Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sporting Clays

Last night about 7 guys from our church went out to St. Louis Trap & Skeet Club in Pacific to shoot a round of sporting clays.  I used to shoot skeet regularly back in the 80s, but only do so occasionally now.  Sporting clays is so much more fun.  And more difficult.  I was able to break 39 out of 50 clays last night. I felt pretty good about my overall score, even if I was pretty frustrated with some of my stupid misses.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Alex Gutt Shoots Ohio State USPSA Championship

This is an awesome performance by Gutt.  It's a pleasure to watch.  I love how he fades away shooting the last target in an array before moving.  And his transition time between shots is lightning fast.

Oh, and I love that stage near the end where he shoots to activate a swinger on one side of long wall, then he has to run to the other side to engage the swinger.   Then back again.  Too cool.  I want to make a stage like that.

Thanks to Ken for pointing me to this video!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sparta Match - May 26, 2012

My wife was kind enough to let me slip away Saturday morning for a USPSA match in Sparta.  It was especially generous of her because we were hosting my son's high school graduation party at 3 PM.  I had to make sure I could get back in time to help with the finish touches before everyone arrived for the party.  It worked out just fine.

The match went okay.  Nothing great.  A couple of mikes for the whole match. But that's too many by two.  Both of them were easily avoidable.  This is stage #6, one of the least complicated stages of the day.  I'm not sure what I'm doing with my left arm during the strong-hand half of the stage after the reload.   Whatever.

This is the classifier stage. I began with a squirrelly grip, so I didn't smoke it.  I'm just happy I didn't hit a no shoot.  I'm still hovering at 74.9% in Production, just a tenth of a percentage under the threshold of making A class.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Target Stands

Last night 4 of us spent a couple hours at Stork Fabricators making a little over 50 new IDPA target stands.  Brian Stork was very generous in allowing us to use his welding equipment.  What's amazing is that we made 50 stands or more for about $6 each in just a couple of hours.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Random Stuff

No match for me this weekend.  I might have shot in the Pro Am steel plates tournament this year, but I had a men & boys camp out this week with church.  A few things happened this week, however.

First, I got my first USPSA classification.  I've actually only been able to shoot 4 classifier stages in 4 different matches, so there's not much to average yet.  I'm sitting at 68% in Production division, which puts me in B class.  That's fine for right now.  I really need to shoot more USPSA matches this year.  The two classifier stages at my first two matches were pretty pitiful.   All I really need is one more 75+% score and I'll be in A class.

Second, I took a dive practicing at our club this past Thursday.  I was doing the Seeklander drill "Long Movement into Position" when I stumbled and fell moving from P2 to P3.  I was moving left to right fairly quickly and went into the rocks pretty hard.  Because I kept the gun up and down range (finger off the trigger) everything was fine except for my right knee and right elbow and arm.  Lots of blood and wounded pride, but hopefully no lead poisoning from the rocks.  Lots of lead on those pistol ranges and it hadn't rained in a while.

I really don't know if there's a lesson in this. I just think I lost my footing in the loose rocks.  Maybe I should slow down a little.  But maybe not.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New S&W M&P Pro 9mm

I've been looking for one of these babies for months.  Last week I walked into Dunn's Sporting Goods in Pevely, MO, and found a new on the shelf.  This will be my back up gun for competition.  I plan to continue to shoot my M&P in Production division in USPSA and in SSP and ESP in IDPA.  But first this new gun needs some upgrades so that it can be exactly like the one I shoot now.  Here's what I will be doing to the gun this week:

  • Change out the stock guide rod with an ISMI steel captured one and put in an 11lb recoil spring.
  • Putting in an 11lb recoil spring requires clipping a few coils off the striker spring otherwise it will not go back into battery after a shot. 
  • Put in an Apex Tactical competition AEK trigger.  This will give me a sub-three pound trigger pull.
  • Put in an Apex Tactical RAM (Reset Assist Mechanism) so that the reset on the trigger is crisp and tactile.  
  • Take off the stock front and rear sights. Even though it comes with a green fiber optic front sight, it's too wide.  The FO must be .150 or so.  You can't be accurate on long shots with that wide of a green dot on the front of your gun.  I'm replacing it with a Dawson Precision .100 FO red front sight.  The stock rear sight is okay, but I've gotten used to a Dawson Precision FO adjustable rear sight.  I put green FO filaments in the rear and red in the front.  Before I tried this last year I was told that this makes the sight picture "too busy" and hinders fast target acquisition.  But I've not found that to be the case.  The two green dots in back gives me more control over vertical movement and placement of the sights. But that's probably just me.  It works for me, so I'm going to keep doing it.
  • Putting sand-textured tape on the grip.
I also have a SSS ESP magwell for this gun and plan to use it occasionally for IDPA.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Double Swingers

No, this post is not about sharing wives.  It's about shooting double swingers.  We had a stage this Saturday at our IDPA club match that had two swingers activated at virtually the same time.  Here's a short video of one shooter engaging the two poppers and swingers.

Before shooting a stage a shooter must take the time to go through the course of fire carefully in his mind. Some top shelf shooters have advised mentally running through the stage 30 times before coming to the line.  I'm not sure about that number. It depends on the stage. But for a stage like this it's not only necessary to run through the whole stage thinking about when you will reload and whatnot, it's also crucial that you watch the stage being shot before you come to the line so you can predetermine the way you will engage the poppers and swingers.  You have to decide which popper you will engage first.  And you have to watch the swingers start and swing to determine the order you will shoot them.  You don't want to lose time watching them swing back and forth before you engage them (like the shooter in the video).

When I came to the line on this stage I thought I had that worked out. But I had not watched carefully enough so I ended up losing about a second waiting for the second popper to come back in view. I could use the excuse that I was busy SO-ing the stage just before I stepped up to shoot.  But that's not a good excuse.

This month's match was very challenging. If you look at the scores, you will see a lot of guys with very high scores.  It was a 110-round match, but there were a lot of difficult stages with some long shots. On one stage you had three strings where you put a total of 24 rounds on 3 targets at 20, 25, and 30 yards.  There were a lot of misses on that stage.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

IDPA Postal Match

Today I got in the electonic mail my 2011 IDPA Postal Match certificate.  Woo Hoo!  I shot in two divisions at the match last September.  What happens is that every IDPA club around the nation—and internatial clubs, too—set up the exact same 4 courses of fire to shoot. Everybody then turns in their score and you get ranked.   I shot in two divisions: ESP and SSP.  I came in 4th out of 179 Sharpshooters in ESP.  Out of 129 Expert SSP shooters I came in 11th.  The overall scores are not listed on the website, but they are not difficult to calculate.  There were 2339 shooters in all divisions.  My score ranked 55th of 2339 shooters.  That's in the top 2% of all shooters.  I'll take that.  But I think I can do much better next year.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

First Saturday Steel

I shoot the steel match at ARPC on first Saturday of the month.  Steel is good practice.  Lot's of opportunity to practice basic skills.  But I seem to be stuck in a rut with my score in these matches.  I need to figure out what to do to kick my performance up a notch.  I've never really read any tips about shooting steel matches.  Maybe I need to do that.  There's gotta be something I'm missing.  I think I'll look around for help on shooting steel. If anyone knows anything specifically relating to steel matches, let me know.  I did fine this month, but a lot of the top shooters were gone—probably at Single Stack Nationals.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Little Adjustments

Little things can make a big difference.  Duh.  That's a truism.  But shooting this afternoon with other shooters at our local IDPA club's Trigger Time reminded me of some little adjustments that make for a much smoother shooting experience—not to mention a better score.  I see other shooters making little mistakes—one's that are easily corrrected—and I want to help. I don't want to presume to be some sort of "instructor" during practice with a bunch of other guys.  I'm quite self-conscious about not inserting myself where I'm not wanted or even where I'm not sure I'll be helpful.  But I remember others helping me when I first started coming to IDPA practice sessions.  If I offer advice to someone new, I'm not trying to be a know-it-all.  Seeing these little errors today made me think about some basics again.

So just a few things that caught my attention this afternoon.  First, when the buzzer goes off the only thing that should move are your arms and your gun.  Everything else should be set before the SO says, "Stand by."  At the signal you should be able to draw your pistol, wrap your weak hand around the grip, drive the gun toward the target, prime the trigger, align the sights, and pull the trigger.  Your head doesn't need to move.  Your legs should stay put.  You don't need to crouch after the draw.  All that extra movement just takes time and distracts you from the main thing—driving your gun toward the target and pulling the trigger.  Whatever your normal shooting stance, get into that position before the "Stand by" command and be ready simply to draw and shoot.  Watch the first 8 seconds or so of this video and notice how little I move when the buzzer goes off.  It's not the fastest draw-to-first-shot time, but what you can't see is that the four targets off to the left of the frame are about 20 yards away so I had to take a little more time to get my sight picture right.