Sunday, March 18, 2012

Personal Notes on Steel

This is a brief review of my performance at the ARPC Steel Plates Match on March 17.  First, what I need to work on.  In a word: consistency.  Mainly consistency from string to string and stage to stage.  I need to work on pacing myself.  Begin a bit slower on each stage.  Try to focus on consistent scores. Then maybe on the last string of the stage, let loose and push my speed.  Second, I need to check my equipment before I come to the line.  I said something about that in my last post. Third, for some reason yesterday, I was having trouble coming out of my draw with a good grip.  I'm not sure why that was a problem.  But I surely need to work on it in dry fire practice.  If I had problems in a particular string, it almost always was associated with a bad draw and grip from the start.

Fourth, trust my instincts in close range shooting.  I'm pretty fast in close.  And I normally don't need to use my sights all that much.  Just shoot.  In the two close range stages I did best when I just let it rip and didn't get too concerned about sighting in.  That's not to say that I wasn't aiming; it's just not the same kind of aiming as when you are engaging a 10-inch plate from 15 to 20 yards away.

With that said, I was pleased overall with my shooting.  I'm transitioning very well from plate to plate without much conscious thought.  That's good.  When I'm in the zone the sights come forward to the next plate pretty quickly.  I can also make up a missed shot pretty fast without too much lost time.  That means, too, that I'm "calling my shots" and not waiting to hear the ding of the steel being hit. The process of target acquisition and transitioning is fascinating to me.  I can analyze it at home, but on the range when you are shooting it "just happens."  But it only "just happens" because I've practiced it so much in live fire sessions.  So much happens in a microsecond.  The shot is fired and the front sight begins to lift and you know it's a hit or a miss even before you see the plate move or hear the characteristic "ding."  By then you are looking at the next plate and pushing your pistol toward it, prepping the trigger as it moves.  Once the front sight reaches the plate then the process repeats.

Overall I've found the steel plates matches to be great practice for IDPA matches.  They are especially useful for pushing me to shoot faster.  The atmosphere of a steel match is much more relaxed and so there's some space to experiment a bit and push my speed.  I'll try to keep shooting steel at least once a month.

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