Essentially, the Pro-Am, a match that fill up in minutes as soon as it's opened for entry, guaranteed 40 slots for amateur women. In conjunction with BWB, the pro women who could adjust their schedules came in 2 days early and shot the pro stages — there are 2 separate matches, the pro and the amateur; you can see all courses of fire are available on the website. In the amateur match, the then pro women divided themselves among the 3 squads with the amateur women to provide help and coaching (normal prohibitions against coaching weren't eliminated, but were relaxed).
To make it even easier for the amateur women, BWB provided the necessary gear, including guns, and worked to show how the gear was set up (3-Gun is incredibly stuff-intensive). There was also a special special event for the women and a massive SWAG bag.
Lena, Randi, Di and Kay...looking mean and heavily armed!
For the show, we followed SHOOTING GALLERY Usual Suspect Diana Liedorff (current USPSA Women's Multigun Champion/Open, Team FNH and general all-around good sport), Kay Miculek (co-founder with Deb Ferns of Babes With Bullets, Team Smith & Wesson and a legend in practical shooting), 18-year-old Lena Miculek (Team Smith & Wesson, top 3-Gun Nation shooter and proof positive there's something to this DNA stuff...LOL!) and newly coined 3-Gun shooter Randi Rogers (Team Comp-Tac, IDPA and Cowboy world and national championships, probably something Intergalactic as well). Then we followed our "posse" as they worked with the amateur women throughout their match.
What a cool, cool concept! On a sport like 3-Gun with an often staggering learning curve, imagine what a huge "jumpstart" it would be to have the top women in the sport standing next to you with help, tips and strategies. It also shows the commitment of BWB, which operates women's training camps around the country, to bringing more and more women into the sport...and they do a spectacular job! AR15.com, the Rockcastle Shooting Center and Brownell's should also be congratulated for being willing to step outside the box and take on the additional work — and it was a lot of work — to make something like this happen.
I think the Pro-Am has evolved into a standard that other 3-Gun matches can build upon. Not saying there's anything wrong with the circuit of "outlaw" 3-Gun matches that have driven this sport (Rocky Mountain, Superstition Mountain, Ozark, FNH/Midwest, etc.), but AR15.com and Rockcastle have worked out a format that is adaptable for many more ranges (and that rocks). It is really interesting to see the Great 3-Gun Diaspora as the sport grows...USPSA's multigun versions, the outlaw matches, the 3-GUN NATION speed format (now running on 2 cable television networks)...heck, you could probably make a case that similar multi gun sports like Ruger Rimfire and SASS Wild Bunch contribute to the interest.
The Pro-Am was the largest 3-Gun match ever...3-Gun is still driving the industry...Rockcastle this weekend was like a mini-SHOT Show...a lot of major players were there! I love the sport and am enjoying riding that learning curve up, but I do think it may be self-limiting due to expense...I hope I'm wrong!
Now, for something entirely different...
Pistol caliber carbines occupy an interesting place in the gun universe. They are immensely popular and often heavily criticized by the firearms intelligensia...hey, if you're going to go to all the trouble to carry a carbine, you might as well have a carbine in a carbine caliber. Still, there's a plethora of pistol caliber carbines doing just fine out there — Sig (the MPX is probably one of the most lusted-after firearms out there), the Beretta CX4 Storm, the Kel-Tec Sub 2000, classics like the Thompson, the M1 Carbine (I'll argue the .30 Carbine is essentially a pretty good pistol cartridge any day of the week), HK-94s if you can find 'em, the numerous .38/.357, .44 Magnum and even .32 lever action rifles...and, of course, the flood of pistol-caliber AR-15 variants...9mm, 10mm. .45. .40, whatever. Colt was, I believe, first in with their 9mm submachine gun which was very popular with law enforcement, and now the vast majority of AR manufacturers make some kind of 9mm semi.
I personally like pistol caliber carbines...I'm waiting for paper to clear on my Spike's Tactical 9mm pistol to turn it into an SBR. There have always been some issues with 9mm ARs — the first is magazines...most use the Colt/Colt platform mags (that's what the Spike uses)...not necessarily as common as some other magazines, for example, the Glock 33-rounders. Most of the 9mm ARs use regular AR lowers fitted with a block in the magazine well for the smaller 9mm mags. There have been dedicated lowers for 9mm, both for Colt pattern magazines and for Glock mags (most notably the Olympic Arms guns), but often the issue was the AR-15 "operating system," designed for the much longer cartridge, which gave the 9mm ARs a bit more clunking "felt" recoil as the bolt slammed back and forth.
All that is about the change. JP Rifles is known for its innovation and super-high quality ARs. My friend John at JP has turned his sights on the 9mm AR platform. They've made a 9mm AR before with an adapter in the mag well, but take a look at this new carbine:
This is a JP dedicated precision 9mm AR lower designed to take the 9mm Glock magazines:
Perhaps more importantly, John and his engineers have redesigned the operating system of the carbine specifically for the 9mm cartridge, so the bolt and the buffer system are only moving as far as necessary. The result is a gun that feels very much like the MP-5, arguably the "smoothest" subgun ever made. I have shot both semi and full-auto versions of the new JP 9mm, and it does run very much like an MP-5. The new rifle also features both a standard AR-15 rear charging handle and a left-side JP side charging system
JP also designed a comp specifically for the 9mm cartridge (not a lot of gas compared to the 5.56). The result is one heck of a little rifle. John is shooting 2-3 inches at 100 yards with the 9mm, although JP engineers say "normal people" can expect 4 inches at 100.
The full auto version I shot uses a Colt-pattern magazine, but it will be available with the Glock mag lower. On the semiauto, I used a borrowed Glock 17 magazine, and it was sweet. I believe the JP 9mm will quickly become the standard against which other pistol caliber AR-15s are judged! We filmed everything for SHOOTING GALLERY, and you'll see it in January.
This is a super little rifle!