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It's Time To Get Serious or Give It Up


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I've been meaning to do this for some time, I have just put it off long enough. I need the accountability, even if no one reads these posts, to keep me on task.

I started shooting USPSA about 4 years ago. For the first 2 years I just showed up at the local match occasionally and did my best, I was not improving that much and that made attending matches more difficult for me. Last year 2011, I finally decided to get more serious about practical shooting. I first bought a Dillon 550 press to make the ammo situation more economical. I got lots of help in learning reloading from several guys at my local club. They also encouraged me to challenge myself more in my shooting. I finally ditched the Fobus paddle holster and mag pouch and bought a Safariland competition belt and a Ready Tatical DOH Holster and Mag Pouches. I signed up for my first major match, Area 6.

What I realized when I got to Frostproof, FL was that I was used to the level of difficulty in the stage designs due to shooting at South River, Cherokee and Cool Springs matches in Georgia. What was different was the level of the competition I encountered. I was used to finishing in the bottom half of the field, but not the bottom 10%. I was humbled to say the least. I did have fun though and that is why we do this right?

I signed up for a Front Sight Training class in Pahrump, NV with a friend of mine not to help with my practical shooting but just to get some hands on training. What I found was that while this training wasn't designed for competition shooting it did teach me a great deal about accuracy and about staying on the front sight through out the trigger pull and reset.

I ended up competing in 3 more major matches and got a Limited slot for Nationals in September.I Did improve over the year but did not stick to a practice or dry fire routine. Since I did get my RO card in May I worked as many matches as I could and actually worked as an RO at Nationals. That allowed me to see some really great shooters , men and women, up close and fueled my desire to really improve my shooting.

In December of 2011 at the recommendation of some close shooting buddies I attended Dave Sevigny's one day training program. I learned that if I want to reach the next level I have to commit myself to frequent dry fire training and mental preparedness for each competition. That brings me to where I am now. I have committed to shooting an average of a Major match a month in 2012. I am already scheduled to work 3 matches this year and plan on working and shooting at the Nationals this year. My progress will be documented in this Range Diary. I welcome all comments, recommendations and criticisms.

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I don't understand the wiliness to give up. Give UP ? really Really!

No mater how hard to train at shooting there is always the next level. It sounds like you have some natural talent.

In 1991 I shot an event that Brian Enos came to and I had heard about his book but he did not have any with him. Gave him $20 in cash and asked him to mail me one. Brian must have mailed it the night he got home and put an inscription in it for me.


The same thing goes for you "Stick with it and stay sharp"

If you are lucky 22 years later you wont even be able to add the Major event you have shot at or the number of friends you have made.

4 years <_< I didn't know a dam thing the first four years , I get more joy out of two months now than I did the first two years that I shot.


I don't understand -giving up-

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I am a C shooter in Limited, Limited 10 and Production as well. It would be easy to make my goal to reach B classification in each of those divisions sometime this year but I do not believe that the classification system tells the whole story about how good of a shooter you are. I will probably reach B in Production in March but that would not be a challenging goal for me. So I have decided to make it harder. I would like to finish each match I shoot this year at least 60% in Production. I would also like to win my classification in at least one stage in each match I shoot. That could be tough enough as a C shooter but as a B that will be very challenging.

My first outdoor level 1 match this year was at Cherokee Gun Club in Gainesville, GA. This club puts on a very challenging match every month and draws more than 100 shooters some months. I met my goal by finishing 5th overall in Production and 1st C. I finished at 69.48% in Production and 54% of all shooters that competed. I felt very good about this finish and attributed it to more dry fire training, slowing down and calling my shots and luckily not having too many long shots to make. I know that is a weakness.

I obtained and read some good books that are continuing to make a difference in my shooting; Practical Shooting by Brian Enos, Shooting from Within by Michael Plaxco and Your Competition Handgun Training Program by Michael Seeklander. The dry fire drills in the last book are worth thousands of rounds on the range in my opinion.

While it was in December I did finish well at the South River Gun Club USPSA Match in Covington, GA. This was after I started my training program but before keeping a formal range diary. I finished that match 6th in Production at 76.38%. No combined results were published for this match.

My next level 1 match at Cherokee in February was not as good. I finished 12th in Production at 49.74%. Overall 41/68 total shooters. Not meeting my goal. I attribute this to lack of concentration, some stages with long shots and not shooting at my speed. I rushed many of my shots and paid the price in M's and NS's. The below freezing temps were also a factor. I did not go away empty handed though. I did finish 1st C in the classifier stage (Steeler Standards). The score hasn't shown up on the USPSA site yet but I calculate it to be 64%. Another step toward Production B.

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Day 1 of the Range Diary: I have been keeping a hard bound diary since the beginning of the year but I will start this online version as of today.:

It was a beautiful day here in ATL. I found out I had an unexpected half day off work. I have recently joined Griffin Gun Club which is about 40 minutes from my house. It has great facilities and you get a whole large bay to yourself.

I recently purchased a Browning Buck Mark and had yet to shoot steel with it so before any pratical shooting practice I pulled out my Buck Mark and set up 5 to Go (http://steelchallenge.com/wp-content/gallery/stages/5togo.jpg). What a sweet gun. I was able to get times of 3.3 - 3.5 with the 22LR. What a difference from my Glock 34. I could have shot that all day but it was time to move on after 200 rounds or so. Since this steel stage was set up I took the opportunity to get some sight picture and trigger control practice in. This is not technically practical shooting but it is great training. These time from the draw were my typical 5ish times. I shot about 100 9mm rounds at the steel.

I then set up a moving and shooting stage. This type of shooting gave me some trouble at the last Cherokee Match and is on one of the stages at my next major match AL State Sectional. I set up 3 stacks of barrels and put close up double stack, partial targets between the barrels and after the last double stack I put a long(er) range 15yd, double stack target. This allowed me to move and shoot the close in targets and then reload and transition to a longer shot. Several runs of this showed improvement in times and accuracy. I did find myself dropping a few shots into the lower target on the longer shot on the first 2 runs. Taking a little more time corrected that in the last few. Then I did some timed shots into a double stack target from 30 yards from surrender with improvement on each run. I finished my practice with 2 Bill drills from 10 yards. The first run I dropped a shot into the hardcover and did better the second run (times in the high 2's).

Tomorrow back to Dry Fire practice.

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I don't think I will ever give up this sport, I just titled this Range Diary that to say to myself that if it is not worth the (practice) time, it is time to give it up. I hope that will motivate me to put in the time required and not cheat.

I like that signed book. I have read it and have to reread it soon. Yours will be a collectors item someday.

Thanks for the works of encouragement.


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  • 2 months later...

It has been a long time since I have posted to this topic. I haven't given up shooting; I had a 1 1/2 month intense training program with my employer and just married off my youngest daughter. That has taken a great deal of my time and although I have been practicing and competing I have not been good about recording it all.

In March I competed in Alabama Sectional at East Alabama Gun Club. I tried hard to focus on each shot and explode between shooting positions. I shot my plan on each stage and ended up 33 out of 59 Production shooters. I finished 64% in Production which met one of my goals and was 6th in Production C class. As for my other stated goal, I did not win my classification on any stage. My best showing was 4th C shooter in 2 different stages.

I was trying desperately hard not to have any Mikes in this match. That may have resulted in me shooting too slowly and cautious. I did end up blowing by a target on one stage and earning 2 Mikes.

Overall I felt pretty good about this match. I am improving from past year's performances and am on track as far as my training. I think that more (daily) dry fire practice will help me to continue to improve. and reach my goals.

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Gun in hand preps your plan.

I dryfire 3-4 times a week this past month or so. Just having the gun in your hand everyday or so breeds confidence. Also shooting live fire. I believe there should be a balance. After 8 years I'm starting to lean towards more live fire as the $$ allows. Make it difficult. Practice the hard is becoming my motto. Just wish I could afford more rounds.

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My next Major match of the year was the South Carolina Sectional held at Mid Carolina Rifle Club. This was a very disappointing match. I went into it with a goal of seeing and calling every shot and moving faster between shooing positions. I had an advantage since I worked as an RO on Friday and ran shooters who were RO'ing on Saturday. I traveled with the same squad all day and got to see each stage and how some of the better shooters were shooting the stages. I ended up making a lot of dumb mistakes. I forgot reloads, made reloads at the wrong time, blew by shooting positions, did not stay on my front site on some longer shots and let all of this get to me so the errors kept compounding.

I ended up finishing 40 of 59 Production shooters, 10th of 17 C class shooters. I finished 56% in Production and had 3 Mikes and 2 No-shoots for the match. I did not meet either of my goals for this match. It was a rainy muggy day and I let that affect my shooting as well. I have to learn to let mistakes go when they happen and not dwell on them after the stage. That only leads to lack of concentration and more mistakes.

Lessons learned were: Come up with the best plan I can for shooting the stage, go over that plan as many times as I can on the course and in my head and execute that plan to the best of my ability. I can't worry about shooting faster until I can make all my shots and stop wasting time on stupid mistakes. Support from my team (Trigvision)is crucial in improving my performance. John and Chris pictured below provided encouragement and support throughout the match. I hate to think how much worse the results would have been without them on my squad. Thanks guys.

I feel that more dry fire practice and standard drills on the range will help my accuracy and experience will help my stage performance. I plan on setting up some portions of stages from Area 6 to practice in the next couple of weeks. I will improve my performance at Area 6, that is a promise.


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I like your approach.

Some years ago, I undertook a similar goal.

It started with talking with Taran Butler (who promptly said, 'we have all kinds of things to fix here!") and progressed into dialogs with other GMs, resulting in some articles for Front Sight magazine.

It progressed to serious conversations with Mike Seeklander.

I find his approach to fit my personality to be the best out there. Matt Burkett's DVDs were a great foundation. But Mike's program has helped me immensely.

The key for me was, you conscious mind trains your sub-concious mind. You shoot a match with your sub-concious mind. So make sure your training does not produce training scars. You need to be vigilant in your training. Do not accept less than perfect.

I cut back on some of my training sessions due to personal reasons recently and it showed in my performance. I accepted less than perfect sight picture, trigger control and shot calling which resulted in too many Mikes. Time to go back to the basics.

Good Luck with your program.

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