Roadrunner Shootout was a bust for me. Don't get me wrong, the match was very well run (great call on handing out some of the random draw prizes during the match), the tri-tip was great (so were the hot dogs) and the stages offered a good variety of challenges. And what a beautiful range! Seriously, Roadrunner was my first match at CCPL and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My goal was top 5 production (stretch goal: the podium). My result
General Thoughts On My Performance
Looking beyond the obvious DQ I just felt way, way outclassed by rest of the field. I DQ'd on the very last stage so I had plenty of footage and Practiscore Data to comb through--a big thanks to the other Production Shooters who posted their full match vids. Very informative. Most of the stage plans were close.
In comparison to some of the top Production shooters what really stuck out to me is short movement--especially when combined with a reload. I'm just way too slow and to make matters worse I just don't know how to push that reload faster in a match. It's something of a habit that's been around for years that I've never been able to fix. I'm also not sure why I sometimes will Grapevine/Carioca
when it seems that everyone else just shuffles over.
Lack of confidence evident in the multiple makeup shots (why not just get the shots right in the first place?).
And I hate to be that guy, but my splits are just utterly pathetic on 3-10 yard wide open targets. Or perhaps wildly inconsistent. I think it's a confidence thing. Kind of like that weird flinch at the start of Stage 7. There were also a couple of instances of the "third sight picture" (i.e., letting the gun return after you have taken your final shot on that target).
The funny thing is that I entered the match with the "Alpha-hunt" mentality. I figured the speed would be what it is. I usually get positive feedback/remarks on my speed so I figured I wouldn't think about speed (transitions and movement) and really focus on alphas. Mixed results on that front. Sometimes I pushed a bit harder and that resulted in charlies.
Too much "extra" stuff (shots/movement/un-necessary reloads/sight pictures/ . . .) that needs to be trimmed out.
But that's just me. I'd be curious to hear what you see.
In order of stages shot
Stage 8 - Jailbreak
This stage was actually thrown out. Apparently, one of the clamshells was struck by a bullet and developed a bit of a timing lag that couldn't be corrected (they were supposed to be an even drop time & speed). Aside from the misses on steel, this stage felt okay. It was nuked from PS before I could pull it with full results.
Didn't get into position on the first array (evident in the re-alignment)
Stage 9 - Helltown
Missed my positioning when first entering the towards the middle of the covered walkway resulting in weird short-steps to cover the remaining distance.
Way too many charlies considering the target distance.
This brings me to one of the "fundamental misunderstandings" of mine: Stage Hit Factor. My gut was saying "Close targets, uncomplicated movement, no activators/swingers/sequences . . . High Hit Factor . . . Burn it down". Can someone help me understand this, please? I feel like that's going to be a watershed moment--understanding how to read a stage beyond simply picking shooting positions and engagement orders. Kind of like the first time I took a 3rd person video of myself. That resulted in me actually trying to run--though I clearly need to work on that in certain situations.
A more astute production shooter noted that the stage favored good hits (most targets were within 3 yards). I should have listened.
Stage 10 - How Now Brown Cow
I wanted to be faster. I should have been more accurate/precise.
A shooter in the back makes a great point. Why did I leave the back line to that extent (look how far forward I strayed) when my next position was the back left corner? The only thing I could think of is foot positioning and the idea of a sidestep. Having my left foot so far forward (due to the beginning lean) and pointed at what I was engaging as opposed to where I needed to go next surely didn't help. Had I kept my original orientation, the sidestep would have been more parallel to the back fault line thus saving a bit of movement at the cost of a slightly tighter shot between the wall and doublebarrel.
I also had to pump the breaks to take a makeup shot (I'm pretty sure I made up a mike). That forced the extra movement to allow me to engage the targets through the port.
The miss was on the no-shoot sandwich upon re-entering the shooting area. Guess which target I missed? Headbox strikes again!
Stage 6 - Acme Tactical
Sequence went okay (2 Charlies)
Dropped the mag, but recovered okay.
Good job getting the gun up and ready.
Way too many shots for that array but not enough shots at the next array to justify a mag change (I think it was a panic response because that reload was not in my plan)
Bumbled reload into the port
Bumbled final reload (I rarely pull that 5th mag) and grapevined my way to the final position.
The very last shot was to account for a ::ahem:: No Shoot. At least the makeup shot wasn't in the white, too.
Stage 7 - Better Safe
Hesitation on that first shot.
Rounding the corner felt okay.
Believe it or not, I was pretty far away from the port compared to a quite a few I observed.
Not doing well on headshots is a recurring theme (that killed me at GridIron 2018).
What are those splits on the open targets before the end? Like 0.9 or something? Yikes.
Fortunately my stage plan allowed for exactly one makeup shot to allow for a quick finish (i.e., take the final target without having to reload into position . . . because I can't do that quickly enough for such a short move).
Stage 3 - Nutcracker
Confidence, confidence, confidence. Be decisive.
I don't recall seeing any Production shooters trying the "sequence" (i.e., steel, steel, hardcover target, swinger). There were probably a few who did, but I made the decision not to try the sequence.
Just way too slow from position to position.
I rehearsed that final steel sequence a million times yet couldn't execute.
Seriously, do you know how many times I repeated the phrase "reload diagonal left. 4 USPSA steel. Half-step right. IPSC, USPSA, IPSC"?
Stage 4 - I Miss That Kind of Clarity
Mike into the wall (I didn't run back far enough and tried to lean). Enough said. It's a zero anyway.
Stage 5 - Tunnel Rats
I think that was the first cooper tunnel I've had to run through. Not bad. I guess being 5'6" on a good day came in handy for once.
Did you see the finale of the 3rd Season of The Expanse? If you did then you probably remember Holden's plea to Ashford. During that USPSA mini popper engagement it felt like I was hearing his plea just slightly modified.
"I know your trying to save [your Hit Factor]. I am too. But we're on the brink right now, because we keep reacting to things we don't understand. We're scared, we're hurt, and we're reaching for [speed] because we can't figure out what to do. But just this once, can't we try something else!?"
Okay. How about 4 shots on a wide open target?
Stage 1 - Where's Steve?
I really did bury the first two shots on the skunk/tuxedo in the black.
Trigger freeze at the end.
Mike came from position three on the hardcover target.
Mikes hurt. A lot.
Stage 2 - Prime Time
I didn't even get to run into the room as my barrel lug broke and my ham-fisted attempt at clearing the gun resulted in me punching it out of my hand before the RO declared "range is clear". Again, the staff did it right. I took the DQ and kept a convivial demeanor for the rest of my time there.
Well, I played the "what-if" game and noted the following:
If I hadn't DQ'd and the stage was scored as is, it would have been a zero and I would have landed in 17th place
If I had won the stage by slimmest of margins (according to PS Competitor: 32.45 seconds clean OR an additional C:x0.41 Seconds Per Occurrence (SPO) D:x0.81 SPO M:x3.04 SPO) then I would have come in 9th.
So the bottom line is that I did not meet my goal of a top 5 or podium finish and I'm out of the running for the Triple Crown.
That leaves me at an interesting crossroad:
Should I continue the season with Production knowing that I can't place in the Triple Crown and that I'm not likely to be able to go to Low-Cap Nationals?
Should I take the plunge in to Carry Optics for the remainder of the season (including 2 more Level II matches) with the possibility of going to Hi-Cap Nationals? I can always hop back into Production mode for the 2019 GridIron (scheduled for mid October).
I'm kind of leaning towards the latter. I slapped a Vortex Viper onto a Performance Center slide I picked up for cheap and I'm really liking the visual feedback (aside from the refresh rate issue and my slight astigmatism smearing the dot a little bit). I even tried focusing on the front sight post while using the dot solely as a reference for flinching. It was encouraging to see how little the dot moved.
I don't exactly lack the facilities to practice. In fact, I was voluntold to direct our 4 stage match and I made it a point to let everyone know that I'd leave the range open for a couple of hours to allow for practice (actual practice!). Maybe I should take myself up on that offer.
Which leads me to the big item (regardless of the Production vs. Carry Optics decision): I want to develop agility drills (or mini stages) but I'm not sure what the time standards should be . . . for the drills/stages that I haven't even conceived yet. The 4 stage match is meant to be convenient for those who shoot the afternoon rimfire match. There's a push (perhaps just from me) to keep the stages quick but still challenging. So, I'm thinking that since our regular 5+1 Classifier match tends to lean towards 32 stage field courses it might be fun to put together some short choppy movement stages that emphasize quick, precise movement into (and out of) position.
A look back in slight frustration
I always harp on "immediacy" being the place where a lot of people can cut boatloads of time. But beyond that it appears to be the short moves that are killing me. Long straightaways? No prob!
Can I be immediate when it comes to breaking grip and grabbing a mag after finishing an array? You bet!
But one-step/two-step? More often than not I look like a duck waddling cautiously to the next position (00:16 seconds). Hand speed and foot speed just look so slow.
I've heard the challenge before: "Could you beat yourself from last year?". Well, most of the footage above is from 2017 and 2018. I wouldn't want to square off against that version of me. Except maybe 2017 GBC me. I think I could hang with that guy. Who was in C Class at the time.
On the plus side, I feel that if I can properly channel this frustration/embarrassment into an actionable plan then maybe, just maybe I might be able to throw down a respectable performance at a major.