Thursday, August 4, 2016

Nationals, Photos, and Rule 17

The National Championship was a great event put on by a great club and fine folks. I have nothing but good things to say about the event.  I write this blog to be helpful to myself and my fellow competitors.  Before you get your feathers all ruffled please read the general warnings to this blog.

Mary Eileen Russell has posted hundreds of photos which are very helpful for training.  I thank her for her efforts and commend her for the great value she has provided to us.

Personal Conclusion:  Looking through the photos, I would conclude that most 5 flat and slower shooters shoot the level and follow through draw.  Most 4 flat and faster shooters shoot the locked elbow draw or the flail draw with the exception of two old timers who shoot the level and follow through down into the threes.

In the men's division the majority of the Mag 7 shooters were locked elbow shooters with the remainder being level and follow through or hybrids.  There were no flail shooters in the Mag 7.  The highest placing flail shooter went out in round 10 shooting 3 flat times.

The problem with the flail draw can clearly be seen in a three shot series of photos of a relative new shooter.  His first shot would have been 2 or 3 feet high if it hit the backstop at all.  His second shot was foot or so low.  His third shot may have had a chance to hit the target. Watching him in three titled events this year his hit percentage generally is below 30%.  He went out in the fourth round.  If he recognizes himself and wants help I will direct him to some good blogs to find the target. By the way he is blazing fast, a low 3 shooter.  That is the problem with the flail draw, almost impossible to master with sufficient accuracy to be competitive.

The dominant draw among the men  is the locked elbow draw.  It dominates because it is the most stable accurate draw. With the locked elbow draw, there is less total motion, the gun is fired from a locked fixed position with no motion.  With it your most accurate draw will be your quickest.  It is also the safest of the draws.

With the flail or the level and follow through the gun is fired while in motion.  Timing is much more crucial in these draws.  The flail draw can be especially troubling with wax being slung everywhere.

However, the locked elbow draw is not without its challenges.  A perfect locked elbow draw would be shot with the muzzle directly above the holster pouch in a fixed stable position, hence a Rule 17 violation.

Rule 17:  Rule 17 is biased against the locked elbow draw because it is the only draw where the shot is fired from a fixed position close to the holster.  A line judge  may think he can see where the gun is fired with the  locked elbow draw because the gun is stable.  There is absolutely no possibility that a line judge can determine where a flail shooters fires from when the draw takes less than 100 milliseconds.  With the level and follow through draw, even if the gun is fired behind the front lip the forward follow through masks the violation.  Some have suggested that I should "poke."  Sorry, that is recipe to boothill, I will not give up the accuracy.

Locked elbow shooters have dealt with Rule 17 in a number of ways.  Some have moved the anchor point higher up on the body.  This moves the muzzle away from holster and it is much less likely that a line judge will think he see a violation. Others have moved the anchor point forward, therefore the muzzle is moved forward.  A more erect stance with move the shoulder forward and hence the muzzle forward.

Mag 7 Violations:  We shot five days without a problem and then in the Mag 7 two shooters were eliminated for Rule 17 violations.  If anyone thinks this was good for the sport they need to think again.

I have no complaint with Cal's call on me. It was probably correct.  I did not handle it well.  I was not mentally tough. I thought now what am I going to do. I can stand more erect and I can move my anchor point forward. Of course, "thinking about an action is the sign of a novice, or a key to turning an expert into an amateur."  Sports Illustrated.  The results were that I anticipated by cocking the hammer before the light and almost shooting myself I was so flustered.  I called the anticipation on myself, the hand judge did not see it.  A veteran shooter watching the live feed has told me that he observed that the hand judges were so focus on Rule 17 that there was no way they could call anticipation because they were out of position to see the light.

I think it is helpful for folks to see my Rule 17 violation  in comparison to Powder Kegs winning draw in the finals.

Clearly Powder Kegs' draw is not in violation and mine maybe is in violation.  When you compare the two, you see that the stance is similar, the location of the gun in relationship to the body is almost the same, the draws very nearly the same (except I am missing high).  What is different is the location of the holster.  Powder Kegs' holster is several inches father back on his side.  I will move my holster back!

This will not happen again.  I will not be flustered by a warning.  Starting today I will be practicing what I will call my "warning draw."  It will probably be a two handed aimed draw to be used only in case of a warning.  I will not be a danger to myself or others trying to change my draw in a competition.  "I warned em!" Virgil Cole.  

We had some silliness at Nationals with Range Masters either not knowing the rules or making up new rules to suit they own perceptions.  I have discussed this with Cal and he said he is going "nip it in the bud", we will see.

Mental Toughness:  I would be remiss if  I did not mention that Powder Keg went through the entire event without an X.  He had also done this at the Texas State Championship.  Power Keg won not because he was the quickest but because he was the toughest gunfighter there.  He did not win a single shot against Marshall Cooper on time in the final match.  Powder Keg has a training regiment wherein he practices mental toughness.  This sport is a gunfight, it is not a speed contest.


  1. I didn't realize that Powder Keg had shot Texas clean, and the fact that he did so in the Nationals is an indicator of what a great competitor he is. Kudos to him.

    Holster position is important, because what we do is based on ingrained muscle memory. When it "feels right" we do better, and having that holster exactly where we're used to having it at the start of the draw influences everything about the draw-and-fire stroke. Personally, I like my trigger guard to be an inch behind my trouser seam. But that's just me.

  2. Thanks as always for sharing Jim.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Great blog Jim. The one thing I could not understand why did they (whoever they where) assign 4 line judges to watch the shoot offs. Why have hand judges as one hand judge said. Why and who made the call to watch certain shooters? Sounds to me that certain shooters were suppose to win and did not. Lets see what happens at the FGA. Cal did say to me that changes are going to be made. Hope for the good. He needs to take a closer look at his Regulators.

    2. We need to think the best of everyone. There is enough to make you think otherwise, but we need to assume the best about everyone. We are all human.

  4. Here's the thing about line judging: It doesn't have to be obvious. He or she simply needs to position herself where she can see the bolster/muzzle in question. There are normally enough people standing close, watching the action, that the rangemaster could ask a knowledgeable shooter to line judge without making it obvious.

    There is no reason to intrude upon the line. If the line judge is watching closely, he or she should be able to see by simply positioning herself so that she can watch.

    In the meantime, I've got about 30 days to get ready for Kentucky State. Hope to see all my good friends there.