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Learning to Shoot


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The more I shoot, the more I understand that I don't understand.

That's why I'm here.

This is an accountability to myself, via the public eye.

Whoever is willing to offer any words of wisdom, I'm open to correction and am extremely grateful for any tips or help.

Thank you in advance.

Short & Sweet Story: My first match was the 2009 US IPSC NATIONALS in Ohio. I was placed within the Super Squad. I had not even fired 50rds through a pistol..ever. The Super Squad were great and helpful, regardless of my extreme lack of experience and knowledge. Travis Tomasie, Lee Dimaculangan, Ted Puente, Phil Strader, and Emanuel Bragg went out of their way to help, I'm very grateful for that. After seeing their character and extreme performance, I was hooked.

Since then, I have only shot five matches w/ Classifiers. My Lowest was 10.0975(first match ever) and the highest was 76.0559(2months ago at my 4th match)

First and only classification is a B single stack shooter. I'm not satisfied w/ that and would like to make Master before 2012.

Completed Goals/Work:

  • Practical Shooting : Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos
  • T.A.P.S. Tactical Application of Practical Shooting: Recognize the void in your tactical training by Patrick McNamara
  • Surgical Speed Shooting: How To Achieve High-Speed Marksmanship In A Gunfight by Andy Stanford
  • Thinking Practical Shooting: A Guide to outstanding Match Performance by Saul Kirsch
  • Perfect Practice: A Guide to Quality IPSC Training by Saul Kirsch
  • Principles of Performance, Refinement and Repet... by Steve Anderson
  • Shooting from Within: A Guide to Maximum Performance by J. Michael Plaxco
  • Dryfire 25min per day 5days a week.
  • Completed Production and Single Stack Gear
  • Get a classification

Goals and/or Current Training:

  • Match Consistency
  • Calling Shots
  • Transitions
  • Accuracy Work
  • Reliable Match Ammo
  • With Winning in Mind: The Mental Management System by Lanny R. Bassham
  • Dryfire around 3 hrs per day.
  • Shoot 2 Matches a Week.
  • Learn from others.
  • Make Master!
  • 3Gun
  • Community

I understand there are no cheap tricks or equipment that are going to take me to Master, just hard work and perseverance.

I appreciate any help and/or recommendations! Thanks for your time!

Edited by BoldasLions
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DryFire -

  • Focusing a lot more on strong and weak hand shooting.
  • Past DF sessions consisted of about 5% of weak/strong hand, that will to increase drastically.
  • Learning to "slap" the trigger has been eye opening, but mostly frustrating. Trying to give up the slow press to reset.

Yoshidaex - Thanks, I'm always looking for good instruction! Been keeping an eye peeled for GMs' teaching on the East Coast, haven't seen anything yet. If anyone knows of any East Coast USPSA classes going on, I would appreciate a heads up!

Range Work -

  • Practicing subconscious shooting to the cadence of appropriate sight picture.
  • Mentally trying to not fall into the "culture of speed".
  • I didn't shoot myself or anyone else, work is paying off!

Thanks for reading.

Edited by BoldasLions
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My philosophy has changed today after hearing Jerry Miculek in his Brownells Rifle DVD. Jerry is such a "professional". His attitude towards learning is amazing, he never maintains the mindset that he has "arrived" at the maximum level. Though He is the greatest(highest level of performance), he still maintains an attitude of humility towards technique and improvement. I believe that is one of the greatest keys to his success. Matt Burketts Podcast #7 w/ Brian Enos was also very helpful. The podcast covered the Classification system and how it can be distracting.

No longer will I focus on classification, but rather on improvement and learning.

Thanks to Jerry Miculek, Brian Enos, and Matt Burkett for making public your tips for improvement!

Edited by BoldasLions
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Found great wisdom today from Shane Watts! Check it out!

"Trying to go fast doesn't necessarily make you any faster, it just increases your chance of making mistakes. Increased speed comes from development of all of the basic skills. Development of basic skills comes from constant repetition and practice of the basics. Train these so they come naturally without thought." - paraphrase of Shane Watts

Six Time Australian Enduro Champion

Australian 500cc Motocross Champion

1997 World Enduro Champion

1998 International Six Day Enduro Overall Champion

2000 Grand National Cross Country Champion

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I'll be watching this thread to see where it goes since one of my goals is to make master or GM someday. I have been shooting a long time but just never got into USPSA until now. I don't even have a classification yet. I was doing some searches on the forums as well as reading the rule book in an effort to determine how you move up. Since it's not based on time in a certain class, but rather performance, the better I get, the quicker I figure I'll move up. It sounds like if someone were REALLY REALLY that good, but just never joined USPSA, they could classify right into GM. Same with you, except it sounds like you have alot more time than I do. I'm sure you'll make master quickly with your current routine and desire to improve.

Edited by Erik S.
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Current Training :

  • Daily D.F. routines are around 2 to 5 hours. Drilling very hard on those fundamentals!
  • Early morning runs two to three times weekly w/ foot work and box entry drills.
  • Studying videos of Jorge Ballesteros.
  • Teaching classes (I am a NRA pistol & home defense instructor) has helped improvement also! + it provides $ for BULLETS. Which there never seems to be enough of!
  • Mental Management Seminar DVDs - http://mentalmanagement.ipower.com/

New or Changed Goals :

  • Giving myself 6,000rds to make A in SS. Regardless of the outcome, I know I will have improved.
  • Moving to Production since the savings between 40 and 9 will let me shoot more for less. (Unless I find bullet discounts!)
  • Switching to Precision’s Black Bullets, which will provide more $ for training or additional $ bullets.
  • BTW here is a great reloading calc. http://10xshooters.com/calculators/Handgun_Reloading_Cost_Calculator.htm

Erik S :

  • Good to hear from you! I hope the best for you! Keep an eye out for special USPSA matches where there are more than two classifiers.
  • Keeping an open mind has helped me greatly.
  • My assumption is that, the quickest way to GM is tons of hard work, quality experience, and totally devoted lifestyle.
  • Many Top Athletes would recommend Mental Management Systems too.

Status :

  • More prepared and motivated than ever to succeed!
  • Pushing hard in practice and learning not to try too hard in competition (Allowing the Subconscious to take over).
  • Daily DF schedule is sporadic, but that does help keep it from becoming tedious and old.
  • The Benny Hill 930 should be here soon.
  • Virgil Tripp should have my SS STI back by the end of the month too!

Edited by BoldasLions
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The Decapping Pin on the EGW 40S&W Undersized Die(Left) snapped at under 1500rds! Somewhat shocking... Anyone run into this before?

I enjoyed it until it snapped!

Guess it's back to the old faithful Dillon on the right!

Running on a Super Ultra Spectacular Mind Blowing Dillon 1050.


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if it snapped, it must have been already bent and pushed against the bottom of the case. Lee dies should just push the decapping pin out of the top of the die if they encounter that kind of stress....that's what tells me it must have been slightly bent first. Just a guess.

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Treat decap pins as a consumable, keep a few on hand they are only a couple of bucks each.

Thanks Greg, I sure will!

I think the EGW Undersized Die is a great product and will now be stocking up on those pins! :)

Edited by BoldasLions
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Shot a match today... I want to right down what I learned and need to train before It skips my mind.

  • Windy days at <40 degrees has substantial effects on my shooting(need to get a nice part of toasty gloves).
  • Two of the times I told my thumb to move to drop a mag, it decided it would rather keep the mag in the gun for at least a extra second! Lesson - Sometimes the thumb has a mind of its own(in freezing weather).
  • Points are way more important than crazy fast splits.
  • Question: At 25 yards should I try to make A zone headshots(no shoots below)? Or chance those B's?
  • Work on remembering where I need to snap to the A zones, before I shoot the stage(Not just snapping to a overall target).
  • Shooting while moving.
  • Shooting out of positions.
  • Wide sweeping reloads.

Ok Thanks! :cheers:

Edited by BoldasLions
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  • 2 weeks later...


  • Finally hitting Sub Sec Draws on my production rig!
  • Seeing the sights and consistently making sub-second A's at 10yds.
  • Was studying a lot of GMs particularly Jorge Ballesteros.
  • Noticed he uses a very aggressive stance!


  • Here comes a lot of leg and footwork training!
  • To help solidify the subsec draw. I will make it a habit.
  • Till Feb 22nd(next 21 days), sub second draws will have my focus.


  • Watch Jorge work his magic in the link below!

Edited by BoldasLions
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Some Thoughts: I've heard top GM's speak about the great importance of consistency. For instance T.T said, "stay in the present for each shot, and not be concerned with the outcome of the performance, only what it takes to execute." I could be totally wrong, but considering this, one thing I have noticed multiple times as I look at a lot of A's and M's shooter's classifiers is that a large portion lack consistency. The outcomes seem to change like the waves of an ocean. Often people are scoring very high, then very low. Its seems like shooting classifiers for a lot of them, is a gamble... It is my understand that this is exactly what we should not be doing. Seems like an example of when I have heard people say terms like "Paper GM". Any thoughts?

Edited by BoldasLions
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Video Update: A year into the shooting sports and finally shot my first IPDA match... Had fun, but did underestimated the plethora of rules!

Nonetheless, It's a good way to get more time behind the gun.

For your viewing pleasure.


My link

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Your whole thread looks good and very organized toward your goal. Because of that I highly doubt you will be disapointed with whatever improvements you make.

Thank You Sfpmb, I appreciate the kind words!

I've been fortunate enough to see personal improvements every time I shoot.

To me one of the greatest things about the shooting sports is that no matter what level we perform at(even for the GMs) there is always a higher one.

That is a very encouraging truth.

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Status Update:

I've been debating about moving to an area in the US, where there are the most serious competitors. Any recommendations?

Does anyone know of any solid shooting communities, that would welcome a newcomer?


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  • 3 weeks later...

Training Update:

Great News, shot CM99-11 in practice this morning, it was my first GM classifier(98.4296%)!

Now to solidify it and bring this to matches.


Really wishing I had a bullet sponsorship. ;)

Edited by BoldasLions
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