Small Arms Firing School 2010

Also known as SAFS.  Held every August at Camp Perry, OH.
Sponsored by the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the CMP. CMP SAFS link
(pic gallery and video below)

The Chairman, my main character in the Distance In Time series, earned his Distinguished Rifleman badge (at the age of 19). I added that based on my own experience in the competition, which began with a local NRA Highpower match quickly followed by SAFS.
The Chairman being a DR also factors in later on in the series ūüėÄ

The CMP Highpower rifle program is where you gather the points to earn the Distinguished Rifleman badge. CMP DR Badge LINK

SAFS is a school where a non-DR can gather 4 of the necessary 30 points to earn Distinguished Rifleman.  You just have to place in the top 10%.

I’ll make that even clearer, it is 10%, not a certain score. ¬†The top non-DR sets the score, from there it’s all those within 10%. ¬†So if the top guy scores 300/400 then the remaining shooters only¬†need to shoot 270 or better. If the top guy shoots 399/400 the cutoff rises accordingly.

It is here that I earned my first 4 points toward Distinguished Rifleman.

The CMP National Matches and Excellence-In-Competition matches are similar, just that they’re 500 points.¬†¬†Again, it’s the top shooters¬†that earn the DR points, not a certain score¬†level. ¬†This way you’re always competing against the group, ¬†not the scoreboard. There are various requirements that help offset any funny business, such as a minimum number of shooters necessary in order to award points.

It is probably the best thought out scoring system I’ve come across for any form of competition.

In addition a spec rifle is used; Garand, M14 or M16 as outlined in the RULEBOOK.
The M16 format, at least as of 2014, is:
6.2.3 U.S. Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16
The rifle must be an M16A2 or M16A4 rifle issued by the U.S. Armed Forces or a commercial rifle of the same type and caliber. M16 rifles must be chambered for the 5.56 mm cartridge.

It is with this setup in mind that I decided that I wouldn’t simply be a collector of certain firearms but a competitor and I went with a Rock River Arms National Match AR15-A2 rifle:
Barrel: Wilson air gauged stainless steel, 20in, Wylde chamber (.223/5.56), 1/8 twist rate, A2 flash hider, A2 integral front post sight/gas block
Handguard: RRA free float handguard
Trigger: RRA NM 2-stage trigger. Failed in 900 rounds. Now using a Geissele SSA trigger
Front Post: 0.072
Rear sight: NM 1/4×1/4, .030 hooded aperture in fixed upper handle receiver.
Standard A2 pistol grip and A2 buttstock

Another benefit of SAFS is that they provide the rifle, ammo and magazines and you are required to use their rifle and ammo (you could use your own mags though). Everything else: spotting scope, stand, mat, logbook, sling, etc you had to supply yourself.

Not having to bring rifle and ammo actually greatly simplified my flight from Miami, FL to Camp Perry lol.

Here is a Flickr Photo Gallery (click on the photo), and below that, a short video I put together.

 

 

Civil Forfeiture as a plot device?

Sure, why not. About two months ago I discovered my ‘device’, the device that will create that One Defining Moment, aka ‘the Climax’, where everything changes for my main characters.

I’m using a legal fiction, Civil Forfeiture, as the device. I won’t get into too much detail, to avoid giving away how it works into the story, but this topic is perfect. Stunningly perfect.

I even have some personal experience with it. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier.

Now at first my Climax was simply the Chairman and Michelle selling their first starship to the government but then instead leaving the Solar System with it and having their grown kids finish off Starship #2 to sell to the gov.

Boring right? I knew that too, and wrote it out anyway. Again it was just something to start with, to get the imagination warmed up.

I have a 40 minute commute (one way), mostly highway, and I often drive in silence, just brainstorming.

Most times I’ll be running a single chapter through my head.

When I do turn on the radio I end up playing a song that might fit the tone of the chapter. This helps me to flesh out the details even further.

I was reminded of a time, in my current job, where I was called down to our marina to meet with two US Marshals. They were there to seize the yacht of one of our clients and they called just to give our company a heads up that they were removing the yacht to … wherever. (I forget)

That was an ‘in rem’ forfeiture. That means they take your stuff because your stuff is guilty, nothing at all to do with you.
How can stuff be guilty? That’s part of what makes this particular plot device so good.

In speaking with our client’s attorney it turned out that the case went poorly … for the plaintiff.

Perfect experience to build on.

I feel like I’m back in college in studying this Civil Forfeiture topic. There is so much meat available from so many different sources. It’s all really juicy stuff too.

So juicy that I am effectively re-writing the book to incorporate the process properly. FISA court, NSA, a couple of LE alphabet agencies will be involved. It’s the perfect device for my space travel story set in the near future (and then far future), just the thing I’ve been searching for.

Let’s just say that when the story is finally released you’ll wonder “How can that be real?”.

It is. It will be the only non-fiction device in my science fiction thriller lol.

_

I swam with a Blacktip shark

Or at least tried to lol.


(Screenshot from my GoPro)

Myself and my PADI instructor, Nick, were approaching the sunken winch in Molasses Reef down in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

We were about 22 feet deep. This was my third open water dive for certification.

The shark was approaching from my right and I caught him briefly on the GoPro. (video below)

We were both kicking with powerful strokes, perfect form and we could BARELY keep up.  That magnificent beast was swishing his tail about once every two seconds, hardly moving, but enough to lazily outpace us.

Later on we came across the shark again!

I was in trail when my instructor looked back at me and pointed back and to my left.

I twisted myself back a bit … BAM! ¬†There he was!

He was just cruising along, no stress at all, with his entourage, a few stuck to him, the others swimming along with him.

We just hovered briefly as he went by and you could see his right eye take us in momentarily, “just the pair of SCUBA slowpokes from before.”

When he passed Nick we started following him. But like I mentioned above, he simply outpaced us.

What an incredible creature.

This experience created the spark later on¬†for one of the scenes in the upcoming science fiction thriller ‘Distance In Time: Michelle’

The Chairman’s weapon of choice

The Chairman of Curve Aerospace is a CMP Distinguished Rifleman.

But his weapon of choice is his old Winchester Model 1300 Defender 12ga shotgun, holding 6+1 three inch shells.

Winchester 1300 Defender shotgun
The Chairman’s Winchester Model 1300 Defender shotgun
Shotshell hook and loop card attached to left side of Winchester Model 1300 Defender
Shotshell hook and loop card attached to left side of Winchester Model 1300 Defender

The reason? One of his company’s research projects for future military sales is ammunition development.

And the 12ga format provides for considerable flexibility in ammunition design.

An example is the Rocket Propelled, Fin Stabilized, 400 grain hardened lead alloy slug shell. The ‘beanbag’ round for armored folks.
Traveling at over Mach 6.5 it’ll deliver over 40,000 ft-lbs of energy into the target. More than a 20mm cannon shell.

Externally a shell looks like a typical 3″ magnum shell, complete with primer and brass base.
It even fires like one. The specially designed wad inside allows for a standard powder charge to eject the rocket motor and shot combo. An impulse activated, time delay fuse ignites the rocket approximately three feet from the muzzle.

Other payloads include, but not limited to:

RPFS armor piercing
RPFS high explosive, armor piercing
RPFS grenade
Gas shells
Signal shells
EMP shells. These use a special gel and electric charge to deliver a damaging, high amperage shock to electrical systems, computers, etc.

The beauty of the 12ga. That’s why he loves it so much and why his humadrones use the shotgun format for base and home security.

Besides, ‘shells’ sounds cooler than ’rounds’. ūüėÄ

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