Nimitz

Nimitz's Journey To GM

796 posts in this topic

So I contacted USPSA HQ a few weeks ago and asked them if they knew of anyone who had ever made GM after age 50. Unfortunately they said they don't track member birthdays so it would be hard to determine. If anyone knows someone who has done this I'd like to know, otherwise, for the purposes of my own goal setting I am going to assume it has not been done and therefore plan to be the first to do this in the Production division - having a long-range goal is important if I'm going to stay focused.

So before I get started with a regular range diary a short blurb about my shooting background prior to getting involved in competitive practical shooting in January 2012 ....

......... ok, that's it ----- none ---------

While I had owned a G19 for over 20 years I had put less than 300 rds thru it in that time. I know this because when I bought the pistol as a young Capt I also bought a half case of 9mm with it. In Dec 2011 when I decided I'd better do a little shooting before Mike Seeklander's class in Jan 12 there was half of the box still left.

I was lucky enough to get hooked up with Mike Seeklander after asking on this forum for training book recommendations. I got lots of different suggestions but the one common book in everyone's list was Seeklander's so that's where I started. One thing led to another & I was hosting Mike at our club in Jan 12 to teach his level I class.

For the next year I simply followed his program without deviation. Since I had no background I was looking for a complete program to follow and that's what Mike's book is. In Jul 1012 our club held it's annual classifier match where I attained a C classification at 46% in Production.

Fast forward to this year where Mike came out again to teach both his level I & level II classes and where I decided to start shooting some bigger matches. My first was the FL State Championship where I shot 88% of the available pts (the winner shot 87%) & 52% match pts against the winner. I was happy with this as I had been 100% focused on accuracy in my training & not speed. Next up with the Area 6 Championship where I shot 93.5% of pts on day one. Unfortunately on day 2 after shooting the classifier at 64% I failed to make PF (124.9) ...

After that I started to reassess my training program like I had been doing after any major milestone and realized I needed to start to work on the speed aspects of the sport since I had seemed to have figured out the accuracy part.

I managed to get into a class with Steve Anderson this past spring where I learned a bunch of stuff about speed & movement. However, in training & matches I was not seeing any real change. It was at this point that I knew I had to make a serious commitment to a dry fire program on par with my live fire 3x/week program if I hoped to improve.

This led to my next major change in training after asking a question of Ben Stoeger about dry fire. You can read the entire thread (~ 80 posts) in Ben Stoeger's forum but the result of this discussion was that instead of working on movement & transitions to get faster (which is what I thought my next step was), I learned that what I actually needed to do was to go back and learn the fundamentals of practical shooting - namely the ability to accurately at speed. Not shoot accurately, then learn to shoot fast but to do both at the same time from the beginning. I also learned that I needed to change HOW I was training since that was part of the reason I was not improving.

A huge thanks to both Ben & Beltjones who took the time to discuss in detail with me to get me on the right path.

So, that brings me up to present day where I've been on this new path for about 1 month and have already seen several "firsts" that I had not been able to do in the last year of training.

So what am I doing? My new training program is in 2 phases. Phase one is learning to stand & shoot accurately at speed (think classifier skills here). After that I'll then move into training to move & shoot accurately at speed. The reason for this is simple; if you can't stand & shoot accurately at speed how can you ever hope to move and shoot accurately at speed?

One thing I do need to determine is when my stand & shoot skills are to the point that I should start incorporating move & shoot work? Anyone want to chime in here feel free ....

Lastly, I have been resisting doing a range diary for the last year since I'm one of those who actually remember a time before Al Gore invented the Internet and I've never been all that interested in playing out my life on-line .... however;

I've decided that keeping a range diary on-line will force me to do a better job of reviewing my training progress which should hopefully help me to identify issues sooner. Maybe it will also keep someone from making the same mistakes I did & lastly I'll probably get lots of good feedback if I get off track again or get stuck along the way.

So with that as background my next post will begin with my training diary ...

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2 weeks into my new training regiment was our club's annual classifier match (13 Jul). My 2 major goals for 2013 were to make B class after this match & then A by the end of the year. I didn't quite make B after the classifier. After the Aug run I will be sitting at about 58%. not the 60% I was aiming for both certainly an improvement over the 47% I'm currently at. Unfortunately I hit a N/S on the last rd of one of the classifiers which tanked that run and if I had just shot a "C" instead my time was fast enough for a 69% run which would have put me over 60%. I considered reshooting it but then decided to stick with my original plan of only reshooting classifiers if I had a gun malfunction.<br /><br />My new training plan seems to be working. During yesterday's session I achieved 2 'firsts' for me. One was a .18 split in a Bill Drill plus numerous .21s & a .20. Prior to this I had been unable to achieve anything faster than a .25. Although I'm not consciously working on lowering my splits it's nice to see that I'm starting to get faster. Also, at the end of every session I like to do a series of 1 shot draws to a 3 yd target to see where my draw speed is. Although a month ago I had my first sub one sec draw (.99) I could not consistently do it. Yesterday my first rep was at .99, then .98, 1.07, .95 & .97<br /><br />I shot Bill Drills & The Accelerator for drills. With the exception of 1 rep all my Bill Drills were 2.40 or less & prior to this I was in the 2.6 range. Splits were faster as well as mentioned earlier. My draw still is the weakest part of this drill and is a direct result of lack of dry fire. My goal for this drill is 2.0 secs which would be a 1.0 sec draw and 5 .2 sec splits. I really need to figure out a way to execute a structured dry fire program like I have for my live fire. My draw times were 1.14 - 1.24. I might have to start do dry fire in the morning before going to work on the days I don't shoot since shooting in the morning has allowed me to shoot 3x/week for the last year consistently.<br /><br />My times on Accelerator were better than the last time I shot this but my hits on the 25 yd target were poorer. For the 8 reps I had 3 D hits where I had none last time. I was definitely pushing to shoot faster but I don't think I was waiting long enough for the front sight to return prior to breaking the 2nd shot and my weak hand grip was not optimum as the hits were center left.<br /><br />Lastly I like to shoot the plate rack at 30 yds at the end of every session to ensure I can get 1 shot/1 hit at long range. As with the last 3 training sessions I was 1 for 1.<br /><br />Tomorrow I'll be working on transitions with the plate rack heads drill & distance change-up drill. I've also selected about half a dozen classifiers and plan to set one up at the end of each session & shoot it as way to track my overall progress. I'm going to start with El Pres tomorrow. I'm only going to track the first run of these to more accurately represent shooting them in a match but I'll also record my best run as a way to see what I'm capable of.<br /><br />

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You have some of the best shooters giving you advice. I don't feel qualified, but will offer this. I believe Ben is 100% correct. It took me 8 years to get to that, but I believe he is right. You got to stand and shoot fast then apply that to the sport.

With that in mind, I'd recommend Bill Drills and El Presidente. These two offer a lot while learning to see. You don't even have to do the full El Prez, but shooting across 3 targets quickly and accurately while seeing is awesome. It's good stuff that has helped me.

I'm 46 and will most likely make Master in Open this summer. I feel GM is more than accessible for guys a lot older than you and me, presuming you are right at 50?

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I don't see why you shouldn't be able to make GM at over 50. Rob Leatham and Jerry Miculek are both over 50 and shooting like GMs, to say the least.

Glad you're seeing results from your training changes. Keep us posted on your training and match results. Good luck! :)

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I think G-ManBart is somewhere around your age and made open GM last fall. I am 35 and just made production Gm, I went from C to Gm in about 18 months. As long as you are willing to put in the work I see no reason why you couldn't make it.

Edited by RussellM

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Ken,

I've shot with you. I don't see why you can't make GM. keep up on your practice and you'll do it!

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Beltjones: my comment was a little misleading ... I should have said .... I need to figure out a way to make time during the week so that I will be guaranteed to dry fire 4x/week .... I'm already doing Ben's dry fire program (2 drill sets per session), just not 4x/week. The 2 two weeks prior to my classifier match when I was dry firing almost every day certainly showed results at the match ... I think doing dry fire on tues/thurs mornings before work is a step in the right direction since that will assure me of at least 2x/week no matter what else happens on the other days ...

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Mike, thx for the encouragement. You gonna be at the Aug match or just keep working yourself to death ...:)

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Today's training session went fairly well. Started with my usual warm of the plate rack at 19 yds for which I went 6/6. Today was to work on transitions with the Plate Rack Heads (PRH) drill & the Distance Changeup drill. Did 19 reps of the PRHs drill. My best for the first 8 reps was 2.99 with .47 transition between each target. Since the focus of this drill was target to target transitions after the first 7 reps I decided to do some reps with the gun already on target & just focus on that. Did 8 more reps that way with the best being a .93 with transitions of .25/.30/.38 secs I then finished up with 4 reps of the full drill from the draw & managed all 4 under 2.75 with a 2.4, 2,24 & 2.42 secs. Transitions were all under .4 for all of the reps so by working just the transition part I was able to significantly reduce my overall times.

Interesting, for the left target all hits were center low, middle target they were all center & the right target had hits center & upper right. Looks like I'm breaking the initial shot on the draw a little early with my transition with index to the middle target right on & then on the right target I may be overshooting as I transition, maybe a little too aggressive on the last target?

For the 57 shots I had 55 hits with 2 misses

This was my first session shooting the distance changeup although I've shot a variation of this from Seeklander's program. The goal of this drill is to shoot your transitions & splits the same for each type of target. So if your transition on the close targets is .25 then your splits should be .25 & similarly if your transition ton the far head shot is .7 then your splits should also be .7 on that target. I was very consistent here. No matter what order I shot the targets in my close targets splits were around .25 & transitions were around .35. for the far target my transitions & splits were always the same no matter what order I shot them in. When my transition to the far target was around .85 that is what my split would be. As I progressed I started to get the far target transition down into the .68 -.72 range & every time my splits would match. So looks like I have some work to do on transitions for the close targets. My overall time went from slowest of 4.40 secs to a fastest of 3.65. I was always faster overall when shooting the close targets first, sometime sby as much as .75 secs.

Shot El Pres twice with the first rep at 55% & the 2nd at 70%, a personal best for me. My current top El Pres on record is 63%. I finished up the session with a 29 yd plate rack & again went 1/1. That's 4 sessions in a row. I did not do any 3yd draws this session (just forgot to do them ...).

Next Saturday is our monthly Steel Challenge match so my training sessions will consist of shooting 2 different steel stages each of my 3 training days ...

Edited by Nimitz

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Mike, thx for the encouragement. You gonna be at the Aug match or just keep working yourself to death ...:)

I'm going to try! Back to school is busy for me.

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hmmm .... didn't realize you were going back to school. How about I sell you one of my 3 degrees so you don't have to work so hard, they are pretty useless to me .... just call up Brazos Custom Guns & put in an order for a BSG Pro Sx open gun in 38 supercomp and we'll call it even ... heck, you can even have 2 degrees for that if you want ... :)

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This morning was a steel challenge training session in prep for the match this Saturday. As in the past I shoot the easier stages earlier in the week & save the most difficult ones for the day before. Today was Roundabout & Smoke & Hope.

My sessions these days due to ammo is 20 reps of each stage for a 200 rd training session.

for the 20 Roundabout reps I had only 3 misses, better but I need to get this to zero. I was very consistent with most runs within .1 of each other. I did manage to put together a stage time that was 3 secs faster than any match time ( I've shot all 6 matches since our club started up Steel matches again). My biggest issue here is my first shot which is sitting around .75 - .8.

I've only had my open 22 for about 3 months & I'm still learning to shoot a dot gun .... at only 3 trng sessions/month max it's gonna take a while. I should probably consider some dry fire with it ... which is something until this very moment I hadn't even considered ...

For Smoke & Hope I was a little slower than usual here with only 4 runs below 2.2 & 2 runs below 2.1. the rest were in the mid/high 2.2s. However, I did manage my first ever sub 2 sec run on the last rep (1.91) so I finished on a high note. My 2 big issues here are time to first shot, still too slow at around.5 and when going from 4 to 3 (the stop plate) I find myself with a slight hesitation to insure I hit the stop plate vice smoothly moving from 4 to 3 without stopping. This hesitation is costing me up to .1 secs and so if I can fix that plus my first shot I should be sub 2 secs routinely.

Not sure training 3x/month is enough to fix these issues very quickly but we'll see and at least it's a lot of fun and I do a lot of transition work. eventually I'll be incorporating my 9mm into Steel Challenge which should be interesting ...

Edited by Nimitz

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Couldn't make my regular Wed training session as I had to officiate at a retirement ceremony in the morning. Therefore I'm only shooting twice this week plus Friday's match. A friend at work has decided to shoot the match for the first time so I invited him to shoot with me this morning. We shot The Accelerator and Pendulum. I'm still having the most trouble with Pendulum even though I finially learned last match to shoot it correctly. My index to plate #1 is still slow and jerky, usually around .95 or worse. From plate 2 to 5 ( which is thecnew part for me) is also slower than I'd like. My transitions from 5 to 4 to 3 (stop plate) are all .15 or better which is exactly where I need to be so that is going really well.

Even on Accererator, where the first target is just a 10" plate at 10 yds, was causing me trouble today. Several times I could not pick up the dot when bringing the gun up at the buzzer for the first shot. I did one run in speed mode just to see how fast I could move through the stage and did it in 1.53 so physically I'm plenty fast enough. Still too much conscious thought during a match though. It's always obvious when I'm not shooting subconsciously as I miss plates and/or hesitate between transitions, etc. when I'm shooting subconsciously I always go 5/5 and usually have a personal best run for one of he strings ....

Tomorrow I'm going to try and shoot the entire match without thinking about anything, I'm just going to shoot and see what happens ...

For next month's training I'll need to spend some time on some first shot and first 2 shot drills to work on this. There really is no reason my first shots should be any slower than .5 for any stage shoting an open 22. However, only training a couple of times a month I'll need to realize this may take longer to master than I'd like.

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I've also never done any dry fire with my open 22 which is most likely the cause of my index to first target and transitions problems I'll need to start some kind of dry fire program or probably never fix this ...

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Just finished shooting our monthly steel challenge match today .. 5 good stages and one I completely trashed with penalties on 3 of the 5 runs ... However, I did mange to have what I believe is a breakthrough with respect to being able to shoot consistent fast runs. In the past I could post one or 2 great runs but could not put together a set of 4 great runs except on occasion.

After tanking the 3rd stage which effectively took me out of contention for the match I decided to just shoot ... Which is what my original plan was for the match. so I just shot the next stage without trying to push really hard or go fast. I shot the first string slow and easy, or so I thought, couldn't believe it when the RO called out a time of 2.19 secs as I had never been able to shoot this particular stage in under 3 secs ever. That's when it all made sense, smooth and relaxed is really faster and even though it felt slow it was not.

I had never really experienced a run where I felt very slow during the run, only to have a blazing fast time in reality. It wasn't exactly like slow motion but it definitely felt like I was going sow while I was shooting. It wil be interesting to see if this translates to the same thing when shooting a long CoF in a USPSA match.

Not sure this would have ever happened had I not tanked that stage so it was definitely worth it in the end. Mon resumes my regular training schedule for USPSA ...

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Just got the results from the SC match this weekend and the results were a little surprising. I finished 2nd overall win stage wins for 4 of the 6 stages. Given how badly I tanked the one stage I was a little surprised with the results. I also had 3 personal best stage times as well. I guess I was so focused with the poor performance on the one stage I ws not paying attention to how I was shooting the other stages.

This morning it was back to my regular USPSA training. Today's menu was group shooting and Bill Drill's with Pucker Factor for my classifier. The goal for group shooting is a quarter size grip at 10 yds and a fist sized grp at 20 yds. My 10 yd group was 2" x 3.5" with 4 flyers (full mag) and at 20 yds it was 3" x 3" with 3 flyers. Not really sure why my 20 yd groups are better than my 10 yd groups. I need to think about what's going on here.

My first BD was a new personal best for me at 2.3 secs with two .19 splits and two .20 splits. I also achieved 2 other reps with multiple .19 sec splits. A combination of increasing my weak hand pressure and slightly relaxing my strong hand is enabling me to shoot faster. By far my draw is what is holding me back here. Something which I hope to correct now that I've started my new regular dry fire routine of training in the morning before work like I do with live fire.

Shot Pucker Factor twice with the first rep being the best at 52.8%. Had 4As, 1 B and 3 Cs with a time of 5.66. 2nd run ws faster at 5.16 but 1D put and end to that run. Draw was 2.08 secs where is obviously where I wasting the most time.

This Sat is our monthly USPSA club match which is always fun and I just saw that the Fl Section Championship is in late Oct. Since I had to give up my slot for the Nationals this looks like a good match to replace it so I think I'll be signing up.

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I don't know you history before shooting but I can tell you I abused my body pretty good by running, motorcycling and mountain biking and I can tell you if I make master it will be a paper master. I can't run with these snot nosed kids... After a match my knees hurt for 2 days

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Fortunately I have no physical limitations or excuses. I may not be able to beat the 20 something's in a 40yd sprint but since that's not required to beat them on a 30 rd field course I and not concerned ...

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Monday's training after avweekmoff shooting steel was not spectacular. I may have to rethink my current approach of practicing steel the week prior to each match as that removes 3 9mm training sessions out of the month for me. I've discovered I really like shooting steel matches but realize that at only 3 sessions a month I won't progress that far. However, it is a lot of fun and since I don't really do much 'fun' shooting during the month it has merits for that. Our local MD who helps me from time to time asked me a few weeks ago if I ever just come out and shoot for fun, to which I answered no .... He thought that should change which I'm starting to see the wisdom of.

Maybe I'll just do one or two steel training sessions vice 3 in a row and lose the entire week. Of course I do plan to start shooting my 9mm in steel challenge which will be a direct benefit to my USPSA shooting so at that point I'll just make sure to include some training with my open 22 gun and I should be ok.

Tomorrow's session is Blake drills and Phil Strader's 4 Aces

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This weekend's USPSA match went fairly well. Had 92% pts shot and only 2 D's. Unfortunately on stage 3 I failed to engage the 2nd of a pair of swingers activated by a stomp pad. The stage had a section where you opened a door and stepped into the shooting area which had 3 paper targets of which 2 were partially hidden and a set of barrels in front with the swingers coming out the sides. I never really settled on a solid plan for that part of the stage and finally went with a high risk approach of entering thru the door, activating the swingers, engaging the left swinger, then engaging the 3 static targets & then the right swinger last before running to the next area. And sure enough I forgot about the last swinger and right at ULASC I could see that swinger out of the corner of my eye & realized I didn't shoot it. It's been a long time since I didn't have a good stage plan and was unsure what I was doing on a stage. My stage planning & visualization is usually one of my strong suits. I think part of my problem was that the swingers were not put out on the stage until the last minute and so my original plan had to be modified to accommodate them and I didn't do a great job of it.

The good news is that this is the first match since May (not counting last month's classifier) where I did not have any Mikes for any target I shot. I have been having a couple of Mikes at every match & this is one of the goals I've set to eliminate them. I ended up finishing 4th on 2 of the stages & 5th on another but finished 9th on 2 other stages. One had a PPR and he other has a texas star. Given I can't practice them I still struggle to clear them quickly. Once I start shooting steel challenge with my 9mm things should improve. I plan to incorporate this into training starting with prep for the Sept SC match.

I'm still finding myself at times fully extending my arms instead of keeping my elbows bent to help control recoil. So I've gone to doing a lot of draws to a target in dry fire to turn this into a subconscious action. I still catch myself during live fire having to consciously think about this. It's very obvious when shooting the 30 yd plate rack. yesterday my first 2 shots were misses & then I realized I had my arms fully extended. I pulled my arms in just slightly to get the bent elbows and quickly went 1/1.

I shot Tight Squeeze for the first time as my classifier for this training session and came in with a 54% score. I've heard this is one of the more difficult ones due to its HHF so if true my score was ok. I was down 11 pts with a slow reload so plenty of room for improvement here.

Tomorrow training will be The Accelerator & Plate Rack Heads drills

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Well I'm still struggling a bit with my weak hand grip. When I get it right I can shoot alphas all day long at 25 yds with splits around .4 secs. Unfortunately I'm still not consistently able to do this with predictable results. After yesterday's training session I've begun to wonder if I may have the basic grip wrong ...

Currently I grip the gun with my weak hand by having the meat of the palm of the hand against the left aide of the grip. That much I know is correct. But in addition to squeezing my weak hand fingers I'm also trying to press against the left gun handle side plate. This is the part I'm not sure is correct since if I'm pushing against the left side with my left palm then I'd also need to push against the right side with my strong hand to balance things out. Since the palm of my right hand is mostly around the blackstrap there really isn't anything to blance what I'm doing with my weak hand palm.

So, should I really be pressing hard against the left side of the gun handle with my weak hand palm? Or should the majority of the pressure from my weak hand be from squeezing with my weak hand fingers?

Tomorrow I'll be reshooting a stage fom last week's match in my training session. I finished 4th on this stage in the match but I felt I should have gone faster than I did. I completed the stage in 26 secs with 28 As and 4 Cs but the stage winner, a 20 yr old Master, did it in 18 secs with 9 Cs. The stage required 3 reloads which I'm sure he did faster than me which accounts for some of the time but I still think I could have been around 22 secs even with no change in reload speed. It's a fun stage with you running a zigzag pattern downrange as targets appear on each side of you as you move forward. A great little stage for me to get some fun run and gun practice in since we typically don't have this close in type of stages.

I also finally started reading "With Winning In Mind". I now see where Mike Seeklander got the fundamentals of his mental toughness routine he outlines in his book. Good thing is since I've been following Mike's routine I don't have to start from scratch but there are some new things I'll be doing now that I'm reading the book in detail.

After this Saturday's 3-gun match I'll be starting to incorporate steel challenge stage practice with my Glock. Hopefully this will help with my ability to shoot steel at speed ....

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Are you out of shape now?

I don't know you history before shooting but I can tell you I abused my body pretty good by running, motorcycling and mountain biking and I can tell you if I make master it will be a paper master. I can't run with these snot nosed kids... After a match my knees hurt for 2 days

Edited by JaeOne3345

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Well I'm still struggling a bit with my weak hand grip. When I get it right I can shoot alphas all day long at 25 yds with splits around .4 secs. Unfortunately I'm still not consistently able to do this with predictable results. After yesterday's training session I've begun to wonder if I may have the basic grip wrong ...

Currently I grip the gun with my weak hand by having the meat of the palm of the hand against the left aide of the grip. That much I know is correct. But in addition to squeezing my weak hand fingers I'm also trying to press against the left gun handle side plate. This is the part I'm not sure is correct since if I'm pushing against the left side with my left palm then I'd also need to push against the right side with my strong hand to balance things out. Since the palm of my right hand is mostly around the blackstrap there really isn't anything to blance what I'm doing with my weak hand palm.

So, should I really be pressing hard against the left side of the gun handle with my weak hand palm? Or should the majority of the pressure from my weak hand be from squeezing with my weak hand fingers?

Tomorrow I'll be reshooting a stage fom last week's match in my training session. I finished 4th on this stage in the match but I felt I should have gone faster than I did. I completed the stage in 26 secs with 28 As and 4 Cs but the stage winner, a 20 yr old Master, did it in 18 secs with 9 Cs. The stage required 3 reloads which I'm sure he did faster than me which accounts for some of the time but I still think I could have been around 22 secs even with no change in reload speed. It's a fun stage with you running a zigzag pattern downrange as targets appear on each side of you as you move forward. A great little stage for me to get some fun run and gun practice in since we typically don't have this close in type of stages.

I also finally started reading "With Winning In Mind". I now see where Mike Seeklander got the fundamentals of his mental toughness routine he outlines in his book. Good thing is since I've been following Mike's routine I don't have to start from scratch but there are some new things I'll be doing now that I'm reading the book in detail.

After this Saturday's 3-gun match I'll be starting to incorporate steel challenge stage practice with my Glock. Hopefully this will help with my ability to shoot steel at speed ....

I see that you shoot a lot, or a lot more than some of us. How many level 1 matches are you getting in each month?

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1 USPSA

1 3-gun where I usually shoot it all pistol. I get some long range shooting in on what would be the rifle stages and I get steel practice since our shotgun stages are usually allnsteeln...

1 Steel Challenge (have only been shooting my open rim fire gun up to this point but plan to shoot my G34 as well starting next month)

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