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I have been lurking around this section for a while so figured I'd start a diary myself. First about me. I am a 61 year old shooter that started competing in USPSA a little over 2 years ago. Prior to that I had shot bullseye a couple of decades prior but my experience had been basically rifles and hunting. In college I was part of the 3 position50 meter rimfire rifle team.

 

Currently I am a C shooter about to make B once couple of low classifiers from early last year fall off. After last year's Nationals in Limited (53%) I figured I needed more of a regimented dry fire and private instruction to shoot sooner. At Nationals I shot 95% of points, but was woefully slow. So, I knew I needed to work on transitions and movement at the very least. Video below more or less shows my current skill level warts and all. Compared to a  month ago my movement and transitions are better, but still has a lot of room for improvement. I noticed I bring the gun down while running and I need to fix that. And run faster :).

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Today was a dry fire day. I started with Stoeger's 25 yard draw and press the trigger drill done slowly paying attention to grip tension and trigger press. Making sure I was gripping the gun as hard as I could with my strong hand and still being able to manipulate the trigger and as hard as I could with the support hand making sure it was always at the same spot on the gun. Trigger press straight back without moving the sights. This was done for 6 minutes (my standard time for most drills).

 

I usually will do a drill for 6 minutes, take a water break, flex my hand and fingers and resume with the next drill. 

 

Next drill was a 12 yard index draw drill. I started at 0.9 secs for a minute and then lowered it to 0.8 seconds. 6 minutes.

Next was a 12 yard index draw drill facing up range from surrender position par time was 1 sec after 1 minute lowered it to 0.9 secs. 6 minutes.

Next was Anderson's Burkett drill par time of 0.8 secs to the second beep and then finish the reload and point. 6 minutes.

Next was transition Blake drill. Draw, 2,2,2 making sure my sights were on the A zone at trigger press, moving my eyes first then knees and gun. Par time started at 2.2 secs and ended at 2.0 secs. 6 minutes.

Next was El Presidente which was a culmination of all the drills I did earlier. I have a classifier this coming Saturday and my goal is to shoot it at < 7 seconds with good hits.

First for 3 minutes I did it slowly with no par time. Next 3 minutes I did it at 6 second par time and I was having a lot of time left over. 

I did El Presidente again for 6 minutes, this time at 5.7 second par time. 

 

One thing I noticed during Burkett drills and reloads is the I have to have my arm at almost at 45 degrees to have a perfect mag alignment. I was doing it a bit more closer to my body, so this is something I will have to be cognizant of and keep practicing to make sure I do the right angle.

 

This was it for the morning.

 

In the evening first I went back to the garage and did the 25 yard drill outlined above for 6 minutes. I do that at every time I dry fire or before a match.

Next went to the back yard and set up two target stands without targets to use as markers. I set them 5 yards apart. Practiced hard and soft exits bringing the gun up (I have an airsoft 2011 so neighbors won't freak) as coming to the new shooting position and on exits turning the hips and upper body towards the direction I want to go. Did it with leaning and then using drop step to launch myself and without leaning, just turning. I ran back and forth first slow to get the technique right then as fast as I could and still be in control. Total 30 minutes. 

 

I was sweaty so took a 5 minute water and fruit break.

 

Back to the garage, did surrender draw facing up range for 6 minutes at 1 sec.

El Presidente at 5.7 seconds for 6 minutes, and 5.6 seconds for 6 minutes.

 

Prepared 750 bullets for the next range session, put a new fiber on my sights and called it the day.

Edited by tanks

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5/10/2018

Was supposed to have a range day today, but some bad chinese food kept me up all night and was worn out in the morning. So, today turned out to be dry fire only.

Started with the 25 yard slow draw drill again concentrating on grip and trigger pull. - 6 minutes.

12 yard index draw drill, 0.8 seconds to start and then 0.7 seconds. Not quite at 0.7 secs though at times I beat the beep others I don't. - 6 minutes.

Burkett Drill. Moved par time to 1 sec in order to have a strong delineation between placing the mag and pushing it in.

El Presidente from 12 yards at 5.6 secs. Interesting to note that I beat the timer easily when turning with my knees and not making the time when I don't. Something I will have to make sure I do every time until it becomes subconscious. 12 - minutes.

Starting at 15 yards 2,2,2 as I am walking forward, and then repeat as I am walking backward. Concentrating on keeping the gun steady as I move and on the A zone. 12 minutes.

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5/11/18

Live fire training with a local GM. We decided to concentrate on El Presidente as it is the upcoming classifier and also covers a lot of skills we have been working on (transitions reload etc.). My goal was to make it under 7 seconds. First couple of runs were to establish a baseline and then break it down to components to improve on that. I averaged about 7.4 seconds with good hits which actually put me in 72% for this classifier shooting cold.

 

We broke it down. Draw and turn was about 1.9secs and reload was 2.4 seconds (I had fumbled both). We changed one thing one my draw and that was to turn my head first and let the body follow instead of turning my body as a whole. I was shooting consistently at 1.5 secs. There is room for improvement still as my hands are slower than my body turn now. I am sure I can with more dry fire practice can get that down to 1.3 or so. I am happy with the improvement though. Second change was on the reload, first not rush it and fumble it. Started a very slight pause as bringing the magazine to the magwell ensuring a good alignment. Also, I was pausing a tad long after a reload and eliminated the extra pause. That brought my average reload times to 1.9 secs almost a half a sec faster. 

 

Then we started fine tuning. I moved my support hand about an inch closer to my strong side during the draw which enabled me to grip the gun earlier and more consistently. On reloads I was not bringing my strong hand close enough to get a contiguous grip after seating the mag so that was costing me a tenth or two. Made that adjustments as well.

 

We ran this for almost 700 rounds worth for four hours. Last couple of hours of it I was averaging 6.6 secs with good hits and I did have a 6.31 and a 6.39 when everything went perfect. I will dry fire the turn and draw for a while tonight as well as the reload with the changes. Tomorrow morning before I take off for the match I will take about 15 minutes for more dry fire as well.

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5/12/18

Match today. Unfortunately I had about 4 hours of sleep due to circumstances beyond my control so I was a bit lethargic on the classifier (almost 0.8 secs slower than my average in practice session even slower than my worst time). Still ended up shooting 60.08% so it replaced a 55% from a year ago. As long as I shoot a low B score next time I will make B class as a 51% will scroll off. 

Regardless of lethargy I made progress in the match, won C class for whatever it is worth and shot 65% overall o/o 91 people and 66% in Limited o/o 27 ppl. Here is a stage I shot in that match. (18A, 7B, 6C, 1D)

 

Things I can improve on. Faster splits and transitions on open targets, faster reload and movement, I waited forever on the max trap and my shooting is at a point now I should take another target. I did not lower my gun between positions except once so that's an improvement and I did see my sights on every shot. One thing I notice though is still do not have confidence in myself enough to explosively move to the next position after last shot in an array and I need to work on that more.

 

5/14-15/2018

I took Sunday off from shooting/practice and did some other activities with the GF. On Monday it was back to drive fire in the morning and then went to a local gunsmith and had him replace my front sight, and more dry fire in the evening. I had actually broken half of my front sight off and had fiber only on the back half of it. Luckily I am in the process of making my Edge a sight tracker and had a spare SVI front sight. I ordered 2, one as a spare. More dry fire on Tuesday morning and evening. Repeating the dry fire practice from 5/10/18.

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5-16-18

Dry fire today. The usual regimen with a couple of exceptions. First Burkett drill with one second par time to the pushing in the mag. Concentrated on explosive movement to the pouch and then re-aquiring the grip directly once I slammed the mag in as a contiguous movement. Did the drill twice in 6 minute intervals. Second drill was transition/reload. Draw 2,2,2 to open targets reload 2,2,2 to partial targets, 15 yards. Did this drill twice in 6 minute intervals as well. Reloaded 750 rounds for practice tomorrow and whatever is left over will be added to my match ammo for NAZC match this weekend. Hopefully enough will be left over so I won't have to reload after my practice session.

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5-17-2018

Range work with a local GM. Basically worked on movement the first 2.5 hours and multiple transitions the last 1.5 hours. Movement consisted of draw and fire 2 run to a barricade 3=4 yards away 2 on an open target, transition to a tuxedo and then a partial with a no shoot.  I also had to lower my head after each run and call every shot. For me, for that distance, fastest and most stable was two large steps and a double shuffle. another takeaway was to get the gun ready to shoot sooner and keep the gun at shoulder height during the run I lowered my run time by about half a second from initial attempts via efficiency of movement. I will do that in matches for now.

 

Next was the transitions. First we did draw to open, wide transition to the other open target then tuxedo and partial on the right of it. Next was draw to the target on the right, tuxedo, partial, and transition to the open on the left. Finally draw to open on the left transition to tuxedo, partial and the open on the right (a yard away). The takeaway was using the knees explosively on wide transitions, faster splits on tuxedo as I was much faster on the partial with less of a target area than the tuxedo and have the same splits on both open targets.

 

After we were done with the training I setup the LabRadar and tested my loads as I had not done that since the Nationals. It was the same PF,168.6 as average. 

 

Tomorrow, I hit the road to drive for NAZC match at Prescott, AZ. Get there in time to walk the stages and rest well the evening.

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5/19-20/18

 

OK. Made it to the NAZC match. It was educational seeing Nils and Charlie Perez shoot as I was on the same squad with them. First day was a disaster in that I had ammo and gun issues. One thing I need to do is to regain focus after I have an issue. Every time I had to eject a round for bad ammo the next shot was a mike. Also, I had a hammer fall issue with my gun luckily I was pointed at the berm and not moving so did not get DQed. It did shake me up enough though that I skipped the reload (it was supposed to happen when I had the hammer fall), blew my stage plan, skipped a target and ended up with 1.09 HF!!! At the end of the day I was sitting at 38%.

 

The second day I changed guns. Shot much better and cleaner and ended at 51% overall. I probably should have changed firearms much sooner. Live and learn. Below is the only stage I had recorded. It was one of my better stages. 67% and 10 o/o 68. Too bad one stage does not make a match ;) .

 

 

Now, looking at it I can immediately see a few things to improve. After the first couple of targets I slightly lowered my gun as I was swinging over to the targets through the port and didn't really needed to move my feet. When I was running to the last position the gun was a bit lower than it should have been, the last target I did not move the gun over to the A zone before starting to shoot as I just looked at brown rather than the A zone and ended up getting 2 Cs.

 

Positives is that I shot within myself, went one for one on steel and called my shots on all the partials. I did my reload within first couple of steps and was ready to shoot at the next position. I still have to work on faster transitions and faster movement.

 

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Posted (edited)

It has been a wild few weeks. I shot two level 2 matches and I did not do well. Looking back at it I can see that I was trying to shoot beyond my abilities  and had a lack of focus while shooting. In dry fire I regrouped and made sure that at every rep I was seeing my front sight and call the shot.

 

In between the level 2 matches I took an RO class. Now, I am a Certified Range Officer and can help out during matches.

 

I had a good live training session. One thing I realized is sometimes I think too much. When I emptied my mind and focused shot by shot I was accurate and faster. If I started to think about the next thing wheels came off.

 

On Saturday it was a local match. I took my new "calmness/focus" to the match. Shot 110A, 52C, 4D, 1M/1NS (darn swingers, I need to practice them more). My time was decent though in acouple of stages I lost at least 10 seconds total due to pressing the mag release button inadvertently and too many makeups on last two plates (lost of focus?) of a plate rack. Overall though I was happy with the results.

 

One other thing is that I shot the classifier Nuevo Presidente going for A zone hits to avoid penalty zones. 10A, 1C, 1D. I needed 57% to make B class and I got over 60%. So after today's run I should be officially "B" class. What is interesting that until a few months ago I had never gotten a classifier score of over 55%. Once I broke that barrier I had 6 classifiers in a row that were B class scores, hence the bump in classification. Now, the next phase begins to shoot accordingly in big matches and keep improving to make "A" class sooner than later.

 

I have one live fire session this week in addition to two matches (Saturday and Sunday) and daily dry fire. After that I am leaving on vacation for 3 weeks and will not be shooting during that time. Once I come back I have a pretty intensive August planned with instruction and training. I calculate that I will need 8,250 rounds for the month. I have a Mark 7 Revolution on order and it is supposed to arrive last week of July. I hope that they can deliver as scheduled so I don't have to pull the handle on my 1050 that many times.

Edited by tanks

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Finally back here. Nationals are in a few weeks. I got my ammo sorted out and it will be going out tomorrow.

 

I had two lessons, one with Charlie Perez (private) in CO and the other with Ben Stoeger in Sacremento area. Both were eye opening. The lesson with Charlie focused on movement, positioning and fundamentals in detail. I think I have learned a lot. Since then I have been careful of my foot placement in stage planning and making sure that I am eliminating any extra movements. Such a different it makes. I reread Charlie's book again and it reinforced what we had worked on. 

 

Ben's class concentrated on how to practice (Skills and Drills) and fundamentals (Competition Fundamentals). Practiced various movement drills and then ran a practice stage. Again learned a lot.

 

One thing I came away from both sessions in regards to fundamentals is that I need to grip the gun much harder and continuously with my support hand. Not to mention I need to shoot when I see my sights, not dwell on the sight picture prior to taking the shot.

 

So, since the classes a lot of dry fire drills where I am gripping the gun as hard as I can with the support hand so that it becomes natural in live fire.  

 

Went to the range yesterday. I worked on ONE drill only. Ben's doubles drill where I draw and fire a 3 pairs of shots. I set up the TPC rectangle box target of 4" by 7.5" at 9 yards on a USPSA metric target. Fired 320 shots overall, changing paper every 40 shots. I had 23 shots out of the box and only 2 of them would have been out of the A zone if I was using the regular target.

 

What I tried to do for each pair was to shoot as soon as I could see my sights coming back, concentrating on a firm grip with my support hand while caressing the trigger. Splits varied between 0.25 and 0.29. I guess more work with CoC will be required to get them lower. I was cognizant of the times I wasn't gripping as hard as I should and the few times I mashed the trigger  and corrected it in the following string/pair.

 

I think this is a drill that will help me immensely, so definitely will include it in every range session (maybe not 320 rounds worth).

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I shot a match last Saturday concentrating on what I have been working on. Result was 102A 48C 5D 1M 1NS. I was happy with my performance as I was aggressive while being in control. I shot all steel clean, and I had two makeup shots on targets WITHOUT even thinking about it. It was subconscious, one converted a lucky D to an A and another was not needed on a tuxedo target only because the previous shot was half in the black, half in A zone. My eyes saw something off and brain acted without me thinking about it. Interesting feeling.

 

I had a new pair of shoes. Inov 8 MudClaw trail runners. Everyone I talked to said I'd need cleats or something similar for the Nationals so I had bought them and worn them for Stoeger's class to break them in. They were comfortable enough for 8 hour per day usage. However, the test was this match, it passed with flying colors as I had great traction. Here is a pic from the worst stage in regards to conditions.

 

IMG_4294.thumb.JPG.3633e7c01964a6cf035f1174d4b75384.JPG

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I am glad you are back on the bandwagon with updating your range diary!!! Writing this stuff down usually helps solidify what we are working on or challenged with. At least it does for me. Keep up the good work and good luck at the Nationals!!!

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