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GunBugBit

Bob's Range Diary

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It's pretty easy to tack new instances of the drills onto the existing compilations, so as I am able to record faster times, I'll be adding those on.

Short-term goal for 6-Reload-6: 3.9 seconds. I hoped to capture some live fire runs under 4 seconds. Didn't quite get there but I think I will soon.

Short-term goal for Four Aces: 2.4 seconds. I do this drill in dry fire almost every session. I will want to be able to beat a 2.2 second par time in dry fire to have confidence I can do a 2.4 in live fire.

I will be adding compilations of Blake and El Prez and drills.

Blooper compilations might be good.

Video editing is kind of fun.

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Small tip (feel free to take or leave it). I think you bring the gun lower than needed which is slowing your reload.

Have you timed out your draw/split/reload/split?

Keeping the gun up higher but still bring it in to your 'work space'. Kind of upper chest height 8-10 inches out in front.

Pulling it down means your head tilts down and longer path back to shooting.

Just an observation. :) btw I do it a little too. But being conscious of it and keeping it up helps me for sure.

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I've timed everything I do in practice.

Lately I've been doing reloads with the gun higher and farther away from my body and I find it helps with consistency. It takes longer to get the mag into the gun this way, but less time to get back on target. The consistency boost is the bigger argument for doing it higher and farther out. A bobble can cost a lot of time.

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All strings shown in the compilations included hitting all As. There were other strings I recorded where I had hits outside the A zone. Those where I didn't hit all As didn't make the cut for the compilation. Times for those not-all-A strings varied from slower to faster. I was so happy to see 2.49 on the timer for a Four Aces string, but alas, only one of the hits was an A.

As I add faster strings to the compilations, I'll provide companion head-cam footage of walking up to the targets to show the hits.

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I have been doing well at the club practice matches, and improving quickly at Steel Challenge, but the USPSA matches have continued to be the most challenging for me.

While I hoped to do a little better against the competition last Sunday, I'm glad the other shooters came to compete and did not wilt under the Phoenix sun. I'm seeing several shooters across a big age spectrum and in several divisions getting better and trying hard to do well. They inspire me.

I shot some stages conservatively, and some with more abandon, and had mixed results. That match prompted me to think seriously about how I should modify my practice routine to do better in USPSA. In short, I will continue the dry fire several hours per week but will add more live fire practice to get my hit factor up on a variety of target arrangements.

I have been shown my strengths and weaknesses in stark detail and am more enthusiastic than ever about working hard to improve.

Thankfully, at 57 my eyes and body still work fine and my system responds positively to practice. And I still have drive to compete!

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Shot my first USPSA match as a Limited 10 competitor last Sunday.  Same gun as for Single Stack, same overall setup, just different mags.

Am knocking on the door of B class in Single Stack.  I certainly expect to make it within a year.

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I've been going at dry fire pretty diligently for 2 of the past 3 weeks.  The one week I didn't dry fire much, it showed up at the club practice match in a bad way.  On the positive side, the weeks I did apply myself, goodness showed up in the matches.

I have been doing live fire too but not that much with my competition gun.  I've done AR builds in recent months and have bought a couple more handguns so of course I had to go out and shoot those guns.  I brought my 1911 for those outings and did a few reps of bread-n-butter drills, but was more focused on the other guns.  It's not all serious practice, I have to have fun with guns too.

I would say I've been dry firing and shooting as much in the past month as I ever have, definitely more than ever on the dry fire side.

So here's how that affected the most recent match, which was a local USPSA match.

I won the Limited 10 division.  Yay, golf clap, pat myself on the back, but there were only 3 other people in that division, and one of them was DQ'd.

I shot my best classifier ever, the CM08-03 Six classifier.  With a hit factor of 7.3048, that's my first A-level classifier score.  A few more matches and I'll be classified in the Limited 10 division and will strive for that initial classification to be at least B.

While my overall standing among all divisions was not super high for the match, I did well in terms of getting a high percentage of possible points on the stages.

My dry fire has been focused on increasing speed, but I insist on seeing honest As as I dry fire.  If I don't feel I saw solid A sight pictures on a rep, I consider that last rep to not be a good one and I keep going until I get a few in where I feel good about clearly seeing all As.  But I am still trying to beat par times.

This kind of practice yielded modest gains in speed, but apparently improved my accuracy much more than I was expecting.

Edited by GunBugBit

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Was away from dry fire and shooting the last 5 days due to a family event out-of-state.  My last match before the break was the October 6th club match where I placed 13th overall out of 55 shooters, ahead of the other non-open 1911 shooters.  I went away feeling I had a bad night due to two penalties.  I was happy about how I shot a stage with right and left leans.  I'm still far from a great shooter when leans are involved but I'm better than I was.

I had hoped to do better because I had been hitting dry fire pretty hard in late September and early October, never missing a day.  My draws (start signal to first shot) are better than they used to be and I feel in control and precise nearly all the time.  That's why the mike and no-shoot ticked me off.  I use the night lighting conditions as an excuse because I truly can't see the fiber optic front sight at night when there's little light from the sides or from above, and I generally don't see anything that great in low light.  I'll just keep thinking of this as a challenge to be managed and do my best in those conditions.  They affect some of the other shooters even more so I shouldn't lean on the excuse too much.

The classifier I shot at the last USPSA match that I thought was at the A-level turned about to be high B.  Still, it's my best classifier so far.

Near term goals are to get classified in the USPSA Limited 10 division and to get closer to the A classification in Steel Challenge, and then to get to B in USPSA Single Stack.  Hard work does yield results and I still love the matches.  Life is good.

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Last couple of live fire practice sessions, I've kept my drills very simple.  My core drill is two shots at 15 yards.  Typically I can get two A's in just over 2 seconds on the first half-dozen or so tries.  After that short warm-up, I can manage consistent A hits on both shots around 1.85s.  I can get two shots off under 1.5s, but then the C hits happen.  The stuff that happens between the beep and getting an adequate sight picture is what tells the story.  When I drop an A, it's almost always on the first shot, not the second.

I find I have to reload about as much as I have the inclination to, to feed the modest schedule of matches and live fire practice.  To improve more, I have to make all I can of my current regimen.  More dry fire wouldn't hurt but I'm working more on quality dry fire rather than quantity.  The 20 minutes of dry fire right after a match or live fire session is when I'm most likely to understand what I've been doing well and not so well, and figure out some adjustment to make.

Oh and now I have some Dawson Ice No Gap mag wells.  I put one on one of my guns and am quite delighted.  I can still bobble a reload, but only if I'm not trying, not focused.  A much higher percentage of reloads go well when I'm doing them at my best speeds.

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2017 has been a crazy year.  If I wrote down all that has happened in my personal bubble this year, you might think I'm making stuff up.

 

Bottom line for me as a competitive shooter is: I haven't shot many matches this year.

 

On the bright side, I will be heading to Unit 10 with my bull elk tag in the first week of December.  Because of this, most of my shooting lately has been with a rifle, not a 1911.  One of our hunting party was scouting last weekend and didn't see a single elk.  I'll be joining the scouting effort this coming weekend.

 

I certainly hope to get back to match shooting in the not too distant future.  I dusted off the head cam and video editing software for documenting the hunt, so these resources will be available to document practice sessions and match shooting once I get back into it.

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I drive 50 miles each way to and from work, but if I have the energy I'll shoot this evening's practice match.  <brag on>My best practice match was last May.  I placed 5th overall out of 71 shooters, shooting .45 ACP from a slightly dressed up Springfield Range Officer 1911.  Not that anyone cares, but that night I had the most bonus points amongst the whole field of shooters.</brag off>  I attribute that result to daily dry fire and being very rested.

 

Need to get out on Sundays and get that A classification in Steel Challenge.  It's not far out of reach.

Edited by GunBugBit

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I had a good live fire practice session last Saturday.  As usual, all shooting was on the clock.  The drills were simple and I went at various speeds.  I saw in my practice notes from months ago that I had been working on 2 A's at 20 yards in under 2 seconds, and had a good number of runs of making it several times in a row.  I'm not currently at that skill level but will get back to  it soon.  I'm back to spending a lot of my spare time dry firing and at the reloading press.  I've modified my draw slightly and am practicing reloads with the gun held up higher than I used to.

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Last night's club match wasn't one of my best, but the weather was fantastic and I had a terrific time.  I pride myself on being an accurate shooter, but last night was pretty so-so in that department.  Nothing is going on that consistent dry fire won't rectify.  I like my new more efficient draw and I feel my eyes are working well.  For whatever reason, my shooting on paper is *bleh* while my shooting on steel seems to have improved.  Curious.  I'll put it all back together soon and push to a higher plateau.  The two-day shoot-off match next weekend should help nudge me toward that.

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The Phoenix Handgunner Shoot-off match was great fun.  I shot quite a few rounds against Jerry D'Amico, who ended up winning Best Senior.  He knocked me out of most rounds we shot together, but I was able to return the favor a couple of times, including winning one of the stages (usually he won them).  I learned a lot from observing his efficiency, patience and consistency.  Jerry finished 2nd overall among the Limited (non-race-gun) division, and I placed 6th.  I got to shoot in the Finals but was eliminated promptly.  I'll shoot this match next year barring any unforeseen circumstances.

 

Have been dry firing every day and am back to hitting my old par times.

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Have had a sustained run of consecutive days doing pretty intensive dry fire, on top of being back to my old 2-per-week match schedule (every Thursday night and most Sundays).

 

I've introduced efficiency tweaks to my draw that make it faster without extra effort.  I do my reloads higher up.

 

We all know generating speed into inefficient movements is a waste, and I've come to understand more clearly where I was being inefficient and have taken steps to correct it.  Still a long way to go, though.

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Last night's club match went pretty well and the weather was phenomenal.  Once again, daily dry fire proved itself to make everything easier.  Next up is Sunday's Steel Challenge.

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After not shooting a Steel Challenge match for over a year, yesterday I was able to record my 2nd best total time.  I didn't shoot well enough to get bumped up to A.

 

After looking at my string times online, I see that for the first time, I didn't have an all-time best on any stage, though my overall match time was the second best ever.

 

In the future, I'll be going for it speed-wise much more.  I might have some bad stages that way, but a couple are bound to be good.

 

A random thought: I like 4-3-1-2-Stop on Roundabout.

Edited by GunBugBit

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31 minutes ago, GunBugBit said:

After last Sunday's USPSA match, it looks like I'll be just 0.21275% from making B class.

So close, 5 more minutes of dry firecand who knows, keep it up

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HoMieE, yes, I had a similar thought!  Also I shouldn't think like a shooter who is trying to make B class, I should think like a shooter who is striving to shoot classifiers at the GM level!  On the abstract level, it's easy to calculate the pace at which one must shoot on any given classifier.  In reality, one has to be able to get the hits at that pace.

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Keep up the dry fire man! Every night, no exceptions and you will have A class next month for sure.

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I haven't missed a day of dry fire for at least a month, but the sessions haven't been very long.  If I want to rise to the next level, I have to put in the work -- as in, one to two hours of intelligent dry fire, seven days a week.  A couple of good stages here and there aren't satisfying.

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Last Sunday's Steel Challenge match felt pretty good.  I had energy for all stages, the weather was great, the squad got along great.  I had become accustomed to having two or three personal all-time best stages every time I shot the match, but this time only Pendulum was a new best (by 1.01 second, or an average of ~0.25s per string).  I was happy that I didn't require very many make-up shots, though I definitely pushed my speed enough to need a few.

 

My buddy Dominic, an Army Purple Heart Vietnam vet, has come light years and shot an impressive match with his carry gun in the CO division.  His CO gun has a barrel around 4" yet he still shot some stages with no misses.  He has improved hugely -- MUCH quicker these days - since I first started shooting with him.  Way to go man!

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