Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blackwater Blog Weekend: Daily Motivation II

The camera man above, looming above the safe-backstop steel walls of the shoot house, is the guy Todd Jarrett lovingly refers to as "Convict Mark." He's got a few piercings and a few tattoos, and he played the part of Bad Guy Who Gets Blasted By Todd Jarrett in a recent Crimson Trace promotional video. But this guy is a serious shooter and an all-around fun guy who did everything we did that weekend, often better, while also doing his job. He'd shoot us shooting, shoot whatever he needed for Downrange TV, and then put the camera down and go shoot steel. Rough life, huh? He also told the best stories; he and I traded tales of talking our wives into gun purchases one night in the lodge, but I couldn't keep up with his tales of trying to spin $7,000 trap guns from Olympic shooters as "bargains."

Don't worry; he didn't stay above those walls while we were shooting, as that would be unsafe.
He followed each of us through the shoot house instead. That scared the hell out of me, and I was the one with the gun. Now, I was moving so slowly that it was probably more like following the Titanic, so if I turned "suddenly" there was a lot of time to figure out where he was going to go. Not everyone was taking things at such a leisurely pace, though, and after one shooter who will remain nameless, Mark came out of the shoot house with wide, frightened-bunny eyes to declare "I saw Jesus!"

And here's what he did that I might not have: that was only the third or fourth shooter of the morning, so he went right in behind the next guy not five minutes later.

My favorite Mark the Convict story was the tale of the stuffed suit at an NRA convention who actually told him to leave and threatened to have him thrown out. At the time, Mark told us, he'd had purple hair, and I'm sure he had all his tattoos and piercings. He also had credentials and was actually doing his work at the convo, but that didn't impress Suit Guy, who stated with authority that "You don't represent what the NRA is about and we don't want you here."
(Remember, this is a guy who shoots with Todd Jarrett and Olympic shotgun athletes and Michael Bane . . . .)
The situation was resolved, apparently, when cooler heads told Suit Guy that he was risking The Displeasure of Sandy Froman. This apparently has the effect of raising the room's temperature to approximately the melting point of bluster, because he calmed right down.

I couldn't stop thinking how much Oleg would like to get this guy in front of a camera, but he was a little shy. Actually, he told me that if I put this one on the internet, he'd hunt me down and put an end to my internet foolishness. But mediocrity is its own reward; no one at Para or Blackwater seems to realize I even have a blog, so I doubt he'll see it, and if truth be told, I'm a little proud of it as portrait work.


Alan said...

Priceless. :)

Matt G said...

Where's his body armor?

Don Gwinn said...

You're lookin' at it. I will say, when I went through, I never saw either him or Jarrett, though I could often feel Jarrett's hand on my shoulder. They've both been doing this a long time, but it would still scare me to death.
It probably helped that they knew the layout and we didn't, so they were always one step ahead. But it was about six steps beyond my comfort zone. There was a lot more pressure there than my first IPSC match--I was just desperate not to mess up.

My initial run through was the slowest of the group by a long shot--Dave Hardy smoked me by about 20 seconds--but since I like to make excuses I'll just note that I volunteered to be the first one to go through, and none of us was exactly eager to be first. We wanted to shoot, but we didn't want to take the chance of embarassing ourselves. I figured I might as well get things started, and I knew I didn't have more than a dark horse chance at winning the thing anyway. So I took it slow, took my time, and shot some very tight double-taps exactly where I wanted them. It was slow, but every shot was an alpha.

In the afternoon I decided I'd seen what slow and steady could do, so I tried to speed it up. The good news was that I didn't fall for the trick--two rooms with nothing behind the door, followed by a third with a target hidden behind the door. More than one shooter thought he had run it clean until he heard "Two mikes" announced--on a target he hadn't even shot at!

The bad news was that, speeding up, I rushed the long shot down the hall and then shot a no-shoot--twice.

"You shot a no-shoot twice? What was the second time for?" Tam asked.
"He was still moving."

Matt G said...

I'm thinking that, with that sintered ammo, the rarely-heard-of and even-more-rarely-seen NIJ Level I vest would be fine. It's only rated to stop up to .380 acp, but that's an FMJ round. I'm not even sure anyone even makes 'em, any more. But they would be lighter and more comfortable in the summertime than what I normally wear (NIJ Level II, and I had to beg it down from IIIA.), or a tac vest.

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