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Grow Up! Be A Man!

Lack of strength of character makes me crazy!

Normally my blogs and site are focused more on shooting, strength training and fitness, strongman and martial arts, however I believe that strong character is something that seems to be seriously lacking in our society lately and after something my mother witnessed, I felt it a good time to use the incident to cover the subject.  Strong character is a component in the make of a person that is invaluable and determines not only how you treat others, but how they in-turn view and treat you.

My mom was at a Subway picking up my favorite foot-long Philly Cheesesteak (token plug for Subway), when the couple in line ahead of her were asked for their order.  The couple, my mom says, looked to be about 17, stepped up to begin, the girl going first.  She asks for a foot-long Cold Cut Combo.  The “man” she’s with says, “Oh no-no, you can’t get that.   A six-inch turkey or veggie only.   Those are your choices.”

The girl looks at him, confused and asks, “What? Why?”

He shoots back, “Because – I don’t date fatties.”

The girl actually changed her order.  She orders the six-inch turkey and the kicker is when she gets to the register she was the one to pay for her sandwich.  Adding insult to injury her stellar boyfriend gives his Subway points card to get the points for her purchase, of the sandwich she didn’t want, for which she was paying.

There are so many things wrong with this scenario.

  1. No guy, regardless of age, should say things like that, particularly to the girl he is dating.   Here he must be referred to as a “guy,” because a “man,” should know better.
  2. Weight should not be a reason to date or not date someone.  The only time weight should be a factor or mentioned is if you’re earnestly concerned for someone’s health.
  3. This girl must have absolutely no self-respect, confidence or self-worth.  What has she been taught that she would tolerate being spoken to in a such a manner?
  4. Why would she change her order when she was the one paying for her own meal?
  5. This is just a personal issue, because of how I was raised, but unless a dutch payment plan was pre-arranged, this did seem to be a first or at least second date, what kind of a guy accepts his date having to pay for her meal – particularly at a Subway?   I’m sorry, this is not a point of liberation, I don’t think women are less than men, or incapable of paying for their own things, but there are some things that are still a point of chivalry that men should do – at least on the first date.  A woman should be treated like a lady.   I mean the word, “lady,” in the old sense of the word – Someone respected, honored and cherished.  Certain behaviors should not take place around her.

There is no honor or character evident by belittling others or trying to control them, particularly over something as narrow-minded and judgmental as someone’s weight.  We may say that it’s a symptom of what the media pushes at us, but that excuse only works to a certain degree.  At some point people have to be responsible for their own thoughts and actions, overriding what they’re being told is acceptable and making a conscious choice to see what’s right and ethical and act on it.

My mom said this girl was beautiful and yet she still tolerated his words and conceded to what he wanted.  It makes me wonder if she has no positive male influence or if no one bothered to teach her that she has more worth than to allow someone to treat her in such a way.  I do wish I had been there.  I would have corrected him and bought her meal for her – whatever kind she wanted.  If for nothing else than for her to know that not all young men behave or think like that and regardless of whether she was fit or overweight – she was beautiful and worth far more than a guy like him.  All women are.

So for the guys out there who want to treat women poorly and show weak character – Know this:  Strength will always dominate weakness, whether it’s mental, physical or spiritual and soon-to-be-men like me and those I strive to be like, will always win. Both the battle and the girl.

As a side note:  If you see this happen – please contact 1-800-CALLNOAH immediately!

Simple mistakes can cost your score

Noah Jeffries at FishHawk Sporting Clays

I’ve been working my way up the NSCA classifications for the past 2 years now.  My opportunities to shoot NSCA competitions are peppered through out the year so it takes a while when doing it that way.  Particularly if some of the shoots have only so many shooters per class – if you win your class you get a punch, but coming in 2nd or 3rd gets you nothing.  You need to have more than 10 shooters to get a nice punch grouping.

I’ve been in B class for a while trying to earn the eight punches I needed to move up to “A” class.  I very much wanted to be in “A” class this year when I went to State competition.   FishHawk Sporting Clays has some great events and have a good number of competitors show up for their NSCA shoots.  On March 10th I was hoping to secure the win in “B” and with the existing seven punches I had already, I just needed one more to move to “A.”


At the end of the event I did with “B” and was awarded four punches given the number of competitors in my class, but what I couldn’t shake was the irritation with my own score.  I had done alright scoring an 89 out of 100, but station 16 was my downfall.  I had gone all day only dropping six clays.  By the time I reached station 16, my last and final set of the day I was sporting a 94.  I was pretty darn happy with that!

Station 16 was a beautiful pair with a great challenge!  As Steve Middleditch says with his British* accent, “It’s exciting!”  One was a far Teal and the other, a powerful launching Chondelle.  I love that stuff!  I decided to use my cylinder choke for the 10 yard and a full choke for the 50 yard.  Sounds logical right?

The calls went like this:

Me: Pull! (bang, bang)

Trapper: Dead, loss

Me: Pull! (bang, bang)

Trapper: Lost pair

Me: What the?? How did I miss those?  Both of them? Are you sure? Doah! *grumble* PULL! (bang, bang)

Trapper: Lost pair, shooter out with a one.

A one? A one! I was livid!  I’ll admit it, sometimes I may have a John McEnroe reaction to my errors, though I don’t throw my Beretta, because quite frankly it costs more than a tennis racket and I adore my shotgun.  I stood, dumbfounded, staring at the field and traps. I looked down at my gun and realized I had the barrels set wrong.  I always shoot the top barrel at the first bird.  It’s just the way I prefer to do it.  My lever was in the reverse position.  I had in fact shot the full choke at the 10 yard bird and the open cylinder at the 50 yard bird.  No wonder I didn’t hit them.  Quite frankly I still should have smashed the 10 yarder every time, but only did once.  It was obliterated – smoke, but dropped five clays at that one station from a very minor, rookie error.

Lesson learned

I will never again mount my gun in station and just assume the lever is in the correct position as it is 99% of the time.  It’s that one percent that can cost you your score, place or worse – if you’re in purse competition – the winning spot for the cash.  Lesson learned and I’m thankful I was far enough ahead in class that I still placed and was able to win class and concurrent classification in Sub Juniors, but till they announced scores I thought for sure I was sunk.

Simple mistakes can be made at any time whether you’re nine competing for the first time or 65 shooting in the Lifetime Masters division.  Never assume everything is as it was at the last station or become comfortable in the assumption, “but it’s always set this way.”

    • Check the barrel you put your choke in twice to make sure you didn’t switch it if you’re shooting a double barrel.
    • Check your lever that determines which barrel fires first (if you have one).
    • If you change your ammo depending on the bird, make sure you’re grabbing from the correct pocket and read the shell to make certain.

Small things make the difference.

*I was corrected by Steve in the Comments section of my Bio page.  LOL  I originally thought he was Scottish, but I was evidently wrong.  The original writing of this article stated, “Scottish.”  Corrected with my apologies and respect to Mr. Middleditch. 

“Eyes clear, keep your feet, mind your heart.”

Tip of the Week – Shooting on a pistol range

Gun handling and an outdoor range – Is there any difference between indoor and outdoor?

As you may know an outdoor range generally does not have a stall with visual blinds on either side of you to block your view of the shooter next to you firing the giant S&W 500.   Sometimes if you shoot at an indoor range these blinds, that are somewhat bulletproof (Only to certain calibers. The downside to the blinds is not being able to see that shooter with the S&W 500 who could potentially accidentally fire through the blind), can loll you into a state of complacency for gun handling.  Today I’m going to take you through the proper gun handling at an outdoor range, which is more conducive to gun handling in a real-world situation.

A common, but deadly mistake

First things first.  For some reason people tend to think – and I’m not sure why – the side of the gun is really cool.  If you’ve ever shot at an outdoor range and have been called out by the range officer for the following reason, I’m about to tell you why you were reprimanded.  Something you cannot see in an indoor range while standing in the stall, because of the blinds on either side, is the shooter on your left and/or right, but at an outdoor range there are no bullet-proof blinds.  So you have to be very careful about where the muzzle of your firearm is pointing.  For those of you who may fuzzy on the “muzzle,” I’ll quote my boss who says, “It’s the big thing that goes ‘BANG‘ with the hole on the end.”

This may seem obvious to most people – Don’t turn your gun and point it at someone else, but you would be surprised how often this error is made when moving from an indoor shooting range to an outdoor.   Indoor ranges, while you should still be mindful of this rule and keep your firearm facing downrange, do allow you to become lazy with gun handling, because of the safety features in the design of the room.

Let’s say for example there are five shooters on your left side and five more to your right.  You cannot turn your gun to the side to admire it, because there’s no telling if it may still go off.  Some shooters fire several rounds, then in their enthusiasm or rookie error, turn the gun to ogle it’s design and beauty, then return to firing the remaining bullets in the clip or revolver.  Yes I’m serious – It happens very frequently.   Those remaining bullets as you turn to appreciate the aesthetics of your gun, can still fire if you’re not paying attention and even if you are, it can still fire severely injuring or even killing the shooter next to you.  Penalties for that are much worse than being yelled at by a range officer.  That’s also the reason they have range officers.

Range Officers – Contrary to popular opinion they do not exist just to annoy you

Keep this in mind too, range officers are just doing their job.  It’s their job to keep everyone safe and having a good time.  Don’t get upset with them and take it personally if you’re scolded for doing something wrong.  Bad things can happen in nano-seconds on a shooting range so a range officer has to be quick to catch small errors that can lead to life changing events.

Here is a list of things to keep in mind at an outdoor range:

  1. Keep your muzzle pointed downrange at all times
  2. No rapid fire
  3. Ears and eyes must be worn at all times
  4. When cease-fire is called, make sure your gun is empty, locked back and/or cylinder out or broken open.
  5. Never pull that trigger till you know you’re on target.

Just a hint: If you line up your sights and wait three to four seconds before pulling the trigger, in that small period of time is your, “focus sweet-spot.”  These are just some tips to keep you and the shooters next to you stay safe and having fun.  Remember always that while target practice at a range is a great time – you are still holding a loaded weapon.

Check out Tenoroc Shooting Sports & Training in Lakeland, FL on Tenoroc Mine Rd.

Sheriff Grady Judd’s Bustin’ Clays Event 2012

Sheriff Grady Judd is the sheriff of the county I live in.  He is a nationally well-known sheriff who is probably most well known for the comment made to Fox News when a day long man-hunt for a criminal who shot and killed K9 Officer, Deputy Matt Williams and his partner Diogi, ended in a barrage of gun fire on September 28, 2006.  The reporter asked Sheriff Judd, “…why did you shoot the suspect 68 times?”  Sheriff Judd replied, “Because we ran out of bullets.”

Sheriff Grady Judd presenting me with the HOA award

I first met Sheriff Judd in person when I competed in a sporting clays fundraiser in 2010 for the Polk County Builders Association.  I showed up just to compete as an individual when the range owner had told me that Sheriff Judd had been asked to come and do the trophy presentation.  The Sheriff is someone I’ve always admired and the thought of getting to meet him and have him sign my illustrious hat was enough to get me to compete that day.  The sheriff’s sporting clays team was there competing as well.  I was squadded with a group of older men as usual and then ended up winning the youth, the open and the HOA.

This event is where I met the Sheriff’s shooting team.  I had shot against them in several competitions through out 2010, but never had the opportunity to meet and really speak with them.  Captain Kevin Widner and Captain Larry Williams quickly became people whom I deeply respect and I was honored when they asked me to be on their team the following week at the Sheriff Gee’s Shoot Out in Hillsborough County.  Since then I was invited to shoot on their team for the 2011 Sheriff Judd’s Bustin’ Clays event to raise money for fallen officers’ families, then again at the 2011 Sheriff Gee’s Shoot Out and now again this year and Sheriff Judd’s event which will take place this Saturday, March 3, 2012.

Proceeds of this event go to assist the families of fallen officers of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.  Even if you’re not a competitive shooter, buying raffle tickets for the drawings or making a donation would be deeply appreciated for this great and worthy cause!

On a side note: Captain Widner officially retired this year and in my opinion the sheriff’s office loses a great officer and honorable man.  He’s gone out of his way to make sure a 13, then 14 and now 15 year old kid was acknowledged and made to feel part of well respected and incredible team.  It’s allowed me to have time to have conversations with officers of the law to know more of what I would like to do and dedicate my life to.  It’s been a great honor to compete along side them and I deeply appreciate them always treating me as an equal.

Mad respect to the competitive shooting team of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office!