Match Report, USPSA At Hansen Range, 080716.

I came into this match with zero expectations of competency: I haven’t shot a serious match in over three months, and my practice regime has been spotty at best.

I wound up 25th of 36 shooters, and considering I blew one stage completely (which we won’t talk about) and that there was only two other Production shooters (more on that later), I’ll take it.

I wanted to see what the difference was between a upper C Class shooter like myself and an A Class Production shooter was, and video seemed the best way to accomplish this. I had someone record my run, then recorded a better shooter on his run and then spliced them side by side, with graphics to show you where each of us are on the stage at any given time (Spoiler alert: He finishes WAY ahead of me).

A screenshot from my video editing software also provides some insight: His splits are significantly quicker, he’s getting in and out of shooting positions faster and he’s not missing.

image

In the past, I poo-poo’ed the idea that physical fitness was a major component of practical shooting, but now I’m beginning to re-re-think that idea.

Ok, Mike, Let’s Talk About Production

Hi Mike, thanks for reading the first part.

You did read the first part, didn’t you?

Let’s chat a bit about Divisions. I’m ok with Carry Optics and, as I’m a fan of pistol-caliber carbines, I also like this new division for them, but let’s face it, Production is broken. Two of the biggest items that comes to mind are,

  • Actual guns in use. I love my CZ’s, but really, how often is that gun actually carried? On the other hand, Beretta 92.
  • Holsters. I had a rules lawyer try to DQ me for my Blade-Tech dropped offset. Adopt the Single Stack Division holster rules, and that goes away.
  • Mag capacity, however, is the biggie. The mag capacity needs to be upped to 15 rounds in a mag to start the stage, effective right now.

I know that upping the starting magazine capacity puts a hurt on shooters in New York, California, and other places outside America, but that’s what L-10 is for. Heck, in Canada, every division except Single Stack and Revolver is a variation of L10 because 10 rounds is the most you can have in a magazine in any pistol up there, competition or not.

Besides that, having to reload between Every. Single. Port. is just silly, especially if USPSA wants to retain some of its roots as a “practical” shooting sport. Looking at how how often reloading is actually needed in a gunfight vs. shooting on the move would be one way to bring USPSA (and IDPA as well) back in-line with what we now know what really happens in a gunfight, thanks to dashcams and security videos.

15 rounds in a mag also updates Production with the reality of guns today. Part of the appeal of the Wonder Nine is lotsa boolits, and enforcing an artificial Clinton-era mag capacity on those guns is silly in today’s post-AWB world. Going to 15 rounds would also align the USPSA Production division more with IPSC Production, something that matters only a few times a decade, I realize, but still, the thought is nice.

Finally, and this is the big one, it would align Production with how people actually buy guns. I ran into this issue last month, taking a new shooter to his first match. He had a Glock 19, four mags, three pouches and a decent gun belt. This is pretty much as good as it gets for the average concealed carrier, and yet, because of the lack of mags and pouches, he shot Limited Minor and placed dead @!$%ing last.

It’s not 1996. There’s not a Clinton in the White House (well, not at this moment, at least…). Stop saddling Production with rules from 20 years ago.

Hi, Mike, We Need to Talk

First off, kudos to you for doing what needs to be done and firing Kim Williams. I don’t know the details of what really went on, but I do know how easy it is for a non-profit to spend money in a very unwise manner, so congrats for bucking up and tossing out the dirty laundry.

Secondly, it looks like you’re finally doing something about the antiquated, insecure website, so again, kudos, and I also heard on the grapevine that USPSA will be shown this year on some TV shows where they haven’t been shown in quite awhile, and that is also a good thing.

Let’s talk a bit more about media and USPSA. Ever looked around at a major match, Mike? Ever notice what’s missing? I see teenagers at big matches (some of whom are disgustingly good) and I see old farts like myself, but what I don’t see is twenty-somethings, kids who have spent their entire adult lives running around and shooting things in a virtual, online world, but somehow don’t show up to run around and shoot things at a USPSA match.

And that’s got to change. Scholastic Steel is a good entry sport for practical shooting, but because it uses steel targets, it’s a sport that can only be done on a pistol bay outdoors. This is silly, because today’s gun owners are urban, and that means their access to outdoor ranges is shrinking, not growing. Come up with something that can be shot on an indoor range in two hours with 50 rounds of ammo, and watch as people flock to your sport. It’s also a sport where kids stand and shoot things, but you know what kids like to do? Run. They run a lot, they move a lot, and unlike people my age, they don’t complain about their joints after they’ve stopped running. USPSA was dissed (that’s a word kids use still, right?) when it was starting out as a dangerous sport because people RAN with guns in their hands, and now, to get people interested in it, we have people stand (not run) with guns in their hands.

Bor-ring. Get something together that gets movement in the act, and we’ll talk tomorrow about divisions, ok?

See you then.

Match Report, USPSA at Hansen Range, 030616

Two matches in a week! Rob Leatham, watch yer @$$!

Unfortunately, that does it for me for the month, as we’ll be moving and I need to pack. Highlight of the match was DEFINITELY introducing two new shooters to the sport. They were enthusiastic, shot pretty well and want to come back again as soon as possible.

Win-Win-Win.

As for me, I did… ok. I’m not paying enough attention to target types and I’m falling back into the bad habit of shooting easy targets and harder targets at the same cadence. Fortunately, that’s easily fixed, and I know how to fix it.

Roll tape!

Those final four shots onto two paper target are what did me in, as I ended up with Alpha Mike on both of them, but my performance was good enough for a Stage Win in Production, beating A and B class shooters.

I’ll take it.

Match Report, USPSA at Hansen Range, 030316

I have no idea yet how I actually placed, but DANG, it felt good. I shot either double Alphas or Alpha-Charlies to the whole night until the last stage when I put the pedal to the metal and went Delta-Mike on one target, and that target taught me what I need to work on: Transitioning into a shooting position and getting my gun on-target quickly, That needs to be on my training agenda, and soon.

Let’s go to the tape!

As I said, learning (and practicing) the fastfastfast sllooooowwww movement needed in practical shooting is starting to pay off. I have no idea what my scores were like, but the match FELT good.

More of this, please.

Update: Yeah, there is that little stutter-step on the draw that’s an issue, and the only shot that’s not on target was the first shot from the holster, which is double-action on my CZ, so I still have stuff to work on.

After Action Report: Bob Vogel World Class Pistol Skills

The basics: The two day class was held at Altair Gun Club, a private range about 45 minutes east of Naples. The class was nine guys, all older, split about 1/3 each “gamers”, 1/3 professionals (LEO or private security and 1/3 casual tactical learners. All of the students had a lot of previous gun skool, none had any “gamer” classes”.

I was pleased that Bob’s shooting philosophy is similar to mine: Shooting is shooting. Delivering the shot on-time and on-target is the same for tactical as it is competition. The point is to be as fast and accurate as possible in any situation. As for tactics, as Bob says, “Speed is a huge tactic”.
Gear-wise, there were five Glocks, two M&P’s, a Grand Power and me with my CZ’s (Yes, plural. More on that later.). As Bob shoots a Glock and the majority of students in the class shot Glocks, there was at least an half hour’s discussion devoted on how to make a Glock run as fast and accurately as a CZ.

You can’t. Game over. 😀

One thing I did appreciate was looking down the sights of Bob’s competition Glock 34. His sights are a LOT wider-spaced than mine: The rear sight groove is bigger, and the front sight is a mere slip with a small fiber dot. I really liked that idea, as it fits in with the faults I’m finding with my competition guns.

The technique training was solid. As Bob says, “Almost anyone can hold a gun on-target at 25 yds. The trick is keeping it on-target as they pull the trigger”. This dovetails nicely with what I learned from Rob Leatham, so there’s something to be pursued further in my dry-fire along those lines. Bob also believes that “The less the gun moves, the better you shoot”, and that’s what his draw, movement on a stage and grip are based around. He grips the gun with the support hand further out towards the muzzle than most people do with the modern isosceles, and he emphasizes using the meaty part of your thumb on both hands, just below the last knuckle, for controlling the gun movement. He also cants his wrists slightly downwards, allowing for the support hand to grab the gun further out of the frame. That grip, he believes, allows you to get your hands closer to the muzzle and therefore closer to where the recoil is happening.

Also, he believes that people should “pinch” the gun in the holster with the middle finger and thumb versus grabbing it with all three fingers. Pinching relates to a higher grip on the gun and a faster draw, as the complete grip assembles itself as the gun is on it’s way towards the target. Straight left wrist  = low hand on gun, cant wrist down. A strong support hand is an essential part of his grip, because the strong hand has to grip the gun and pull the trigger, and the support hand jus grips the gun, so it’s essential for control during the trigger press. If you notice on the video I posted yesterday, his hands are pressing slightly inwards on each other. Torquing them inward like that creates pressure downwards and from side to side, which helps eliminate side to side motion. This also helps press the gun up and right, which works against trigger jerk that tends to push the gun down and to the left.

Another element of recoil control he teaches is grip strength. Bob is a big proponent of the Captains of Crush grip stregtheners, as they helped him, and I’m getting one sent my way to try it out.

To be honest, that was takeaway #1: The physical reality of being a truly great shooter. I got to see Angus Hobdell, Tarn Butler and Rob Leatham shoot many, many times, and no one would ever accuse them of them of being “svelte”. They’re big guys, but they all can move very quickly and explode out of the shooting box when needed. Watching Bob spring from a dead standstill to 6 feet ahead at the drop of a hat was enlightening.

Takeaway #2 was the Bill Drill. To be honest, I had not practiced this drill a lot, but now I see it’s usefulness in finding what you’re doing consistently wrong. If you have an occasional problem with trigger jerk, it WILL show up when you shoot six shots in a row multiple times.

Takeaway #3 was the importance of dry-fire, and practicing measurable things while dry-firing. To be honest, I’d been dry-firing wrong. Having a double-action gun means I can pull the trigger on each target I point my (empty) gun at, but that doesn’t mean I should pull the double-action trigger every time I need it. I’m switching to a true DA/SA trigger practice from now on. True, I won’t have the hammer fall with each shot, but it will be more like the way my gun actually works and allow me to see issues with trigger press and gun movement.

Win – win – win.

Here’s a video of me working my way (slowly) through some of the drills in the class.

This is not a class for everyone; If you’re new to shooting world or haven’t taken a beginning pistol class, take those first ,and shoot a few matches as well. However if you’re ready (as I am) to get really, really good at shooting a pistol under the artificial stress of the range and a timer, this is a great class to help take you to the next level.

And because this was Florida, we had an alligator show up for some free training. He kept to himself, but I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him he needed to wear eye and ear protection while he was watching us shoot.

gator

Match Report: USPSA at SW Florida Practical Shooters, 2/4/16

I shot the weekly USPA match at the Hansen Range prep for this weekend’s class with Bob Vogel, and to spend a little quality time with my new upgraded CZ P-07. Let’s roll the tape!

Overall, I’m not happy with how I shot: I had too many Mikes on targets where they just weren’t justified. This was the first time I shot the P-07 in USPSA, and I had trouble picking up the front sight on strings of fire. I’ve got Meprolight night sights on it right now, and they… suck. They’re hard to pick up because they’re three dot sights (which I hate) and the front sight post is too thick for precise aiming. I got the night sights because the P07 is my regular carry gun in addition to being my IDPA gun, so I need to find a compromise between a race gun sight that’s useful on a square range and night sights useful on a carry gun. I think I may (may!) have found that compromise, so we’ll see how they’ll work out.

My plan was, before tonight, to shoot the P-07 at the Vogel class, but I honestly think shooting the new (old) pre-B CZ75 in the class will better reflect my actual skill level.