Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 Service Rifle Competition - Terrace

RULES and CONDITIONS: 2012 Service Rifle Competition - Terrace

Video is STAGE TWO  100m -- Barricades (20 shots total)
Terrace Rod & Gun Club - RSO (Me)
Serial 3 - 20 shots
Type of Fire: Snap
Rate of Fire: 2 shots / exposure (1 from window -- 1 from ledge)
Number of exposures: 10
Time Limit: 15 seconds / exposure
Scoring: V, 5, 4
HPS: 100-20V
Distance: - 100 meters
Position: Modified
Target: 1 X 12/59 C
1. The relay will start in the standing 'low ready' position behind the shooting barrier
2. Once all are ready, the command "Watch Move and Shoot" will be given;
3. Upon the sounding of a short whistle blast the shooter will move to the window, engage the target with one round then move to the ledge and engage the target with one round.
4. A long whistle blast is the indication that the allocated 15 sec time period is over;
5. Shooter will then re-assume the standing 'low ready' position and wait for the next short whistle blast;
6. Only 2 shots at each exposure can be fired.
7. If for some reason 2 shots are not fired during an exposure, make up shots at another exposure are not allowed.
  1. Safe transition between shooting positions;
  2. Quick re-acquisition of sight picture;

Monday, July 16, 2012

The time to develop a long term strategy is now.

Peter Senge recently spoke at the 2012 'Better by Design' CEO Summit and the message he conveyed was alarming. He was speaking to corporate America and advised them that it is high time for them to develop good long term strategies.
What is good strategy?

Good strategy is based upon a realistic set of assumptions about the future we are moving into. Good strategy is also a plan that positions you to be in harmony with forecasted establishing trends.

The trends we have been traditionally following have been based largely on historical data. Peter Senge's message is that the path for humanity's development cannot continue down the path we have followed over the last few hundred years. He refers to it as the continuing industrial revolution dominated by materialism and consumption.

We have heard this before - over and over. But what does it mean?

How do we understand the world around us?

So let's look at the data Peter Senge presents. He refers to the Earth's ability to sustain life as 'Carrying Capacity'.

Since humans have occupied the Earth we have grown and hunted for our own food, cut down trees for warmth and cooking. Pretty basic stuff right? Not really, now 80% of North America's population is urbanized and depends on the food distribution and energy sectors to provide those necessities of life for us. Needs are delivered and the nasty business of harvesting, milking and slaughtering food is out-sourced.

As we look closer at 'Carrying Capacity' we should think more along the lines of how much land is needed to support one person with healthy harvest vegetable, meat and other healthy food staples.

1. According to Senge we are currently over achieving the Earth's natural ability to provide food for our Global population by 150%. Industrial food production is a required technology to sustain our human population.

2. If China's population were to rise to the material affluence and waste of the West this number rises to 200% of the Earth's 'Carrying Capacity'.

3. If India follows suit then we rest at 300% 'Carrying Capacity' of the Earth's natural ability to sustain life on this tiny speck of space dust that we lovingly call Earth.

This is just food consumption - Now let's look at water.
1. Currently there are One Billion people that do not have access to clean drinking water.

2. According to the World Health Association by 2020 it is expected that there will be Two Billion people that don't have access to clean drinking water.

Senge shares another data point with us.
If you add up all of the people killed through war, genocides, homicides and murder (any act where one human kills another) that number is exceeded annually three times by suicide. People are taking their own lives today three times more in number than all of the other deaths by war and murder combined every year.

We are on the cusp of a social and ecological crisis where our food supply and distribution systems are being strained. One significant drought starts a chain of events in food costs that we all feel in our wallets. According to Senge we are also starting to experience a human crisis of the magnitude we have never seen before. People are just killing themselves...

Senge states that the idea of living on a world where one billion people do not have access to clean drinking water does not make him feel secure about the future. Add another billion to that ballance in approximately eight years and insecurity might turn into desperation. The implications are very unsettling.

What does this mean for you or your organization?

You need to have personal (or corporate) goals and aspirations that are ultimately in harmony with the world we are leading into. That is what defines good strategy.

Senge notes that the future is very unlikely to look like the past. I can personally vouch that change has caught up to us in Pacific North West British Columbia and many of us are spinning at the dramatic pace it brings with it.

The path of human development as it has done over the past several hundred years is simply not going to continue.

Senge reminds us that we do not have two or three Earths - We have One. Human beings need things like water.

Technology is generally about enabling things. The question is... What do we want to enable?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Organizing a Shooting Competition?

Fate would have it the other day that Ian Millar and I would arrive at the municipal dump at the same time. Of course the conversation turned to the British Columbia Rifle Association’s annual Service Rifle Championship, which Ian coordinates. This year Ian has over 90 people registered in Service Rifle and about 50 people registered for Service Pistol We stood there in the flies and the dust discussing build up training, employment leave, logistics, planning, coordination, sponsorship, prizes, trophy construction and so on. I wished him good luck in the competition prior to going our separate ways. I sure wish I was going to the BCRA SR competition. Oh well!
Afterwards my mind turned to the Service Rifle competition that I coordinate and host annually. The Terrace Rod & Gun Club competition is on a much smaller scale than the BCRA SR competition but it is still fun. Regardless there are numerous preparations that must be made prior to any shooter arriving for registration.
Every successful club or association has them, a commodity resource that is the heart and soul of any successful program. People that invest their personal time, share their expertise freely and enjoy seeing others succeed in their shooting discipline are the resource. These people are usually enthusiasts and specialists in a certain field that want to see the sport flourish.
  • Are you one of these people?
  • An untapped resource?
How do you get started? It takes planning and you’re probably going to need some help. If you, or someone you know, wants to coordinate a shooting competition there are a few things you will need to consider.
1. To need to have established (or are in the act of establishing) competencies in a particular discipline and you will need to be able to demonstrate that you have those competencies;
2. You will need to make a presentation to your local club executive. Describe in detail:
  1. Your vision;
  2. Your method;
  3. Your plan;
  4. How it benefits the club and the members;
  5. Timing / Dates / Schedules & Coordination with other programs
  6. Range Improvements;
  7. Range maintenance;
Your local club is interested in providing their members with safe sporting alternatives so long as it does not conflict with other established programs. You will need to garner support from the club’s executive first and be prepared to be flexible. The club may want you to take baby steps and to establish a reputation before your event can be too big or sophisticated.
3. Ask what resources can the club bring to the table? You and the club are developing a partnership for your event.
  1. Training opportunities
  2. Refund policy
  3. Expertise;
  4. Club Assets
  5. Advertizing / Newsletters / club web site
  6. Are there any other stakeholders that may have a vested interest in your event?
It takes time and dedication to put on a good competition. Try not to be too disappointed if you have fewer competitors attend that you were hoping for. If it’s a well planned, safe and fun competition word will get out and your following will grow.
In the past I have employed radio, internet and television interviews to advertize my competitions before and after the events have occurred. You can do the same – it’s great coverage and is seriously worthy of your consideration. It has paid off but it has been a tremendous amount of work. Your take home pay is pride in a job well done and the gratitude of the people that attend your competitions.
In closing there is something else that needs to be said. Our champion shots don’t get to be champions without the support of people that organize and deploy practice sessions and competitions. It is these events and competitions that give our champions the opportunity to perfect their craft and bring home wins.
To all of you that work towards arranging and organizing competitions, regardless of the shooting discipline, shooters from all walks of life send you thanks and gratitude! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

What is Personal Mastery?

Ever felt uncomfortable addressing a large group of people?
How about having difficult conversations?
Ever experienced gut wrenching discomfort because of a conflict?

How does one overcome these self imposed pressures and emotions?
It’s a phenomenon called ‘Personal Mastery’ and it takes a bit of work to develop.

Depending on the challenge most people develop a persona to help them through it.

Persona is a mask or appearance that one presents to the world.

These are versions of yourself and behaviours that you tap into, sometimes unintentionally, when confronting challenges.

Persona was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans in theatre and was represented by a mask that the actor would wear while playing a particular character.

Are we any different when it comes to performing roles or tasks that are a little outside of our comfort zones?

I recently saw an interview with Meat Loaf where he admitted that he didn’t perceive of himself as a rock and roll star but he does see himself as an actor portraying a rock and roll star. This is how his authentic self copes with the stress of standing up in front of adoring fans. It’s an interesting question to ask but when are we really our authentic selves? Meat Loaf was very blunt about it and I find it very refreshing to hear that kind of honesty from someone as famous as him. Freddie Mercury said the same thing during an interview while he was on the “It’s a Kind of Magic” tour. He said that that’s not really him up there pumping his arms and trouncing about on the stage; it’s a persona he adopts. It would be ridiculous if he was like that in his day to day life. We have these mental models of what it is that a rock and roll star should be. Do we have these perceived notions about ourselves as well?

Mental models can often be beneficial but they can also do harm to individuals and organizations. Mental Models are big assumptions and beliefs that are anchored in ourselves or our organizations and sometimes we need to let them go. Some people believe that they can only be who they really are after they retire and some people cannot separate what they do from who they are. Are these mental models bad for us and can we let go of them?

The elephant in the room – Something we all know about but never talk about. You don’t heal a festering wound by hiding it under a band aid. You heal it by cleaning it and exposing it to the air. If something is negatively impacting you (or your organization) then it needs to be exposed and talked about. Is it possible to turn a ‘Win – Lose’ situation into a ‘Win – Win’ situation? In most cases it is possible but it takes leadership and a measure of fortitude to have a meaningful and structured conversation in a safe physical and emotional space.

Peter Senge says, “Personal Mastery goes beyond competence and skills, it means living life from a creative viewpoint not reactive.”

What do you want in life and in work?
How do you make that happen?

When your persona and authentic self align with one another you are starting to exhibit some of the characteristics of personal mastery. Practitioners of personal mastery exhibit the following characteristics
They have a sense of purpose that lies behind their goals
  • Their vision is more like a calling than a good idea
  • They see current reality as an ally, not an enemy
  • They are committed to seeing reality increasingly accurately
  • They are extremely inquisitive
  • They do not resist, but work with, the forces of change
  • They feel connected to others and to life itself
They feel that they are part of a larger creative process that they can influence but cannot unilaterally control

Senge links personal mastery to effective leadership stating, “The core leadership strategy is simple: be a model. Commit yourself to your own personal mastery.”

In my experience it is only when your authentic self and your persona come into alignment that you have stepped onto the threshold of personal mastery. You lose the mask because confidence and experience become the staple of your efforts. You are now free to be yourself in areas that once were unfamiliar and uncomfortable and you are accepting of phenomena that were foriegn previously.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The 2012 Norinco 1911A1 Commander - Table Top Review

I made this video when I was pretty sick with flu and made a few rookie mistakes so please be kind with your comments.

Over-all, if you're looking for an entry level 1911A1 and don't have a lot of money to spare I do recommend Norinco Products however be prepared to spend some time tinkering in your shop.

If you are on a budget, don't have a shop, time or the incentive to do some tinkering purchase a SHOOTERS ARMS MANUFACTURING pistol for a few extra dollars and avoid this particular Norinco product.

Longevity wil however go to the Norinco as these are forged steel where-as SAM pistols are investment cast.  

Enjoy the video.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Proficient marksmanship and old technology

This range session was inspired by atwar blogs (NY Times) April 2010 article in which C.J. Chivers describes how two or three Taliban pin down a USMC Section and cause light casualties. The Taliban firing position was between 500 and 600 meters from the US Marines. The US marines thought they had run into snipers however the Taliban fighters were armed with 70 year old lee enfields. There is something to be said about a bolt action rifle lobbing larger slugs and a more effective range while patrolling in open terrain.
For the full article

Please be respectful with your responses. This isn't about good, evil, morality, justice or politics. This video is about a tool - The Lee Enfield Rifle.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The cost of serenity

I recently facilitated a meeting with some employee’s that were feeling disenfranchised, disengaged and disempowered. Not a healthy place to be at all. We went through a series of exercises to identify what the issues were then categorized them into themes. Next we brainstormed each theme to determine if staff members had the power to effect positive change and at this stage something interesting happened. Half of the biggest themes that were causing the most frustration were removed because staff did not have the power or influence to effect positive change. These were very high level strategic and political issues that were impacting morale on a day to day basis.

This was both good news and bad news for the group.
  • The good news was that the group had identified some issues that could be fixed at their level and that the conversation they were having allowed them to explore the issues in detail;
  • The other good news was that they were now aware that there was no sense allowing a bunch of these issues they had identified to bother them because there was nothing they could do at their level to fix them. All they could do was identify it as an issue and pass it up the ladder to the powers that be;
  • The bad news – A number of the core issues would remain – no mitigating steps could (or would) be taken to make the situation better;
After the session had concluded something was bothering me. Two days had passed and it was still bothering me until I saw something I had written a few months previously on a sticky pad and stored on my desk. It was a very old prayer that touched a chord with me a while back so I wrote it down thinking that perhaps one day it might come in handy.

The Serenity Prayer
·        God granted me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
·        The courage to change the things I can;
·        The wisdom to know the difference;
·        It often falls on us to set the example;

So in this example we have achieved most of these four bullets. Due to time restraints we did not pursue solutions – that will come later. However when time permits this group will convene again to explore possibilities and soldier on in a more effective and efficient manner.
Has your organization taken the time recently to identify the issues that are impacting your staff's level of engagement? Huge advances and efficiencies can be made by being bold, letting the skeletons out of the closet and in this case “setting the example”.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Continually improving at all levels

Looking South to Lakelse Lake - late morning
Have you ever been in the unfortunate situation where the life of a casualty rested solely on your shoulders? It happened to me once and it occurred when I least expected it to. I can tell you that the burden of responsibility and critical self evaluation didn’t happen until days after the casualty had been successfully transferred to emergency services. Thankfully for me, the casualty survived and my conscience was clear. The remorse and guilt that I would have carried had I pursued the wrong course of action would have been debilitating. It was a very valuable learning opportunity, character building and life changing event. An individual can learn from a positive or negative experience but can a team? How about an organization? Absolutely it can!
Sometimes the nature of the work we do as Rangers places us in situations where people in distress are counting on us to literally save their lives. They may be suffering from prolonged exposure to the elements, dealing with mental stress or suffering from a painful injury. All they can hope for is that someone qualified and experienced is looking for them.
The author practicing a type III search
Canadian Rangers occasionally practice Type I, II and III searches but what if we find an individual that has a fracture of the pelvis? Now what? How do we deliver non-urban first aid, coordinate our activity as a team and effectively transport that person to emergency services without aggravating the injury? How do we use native building materials to construct a stretcher or a make-shift skimmer? Are we putting the casualty at ease because we’re organized professionals or are we incurring stress and worry because we’re confused and disorganized?
January 20 – 22, 2012 the Terrace Ranger Patrol conducted a Search and Rescue exercise in the middle of a winter storm. The training required Rangers to effectively establish a winter bivouac site for two Ranger Sections using Canadian Forces 10-person arctic tents and a 12’X14’ wall tent to act as HQ. Subsequent training involved a review of safety procedures, rudimentary GPS and radio voice procedures prior to entering into a SAR simulation.
10-Person CF Arctic Tent
Our Ranger Instructor, WO Fergus O’Connor, encouraged the members of our Patrol to ask hard questions and do some planning for unforeseen possibilities prior to deployment. We came up with a few minor ideas which later proved to be no-where near the level of preparation required. Our inexperience working together as a Patrol doing SAR and casualty extraction was about to be tested.
The training was being facilitated by the Patrol 2 I/C and both Section Commanders and therefore each section 2 I/C found themselves leading their respective section. The over-all coordination was oriented by HQ through the use of GMFRS radios.
We were tasked with the hasty search of a partially grown in secondary road located 1600 metres north of our bivouac location. Upon receiving our orders, and without delay, Terrace Rangers quick marched to our search coordinates and began to evaluate and report clues as we discovered them. In short order we found the location of the missing and semi-conscious snowmobiler. Both section 2 I/C’s went to work administering first aid to the casualty who, in this circumstance, was suffering from a compound fracture to his lower leg.
Section Commander LeBarge role playing the injured snowmobiler
Our conditions had changed and instead of being in the open where we had conducted all of our build up training, we found ourselves in a steep mature pine stand with a thick hemlock understory and very deep snow base. The crown of this forest was heavily laden with snow and to compound the situation further we were experiencing ‘white-out’ snow conditions. It was getting dark and we had lost communications with HQ due to a loss of line of sight radio capability. We were unable to effectively send or receive information vital to the coordinated decisions that needed to be made in the field. Additionally we discovered that the snowmobile and skimmer we were relying on to extract the casualty had become stuck and was not going to be available to us. 
Extracting the casualty after administering First Aid
We were doing the best we could but our limited experience was showing. Both sections were frustrated and as discovered during the ’After Action Report’ for a short period of time it appeared as though extracting the casualty was no longer the main priority. The lessons were many and a new appreciation for the professional services of search and rescue volunteers was earned.
This is why Canadian Rangers have Field Training Exercises (FTX). In the absence of training and ‘dry runs’ there resides no opportunity to improve. If we don’t practice and answer the “What If” questions we open ourselves to a heightened possibility of detrimental failure in the real world.
In my experience the Canadian Armed Forces is one of the most forward thinking organizations I have ever seen. It advocates ‘Continuous Improvement’ at all levels and as such it demands leadership at all levels. ‘After Action Reports’ are invaluable mechanisms that help members evaluate what worked well and what we need to do differently next time. Time well spent in so many inexplicable ways.
I recall observing the expression on WO Fergus O’Connor’s face as our troubles began to unfold. It was one of quiet contentment and then it dawned on me; he knew this was going to happen. That is OK because we were learning valuable lessons and that’s all that really matters .
Trees heavily laden with snow act as a barrier to line of sight radio communications