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Camo Cowboy's performance analysis journal

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I shot a practice steel match last night again.  I had a pretty poor performance and wound up adding 2 full seconds to my time from last time. This is only 4 stages so a 68 was logged. Not the score I was hoping for.  

I found myself not seeing the sights land on target very often and had a difficult time maintaining a good, positive attitude.  


Mostly lighting conditions and mental game problems.  I just haven't done anything that would have netted a measurable improvement.  But for some reason, expected it.  I tried too hard.  I saw myself doing it, but just couldn't stop. 


So what's positive for this entry?


The past about 5-6 days I've entered into a COMPLETELY pain free time with my arms.  When I had declared pain free before, it meant that the pain was gone, but feeling fatigue or a dull ache in my left arm was still there after working out or after a match.  It was an arm on the edge.  But now, I feel nothing.  Like it's a 20 year old arm on a 48 year old body.

Something I chose to leave out of my journal was the recent Right arm injury.  I had done something deep in the joint at work 3 weeks ago.  I was opening a bag, tied in a knot and it was like "sproing!"  For about a week it hurt to do anything that was like a pressing motion with my arm extended. Like opening a heavy door with my arm too straight or rubbing sunscreen onto my leg.  My workout didn't bother it too bad, but talk about another arm on the edge!  I was pretty bummed, but that pain went away in a week or so.  So the positive is both arms feel great.  Time to expand the workout! Some nice lat-pulls after the usual rehab routine was in order on Tuesday morning.  Well, I overdid that.  My triceps are so damn sore I can barely lift my arms over my head.  HAHA.  I think hat physical fitness is going to be key in my progress so I'm super happy to start expanding from "rehab" to real live "working out."  Soreness and all.  


Another positive was my draws.  I didn't have a single bad draw last night.  All of them felt good and I can't blame any of my poor performance on draw or grip. 


So another steel match under my belt and I'm also listening to some Lanny Bassham stuff.  "Freedom Flight" was a quick listen, and "Attainment" I just started today. (Attainment is by his son Troy Bassham).  These are inspirational, positive books that can change the way you think about your motivation and performance.    


What does my goal list look like?  


Make GM in Steel Challenge. 

Continue a practice routine of at least once a week. 

Increase dry fire routine 4 times a week. 


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It's been a bit since my last entry.  I've had some practice sessions, and some matches.  Overall, I feel like I'm making some headway.  


I practiced with a buddy of mine, who is really fun to hang around.  The guy is awesome to shoot with because he's having a really good time, and is an inspiration rather than a detriment to my attitude.  This guy is like "let's go!."   


Anyways, I'm embarrassed to write this next part.  I shot his gun and was like "what the hell is up with that trigger!?"  It had a fraction of my travel.  Like by a huge margin.  I realized that mine was WAY out of whack.  I compared it to my other gun (that I haven't been shooting because it doesn't have a shielded safety yet) and that gun was a LOT closer to his.  I had let my over travel screw(s) get way out of alignment.  I fixed the over travel screw while there and was able to shoot a lot better. 


But even still over the last 2 matches was unable to work the trigger as well I'd like on most attack targets.  After checking my trigger weight just a little while ago. I've found that I also let my middle spring on my sear spring get very light.  I finished adjusting the sear spring to get my trigger back to about 1.25 lb where the return is nice and firm.  This one, was by a much smaller margin, but still.  I've had these "trigger troubles" before and found out that it was in fact, the trigger as opposed to anything I'm doing.  I'm a tad disappointed that I can't see these things clearer and sooner.  I just allow myself to think I'm doing something wrong in my shooting rather than in my gun maintenance.  

I'll need to be more diligent about actually checking the trigger weight and travel when cleaning the guns.


So, now that I have my gun back in shape I'm excited to see what I can do and how I can improve without bumping up against poor equipment condition.  In future practice sessions I'm going to make sure to add in some of the fast shooting drills.  I think that my strength is medium stages.  When I say medium, I mean targets at an average difficulty and arrays that require small amounts of movement.  I've clearly won any stages that are like, 10-15 yard shots with low risk (some no-shoots, but not super tight) and can be done with a flow-through method.  So targets I can move on, but not have to stop.   This means I still need to practice hard shots and bring my accuracy up as well as be able to really nail the hoser/attack targets.  Without getting deltas on them.  My splits are painfully slow on them when avoiding deltas.  Hopefully I can bring that down with some actual TRIGGER MAINTENANCE.  


Also, for about two to three weeks now I've shot Wednesday night, and Thursday night matches and practiced on Saturday.  While rounds downrange is nice, I think I'm going to ditch the Thursday night matches and see about getting in a Thursday morning practice session instead.  We'll see how that goes.  I'm being warned of some upcoming projects for work that will put me on a "work in Michigan, live in Florida" schedule so I may have to give up all the weekday s#!t soon.  We shall see.  For now, I shoot!



Make GM in steel challenge. (a 54 last practice match, while shooting through a migraine (luckily I had "rescue ginger") so hopefully a slight increase from 117 next real match.)

Practice speed shooting.

Practice even more accuracy.

Dry fire, then dry fire some more.  

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I shot matches on both days this weekend.  On Saturday was the Adam Jobbers Miller Legacy match.  It was a charity match.  Adam was a Fort Morgan Police Officer that was killed in the line of duty and although I didn't know him, a few of the shooters at Hansen Range did.  Also, he was an officer of the law and I'm all about supporting the people that sacrifice everything to try to keep us safe.  On a positive note, the match brought a whole lot of new shooters from the law enforcement community and maybe some will get hooked and get better training.  Maybe we'll meet some new friends.  


The match it'self was setup for new shooters.  Everything was wide open, with stage plans that didn't leave a lot to the imagination.  

Speed shooting?  Wasn't this recently on my list of weaknesses?  Like, ONE post ago? 


Well, I racked up 5 mikes on the first two stages.  Stage 3 came around and I was an emotional wreck.  Determined to shake it off and NOT get any mikes on the next 40 point stage I shot it the only 100% guaranteed no mike way.  Sloooooooow.   


After that I did, in fact successfully shake it off and went on to finish the last 3 stages at the top of the stats, and win one of them.  I spent the drive home wondering how I had managed to botch my first 2 runs so badly. 


As noted before, a large area for improvement is, just what this entire match was.  Close, wide open targets with open positions you can breeze through.  My new, untested trigger and failing to recognize just how challenging this scenario is for me,  was a recipe for disaster.  The fact that I let it happen once is not what got me thinking.  It wasn't even the fact that that I let it happen again.  What bothered me, was... well.  How bad it bothered me.  Why did I let it affect my mental game so badly?  I haven't been this upset since I determined I needed a break a year ago.  So I have identified that speed shooting is something I need to work on, and just haven't been able to really practice it. No biggie. 


More importantly, when I do have a disaster what can I do to "let it go?"  This IS something I've been working on.  


Well, I also just read (listened to.) Freedom Flight by Lanny Bassham and Attainment by Troy Bassham.  The Attainment one is really good and exactly what I needed to hear.  The main thing I took from this book was that I needed to come with a plan for what I would think before, during, and after my performance.  For me, it's the after that I have a problem with.  I dwell, and this causes those thoughts to spill into the before of the next stage.    


So the plan, after reflecting on my old archery competition days is this.  Allow myself to process, and to think about my performance.  Just let it happen.  I'm going to think about it.  I'm going to beat myself up, identify my areas of improvement, find my positive outcome, and then feel better.  This is what I do every time I write this journal, and every time I compete.  It's what I used to do for every arrow in archery.  The thing is, in archery it was ONE shot, and like 3 minutes to think about it before moving on.  


I just don't have time for that at a match.  I have too many data points to think about, and too much to do during the match for that.  How can I review all those data points quickly?


So, I made  a checklist with all the data points I think about after a stage.  Draw, grip, arms, stance, planning elements.  All that s#!t.  Troy Bassham style, I setup a table with Great, OK, Needs Work.   After the stage, I just check off what I felt about each item.  I left a space at the bottom where I can write a couple sentences about the stage and reflect on what went well. 


Then I throw it away in a physical act of "letting it go."  


Next day was the Mini Monster Match.  200+ rounds in a 4 stage match.  A good chance for me to get back on the horse and try this reload paper thing out.  

After every stage, I filled out my checklist, wrote a note, and then threw it in the trash.  It felt great.  Yes, I had a couple of mikes.  This really helped me identify what had gone wrong and more importantly what the actual skill was that I had forgotten to employ when the mike flew.  More importantly it was a constant reminder of the skills I was remembering and allowed me to adjust my though process to the skills important for each challenge. 


I went on to win that match by 8.5%


After reviewing the video and thinking about how that technique works it was really laid out to me what it looks like to treat each stage as a new match.  It also helped me to take that step further and really look at each array, position and target as a separate performance.  Some targets require an extra emphasis on a particular skill set for that challenge.  Nothing new.  But executing it like it's unrelated to the rest of the stage?  Not something that comes so easily to me.  Laying it out in front of me after each stage shows that to me in a way that I can truly get my head around.  


So, I'm going to do this for upcoming matches and see if it helps me develop a good plan for what my mindset will be before, during, and after each performance. 


Now that I'm done blabbing on about the mental aspect.  I do see some items that I can work on with movement.  There are several times, when I shuffle my feet to address remaining targets in a position that I didn't need to do that for.  I could have either, stayed planted or flowed into the exit movement.  One such event is the first stage, at 0:18.  I shot 3 different positions there.  NOT one flowing in and out.  This means my transitions are slow as it's really a different setup for each target.  If those targets were wide open begging for that position to be driven through at a ridiculous pace they would have been shaky hits indeed.  That's how you can mike a hoser target.  


I do see some good things too.  Like stable platforms and remembering to index properly and maintain my grip and arms while engaging risky arrays that for sure can't be blown through on the move.  Stage 2 at 0:53 was one such array. 


These are things that were reinforced by my checklist. 


So, overall I went from a crash an burn, to a new plan for what to think before, during, and after a stage run.   Hmmm.  "Only positive outcomes."   

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The Pen is mightier than the Sword when it comes to tackling mental challenges. As ever evolving students we always want to identify and fix the things we have issues with. That is a great mentality in practice because we have the opportunity to explore those things after they happen. In a match we don't have that luxury and lingering thoughts of your failures can compound into a monumental distraction. For me letting go of the failures during a match came down to identifying the issue and writing down a potential resolution to be worked through in practice. A good example would be having issues with a particular partial target at distance. I would step off the exact distance to that target, make a mental note of the exact partial target configuration, and note the shooting position I was forced to shoot it in. Once all of this was written down, usually on a note pad app on my cell phone, then I could release the mental engagement with that failure because I know that all of the details associated with that failure can be replicated in a future practice session. There is no way to "Fix" these issues during the match but we can absolutely explore and find a solution for them the next time we practice. For me, capturing the details of the failure scenario so it can be replicated in practice is what allows me to let it go during the match. 


I have watched your videos for a while now and I see a trend that may be the root cause to your "Hoser Mikes". When you are engaging easy targets that are close together your on target splits and transitions between targets are dramatically different. Such as sub .20 splits and .30 - .40 transitions. When there is a big divergence between the splits and transitions like this the root cause of the issue is usually shooting at the targets in a cadence fire scenario such as double tapping with one sight picture. Any time we double tap the second shot we can't drive the transition off the target in either physical or timing precision. It leads to dragging the second shot off the target in the direction of the transition or having the gun linger on the existing target well after the second shot has fired before the transition has started. I have a general rule of thumb that I use as a litmus test for calling each shot on close aggressive arrays of targets with roughly the same shot difficulty. I should produce hits in roughly the same area laterally, vertical displacement is mainly going to be determined by recoil management effectiveness, with the splits and transitions within .05 of one another. For example, if my on target splits are .20 then my transitions shouldn't me more than .25's while producing minimally displaced lateral hits. For me, the ONLY way this can happen is if I am observing what is going on in the sight picture the whole time and calling each shot as it fires so the transition can be subconsciously driven right after the shot fires. 


The first step in understanding this is testing out the super aggressive shooting arrays where the targets are close to one another and honestly assessing if you are firing the second shot by calling it or simply rowing your finger twice in a double tap. If you can't make that conscious observation of what is going on up front, there is no way that you will be able to understand the issue much less deploy a fix for it.    

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2 hours ago, CHA-LEE said:

capturing the details of the failure scenario so it can be replicated in practice

This may be a good case to keep some of my checklist sheets if there is a particular thing I want to replicate.  Maybe I'll use the back of the sheet to make the notes you are talking about.  I don't keep my phone with me (for the same reason.  I'll look at an email and instantly switch to "WORK MODE.") 

I like the idea of throwing it away, but I may gain more value, and the same mental picture by just shoving the thing into my bag knowing it's off my mind. 

In particular I can think of two positions.  Both had a hard lean into a port on a wide open target and resulted in a mike on both.  This means I need to replicate this and either practice shooting angled into a port, or find a better stance when dealing with this type of port.   


And, I think you are correct in that "double tap" scenario.  I think I'm failing to understand what I'm not seeing on those targets.  You can't argue with the absence of holes!  For sure, that's my next practice session is to setup some fast shooting scenarios and see what's up.  For some reason, I've never really setup that type of scenario and practiced it before.  Maybe because of my reluctance to blow through the rounds on such a session.  Maybe because I've failed to properly recognize it as a weakness until now.   Either way,  it's time to dedicate the lead, if I want to turn this weakness into a strength!


Thanks buddy!


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I have a good indoor range drill for practicing "seeing" shotcalling if you want to give it a try.  


You need a range with the timed exposure turning targets to do it but what I do is put up a multiple target sheet on the board.  I use the 5 dot ones that have five different targets that are each about 6" ovals.

Set the exposure timer for a time that pushes you to shoot at your limit of speed and put the target at 7-10 yards.  Then from the low ready, draw and fire two on each of the 5 targets during the exposure and when it turns sideways, try to remember/identify any shots that missed the 6" targets, then turn the target and confirm you saw/called all your shots correctly. 


Obviously make up shots as you would but the pace should be such that there really isn't time to do any makeups and the point is to remember/"see" all your hits without being able to see the actual holes due to the targets turned as you are finishing.  As things progress you can slow down the exposure but keep the pace of shooting the same and work on making up any called misses subconsciously. 


For me, I set the time at 2 seconds, 7 yards is a consistent all A zone shots but at 10 yards it's much more difficult and things really come to light as far as transitions, dragging shots as your moving before you've called the second shot, etc.  


The point is to set a time and distance that is an uncomfortable pace and on the ragged edge and then become an observer of what the gun is doing, sight pictures, etc and because you're going so fast and then the target disappears, it's difficult to cheat by seeing holes in the target.  It's also good for lots of other aspects of shooting as well by pushing the target out to 15, 20, 25 yards and obviously adjusting the time accordingly.  It becomes basically a par time dry fire type drill but confirms you aren't cheating like you can in dry fire.


Just something to try but I think you'll quickly new and different things come to light.  It's a good drill for me at least.



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I went to the range on Friday and practiced with a buddy.  We setup some "hoser" targets and ran by them a bunch of times while maintaining an A hit.  While not perfect I feel like I made some headway in practicing that scenario.  We watched splits/transitions and while I was occasionally able to get them close, I'm still suffering from fast splits and slow transitions.  I guess I just need more work on it.   


On Sunday, the match looked pretty much exactly like our practice range.   There were several stages with 4 shot arrays down the side berm(s).  There were also some of the situations where you lean out and have to engage several arrays pretty far apart for a very wide cone of fie.  Since they were easy targets this fit right in with my weakness.  


I got two stages on video.  The video, obviously doesn't show the hits, but I was very happy with my hits throughout the day.  Yeah, I missed a couple of opportunities for making sure I was in the A Zone.  But for the most part I felt like I maintained control, executed each position as well as I could. 


There were two out of control moments. 


The first one, I really came out hot.  I shot 5 times at a very close target and was just looking for the dot.  Without seeing the dot, I saw several holes in the target and moved onto #2.  Since I was already in "hole watching mode" I saw two hits on that target and while moving to the third target of the array became pretty sure my dot had failed.  The next one was a partial no-shoot.  Although close, shooting that one without having any idea where the dot was, or whether there even was one was NOT an option.  A brief pause and I found my dot and moved on.  I was able to complete the stage without issue.  The win, in this scenario was that I was able to finally get things under control, forget about the 3 target hiccup and continue the stage without thinking about that.  Not the best run ever, but a disaster was avoided.  


The second one was a very similar scenario.  I had just finished a partial no-shoot array and went into a pretty easy, shoot while moving barrel gap.  I pulled two shots off while starting to really accelerate and failed to call them.  Pretty sure that they had gone into a barrel, or at least the delta zone.  I came to a stop, developed a good stance, shot the two targets (re-engaging that first one) and continued to execute the remaining positions smoothly, without stopping again, and while calling shots the entire time.  I sacrificed maybe 1.5 seconds on that situation and also didn't pick the best plan so not such a great score on that one.  But again, the win was that I recognized a train wreck,  prevented it, and moved on without thinking about it. 


On a positive note, I think I made some good movement choices that didn't sacrifice accuracy.  Keeping movement smooth and not adding "extra positions" into engagements has been something I've identified as part of the problem with my close shooting.  Feet shuffling and knee movement between arrays is costing me big-time in my transitions and shots because the gun has to settle for each target.   I also made it a point to visualize and consciously work on transition.  Rather rehearse "bang-bang," "band-bang." My thought process has been more like "bang-bump-bang-bump."  Attaching the targets together with a visualized instant transition.  I could feel myself execute this just like that in several arrays.  


But overall, I felt good with many of the movement situations where I eliminated extra, inefficient movement and replaced it with smooth and minimized movement. 


I'm going to ditch a goal list for a while.  This seems more like a time, where I have all the tools. I just need to figure when, and how to use them effectively.  Analyze, execute, and just let myself shoot like I know I can shoot. 







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I shot a match this weekend at Hansen range.  No videos.  It was another hoser match.  It seems that's all they do at Hansen now with the exit of a certain individual that put on all the "hard" matches.  I basically shot so carefully, and slowly that I was way down on the results on some stages.  I really only had one stage that was good, and that one was a 30 point stage where I was able to do the slap-load saving a second or two over my competition.  So the shooting is NOT where I won that stage.  


So I went to lunch with a buddy afterwards and we talked for quite a while.  The gist of the conversation was something I've only heard about a billion times.  How much are you willing to work for improvement?  Now that I'm on an upswing with motivation it's really time to decide.  I've been mulling this over since Sunday.   The question for myself is:


Are in a place where you just want to have fun and not worry about improvement?  If that's the case, keep doing what your doing, but stop giving a crap about performance. 


Are you ready to look at the "work" as part of the fun and make some adjustments to your life to fit that work into your schedule?  


Let's see.  I've spent 10's of 1000's of dollars on equipment and training.  I've moved across the country in part to go where there's more shooting.  I've hired people to do the things that would normally fill a weekend so that I can shoot. I've changes my lifestyle to include daily physical fitness and tendinitis recovery,  so I can shoot better.   I currently "practice" 1-2 times a week, and/or shoot 1-2 matches a week.  I dry fire maybe/sometimes twice a week.  


All that, and somehow I look at resolving my "strategical dumbness" as the work I'm NOT willing to do in order to get better?  Well, the things I need to do for that are actually the simplest and cheapest to resolve.   I'm going to do it and here's how.


Get the gym by 7:15 every morning.  Heather is certainly on board with this and so far, that's been easy. 


After the gym, dry fire (for real) for 30-45 minutes.  I've done Steve Anderson's 12 drills over the last 3 days and already see a marked improvement in my basic skills.   


Take dry fire on the road.  Can't let travel get in the way, and it's even more important due to the lack of live fire during the week.  I'm going to take my backup gun with me and a basic dry fire kit.  


PUSH in practice.  I often practice with no timer or don't really keep track of whether I'm improving.  I'm going to setup specific drills and record my times.  This is where the strategically dumb portion will end.  How fast can I do a Bill Drill?  I don't freaking know.  How fast can I shoot a plate rack at 25 yards?  No clue.  Does that stuff matter in a match, well NO because all you can do it shoot it as well as you can.  But, trying to beat your old time is the best way to push yourself.  Without it, I'm finding that all I do is shoot the same thing over and over and while I may get better at it, that's just from repetition.  Not from pushing the limits of human function and showing yourself that those limits can be extended. 


A good example of this is my draw.  Just from the last 3 days of solid dry fire with par times I find that I can jerk the gun out of the holster as fast as I can possibly move my hand.  I mean, I'm honestly amazed at just how consistently fast my draw has become.  Both from hands relaxed and from surrender.  It's like, the instant my hand touches the gun I can just jerk my hands out in front of me and boom.  The sight lands on target.  Easily obtaining a first aimed alpha hit of around .8 seconds.  What if I really push to beat that?

While I've been able to obtain that speed for a while now, the point is I can do it easily, smoothly, and comfortably EVERY TIME now.   It's really starting to sink in as 2nd nature.  


OK, so this is all s#!t that we've all heard before.   And at some point in my shooting career (around A class) I was like.  This is worth the work to put into reaching GM.  And all the work to get this  far was fun and seemed natural.  I guess I'm just at the next plateau and need to look at the "strategically dumb" thing as something that has to be brought into the "fun" realm of my shooting to get to the next level. 


Writing it down like this, sure makes me accountable for it.  I guess I better get on it.

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You also need to understand that Training Effort Input verses Performance Output isn't a 1 to 1 equation. The better we get at any skill requires an exponentially higher level of effort to improve skills in a minimal manner. This lopsided "Effort In vs Performance Out" situation needs to be part of your decision process when justifying the value in doing it. The top shooters in this sport are putting in Olympic level training effort to content with the top 1% of the competition. Not many Weekend Warriors can afford to input that level of training (Time, Ammo, Money) much less justify that magnitude of training for the seemingly small reward when compared to "real world" priorities.

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Well, Nationals is over.   In an effort to stop thinking so hard about everything I'm not going to review my performance in detail.


In short, the match was a poor performance for me, but not so much from a shooting perspective.  I messed up stage plans, fell out of shooting areas, and dropped magazines.  The shooting, and general movement was actually not too bad.  Although I would still not file it under good. 


Basically, I was just not ready.  Having taken a break this year, and cancelling most major matches this was really my only major match.   Strategically a terrible choice, unless you spend all year preparing for it.  But I did not. 


By day 3 I had really come to terms with that, and honestly had a lot of fun and engaged in some of my best shooting that day.   But when the shooting was over, the damage was done by days 1 and 2.  My placement was pretty poor.  


So what now?  Work!  Like Cha-Lee said in his reply to my last post.  There is a lot of work ahead of me to get marginally better.   No, I don't expect to compete at a pro level, but I just want to get better than I am now. 


Another way to put it, is that I'm in a spot in my shooting where I get the least return for my practice investment.  That means, the dry-fire that I started to do a week before Nationals probably had a more detrimental effect than a helpful one.  I just need to keep working, and training.   It will eventually lead to better performance.

Edited by Glock26Toter

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Its a bummer that the Nationals didn't go better for you. But that match failure will ultimately be a benefit as it usually takes a kick in the gut like that to set your priorities and expectations straight. Basically, some lessons can only be learned the hard way. At least you didn't have to spend a bunch of money flying across the nation for that lesson.

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Lots of things have happened since my last post.   I've been much more excited about dry fire and have fallen into the routine of wanting to, and executing daily dry fire.  

I can tell that the basic skills are smoothing out.  


I also got my "new" open gun.  Or, actually my backup.  So there was a guy that had purchased an Axiom Custom gun before me.  He's decided to sell a few of his guns to beef up his PCC game, so the gunsmith connected us as it's the exact same model as the one he's building for me.  So I wound up picking that gun up.  Like 1700 rounds through it, still white.  It's sweeeeeeet!


I'll shoot it this Sunday at the Hansen Custom Gun Classic, but it's still got a C-More slide ride on it.  On Sunday I'll swap sights with him (as it was unavailable when I made the deal last weekend) and then it will be the exact gun I need.   Then, my primary gun will still be done in a month or two.   Yes, look for my old guns for sale very soon.


Soooo, I shot The Monster Match last weekend.  I dressed as a UPS guy, and of course had to figure out to use my cowboy hat.  So I broke out my old brown one and put a UPS hatband on it.  So I was a UPS guy with a cowboy hat.  HAHA!   I ran out of bullets and all help from this great community was too time consuming to keep me on schedule.  People are awesome.  They offered to meet me in the middle, put bullets on their tabs at shops.  It was cool, but I just didn't have time to spend hours running around then loading.  I decided to do a one-off and shoot C.O. with Heather's gun.  Here's a few stages from the match.


Wow, what a learning experience that was!  I found myself unable to adapt to the trigger and continually called alphas that wound up charlies, deltas and a few mikes.  On 2 stages, toward the end of the match I finally was starting to get a handle on getting to prep BEFORE(or just as) the sight landed on target so that when it settled, I could break the intended shot.  I realized that I have a looooong way to go before I can be a versatile shooter and adapt to massive equipment changes while maintaining optimal performance.   Luckily most of the match was a total hoser match, so it was more about speed, and with close open targets the cost of my trigger struggles was low.  Overall I didn't do too bad, and it was an awesome outlaw match.   


But that ship has sailed for a bit as I've been hitting the new open gun with a LOT of dry fire.   I'm genuinely shocked at how much better this grip fits me, and the aggressive texture is so "sticky" that I can easily and comfortably get a first shot on target within .75.  I can consistently close my eyes, and draw to alpha which is something I've never been able to do before.  Other things, like reloads, one handed shooting, and all of it just feels better.  I suspect it's not that much better, but isn't what a brand new toy does to all of us?  Makes everything better?  


I'm really excited to get on with shooting this gun in matches so that I can see what's possible in "real life."   While I'm realistic about what a new tool can (or won't rather) do for my game I have no doubt that the extra work I've been putting in WILL begin to help.  Couple that with my shiny new tool, and pain free arms and I'm in for a heck of a ride for the winter shooting season. 


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It's been a busy work schedule, but I managed to get down to the range on Friday afternoon, put 2 mags through the new gun and walk the stages for the 2018 Custom Gun Classic on Sunday.

I shot the new gun and was really excited by how this thing handled.  I could really feel the extra weight and longer barrel.  I didn't notice it in transitions and they all seemed to go fairly smoothly.  The biggest thing I noticed was that with less up/down movement of the gun I really started adding some trigger control issues in.  There were several called shots that were not where I called them.  This tells me that I'm adding in trigger movement at the moment I want the shot to break.  For the most part it was an awesome gun to shoot and I'm very excited to get some more trigger time on it moving forward.

After the match I met with the original owner and swapped sights as promised.  This weekend will be my Thanksgiving with some family coming in, so I'll probably just sight it in and chrono my current rounds.  No match.  


Shooting the Custom Gun Classic was a hoot.  It was a fun match that had some hosing, and some good challenging shots as well.  I racked up a total of 10 deltas and 2 mikes by the end.  Not too great from an accuracy perspective.  However, the norm was a decent level of accuracy.  About all I could expect from a gun that I was shooting for the first time.  I wound up 2nd Open by 2 points.  Had I reigned in one of my wayward shots I would have had HOA.   Rarely have I been involved in a match this close.  The 3rd place shooter was 3 points behind me as well.


I'm seeing a positive impact from my upswing in dry fire as I didn't fumble a single reload, and felt like all my gun handling was spot on.  The errors I made in this match were NOT the same gun handling issues I saw at Nationals, that's for sure. 


I still need to continue to work on accuracy, through better trigger control.  Transitions continue to be an equal priority so I can gain that trigger control without giving up time. 






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There have been some changes since my last entry.   After a couple more matches,  I determined there was no way I could move on with that G.P. thumb rest.  I tried a buddies gun with a different rest, and liked it right off the bat.  


With my gunsmith waiting for me to get it to him for some other changes I took this Sunday off from shooting and headed up to his shop. 


So, I got a new thumb rest. (Nitrx Fxn) and a new Gxppxrt trigger.  Along with a custom fit job for the sight mount this gun is ready to rumble.  (EXACTLY the configuration that the new gun will come in... so it's a true half of a twin now.) 


I took it to the range this morning and sighted it in, then ran a few bill drills along with some plate rack practice.   I'm VERY happy with the ease at which I can keep the dot tracking straight up and down with this thumb rest.  There were a few times where I landed awkwardly on it and saw a decline in stability.  But generally, I was able to land on the thumb rest with the tip of my thumb way past it so that I only put a moderate amount of pressure on it, and this helped to guide my thumb without acting as a control point.  I think that's the key on my thumb rest situation.  I need to have a nice landing pad, without allowing me to add too much unintentional force into the gun.   


Of course, I need a lot more trigger time to see, but at least I have a setup now that like from the start.  Figuring out whether it causes problems down the road?  Well, that's what down the road is for. 


Along those same lines, I had a new trigger installed.  This is the "short" version of that particular brand, and is quite a bit longer than anything I've had before.  This is my first straight trigger and I like it right away.  The bow obviously fits way better.  It glides like nothing I've had before, feels solid and doesn't have any slop.  It's an aluminum one, rather than the plastic that was in there and I think this is really why it feels so much better on my finger.  It's also solid so it has a decent amount of weight as compared to say, an SV trigger.  But the gliding is amazing.  I can feel it hit the prep-wall, but then with no extra effort I can feel the sear sliding for just a moment before it breaks.  It's the smoothest trigger I've ever had.  Art has somehow, gotten about a 1.25 oz trigger with a very strong return.  Not sure how I can measure that, but it returns probably twice as hard as my old trigger.  I still need some work, but I can certainly slam a bill drill easier than I could before.  


I'm VERY excited to continue getting used to this new hardware and see where it takes me. 




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I've made it to a couple of matches, and one practice session since last entry. 


The practice session was a bit abbreviated as it was a morning session.  I ran a few bill drills, but mostly ran the plate rack.  I was able to get a couple of times into the 2.8 - 2.6 time range without much practice at about 11 yards.  While these times aren't exactly blistering they aren't exactly slow either.  The main point being that the gun was tracking nicely. 


The Thursday night match was pretty much a s#!t show.  I was making mistakes and handing over points by the bucket load to my competitors.  I found that for night matches, it's not really possible to get the RTS2 to get dim enough.  Those darn preset levels are pretty limiting.  On one stage in particular I had it on the 2nd to lowest setting.  For some closeup targets it was tolerable, but when it came to some dimly lit 25 yard shots I just couldn't successfully call the hits and racked up 3 mikes.  On another stage, while the sight was turned down all the way, I still found it difficult to call some tight shots and on one steel target in particular just lost my cool and wound up stepping out of a shooting area while continuing to fire.  That stage sent me another 30 points into the hole.   I also shot the Wednesday night steel match and found some difficult to call hits there as well.  This gun is definitely NOT a night shooting rig.  I'll need to give it more time and see if I can get a handle on that big ass dot. 


The Sunday match went considerably better.  My main competition didn't show up that day, so I'm missing a reality check.  However, for the most part the shooting went well.  I was able to keep the dot tracking in a straight up and down path and didn't do anything particularly stupid.  With the exception of one stage, I felt really good about all the shooting and moving.  The match as mostly a hoser match, so I could afford a tad less on shot quality to get moving some more.  However, I find that on targets (especially within the same stage) that require higher shot quality I'm still unable to reign it in and make sure I get the hits.   My gear shifting ability between attack and control is still lacking.   


I believe the reason for that attack/control problem still lies in my transitions.  I still need to practice bouncing off the previous target so that I can land on the next one sooner, judge the shot quality, and break the shot.  If I can do that while keeping a pace that doesn't cause me to feel like I'm dragging ass, I should be able to make some progress.


More drills, more practice. 


On a technical note, I'm very happy with the current configuration of trigger, thumb rest, and the rest of the recipe.  No tinkering needed at this point. Just to get more live fire practice in. 


From a dry fire perspective I'm still able to get it in almost every day, and it sure feels good.  I can swap magazines between big stick, and 140 and never know the difference in loading.  I can also perform all the other manipulations better than ever.  Switching hands, reloads from every angle, and draws from every position, are all on the list of dry fire routine.  I've never done this much  before, and would say that it's probably one of the best decisions I've made in my shooting.  

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On 12/3/2018 at 3:14 PM, Glock26Toter said:

....Art has somehow, gotten about a 1.25 oz trigger with a very strong return.  Not sure how I can measure that, but it returns probably twice as hard as my old trigger....



Umm, 1.25 oz?


On a serious note, you can get a number on the return by using a trigger gauge and measuring the pull of the pre-travel up to the wall which gives you an idea of the center leg and the total by measuring the pull right up to the over-travel stop with the hammer down.

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OZ, LBS... what's the difference?  HAHA. 


I guess I didn't think about the return just being the pre-travel.  But I did measure it.  Looks like I'm about 9oz return.  Measuring my old gun the comparison is more like:

Axiom - 1.4 lb pull and 9 oz return.  Hulk - 1.6 lb pull and 8 oz return. 


I think I didn't measure carefully enough when I posted last.  So I can feel the difference in the two more so than the actual weights, I guess.


At any rate, so far I've been pretty unable to shoot super fast at some of the hoser type targets, and have been missing a lot of steel with this new gun.   Although the trigger is silky smooth I think I'm developing some bad trigger habits by mashing the trigger.  This is what I need to work on next.  I need to understand and work this trigger like it deserves to be worked.   That said, I'm not sure it's any worse than the old gun, i.e., I haven't gotten any worse but feel like the issues I'm having with this gun are more trigger focused since it tracks and cycles more smoothly than the old one. 


Trying to sell my old one, I had one guy ask if it "handles OK being a shorty."  I thought this was an interesting question and thinking about it, this is a very tough question to answer.  I'll get all kinds of people saying one thing or the other about full length guns vs short ones.  But, I believe the only way to tell would be to have the same gun outfitted with two barrels (and all the other stuff) to really tell the difference.  I think there's more to it than just deciding one is better than the other.  It's like trying to decide if you like Chevy transmissions better than Fords.  There is an entire drive train to consider in how the truck feels so it's not really fair to compare just one component.   


Having said all that, I sure am having fun lately with my new hardware.  


I'm still getting dry fire in almost daily and can tell the value of that in my confidence and manipulation at matches.   For instance, even some sketch reloads are not disasters due to so much practice.  Surrender draws are MUCH more consistent, and table starts don't bother me a bit.  All this is due to repeating them almost daily.  


What I'm lacking is live fire practice.  Can't seem to get out there like I would like. 


I've done a good job at disconnecting myself from expectations, or a score mindset with the Wednesday night steel matches so they are pretty darn close to practice.  I no longer care, or am even trying to get a particular score there.  It's about prepping the trigger BEFORE I get to the next target and calling the shot.  I don't care about time. 


Thursday night matches are almost there too, although I get wrapped up sometimes and make decisions based on strategy rather than what I would practice.   But these matches are always hoser matches and this is where I'm noticing that I can't shoot some of the targets as fast as I should be able to. 


Something worth noting, is that I think the trigger manipulation is actually suffering due to a lopsided dry fire / live fire routine.  In dry fire, I've notice that I'm slamming the trigger hard.   This, I believe is translating into the lack of prep during live fire.  So, now I've started lightening up on it, so that I'm moving very fast, yet barely pressing the trigger.  This should help reinforce the isolation of movements, rather than blend it by allowing myself to smack the trigger.  


So moving forward the goals look like:


Work on trigger manipulation, both for prep - control targets, AND attack targets.  Know the difference!

Work on very light, controlled trigger work during dry fire.  Don't let yourself smash it!

Keep working on transitions.  Still a weak point.  







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It's been a while since I wrote in my journal!  

Been having a ton of fun shooting the new Axiom Ethos, and getting used to it.  I think I made a very wise decision to try the ntro fxn thumb rest and have not even felt like looking back for an instant.  I lightened the trigger a touch so it's sitting at 1lb 2oz and have really increased my ability to shoot fast.  


Still lacking on live fire, I did start working the trigger with much more finesse during dry fire and feel that has helped a lot.  One thing I like to do, is to just press against the wall during drills without actually letting the hammer drop.  If I accidentally drop the hammer, it better have been on a target if I was doing it right.  Then, sometimes I'll let that accidental hammer drop be a "reload alarm."   So I'll be working the take up during the drill and if I go "click" then BAM, do a reload and keep going with the drill.  


I've also been really having fun at the steel matches.  I've shown myself on so many occasions that if I can just get the prep done BEFORE I get on the next target the hit, is always good, and very fast.  I'v found that if I don't prep, then the likelihood of a miss is high.  Then, I can get in this ridiculous cycle of trying the makeup shot before I've prepped the trigger, but have brought the gun back on target.  This causes the same mistake.  Like, when people over correct when their car breaks loose on the ice.  Over correct, it swings the other way, over correct the other way..... you will never straighten out the car like that!   My video from the Mark 7 steel match shows a few instances of that!


I feel like I'm on a steady path of increasing ability at very tiny increments.


Need to continue to work on trigger prep and be patient with it.  My movement is smoothing out considerably also.   I just need to keep doing what I'm doing!





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In the last couple of weeks I've had a fairly slow match attendance.  Busy with work on the weekdays, and last weekend was a match at WAC that was full.  I've practiced a couple of times and continued my dry fire routine.  


I went for a training session Tuesday morning and found that I had not properly sighted it in last time.  I've realized just how much play there is within the close range to allow adjustments at the farther ranges.  My experience on Tuesday was that when I got onto the paster at 10 yds, I could still move the sight an additional 8 clicks before I was consistently shooting the bottom portion of the paster.  That equated to bringing an 8" high group into a 1" high group at 36 yds. (the farthest I could get on that berm.)  


This may be a duh for some, but for me it was an eye opener on just how well an accurate gun can be adjusted.  Obviously, at 36 yds with a 6MOA dot it's not possible to get a super tight group.  I was shooting about a 4"-5" group, but that's not bad. 


After that I blasted a plate rack with pretty decent success at 30 yds.  Maybe 7-8 shots to clear it.  I only ran it about 3-4 time as I ran out of time.  But this is some accuracy I can work with. 


I also added some shock buffs and saw a slight difference in the dot travel.  The gun is stroked, as I understand it to where I can put 3 buffs in and that's just what I did.  I'm going to run it for this weeks' matches and see how it goes.  


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I've been keeping up my dry fire and shooting routine pretty nicely with a steel match, Thursday night match, and USPSA match on Sunday. 


The new tweaks to the gun are spot on.  The trigger feels awesome and the shock buffs are a keeper.   I wasn't shooting particularly well on Sunday, but that sure wasn't the gun's fault.  I wound up with about 3 mikes, and probably 10 deltas.   


The shooting required some decent accuracy and I'm still just not dialed in enough to really get a 25 yard plate rack with authority in a match.  On the stage that had said plate rack, I got a crappy grip and didn't really realize it until the end.   I had plenty of opportunity to fix it and just let it go throughout the entire stage.  Need to work on my ability to adjust things as needed.  I may have been more successful had I concentrated on that instead of all the other elements of the shooting.  


From a movement perspective I feel like I'm smoothing out quite a bit.  In situations where I want to make aggressive, harsh movements I'm keeping the gun up, and making smooth movements.  The latter causing the the gun to get running much sooner than the former.  This was proven to everyone on my squad when one match had a 3 box stage where you engaged 3 targets from each box.   Pretty much an extended, paper version of Outer Limits.  Everyone broke down their shooting platform, moved aggressively and then started shooting again in the next box.  I just shot, kept the gun raised (almost still looking through the sight) and moved quickly to the next box, breaking the first shot the instant my trailing foot touched inside.  My time was 9.5 seconds with decent hits.  The next fastest shooter who tried that same technique, but not as well, was maybe 12 second.


My running is also noticeably faster.  Something that has always throttled my running in the past was limited arm movement due to exaggerated muzzle discipline.  I've been concentrating on getting more comfortable running, and allowing my arms to really swing while allowing a narrower margin of muzzle discipline.        


So, the bottom line is.  I've got my gun dialed in to where I really like it.  Now I just need to see about making some real improvements in my shooting. 



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Have you been able to identify which shots are the Deltas and Mikes? Such as second shot on the same target? last shot in an array? First shot in an array? First shot after a wide transition? Last shot before a wide transition? Unsettled gun while shooting on the move? Or something else?


You need to identify the exact scenario's that promote these poor or no hits. Without knowing that you can't "Fix" the issue.


From watching your videos, you are still heavily using the super fast double tap followed by a slow transition to the next target. By looking at the video alone, I would expect that the poor or no hits are the second shots during these retarded fast double taps. Double Taps look and sound cool, but they are really ineffective when it comes to producing two good hits consistently.

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I would not say it was consistently the second shot, but I've been working on decreasing my double tapping habit and my transition speed.  You aren't the first one to point this out.  While there are plenty of deltas and mikes from various scenarios the majority must be from not calling the second hit.  


This is for sure a major issue I've been working on.  So to take this a bit further, my shooting goal list should look something like this. 


1. Call EACH shot.  #1 will work better having fully called all the shots on the target.  

2. Work on transitioning off of the target by seeing the "transitional dot track" after the second shot.

3. On long, accurate shots allow time to feel the prep of the trigger before breaking the shot. (i.e., do all the work needed to call that shot.)  


You are correct though.  In order to attain these three goals I need to take some notes during the match to ensure I capture EACH poor shot and the circumstances around it.  


4.  Take notes on EACH bad shot.


Thanks Cha-Lee!




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Having a list of goals is good, but it also pretty useless without the proper penalty for continually failing. Failing at the same stuff all the time can't have a penalty of "Oops, did it again" or it wont get fixed. Put a tangible penalty on the things you keep messing up and you will make it a priority to fix the issue. Only you know what a proper penalty should be. Here is an extreme example. Every time you shoot a Delta or Miss in a match, one of your squad mates gets to kick you in the nuts. With that extreme level of penalty it shouldn't take many of those corrective actions to make it a priority to get your hits ALL THE TIME. 

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I've had some time off with a mini vacation to Texas so no matches this past weekend.  

However, I did make it out to a practice session last Wed morning and shot a steel match last night.   


My primary focus for the practice session was to feel the prep and break the shot with accuracy.  After a couple of fairly poor runs on a 25 yard plate rack, I sighted in.  I found that the gun was about 4" low at 25 yards.  This is definitely a tad concerning since I thought I had it all sighted in only a couple weeks ago.  I did mess with it far beyond my normal conservative routine of only adjusting the sight 3 times before moving on.   This time, in 2 adjustments I had a 3" group that was only about 1" high at 25 yards and all within a paster at 15 yards.   


After that, I hit the plate rack again at 25 yards.  While 4" low should not cause a super poor performance I did find that I was trigger mashing so anything that should have made a below center hit was a miss.  Even when consciously feeling the prep I had a tendency to break the shot with too much force on the trigger.  After making sure I was careful to "just" break the shot my accuracy was pretty darn sweet and I was easily able to clear the 25 yard rack in the 5 second neighborhood.  Not blistering fast, but I reinforced the conscious pause at that prep, the instant the previous shot broke.  Each run that I was able to get back to prep BEFORE getting to the next plate was a success.  This was reinforced when moving on to some partial, and head shots at the same distance with the same success.  

It felt good to show myself I can be an accurate shooter as long as I enter "trigger mode."  


I had a break of several days transporting artwork from Heather's Santa Fe gallery to her Fredricksburg gallery and a weekend with friends in San Antonio.  Last night was a mini steel match (4 stages) and I reminded myself that it was just an organized practice session.  No concern for time, and no concern for steel strategy.  Prep and transition were top priority.  

It was a pretty successful run and although I did have some rough plates, overall it was one of my best times.  On one stage in particular I had 3 runs that were the best I've shot since starting steel.  As expected, no concern for score resulted in my best score to date of 51.6.  Had I kept that pace up for another 4 stages it could have put me in the low 100's.  Maybe I'm learning something. 


Tonight is the Thursday night, hoser match so I'll be able to REALLY put my trigger work to the test and see if I can maintain a heightened level of accuracy with wide open, drive-by targets tempting my double-tap habit.   




Call EVERY shot.

Conscious trigger prep. 

Transition the instant the final shot breaks.  

Take notes on any bad/missed shots. 







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