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GorillaTactical

Josh's Competition Journey: Finding the ClearAdvantage

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Let me kickoff by just saying that BEnos has been an amazing resource that I've utilized over the years.  I've learned an immense amount from the wealth of knowledge in the threads on this board, as well as in-person from many of the participating members.  Additionally, I've collected my share of lumps as I've grown both in the sport and as an individual, gathering information about what works and what doesn't, "on and off the field".  In my quest to better myself further and share what I've learned with others in this community, I've decided to finally go ahead and post here in the "range diary" section.  Forgive the length of this first post, but I believe it's important to understanding my journey as a shooter, where I'm at today and what I hope to achieve.

 

For starters, I'll kickoff with a history of my shooting background, and where I'm at today:

 

I shot a firearm for the first time in 2009.  Later that year, I joined the Baylor Marksmanship Association (an on-campus firearms club started by a now, close friend) and shot my first competition, a 3 gun match at Tac Pro Shooting Center.  I had no quality gear, no skill and basically just flopped around like a fish out of water for the duration of the match.  I can also say that it was one of the most fun experiences I've had, and I was immediately hooked on competing.  Over the course 2010 I began to shoot as many 3 gun matches as I could (that meant about one a month or so), still flopping around mostly, until a friend and I discovered Magpul Dynamics.  Yup, you read that correctly; the "tactical-Magpul-porn" was the first time I was able to actually understand some of the basic mechanics of recoil control and increasing shooting speed.  At the same time, I was fortunate enough to meet some extremely skilled shooters (locally) who introduced me to this forum, and for all effective purposes, began to mentor me in all things related to our sport.  Throughout 2011 and into 2012, I did a deep dive into understanding the best gear and parts, and shot as much as my college budget would allow, even having some moderate success with 3 gun - always in the running to win at my local area matches, and even doing decently (a relative term) at the 2 or 3 majors I had the opportunity to shoot.  At the time, if I were to average/combine my shooting skills across the 3 different firearms platforms into an overall rating, my rifle would have been above my skill average, my shotgun loading would have been above my skill average with the shooting being about at my average, and my handgun would have been far below my overall average (that last part is important for where I'm at today).  In the summer of 2012, I was involved in a serious accident that required some major hardware to be installed into me left leg, along with some otherwise invasive surgery.  At that time, I basically hung up the shooting rig.  I shot maybe 2 matches from 2012 up to 2016, mostly because friends asked me to, with a collective 200-300 additional rounds fired at an indoor range (static shooting) to practice for concealed carry or make sure the firearms were still sighted in, etc.  

 

In the summer of 2016, my wife encouraged me to begin shooting again, and I decided to start back into shooting with USPSA.  I felt that my overall performance was always hampered by my ability to shoot handgun, and as such, I felt if I was going to improve, I might as well focus on this one area to start with.  I got myself a production gun (CZ Shadow) and started shooting about twice a month for the remainder of 2016.  At the time, I decided my #1 Goal was to make Master.  I classified initially as an A in production, and at the time of posting, am sitting at about an 83% classification.  At the kickoff to 2017 I decided I was going to pick up a PCC, immediately violating every reason that I had decided to go back to shoot USPSA, but come on...I love shooting rifle at things up close and with speed, so I figured I'd grab one and mess around for a bit, then go back to handgun...This picture really sums up what was going on inside my head:

 

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I made initial classification as Master on the PCC and was encouraged by many of my local match directors and coordinators to shoot some majors with the PCC in the 2017 season.  Without drawing out this post, I figure that's a good place to stop.  I plan to post up my AARs or Postmortems or whatever we want to call them, for the next few major matches I shot with PCC, and then link all of that information back up my ultimate goal of improving with my handgun.  

 

I appreciate any feedback you might have and look forward to utilizing this tool to keep myself honest respective to my growth and practice regimens, and again, hopefully share some knowledge with my fellow shooters.

 

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2017 Optics Nationals

 

MATCH VIDEO

 

One of the matches I was encouraged to shoot was the 2017 Optic Nationals.  I know…when you talk about jumping straight into the deep end, that’s about as far down that path as you can go.  So I practiced the PCC from January up to the match on March 30th and headed off to Florida.  It was the first major I shot in about 4 years, and that showed very quickly.  I finished 17th in PCC at 81.xx%.  I didn’t feel very good about the match and know that it was not well shot on my part.  I had misses, a procedural, dropped mags, and a host of things that otherwise were less than impressive.

 

What I learned:

  • The target arrays and presentations at my local matches were allowing me to be lazy and not properly identify a balance of speed and accuracy at slightly stretched distances.  This was the first match I had shot since starting with PCC that had targets that I had trouble deciding if I could double tap versus taking controlled sight pictures.
  • I don’t practice shooting metric/classic/non-silhouette targets enough to know the best way to attack such a target (point of aim, target zone differences, etc.)  I had too many A-C’s on these targets which were caused by taking a poor point of aim.
  • I’m not confident in rapidly engaging partials beyond 12-15 yards.
  • When a match isn’t going your way, don’t try to push harder to make up for lost ground, you just end up losing more.
  • When you have a miss, analyze WHY you missed.  Don’t just decide you need to slow down.
  • Keep focused; especially into the afternoon when you get tired, don’t allow your brain to get lazy when preparing your stage plan and memorizing it.  Don’t allow a gear issue OFF THE CLOCK (I had a follower seize in my starting magazine when I came up to the line to shoot while making ready and spent time trying to get it working and lost focus of my plan) to throw a wrench in your stage plan.
  • Don’t makeup B’s or C’s – the head-shot only stage was my worst performance of the match…I sat there and shot multiple times to makeup B’s to A’s…and it was absolutely not worth it…watching that stage on video makes me cringe.  Throughout the whole match, I took too many makeup shots when they weren't needed, but that stage was the worst.
  • When shooting a stage with a mandatory reload, ensure that the magazine is downloaded appropriately so as to allow a proper seat.  I dropped my mag on the 4 steel-reload-4 steel stage and it dropped me from about 90% of the stage winner, down to about 50% of the stage winner.

 

Overall, my biggest issues from this match were issues surrounding messed up timing and speed.  Because the targets were a little further away than I had been practicing (and were different presentations) I was having trouble with being confident in doubling targets, and as such, gave up huge amounts of time.  This was compound by picking up a few misses, not related to my shooting speed, but instead because I either pulled off too quickly or because I was too cautious when shooting a tight partial and sailed the shot high etc. and then slowing down further to try and ensure hits.  It was a nasty combination in my head that even stuck with me at my next local match where I struggled with my timing.

Edited by GorillaTactical

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2017 Texas Open

 

MATCH VIDEO

 

After a disappointing performance at Nationals, I returned home to TX to compete in the Texas Open which was conveniently only about 30 minutes from the house.  My focal points at this match were specifically to NOT replicate what I did at Nationals.  Namely this was going to be the first real test to see if I could recover my confidence in calling my hits and to get my shooting rhythm and speed back.  I ended up finishing this match 1st in PCC, with no penalties.

 

What I learned: 

  • When shooting at a target which is obstructed by actual hardcover (barrel), treat the barrel like a no-shoot, and aim at the center of the exposed target area.  I had several barrel strikes, which I luckily heard and therefore made up the shots, but still cost serious time.
  • Pay more attention to height-over-bore when shooting in tight spaces.  One of my worst stages was at time stamp 2:33 of the video where I hit the wall several times and lost valuable seconds.
  • STOP MAKING UP CALLED CHARLIES.  I did this more than once and it continues to not be worth it.
  • I need to slow down just a little bit on steel targets.  I had too many misses because I was either shooting too soon or pulling off too quickly on steel.  I need to focus on assuring I'm breaking the shot only when my dot is actually there, and not pulling off until I watch the dot recoil upwards (not just when my head says, "go!").
  • Footwork wasn't bad, but my time setting up on targets was slow when I hit a new position.  I'd pull into a position and need a solid amount of time before finding the dot and being ready to shoot.

What I did well:

  • I feel like I actively recovered my shooting rhythm that I lost at Nationals.  I was pushing my comfort zone on where I felt I could take a double-tap from and collect the two hits, and it paid off.
  • Improving on another element I learned at Nationals, I didn't let a few bad stages get in my head.  While I started strong with 2-3 solid stages (stages are not in the order shot on the video), I then ran 2-3 real crap stages in comparison.  Instead of trying to shoot fast or go hard to makeup for that, I stuck to the game plan and brought it back on my last 4-5 stages. 

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2017 Cowtown Classic

 

MATCH VIDEO

 

If there has been a match where everything comes together well, this was that match for me.  Only had really one bad stage throughout the match, and felt really on for the rest of it.  Stages were setup in such a way that made explosive movement imperative.  I feel like this plays to my strengths and my movement felt on point.  I felt really aggressive and think that this is one of the primary contributing factors to my match win.  

 

What I learned: 

  • One of the reasons I love video...while I didn't feel this in the match, it looks like I'm over-driving the gun a bit.  I need to start looking to slow down my transitions when the dot is hitting the first edge of the target instead of the center of the A Zone. 
  • I'm continuing to feel like my first shots in a new position are coming a bit too slow.  I need to try and balance my explosive movement with getting the gun back on my shoulder and seeing the sights sooner when entering into a new position.
  • Despite feeling quite good about my cadence of fire on most targets, some of the non-silhouette metric targets (especially the partials) reared their head again as being a point of concern.  I need to try and find the balance on shooting those targets consistently.  Some of them I shot fast, some I shot slow.
  • When planning a stage, don't defer to an easier plan out of laziness.  Force your brain to accept the more complicated plan if it makes enough sense to do so.  On one stage I allowed myself to think, "I'll just shoot this target here because I keep wanting to shoot it from here", even though it wasn't the best place to shoot it from.

What I did well:

  • I focused heavily on movement before coming to this match; exploding in and out of position and being as aggressive as possible.  I felt like there were only a few moments (namely on my worst stage) where I didn't move well.  The rest of my movement felt quite strong.
  • I felt like on the whole, my cadence and rhythm only improved following the Texas Open.
  • Two majors in a row without any misses, no shoots or penalties. 
Edited by GorillaTactical

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2017 Mississippi Championship

 

MATCH VIDEO

 

This was an interesting one for me.  I believe I got too caught up in worrying about what was going on around me, and not focusing enough on the task at hand.  I'm sure it will be evident from the video, but this was an extremely sloppy match for me.  I moved slow, my transitions were lethargic at times, my shooting wasn't particularly impressive and overall it was one of those moments where you're lucky to escape with the win.

 

What I Learned:

  • STOP MAKING UP CHARLIES. I continue to struggle with this issue.  In this case, it was more about not trusting my dot on the first two shots, and therefore taking a third.  Stage at 01:12 was actually best 3 on paper so that's not what I'm referring to here.
  • First shots into new positions continue to be slow.  I need to work some dryfire respective to coming out of an explosive movement and better mounting the gun/finding the dot/accepting a relatively decent sight picture, opposed to waiting till the dot and my body are perfectly settled.
  • In small little stages with minimal movement, I need to continue to work through my stage planning process to include a step respective to how I plan to move through the stage.  It's obvious in some of these stages that I didn't have any plan about how to move to the next position, because it seemed self-evident in walk through...but then when shooting the stage, I didn't utilize enough explosive movement to make it work well.
  • I need to work on my comfort level with partial targets beyond 12-15 yards.  There were only maybe 5 of these over the 10 stages, but it's obvious when watching the stage video, that my confidence on attacking these targets just isn't there.  I feel like this is something I'll need to do in live-fire practice.

What I did Well:

  • This match was unique insofar as some stages were setup in such a way that they would be shot twice (each for a unique stage score) with minimal alteration.  In the two (or four depending on how you look at it) stages that did this, I definitively shot much better on my second run through.  They actually felt like "good" runs.  Not sure how to rationalize this.  My shots were better, my cadence was improved, my movement was better...so at least I did improve, but the real question is why was there so much room for improvement from run #1?!
Edited by GorillaTactical

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2017 Area 59 Optics Challenge

 

No Video of This One 

 

This match was a semi-local/semi-regional match with Open, Carry Optics, and PCC.  Really fun match with stages built for high hit factors, while maintaining some pretty serious movement requirements.  Unfortunately, I started the day off like an idiot, violating one of the cardinal rules of stage planning - don't change your stage when you go to the line.  Well, I'd walked the stage for about 15 minutes before the match started, got a solid plan, was shooting second in the lineup.  On my last pass through the stage, I noticed you could cutout a position by shooting a few different targets from a few different spots on the stage.  I decided to go with this plan as it allowed me to save about 5 yards of movement.  But because I didn't take the time to memorize the plan well enough, I didn't pickup one of the targets I needed to, from one of the other positions, and thus ended up with a 2M + Procedural to kick things off.  That broke my streak of 0 penalties since nationals.  After that, things went pretty well and I ended up with the PCC win.

 

What I Learned:

  • I'm not immune to the rules of stage planning appropriately.  I did this at nationals as well (slightly different scenario where I allowed gear to distract me), but I need to ensure I follow my documented steps for stage planning...controlling the controllable needs to be top priority.
  • After doing fairly well with 1 for 1 shooting on steel and dropping very few shots over the last few matches, I didn't have any clean runs on steel arrays at this match...I wasn't paying close enough attention to ensuring my dot was steady and still.  
  • There were very few real no-shoot/partial target risks at this match, with the difficulty being more about maneuvering tight awkward ports, hard leans, etc; targets were setup fairly close.  You'd think that my A/C/D ratio would be heavily toward alphas, but I found that I was letting the open target presentation cloud my perception and likely shot a stage or two too quickly out of awkward positions where mounting the gun was difficult.  As such I was picking up some deltas.  
  • Another stage planning comment - I tend to be able to move quite well, and as such, I'll sometimes allow myself to default to movement on a stage where it isn't 100% required because certain targets can be taken at earlier positions.  What I mean is that I don't look to take them earlier and then weight the option, I just assume I'm going to move to the additional position.  I want to try and get better at focusing on seeing all targets from all positions, and not assuming which ports or positions I'm going to move to.  @Flatland Shooter  helped me see a different way of shooting our last stage with respect to eliminating about 3 steps simply by taking a target a few feet further back.

What I Did Well:

  • After moving around like someone with lead blocks on their feet in Mississippi, I felt like my movement was back on point.  I was exploding out of position and I felt like my time to first shot was improved (I've been working on my entry into position a bit more).
  • Very few butterflies!  I tried going for a short run in the morning before driving over to the match.  I haven't tried this before, but I didn't end up with any real butterflies on my way to the match (normally I get them quite bad).
  • Not allowing an early mental mistake to screw up my game - In past matches, dropping 2 mikes and the procedural on my first stage would have put me on tilt pretty bad.  I'm happy with how I handled it.
  • I feel like I didn't take makeup shots (on paper targets) nearly as frequently.  Maybe only 2-3 over the whole match, instead of like 1-2 per stage.

 

Edited by GorillaTactical

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Well, this weekend was a bust here in Houston.  All matches ended up being rained out from residual cells from the tropical storm that blew through earlier in the week.

 

I did shoot over to the indoor range for maybe thirty minutes of practice Saturday morning with the PCC.  I worked on A-zone accuracy on head-only targets, trying to work out a cadence based on target distance that would allow me to consistently plug the A-Zone.  I also worked on controlled pairs on partial targets to ensure A-Zone hits.  I tend to just play it safe at matches and fire 2 B's or 2 C's with my PCC at partials because I can do so quite quickly, but I want to be able to get better in this particular area and assure that I have the skill to make a choice based on the HF and available points on a stage, how aggressive/passive I want to be on targets.

 

I've been dry firing with my Production gun the last two weeks or so (putting in a solid 30 mins a night), anticipating a switch back to handgun to try and finally pick up my last 2-3% to make Master class in the coming months, but this week is going to be all about PCC dry fire practice on mounts and reloads for me.  I'm shooting a Super-Classifier this weekend and plan to push the limit and see if I can finally get over the hump into GM on that platform.  Right now I'm floating just about at 90%, with a few crap runs included.  As such, I'm putting the handgun back up for just 1 more week, but plan to take it back out for the bulk of the summer moving forward, IF I reach my goal of hitting PCC GM this weekend.  I tend to put far too much pressure on myself respective to classifier stages, so I'm trying to remain as relaxed as possible and just work the fundamentals that are generally tested most in classifiers (hitting A zones and being very efficient on reloads and draws/mounts).

 

 

Edited by GorillaTactical

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PCC: GM Time???

 

Well, I just finished up shooting the Super Classifier at my local club.  It's going to be close, but I think I was able to sneak my way into GM with the PCC (my math is showing a 95.13% combined average once these scores get added to my current set and bump out some low runs)...we'll see after the classification system runs next week.  I think I've appropriately accounted for which scores will drop etc. but I don't want to take anything for granted until I see the G show up on my classification.  On a rather disappointing note, I noticed my dry fire practice did not translate over well into live fire today.  I've been practicing mounts (stock on belt to shoulder) and was really getting off some great times in dry fire (sub .60 from buzzer to shot at a 10 yard A zone), but at the match, I was barely pulling off 1.00 mounts...I think I might be cheating a little bit in dry fire, respective to where my dot actually is when I call it "good to shoot".  Conversely, I might not be trusting the fact that at 10 yards, I should be able to just mount the gun and rip a shot so long as I'm seeing the dot somewhere on the A-C zone.  I'm going to give it a day or two and then re-approach that aspect of my training; this might include, regrettably, having to go rent a lane at the local indoor and running some mounts and seeing how hard I can push and still secure hits.  Not having a private place to practice, I'm finding, is really making practicing certain things quite difficult.

 

Next Steps in the Journey

 

So where do I go from here...well, I have a PCC match coming up at the end of July (JP's Mid-Summer Hose-fest at CCC in College Station), but until then I'm thinking I might switch back to shooting just handgun - and continue that throughout the rest of the summer.  It's getting VERY hot down here in TX and I'm probably going to scale back the number of matches I shoot until September-ish.  I'm going to try and continue to include dryfire in my daily routine though, despite scaling back on actually attending matches, specifically with the handgun - PCC maybe 2-3 times a week.  For me, it's all about improvement, and while I have plenty to improve on with PCC, I feel like there is lower hanging fruit in production/on handgun platforms.  

 

Lastly, my wife came out and shot the match with me today.  Now I know that this is "Josh's Competition Journey", but this is a really important thing for me.  Having her there participating has made the sport even more enjoyable.  This was only her second USPSA match (she shot another with me two weeks ago, before which she's only shot maybe once or twice in her life), but she enjoys shooting the PCC and it's providing a great opportunity for her to come out and shoot.  In her first match, she was very very slow, but shot all Alphas (like literally 100% alphas for the match).  We practiced a little over the last two weeks on getting comfortable shooting faster and today, she had some moments where she shot pretty dang quick, and more than anything, I'm really pumped that she wanted to get a USPSA number and get classified.  I think she's going to end up being a D in PCC (38%) if I did the math right...hopefully it doesn't discourage her, and I bet I'll see her move up to C very quickly.

 

 

 

Edited by GorillaTactical

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Reintroducing Handgun

 

Well, I've done a little dry fire, shot a local match and a few classifier stages with handguns over the last 2-3 weeks, after having not touched a handgun in about 5-6 months.  Unfortunately, the lost time is apparent.  I'm consistently 5-10% slower...so, instead of going to a match today, I decided to go to the indoor range and work some basic skills.  Draws, reloads, accurate fire, splits, etc. Took out 200 rounds of ammo.  

  • Started off by pushing the target to the max distance of 15 yards (normally I'd like to do this at 25) and shooting a 10 shot group, no time limit.  Because I've been shooting rifle, I noticed that my accuracy with the handgun had suffered, namely because I wasn't paying attention to my front sight nearly enough. I used this drill as a forced reminder that the sight exists for a reason.
  • Next I worked around 30 rounds of just draw to first shot.  At 5 yards I was consistently hitting a 1.0 draw to A zone, with my fastest being around a .80 and my slowest being around a 1.1.  My last 5 reps of draws, I pushed the target back to 15 and worked my time from a 2.0 on the first rep, down to a 1.5 by the time I got the 5th rep.  It was noticeably difficult to pick up my front sight in the indoor lighting, but I think I'm also still fighting the urge to just stare at the target and wait for a red dot to float in front of my eye.  
  • The range began to get busy at this point, so it was more difficult to use the timer.  I ran some 4 Aces drills; was able to hit around 3 seconds repeatably, but my reloads SUCKED.  I probably ran the drill about 10 times and only had 2-3 really clean reloads.  If I remember, top GMs are shooting this repeatably at close to 2.0 seconds, Draw and reload are definitively the places that I'm losing the most time - my splits feel like they're OK and not the lowest hanging fruit.
  • Also shot a few FAST drills (2 headshot A's, 4 body A's).  Was hitting 4-4.5 seconds on this drill.  Admittedly pushing my speed on the head shots.  I believe the top GMs are shooting this in like 3.0-3.25...accuracy on the A zone headshots was pretty tough for me, losing lots of time there, and then again, draws and reloads.    

 

I'm absolutely not shooting at the level I was prior to moving to PCC, (which was right on the edge of A and M)...I'm hopeful that by reintegrating daily dry fire, I'll get back into a position to complete the push into Master Class by classifier percentage and not just do to the artificial bump I should end up receiving due to my PCC classification once the system runs next week.

 

 

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First Match Back on Handgun

 

Went out to one of the bigger local Houston matches this weekend and took out the CZ to shoot Production.  This was my first time really getting back into a match environment with a handgun in about 7 months...and it unfortunately showed.  I was able to start the match on two short courses and ended up shooting them quite well, winning one by about 15%.  Unfortunately, things went downhill from there and I struggled with some basic things on the matches 4 field courses.  Finished fourth behind an M and two A shooters at 95%.

 

What I Learned:

  • I need to make a gear adjustment - not sure what changed, but since I last shot, it feels like the springs in my mag pouches have tightened down significantly, making it very difficult to extract a few mags (I noticed this on multiple stages and it probably cost me a few seconds over the course of the match).
    • Additionally, I noticed I was having issues with some magazines not wanting to drop when empty - I'm going to polish them up a bit and make sure there are no burs inside the mag well or on the magazine release.
  • I need to pay more attention to collecting points when shooting Production.  I had the match in time won by almost 8 seconds over 6 stages (including a monumental collapse where I had about 6-7 extra shots on set of 3 steel targets -  01:00.  So, at a minimum, I had the win in time by 10%.  You can see then where the issue was.  I had a Mike on one of the zebra targets, and shot a few of the distance partials D-D.  Additionally, I only had about 74% Alphas.  I need to look to seeing the sights just a little bit better and taking just a bit more time to ensure I collect those positive hits.
  • I need to remind myself to continue to move quickly and utilize the techniques I've learned from shooting PCC with respect to aggressive movement.  I find that I get too focused on reloads and lose that real aggressive motion.

What I did Well:

  • Realistically, I did better than I ultimately expected.  I had one stage where it was evident that I really wasn't paying attention to my sights well enough, but others where I shot fairly calm, collected, and didn't have misses on steel - remembering that a makeup shot is almost never as fast as hitting the target on your first shot is something I need to build into my practice and ultimately, what I carry with me to matches.

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JP Rifles Summer Hose-Fest 2017

 

Some of the JP Sponsored shooters hosted a really fun match this past weekend - 5 stages, 50 rounds per stage.  Scoring was 2 hits anywhere to neutralize or 1 A zone to neutralize.  I'm not going to lie...after having shot at exclusively A zones for the last 9 months, adjusting to increase the speed to any two hits on target was quite an adjustment; I still ended up shooting mostly A zones :wacko:.  As with every match I attend, I had the opportunity to learn a few important lessons, unfortunately, this time it cost me the match.  None the less, a really fun event and it was pretty sweet to put the pedal to the floor a little bit and open up the speed.

 

What I Learned:

  • Fundamentals, and executing those fundamentals well under pressure, are ALL we have as shooters.  When you start to cut corners, that's when things go downhill.
  • I need to pay more attention when reloading, that I'm seating my mag 100%.  This was the first time I was forced to reload the PCC in each stage and with a big stick on the clock, and it ended up being an area where I had an issue - dropped the mag, the rounds twisted up within it, etc etc etc.  
  • Pay attention to offset when stage planning AND shooting.  I had an issue where I tapped a barricade with a shot due to my neglect in considering offset.  When I planned my stage, a specific wall was leaning one way, when I shot it, it was leaning the other, and that difference really made the shot I was trying to thread in between two pieces of hard cover, very difficult.
  • Select a stage plan that plays to YOUR strengths.  On one stage, I opted to select a stage plan that didn't play best to  my skillsets as well as height, and as such, I ended up running into the issue above with the offset.
  • If I intend to move back to 3 Gun, I need to re-learn how to pick up the speed a bit more...I hit approx 70% A's on a match where A's were meaningless.  

What I Did Well:

  • Movement and footwork felt pretty darn solid.
  • Not to many extra shots - I kept the number of extra rounds fired pretty minimal...I wasn't making up any C's, as I'm known to do from time to time :rolleyes:
  • Strong AAR - This match really made me consider what allows an average shooter to get good, and a good shooter to get great.  I'd hope that the subject of fundamentals wouldn't seem too surprising as the answer I've come up with to that question...all we collectively do, when we're operating at our highest skill level, in my best estimation, is to string together a bunch of fundamental elements and execute them in unison.   

 

 

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Limited Division Local Match

 

After taking a weekend off, I got back out to the range and shot one of the bigger local matches in my area.  I'm being fickle and division hopping right now as I wait for my open gun to get finished up by @anilson.  So this match I went to Limited Division - I've only shot 4 or 5 total matches in limited, but thought it'd be a good idea to break out the Atlas Titan which has only had about 1500-2000 rounds through it since last October, the majority of which were right when I got it.  I was really focusing on what was an acceptable sight picture this match - I feel that I have honed that skill on the PCC platform, but I'm lacking with respect to being able to do so with a handgun and iron sights.

 

Approximately 100 shooters attended the match despite it being 100+ degrees here in Houston.  After a scoring correction, I ended up finishing 5th overall, 90% +/- of the high overall winner, who was an Open GM, and 95% of the Limited Master who won the division.  Aside from a little bit of trouble on a few pieces of small steel, I felt strong at this match - no penalties or misses over 7 stages and I felt like I was on the gas for the duration of the match.  Even had a stage get thrown out that I had absolutely shredded so it could have only been better.

 

What I Learned:

  • I need to do a bit better on sight picture for swingers - I tend to hit A-D on swinging targets and that's likely a product of returning to the same point of aim and not adjusting for the target having moved.
  • I made up a few shots I didn't need to - trust the sights and how they track - a made up 2 A zone shots :wacko:
  • Drawing from the DAA holster is a little different than from the Bladetech in my BOSS Hanger - I tend to overdraw just a bit out of the DAA due to muscle memory
  • I need to grip a little bit harder when shooting the .40.....OR, I'm not gripping hard enough on the 9mm.
  • I like not having to reload EVERY time I move positions - it allows me to demonstrate some of my movement speed that I've been working on with the PCC :D

What I Did Well:

  • Movement and footwork felt pretty darn solid.
  • Stage Planning/Execution felt on point...I took some fairly risky approaches but executed them well
  • I worked in some shooting while retreating out of positions, and was actually quite successful
  • I'm pretty happy with how I ended up at this match - out preformed my expectations. 

 

 

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Open Division Local Match

 

So I finally got back out to the range after taking some time off post-Hurricane here in Houston.  I shot my new Atlas Chaos...first time I ever shot a true open gun.

 

I also enjoyed eating some tremendous dirt on stage 1...I slipped on brass/rocks and ate it pretty hard...kept the gun in a safe direction, got up and finished the stage.  Did bust my DAA racemaster holster unfortunately.  I was able to salvage it for the rest of the match, but I bent some of the components.  

 

What I Learned:

  • I need to spend some time dry firing if I'm seriously going to start playing in Open.
  • I struggled to reliably find the dot, presenting a bit too high as I imagine is normal.
  • Calling shots with the dot doesn't feel the same as calling shots with a dot on a rifle - I tended to second guess myself far too much and even made up a few A/C shots with A/C shots.  
  • The gun started to choke out by the end of the day.  I had put approximately 400 rounds through it the day before and didn't do a clean before taking it to the match.  After about 200 rounds (so 600 rounds total) I was getting failures to eject (I ended up zeroing the last stage due to the gun going single shot).  I cleaned it up good when I got home so we'll see how it fares the next match I take it out to/at the range in the future.  Could very well be my ammo/recoil spring combo or something similar, but video of the gun shows the brass ejecting shorter and shorter as the day went on.

What I Did Well:

  • I didn't get DQed when I fell.
  • I felt as though I managed my shooting speed halfway decently for the first time shooting open.  I was trying to focus on acceptable sight picture quite a bit, and just sending the round when the dot came back to the target - but not adjusting it specifically back to center. (No misses on the day).
  •  
Edited by GorillaTactical

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2017 Oilfield Classic

 

 

The Oilfield Classic had me back out on the PCC working for a division win.  I shot a relatively solid match, not my best performance, but not my worst either.  The day started off with a stage I shot a little too quick, and despite being  12% faster than the next best shooter, I dropped way too many points, putting me about even in HF.  From there, I shot relatively controlled for the rest of the day, relying on my footwork, not trigger speed, to propel me forward.  After the lunch break, we shot some stages that played to my strengths of burst movement out of tight leans, and I was able to capitalize.  

 

What I learned: 

  • I rely heavily on my burst and explosive movement, but I need to work on flowing movement/shooting on the move.
  • Even when shooting the PCC, dialing back the overall speed just a tiny bit can be the difference in a huge number of points.  I had two stages where I dropped a LOT of points because I was moving maybe 5% too fast.
  • I noticed an issue of hesitation when I moved through a few stages where I would enter on the wrong target compared to my plan.  You can see this in a few spots on the video where I line up on the wrong target, stop, and then move to the correct target.  It may only appear to be like 0.5 seconds of time or so, but if I add up all those times throughout the match, I'm looking at like 5 seconds +/- of time that was purely wasted due to entering and setting up on the wrong target.
  • Shooting your game is so so important.  I always get caught up with how other shooters/my competitors are doing, and I end up focusing too much on it.  Shooting a consistent game, regardless as to what's going on around me is something I'm trying to improve on.

What I did well:

  • There were 1-2 stages where I shot a TON of makeup shots, but for most of the match, I kept my makeup shot count on the low-end which is something I've been working on.
  • Shots where I can fall out of position and then burst back towards the next position continue to be a strong area of my game.
  • There were a lot of tight walls that made maneuvering the PCC in this match quite difficult, but I think I was able to handle them quite well.
  • For the most part, I had the correct sequence on activators and wasn't left waiting for many targets.
Edited by GorillaTactical

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2017 MGM Steel Slayfest

 

 

I purchased the KL-12 from a forum member here about 6 months ago.  I'd wanted one for a while, just wasn't committed enough to buying one and waiting on it etc.  So when I had the opportunity to get one that I could go drive and pickup next day, I jumped on it...then the gun sat on my racks for about 4-6 months.  LAME.  I shot about 10 rounds through it to get the optic zeroed, and finally took it out to a match this weekend.  It was an all steel match with 20-30 steel targets on each stage, across 10 stages.  It was basically a run what-you-brung style match with a division for iron and optic pistols, iron and optic shotgun, PCC, etc.  WHAT A BLAST!  Now, because I'd really not shot the gun before, I decided I'd use the match to experiment a little bit with what worked and what didn't with respect to ammo etc. so there were a few stages I had malfunctions that cost me some time, but overall, I shot a decent match with this being the first time I had the gun out there.

 

What I learned: 

  • This gun chews through various types of ammo...just not the really crappy walmart value pack Winchester ammo.
  • I need to get a few different chokes - I ran LM for the whole match, when I probably could have run C had I had the choke.  Added to the list!
  • I aimed a lot, but not in the right place - I wasn't accounting for offset.  First time shooting a shotgun with a dot, and I realized about 3/4 of the way through the match that I have a 50 yard slug zero on the gun.  After shooting so much PCC, I've gotten used to just putting the dot where I want the round to go at 10-15 yards.  Well, I missed a few targets low or didn't get enough shot to knock them over because I was shooting below the targets.
  • Reloading a magazine fed shotgun is so much more fun than a tube gun LOL.  In all seriousness, I realized that I need to work on reloads a bit more.  The gun isn't exactly light, so I have a tendency to pin it in my armpit when moving and reloading.  I think that if I actually come up over the shoulder like I do when just moving explosively, the weight of the muzzle will actually help seat the magazine a bit better.
  • I want to shoot this gun A LOT MORE.
  • Not on video, as I mulligan-ed the stage, but I had a run on a stage where I forgot to chamber a round at make ready.  This is total basics, but because I don't the basics down on what it takes to make ready, where to place my starter mag, etc, it actually came back to bite me.  As I said, I thankfully had a mulligan purchased (the match offered a 1 stage mulligan for purchase with proceeds going to hurricane relief here in Houston).

What I did well:

  • I think I actually did halfway decent for the first time shooting a new platform.  
  • I worked the safety pretty darn well...ya ya ya, this is a really small thing, but it's an AK safety so I'll take my little wins where I can get them.
  • I tried to move and shoot more than normal.  Flowing movement where I'm actively moving and shooting is an area of weakness, so why not try and utilize the shotgun to get comfortable with it.  Maybe I didn't look great doing it, but it was certainly an improvement over not doing it at all.
  • Burst movement, although not used very much in this match, felt good when I needed it.

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2018 Texas PCC Shootout

 

I've been slacking a bit with the range journal...this won't be a great full entry, but at least it's something...

 

Shot the first match of 2018 this weekend.  Finished 99.8% of the winner and felt like I shot pretty darn well, so not disappointed there.  It was a muddy sloppy mess, though.  I learned that my Solomon's don't do great in slop.  I know there are so many levels to this game where training > gear, but this is a situation where I found myself having to prance around stages instead of using my normal aggressive movement that I've been relying and focusing on so heavily.  I had a near catastrophic fall on the first stage and was lucky not to eat it big time.  So, I'm going to work on being a bit lighter on my feet in general (as a training takeaway), but I think I'm also investing in some true cleats.  

 

I'm also noticing (and some of my shooting buddies have pointed out), that one of my strengths is "stamina".  I tend to get better as the match goes on comparative to others.  The other way I'm looking at that, is that maybe I'm a slow starter.  I'm going to focus on that first stage performance a bit more - not necessarily from a planning or nervousness side of things, but just a pure execution standpoint.  Not really positive how to train on that aside from mentally making the adjustment to go smooth on the first one; gather the hits, make up time on movement, not on shooting, and not get ahead of myself.  

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I started shooting in baseball cleats and have never even considered going back to trail runners.  I did shop a bit and make sure to get rubber cleats rather than plastic.  That plastic is super slippery on anything but dirt.  To me, the baseball movement is a bit more matched to what we do.  Football cleats appear to be biased toward forward momentum, whereas the baseball cleats appear to have more "side nubs" that work great for taking off sideways.  Now, I'm not a cleat expert nor a sports expert, this is just generally why I made the decision I did from what I saw at the store.  I also picked some stiff soles, but nothing that was hard plastic.  They do a great job at finding, and propping up on a fault line without bending over it.  They are also leather and while not waterproof, can handle some moisture in the grass and dirt without soaking my feet.  And the best part, cleats are cheap.  Of course you can spend a lot, but my $40.00 cleats have outlasted all my $100 trail runners, so I'm good. 

 

Also, from the "stamina" perspective I used to do the same thing.  I don't feel like there's a whole lot you can do in particular in that area except just do it more.  The more you shoot, the longer you shoot, the less "warm up" you need.  I started shooting 2 matches every weekend because I felt like my performance on Saturday was crappy, and on Sunday it was great.  So to me, Saturday was just practice.  Now-a-days I feel like I perform as consistently as I can from week to week.  And that can vary a lot since there are so many factors that go into our performance both physical and mental.   Just get more trigger time.  

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5 minutes ago, Glock26Toter said:

Just get more trigger time.  

 

 

Appreciate all of the above feedback.  I think this line is they key.  This was my first match in about 6 weeks (I took some time off around the holidays), and I think it showed my first two stages.  I didn't have a great grip on the gun, my dot wasn't tracking the way I'm used to, because I had made some changes to the rifle, etc.  All of that could be remedied by just putting more time in.  

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By request from a fellow member and frequent squad-mate, I'm going to attempt to be a bit better at keeping up with this journal.  

 

Since my last entry, I've pseudo hung up the PCC as my focus has moderately shifted to Open Division, specifically for 3 Gun.  That's quite a departure for me as I've never shot open handguns.  That's where the largest bits of my effort are being focused, but my practice and training has been really lack luster, being completely honest...the Open Shotgun is pretty intuitive for me to pickup and shoot with (especially with it being box fed), although I am still needing to spend some time on the reloading and on acceptable sight picture.  But again, getting used to shooting the open handgun has been the biggest challenge.  I find that I tend to feel like I get away with less than perfect sight pictures, but that I then, as consequence of that, mentally allow my average sight picture to be too loose, so I end up throwing rounds a bit wider than I'd like. 

 

With my focus being on learning new platforms, I've noticed that my movement and aggressiveness on stages has suffered a bit...I'm just a bit slower getting into and out of positions, so I want to keep that a priority in my own mind as I continue my efforts on adapting to new platforms.    

 

I've had 3-4 matches where I've been shooting my open setup so I cut them up for video here:

 

What I did Well:

  • Shooting PCC has had carry over effects for my  rifle at close range.  I feel like my speed and movement with rifle is the strongest piece of my 3 gun game currently.  Even with shooting at what feels like peak speed, I'm still landing mostly A's and C's.
  • Once I get going with the Open Handgun, I feel like I end up running it pretty consistently and fairly smooth.  Finding the right pace has been one of the harder things for me.
  • I'm getting better with the shotgun reloads (I mentioned it in my previous entry on the KL12) and I've made measured efforts in dry fire to get better, which seem to be paying off.

What I can Improve On:

  • Return to a regimented dry-fire schedule, which has been non-existent the last quarter.
  • Shoot more local matches - again, I've averaged a bit less than 1 a month this year, which is down about 75% from last year...realistically, I don't know that I'll be able to commit to improving there, but we'll see.
  • Don't forget about aggressive movement...shooting multiple guns at a match, especially platforms I'm no so familiar with has caused me to shift focus on to the shooting part of my game instead of the movement part...I want to put more focus back on aggressive movement.
  • Work on throttle control expressly for the open gun.  Draw to first shot is also lacking as I'm not as used to drawing up to the dot instead of irons.  It's a slightly different position for my presentation.
  • Maintain proper grip and stance when shooting the open gun.  I have a tendency, I've noticed, to get too relaxed while shooting the open pistol and because I can still track the dot with a "lazy" grip; so I tend to just track the dot, even if it moves more as I run through a stage and my grip loosens up, such as after a reload.  
Edited by GorillaTactical

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Posted (edited)

A Brief Return

 

It's been almost a year since my last posting in the journal.  I've only shot 1 USPSA match in that time period, just a few weeks ago, and  2 night matches, also just a month or so back where I shot "tactical guns" instead of my normal match kit...My time has been devoted heavily to the launch of a new youtube channel: 9 Hole Reviews and a new company, Slate Black Industries.  Alright, enough on where I've been, let's talk about the match.

 

At this last local match, I shot Open.  It's only my 2nd??? maybe 3rd time shooting open at a USPSA match, and only like 5th time shooting open at all, at 3 gun/uspsa/outlaw/etc.  I was shooting my Atlas Chaos, which I've thoroughly enjoyed and has been flawless thus far.  So, as you might expect, after having been off from shooting handguns for basically a year, I lost the dot on my first stage, then threw a mike into a hardcover...DOH.  From there, it was actually halfway decent.  My movement still felt strong, my shooting felt pretty darn good (I had one bad run on a plate rack in a later stage which in review appeared to be because I was learning hard to see the rack instead of just taking an extra half step to see it clearly) and my placement was 2nd overall of 60 something shooters, so I'll take it.

 

What I did Well:

  • Kept things under control for my first match back - I know I can shoot faster than I did, but I was paying a lot of attention to tracking the dot and doing the things I needed to, to have a safe clean day.
  • Reloads all went smooth when they were needed.
  • Stage Planning felt like I was maximizing efficiencies.

What I can Improve On:

  • If I'm going to shoot open and be serious about it, I need to spend more time dry firing and finding the dot on draws and transitions.
  • Pick up the actual shooting speed - I shot mostly alphas (WHICH IS GOOD) but I probably could have pushed the envelope and still hit mostly alphas
  • Work on "flow" - my movement is strong in the aggressive and bursting area, but I'd categorize as weak on flowing through a stage.  I prefer start/stop explosiveness to continual movement, but it's a skill I need to continue to develop
  • Maybe try to shoot more than once every 6 months?

 

Edited by GorillaTactical

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Posted (edited)

2019 Texas PCC Shootout

 

It's been a full year since shooting my last PCC match and my first match of any sort since my last posting. So, I dusted of the JP GMR and headed out to the 2019 TX PCC Shootout...

 

I'll admit straight away, not practicing on the gun with any sort of regularity at a match was detrimental (duh).  I was slow on settling the sights and I was less than confident about calling my shots.  Now, this was exacerbated by the fact that all the targets were cut to only be 1/3's for the whole match.  A neat/unique thing I hadn't seen before.  It apparently also threw numerous others for a loop, as no one at the event shot a clean match!  So, I was taking a lot of controlled shots and shooting way less doubles than normal...as a result, my time for the event was the slowest of the top 4 shooters.  With that said, my accuracy was also the best...so, at the very least there was correlation...but at the end of the day, I didn't shoot accurately enough to make up for my slower speeds, and I ended in 3rd place overall at 89%.  It was quite enjoyable to be back out shooting despite struggling at times to hit the same cadence and consistency I mentally knew I was capable of.    

 

 

What I did Well:

  • Movement felt strong - really didn't feel like I was slow or anything less than explosive on my movements
  • Stage Planning and Execution went as planned.

What I can Improve On:

  • Cadence and overall speed was poor - targets were tougher than usual, but I still shot too slow
  • Was having difficulty settling the sights coming into position on movement - need to focus on sights being ready and gun discharging the second I hit the spot to shoot
  • Caught myself staring at hits as I was moving past targets instead of calling the shot as I took it
  • The effects of not shooting were patently obvious and I lacked the confidence to move at my standard speed
Edited by GorillaTactical

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