Julie Goloski-Golob is a kind and gentle mother of two. She posts photos of delicious homemade food on Facebook and shoots for Smith & Wesson in competition, having won three Bianchi Cups (and a lot of other stuff) along the way. She is one of America's finest shooters, male or female.
In one of the finest examples of how bad my memory is, I started talking to her about a year ago regarding her book SHOOT. I read the book when it came out and found it to be an easily accessible introduction to firearms and the shooting sports. I wanted her opinion on a number of topics, so I sent her a list of five questions relating to shooting. She responded to my questions an embarrassingly long time ago, and I forgot to post her answers. One of my questions wasn't worded very well (it had to do with competition vs. military trainers), leaving us with only four; without further ado, here are my questions and her answers.
Andrew: Do you think competition shooting is relevant to those who have no interest in actually participating in competition shooting? Why or why not?
Julie: I think competition shooting is definitely relevant to those who choose not to compete the same way Olympic swimmers and chefs are relevant to those who swim or cook recreationally. Whether it's Michael Phelps or Julia Child, those who practice and excel at their craft have much to offer enthusiasts. The same can be said for those who work diligently to improve their shooting skills in competition.
Competition shooters are constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to speed and precision. These shooters are doing things with firearms that would be considered an incredible run twenty years ago. An example would be the El Presidente drill (http://www.uspsa.org/classifiers/99-11.pdf). Back in the day a 10 second El Prez run was considered top notch. Today, using a Production Division gun (a striker fired or double action gun with few modifications from stock) and scoring all A-zone hits, a 10 second run today would be a C-class level score, a national percentage between 55 and 60%.
Competition shooters also have a lot to offer when it comes to intense durability testing as well as research and development. Let's face it. Shooters tend to send a lot of rounds down range! If something doesn't work well, or doesn't hold up to the rigors of an intense day of training, a competition shooter is likely to discover it. Look at red dot optics as an example. Use of these little wonders were introduced into shooting sports and at first were plagued with reliability issues. Competitors started out with heavy, bulky dots, some as large as soda cans. Putting them through the paces in matches, shooters proved that this sort of sighting system is faster than using traditional iron sights.
Andrew: If you could identify one element of pistol shooting as being more important than any other, what would it be?
Julie: Taking speed out of it and just assessing pure shooting down to the fundamental level, the ability to shoot an accurate shot with a pistol comes down to being able put the sights on the target and keep them there until the shot breaks. You can have a horrendous grip and be standing on one foot and still shoot an accurate shot, but if the sights aren't on target when the gun goes bang it won't happen. So the most important aspect of being able to score a good hit comes down to the ability to engage the trigger in such a way that the sight picture stays on target until the bullet exits the barrel.
Andrew: Do competition shooters mostly use the same styles and techniques, with victory in competition coming down to an individual's skill (or luck), or are there an array of techniques/styles/stances/etc which some shooters find give them an edge?
Julie: At first glance, to some it may appear that competition shooters use all the same styles and techniques. Most competition shooters in practical shooting sports are using the isosceles stance and the basic skills of draws, reloads, one-handed shooting, etc. all look very similar when you break things down to that level. There are subtle differences in style though based on athleticism, strength and body type.
Travis Tomasie and Dave Sevigny, with their athletic backgrounds in soccer and hockey, are especially good when it comes to footwork. Todd Jarrett and Max Michel have incredible twitch reflexes and their hand-eye speed make them super fast on draws and reloads. Bob Vogel and JJ Racaza are strong and flexible and that allows them to be both aggressive and controlled. Then there are the legends like Rob Leatham and Jerry Miculek who have worked so hard for so long, they can draw on hundreds of thousands of rounds of experience. Unlike other sports where the majority of successful players are close to the same height and build, shooters represent a much wider spectrum. The best shooters play to their strengths and work on their weaknesses in order to win.
Andrew: Do you call it a "slide stop" or a "slide release" - and if someone calls it a "slide release," are they in the wrong?
Julie: I never really thought of it! I think I probably use both terms depending on what I am describing. I use "slide release" when I am talking about slide-lock reloads. I refer to the part as a slide stop when I talk about the slide locking to the rear. I don't view one as being correct or incorrect. To me, both terms are interchangeable.
Thank you, ma'am, for your patience and your well-thought-out answers.
For those who couldn't make the May 25/26 AR15 course taught by myself and Jim Staley of Deliberate Dynamics, we have two more classes scheduled: one on June 22/23, and one on July 27/28. The May class is full. If you'd like to sign up, you may do so here.
Rick Taylor, the World's Greatest Tactical Instructor, has endorsed Snake Oil, the World's Greatest Tactical Lubricant. It's a gun oil, toothpaste, and personal lubricant, all in one!
I have a strange knack for observing and remembering odd details. This is offset by my inability to recall vitally important dates, names, and information. Anyway, here are two things that made me chuckle recently.
Next, in this video, Rob Pincus tells us that free floating a barrel will deliver greater accuracy. He shows two targets with the label "Normal vs. Free Floated Barrels," but the bottom of the left target is labeled "M16A4" and the right target labeled "SDMR." He does not describe the differences between the two rifles. Most notably, the SDMR has a heavy, fluted, stainless steel Douglas barrel, while the M16A4 has a relatively thin chrome lined, chrome moly vanadium barrel not meant for match or extreme accuracy purposes. If he wanted to demonstrate the benefits of free floating an AR barrel, this was not the way to do it.
While at the Sniper Country facility in far northern Utah, I had the chance to shoot - but more importantly, shoot photos of - the Desert Tactical Arms Hard Target Interdiction rifle, or DTA HTI. It's a bullpup precision rifle which can be swapped between four cartridges - .50 BMG, .416 Barrett, .408 CheyTac, and .375 CheyTac. We were shooting .50 BMG. What follows is not a review, but a brief description of the rifle, along with some observations and photos. If you'd like to see high speed video, click here.
The HTI has a sizeable muzzle brake, but with a relatively light weight of 20lbs, recoil was pretty stout. It wasn't incredibly painful, but it was sharp enough to encourage making every shot count and avoiding unnecessary shooting.
To that end, it appeared to be phenomenally accurate. I only shot it to 1000 yards, but as an example of how luck and a good rifle came together on our second day of shooting, my very first shot on an E-type silhouette at 1000 was a center mass hit. The more skilled shooters, such as my friend Jim from Deliberate Dynamics who was a sniper in 1st Force, were making back to back to back hits at 1000 and beyond.
I mentioned earlier that it was a bullpup design, and that definitely reduced the overall length of the firearm (45 3/8" for the BMG, compared to 57" OAL for a McMillan TAC-50 with the same 29" length barrel). However, it also brought the bolt much closer to the shooter's shoulder, and that made single loading cartridges, as I was doing, a good bit more awkward than it would have been otherwise. This is a tradeoff that the end user would have to decide upon - is that reduced length worth the slight reduction in ease of manipulation?
I'd like to thank Desert Tactical Arms for the use of their facility, rifle, and ammunition. All in all, it was a pretty fun - and impressive - time.