Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bench Rest IDPA Match

Time for another match review. This one should be short.  I have no video this time. I just shot the match.  Imagine that?

I haven't shot the monthly Bench Rest IDPA match in about a year.  Ever since Sparta starting holding its monthly USPSA matches on the 3rd Saturday of the month I've been going there.  But this month Sparta had to postpone its match until the 4th Sunday, so I headed up to Bench Rest.

Dave Euson put on a good match. There were about 55 shooters, I think.  6 stages.  106 round count.  The stages were interesting and challenging.  We used the swaying boat dock prop on one stage.  That's always a hoot.  On another one we had to come out of a shower and fold a towel around our waist before grabbing our gun and shooting the targets strong hand.  We had a reload with retention stage.  A stage using the truck. There were swingers, drop turners, poppers, hard cover targets, lots of no shoots, head shots, weak hand shooting, etc.  A good variety and well-done stages.  

I was generally pleased with my performance. I was shooting fast, sometimes a little too fast.  But I was fairly accurate even though I was pushing my speed.  I had a few bumps—one miss and four -3 shots for the whole match.  I'll take that.  I'm not sure I can identify anything to work on other than to dial down my speed a bit on close shots.  I tend to point and shoot very quickly.  Two of my -3 shots were on targets that were about 5 yards away.

I won 4 out of 6 stages and was first in the overall standings.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Morning Match Review

I've got a few minutes this morning to review my performance at the ARPC IDPA club match this past Saturday morning.  Here's the video of me shooting all seven stages.  I'm shooting my Smith & Wesson M&P Pro 9mm in SSP (Stock Service Pistol) division.

Stage #1 - Standards

No cover garment.  Hands naturally at your side.  2 shots on each target, then a reload with retention.  2 more shots on each target, another reload with retention, and 2 more shots on target. Best 6 shots scored on each target.

I shot this one well.  Other than faster reloads, I don't see anything I could have improved on this stage. I loosened my belt so I could stow my retained magazines right in front under my belt. That always makes retention reloads faster.  I can do that as long as I'm not required to run with them in my belt.  ;-)

Time: 18.14 secs & 4 points down.  I was #1 on this stage.

Stage #2 - Off Road Attack

Sitting on an ATV.  Pistol at low ready.  Two shots on each target, engaged from near to far.  One steel popper activated two swingers.

Those two swingers were 15 and 20 yards down range.  And what is worse, they did not appear in any consistent order.  It depended on how taunt the lines to the activators were made each time these were reset. So I decided to shoot 2–2–popper–3 in the first swinger–3 in the second swinger–reload–2–2.    Turned out that the farther swinger was slow and I had to wait.  I'm not sure what the deal is with me briefly releasing my support hand.

This was the first stage I shot.  I was already frustrated with it because I needed a reshoot.  The first time I went through it I put 5 rounds on the popper and it didn't fall.  The activating lines were two tight and wouldn't allow the swinger to fall.

Not my best stage.  Time: 10:54 secs & 9 pts down.  I was 4th on this stage.

Stage #3 - Chain me to the Wall

I designed this stage. I got the idea from one of the USPSA Area 3 stages.  Sitting on a chair with your weak hand chained (tied) to a table.  At the signal: stand and engage all targets through the windows with your strong hand only.  The trick here was not to extend so far that you were off balance and had to step back too far for the reload.  You can see Jeff Eisenhart shooting this stage here.

My time was great on this stage, but I had a mike on one of the far targets. That cost me.  Time: 16.35 secs, 12 pts down, and one FTN.  I was 11th on this stage.

Stage #4 - Wrong Handed Reception

There were a lot of options on how to shoot this stage (something not usually seen in IDPA stages).  Basically all the options but one allowed you to get clear shots on all the targets with little or no danger of hitting the non-threats.  The option that I chose insured little movement and a fast time if I could avoid hitting the dangerously placed non-threats.  I did it.  I put 3 rounds on the one long head shot for insurance.  Turned out I didn't need it.  But that NT was extremely close.

I got the top score on this stage: 10.78 secs & 1 pt down.

Stage #5 - Black Jack Blues

Starting position: hands face down on the Black Jack Table. At the signal: draw and engage all the targets from near to far.  I love these kinds of stages.  The only danger here was shooting through the first close target and hitting a non-threat behind it. But if you positioned yourself right at the start this wasn't a problem.  I put 3 shoots on the far two targets for insurance, but also because I didn't want to reload in the middle of engaging the last target.

I won this stage, too.  Time: 10.41 secs & 2 pts down.

Stage #6 - Fighting Reload

You started with 6 rounds in your gun.  All your loaded magazines were on the other side of the stage on the barrel. At the signal you grabbed the baby, drew your pistol, and engaged all 6 targets with one round each while moving.  Once you got to the other side you were at slide lock. So you retrieved a magazine to reload and one to stow.  Then you moved back across the opening engaging each target again freestyle with 2 rounds each while moving.  You could take make-up shots from cover when you reached the other side.

I had a few problems on this one.  I had too many points down on one of the end targets.  I need to move a little slower while shooting stages like this.  Move slower, shoot faster.  Then when I finish engaging the targets I can dash to the end.  And for some reason my second reload failed to strip a round from my magazine.  Oh, and I need to work on handling loose magazines and stowing them.  I fumbled around like a blind man.

Time: 20.53 secs & 9 pts down.  I was 7th on this stage.

Stage #7 - Unexpected Drama

Nothing too difficult here.  Start sitting on a bench. At the signal drop to one knee, draw, and engage the two targets with 3 rounds each.  I smoked this stage.  Time: 3.98 secs & 0 pts down.  I won this stage.

Overall I was pleased with my score.  I was first overall even though I had a few missteps.

Friday, August 10, 2012

25 & 50 Yards

There's a lot of discussion on the gun forums about the inaccuracy of the S&W M&Ps.  Truth be told, they are not nearly as accurate as a nice 1911 or 2011.  There's no denying that.  But they are not as bad as they are often portrayed.

Yesterday at the range I was able to take some time off from my normal practice drills and shoot some groups with both of my M&Ps. I used two loads - Montana Golds and Berry's HP, both 124gr. 

At 25 yards I got between 2-1/2 and 3-1/2 inch groups of five, with an occasional flyer. But those flyers were probably me. I sat down with my back against a solid table, my legs propped up, and my arms on my legs (actually, between my knees) to shoot these.  I was pretty happy with this. These are better groups than the last time I tried this (about 2 years ago). Maybe the way I shot these was inherently more stable than shooting from a sandbag on a bench.  I've noticed that the M&P doesn't shoot very feel from a bench rest.  

In addition to the 25 yrd groups, I was on a bay that allowed me to go back to 50 yards. I set up two IDPA targets and shot 20 rounds offhand, about 1 sec or so between shots. I took my time.  The result: 9 zeros, 8 ones, 2 threes, and 1 mike. I think the mike was early on as I was figuring out my elevation. I shot 4 test shots and then checked them. They were mostly low. After that, all zeros and ones. I'll take that. I was kind of surprised at how easy it was to get good hits if I took my time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Real Match Review

Some friends reviewed my video from the June Sparta Match and offered some excellent critique and suggestions here.  Here I am shooting Stage #4.

Darren Mulford offered some excellent analysis:
Stage 4:  
You basically did a standing reload in the middle of the 3rd array after your 10th shot. You do NOT want to split up an array if you can help it. It interrupts flow and slows you down. I would have reloaded after the 1st two targets because you had more time there (while you came through the door and acquired the second array.You split an array again on your next mag. 
Using your sequence of targets, i would have done this: 
Target 1, target 2, reload.Target 3, target 4, target 5, target 6, reload.Target 7, target 8, target 9, target 10, target 11, reload. Notes: There's 1 round left in the gun and you go into the steel with a full mag.Steel 1, steel 2, steel 3, steel 4, target 12. Done. Notes: Assuming no extra shots you would have had 6 extra shots for this array if needed. In the video you only had 4 extra shots since you split the previous array. 
General notes: 
-Target 1 and 2: Normally I would have started on the right target because as you advance forward you lose sight of the right target before the left. HOWEVER, since the right target was partially blacked out, you did the correct thing by starting on the left wide open target. A lot of shooters, including me, like to start on a wide open target (right out of the holster). Nice job on this. 
* It looks like you took target 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the move. If you got your hits...nice job! Moving while shooting is the biggest thing that advances a shooter in the results...however you have to get your hits.  
* For some reason you hesitated on targets 5 and 6...i think you could have kept moving forward, especially on target 5 when you turned...and having to reload in the middle of the target 5-6 array definitely slowed down your forward progress. 
* I sense some hesitation between indexing onto the target and firing the first shot. This is noticeable to me on targets 7, 8 and 9. If you watch, rewind, watch, rewind, you will see the hesitation. The shot should be going off as soon as you index onto the target. And on the 7-8-9 target array, the targets are all close and the spacing between is pretty much the same so when shooting those targets a good shooter would not have any time difference between the shots and the targets. For example, the whole sequence should sound like 6 shots on one target.... pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop...what you have is: pop, pop.....pop, pop.....pop, pop. 
The biggest problem I saw in stage 4 was splitting the arrays..this greatly slowed down your forward progress.
I can't find anything in this critique to disagree with.  Having more accomplished shooters analyze my shooting has always helped me.