On To Nationals: The Day Of The Downpour

by Editor 19. September 2012 06:34
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The 2012 IDPA National Championships officially begin today, but yesterday saw the SO staff out on the range desperately trying to in as many stages as possible when the rain was its lightest or there was a break. Unfortunately it was a downpour most of the day with thunder storms rolling through around 3:00pm.

We have it on good authority - from none-other-than The Weather Channel - that today will be much better with just a 10% chance of rain. The rest of the week is supposed to be clear as well if a bit cloudy at times.

Despite the downpour IDPA welcomed back the TV crew from Shooting Gallery and the show's host Michael Bane, a good friend of IDPA. They'll be back out on the range today and rumor has it they might break out the Phantom camera - you know, the one that does that super slow-mo that makes shooting look uber cool. If you see them be sure to say hello (when they aren't filming of course).

One guy you won't see on the range is Jerry Miculek. In order to attend a match outside the U.S., the Team Smith & Wesson Revo King shot the entire match in yesterday's downpour...all 16 stages.

Afterwards you could find Miculek hanging out with the Safety Officers talking about the stages, shooting with his family and how to Wal-Mart your gun - a very funny story that proves once again how the single best revolver shooter in history is a true man of the people. Which is probably why nobody doesn't like Jerry Miculek...nobody.

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On To Nationals: Preview of Stage 15

by Editor 18. September 2012 20:00
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Nobody interrupts you when you're grilling. Nobody! But that seems to be exactly what stage designer Frank Glover has in store for you on stage 15, 'On My New Deck.' Sponsored by Remington Arms Company, the Big Green Machine of the firearms industry, this is all about you facing off against the Purple Gang...and they don't stand a chance.

CSO: Your CSO for this stage will be Rodrigo Carvajal.

SCENARIO: You are trying out your new grill on your newly completed deck when you are attacked by “Little Willy” and his Purple gang.

PROCEDURE: Start loaded and holstered standing at grill (P1), holding spatula in strong hand. At signal, engage T1-T6 with 2 rounds each from low cover of grill.

SCORING: Vickers

STAGE SPONSOR: Remington Arms Company
WEBSITE: www.Remington.com
TWITTER: @RemingtonArms
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/RemingtonArmsCompany


Final Stage Reveals Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 19-20, During The Match

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On To Nationals: Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

by Editor 18. September 2012 08:03
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With Nationals just around the corner, and victory in sight, you'll need a good stogie in your bag to help commemorate the big win. Since DOWN ZERO knows little-to-nothing about a good cigar - other than they cost a lot - we turned to IDPA's resident expert, and StogieReview.com's co-founder, Walt White (yes, of WaltInPA.com fame), for a list of go-to victory cigars you need to consider. 

1) Padron Family Reserve - 45 Years

If you have an honest-to-God, serious reason to celebrate (As in, you just beat up on Bob Vogel at Nationals) and you want to top off the experience with a fine cigar, in my mind there is no better choice than the Padron Family Reserve 45 Years. Sure, it aint cheap at about $26.00, but price is no object in this situation, right?

Padron has an excellent reputation for their higher end cigars, such as the Anniversary Line.  With each step up the ladder, starting at the Anniversary 1964, then moving up to the 1926, and so on and so forth, cigars get better and better. The Family Reserve 45 years is the top rung and is there for good reason.

This cigar is full of rich and complex flavors and there is wonderful balance between flavor and power. While these may be a little stout for early on in the day, they are always great in the afternoon and evening. (read the full review)

2) Ashton ESG

Of all the cigars on this list, the Ashton ESG has been the one I’m not sure about. It has been taken off and added back in, countless times. It is tough, at $25.00 it isn’t something many people smoke often. It is also about 2x the price of its cousin, the Ashton VSG, and simply put, not 2x as good.

With all that in mind, if you are going to pop open an high end bottle to celebrate, you might as well throw aside the thoughts of expense. You will experience buyer's remorse after handing over your money but it will drift away as you set flame to foot.

The Ashton ESG is easy on the palate and isn’t terribly powerful either. It can be enjoyed by a wide range of cigar enthusiasts. Even so, unless you’re looking for a status symbol I’d leave this one to more experienced cigar smokers. Not to sound all high and mighty, or pompous, but this cigar has a lot of complexity and a new smoker probably wouldn;t get their money back out of it. (read the full review)

3) Liga Privada T52 by Drew Estate

Whenever a discussion of Drew Estate and Liga Privada begins, there is always one single debate that is sure to pop up. Which is better, the Liga Privada No. 9 or the Liga Privada T52.

While the Liga Privada No. 9 is no slouch, I’m a T52 man, myself. I find this cigar to have big, bold flavors without having too much power. This means that I can enjoy them anytime, day or night, without worrying about my palate being battered and beaten.

There are two reasons why I don’t smoke the T52 as often as I’d like. First, they can be tough to come by as only Liga Privada Dealers carry them. There are plenty of them, so tracking them down isn’t difficult, but you probably aren’t going to find them in small Mom & Pop style shops. The second reason is cost, they tend to start at about $12.00 and go up with larger vitolas. (read the full review)

4) Oliva Serie V Liga Especial

The Oliva Serie V Liga Especial is a cigar that has been around for a few years now. They were all the rage when initially released and have become a staple in cigar shops across the country.

The Serie V runs between $6.50 and $9.00, depending on the size and shape selected, and is full bodied. It has an excellent mix of flavor to strength/power, making for a well balanced cigar, but can be a little much for those new to cigars.

If you are new to cigars but want to try the Oliva Serie V, light it up sometime in the evening after having eaten dinner. I find these cigars to be spicy, woody, and crisp on the palate. (read the full review)

5) EP Carrillo New Wave

When it comes to celebrating with a cigar, it isn’t always about smoking something rare and expensive. The important thing is highlighting your achievement with a quality cigar that will ultimately make the experience all that more pleasant.

The EP Carrillo New Wave is something everyone can afford and comes in between $5.00 and $6.00 per cigar. This cigar features a filler blend that isn’t overpowering and is topped off with a Connecticut Shade wrapper, which gives it a creamy aftertaste.

I find that these cigars are mild enough for beginners and have enough flavor for the seasoned cigar smoker. They go particularly well with a hot cup of coffee and can be enjoyed anytime throughout the day. (read the full review)


Over the past few years I have used a variety of devices to take my cigars on the go with me. Some devices work better than others, but I’ve had the best luck with Xikar Travel Humidors. They come in a variety of sizes, the most common being Five, Ten, and Fifteen Count Models.

The humidor itself is made of tough plastic and can easily handle being bumped and banged around in your range bag. The lid is secured by two latches on either side of the lid. A foam liner on the lid and bottom (additional foam dividers are provided with larger models)  keep cigars in place and prevent damage.

A small humidification device is recessed into the foam lid liner, which allows cigars to be stored for a moderate amount of time, without worry.

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On To Nationals: Preview of Stage 7

by Editor 17. September 2012 20:00
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Sponsored by Cheaper Than Dirt! and designed by Frank Glover, stage 7 is called 'The Warehouse' and for good reason. Just like in a real warehouse where there are plenty of hiding places the bad guys on this stage will drop out of sight on you if you aren't fast. Thankfully though, you'll have the opportunity to pick-up two of them from another shooting position.

CSO: Your CSO for this stage will be Ron Rhoden.

SCENARIO: You are working security at a warehouse when you confront thieves that have broken into the building.

PROCEDURE: Start at P1, loaded and holstered, facing visible targets with hand on gun. At signal, engage T1-T3 with 2 rounds each (T1-T2 will be visible later, T3 is disappearing). Then move to P2 and engage T4-T6 in tactical priority. T1–T2 will have their heads visible from here if you need to re-engage them.

SCORING: Vickers

STAGE SPONSOR: Cheaper Than Dirt!
PHONE: 800-421-8047
WEBSITE: www.CheaperThanDirt.com
TWITTER: @CheaperThanDirt
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/CheaperThanDirt


Next Stage Reveal Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 8:00pm ET

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On To Nationals: Campeonato Internacional

by Editor 17. September 2012 13:30
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While all eyes at the 2012 IDPA Nationals will probably be focused on Bob Vogel, America's best shooter who is working on an unbelievable win streak, one of the most interesting match-ups worth following will take place among the contingent of international shooters which accounts for just over 10% of all competitors.

With 37 shooters representing Austria, Costa Rica, Italy, Mexico, Romania, United Kingdom and Venezuela, as well as the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico, the race for the Campeonato Internacional - or International Championship - is the match within the match.

Here's who you need to keep an eye on...

Rodrigo Carvajal of Team Costa Rica
Rodrigo Carvajal, competing this year in ESP, finished 2nd SSP Master in this year's Costa Rican National Championship and took 1st CDP Expert at the IDPA European Cup. Well known among American shooters, Rodrigo will be pulling double-duty during the match, competing for Team Costa Rica and working the match as a CSO on stages 15 & 16. 

Juan Carlos Gonzalez of Team Venezuela
Juan Carlos Gonzalez, recognized for being a very accurate shooter, finished 5th ESP Master at the Smith & Wesson Indoor Nationals. He'll again be competing head-to-head with the ESP shooters.

Nelso Lopez Iglesias of Team Venezuela
Nelso Lopez Iglesias finished 3rd SSP Master at the 2012 Costa Rican National Championship and took 1st SSP Master this year at the inaugural National Championship of Puerto Rico. Look for him to be in the thick of of among the SSP shooters in North Carolina.

Ricardo Zanotti of Team Venezuela
Ricardo Zanotti won ESP Expert at the Smith & Wesson Indoor Nationals. A strong showing from Ricardo and you'll find him in contention for this year's High International honors.

David Bento of Team Venezuela
David Bento of Team Venezuela is the defending High International Champion having taken the title at last year's IDPA World Shoot. David won SSP Expert at the World Shoot with a time that would have placed him 4th among the Master class shooters. He also won the SSP division title at the National Championship of Puerto Rico. Simply put, this is his to loose.

Also worth noting is that both Costa Rica and Venezuela will have a junior shooter competing this year. While there is no Junior International title up for grabs, some friendly bragging rights are on the line when Gino Lanzoni, SSP Sharpshooter of Team Costa Rica, and Jorge Sleiman, Jr., ESP Sharpshooter of Team Venezuela, step foot on the range.

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Sued To Photograph 2012 IDPA National Championships

by Editor 17. September 2012 07:40
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BERRYVILLE, Ark. – Joyce Wilson, executive director of the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), announced today that the organization is once again working with popular shooting sports photographer Yamil Sued, who will be covering the action at this year’s IDPA National Championships.

“We are very pleased to announce that after the tremendous response we received from competitors at last year’s IDPA World Shoot, Yamil Sued will again be working with IDPA as our official photographer for the 2012 IDPA National Championships,” said Wilson.

Sued has nearly 30 years of experience as a professional photographer. A graduate of the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, Sued has handled product and action photography for several well known brands within the firearms industry including The Beta Company, Brownells, Bushmaster, Bushnell Outdoor Products, Comp-Tac Victory Gear, Cor-Bon Ammunition, FNH USA, IDPA, Insight Tech-Gear, Leupold & Stevens, MGM Targets, MidwayUSA, Rainier Ballistics, Rock Castle Shooting Center, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson and Vortex Optics.

His work has appeared in various publications such as American Handgunner, The Tactical Journal, the Glock Annual, Gun Games, GUNS, Krause Publications, Shooting Illustrated and Shooting Sports USA. He is also a photographer and writer for the newly relaunched Japanese magazine, Gun.

Sued will be on hand throughout the entire match, which takes place September 19-22, at The Range in Oxford, N.C., and his work will be featured daily on IDPA’s Facebook page and the organization’s official blog, DOWN ZERO.

Fore more information, or to get started in this fun and exciting defensive pistol shooting sport, visit www.IDPA.com. You can also follow the IDPA National Championships online by following @OfficialIDPA on Twitter, using hashtag #IDPANats, like ShootIDPA on Facebook, watch IDPA TV, or check for regular updates on the DOWN ZERO Blog.

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Harris Publications Sponsors 2012 IDPA National Championships

by Editor 17. September 2012 05:30
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BERRYVILLE, Ark. – Harris Publications, a leading publisher of special interest publications and owner of such titles as Combat Handguns and the popular website Tactical-Life.com, will be a gold level sponsor of the upcoming International Defensive Pistol Association’s 2012 National Championships taking place this week in Oxford, N.C., according to an announcement made today by IDPA officials.

“IDPA has had a very close working relationship with Harris Publications which has always been a strong supporter of the shooting sports and IDPA in particular,” said Joyce Wilson, executive director of IDPA.

“Through the various firearms titles offered by the Harris Tactical Group, IDPA members have followed every new product announcement and firearm innovation from an insider’s perspective that only the editors at Harris Publications provide. We greatly appreciate their continued support, especially since their publications are favorites among IDPA members.”

As a gold level sponsor of the match Harris Publications joins a list of the shooting sports industry’s who’s who, including ACADEMI, Comp-Tac Victory Gear, Cheaper Than Dirt!, CrossBreed Holsters, CZ-USA, GLOCK, GlockTriggers.com, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Remington, Smith & Wesson, Wilson Combat and Woolrich Elite Series.

As part of Harris Publications’ sponsorship, Combat Handguns and Tactical Knives will each sponsor one of the 16 stages in the course of fire at this year’s National Championships.

The 2012 IDPA National Championships are being held September 19-22 at The Range in Oxford, N.C. As the pinnacle event of the IDPA competitive season, the match will draw more than 350 top shooters vying for the coveted title of National Champion in Custom Defensive Pistol, Enhanced Service Pistol, Stock Service Pistol, Stock Service Revolver and Enhanced Service Revolver, the five divisions in IDPA competition.

Fore more information, or to get started in this fun and exciting defensive pistol shooting sport, visit www.IDPA.com. You can also follow the IDPA National Championships online by following @OfficialIDPA on Twitter, using hashtag #IDPANats, like ShootIDPA on Facebook, watch IDPA TV, or check for regular updates on the Down Zero Blog.

About International Defensive Pistol Association:
Founded in 1996, the International Defensive Pistol Association is the international governing body for IDPA competition which offers shooters a fun, safe, and challenging format to practice and test their gun handling skills through defensive-based scenarios. Today IDPA stands as the fastest growing shooting sport in the United States with over 20,000 members from all 50 states and 54 foreign countries. IDPA's 321 affiliated clubs offer weekly and monthly matches as well as host major championships.

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On To Nationals: Preview of Stage 6

by Editor 16. September 2012 20:00
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All targets disappear. That's the first thing you need to know about this staged designed by Chris Roper and sponsored by Brownells. The second? It's all about choices, which is why this stage is called "What to Do?"

CSO: Your CSO for this stage will be Chris Roper.

SCENARIO: Sometimes there are too many choices. Or are there?

PROCEDURE: Start seated at desk with palms down on top where indicated. Gun is in one desk drawer downloaded to 6 rounds and reloads in another on opposite side. Step box is under desk at your feet.

At signal, engage T1-T4 with 2 rounds each. Left drawer activates right side target, right drawer activates left side target. Step box activates center 2 targets. ALL TARGETS DISAPPEAR. Handle it!

SCORING: Vickers

WEBSITE: www.Brownells.com
PHONE: 800-741-0015
TWITTER: @BrownellsInc
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/BrownellsInc


Next Stage Reveal Monday, Sept. 17 at 8:00pm ET

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On To Nationals: Lessons Learned

by Editor 16. September 2012 17:04
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If this will be your first time to the The Range in Oxford, N.C., then you might want to take note of some lessons learned. DOWN ZERO asked guest blogger Lee Bautista of When The Balloon Goes Up! to share some of his thoughts and observations. Pay close attention...especially to the part about walkthroughs.

Being in Oxford, N.C. for the 2012 IDPA National Championship will bring back some fond memories since the last time we were here for June's Carolina Cup. Going back, what are some lessons learned from shooting a major match, especially at this location?

Do Listen to the Walkthroughs:
On the stage in the shoot house, Ron was repeatedly getting called for cover for a target he was exposed to that he didn't even know was there; costing him thirteen seconds and a match bump. You can read more about his thoughts on his post, "My 1st Experience at a Major Match". Pro Tip: If allowed, take a look at the stage from deeper in the bay and take note of all the targets as you face up range.

Do Chronograph Your Ammo Beforehand:
It is highly likely that there will be an equipment check and chronograph. A member on our squad didn't make floor by 30fps. No, he wasn't cheating; rather an honest mistake on his part, however, rules are rules and this shooter learned a valuable lesson to chrono his ammo for future matches.

Do Be Aware of Personal Walkthroughs:
We are not allowed to sit on the chair or use props to check angles of the CoF during the walkthrough. In addition, we're not allowed to use low cover or go prone on stages that have shooting positions like this. Kneeling over to check angles is also bad. SO's will let you know quickly if they catch you doing this and may even issue a twenty second penalty for the infraction.

Do Recognize Muzzle Safe Points and Adapt:
Just to put it out there, "tight" muzzle safe points are not DQ traps. It's part of the course of fire that we all have to adhere to. What to do? Practice your reloads to ensure that your muzzle is pointed downrange by either orienting your body so that the muzzle is downrange away from the muzzle safe point or torquing your wrist a bit to accomplish the same result. Again, practice this in dry fire so that it will be second nature when you get to the match.

Do Be Aware of the Backstop When Re-Engaging Targets:
There can be issues when a shooter transitions from one position to another position (in this case, prone or kneeling). Re-engaging a previous taller target from the new low cover or prone position can send a round over the berm. Ask, if you’re unsure about what targets can be re-engaged.

Do Have a Great Match:
The folks at The Range are top notch range staff and volunteers who excel greatly at running challenging stage designs with safety in mind. If you haven't had the chance to shoot at The Range, you're in for a treat.

Do Smile for the Camera:
There will be plenty of photographers capturing moments for various media outlets and sponsors. Be yourself and have fun!

About the Author: Lee Bautista has been shooting since April 2009 and is a writer at When The Balloon Goes Up! Blog. The 2012 IDPA Nationals will be his eighteenth major match.

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On To Nationals: Preview of Stage 4

by Editor 15. September 2012 20:00
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Designed by our good friends from IDPA Philippines, many of you will recognize this stage, called Room 469, from the 2011 IDPA World Shoot. This stage is sponsored by Comp-Tac Victory Gear and is all about what goes wrong back at the hotel after the match. Let's hope for those of you competing in the 2012 National Championships this is all about what goes right.

CSO: Your CSO for this stage will be Cindy Bowser.

SCENARIO: You are just returning to the hotel after the match when you hear an odd noise from the room next to yours. You notice the door ajar and as you start to push it open you hear a slide being racked behind the door, but it’s too late to stop.

PROCEDURE: Start loaded and holstered standing at P1 with strong hand on the X. At signal push door open and engage T1-T3. Move to your room and engage T4-T6. Move to adjoining room and engage T7-T8. All targets receive a minimum of 2 rounds each.

SCORING: Vickers

STAGE SPONSOR: Comp-Tac Victory Gear
WEBSITE: www.Comp-Tac.com
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/CompTac


Next Stage Reveal Sunday, Sept. 16 at 8:00pm ET

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