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On Target by mausersandmuffins

Target Acquisition is the location, detection, and identification of a target in sufficient detail to permit the effective employment of lethal and non-lethal means.

It takes more than a good eye, it takes a combination of vision, resolve and strength.  I know that when I first starting shooting rifles, I could do a pretty good grouping for those first few rounds, then it went south.  That was simply a matter of muscle strength. I got a couple of five pound weights, holding one out where a support hand would be, one where my  grip would be. At  home each morning, I’d pull them up, like I was pulling the rifle up quickly to target and hold 30 seconds or so, drop, rest, hold, repeat, 80’s music  sounding out a rhythm on the stereo.

“Hammer Time!”

But it’s seeing what you are doing that’s the most important element of target acquisition, not just maintaining it.

When I was a child, we’d take a vacation every year to the Oregon Coast, renting a small cottage with a view of the beach. Coming down a steep hillside into Cannon Beach, the station wagon dissolving into damp grey light, streams of fog pouring over the road to lie like barely congealed oil, we kids would have all eyes glued to the front windshield.  It was always a contest to see who first could spot the water and call it out.

There it is!  We’ll pull ourselves up in the seat seeing that ocean as if for the first time. You’ve never seen small children so focused, so concentrated. It was something our parents taught us early on.  There is fun, and there is play, but there are times, that for your safety, you need to be able to sit still and truly look.

Eighteen years later, I’m in the left seat of a transport, shooting down the barrel of an instrument approach into a tight runway in the mountains.  We have enough fuel to give it just one try and then go to our alternate airport.  But thanks to a weather system  that didn’t bother to read the accu-hunch forecast, there were some serious thunderstorms drifting in that moat between us and our only other option.  We needed to get into this airport,  now, this once. If we blew it, we’d not get a second shot.

There is no range concentration that can match that of pilots that have just one shot at getting in to land or face a dire horizon. If you’re lucky, you can pick up the tease of the approach lights and stay in the clouds til you’re a hundred or so feet from the ground. But if you break out of that ragged overcast at that point, rain splatting on the windshield like a thousand guppies, doing 130 miles an hour, you’d better have your target in clear view or your day is not going to go well.

As the shotguns and Daisy’s of my youth gave way in my middle years to pistols and AR’s and a cranky Mauser or two, the ability to see and quickly lock on to a target became more of a priority. Things like humidity and breath suddenly become issues, safety glasses fogging up and things like foliage becoming more than shade when hunting from a blind.  Even eyewear was an issue.  I wear contacts, deciding to get rid of glasses that could be used for vision as well as setting ants on fire.  There’s no fogging, and although my vision isn’t as “crisp” as glasses when I’m tired, I have the peripheral vision to see the target coming into view if it’s a moving one.  As nearsighted as I am now, a Beluga whale could sneak up on me from the side if I wear glasses.

Be sure of your target and what is behind it.  Wise words, especially with distance.  How often do we hear of someone accidentally shot and killed while hunting because someone mistook them for a moose.  Frankly if some someone mistook me for a moose, I’d be visiting Weight Watchers after I wrapped their firearm around their ears.  But it happens , first a sound, a rustle of brush, and some muttonhead fires, not waiting to notice that his target is sporting a Cabelas hat, not a full rack.

It is so easy to just react without a true target (patience grasshopper). I’ve sat in more than one blind, feet freezing, stomach growling, just waiting for it.  You can hear everything,  the retreating darkness, the smell of first light, the delineation of leaves, the Morse code of squirrels chattering their warnings. But you can’t really see. Then the forest emerges into smooth, bright shapes, light and shadow and movement, and your eyes can only scan, looking with that tense, unmoving sobriety that is a blind man listening.  If you are lucky you will see it, a flash of fur, a mass of bone that is more fight than surrender.  You make sure it is all there, all four dimensions, solidity, mass, a shape that could be no other than an animal, and something else.  Not hesitation, not fear, but pure and intent assurance as you draw up your weapon.

 

If you don’t CLEARLY know what your target is, keep your finger off the trigger.  If you do, and ONLY when you do, use the front sight of the gun as a guide to aim.   If you are after multiple bogies (i.e. kevlar vested doves) leave your front sight as soon as your next target approaches and as the gun approaches it, sight again and pull the trigger.  Always know where your front sight is.  It will tell you almost anything you could want to know about a shot.  If you’re new to shooting, just practice watching the sight, no targets.  When you get used to seeing the sight in recoil, move onto paper. If the shot needs to be dead center precise, the sight needs to be clear.

I know many people that can shoot faster than their sight picture and do so with the accuracy needed to stop a human target in most situations.  But that involves the instinct of practice and an intimacy with their weapon that someone that takes that firearm out of the nightstand drawer a couple of times a year is not going to have.

Unless you are being mugged by a 18 inch tall paper squirrel, your target is going to be moving.  Remember, as far as triggers- mechanical things all happen at the same speed for each given piece of machinery.  You need to learn to act upon what your eyes tell you.  Like anything else with shooting, that requires practice and concentration.

Practice close up. Practice at a distance. If you have never shot long range, you won’t ever forget it, a moment whispered and dreamt about, laid out flat in front of you. In that fleeting moment, you will hold your breath in the presence of power. You count that pulse between heartbeat and breath, compelled into an aesthetic deliberation you don’t quite understand but fully desire, faced for the first time in your living history with something proportionate with your capacity for awe.

Target acquisition is when what you have been waiting for comes from an enormous distance. It sometimes comes directly, sometimes coming as if by magic from no where when you least expect it, giving you a clear view after long  dark, days of solitary combat.

My weapons are at rest and dinner is simmering on the stove.  Coming up the long road, the sunlight streaming off of it like shining wind, is an SUV, its form and windows giving no hint of what it brings.

Inside, a rescue Lab gives a gentle “woof”, recognizing the sound and what it means before human ears can even hear its echo. We look up through the light, beyond the drive, beyond the wasted years in which we looked, but never really did see.

We stand in the drive as the vehicle comes into view, bringing up an arm in greeting, in that moment between heartbeat and breath.

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Jerusalem shooting: Israel proposes looser gun laws after attacks

Israeli security personnel work at a scene where a suspected incident of shooting attack took placeIMAGE SOURCE,REUTERS
Image caption,

Israeli forces have stepped up security efforts in the wake of the two attacks

Israel’s security cabinet has approved measures to make it easier for Israelis to carry guns after two separate attacks by Palestinians in Jerusalem over the past two days.

The attacks took place after an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank killed nine people.

The new measures also include depriving an attacker’s family members of residency and social security rights.

The full cabinet is due to consider the measures on Sunday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised a “strong” and “swift” response ahead of the security cabinet meeting.

Israel’s army also said it would be reinforcing troop numbers in the occupied West Bank.

“When civilians have guns, they can defend themselves,” the controversial far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, told reporters outside a Jerusalem hospital.

The measures will revoke the rights to social security of “the families of terrorists that support terrorism”, the security cabinet said.

The proposals are in step with proposals from Mr Netanyahu’s far-right political allies, who allowed him to return to power last month.

The announcement came after Israeli police said a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was behind a shooting in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighbourhood on Saturday that left an Israeli father and son seriously wounded.

An Israeli police force spokesperson previously said the assailant ambushed five people as they made their way to prayers, leaving two in a “critical condition”. The 13-year-old was shot and injured by passers-by and is being held in hospital.

In a separate shooting on Friday at a synagogue in East Jerusalem, seven people were killed and at least three more injured as they gathered for prayers at the start of the Jewish Sabbath. The gunman was shot dead at the scene.

The man behind Friday’s synagogue attack was identified by local media as a Palestinian from East Jerusalem.

Police have arrested 42 people in connection with that attack.

Israeli police commissioner Kobi Shabtai called it “one of the worst attacks we have encountered in recent years”.

Palestinian militant groups praised the attack, but did not say one of their members was responsible.

Mr Netanyahu called for calm and urged citizens to allow security forces to carry out their tasks, while the military said additional troops would be deployed in the occupied West Bank.

“I call again on all Israelis – don’t take the law into your hands,” Mr Netanyahu said. He thanked several world leaders – including US President Joe Biden – for their support.

Tensions have been high since nine Palestinians – both militants and civilians – were killed during an Israeli military raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank on Thursday.

This was followed by rocket fire into Israel from Gaza, which Israel responded to with air strikes.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuIMAGE SOURCE,REUTERS
Mr Netanyahu visited the scene of the attack on Friday

Since the start of January, 30 Palestinians – both militants and civilians – have been killed in the West Bank.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended its security co-operation arrangements with Israel after Thursday’s raid in Jenin.

Friday’s synagogue shooting happened on Holocaust Memorial Day, which commemorates the six million Jews and other victims who were killed in the Holocaust by the Nazi regime in Germany.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attack, saying that one of the victims was a Ukrainian woman.

“Terror must have no place in today’s world – neither in Israel nor Ukraine,” he said in a tweet.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly wrote on Twitter: “To attack worshippers at a synagogue on Holocaust Memorial Day, and during Shabbat, is horrific. We stand with our Israeli friends.”

President Joe Biden talked to Mr Netanyahu and offered all “appropriate means of support”, the White House said.

Shortly after the incident, Mr Netanyahu visited the site, as did Mr Ben-Gvir.

The controversial national security minister promised to bring safety back to Israel’s streets, but there is rising anger that he has not yet done so, the BBC’s Yolande Knell in Jerusalem said.

Israeli emergency service personnel close-off the site of a reported attack at a synagogueIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
Israeli emergency service personnel and security forces attended the scene of Friday’s shooting

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply worried about the current escalation of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory”, a spokesperson said.

“This is the moment to exercise utmost restraint,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

On Saturday, the European Union expressed alarm at heightened tensions and urged Israel to use lethal force only as a last resort.

“The European Union fully recognises Israel’s legitimate security concerns – as evidenced by the latest terrorist attacks – but it has to be stressed that lethal force must only be used as a last resort when it is strictly unavoidable in order to protect life,” said the EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell.

Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war and considers the entire city its capital, though this is not recognised by the vast majority of the international community.

Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the future capital of a hoped-for independent state.

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Homesteader 9mm — SHOT Show 2023 by JEFF CRAMBLIT

Henry Repeating Arms has moved into the realm of the semi-automatic 9mms. The Homesteader is here to take care of business around the house.

For light-skinned game hunting, pests, or home defense their new magazine fed semi-auto should do the trick.

Top tang-mounted safety is easy for right or left-handed shooters to find and operate.

The Homesteader has a barrel just over 16 inches and that added length increases the velocity of the 9mm rounds making them more impressive than the 1,200 fps typically seen from pistols.

Henry built a proprietary 5-round flush-fitting magazine and a 10-round extended for the Homesteader to give it adequate firepower for defense, but this also should make it legal in most states.

Ten-round capacity Henry magazine.

However, they are going above and beyond by also offering adapters to allow for the use of Glock or S&W M&P magazines.

That really opens the barn door for “high-capacity” magazines if you so choose. It also leans this traditional-looking rifle towards the days of old when revolvers and carbines shared the same cartridges so you only needed one.

The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation.

The top of the receiver has threaded holes for mounting a Pic rail if an optic is desired. The barrel is fitted with a rear peep sight and a front ramped post. The location of these on the barrel allows mounting an optic without disturbing your iron sights

As traditional as the Homesteader is, it still has a couple of ambidextrous features. The bolt handle can be installed on either side of the bolt for operation; lefties have to appreciate that.

In addition, the bolt release is ambidextrous, there is one on either side at the front of the trigger guard.

Optic mounted on Picatinny rail and ambi slide release.

Specifications

  • Caliber                         9 mm
  • Capacity 5-round flush fit and 10-round extended Henry proprietary
  • Barrel Length              16.1 inches
  • Weight                        5+ lbs
  • Stocks                          Real wood
  • Sights                          Ghost ring rear/ steel post
  • Rail                              Picatinny 1913
  • MSRP                          $928 (Henry magazines), $956 (with Glock or S&W magazine adapter)

The magazine release is mounted on the centerline on the bottom of the rifle just forward of the magazine, making it equally accessible from either side.

Magazine port and release on the bottom of the receiver.

The official release of the Homesteader is not until February so you won’t see it on dealer racks yet.

In fact, it’s not even on the website yet! But that shouldn’t keep you from telling your dealer to get you one on order.

The Homesteader is an absolute blast to shoot.  It should fit just about everyone, has little to no recoil, and with an extended magazine, it makes a fun gun to shoot or a formidable defense carbine.

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What’s it Like to Be a Wildlife K-9 Officer On Opening Day? Opening day is exciting for everyone–here’s what it’s like for law enforcement. by W.H. “CHIP” GROSS

wildlife officer and german shepherd

Opening day of the Ohio deer-gun hunting season is one of the busiest work days of the year for state wildlife officers. One November morning, I joined 16-year veteran officer Jeremy Carter and his K-9 officer partner, Finn, to find out just what opening day is like from a wildlife law-enforcement perspective. I met Carter and Finn at 7:00 a.m.—just before dawn—and learned that it had been a short night for the pair.

It seems a group of poachers had decided to start the deer hunting season a few hours early by shooting and killing five white-tailed deer the previous afternoon, planning to check the deer as legal kills the following day. But an anonymous source had tipped wildlife officers to the crimes, and that’s when Carter and Finn were called to assist in the investigation.

“Finn quickly found the empty shotgun shell casings, and that evidence helped us obtain a search warrant for the poachers’ camp,” said Carter. “We found that they had already processed the deer and thrown the heads and hides into a dumpster. Finn and I didn’t get home until about 2:00 this morning.”

During the past year, and for the first time in its long history, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, has joined more than 20 other states in employing K-9 officers. Five dogs and their handlers were trained and assigned one per wildlife district, with Carter and Finn, a two-year-old male German Shepherd, assigned to Wildlife District Three in northeast Ohio. Finn was born and raised in Germany, so Carter has to give him some commands in German for the dog to understand him.

“All the dogs were trained to detect six different scents,” said Carter, “gunpowder, waterfowl, turkey, deer and fish, as well as ginseng.” Ginseng is a highly-regulated plant that grows wild in the eastern U. S., including Ohio, and its roots are frequently dug illegally out of season by poachers. “The dogs were also trained to track people by scent, and come to an officer’s aid if necessary,” added Carter.

Carter, Finn and I spent the morning cruising the rural roads of Holmes County, a mixture of rolling woodlands, crop and weed fields; in essence, perfect deer habitat. Carter kept a sharp eye out for blaze-orange clad hunters as he drove, and when he spotted one or more he would stop to check the hunter’s firearm, hunting license and deer permit. In between stops he filled me in on some of the other cases he and Finn had been involved with since hitting the field last spring.

“Just a few weeks ago we were called to assist in an investigation in an adjoining county,” said Carter. “A hunter had killed a nice eight-point buck, and then had gone out hunting again a few days later to try and take a doe, which is legal. But as he was hunting, a huge 200-class buck came along that he had been watching for several years on trail-cam photos.”

The hunter couldn’t resist the temptation and shot and killed the second trophy buck. He then discarded the head of the smaller eight-point so as not to get caught with two bucks, which is illegal in Ohio this hunting season.

“Two wildlife officers searched for two hours trying to find the head and rack of the first buck, the one the hunter had pitched, but with no success,” said Carter. “When we arrived, Finn found it in five minutes,” he said proudly.

The duo has also assisted other Ohio law-enforcement agencies. For instance, just a month after graduation they were called to the location of an alleged assault where Finn located crucial evidence within only a few minutes of arrival.

Although Carter is pleased with Finn’s accomplishments thus far, he knows his young partner will benefit from continued training. “I had Finn on and around various sport-fishing boats at Lake Erie this past summer looking for walleye over-bags, but we didn’t have much success,” said Carter. “It seemed that everything smelled fishy to Finn. He would alert on various objects that were not fish or fish fillets, such as smelly fish towels. We need to work on that…”

When asked how Finn has fit in with Carter’s family—his wife and three sons—Carter shared this interesting anecdote. “Everybody loves Finn, but one of our two house dogs didn’t,” he said. “I tried introducing the dogs to each other gradually, by keeping them in separate yet adjoining rooms for a few days so they could smell each other but not see each other and possibly fight. Yet once I opened the door the fur still flew, with Finn coming out on top. He’s now the reigning alpha male of the three dogs at our house.”

Carter also said that Finn knows when it’s time to go to work. “When I start to put on my uniform and gear in the morning he gets excited,” said Carter. “He loves working. And my wife says that on the few days I have to leave him home, such as when I’m attending an all-day meeting at district headquarters, he whines and mopes around the house, lying by the door waiting for me to return. But that’s a good thing, as the bond between a K-9 handler and his dog needs to be a strong one.”

During the afternoon, Carter and Finn received yet another call for assistance. A hunter had shot at a deer, missed, and the rifled slug had accidentally hit a passing vehicle. No one was injured, thankfully, but when such a “hunter incident” occurs, as Carter called the situation, it’s considered top priority and he responds immediately. And as in the other cases previously described, Finn quickly found the empty shotgun shell casing, as well as the shotshell wad. Both pieces of evidence will be used to match the shell to the specific shotgun used by the suspect during the shooting.

I noticed during my ride-along that when Officer Carter exited his vehicle to talk with a hunter, Finn would begin barking for a short time. “I didn’t train him to do that, and for a while it kind of irritated me,” said Carter. “But now I appreciate it. I have seen how hunters and others react to his barking, and if they had any thoughts about giving me a hard time or not complying with my requests they know they’ll have to deal with Finn. And that’s a comforting feeling when I’m in the field. I know I’m no longer working alone as I often did earlier in my career. I now have immediate backup should things hit the fan.”

Ninety pounds of backup, to be specific—and with long, sharp teeth!