Keep At It

As usual, I took some time off from competitions over the year end, my last USPSA match being at the Talladega CMP back in November 2022. To be honest, 2022 was a rather disappointing season for me, as I found myself near the bottom on almost all of the matches. Over the offseason I found myself contemplating whether I should even keep competing, given how much more expensive it has become.

So, I spent the intervening time thinking about how I could improve my performance. And here’s what I did.

Now, as I have shared before, when I started competition shooting, I was shooting against a lot of really Olde School shooters, who were used to shooting bullseye competitions, standing still and shooting at their own pace. What I discovered was that if I could move from target to target faster, and shoot on the move, I could make a better score than them, even if I didn’t shoot as accurately. So, I learned how to shoot on the move, which, to be honest, seems to be a rather sparse skill to this day.

So fast forward to 2023. Now, I move much slower than I did in those days. And, given my age and shape, I don’t see a quick way to speed that up. So that means I need to improve my shooting accuracy if I am going to compete.

So that was my plan in the offseason: shoot more accurately.

For me this led to x improvements:

Better trigger control >> less sight movement

For me, what worked here was practice, practice, practice. I tried to devote a half hour every other work day to dry fire, working with some paper targets around my office, and a timer app on my phone. After a while, I was able to draw and fire without significant sight movement.

Better sight picture

For this one, I decided to swap out the green fiber optic front sight, which I had been using since I installed it years ago, with a red sight. I have to admit, this took some getting used to, but in the match I was surprised to see how much better it looked. If only I had considered this years ago.

Better recoil control

Through experimentation I decided that 124 grain ammo works best in my Glock 17, so I have now committed to using this exclusively in matches. So now what do I do with the 115g and 147g? Range fodder, I guess.

So in the end, the results speak for themselves. Out of 11 Limited shooters, I placed 6th, right in the middle. I shot 2 Deltas and ZERO MIKES all day, a first for me in quite a while.

So next up – lose some more weight and learn how to lose this catcher speed!

GSSF Glock Annual Shoot 2020

On September 19, 2020, I visited the Talladega CMP range to participate in the GSSF Glock Annual Shoot XXVII. I will be honest, since I didn’t get a chance to practice much, I didn’t shoot as well as I could, and I ended up placing 97 out of 170.

But I must say, as usual I really enjoyed my time there. And I even got to see the Gunny Challenge, won by Brian Giovaninni of Savannah.

If Clear, Hammer Down, Holster, and Mask Up

I finally got my USPSA RO certification renewed, the week before the governor closed down Georgia. So, the matched for the last two months have been cancelled, leaving me to have to settle for dry fire practice in the office.

But finally, the River Bend Gun Club, where I shoot most often, has decided to re-open, and I have volunteered to RO this new match. And given the Most Recent Unpleasantness, we will be subject to a few new rules, which will certainly make things a lot more interesting.

First, squads will be limited to ten people, made up of 8 shooters and 2 ROs. Since RBGC normally has 125 plus shooters, this means there will be a morning run and an evening run, and I and set to shoot in the morning and RO in the afternoon.

Now, at first, all competitors were going to be required to bring and wear a mask, but this requirement has since been relaxed to an encouragement. As a cancer survivor, I wear one all the time when I go out, so I will then, too. We will also be limited to social distancing to no less than 6 feet, and because of this, only two competitors will paste targets and reset the stage, and this will rotate. This minimizes the chance of getting too close to others.

I welcome the return to shooting and I will keep you updated.

Farewell to Production

When I started shooting USPSA, I shot in Production. Production Division limits guns to 10 rounds per magazine, and all competitors shoot in minor power factor. This means I can shoot 9mm and not be penalized.

The issue with Production, though, is that, for me, the whole stage became all about when I should change magazines – sometimes 3 changes in a stage.  As an example, look at how many changes I make in the top video, versus the bottom one where I shoot Limited.

So as a result, with my fat-boy catcher speed, I was never able able to move fast enough and shoot well enough to get out of D class.

So, I decided at the start of 2019 to switch to Limited, which doesn’t have the number of rounds limited, just the size. With G17 mags and the right extenders, I could fit 22 rounds in if I needed to. Even with my normal extended mags, I can get 19 rounds in, which means usually one mag change per stage.  Now, given that I am still shooting 9mm, I am in minor power factor, which admittedly puts me a disadvantage. But, I managed over the year to shoot well enough to end up in C class, which made to change all worthwhile. I was elated.

And then . . .

Looking at my Production scores one day, I calculated that if I shot a 45 on a Production classifier, I could move up into C class in. Looking at my recent classifiers, and knowing that classifiers are generally designed so that all classifications shoot the same, I thought, why not? Make a good score, and then finally retire from Production.

So, I looked, and the next match had a classifier that required a mag change (well, it was 12 shots, so for Production, it does), so I practiced changing magazines in my office for a couple of weeks, and gave it a try.

Now, as an explanation, not an excuse, I shot the classifier about 5 stages into the match, by which time I was so dadgum pissed off at having to change mags 3 times in a stage, that, true to form, I made a miss on the classifier, and ended up not moving up.

So now, I am now retiring from Production. RIP