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SCTaylor

Scott's Road to USPSA Success

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Well it happened, competition shooting has truly entered my blood. I've been shooting for about 5 years now, started with self defense classes, pistols, and accessories. For some reason early this year 3 Gun caught my attention then just as fast as it became it went in favor of USPSA. Being the fact of 3 gun seems 5 times more expensive and time consuming than a pistol only sport not to mention I now have a three month old son, I had to choose wisely.

I'm very lucky in the fact my wife is a true inspiration and support of my varied hobbies. We've been married two years and let me tell you I married way over my head, she is smarter, better looking, and damn successful at everything she does. God is smiling on me!

So on to the topic at hand. My first USPSA was in May, did pretty well I think for the first time out, 16 of 24 in limited and 52 of 75 overall. Several stages I blew by giving up accuracy for speed, one stage in particular I had 4 mikes and 1 ns. Not to mention going at it Limited Minor. Lesson learned! I've stepped up to major now to at least.

Since the match, I've been dry firing about 5 days a week for 30 minutes at a clip, just picked up Stoeger's Dry Fire book as well. Next weekend, 6/25-26 I'm competing in the Texas State Open and I'm damn excited!

Here are a few stages from that match, any words of advice?

Edited by SCTaylor

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I am kind of new as well. However, I noticed that on the first stage you took a couple of steps and stopped to shoot rather than shooting right after the draw or if not allowed to shoot from that position take one step while drawing. That would save a few seconds. You were still busy with the reload when you arrived to the shooting position instead of being ready already in both stages.

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I'm looking forward to shooting with you in Texas next weekend!

A couple things I noticed in your video (I'm working on these myself):

- Try to keep your gun higher while you're moving. It saves time if your gun is as close to the shooting position as possible, when you come into a position.

- Your muzzle dips sometimes between targets, it looks as though you're looking over the top of the gun to find the next target. Try to flick your eyes/head to the next target and drive the gun directly to it.

- Visualize your stage plans enough that you're able to perform them almost subconsciously. Your reloads should happen automatically, without you having to remember "oh, I was supposed to be reloading right now."

These things will come with time and practice. The dry fire book will help a lot, but shooting matches is probably the best way to learn to burn in a stage plan.

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I'd say I'll see y'all next weekend but I had to move to a Friday all-day squad due to a conflicting event on Saturday. Good luck and enjoy and I'll see you in the results!

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It's been a weird 6 weeks and I've flip flopped more than a politician on the debate stage...

Ooooh I got a great RIA 2011 that runs for $700 with 4 magazines for Limited! Wait, I have to clean a magazine everytime it touches the ground??? I don't like 2011's no I don't... I'm gonna shoot my G34 in Production I am!.... I suck with a Glock, the 2011 is so much better, I'm going to stick with that!... Oooh someone traded me a nice CZ 75B for my Glock 26, okay I'm going to shoot Production again... And so here we are. To Stay!

A few weeks ago someone turned me onto Stoeger's dry-fire book so I picked up a copy from Amazon. The "slow but accurate" training schedules fits my style, cause when I don't act like an idgit and shoot properly I'm 90+% points on the match but way too slow. I have re-committed myself to a dry-fire routine and that is based on Stoeger's book, with 1 live fire session per month and maybe 1+ match(es) per month as well; all depends on what family duty is required.

Up at 5am to spend 30 minutes running dry fire drills o' the day. Once done around 5:45 take care of my son's morning requirements while Mom gets up & ready for work then we start off the day.

First drill this morning was the Bill Drill - Right at 2.5 seconds.

What really hangs me is the DA first shot, going "slow" to prevent disrupting the sights. Other part is letting the trigger out too far & resetting to DA again instead of mimicking the SA transition. A HARD grip helps tremendously in keeping the sight alignment. Realized I was calling shots without conscious thought; made up the first shot that I "called" as a D if not a Mike. That was cool!

Second drill - Reloads - Draw Fire 6, Reload, Fire 6, Reload, Fire 6 - Finishing in 9.5 seconds.

Reloading the CZ is similar to a stock glock but feels like threading a needed after using a giant magazine well/funnel on the limited guns. Slowing down slightly to visualize the magwell opening & mag interface is crucial right now. Two other big issues to work on during a reload is shifting my grip to reach the magazine release and upon reload, rebuilding the grip. Several times I flat-out blew the mag release, same for the grip rebuild. I really need to take away the timer, go 60% speed to groove in the muscle memory. I have a core skills day coming up and that will be a top priority.

Looking forward to logging my progess, but here and in the log book at home. My first major was not too long ago at the Texas Open, shot pretty damn well considering a) first major and B) first time with a new gun & in a new platform. I dry fired for a solid week before that match, it had a direct positive impact; The last last club match I went without dry-fire, heh, that was a humbling experience! Lesson learned!

- SCT out

Edited by SCTaylor

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Got a chance to hit the range on Saturday. Turns out a family friend has 35 acres that I have access to for a private range and the owner wants to build some proper berms! That is going to be fun.

Anyhoo, made up some PVC target stands Friday night, loaded up and hit the range Saturday morning. First time shooting the CZ, first time really shooting a DA/SA gun, and first time running some drills on a timer. Well the timer is a big issue, iPhone apps suck for a live fire timer! It was picking up 11 to 47 shots when I only fired 4, must have been some big echoing of the trees and barn down the way. It was difficult to figure out the times for record purposes but could see first shot & some splits.

First drill was the Stoeger dots, that was humbling. 5 yards, 6 shots into a 2" dot... who would have thought it was that difficult? Well it was, didn't have a single clean dot but learned at 5 yards the POI is about 1" low from POA. Didn't run the timer on this one, just wanted to work on a good draw, good grip, sight alignment and trigger pull, especially on the DA.

Second drill was modified 2 reload 2; normally one uses 3 targets but I blew a big hole in my 3rd target stand cross member on accident & broke it. PVC vs. Lead... Lead wins! Haha. On the 4 shot drill, averaged about 1.79 draw to first shot, .39 splits, and 2.2 reload to next shot. All shot at 5 yards, 2 a/c zone paper targets. I'm happy with the progress, had 2 C's and no Mikes. It feels like I can speed up the shots. Reloads were painfully slow but I just switched to Ghost 360 pouches with the bullets out... those feel much different from the standard bullets forward I've been using for years.

Third drill was just hammering as fast as I could at 5 yards to see how it felt while watching the sights. Felt good an in control, no timer on this one. I should start practice with this drill next time to unlock my brain for speedier shooting.

Fourth drill was not so much a drill but longer distance accuracy. Set up a 4" swinging plate about 20 yards away, worked on clean accurate shots at distance. Didn't do great but if it had been an 8" plate, I'd have rang it 80% of the time as it was hit about 40%.

Big take always - aka what to work on dry fire.

1. Watch the sights while running double action. Keep that front sight rock steady

2. Work reloads over, and over, and over, and over with the new pouch & mag configuration.

3. Don't short stroke the trigger in SA. A few times it did not reset which cause me to tap - rack, thinking there was a jam. Gotta get used to the reset distance on the CZ.

Also gotta get a real timer. iPhone is great for dry fire but can't distinguish shots form echos.

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Missed a few days of dry fire last week cause I f'n over slept, making up for it this week...  Got a chance to revisit my Monday drills and pretty damn surprised at the progress made already.

 

First drill - Bill Drill - 2.5 2.25 seconds.

    Was able to speed up the draw & sight alignment on the first shot. Grip the crap out of the gun and run the trigger was the mode of the day. Worked speed mode for most of the drill with the last 5 back to "match" mode. Still was able to hit 2.25, very happy.

 

Second drill - Reloads - Draw, Fire 6, Reload, Fire 6, Reload, Fire 6 - Finishing in 9.5 8 seconds.

    Worked on, and only on, reloads for a few days last week, finding the best position for the mag well to accept the incoming magazine. It's a bit awkward feeling, the gun is titled out & to the right a bit more than I'd expect, but it's like hitting the sweet spot; slides right in.  Focused on aligning the gun, slapping down to the fresh mag as the old one is moving out and watching the new mag insert sped everything up. Found out that slapping the mag in & rotating the support hand up at the same time allowed the grip rebuilding to happen faster too.  

 

It's amazing what you learn by doing and not just screwing off on the internet or sleeping.

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Missed a few days of dry fire last week cause I f'n over slept, making up for it this week...  Got a chance to revisit my Monday drills and pretty damn surprised at the progress made already. Got a real timer too, much better than the iPhone.

 

First drill - Bill Drill - 2.5 2.25 seconds.

    Was able to speed up the draw & sight alignment on the first shot. Grip the crap out of the gun and run the trigger was the mode of the day. Worked speed mode for most of the drill with the last 5 back to "match" mode. Still was able to hit 2.25, very happy.

 

Second drill - Reloads - Draw, Fire 6, Reload, Fire 6, Reload, Fire 6 - Finishing in 9.5 8 seconds.

    Worked on, and only on, reloads for a few days last week, finding the best position for the mag well to accept the incoming magazine. It's a bit awkward feeling, the gun is titled out & to the right a bit more than I'd expect, but it's like hitting the sweet spot; slides right in.  Focused on aligning the gun, slapping down to the fresh mag as the old one is moving out and watching the new mag insert sped everything up. Found out that slapping the mag in & rotating the support hand up at the same time allowed the grip rebuilding to happen faster too.  

 

It's amazing what you learn by doing and not just screwing off on the internet or sleeping.

Edited by SCTaylor

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Dry firing has fallen off a bit due my lazy ways but back at it last week. Didn't use a timer for drills since I'm transitioning to a new gun again, for the last time!  The Stock 2 is just a great fit for my hands, no way I'm going to something different now.

Hit the range on Saturday for a little under two hours.  Worked on moderately quick group shooting at 25 yards, not bad but not good either. Gained the knowledge of calling my shots and defined my current speed.  Switched over to Accelerator averaged 12.75 seconds going 25 to 15 to 7 yards with good hits then tried 7 to 15 to 25 with an average of 11.5 seconds.  It was surprising that I could go near to far with speed and accuracy.  Light bulb moment was at 25 yards with my splits nearly the same as 15 yards; I'm going too slow on the closer targets.  Most prominent item slowing my times were reloads, most were in the 2.2-2.7 second range. Terribly slow, however, I have not practiced with the Stock 2 reloads in depth yet.

 

Takeaways:

Push speed in practice - splits & transitions at 15 yards or closer are too slow. Stop being careful in practice - push till the wheels fall off then slow down a hair.

Reloads - Drill the crap out of them in dryfire. Work in 10 minutes of reloads for the next 2 weeks until it is stupid easy.

Draws - Work on fast, efficient, perfect sight picture draws, at all distances. Typically was running 2.5-3.5 first shot at 25 yards and 1.75 at 7 yards. I can speed these up!

 

Approximately 5 weeks from the Gator Classic, last big match of the year. I won't win but plan to make a top 50% finish. It is achievable and it will happen. 

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it's good to see you putting in the work.

from your video the things that need work:

reloads - you didn't really have any clean ones and on the first stage your reload lasted for the full 4 steps of so of movement and then you had to stop and stand while completing it. that's a big time burner.

transitions - I can see you are in the shoot a target, move gun, shoot a target type mode. your cadence of shots is very much bang bang....pause...... bang bang. you need to do some of stoegers transition drills to get your eyes moving ahead of the gun. that will speed those up no end.

stage planning - there was one stage (I think first stage) where you went deep into a position, then had to back up to get an angle on the final target which was partially behind hard cover. you should have shot that one on the way in.

The RIA 2011 is a pretty decent limited starter of the guns you mentioned (glock 34, CZ75B, RIA) I'd go with that. but you also mention a stock II? if you have that now then stock II for production would probably be my pick.

you're on the path with defined practice. keep filming yourself and compare it to some of the M and GM shooters. buy the shot coach app and run your stages through it so you get stats on your stage runs. it's very humbling when runs that look 'fast' are full of .30 splits and .70 transitions when we know the fast guys are cranking .15 splits and .20 transitions...

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Thanks Baron. I swapped guns like a woman changing purses over the last 5 months (since starting  USPSA actually) but have now dedicated myself to production with a Stock 2.  The video above was my first match ever, I know wearing a jersey blah blah blah, and lots of bad habits or lack of experience if you will.

My background was Timmy shooting; going fast and accurate is a new thing. Reloading while moving = new, transitions huh?, stage plan = shoot the BG. Haha. Been working on the mechanics for a few months now, grooving those in before working seriously on the high level stuff.

I'm torn on the filming between a go pro type camera or having someone use my iphone. I hate asking folks to film, especially at a bigger match. Either way I'll figure out out for next season. 

Looking at the timer results from accelerator this weekend I'm right on  your averages for splits & transitions and making my A/close C hits. Gives confidence that I can do it in a match and have the accuracy to push speed in practice.

Over the last month or so the reading/training/research has included BE's book, listening to Steve Anderson and Stoeger along with picking up Stoeger's Practical Pistol book. This winter and spring will be a big push in the training department, after I take my mid-November to December off season aka Family Break from shooting.

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31 minutes ago, SCTaylor said:

I'm torn on the filming between a go pro type camera or having someone use my iphone. I hate asking folks to film, especially at a bigger match. Either way I'll figure out out for next season. 

I'll be happy to film you at Gator.  GoPro video is "cooler" for youtube and such, but 3rd person video is much more valuable for learning.

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Thanks Brant. I've got a Kodak Playsport similar to your Flip that'll I'll bring. 

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12 minutes ago, SCTaylor said:

Thanks Brant. I've got a Kodak Playsport similar to your Flip that'll I'll bring. 

Anytime!  As much as I love the Flip cams for their simplicity and ease of use, I think I might start using my old GoPro set on Medium FOV for 3rd person video.  It's hard to video with the Flip cams and get your entire body in the shot, because they don't have a wide enough view.  One of the things I'm working on is movement/footwork, so I want my entire body filmed.  Forget the targets, I want to see what I'm doing.

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I have enjoyed following this thread as a fellow newbie to USPSA.  Coming from a precision shooting background, I have found that I have a lot of the same areas I can improve, questions about what to work on.  If you get any of the matches stages filmed,be sure and post them.  

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yes the 3rd person view with iphone or whatever is the most value for training as you can see what you're doing but if that's difficult to get the 1st person view is better than nothing as you can still see what your gun handling is like and also get an idea of where your eyes were tracking during a stage attempt.

The stock II is a great choice. it's nice to know you have the gear to 'compete'. Once schooled up people can compete and win with almost any platform but some definitely make it easier than others and the stock II is one of the top choices for a production division gun. 

Don't worry about shooting jerseys etc. I like to have the right gear too. When I started out I got a bunch of hand me down jerseys from a good friend (who has been shooting 30+ years). So I rocked up to my first ever match (having at that point been shooting IPSC for about 3 weeks) in a jersey from a nationals from 6 years prior. People must have wondered how a dude who was shooting big matches 6 years ago could suck so hard after all that time... lol

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Woke up at 5am this morning, such a great way to start the day with dry fire! 30 minute sessions fit well with my schedule. I try to do 2 or 3 drills in those 30 minutes. Multiple drills helps prevent boredom but allows me to work specific actions while supplementing others. For instance 4 Aces in dryfire, draw, transitions, and reloads. Perfect to close a dryfire session that has particularly focused on draws and reloads.

 

Worked the draw to index down to a sold 1.1, pushed par to 1.0 and made it a few times. Pretty consistent and confident at 1.1 but 1.0 is still pushing it, gotta hit everything perfectly clean to make 1.0. Tried the shoulder technique mentioned by TennJeep from Anderson, very interesting feeling since my should did not "lift" in the socket at all from 'stand by' to press out. I like it and will definitely put it in the routine. 

 

Reloads are still a PITA.  Running the timer I'm 80% successful at 1.3 but when one goes bad, it goes really bad to 3 second territory.  Off the timer it is much smoother, however, off the timer my eyes are exactly where they need to be to watch the reload happen. Performed the slow-successful reloads at 1.5.  Interesting the difference in reloading steel framed guns w/ steel mags is compared to polymer framed guns w/ plastic mags (Glocks specifically). The margin for error is significantly lower while the odds for a train wreck have grown exponentially.

Working on El Prez tomorrow morning and wide transitions. 

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14 hours ago, B585 said:

I have enjoyed following this thread as a fellow newbie to USPSA.  Coming from a precision shooting background, I have found that I have a lot of the same areas I can improve, questions about what to work on.  If you get any of the matches stages filmed,be sure and post them.  

Thanks! The rest of my matches going forward will be filmed but that will only be two more in 2016. I find that listening to and evaluating the techniques and topics that GM's have published is a benefit. Though I am a very analytical person, identifying what is "important" and what is low hanging fruit for newer shooters has been the biggest eye opening moment. 

For instance; shooting on the move, footwork, "splits" are off-hand examples of items that are important on the grand scale but should not be a main focus new shooters. Grip, Stance, Index, Reloads, and Transitions are my top mechanics goals for this year & off season. Lock down the mechanics, then you can free yourself to tackle the high-level challenges.

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Push, push, push, goes the mindset!  Improve, improve, improve, goes the time!

 

Damn, I've been listening to Anderson too much.  Big happy moment this morning - hitting .9 draws with consistency, not 100% but I'm very happy with the progress.  Working on 6 reload 6 is a bit humbling, reloads are my Achilles heal at the moment, however, ended this mornings session with solid .8 Burkett's belt to the magwell.

 

As I mentioned in another thread about reading books and listening to podcasts, there are so many GM's providing solid information, much of which is free! I have made huge gains over the last month with the understanding of ONE concept;  you can not get more faster and more accurate at the same time.  Monkey touch the monolith moment there folks.  Who knew? I sure didn't, no, I knew that you had to get faster & more accurate by working on both at the same time.

Eh be penny wise and pound foolish. Buy that gizmo for your trigger 'cause if it is easier to pull, I'll be more accurate! If I'm more accurate, I can go faster! If I go faster then dropping a bunch of C's and D's is okay, cause I'll be fast! :)  Who needs to read books, listen to podcasts, or follow a practice schedule?

Ah the youngin's, I can say that now 'cause I turned 34 yesterday!

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On 8/1/2016 at 8:58 AM, SCTaylor said:

 

What really hangs me is the DA first shot, going "slow" to prevent disrupting the sights. Other part is letting the trigger out too far & resetting to DA again instead of mimicking the SA transition. A HARD grip helps tremendously in keeping the sight alignment. Realized I was calling shots without conscious thought; made up the first shot that I "called" as a D if not a Mike. That was cool!

 

If your shooting limited you can start cocked...so no need for the DA pull.  In dry fire slap the trigger hard...because thats whats going to happen in live fire.  

 

Ive never dry fired a DA gun.  When I dry fire my 2011 I dont mess with cocking the hammer...just slapping the dead trigger is enough. With a 2lb pull the hammer doesn't make much difference.   I am not sure how you could make a DA trigger "dead" for dry fire.  Maybe there is a way to keep the hammer cocked with a rubberband or something?  

Edited by CrashDodson

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Rocking a Stock 2 in production.  I'm basically slapping the crap out of the trigger, taking my finger far enough off/away thus letting the DA reset. No need to find a fix, it hasn't hindered my live fire.  

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1 hour ago, CrashDodson said:

I am not sure how you could make a DA trigger "dead" for dry fire.  Maybe there is a way to keep the hammer cocked with a rubberband or something?  

To simulate SA, you press the trigger through the DA on the first shot, then just don't release your finger off the trigger/let the trigger reset to the DA point.  Stop about half way and press to the rear again, and that will simulate your SA shots.

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Put a small piece of coffee straw in the breech face holding it out of batter (like the glock people do). 

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Still improving thru dry fire! Steve Anderson's book should arrive today, I'll define a 21 dry fire program leading up to the Gator Classic on 10/22.

Biggest issue I'm sensing right now is nerves. First major match I knew it was just for fun and I had nothing to prove. Now that I've been putting in the practice, working constantly towards improving, the nerves and desire to place well are kicking in. Match Guy has to show up to Louisiana and call his shots. It will be done, I will shoot my speed, and I will have fun!

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Nerves can be good or bad depending on you respond to them.  As a newbie where each match you are in means everything, I would try to keep in mind that you can't control the competition, what you can control is you.  If you are seeing consistent improvement in yourself, you are on the right path and where you place (top 50% or not) doesn't really mean that much at this point.

 I completely understand your how much it means to ya and the dedication.  My hands have a bunch of blisters and cuts from all of the dry fire I have been doing.  Pretty much any free time I have I am reading or practicing this.  Two weeks ago I shot bad (for me) and had some close calls go my way.  I placed good for me but wasn't happy.  I practiced even harder for this weeks match trying to make my weaknesses strengths....this weekend was a h#ll of a lot better.  I actually placed worse this weekend but that was because of the competition and not me...I will take a worse placing any day as long as I am improving.

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