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This is the first installment in the Team Erhardt Project IRC series which appears on The Shooting Wire.
They call me The Mayor for good reason, because in the town of Suckville, I’m it. I’m the big cheese. I hold the most powerful office in this particular town and I’m the guy its despondent denizens come to for those plum patronage jobs.
I am the Mayor of Suckville…when it comes to shooting.
When we last met for our regular Friday morning get together, you probably recall I was crashing and burning at the Steel Challenge, augering into the very deepest depths of the results chart.
Yea me, 200th place!
But hope, much like denial, springs eternal. And my willingness to humiliate myself for the pleasure of you, the reader, apparently knows no bounds, for I have set my sights on another title to chase.
Gone are the days of seeking Steel Challenge glory. The once great match has seen its participation dwindle to the point that most monthly club matches around the country draw more shooters than that genius creation of Mike Dalton and Mike Fichman.
No, the Steel Challenge won’t do, for I am The Mayor, and I don’t play the small stages.
Epic failure deserves an epic audience. That’s why I’m setting my sights…my revolver sights…on the International Revolver Championship.
The IRC is the annual gathering of ICORE, the International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts, which takes place the weekend of June 6-8 in beautiful San Luis Obispo, California.
It’s also when wheelgunners enthusiastically strap on their specialized competition gear and go all Don Quixote in their noble yet pathetic attempt to unseat Jerry Miculek – the Alpha and Omega of revolver shooters.
So why the revolver? Why the outdated wheelgun which has given up so much ground to the sleek and far more sexy semi-auto?
Easy. The venerable wheelgun has been steadily entering a period of new found popularity. I’d even go so far as call it a renaissance, if I were prone to such hyperbole – which I of course am not.
But, it is by all accounts enjoying a resurgence in the market place where new as well as existing gun owners are purchasing revolvers. Pistols outsell them but the revolver enjoys its closest brush with parity with the semi-auto in the CCW market. There the small, pocket-sized offerings from Ruger, Smith & Wesson and Taurus enjoy tremendous popularity as either a primary carry gun or as a back up.
In the field of wheelgun competition, Smith & Wesson reigns supreme except for in the sport of Cowboy Action. There it’s Ruger all the way, walking away. But globally in the shooting sports, pistols dominate competitions with just a comparatively small number of shooters choosing to run a revolver over a pistol.
When it comes to the IRC it’s a Smith & Wesson world with nearly every competitor carrying a gun emblazoned with the S&W logo. And since I don’t swim against the tide all that well, it’s a special delivery from Springfield that I’ll be counting on to take me all the way to the winner’s circle…where I’ll join the rest of the competitors cheering on whoever took first.
In fact, I’m getting the old band back together for my trip to California. It’s a 627 V-Comp from the Smith & Wesson Performance Center, once again courtesy of Paul Pluff, that I’ll be shooting. Since I’ll be competing in the Open division, which requires a cool, tricked-out wheelgun, that 627 is already at Apex Tactical Specialties. Randy Lee, arguably one of, if not the best custom revolver gunsmith in the country, will make it magical.
Owning a custom-built Randy Lee revolver. Crossing that off the ole bucket list.
Of course a race gun needs a race holster, because apparently the rules prohibit me walking around the match with it shoved in my pocket. Why yes, that is a custom-built race gun in my pocket AND I’m glad to see you.
When it comes to a race holster, everybody knows to call Safariland. Thankfully for me, I actually know who to call at Safariland so as not to get hung up on in a cacophony of hysterical laughter. Bobby McGee, who is also shooting the match, is sending me a Model 002.
There are a few other specialty items to be had (i.e. begged) and Scott Folk at Apex is helping me to source those…despite the fact I always pick on him.
So, just like last time, I encourage you to wish me luck.
…Or utter humiliation. Your choice.
– Paul Erhardt
You can also follow the Team Erhardt Project (or avoid it entirely) on Twitter at @TheShootingWire, use hashtag #TeamErhardt.