The biggest news is I am now shooting for Team Smith & Wesson!!! This is really a dream come true for me. Ever since I started shooting I have looked up to the S&W shooting team. Acutally the first major match I shot I had the pleasure of being squaded with then team member Mark Redl. I was pretty much in awe the whole time that I was actually shooting with a S&W sponsored shooter, fast forward three years and now that is me, WOW! You see I grew up with my granfather singing S&W’s praises he collected guns, S&W guns to be exact and was always telling us why they were the best company. It was his passing that got me involved with M&Ps. Anyway, while to some sponsorhip is not their goal or desire, it has been on my goal list for some time. So now there is one less goal on my list, Whooo Hooo!
Last weekend I shot the Area 7 match in Fulton, NY. I finished 9th overall in Production (3rd M), which I wasn’t very pleased with the finish. I should be happy since in being honest with myself I did have the most solid Major USPSA match to date. Of 180 rounds in the match I fired 17 shots that were not As. So the totals look like this 163-As 2-Bs 11-Cs 3-Ds and only one mike. I had one stage win on a stage that was shot entirely strong hand only. There would have been a second place stage finish on another stage I shot strong hand only but the stage was tossed out, apparently I am a very good strong hand shooter.
The biggest thing I learned from the match was I have no idea what I need to see to shoot A’s on close targets. I fired more extra shots on very close targets than I should have, almost every target I took an extra shot at had three As on it. I just had no idea what I was supposed to be seeing. I have never practiced targets that close, so needless to say I will be working on close targets in the very near future, figuring out what I need to be seeing.
I am going to try updating this BLOG a little more often here as I get focused on getting ready for the national matches.
HSC pit 2 over cast and threatening rain.
5-5-5 groups: focused on front sight but failed to follow through and the group showed it.
10yd reaction time: all under 0.20
10yd reaction time/reset: kept the reaction time under 0.20 splits were upper 0.30s. I was focusing on trying to firing the second shot at the earliest possible time the bullet would hit the A zone. the group stayed tighter than I figured it would, so I probably need to work this a little more and accept even more slop in the sight picture.
Mini stage: set up a little stage stressing set-ups and wide transitions. I felt like I was moving well setting up and leaving, my splits were a little slow but as I got warmed up they improved. We ran this stage starting to the right then to the left
starting in the box run to right/left shoot a target from around barricade then shoot target in opposite corner, move to other barricade shooting one target around the barricade then the target in opposite corner. Total of 8 shots each target should have 4 hits.
then we set a couple close targets in the middle:
start in the box move to either right or left shoot one target around the barricade snap hard to one close target then move to other side shoot one around the barricade then snap to close. this one was to focus on a fast transition and split on close targets. last drill with this set up was the same as above with a single steel target in the back (15yds) had to draw to the plate first then complete as before, making sure to call a good shot before leaving.
Then we setup a stage to help Ron with shooting on the move without drifting towards targets. it looked something like this:
start in the box draw to steel then shoot all targets on the move. Focused on moving with a pace such as you don’t have to ever pause the shooting. Basically when you look at the timer it should read all the splits and transitions the same. Depending on the spacing it can be pretty hard to do. We had it spaced pretty tough, I was struggling to call good shots and was a lot sloppier than usual, so we are going to have to practice this some more in the future. Just for giggles we thought we’d try to shoot the two paper and steel from the box then run up and shoot the last two, just to see what sort of time difference there would be, both Ron and I thought the stand and shoot looked and felt faster but the timer said otherwise by a whole second.
Draws to 15 yd plate: 1.20 was my slowest 1.09 the fastest most were in the lower teens.
draw one reload one to 15yd plate: I was feeling it today continued the sub 1.20 draws and the slowest reload was a 1.40 hit a bunch in the 1.30s. I even hit a 1.26 this was all with my M&P 9L Blade-tech DOH and Blade-tech mag pouches.
5-5-5 group: I figured to hell with the front sight careful trigger pull this time and figured I’d just drive each bullet into the same hole. the group ended up much better than I started the day with.
over it was a good practice; my draws and reloads were smoking, but I need to continue working on shooting on the move. I feel I am improving and the timer agrees (good feeling to have going into the season)
HSC indoor range: it was just Ron and myself today as the wife was working hard to buy me more ammo (love ya babe;) ) We had just finished the IDPA match, so we were already a bit tired.
Mini Stage: Decided to start off a little different than we normally do, mostly because I wanted Ron and my wife more used to the first shots of the day being on a stage like in a match, not being all warmed up and ready to shoot. I had been talking with my wife about this and we thought it a good change to make. Now she wasn’t able to join us this time but I figured I get Ron use to the idea. I digress, we started on my mini stage, with the window and the low port, Ron took the bait and we had a nice discussion about getting sucked into positions . We moved the stage around a few times to stress the importance of different skills. Overall I had several good runs, I was seeing the sights well and did most the skills well. I need more work on coming into a kneeling position correctly, I think I found the problem today, as it occurred to me I was did not have the gun up as high as I would if I were coming into any other position. I think I will add this into my dry fire routine this week and see if I cannot get the squared away.
15yd Groups:5-5-5 shot pretty crappy. I felt good doing it, but the results just sucked. I was focusing on the front sight and trying to let the trigger break when it broke, but dang this was one of the reminders of why I don’t shoot bullseye.
15yds Reaction time/reset: was doing pretty well until I jumped one. Most in the mid teens.
15 yds Reaction time w/ two shots: reactions were again all under 0.20, splits in the low 0.40s the group was better than the group I had shot during group shooting.
Warp speed shoot: 4 targets edge to edge at 3yds draw and blast away. So important to stay relaxed when doing this, every time you try to go fast something happens, trigger freeze, pulled shot, bad grip on the draw. Just have to relax and let it flow.
Warp speed with a reload: shoot two targets reload and shoot two more. Again have to think smooth on the reload or the mag just doesn’t want to fit in the mag well.
Warp speed move into another position with a reload on the way: I wanted this drill to be one of those 180 traps that we always see, when we have to move R-L while reloading. The problem was I didn’t leave enough room between positions to force my body to want to turn and run, I was able to take several big side steps and get there without any problem. I was too tired to move everything so next time I’ll get it set wider.
Finished up with another 5-5-5 group, better than my first but not great.
Yesterday I shot the IDPA match at HSC, usually I have to SO and shoot with my squad but we had some new SOs this year that need breaking in so all I had to do was help out the new guy. This freed me up to do a bit more mental prep for my shooting.
Stage 2: first stage of the day was a scenario stage with a good bit of movement, shooting on the move and some kneeling. Overall I shot this one pretty well, I dropped 4 points but with the placement of some of the no shoots I would take down four again. I saw my sights when I needed to and called most every shot. Stage 3: a standards stage with a turn and draw shoot 6 shots at three targets do a Tac reload fire 6 shots on 3 different targets do another Tac reload then fire one shot on each of the 6 targets. I had a smoking time, I called every shot even the one strong hand that I lost patience on but caught a break with it barely finding its way into the -1 . I have been working on only seeing what I need to, to make the shot rather than letting the front sight completely settle, and this stage I did exactly that, it paid off with the time I turned in.
Stage 4: a scenario stage where you had to get up from a table run to a window and shoot 6 targets. I enjoyed this stage as it required changing gears a few times. I felt pretty good there was on transition I lost probably 0.30-0.40 on as I just didn’t remember it being that wide so I had to stop and locate the target. I only dropped 1 point and that was on the furthest target.
Stage5: another standards with 6 reload 6 reload 6. this time it was ot on two targets and was 2 body 1 head, 2 body 1 head reload, repeat, repeat. All said and done i dropped 2 points. the reloads could have been faster, but I was planning on working them in dry fire all week anyway.
Stage 1: last stage of the day, I decided to go first, may not have programmed the stage as well as I should have, as I earned a procedural when I went into USPSA mode and dropped a mag when I took off for another position. I was in a full sprint, so there was non going back for it. This is ok for me, I need to work on programming ever stage even the straight forward easy ones, run them the same mentally as the tough 32 round USPSA field courses. Hopefully this will help me remember.
After the match Ron and I decided to get our weekly live fire practice in so we drove down to the indoor range as we thought we had, had enough cold for the day.
Instead of practicing today we drove over and shot Lewistown Pistol Club’s USPSA match. They had 6 stages set up including one classifier.
Stage 1- a 32 round field course begging shooters to move more than necessary. I shot it pretty well I think I dropped 3 maybe 4 Cs.
Stage 2- a little 16 round stage with a mandatory reload and a lot of no-shoots. I saw the sights one every target and adjusted my speed accordingly. Pretty sure I shot it clean all As.
Stage 3- (not on video) a 24 round stage. There were a couple 180 traps on this one if you tried to shoot it all on the move so you had to stop and start a couple of times. I liked my stage plan of shooting it 8-10-6 but I took an extra shot in the middle taking it to 11 and for some reason it didn’t occur to me I was at slide lock and did the old point my gun at the target then look at it wondering why it isn’t going bang, I recovered quickly, but I just don’t do that, usually when I go to 11 I can feel it.
Stage 4- a 24 round box to box course. This was my favorite stage fo the day, there was an opportunity to do some weak hand shooting in the third box, but it would require a transition back to the strong hand and a reload on your way to the fourth. I was pleased with the results and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again in the future. Watching others try to shoot around the hard corner freestyle and majorly off-balance, I feel I made up time on them.
Stage 5- 32 round 4 position field course with all very tight shots I’d say about half of the targets had the minimum A zone exposure. There were hard cover and no-shoots everywhere. It was very straight forward just required good shooting. I faired well, stayed away from trouble called every shot. Ended up with a good many Cs but that was better than taking home no shoots.
Stage 6- Classifier Can you Count? first draw was the fastest I have had in a match a 0.88 but two trigger freezes and a crappy reload still made the first string a 4.07 string two had a 1.12 draw another trigger freeze and a worse reload gave me a 4.5x should be >5% below my current so it shouldn’t count.
Good time, I probably should have practiced but matches are fun, and the wife wanted to shoot the match. Came away with a few more things to work on in dry fire (reloads reloads and more reloads) and in live fire next weekend. Next weekend is HSC’s IDPA on saturday, the wife won’t be able to attend so we will likely practice Sunday.
Yesterday was the first USPSA match of the season at HSC. I am the Match director for our club so I had a lot of work to do to get it all set-up and running smoothly. I was happy tha I was pretty much on time for getting it started in the am.
Stage 1: had a texas star and two mini poppers, I started on this stage both times I ran through the match and finished 1 and 2 on it. Both runs I shot it in 8 shots needing only one make up on the star each time. I was pretty happy with how I shot it.
Stage 2: a 19 round stage with very little movement, basically three target arrays 6 shots, 5 shots, and 8 shots. Found a way to do it with one reload. I saw the sights well and hit it pretty well. The first time through I was a little sloppy on one target with a no shoot and took home two C’s and the second time I cleaned it up but it also slowed me down.
Stage 3: Issues began, a 30 round stage where you could save a reload if you could shoot a target with one round and then come back to it later to finish. I managed to miss a target from a distance of oh about two yds, had a bit of trigger freeze and took my eyes off too early. the second trip was better but I still managed to get a miss but this time it was on the furthest target not the closest. I took 3 seconds off my initial time by picking a different target to come back to and taking a slightly different line.
Stage4: I couldn’t shoot this stage to save my life. Both times I screwed it up, and worse I did it slowly. first time I hit a no shoot and I made it up, the problem was the plan was to go to 10 three times and the stage had you starting with mags on a barrel. I left myself short on ammo and ended up not shooting a target taking 2 misses and a FTE, combine that with the no shoot and a slow time, my wife got to take pleasure in beating me on a stage. Second time through wasn’t much better no misses or FTEs but a slow time still hurts.
Stage 5: simple 16 shot stage four hard slow targets, four hammer on em targets. I shot ok both times. I took a little too much time, but I came away with something to practice next week. I need to figure out when to slow down and go for upper A’s vs keeping the speed up and accepting B’s.
Stage 6: the classifier CM08-04 ”Seven” figured to shoot it in around 3.5 first time I did but hit a C and put one barely into hard cover on the far target. The second time(thinking I had some bad luck the first time), I figured I’d shoot it the same, and I did but faster, 2.9x with the same mike but no Cs. According to the classifier calc it should come in at a 55% so it won’t count.
Overall for the match, I had a serious lack of focus. I wasn’t seeing my sights when I needed to and I relied on the force too many times. It was funny that usually when the force fails me it is on steel, but I think I took three extra shots all day on steel, it was the paper that was eating my lunch. I know I was shooting a bit too fast on most things and that is OK since that is what I am currently working on. The lack of focus, is disturbing and needs to be corrected ASAP. I am going to blame it on the first match I was running this year, and lack of normal routine.
I’ll get some dry fire in this week and next weekend we’ll hit the range for some live fire.
HSC indoor range.
Threats of rain forced the wife and I inside again, but we had a good practice anyway.
15yd Groups:5-5-5 shot very very good group, was seeing the sight very well and the trigger was breaking without thought, so there was little surprise what the group looked like.
15yds Reaction time/reset: I must have been dialed in today as I hit three in a row under 0.10 none over 0.18
15 yds Reaction time w/ two shots: reactions were again all under 0.20, splits in the 0.40s but the timer was acting up so it was hard to say for certain. I adjusted the sensitivity and it behaved the rest of the day. Had two impatient moments but all shots stayed in the A zone.
10yds 2tight 1 wide: did well, I think I shot maybe 2 Cs and 1 D for 7 runs. My times were right on par with what I had been running. I was in my production gear today and had some issues finding my gun on the draw, but dry fire this week will fix that. I had one particular moment where I became aware of how open both eyes were and was still tracking the sights. Kind of wierd thing to be thinking in the middle of shooting, but cool at the same time.
Did a 4 target lateral movement drill at 10yds ran it both directions. not sure I learned any thing new on this drill, but reinforced that I can shoot A’s easily on the move at that distance. Also I was paying attention to my feet mover to see what they were doing, I generally allow my body to figure out what it needs to do to make the shot, but it is kind of nice to know ahead of time what it is likely to do in certain situations.
Mini Stage: our mini stage for the day was set-up to get the shooting on the move, the movement into a kneeling position, and to help teach my wife to stay away from windows/ports. It was 4 targets one window and a saw horse. Start in the middle of the range engage two targets through a window one target on the move to the final position of shooting under the saw horse which forced a tight kneel. I let my beautiful wife run first without any coaching, then gave her a few pointers and was able to reduce her stage time by almost 20%. It helps tremendously not to get sucked into positions, and windows are a huge vacuum for a lot of shooters.
finished up with an ugly 5-5-5 group then unloaded a mag into the upper a-zone in disgust (hitting all but one A at 15yds go figure)
Next weekend we have our first USPSA match at HSC, so I will be dry firing all this week with my USPSA gear. I have to mention I love my wife, today on the range she actually said to me “can we dry fire every night this week”