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Rob P's range diary

Rob P.

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I'm starting this diary to document my progress from a 9mm Smith & Wesson 6906 to a .45 ACP Kimber Tactical Pro II 1911. The 2 platforms are different; the 6906 is DA/SA and the 1911 is SA only. They also have different controls and control placement. I am hoping to get proficient enough that I won't embarrass myself if/when I decide to try some IDPA with the new pistol. The 1911 is also going to become my daily concealed carry weapon.

Some history:

With the 6906 I was reasonably accurate. I had fairly quick follow-up sight acquisition and shots. Groups were in the 3" range at 25 yds and I could fire all 5 shots in less than 10 seconds. Which is about half the time allowed for CCW qualification and well within the allowable hit percentage (100% in the A zone).

The 1911 on the other hand, seemed to be much faster on the initial shot due to the single action platform but was slow to follow up and acquire the sights again. SLOW SLOW SLOW seems to be the operative words here.

I noticed that with a dummy round in the magazine, I would "shake" the pistol violently whenever the dummy round was chambered and I was squeezing the shot off. I did not do this with the 6906 so it was confusing. I also realized that I have acquired a "blink" and could not track the sights right before the shot. I believed that these 2 issues are symptoms of a bigger hidden problem.

Anyway,onward and forward:

Today I went to the range to run another 100 rounds through the 1911. Set the target at 15 yds and left it there. For the first 50 rounds it was same old same old. Big groups and the "shake" was still there. I was concentrating on the front sight and was really noticing my blink this time. I was also trying to call my shots and not really caring where on the target the group was landing so long as I was able to KNOW where in relationship to the group the shot was landing. Strangely enough, I was shooting about 3" high with a 12 o'clock hold OR a 6 o'clock hold. Really strange.

I switched to another target and kept the 6 o'clock hold but held my concentration on the front sight. I also "expanded" it to also include my trigger squeeze. Then I hiccuped. (WHY I hiccuped I have no idea as I only did it once.) I held my trigger squeeze to get back on target and relaxed just a bit. When I was realigned I continued my trigger squeeze. Apparently I was at the point where the sear was ready to release because as soon as I began to squeeze again, the gun fired. And I was not ready for it at all! The gun went off, the muzzle flipped up at my WRIST and returned to POA.


I was muscling the gun instead of getting behind it and driving. In other words, I had too much tension in my frame and I was overcontrolling.

So, I repositioned my feet more square from my normal modified weaver stance and concentrated on "soft & smooth" instead of just "smooth." OMG! 6 o'clock hold was right in the black. Follow up shots were faster. My groups tightened up to UNDER 3" too.

I ain't Brian Enos. I'm not even close to the bottom of the barrel when it comes to competition shooting. I can't empty a magazine in under 2 seconds with everything in the A zone like some can. But, this is a start on the trail to where I want to be. Some day SOON I WILL be able to fire all 8 rounds in under 3 seconds and hit the A zone every time.

For now all I have to do is teach my mind and body to remember. Soft & smooth.

Edited by Rob P.
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Back from the holiday weekend. No shooting but I did a LOT of dry fire practice and "simulated" dry fire practice with a "finger gun." I have some tired and sore deltoid muscles after each session so I know I should be getting stronger.

Most of my dry fire practice was transitions. Three 3x3 cards set about 2 feet apart as targets. Draw and fire with the transition going from left to right at around 12 feet (the longest distance I can get). I think I need a shot timer but there are no funds for that right now. Maybe I can find something and use my laptop.

Hopefully there's some more range time later this week. If so, we'll see if the "soft & smooth" mindset still holds.

Note to self: Find funds for reloading press. SOON!!! Buying new ammo is getting expensive.

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Received Brian's book yesterday in the mail. Started reading it last night and got through the first 30 pages or so. Pretty fast reading for the most part so far with lots of stuff about abstract concepts. This is fine with me because I understand about "hyper speed/awareness" moments and how sharp and intense everything is while it's happening without being under conscious control.

The bad news is that it looks like there's not going to be any range time this week. I have strained both wrists somehow and it's is aggravating enough to distract me while I'm doing any sort of mechanical things with my hands. It's not serious but it's enough to tell me to not bother wasting my time or money at the range until they stop hurting whenever I grab something.

Maybe I'll clean everything in the safe instead. Or maybe not.

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Ok, I lied. There, I said it; I LIED.

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

I didn't feel like scrubbing and cleaning everything in the safe so I grabbed my now not-so-untrustable-and-thoroughly-and-disgustingly-dirty 1911 and trotted myself down to the range sore wrists and all. So I lied when I said there would be no range time this week.

Started off working on my blink problem and set the target at 25 yds. I seem to be getting over the blink thing in spurts. Sometimes I think I can call the shot when the round is fired and sometimes I can't remember anything. I have lots of these really weird memories of seeing bright comet trails of burning powder frozen in time while rising from the ejection port. There are other memories of seeing in my peripheral vision very shiny brass tumbling in slow motion as it whizzes past my head. Yet other times I have no real recollection of where the sights were when the gun fired. The tumbling brass memories are REALLY COOL though. The background is all charcoal gray and the brass is really bright and shiny. Reminds me of special effects about space debris in Sci-Fi movies.

There are times I can see the sights track through recoil and align back on the target. The recoil track is wonderfully artistic with lots of loops, corners, and abrupt changes in direction to get the sights back on the target. A lot of the time it dips below the sight picture and I have to bring it back up into alignment. I think this is a strength issue. The good news is that I'm still able to keep my groups small and I'm still not over-muscling the gun.

Hey, I may be slow but I can learn things. I can!

I spent the last 40 rounds of the 100 rounds I fired playing with transitions. I should mention that I always use an Alcoa A-7/5 target which is a target with 5 bullseyes. Each bullseye is about 6" in total diameter with a 4" black center. I believe it's a 50 yd rifle target but it's challenging for me to try to stay in the black on every shot. Mostly I can do that. Mostly.

I played with transitions by shooting 2 rounds at one bullseye then shifting to another for 2 more rounds and then back to the first for the final shot in a 5-shot string. Lots of fun even though at first my groups were awful. Don't even ask me about it, just accept that they were awful. And large. Very large. The last 10 shots were getting pretty decent so I think I was getting used to moving my eyes first while in recoil and then aligning the sights on the new aiming point target.

Things I still need to work on:

My blink. I'm going to get rid of this.

Recoil management. I'm going to have to stop wasting time with artistic swirls in my recoil track. Picasso go home.

Staying soft and smooth. At least once or twice (ok 3 times) I tensed up and jerked the trigger. Once it was so bad I'm embarrassed to say I barely kept it on the paper. It was like I had a nervous twitch in my whole arm and I had ZERO control of where the shot went except that it went downrange. And to make it worse, it happened right in front of my CCW qualification instructor. (Oh nooooooooo...) I hang my head in shame.

At least I wasn't "throwing" the shots down range like the 2 guys in the lane next to me. They were shooting a 9mm Glock at 15 yds and MISSING the entire target. The shots were bouncing off the concrete floor. Then there was the guy who was shooting his .223 AR and repeatedly banging away on the steel target hangars. When this was pointed out to him by the RO he said that was impossible because the sights were dead on and he was aiming at the X ring. He didn't stay long and the quiet after he left was welcome.

I'm going to end this entry and go CLEAN THINGS. The Kimber starting acting sticky in the middle of this session so I know it needs attention. And the .357 is still dirty from the last time I shot it. And the "dowry rifle" is dirty. Then there's the shotgun which has rusty looking grease on the locking lugs for the rifled barrel. And then...well, you get the picture.

Oh, and I need to remember to put up a for sale ad. I have about 650 rounds of .45 ACP, 200 rounds of .38 special, and 300 rounds of 9mm once fired brass that needs to go.

Edited by Rob P.
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  • 3 weeks later...


Phew! Finally some time to update this diary.

The wife broke her leg pretty badly & needed some interesting surgery (plates and screws). I've not had any time to do much in the way of practice what with caring for her and tightening the budget from the lost income since she can't work.

But, I did set up some 3x3 notepads as targets in the garage. Dry fire transitions and drawing practice is about all I can get the time to do and even at that I'm limited to how long and how often. I am in the process of reading Brian's book though & cruising the forums.

Still thinking about soft & smooth and how it felt.

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