This is the final installment in the Team Erhardt Project series which appears on The Shooting Wire.
As a competition shooter, I still suck.
You always hear this line in practical shooting circles: If you haven’t been DQ’d yet, don’t worry you will be.
Well, after shooting this year’s Steel Challenge I’d like to add this: If you haven’t been DQ’d yet, don’t worry, there will be a time you wish you were.
This realization hit me last Friday when, with half the Steel Challenge stages completed, I started wishing I were DQ’d.
Anything to end the misery.
Coming off one stage, I ran into Scott Carnahan and Bobby McGee of Safariland and told them that if, after seeing the final scores, they wanted the ELS rig and holster back I’d totally understand.
I even half expected to see Paul Pluff of Smith & Wesson out on the range Saturday with a Glock in his hand urging me to “try this instead” in some not-so-subtle attempt to distance the 159-year-old gun maker from my craptastic shooting.
It’s what I would do.
Honestly, my performance at the match was God awful, and profoundly disappointing.
The only reason you’re reading this installment of the Team Erhardt Project in today’s Shooting Wire is because the publisher, Jim Shepherd, is being charitable in loosely defining what I did last weekend as ‘shooting’.
Here’s the sorry, sad news. I finished the match 200th overall with a time of 194.38 seconds.
Of course, that was better than the last time I shot the match in 2007 when I posted an abysmal 200.11 seconds. But 5.73 seconds isn’t exactly improvement in my book.
Several shooters tried to be encouraging, saying things about it being a “new Steel Challenge best” for me, or “I’d love to shave five seconds off my time”, but this wasn’t really helpful.
Only my good friend Scott Moore had the stones to tell it like it is.
“Dude, I have to say I’m kind of disappointed,” he said when we were back at the hotel.
Yeah, he’s right. That just sucked.
But I guess that’s why I’m the Mayor of Suckville.
It probably wasn’t a total disaster. I mean, I got a great M&P Pro pistol out of the deal. It ran fine, like a top in fact.
The only complaint I have is that it kept missing the plates. It would have been nice if they sent me one built to hit steel and not go around it, over it, under it, or whatever it was it was doing.
The ammo was another issue. B.J. Norris, this year’s Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Champion, Open Rimfire winner and Steel Master, gave me 1,500 rounds of SBR ammunition to practice and shoot in the match.
I thought this was extremely generous until, on the long flight home, I realized he gave me the ammo loaded for missing targets, not hitting them.
Aside from my performance, or lack there of, I was treated like a minor celebrity with all the attention. Though that just could have been because I was the only shooter wearing a tie.
Think ‘tactical preppy’ as the look I was going for.
When asked about the tie, I boldly declared I was ‘putting the pro back in Production’ – the division I competed in. (you can see my DownRange.TV interview here)
At least I looked professional, if my shooting wasn’t.
The best part was discovering I wasn’t going to be declared persona non grata by the Philippines.
As you will recall from my last article, I announced in a shameless attempt to increase my speed that I was now Filipino.
On paper (or laptop) this made a lot of sense…to me anyway. But when nobody in the contingent of Filipino shooters mentioned anything to me Friday on the range, I began to worry I had offended them.
Not a good move considering there were 15-20 of them in the match and they ALL shoot better, and faster than I do. I guess I can keep that Filipino Reassignment ID card I was issued since later I found out they thought it was quite funny.
Somebody has to be the worst Filipino shooter at the Steel Challenge so better me than them, I suppose.
As the Team Erhardt Project comes to a close I want to thank all those that helped me.
Without Smith &Wesson, and that non-steel-hitting M&P Pro, this would never have happened. S&W’s Paul Pluff, Julie Golob and Tom Yost were just great to deal with – probably because I gave them somebody to laugh at every Friday.
Randy Lee, Lisa Farrell and Scott Folk at Apex Tactical were extremely generous – especially since I made Scott the butt of so many jokes. He has a great sense of humor and even made up embroidered badges for the Suckville County Sheriff’s Department that I got to hand out at the match.
As mentioned above, Scott Carnahan very graciously sent me the Safariland holster, rig and accessories, and still hasn’t asked for them back.
Pro Ears, 1776 Tactical, Danner, PACT and SBR Ammunition (via B.J Norris) all gave me the gear I used. Thanks very much guys.
Mike Seeklander deserves a lot of credit…mostly for not beating the crap out of me in Piru for making his training program look, well, not the best. Thankfully he was a bit distracted winning the Production title. So if you need to know how good his training is, I suggest you talk to the 2011 Steel Challenge Production Champion himself.
Finally, I wish to thank those of you among The Shooting Wire subscribers that followed my…progress(?). Many of you sent emails, or chatted with me in person, and told me how much you enjoyed the series.
Some of you even told me you looked forward to your Friday morning appointment with the wire (I’m looking at you, Valerie Levanza). I truly appreciate your support and I’m glad I could make you laugh, even if at times it meant coffee coming out your nose.
So what’s in the future for Team Erhardt? Probably a name change to Team Epic Fail.
Not just because I shot so poorly, but rather my sister is a ‘rolling death’ attorney who’s highly competitive and not prone to losing. I’m pretty sure she’s right now filing for some sort of court injunction to prevent me from using the name ‘Erhardt’ for fear my miserable shooting will negatively impact her stellar legal career.
…Oh, how I long for the days when we were little and I could prove my sibling dominance by just beating her up.
– The Honorable Paul Erhardt, Mayor of Suckville