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

Match report – USPSA at Talladega January 2020

On Saturday January 18, 2020, I made a trip to the Talladega CMP Marksmanship Park and shot the monthly USPSA match with the Talladega Practical Shooters. This match was a little different for me, in a few ways, so I thought I would share my thoughts.

My Performance

My overall performance was not bad, considering I hadn’t been able to compete since the September GSSF match, and not in USPSA since last July. In fact, on the classifier stage, I shot well enough that I am on the cusp of moving up a level from D to C. More to come on that.

In the video I loaded, I am shooting Stage 3, called Five by Three. As with most of the stages, it was a good combination of movement, long and short shots, paper and steel. All the stages were a good combination of steel and paper, with no movers, which was nice, given the weather. There was a lot of movement involved, too, which tells me what I need to do to improve my scores.

Now, one thing I have been doing recently is keeping track of my hits in real time, as best I can. Not keeping score, mind, you, but Good or Bad (D or miss). So, you will notice I take a third shot at the last target. This is because I saw I had shot A and D, and my third shot was another A, which very well made up for the extra time it took.  Note, my rule of thumb is I only take a third shot if the chance of making an A is very high, or if I have a miss.

Some may notice that I now have fewer magazine changes, and this is because in 2019 I changed from Production to Limited, although admittedly in minor power factor. The main difference for me was the change from a limit of 10 rounds in the magazine, to as many as mine can hold within the 140 cm total height. My magazines can best hold 18 rounds, so now for most stages this means only one mag change, which really changes how I manage my stages. I will post more on this soon.

Shooting in the Rain

This was my first match to shoot in a real rain shower. I had shot in misty conditions, or a day or so after rain, so being a little wet was not a problem. But shooting while being rained on is different, and I will say that my preparations for it was sufficient to make the weather not a very big deal. My preparations included:

  • Rainproof footwear
  • Rainproof coat
  • Cover for my gear

Look for a post on this soon.

It was also interesting that we were trying some new waterproof targets and waterproof pasters. All the matches I have shot in wet weather have been on targets covered by plastic covers, but these seemed to do well. After about 5 hours in the rain, some of the A head zones were starting to show wear, but that could have been managed with some tape on the top of the targets, I think.

Talladega

I have shot GSSF at Talladega a couple of times, and my feel for the park is that it may be one of the best I have ever shot at. The park facilities and management were exemplary, and I cannot recommend them more.

The match was managed well, too. I will admit, there were some differences in the style of management at this match, compared to the ones I have shot in the Atlanta area, and these differences threw me off a little. But suffice it to say, none of them affected the overall enjoyment of the match. I will address them with the Club.

One neat thing was at the clubhouse, there were CMP rifles available to buy. I need to save up, as the Dauphin has mentioned how much he wants an M1 Garand.

 

 

 

Gun Carts Move into Modern Times

Some time back – okay, nine years ago – I decided I was tired of lugging around all my competition gear, and decided to convert a thrift store stroller into a gun cart.

I used that one for several months, but I found the small wheels made it tough to push around unpaved areas. So I bought and converted another stroller to Gun Cart Mark II.

I used that cart a lot, and I noticed a lot of my fellow shooters used some. Here are some nice ones.

 

 

 

Then came the Late Unpleasantness, and upon my return to the shooting world, I noticed a lot of folks had started using pull carts. If I had to guess (and I will make a count at the next match) I would say 30 to 50 percent of shooters in USPSA use a cart.

 

 

Here is mine.

It’s not modified at all, although I plan to add some patches and pins to personalize it.

 

 

Ups and Downs

Well, after a great GSSF match in March, my USPSA match at the end of April went a little bit the other way. I managed to miss at least one target in all but one of the eight stages.

Why?

Because I don’t read my own blog: “So where is this [good shooting] coming from? Dry fire. I’m spending at least 15 minutes a day in my office dry firing, smoothing up my trigger pull. about a third of that is draw and fire, to speed up my first shot and make it accurate.”

Did I keep up dry firing in April? No.

So I know what to do. Better times coming in May, if I do.

Thank you for listening to my rant.

By the way, the picture above is a new cart, replacing my Shooting Stroller. Look for a post on it, to come.

 

Back At It

2019 has started out well as the year of my return to competitive shooting, and I am working to keep it going.

It started with USPSA at Cherokee Gun Club, and River Bend Gun Club. As I reported before, I decided to switch from Production to Limited Minor, and, while I can’t say I’ve seen a big difference, not having to plan my stage based on 10 rounds is rather nice. I now pack 18 rounds, plus one in the chamber if I need it, and this usually means only one mag change.

The result of this is I am shooting the Classifiers well enough that I think I can start out as a C class Limited shooter, once I get 6 scores. Seeing that I spent 7 years as a D class Production shooter, I feel good about it.

The next news came from the GSSF match in Dawsonville on March 16, where I shot 94.16, beating my best match ever by over 8 points. I did this y have zero Mikes, and by shooting my fastest times ever on 5 to Glock and Glock M.

Of course, being a perfectionist, I look at Glock the Plates and ask why I didn’t do my best ever, there? But it was easy to see – my stages went 10.47 >> 9.21 >> 6.12 >> 6.21. Since this was my first stage, the answer, to me, is warm up. I could have shot it 7 seconds or so faster. But I’ll take it.

So where is this coming from? Dry fire. I’m spending at least 15 minutes a day in my office dry firing, smoothing up my trigger pull. about a third of that is draw and fire, to speed up my first shot and make it accurate.

And, I have to admit, watching myself on YouTube, my next area to work on needs to be to lose weight and speed up. Given I have always had catcher speed, I don’t know if losing the weight will really work, but it can’t hurt.

More to come!

Changing it Up – Production to Limited

Bruce, my Gen 2 G17

I recently shot my first USPSA match in about 18 months, and I must admit, my lack of practice in that time showed. To me the biggest hamper was that my magazine changes made me even slower that normal. As a result, I actually shot next to last in Production. I was not happy.

So, in order to speed things up a bit, I have decided to change from Production to Limited class for the next match. For those who don’t know, the main thing for me will be that my magazines can hold as many rounds as they can hold, instead of being limited to 10 rounds in Production. So now I can shoot twice as many shots before requiring a magazine change.

Now, I am still going to shoot Bruce, my G17, which means I will be shooting Minor power factor, which puts some lesser value on the C and D shots. So, this means I need to shoot all A’s, doesn’t it. Yes, I know this will automatically put me behind from the beginning. But, I don’t expect I would win if I shot Major, and right now I can’t afford a Major gun, nor the ammo.

So my plan is to compare how well I do in Limited, to my Production performance, and if I do well enough, then start saving for a Glock 35, in .40 caliber, which would be Major power factor.

I’m probably going to but new mag pouches as well.

So, please keep me in your thoughts on December 8. And, please feel free to share your thoughts about what I might do in order to maximize my scores. I know I can use the help.