Check That Off

After taking the NROI Range Officer course a couple of weekends ago, I finished and passed the exam today.

Now, if only we could get back to shooting matches. . . .

Range is Clear

I originally took the USPSA Range Officer course back in 2013, and I acted as an RO in matches, up until The Late Unpleasantness caused me to let my certification lapse.

As it turns out, I could have written the National Range Officer Institute – the NROI – and asked them for an exemption, and re-certified. But, given the amount of time that lapsed, and seeing that there was now a new class of gun being used – Pistol Caliber Carbines, or PCC – I decided I would invest my time and money and take the course again, which I did this past weekend at the River Bend Gun Club in Dawsonville, GA.

The instructor this time was the NROI Director, Troy McManus, and there were 25 of us, altogether, representing a wide range of experience and shooting ability. The first day was all classroom training, going over the rules. The USPSA has doen a lot of editing and revision to the 2020 rulebook, and we went over it from front to back. I’m glad we did, because, honestly, I don’t read it enough.

The second day was all about exercising what we learned, by ROing shooters. Whereas we shot only one stage the first time I took the class, this time there were two stages, and the second stage helped illustrate the kinds of decisions an RO has to make. There were enough tough calls that we all go our turn at it.

As a side note, I shot very well on the two stages, with no mikes, and good times. In fact, just for fun I tried doing head shots on the second stage, and did well. The reason I did better? Obviously it’s because I wasn’t under pressure. I felt confident, and different. I think I learned something there.

Now, I have to pass the test, and I get my certification back, which will be another victory for me.

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.

 

 

 

Joining the Club

I’ve heard it said that there are two classes of competitive shooters – those who have been disqualified, and those who will be disqualified at some point in there shooting career.

I am somewhat embarrassed to report that on Saturday, I moved from the latter group to the former, and joined the DQ Club.

The good news – no one was hurt and I was not in danger of hurting anyone. As a matter of record, as I was moving from point 4 to point 5, I “broke the 180” while moving laterally, and no one was in the area where I pointed my gun.

As God’s sense of humor would have it, it was on my last stage of the day, as I was moving to shoot the last 3 targets. And I was the next to last shooter in my group, so rather than pack up, as is the tradition, I helped break down and all, before going home.

Now, in retrospect, I see what happened. In my planning, I was going to shoot from spot 4, some feet back from there the number is, where I actually shot. Had I gone east-west from 3, shot the two targets and moved to 5, all would be good. But I moved up to make the shots on the other targets closer, and then I didn’t keep my gun pointed down range as I moved to 5.

All in all I am pleased to report my fellow competitors were very consoling, and shared their first DQs with me. One shooter, who I have been competing with since 2002 when I moved back to the Atlanta area, did a ND after falling. He said he’s had 5 more DQs since, no one hurt, and no two the same.

Lesson learned. Now, let’s keep this the only one.

Note, if you want to share your DQ stories with me, you can comment, or email me at FillYerHands at Gmail, and I will sterilize them if you wish, and share at some time in the future.

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!