2019 Buckeye Blast – TDI Fun Shoot

Buckeye Firearm Association’s largest and longest running shooting event, The Buckeye Blast, was held at Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) on Sunday, March 31st.

Before we begin our recap of this phenomenal event, we wish to extend special thanks to Mr. John Benner and his TDI staff for hosting this event. Mr. Benner has long believed in giving back to the community, and one of the ways he does this is donating his facility and instructors for the Blast.

Special thanks also go to Randy Bueche and the Range Officer Group from Oxford IDPA Club, who came out the morning before the event, spent the day setting up the targets and scenarios, worked the IDPA stages the day of the event, and then tore down everything Sunday evening - all as unpaid volunteers. Thank you all!!

On to the Blast - Wind and rain ruled all day Saturday, but by Sunday morning the foul weather had moved through and the Blast participants and instructors were greeted with bright, sunny skies.

Temperatures were in the 30s at the start of the day, and although the sunshine stayed, the temps plummeted throughout the day and definitely tested the “mettle” of the shooters and their frozen fingers. However, being the firearms enthusiasts that the attendees are, everyone pushed forward and enjoyed a wonderful day of shooting and tactical fun.

There were 60 attendees who were divided into six teams, and each team spent the day rotating through six separate drill stations, also referred to as “stages”. There were four IDPA style stages where shooters engaged multiple targets while moving or from behind cover and had to make split second decisions on shoot/no-shoot targets. All of these stages were timed and scored as if in a true IDPA match situation.

For one of the stages, excellent use was made of one of a firearm trainer’s favorite tools – The SIRT pistol. A SIRT pistol is a training gun with a trigger-activated laser or lasers and when the gun’s trigger is depressed, the shooter and the instructor are able to detect the movements of the shooter’s trigger finger and see the shooter’s shot placement.

Armed with a SIRT pistol, shooters were trained how to stealthily and tactically move through and search a house. Throughout the dwelling were posters of targets which were either to be engaged (a “shoot target”), addressed (Hey, you!! Get out of my house now!! – a possible “no-shoot” target), or passed by (a definite “no-shoot target”). This
extremely realistic activity gave the shooters an opportunity to learn how to safely search a building like their home, should the need ever arise. For those who may have never been previously exposed to search tactics and strategies, this was an eye-opening and very stressful experience.

Live Fire House #2 contained two scenarios: The first scenario involved engaging three thugs who came through an open patio door while the shooter was sitting at a table reading a text message on their phone. While still seated, the shooter was required to shoot the assailants a specific number of times in a specific order. The second scenario involved “slicing the pie” while engaging three home invaders, again firing a specific number of rounds into the thugs in a specific order. Any deviations from the very specific shooting orders resulted in time and point penalties. Trust us – these exercises were not as easy as they sound...

Another station of the Blast contained two “free-for-all” plate racks, each with six small, round, steel plates and a special seventh free-standing plate located. Depending on which rack the shooter engaged, the free-standing plate was located either to the left of the left plate rack or to the right of the right plate rack. Two participants at a time were brought to the racks and were required to engage and drop the six reactive plates and shoot the seventh free-standing plate. Participants were able to practice at their own pace and try different techniques on the plates, such as drawing from the holster or just mowing down the targets as fast as they could.

Under normal circumstances, this would have been an extremely simple task for these focused shooters. However, some participants decided to compete with one another in speed shooting the targets, and that’s when things really got interesting and hilarious.

Once the ante was upped and our confident shooters chose to compete head-to-head against a fellow shooter for speed, flawless execution, accuracy, and bragging rights, that’s when stress, distraction, and the adrenaline rush of competition totally changed, and in some cases, destroyed the focus of some of these competitors. You couldn’t miss fast enough to win this event and this was easily the highest round count stage of the day. But, even with the stress of this stage, we would be totally remiss if we didn’t admit that every shooter enjoyed the total satisfaction and instant gratification that came with popping those annoying plates, watching those buggers fall with each solid hit, and the “ping” and jiggle that came with striking the free-standing target.

The final stage of the Blast allowed participants to shoot the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy’s law-enforcement qualification test. This assessment consisted of 25 shots from various distances, using different presentations, and with varied time allotments for execution of the shots. Many shooters expressed their concern that the requirements for Ohio law enforcement personnel was so minimal and simple - which demonstrates how well everyone did on this stage!!

Of course, with all this awesome shooting and heavy concentration and competition going on, everyone was famished midway through the day. Around noon, the participants gathered in the TDI classroom and were served a delicious hot lunch from Codi’s Kitchen, the official caterer of the Buckeye Blast. The attendees and instructors dined on fresh fruit, salads - both green and pasta, pulled pork sandwiches, green beans, and decadent brownies for dessert. No one left the classroom hungry. Codi and Scott have catered many of our events and volunteered to help in various ways over many years and we are very thankful for them, their amazing food, and their huge hearts.

The Blast is a unique event in that it gives participants a chance to meet other shooters and interact directly with leaders of Buckeye Firearms Association and it allows the instructors and safety officers friendly interaction with BFA members outside of a normal training environment. It’s also a golden opportunity for those shooters who desire to better their skills, but are not sure where to start.

For many shooters, this is the only event they will attend that allows them to operate and manipulate their firearm in realistic and dynamic conditions with immediate, professional feedback and direction, as opposed to the predictable routine and repetition of a static range. Honestly, for those who have never experienced the stress of shooting under the pressure of a timer or in front of a group of observers, these can be absolutely nerve-racking but incredibly valuable learning exercises.

So, yeah, the Blast started out a little rough. However, after a few rounds were expended, the nerves started to calm down, the triggers stopped being hammered, the groupings began to tighten, and the fun that is the Buckeye Blast really began for the shooters.

The stages of this event were designed to help build a shooter’s skills, knowledge, and confidence should they ever find themselves involved in a deadly force encounter.
For some the Blast is a highly anticipated annual training event. For others it is a wonderful opportunity to receive outstanding personal training from some of the highest caliber of trainers around, all while surrounded and encouraged by their like-minded peers. For a select few, the Blast is a treasured occasion they might not otherwise be able to experience.

True to the callings of both BFA and TDI, throughout the Blast everyone was strongly encouraged to further their defensive education by taking firearm training classes, attending an IDPA match to experience the fun of competitive defensive shooting, and to practice, practice, practice!!

Many thanks go to all of this year’s participants who brought wonderful, positive attitudes and excellent skills and all the volunteers who made this awesome event happen. We look forward to seeing you at another BFA event this summer or at next year’s Buckeye Blast.

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