Monthly Archives: January 2013

Jewish Marksman’s First Reflex Sight Experience

As readers will recall, I blogged about my first range session with the Glock 17 pistol a few weeks ago, and I found that several things on the gun needed improvement, like the trigger and the sights.  I am not really much of a combat or self-defense shooter with pistols, in the sense that I don’t really train much for those kinds of scenarios and am more interested in long distance target shooting.  Granted, that kind of training is definitely helpful and makes shooting closer targets like taking candy from a baby.  But there is a lot more that goes into defensive shooting than just being fast and accurate (well maybe that is 80% of the battle), so don’t read too much into what I am writing here as advice in that area.  I am just exploring what I think would work for me as a home defense gun and range toy, not a hard-core defensive or carry gun.  In fact, a .357 revolver is still our family’s go-to pistol for home defense until I become convinced that I can trust the Glock 110%.

First about the trigger…

Since that last post, I did some modifications to the pistol’s trigger.  I polished some parts pursuant to what is known as the $0.25 Glock trigger job, which you can find on youtube.  I also replaced the connector with a 3.5lb. connector.  The result?  Well, the trigger is definitely “better”.  It breaks a little bit crisper and some of the mushy-ness is gone.  It is not a target trigger, and I doubt it ever can be.  There is still some feel (which is also audible) of something rubbing plastic, either the trigger itself rubbing it’s housing in the frame, or the transfer bar along the the inside of the frame.  I am guessing it may be possible to smooth this out or eliminate it, but at this point I’m satisfied with the Glock’s trigger.  It was definitely fun to completely strip the pistol and learn about how every part functions.

Replacing the factory sights…

I also replaced the sights and replaced them with Trijicon HD night sights, opting for the set with the orange ring around the front sight.  Putting these sights on made me realize how bad the factory sights really are.  The Trijicon sights have tiny capsules of tritium inside that glow in the dark.  I also really like how wide the rear sight is relative to the front sight, which makes it much easier to center the front sight, and the sights are also a bit taller than the factory sight.  I replaced the sight myself using a sight pusher I purchased for the task.

Shooting with the new iron sights…

So right off the bat, at 50 feet I put five rounds right through the 2″ x-ring on the Bullseye targets I use, so happily I did not have to adjust the rear sight for windage.  Did the trigger job tighten my groups as well?  Hard to say, but definitely I felt like I was getting shots off a little bit easier with the lighter trigger.

On to the reflex sight…

The next phase was to install a red dot reflex sight.  What is a reflex sight?  It is sort of a heads-up-display, where basically a dot is projected by an l.e.d. onto a clear screen that the shooter looks through.  It is not a laser sight, in that nothing is projected onto the target and only the shooter can see the dot on the screen.  There are many products out there that are a variation on this approach, including traditional scopes (magnifying or not) where the shooter sees an illuminated dot instead of cross hairs.

This kind of sight is uncharted territory for me.  My entire shooting career has been with iron sights of various styles, but never with a scope or red dot.  But my eyesight has been ever-so-slightly declining, so I’ve been wanting to experiment with electronic red dots.  Also because this handgun is destined for self-defense, I wanted to experiment with the latest trend in defensive handgun configuration.  So after some research, I decided upon the Sightmark Sure Shot, which is a cheap entry level reflex sight.  I figured I’d give an entry-level model a try and see how I feel about red-dots.  Also, my wife can give it a try and see what she thinks.  High end reflex sights like those from Trijicon run several hundred dollars, so I decided to test the concept first.  In order to mount the sight, I used a hard plastic sight mount that is manufactured in Israel.  The cool thing about the mount is that it leaves plenty of room above the iron sights so you can use them if needed.

The sight offers several sight pictures, I chose the picture that has big circle with a dot in the middle, with cross-hairs on the edges of the big circle.  I shot with both eyes open.  The target above shows that after guestimating the zero using the iron sights, the first shot was low.  I made some adjustments to the reflex sight, and then proceeding to shoot-out the x-ring with the about 15 rounds, with a little drift to the right:

I found it to be a very different experience to use a reflex sight.  First of all, it is different because with iron sights, to shoot with precision you focus on the front sight and the target is blurry.  With reflex sight you just look at at the target.  I found that with both eyes open I would sometimes get a double image, but I could still see the target and dot fine.  I also find that sometimes my eyes would tend to focus on the dot, instead of the target, or jump back and forth. The best result was when I just totally relaxed my focus, looked at the target and just shot.  Rapid-fire shooting was maybe a little faster as well, because I could see the dot falling back onto the target after recoil and could begin my trigger pull for the next shot a bit faster.

Longer range shooting was a little different.  At 75 feet I found it a little harder to just look at the target, and kept finding my eyes focusing on the dot.  At 50 yards I had mixed results.  Sometimes I would hit the 8″ steel plate 4 out of 5 times, sometimes 1 or sometimes 3 out of 5.  Perhaps I need to zero the sight a little better for better accuracy at longer range.  When I have time I’ll shoot at a paper target at 50 yards and see if I can get a good zero.  Also complicating matters is that I have not ascertained how accurate the gun itself really is at 50 yards.  Don’t get me wrong, I could see hits in the berm just barely missing steel, so you are still getting minute-of-bad-guy at 50 yards, I just don’t know about head shots.

I would say that with a little more practice, I could see myself becoming a red-dot convert, especially on a home-defense gun.  I definitely understand how these optics are the future, once the more durable models become more affordable.  Especially as eyes age, reflex sights are an alternative to custom shooting glasses.  More importantly, with a reflex sight your eyes are focused on the target, giving you better situational awareness, and better ability to pick a precise aiming spot on the target.  Unlike a laser sight, nothing gives away your position and the reflex sight can work in all lighting situations (and will not disappear on a bad guy wearing red clothes).

An interesting question is whether I would introduce a new, first-time shooter to shooting with a red dot or shooting with iron sights.  Certainly shooting with iron-sights is harder, and more “sporting.”  But shooting with a red-dot is probably going to be easier for beginners, and a way to quickly build confidence and accuracy.  There is also the “cool factor” that will draw interest in the sport.  I have to say that at the end of the day, I would probably have a new shooter learn with a red dot.  Especially for older shooters or anyone with “bad eyes”, a red dot is a great way to get into recreational shooting.

"Nelson Smith" – Airline Pilot, 3-Gun Competitor and Jewish Marksman

Today’s Jewish Marksman profile is of “Nelson Smith,” which is not his real name but a pseudonym for security reasons.  Nelson is our first 3-Gun competitor profiled on the blog:

1. Where did you grow up, and where do you live now?

I was born in Chicago and I lived there until one month after my Bar Mitzvah. My family then moved to Phoenix due to my fathers employment situation. I have lived in and around the Phoenix area ever since.

2. What do you do for a living?

I am a commercial airline pilot.

3. Who introduced you to firearms?  How old were you the first time you went shooting?

I was introduced to firearms by my father and his work friend (another Jewish guy) who competed in a local “combat” pistol league. I was 13 years old and was hooked after the first shot. I saved up every dime I earned that summer and bought a Ruger .22 pistol that I still proudly own. This is the same pistol that I taught my now adult daughter to shoot with when she was 10 years old.

4.  How did you get involved in shooting sports?

The range that I live by offered an IDPA style match that caught my interest. They offered a one hour class covering the rules, techniques and scoring so I signed up. My first few match scores were horrible but I kept showing up for them. I practiced a lot and closely watched what other shooters were doing. After a few months I found that my shooting was improving and that my scores were as well. Some of the other guys that I shoot with suggested that we try shooting carbine matches and multigun matches. I shot my first carbine match (a charity match for the AzCDL) and did pretty respectable. From there, it went to multigun matches, pistol, rifle and/or shotgun. Most everybody runs M4 type rifles with or without an optic, semi auto pistols and either a semi auto or a pump shotguns. Three gun/multigun is absolutely the most fun a shooter can have!  Three gun matches are shot using a pistol, rifle and a shotgun. Depending on which class you shoot in, you have iron sights, non magnified (red dots) or magnified optics. Some stages involve using one of the three guns and other stages a combination of two or more guns. Targets are a combination of paper IPSC paper targets and steel targets. The stages involve moving from place to place, shooting from behind cover or while walking/running between cover. Shooting positions can be from sitting, standing or prone positions or any combination of. Distances are from a few feet out to several hundred yards. It truly is an ever challenging sport.    

5.  What shooting sports have you competed in?  Have you earned any awards or classifications?

In the past I have competed in IDPA style matches and subgun matches. I currently compete in pistol steel matches and multigun matches. I occasionally drag along my Rabbi friend (who I taught to shoot) to the pistol steel matches. I met the rabbi through a work friend who knew that I was an avid shooter. The rabbi’s friend was killed in the Mumbai attack and he wanted to learn how to defend himself. I taught both him and another rabbi how to shoot and we hit it off as friends. The rabbi got his CCW and I helped him find the right CCW pistol.

6.  What do Jewish family members and friends think about your shooting?

I go to an orthodox temple so most members are “right leaning” Republicans. They not only support the 2nd Amendment but they are also gun owners, collectors and enthusiasts. I have invited a few members to join me but I think they are a bit intimidated by match shooting. I do shoot weekly with a Jewish friend who also shoots matches with me. Over the last six months we have converted his brother from a gun hater to a pistol shooter and an avid sporting clays shooter.  My immediate family members are not active in the sport but will from time to time shoot with me.  

7. Any interesting stories about your daughter shooting?  Did she like it?  Does she still shoot?  Grandkids yet?

My daughter is a recreational shooter. She shoots the occasional pistol carbine or pistol steel matches. She also shoots sporting clays several times a month with me and my friends.  No grandkids or husband at this time. She needs to finish college and/or get a job first.

8.  What do you like most about the shooting sports?

Ninety percent of the people I compete with are half my age and many have real combat experience. I like to see where I stack up in the group and learn from what they have learned.

9.  Do you have any goals right now in the shooting sports?

I want to build on the good foundation that I have and to keep improving my overall score. I have worked with multiple coaches and will continue to seek out any expert advice I can find.

10.  Do you reload ammunition or work on your own guns?

I reload 9mm & 45ACP.  I also do most of my own gunsmithing. I have built all but one of the AR rifles that my daughter and I shoot. I also built the Saiga-12 that I use in Three Gun.

11.  Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers?

When I see fellow Jews badmouthing firearms and the 2nd Amendment it makes me sad and ashamed. Hitler disarmed all his countries people and then marched the Jews to their deaths. Can you imagine if those 6,000,000 fellow Jews had the ability to resist their captors? Firearms are not evil, the people who misuse them are. Please join the NRA, JPFO, GOA or any local pro gun organization if you are not a member already. Your kids’ kids will thank you!

Israeli Mauser Watch 1/21/13 – Rare .22LR Trainer

Today on gunbroker.com someone has listed a truly rare Israeli Mauser, this one is a .22LR training rifle!  According to the seller:

FN HERSTAL BELGIUM: The Israelis contracted FN to build them roughly 1000 of these dedicated .22 LR training rifles. It is purpose built with matching bolt. These were not fabricated from existing K98′s in 8mm these actions, barrels and bolts were made just for this project. They were built on a FN single shot frame. These things are unbelievably rare and only a handful were imported about 10 years ago or so.

I have seen these around occasionally, and have also heard of people making them from existing Mauser parts.

The bidding starts at $1300, with a buy-now of $1500.  I think at those prices, the auction will only draw collectors.  In that range a new or used Anschutz or lessor .22LR target rifle can be had.  In my mind, part of the fun of an Israeli Mauser is firing it with a “real” cartridge like .308, so for me this rifle would get boring fast.  Even for sentimental value, meh…these rifles almost certainly never saw combat, or maybe they trained a few IDF troops or Israeli kids.  Given that it is a single shot rifle, I’m not even sure what the training value was.

As usual, buyer beware!

UPDATE:  Apparently it sold for $1500.

Mission Accomplished: Jewish Marksman Shoots Expert Score with Israeli Mauser

Last weekend I finally teased an Expert class score out of my 1940 Israeli Mauser in an NRA High Power match (reduced course 100 yard match)!  Expert class starts at 89%, suggesting the shooter is hitting mostly 10s and 9s.  Originally the goal was much lower, but as I started hitting each classification I nudged it up just to prove what the rifle was capable of.  It took me roughly six or seven months, with a match each month, to achieve this goal.

Why an Israeli Mauser

So why did I do it?  I think a few shooters in the club thought I was a little crazy at first.  After all, I was shooting solid Master scores with the Service Rifle, on my way to High Master, and I just completed building a Remington 700 match rifle that has been sitting in the safe unfired.  Why waste months on getting the Israeli Mauser to do something it was never intended, and essentially drop out of being a serious contender in matches during that time?  Not to mention the money expense of getting the Israeli Mauser match capable?

I suppose one could say I have 6,000,000 reasons for doing it.  The rifle was originally crafted by a nation that at one time sought to exterminate the Jews from the face of the earth.  The steel receiver was probably made from iron mined in that same country.  It is highly probable that soldiers from that nation used the rifle to fight Allied forces, kill Allied soldiers, and maybe even to kill Jews.  But after WWII, the captured rifle made its way to Israel, a Jewish homeland born from the ashes of WWII.  What the rifle may have been used for there is anyone’s guess.  Was it used by Jews in Israel’s war of independence   Did IDF soldiers use it for training thereafter?  Was it the trusted companion of some frontier Jewish kibbutznik?  And where did it go after Israel?

Now, you could argue that those are good reasons to acquire the Israeli Mauser as memorabilia, but not necessarily for using it.  So what is the significance of using the Israeli Mauser?  I think for me, it adds a new chapter to the rifle’s life that hopefully my great, great, great grandchildren will remember and perpetuate.  My use of it, and someday my daughter’s use, and so on, serves to remind us that Jews must not only always be armed, but we must develop the skills to use those arms with precision and safety.  A rifle that rusts away in a safe is useless.  But a rifle used in sport develops the Jewish shooters’ skills so that if someday, G-d forbid, we are ready.  Of course, any rifle can serve the purpose of training, but there is something primal and especially memorable about actually using a 70+ year old rifle that has a history of its own.  In my case, the Israeli Mauser was actually the first center-fire bolt action rifle I ever shot, and also the first in .308.

Still a Potent Weapon

And make no mistake, in the right hands the Israeli Mauser is still a damn capable rifle for hunting, and I dare say combat in a pinch.  I never performed any formal testing, but based on my slow prone targets, I would say the rifle is mechanically capable of just over 1MOA (1″ groups at 100 yards).  Here is my prone target from the last match, the actual diameter of the aiming black is 6.35″:

Yes, it only has an internal 5-round magazine, but I got to be very quick with my reloads using stripper clips.  Remember, in High Power the sitting stage is 10 rounds in 60 seconds, with a reload.  Here is my sitting stage target from the last match:

And here is the rapid prone target:

So the idea that you can’t be fast and accurate with an Israeli Mauser is demonstrably false!  And keep in mind this is just with aperture-style Mojo Sights, which are not really up for high precision target work.  With a scout-style scope or better target sights….

What’s Next?

As I’ve been hinting, for several months now a fully ready Remington 700 configured as a competition match rifle has been patiently waiting in the gun safe.  I am hoping that 2013 will be the year I earn my High Master card, and I’m feeling good about the R700′s ability to get me there.

Jewish Firearms Blogging Roundup 01/12/13

At Blog ‘O Stuff:

At Seraphic Secret:

At Jews Don’t Shoot Guns:

At DoubleTapper:

At JPFO:

At TTAG:

Ben Shapiro – Jewish Second Amendment Advocate

I apologize to those readers who primarily visit this blog to learn about Jewish athletes involved in the shooting sports.  I assure you that such was the original intention of this blog, and that I fully intend to return its focus to those profiles, as well as my own shooting sports exploits.  But…

Unfortunately, we are at a critical moment in the history of the United States which demands the attention of all Jews who know world history.  Although I am somewhat well versed in instances of armed Jewish resistance to tyrannic government, there are other places on the internet where you can study that issue (google “Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” for a start).  I firmly believe that Americans must have some degree of parity of arms with government forces.  The AR-15 and other so-called “assault rifles” (which I’ve blogged about) are required to maintain that parity.  If you have any doubts, you need only study the history of Afghanistan and present events in Syria to realize that the “people” do not necessarily need tanks or fighter planes, but they do need rifles.  A group of motivated riflemen can, at least by today’s standards of military technology, overcome a superior armed force.  There is absolutely no historical precedent for Jews to not eventually become the targets of first discrimination, and ultimately physical abuse and murder.

So in that vein, Jewish political commentator, radio talk show host, and attorney Ben Shapiro recently confronted one of the most vile human beings on American soil, Piers Morgan, and did rather well:

Jewish Firearms Blogging Roundup 01/05/13

I thought I’d try a new regular feature giving readers quick access to Jewish firearms-related blogging:

Dave Markowitz at Blog ‘O Stuff has been busy:

Richard Bogath at Jews Don’t Shoot Guns has also been busy:

Hap Rocketto has a new essay out.  Raiders of the Lost Ark, Henry David Thoreau, and smallbore.

Double Tapper’s suggestions on what America can learn from Israel re: school protection.

At JPFO Rabbi Judah Freeman criticizes Jewish involvement in gun control.

And of course, Robert Farago and Dan Zimmerman’s The Truth About Guns is non-stop.

Please let me know if I am missing anyone!

Chuck Klein – Jewish Author, Policeman and Marksman

Today’s Jewish Marksman is Chuck Klein of Ohio.  Klein is a former police officer and firefighter, and also an author and firearms instructor.  His written works include books on police work, self-defense, as well as fiction.  He has also written many articles and essays, including “Klein’s Laws”, which is a collection of Klein’s acquired life wisdom reduced to single sentences, and while not quite as deep as Pirke Avot, is a good read.  An online Jewish magazine gave Klein’s book “The Badge” a generally positive review.

In a 2005 interview with JPFO:

JPFO: … Do you have any final thoughts on solutions to the problems facing American gun owners and those who feel the need to carry concealed weapons?

CK: Yes. I’m concerned that there are far too many restrictions placed on the decent law-abiding citizen who wants or needs to own and carry firearms. Not only that, but these laws, statutes and court decrees are confusing and not universally applied. Even our 2nd Amendment – our beloved 2nd Amendment – is subject to subjectiveness by persons who have the power to enforce restrictions.

There are people out there who are working everyday to pass restrictive firearm rules and when they can’t muster legislative support they connive to twist and usurp what legal, plain language protections we now have.

Citizens who carry must not only be aware of local as well and national laws, but they must have the wherewithal, the grit to defend themselves in a court of law should some police officer or prosecutor, well intentioned or not, charges them with a gun related crime. Belonging to some of the gun rights organizations, is one way to keep abreast of the intricacies of firearm related legal rulings. 

Check out his website at http://chuckkleinauthor.com.

Robert J. Avrech – Emmy Winner and Proud Jewish Marksman

Robert Avrech is a screenwriter (Body Double, A Stranger Among Us, The Devil’s Arithmetic) and describes himself on his blog, seraphicpress.com as follows:

I’m an Emmy Award winning screenwriter. I’m also an observant Jew, a religious Zionist, a conservative Republican, and a member of the NRA. I’ve been writing and producing in Hollywood for over twenty-five years. But the focus of my life is my family: my radiant wife, Karen—with whom I have been in love with since I was nine years-old—and my two daughters, who, thankfully, look like Karen. Not too long ago, we had three children. But our son, Ariel, died at the age of twenty-two from cancer. We miss him terribly. We think about him practically every minute of every day. People tell us that time heals, but Karen and I know this is not true. Time grinds away doing its terrible work. Ariel is gone. Yet absence becomes presence.

He blogs on a variety of topics, most of them unrelated to guns in any way.  But a few excellent postings that every Jew and gun owner should read:

Jew without a Gun http://www.seraphicpress.com/jew-without-a-gun/
Girls with Guns http://www.seraphicpress.com/girls-with-guns/
Philistine Gun Control and Jews http://www.seraphicpress.com/gun-control-the-philistines-and-the-jews/

Definitely a blog worth following!  The first essay “Jew without a Gun” above is an excellent story that explains, in part, what brought him into the fold of gun ownership.