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RAP

RAP's Journey to Success

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7.31.2018

 

Thanks Brophy J. I appreciate the kind words. I miss shooting matches and having to drop out of the Illinois Sectional was a kick in the gut. It made me even more determined to recovery as quickly as possible.

 

Today I had Physical Therapy. My Therapist said I am ahead of my progression schedule the Doc had laid out for me. She said I'm an over achiever. I like exceeding goals and those words were especially sweet. I had 132 degrees range of motion in my injured leg. My non injured leg has 130 degrees. I am able to ride a stationary bike and I got on the elliptical for the first time since the injury. Both I could perform pain free. I am feeling very good about the progress I am making and I am looking forward to my Doctor tomorrow morning. I am not sure if I am ready to start doing movement drills yet. I will ask my Doctor what his thoughts are on this.  

 

Tonight I kept it simple and started with DOT drill. I ran this drill a couple times with a heavy focus on my grip. Next I went to my target array of 3 targets at 10 yards middle target is a zebra. I wanted to work on my draw, transitions, grip and reloads. I did this drill with hands at side. My draw speed stayed a consistent 1.1 - 1.2 range. My transitions were in the .35-.40 range. Pretty consistent from my last practice session. Tonight I added some SHO & WHO practice in the mix. I would start with freestyle and after my reload I would either go SHO or WHO. Wow, I really needed to practice this. I was finding my dot without problems. My trigger work sucked along with my weak hand grip. My practice session my reloads were horrible. I added Burkett drill tonight and this seemed to help. I need to continue this each session. Last practice session I struggled getting my weak hand back in proper position after getting the magazine inserted. Tonight I didn't have this problem. My weak hand grip was getting back in the proper position after the mag insertion. Next I went to my little stage that is similar to classifier 99-42. Being right handed I decided to start on the left side of the barrier to add a challenge of leaning around. Tonight was a good practice. I felt like things are starting to get back to normal. 

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8.1.2018

 

Today I saw my Orthopedic Surgeon. He was very happy with my progress. I am considered to have full range of motion and my PT will now focus on building strength back in my leg/knee. The bummer is Doc advised me not to shoot Area 4 Match. Area 4 puts me about 4 1/2 months after surgery. He said at 4 1/2 months my knee will not be strong enough to handle the uneven and less than solid terrain, starting and stopping, etc. So I guess I will need to withdraw. Doc said at 6 months from surgery is when I can start engaging in running, sprinting and more upper tier exercises. UGH 

 

Dry fire tonight started with DOT drill. I decided I will start every dry fire with this drill until I am comfortable with my performance. I need to live fire this drill my next trip to the range. I then went to the Burkett drill. I dropped my par time from 1.2 seconds to 1 second. It really challenged me. At 1.2 seconds I could get the magazine to the magwell easily. 1 second I was only 50%. I was amazed how much harder it was when I took 2 tenths of a second. 1 second is my time going forward for now. Next I went to my now stand by target array of 3 targets at 10 yards with the middle target a zebra.  Tonight stayed with the freestyle start reload and go to strong hand or weak hand. I would alternate between each hand. I averaged 1 second slower with strong hand and 2 seconds slow with my weak hand when compared to my freestyle time. Tonight I changed up things and practiced table starts unloaded and loaded. I also practiced table starts engaging targets from a seated position and doing a reload as well. Table starts is something I just haven't practiced much. But I will now. This is something I can do that doesn't hurt. 

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8.4.2018

 

Today was a live fire day. I went to the range to get some live fire practice in and help a couple very good friends practice for the up coming Illinois Sectional Match next Sunday. 

 

First we started with group shooting and chronograph our ammo. Then we ran bill drills working on our draw and grip. We then set up a couple stages. First stage purpose was to work on shooting through ports (entering and exiting as well), having to move back up range and shooting while moving. The second stage was set up with lateral movement (left to right), hard leans around corners, shooting as you enter and exiting position and transitions. Both stages were designed to with wall starts giving the opportunity for exploding out of a position at the start.

 

We first shot each stage a couple times to determine as average time and HF. We would than breakdown each stages elements, weather exploding into position at start, transitions, moving up range, etc. We also implemented targets with no shoots to add challenge and force you to "respect" the difficulty of the shot. As we broke each element down we would also practice them to perfect the techniques. For me I was limited on how much movement and how aggressively I would attempt to move. I am certainly getting better, but need to be carful. I lack a lot of strength and stability in my knee and at times was very obvious. But, that aside it felt really good to get out and practice; especially with very good friends. 

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8.12.2018

 

Dry fire tonight started with the usual dot drills at 5 yards. Did this for 6 times moved back to 7 yards for 6 runs. Worked on turn and draw. I am still struggling with this move. I am still nervous twisting around. However it is getting easier to do this. My average time for turn and draw has improved to 1.7-1.8 seconds. Next I worked on draw/transitions. I used my video glasses to see if I am starting to pull off the target after the 2nd trigger pull. I hav 2 targets at 10 yards placed 15 feet apart. I was able to do this drill in 1.8-1.9 seconds with a .35 transition target to target. Watching the video at times I could clearly see the gun moving before the 2nd shot. This made reevaluate and work on calling my shot then drive the gun to the 2nd target. I backed off speed and worked on technique; using my lower body to drive the gun after the trigger is pulled. I spent the majority of the practice session on this drill and it was a big help. I am going to use the video glasses my next practice session as well. They really helped me out a lot to identify an area I have been struggling with.  

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8.14.2018

 

Dry fire tonight started with the usual dot drills at 5 yards. Did this for 6 times moved back to 7 yards for 6 runs. Next I worked on 90 degree transitions. I focused on using my lower body and I had some real problems at the start. But after a half a dozen tries I started to loosen up and felt better about doing this drill. Next I put 2 targets at 7 yards placed 12 feet apart. I wanted to work on head shots/transitions. I really pushed myself to not only push my draw speed but to drive the gun target to target. I finished up the night with Burkett drill. I set the par time at 1 second. Tonight I felt like I had a break through. I was consistently at or beating the 1 second par time getting the magazine to the mag well. My next session I do this drill I am dropping the par time to .90 seconds. I need to get out and live fire practice. I am hoping to have some time this weekend.   

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8.19.2018

 

Live fired practiced Sunday. I wanted to focus on transitions and accuracy. I started with the dot drill at 5 yards. I have been practicing this in dry fire thinking I was doing pretty good. Well, no, that's not the case. Out of the 10 runs I managed 33% success rate. With an average time of 4.96 seconds. The other tries either I went over 5 seconds or did not get 6 shots in the 2" circle. Next I had some targets with a 6" circle. I set them at 10 yards and ran bill drills. I ran this drill 9 times. I managed a better success rate of 55% (5 out of 9) with an average time of 2.46 seconds. All my shots out of the 6" circle were high. Next I set up 4 targets 1 yard apart at 10 yards. My strategy was to start with the left target as my first. At the beep I would draw fire 2 rounds then transition to target 2 to the right, fire 2 rounds. My goal was to have .3-.35 transition with all A's for this set. Next I would start with the same far left target first then transition to the third target to the right. Again my goal was .3-.35 second transition with all A's. Last set I would again start with the far left and transition to the far right target. My goal for this set was .45-.5 second transitions with all A's. I finished the practice with the same transition drills but with head shots only. My transition goals were the same. 

 

Things I struggled with. First my grip. When I started the dot drill I quickly realized my grip was too "light". I started to grip the heck out of it and things started to improve. Thus my 33% success rate for the dots. During the Bill Drill I noticed my shots outside the 6" circle were high. I wasn't letting the dot settle down before I was breaking the trigger. In a nutshell I wasn't driving the gun. During the transitions drills I wasn't using my lower body to drive to the next target. I became a tank turret; all upper body. I found myself all over the targets and shooting Alpha/Charlies with the occasional Charlie/Delta. I had to stop shooting and work on getting my lower body back in action and stop relying on my upper body. After doing this I started to get in the groove. Times were good, but more importantly I was more consistent. Something I felt really good about. When I started shooting the heads my draw averaged only .1-.15 seconds slower but my transition times stayed the same. Getting out to do some live fire felt really good. This practice also reinforced the need for more live fire practices. Dry fire practice has been an awesome tool and really helped me improve. But for me, I need to put lead down range to reinforce my dry fire. 

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8.26.2018

 

Live fired practiced with my good friend Dave today. We started with checking our zeros at 25 yards. Dave just set up his Sig X5 for carry optics. Next we worked on DOT drill. I was happy I made progress from my last session even though I only dry fired once this week because of out of town travel for business. After we completed the DOT drill we set up 4 targets 2 yard apart at 10 yards. This was the same basic drill I shot last week. Difference is the targets were 2 yards apart. Like last week I started with the target on the left as my first target. My goal was the same as last week with the targets at 1 yard apart .3-.35 second transitions with all A's. Like last week I would start with the same far left target first then transition to the third target to the right and so on with a goal of all A's. We also went right to left as well. We spent the majority of the day doing this drill. We wanted to focus on 1-2 items to really get the most out of the live fire practice. 

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12.16.2018

 

It's been awhile since I last posted my progress and practices. Reason? I haven't been practicing much. September through now my work schedule has been insane. I was gone every week including overseas travel in October. The month of September was a wash. I didn't have one practice session; dry or live. I did manage 4 dry fire practices between October and November. And I managed to shoot 2 matches in October. 1 steel match at Sparta and the USO Monster Charity Match at my home club. We did raise $15,000 for our local USO chapter. November I managed 2 live fire practices and 1 dry fire practice. Felt really good to get 2 live fire practices in. I had signed up for my local clubs USPSA match in November, but it was cancelled due to weather. Because of travel in November I was not able to shoot any other matches. December I managed a live fire practice. And I shot my first USPSA match at Sparta today. Wow what a disaster! I had 8 mikes, 1 failure to engage penalty and I hit a no shoot. How I managed 17th overall is amazing. But it felt soooo good to shoot the match! The classifier was 03-18 High Standards. I managed to shoot 63% and was happy with that. I also looked at this match as a laundry list of things to work on. Accuracy really suffered. Obvious with 8 mikes and 45% of my hits were Charlies. I found my self pulling off targets instead of following through the shot and transitioning after the shot. I think this was a source of at least 5 mikes. My reloads were good, but I kept grabbing my number 2 mag instead of mag 1. Mag 1 is the mag furthest to my front. This was a first and frankly it showed me I need to practice. My stage planning was, well it sucked. Most of my problems were on my first 2 stages, mikes, no shoot and failure to engage penalty, etc. The last stage I had one mike and almost forgot to engage a target. I realized after I started to unload and show clear. I did put one shot into the target (D hit) so i didn't incur another penalty. However it also cost me a solid 5-8 seconds if not more time. Not sure if I should have let it go or was I better off at least engaging the target. At least I started pulling my act together as the matched progressed and I managed a couple really solid stages. For my first USPSA match in 8 months; I'm very happy with the results. 

 

As far as my injury goes. My Doctor kicked me loose from his care in October. Told me no need to see him in November. Doc was very happy with my progress. I was 1 month ahead of his progress he had laid out. Doc also told to make sure I finish all my Physical Therapy sessions which I will do. I am able to do some short distance runs with no pain in my right knee. However, my left knee is hurting. I am going to need to monitor very closely. Along with strengthening knee exercises my therapist has me do an agility ladder which is cool as it's helping me with my foot work. I have one more session on 12-17-2018. Not sure if I will need to continue in January 2019. I guess I'll find out.

 

My immediate course of action is to develop a dry and live fire practice matrix. I wanted to make A class in 2018 and that didn't happen. So my goal is to make A class in 2019. 

 

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12.26.2018

 

I had a live fire practice today. My focus was on accuracy and transitions. I started my live fire practice with some chronograph work which doubled as slow fire accuracy practice. I shot about 50 rounds slowly focusing on pure accuracy. Frankly this felt a little strange. I haven't done this in sometime. Next I moved to the Dot drill at 8 yards. Not once did I break 5 seconds and keep all shots in the 2" circle. When I tried to speed up, my shots were all over the place. Next I set up 3 USPSA metric targets at 10 yards. My goal was shot calling and transitions. From my last match I felt I needed to work on calling my shots and not pull off the target before I make the 2nd shot. I was very surprised I called a solid 90% of my shots accurately. I was very happy with this. But, I also knew when I made a C or D shot because I was focusing on getting to the next target.

 

However, my practice session was cut short because of ammo issues. I had 2 squib rounds with in 4 rounds shot. 1st squib round a gentlemen at the range had a squib rod and dislodged the bullet. I went back to practice and fired 2 more shots and I had another squib load. By now the gentlemen left and I did not have a squib rod with me so I ended my practice session for the day. Admittedly I was very upset having squib rounds. I am usually anal with my reloading processes in an effort to catch these kinds of mistakes. But I did get a new press for Christmas and I did something I never do. When I am setting up new press/dies or make any change I keep any ammo segregated until I am comfortable. I didn't do that this time. When I was setting my new press the first batch of ammo I loaded  I just threw in with the rest of my practice ammo. Big mistake. Now I have 400 - 500 rounds that is suspect. Not a great feeling to have. I now also have a squib rod and small hammer in my range bag as well. My next practice session will have one goal for sure. Too burn up this practice ammo without blowing up my gun.... 

 

Even with my challenges it was good practice and I am now looking forward to my next dry fire practice. 

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1.5.2019

 

had a live fire practice today. Again focus was on accuracy and transitions and reloads. I started my live fire practice with group shooting. I started off simple, 5 yards ended at 10 yards. Next I moved to the Dot drill at 7 yards. I averaged 5.4 seconds to keep all shots in the 2" circle. 

 

Next I set up 2 USPSA metric targets 5 feet apart to work on transitions. I started at 7 yards with a draw fire 2 shots transition fire 2 shots. My goal for transiting was .3 seconds. At 7 yards this was achievable and repeatable. I moved back to 10 yards and the wheels started falling off. I started off accomplishing the same transition time of .3 with alphas, but I started losing focus and decided to stop working on this and went back to group shooting but I increased the distance to 15 yards than 25 yards. Although not planned, but after several groups I decided to work on the plate rack. I averaged 3.8 seconds at 12 yards, no make up shots. I noticed an unforeseen benefit shooting the plate rack. When I was shooting the rack clean I was focusing on the target and only pulled the trigger when the dot would "wash over" the target. I was target focused not dot focused. I went back to my 2 targets I was using for my transition practice and stayed target focused driving my eyes to the target focusing on the A zone letting the dot follow. I was able to improve my transitions.   

 

Finished up practice with reloads as my focus by performing 4 Aces drill. Not sure is I was just fatigued but my wheels definitely feel off. I couldn't perform a smooth reload at all. I was missing the magwell completely. I struggled grabbing the mags consistently as well. I was glad to get out and get some live practice in. It also highlighted the need to get back to my dry fire routine. And for 2019 this is a big goal along with making A class. 

 

1.6.2019

 

Tonight I dry fired practiced with a focus on transitions and reloads. I set up a plain metric target and a zebra target at 10 yards in my basement. For transition practice I wanted to use the zebra target to help my  focus on the A zone not just a brown target. I felt like this was working as my transition times were running in the .25 second  range. I ran this drill for a solid 15 minutes. Next I moved to the Burkett drill. I set my Par time at .8 seconds and again I struggled with missing the magwell and grabbing the magazines was troubling at best. But after 10 minutes running this drill for 5 minutes I realized I wasn't looking at the magwell. So I backed off and went very slow breaking the drill down to micro drills. 

 

I plan to continue focusing on transitions and reloads in my dry fire practice for a while until I get some consistency back.

                                                  

 

 

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1.8.2019

 

Tonight I changed up my game plan. While driving to an appointment for work I had quite a bit of windshield time and started thinking about where my skills are today. Losing 8 months of shooting last year degraded my skills further than I wanted to admit. But as I was thinking about my abilities I came to the conclusion I needed to go back to basic skills. Tonight I started off my dry fire training by doing some simple draws. I have a Dot Drill target on my basement wall. I moved back 21 feet and started to draw and put the my dot in the center of the 2" circle. I started slow picking up speed as my index improved. I pick a different dot draw. I did this for 10 minutes and I realized my ability to draw and bring the Dot to target really sucked. I will need to work on this until this skill becomes solid again. Next I moved to the plain metric target I had set up. I performed a basic draw with a focus on speed. Caveat is I focused on the A zone and would not accept a C or D and forced myself to put the Dot in the A zone before pressing the trigger. I worked on this for 5 minutes and moved to the Zebra target and performed the same drill for another 5 minutes. Next I switched it up and performed the Burkett drill for 10 minutes. I finished up the night by practicing a littler barricade work. I used my return air duct to simulate a barricade. This works very well and is very similar to width of the barricades used at my local range and some classifiers I have shot. I put up 4 half sized metric and 2 steel popper targets to simulate 12 yard shot. My goal was to perform this drill under 5 seconds or faster. I managed a 5.3 second average. I looked back and I am about 1 second slower than the last time I did this drill. It really drove home how important it is for me to get back to consistent Dry and live fire practice. 

 

 

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1.19.2019

 

Although I haven't added to the journal I have been dry firing since my last entry. I continued to focus on basics. I started with draw working on grip and indexing. This practice I started closing my eyes, draw and open eyes and see where the dot is on a metric target. I was happy to see my dot would be in the A zone majority of the time. Next I started to work on the Burkett Drill. I am making progress and this was the best I've done since I started doing this drill. Next I decided to practice a mini stage I have set up. It is similar to the classifier 09-12. I use my return air duct as the barricade with 1/2 size metric targets on the wall. Some things I like about this mini stage. It allows me to practice wall starts and shooting around barricades. It also forces a standing reload so having a fast reload is crucial. 

 

1.20.2019

 

I started tonights practice the same as last night. Draw with emphasis on grip and indexing. I also continued the closing of eyes exercise. I believe this drill is helping a lot. Tonight I decided to skip the Burkett Drill and move to 4 Aces and Triple Reload. I found some old notes from February 2, 2018, where I did the triple reload. My average time was 7.96 seconds. Tonight my average was 5.15 seconds. This was very surprising and cool and a significant improvement. When I did 4 Aces drill my best time was 2.50 seconds and worst time was 3.69 seconds. Having a smooth reload and draw is crucial and I noticed I was starting to get sloppy and my times were steadily getting worse. I decided to finish up the night with a little strong and weak hand practice. I am very happy with my progress. It's very motivating seeing ones progress and It makes my goal of making A class seem that much closer.   

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