This was circulated by the BRI Bullseye list (http://www.bayouriflesweb.org) and published by the Texas State Rifle Association (http://www.tsra.com) Great story!

Come Back to Bullseye
By: Alan J Carlin

I was standing in the checkout line at Lowe’s in League City, TX on August 18, 20 I 0, and in front of me was an old friend, Tom Estep, Jr. I also know Tom Sr. a very well known and highly regarded firearms instructor in this area. Tom Jr. and I stuck up a conversation whereby he asked me if I had been to the Arms Room, to which I replied “never heard of it”. He proceeded to tell me that it was a gun store and indoor range in the same mall complex and that it was a converted Circuit City Store that closed.

Since this store is just exactly 2 miles from my house, I decided to check it out. So, on August 20, 2010, I visited the Arms Room for the first time and saw that it was a first class gun store with a first class indoor 15 position shooting range with electronic target control. I liked it enough to rent a 9mm handgun and bought 50 rounds of 115gr 9mm ammo. I shot 30 rounds at a large silhouette target, but unlike others there, I used a one hand hold. I was pretty accurate and very impressed with the range. I returned the next day and signed up for a I year membership which allows me to shoot my own guns and ammo for free. The membership also provided unlimited professional cleaning of all guns, a 10% discount in the store, and free firearms transfer paperwork.

I used to be an avid Bullseye shooter in the 70’s while living in the northeast, but stopped in the early 80’s because of work priorities. I have a rather large inventory of target guns, ammo, and other paraphernalia. I returned to the Arms Room on August 23rd 2010 with one of my gun boxes, an S&W 41, S&W 52, and a very accurate Colt 1911. Of all the 50ft targets I could find in my inventory were for International courses. I subsequently bought 50 ft and 20 yard Bullseye slow and timed fire targets. My initial scores were OK, keeping most shots on the paper; I certainly did not have the skills I had when I was previously classified Expert, but I really enjoyed shooting, as well as the very friendly people at the Arms Room. I returned every weekday for the next three weeks and shot from 9 to 11 am. Having gotten old, as most people do, I am now retired and this became a perfect activity for me. My shooting gradually improved, and now I was keeping about 70% of the shots in the black, and I decided that I wanted to compete once again.

City is just south of Houston and the nearest upcoming competition was a scheduled 2700 in Holmwood, LA on September 11,2010. I contacted John Texada and up for the match, my first in about 30 years. Holmwood was a great location because it is close to the Louisiana Casinos that my wife and I visit. In the meantime, I continued to shoot 2 hrs per day 4 or 5 days a week at the Arms Room. I also visited my eye doctor and found I had cataracts in both eyes, not real bad, but they would only get worse, so I scheduled surgery for the end of October. I also contacted CMP to get a competitor number, but could find no reference to the 28 Leg Point I had earned from a quarter century back. I sent CMP an e-mail and explained that I lived in upstate New York in the 70’s and had amassed quite a few points, but I guess I did not expect a response. Much to my pleasant surpres I got a return e-mail from Christina Roguski at CMP stating that she researched old records and found that I did still have those 28 Leg Points.

I went to the Holmwood Match with my 30 yr old ammo and other equipment and learned a lot. I still got butterflies, I was not that good, my red dot sights were too dim to see, moving from indoors to outdoors was a shock (light, heat, and bugs). Halfway through the 22, I switched to a S&W 41 with irons. Since I did not have any other iron sight guns with me, I quit after the .22 portion. I shot a 642-2x on that 900 point aggregate. Very humbling! Being unwilling to give up, I signed up for the Louisiana State Championship and leg match on the weekend of September 25,2010. I must say that just like all my previous matches in the 1970’s and 80’s the people at Holmwood were wonderful, to help me do better all the time. I think this is common trait amongst all shooters.

I also learned in talking to folks at this match that you could shoot a Beretta M -9 service pistol alongside a Colt 1911 for the EIC event, so I thought that might be an advantage and I bought an M-9. I also resigned myself to shooting with iron sights. So back to the Arms Room 4 or 5 days a week, shooting 3 match guns and the M-9. I also figured out that if I shot without my varilux eye glasses I could focus fairly consistently on the front sight.

Next I go to the Louisiana State Championship at Holmwood on September 25, 2010. Again the people were wonderful, but it was very hot and humid and I didn’t think I could make it to the end, but I did. I shot a 2070-16X with a .45 score of 735-9X which was First Marksman. I came back the next day and shot my reliable if not inaccurate M-9 to a score of 188-1, pretty bad! Again I learned something; you could handload for EIC matches. So, I get a 9 lb spring for my M-9 and load several boxes of ammo with 125gr bullets at slightly less than 900 fps (according to the loading tables).

Back to the Arms Room and the M-9 is a bit easier to shoot, but grouping low and to the right, so I ask the Arms Room gunsmith to install an adjustable rear sight which he quickly does. Now I am running out of time to prepare for my next match, the leg match at the Texas Service Pistol State Championship at the Bayou Rifles Range in Houston on October 23, 2010. In the meantime I get an e-mail from John Hennann from the Bayou Rifles club suggesting I shoot the 900 State Championship as a warm-up to the leg match that followed.

I go to the Arms Room on October 2010 and take my old .45 ball gun which I hadn’t touched in 30 years and several boxes of 30 yr old military issue brown box 45 ball ammo. I compare it to the M-9 and despite the recoil, I like the 45 much better, so 1 decide I would use the 45 the next day in Houston. I get up early the next day and decide to enter the 900 as a walk on.

So I show up at 7:30 for the 8:00 match and they have room and let me shoot. Again, all the people were wonderful and I was fortunate to be placed on the line next to David Howland, a seasoned, Distinguished Pistol Shot and Master who recognized that I needed help and gave me good solid advice throughout. David shot a 792-10 and won the match and is the Texas State Champion, I shot a 700-3 and that was good enough to become Texas State Senior Champion, even though I am a year younger than David.

Next in the leg match I was proud to tell David after scoping my slow fire target that I shot an 87-3 with a 5 and a 6. He shot a 93-3 and went on to a 280-8 (match winner) and 1 went on to a 249-3. That was good enough for 6 leg points and, combined with my 30 yr old points, that was enough to get me Distinguished! I will be awarded badge No. 1480. The results were announced at the range to loud cheers.

Although it was an intense 2 months of preparation, this was the best day of shooting I have ever had!

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