began at the age of 12. He joined the local Olympic Air-rifle club and at age 15 qualified for the Israeli Junior National team. He went on to win multiple National Junior championships in all 3 Olympic rifle events (Air rifle, 60 prone Free rifle and 3-position Free rifle).

While studying Industrial Engineering at Tel Aviv University, Saul coached pistol and rifle shooting and gradually shifted his shooting activities from Olympic rifle to IPSC pistol. Not a common transition, and Saul attributes much of his mental management knowledge to those 10 years in Olympic shooting. It is, he says, the best possible background for any shooting sport.

Since moving to Europe, Saul has focused on his IPSC shooting career. With the support of his sponsors, he has achieved some significant results, and established his place as one of the top competitors in this sport. Through Double-Alpha Academy, he now shares his knowledge and experience with other shooters. He has published 2 books about competition shooting, and produces DVDs covering the major events and related topics.
But shockingly, his sport is in trouble in Europe. Recently, an email from Saul was posted on the popular TTAG Blog run by Jewish Marksman Robert Farago:
Dear fellow IPSC shooters and friends,
As many of you have heard already, IPSC shooting (in fact all Dynamic shooting disciplines) are about to be prohibited in the Netherlands! This new law will be voted on in a matter of weeks, and if it passes – will mean the end of our sport in Holland, and who knows – this decision may well spread quickly across the EU. As you can imagine, the NPSA (the Dutch IPSC organization) is mobilizing every possible resource to fight this unjust proposed law, but it is a desperate battle. The odds are stacked against us. We need your help! You can help by going online and signing this petition. Please also take a moment to forward a link to this article to anyone who could generate more signatures: your shooting range, your club, your federation, your local gunsmiths. Post it online on any website you have access to. We want to show that IPSC is a serious sport, with thousands of participants worldwide. Many thanks for your participation in our fight.
Best Regards,
Saul Kirsch
General Manager
Double-Alpha Academy B.V.

The petition he refers to can be found here: http://petities.nl/petitie/dynamische-disciplines-moeten-blijven Please check it out and sign if you agree.
You can also see his on line store and youtube videos here: http://www.doublealpha.biz/

Stuff Jewish Girls Like Blogger – Jewish Markswoman

The author of the Stuff Jewish Girls Like blog describes herself as “a DC-dwelling, gentile-dating, over-achieving, bargain-hunting, weight-watching, poker-playing, hyphen-ating first-year law firm associate with opinions to spare.” One of her posts is a fun account of a Jewish girl’s first time shooting:
Before arriving at the range, I was kind of excited to go; I am big on attaining survival skills, and I think it’s important that I know how to fire a gun. Not because I plan to own or even hold a gun at any point, but because I never know if I’ll ever be in an emergency situation where it will fall to me to shoot a firearm.

Despite my initial excitement, once I arrived I started freaking out. I can’t really explain my fear, since I am rarely afraid of such activities, but the sound of guns going off right next to me put me on high alert. I realized that I am absolutely terrified of guns; one wrong move and these things will KILL you. There are not enough safety instructions in the world to make me feel comfortable with live ammunition.

Want to feel EXTRA uncomfortable? Wear the same color scheme as the targets you’re firing at.

Regardless, I soldiered through. I fired a huge rifle, which was actually kind of fun…there was no kickback and the gun had a laser sight, so it was easy to hit the target. BF and I competed to hit precise points on our targets.

I also fired a 9mm handgun, which was much LESS fun. The gun had a lot more kickback, which is an extremely weird sensation when you first feel it. It doesn’t help that the casing ejects from the gun and bounces off the sides of your firing stall, hitting you in the arm (at absolutely no speed and with no pain at all, but it’s FREAKY to feel any part of a bullet touch you after you fire a gun). An added scary twist: the top of the gun retracts backwards at 100mph to reload the gun after you fire; if your thumbs or hand happens to be too high up in the back of the gun when this happens, you could get your hand sliced or your thumbs broken! (your thumbs should both be in front of or on the same side of the gun.)

After my first shot with the handgun (which didn’t even hit the target ten feet in front of me), I immediately put down the gun and nearly ran out of the range. After a few minutes I calmed down and took a few more shots until I was able to hit the target (in dead center, no less).

Despite my fear, I’m glad I learned a bit about gun operation and safety, and I am glad to know that I could fire a weapon if my life depended on it. Hopefully it never will!
Mazal tov! I think the story is a really great example of how many Jews could overcome their irrational fear of firearms by simply going to the range under proper guidance, and learn to safely handle and operate a gun.

Katelyn Bleiweiss – Champion Jewish Markswoman

Once again a reader has come through with a great tip. Today’s Jewish Markswoman is Katelyn Bleiweiss of the great state of Texas. A 2007 article in the Houston Chronicle had this to say:

KATELYN Bleiweiss is a gifted young artist, actress and musician at the High School for Performing Arts in Houston whom her father, Ira, describes as a “non-stop” artist.
Still, the Meyerland resident’s artistry is not limited to the canvas. She can also “paint out” a bull’s eye in a target with an open-sight, .223-caliber AR-15 high-powered rifle. `Open sight’ refers to a rifle without optical aids such as scopes mounted on the rifle. At the Texas State Championships this past year, Katelyn’s shooting skills won her a third place rating among women in Texas.
Katelyn, 16, undoubtedly has artistic talent; her work won second place in a city-wide Houston ISD competition, and though she was only 14 at the time, one of her pictures brought $500 in a charity auction.
Her father Ira said that Katelyn’s artistic talents lend themselves to her excellence at the range.
“She has that artist’s eye that lets her see the straight lines to the target,” he said. “The sport really teaches youth a lot in the form of discipline and focus. You don’t just show up for this sport; it takes a lot of practice and concentration.”
That she undoubtedly has.
“Before each shot, I take a couple of deep breaths to slow down my heart rate. The only thing I am trying to beat is my last score, my last shot,” she said.
Katelyn, who began her shooting at the ripe old age of 7, competes in a sport called high-powered rifle target shooting. She shoots at targets at 200, 300 and 600 yards, and is rated between expert and master for shooting at 600 yards.
Though she only became serious about her sport in February of 2006, 94 percent of her shots fall within a 12-inch circle. While it might seem unusual to expose youths to firearms at such a young age, Ira said it was done with safety in mind.
“I wanted to demystify guns for them,” her father said of his philosophy with Katelyn as well as her older brother, Evan, and sister, Ellen. “If they were at a playmate’s house and were asked if they wanted to see their father’s gun, they would answer they were not interested. I did that with all of my kids.”
Ira Bleiweiss said family marksmanship extends past himself and his children.
“My wife Wendy is probably the best shot in the family,” he said. “She is very good with a shotgun, but she gave that up about 20 years ago.”
Starting out, the elder Bleiweiss took Katelyn to the range two or three times a year to shoot a .22-caliber rifle. As she got older, she progressed into shooting larger calibers and started drawing the attention of adult shooters.
In February, Ira Bleiweiss received a phone call from a Texas State Rifle Association youth coach who had heard about Katelyn’s shooting skills. He wanted to work with her to train her for competitions.
After that coach moved out of the state, Bob Mullins took over and serves as Katelyn’s present shooting coach. Mullins describes her as a youth with a “beautiful personality.”
“There are people I can spot walking up to me that I can see will never make a rifle shooter, just something about the person’s demeanor,” Mullins said. “Katelyn doesn’t fall into this negative category.”
Why does Katelyn choose shooting as a sport, especially when sometimes she receives negative peer pressure from some of her classmates? She said the rush of a perfect score keeps her coming back.
“If you get a perfect X, a perfect 10, that perfect shot, it’s just so very satisfying,” she said. “In shooting, the only competitor is yourself. It’s a good challenge.”
In 2008 she earned medals at the Nationals in team and individual events. Unfortunately, Katelyn is taking time off according to her father’s recent comment on the blog:
She is currently enrolled at a university and her studies do not leave her time for competition. Katelyn also enjoys trap shooting and her first time out shot over 90% busting clay birds.

Speaking of her father, Ira, as a fellow father of a nice Jewish girl, I found great wisdom in a quote he gave to the Jewish Herald Voice:
Riflery is not only an Olympic sport, but this is also a skill that every nice Jewish girl should have