Sunday, December 29, 2019

West Freeway Church of Christ Shooting--Preliminary Observations

As most of us are likely aware, there was a shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas this morning (29 December 2019) and unfortunately the shooter critically injured one innocent and killed another. As of this writing, what appeared to be a security guard stopped the murder’s rampage with one shot. These are preliminary observations based upon my analysis of the video the church was streaming at the time of the incident.

During the service, the shooter who was seated on the left side of the auditorium approached church member #1 and appeared to ask a question. Church member #1 responded and pointed to the back of the church. At that moment, the shooter took one step back and produced a pistol-gripped, probable pump shotgun from under his coat initially pointing it at church member #1.

Another church member (#2) seated along the wall noticed the shotgun, stood, and began to slowly draw a concealed pistol catching the shooter’s attention. The shooter then shifted his aim and fired a shot that struck church member #2 before he could completely draw his pistol. From the time the shooter’s gun became visible to the shooter’s first shot at church member #2 was 3.58 seconds. Approximately 1.18 seconds later, the shooter fired a shot at church member #1 who fell to the floor.

The shooter then turned to his left, pumped the shotgun, and started forward while raising the gun into a firing position.

The security guard (my assumption because the individual appears to be wearing visible body armor and an openly carried pistol in a duty rig) noticed the shooter’s gun and began to draw his pistol approximately 1.2 seconds after the gun became visible.

He completed his draw and fired one shot that likely struck the shooter in the head (the shooter’s hood moved when the bullet struck) approximately 4.66 seconds after the shooter’s gun first became visible.

I believe there are many lessons to learn from this incident and I will provide an update in the days to come.

Practice 2019: Rangemaster Bullseye Course

NRA B8 Target
I firmly believe that you should periodically test your skills against a recognized standard course of fire. On 28 December 2019, my friend Steve and I shot the Rangemaster Drill of the Month.

Rangemaster has a monthly drill published in their newsletter along with articles of interest. If you do not read it, I would recommend you give it a look: Rangemaster Newsletter 

I shot the Rangemaster Bullseye Course with my every day carry SIG P320 compact that has a Trijicon RMR. I used my 135gr reloads that are the equivalent of the Hornady Critical Duty 135gr standard pressure loads and fire to the same point of impact. Although the course calls for you to begin at low ready, we shot the course starting with a holstered pistol for each stage.

Rangemaster Bullseye Course: Fired on NRA B-8 target, scored as printed, except any shots outside the 7 ring count as zero points. For reference, the "8 ring" of the NRA B8 is 8-inches in diameter (the same size as an IDPA "zero down" body scoring area), the 9 ring is 5.54-inches, the 10 ring is 3.36 inches, and the X ring is 1.695 inches.

All strings begin at the ready position

-- 25 yards 5
rounds in 1 minute

-- 15 yards 5 rounds in 15 seconds

-- 10 yards 5 rounds in 10 seconds

-- 7 yards 10 rounds in 15 seconds.  Start with 5 rounds in the pistol. Fire 5 rounds, reload, fire 5 more rounds all within 15 seconds.

-- 5 yards: 5 rounds in 5 seconds

Each shot is worth 10 points so 30 rounds total is a possible score of 300 points. Per Rangemaster, 270 is necessary to pass at Instructor level.

I shot Run #1 cold without warm up using the red dot sight and shot a 299. Run #2 also using the red dot followed with a 300. Although Run #2 was a higher score, the group size for Run #1 was actually better.

I shot Run #3 with the dot turned off using the iron backup sights. Even if you use a red dot, you should occasionally turn it off and confirm that your iron sights are still zeroed.  My eyesight not being what it used to be, the 25 yard string was more challenging and I shot a 295.

I maintain a record of my practice sessions and my skill with the red dot has significantly improved over the past two years as has my shooting in general. Deliberate practice pays off over time.

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