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Just4FunLP

Lawton's Wants to Make Production Master: Please Help!

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I started this sport a little late in life at 49, and now 5 years into it, I can see why they set the age for senior at 55. I can definitely feel old age starting to creep up…  Honestly, I always thought it would be great to make Master I but never really thought it would be possible. Last year I made production A class and spent a day and a half with Shannon Smith, and I think reaching Master just may be possible.  Although, the recent updates to the classifier high hit factors really hurts…

 

I know it’s generally not recommended, but I’ve started shooting classifiers a lot in practice.  Since Master is my goal, it seems to make sense to use classifiers as a benchmark to test myself against and learn from.  Not to mention I really stink at classifiers in general…  My early live fire training was focused on a lot of field course work. This was really helpful with transitioning from running/moving to accurate shooting modes and seemed to make me fairly successful in matches overall, but I perform poorly in classifiers. 

 

Long story short…  I need help.  I’ve really put a lot of work into getting where I’m at today and improvements seem to be harder to come by. I’ve currently got several issues I’m dealing that I’ll detail in my next post.

 

It really boils down to pride. B class was good, and I’m was super happy when I made A class, but “Master” really sound nice.  Master.. master..  maaaasteerr  Yea…

 

You guys have been an extremely valuable resource over the years, and I know I’ll benefit greatly from your feedback.  I know we all love talking about the sport we love, but detailed replies take a lot of time, so let me go ahead and say how much I appreciate all the help.

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52 minutes ago, Just4FunLP said:

I shoot classifiers a lot in practice as a benchmark.  

 

I really stink at classifiers

 

 

 

Didn't hear anything about dry fire ??

 

Or, how much live fire you're doing  ??

 

What "stinks" about classifiers ?   The time, the accuracy ?

 

 

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I shoot a CZ Accu Shadow 2, which is a super nice pistol.  The only issue I’m having with it is the double action pull on the first shot.  To get A zone hits at 10 yards it takes me between 1.30-1.35 seconds, and I'm not very consistent. That’s 1.35 draw with a 22-23 split. I run about .20 splits on the rest of the targets. Because I'm having to pull the long DA trigger just as my sights are settling on target I'm seeing a lot of movement and often land my first shot on a hard cover or no-shoot in.  It's pretty easy to draw and pull off one shot A zone hits at 7 yards in under a second, but at that speed my grip isn’t good enough to handle the fast splits and transitions needed for a Master score.  Currently, I'm only doing about three, one-hour dryfire sessions a week.  I go to the gym twice a week, and do one long 500 round live of fire practice on the weekend.  

 

As I mentioned above, I've been practicing classifiers.  I'll do 15-20 runs on one stage recording all the data as I go. I live in the panhandle of Florida and it's really hot and humid with almost no breeze, and it definitely affects my performance as the practice session goes on.  As you can imagine, it takes a while to get warmed up, but after a while I usually start hitting master scores about half way through.  I can’t do it consistently, but it does help me experience what it takes to lay down a good run. From this I’ve concluded that I’ve got to draw fast, with a perfect grip, and if I’m shooting with intensity and controlling the gun on the first target (seeing my sights all the way through the cycle) I stand a chance of running the gun well through the rest of the targets and coming up with a good score.  I’ll often screw up a transition or mag change, but I’ve found that if my grip is screwy, or I’m not controlling recoil on the first target, I’ll always fall short.  So, at this point I’ve decided to focus the majority of my dryfire practice to learning how to consistently perform fast draws and clamping down with my weak hand earlier in the cycle.  I think that clamping my weak hand and pulling the trigger while the sights settle is really too much happening at the same time to pull off a good fast first shot. 

 

I’m not satisfied with transitions or mag changes, but I’ll post about that later.  This is enough for now. 

 

I’ve also included notes from a couple of sessions. My chicken scratch is kind of embarrassing, but what the heck… The lines without scores are runs I blew with a no-shoot or a mike. It’s funny.  These were before the HHF update.  CM 99-24 really kicked my but and I actually ran it two different days and only got one master run.  Since then the HF required for master changed from 9.70 to 9.37 which increased my success rate quite a bit.  But on CM 06-04 master HF changed from 10.79 to 12.35 and I never got close to this.  I did some calculations, and depending on how you look at it, it looks like it dropped my classifiers by an average of 5%.  This kind of stinks for me, but on the two classifiers below it looks like they raised the required HF on the one that was too easy and lowered the HF on the one that was too difficult. So I guess overall it's pretty fair.

 

RIght now I'm wandering how other CZ productions shooters handle their DA first shot, and what kind of times they're getting.  

 

Thanks

Edited by Just4FunLP

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Keep the hammer moving; one long smooth steady motion.

 

Dryfire your double-action from the holster a lot. I prefer to do this with the muzzle inches away from a blank wall. Nothing in front of the gun to see.

 

Teaches a hard front sight focus for the first shot, and lets you see exactly how you’re moving the gun.

 

Oh. And grip harder with the weak hand. I know you already think you are, but trust me. CRUSH that gun.

 

Edited by MemphisMechanic

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So to be clear. You’re getting a crush weak hand grip early and pressing the trigger before your sights settle...??

 

 I emailed Stoeger about this and they discussed it on his podcast.  One guy said he did start pulling the trigger during the draw, but Ben said he gets the gun out first and then pulls the trigger fast.  Also in his dryfire drills for draws he tells not to pull the trigger and try for a .7 par time, so I assume he stressing to always get the gun up very fast and trigger press that’s appropriate for the distance and target size. 

 

I hear what you’re saying though, if you’ve got the crush grip the DA pull is less of an issue.  

 

My my previous Shadow had the larger safety leaver and I tried drawing cocked and locked like a 1911, and it does make a huge difference on the time to the first shot.   

 

Thanks for for the reply.  

Edited by Just4FunLP

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10 hours ago, Just4FunLP said:

  he did start pulling the trigger  during the draw 

 

I'd be real careful about that ….    :surprise:

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Practice the draw. I usually start out a real practice session with a bunch of draws and two on a target. I struggled with the double action a lot too but I’m getting much better at it

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So are you consciously pulling the trigger as you extend or waiting till the gun settles, or is it just happening too fast to tell?   I know it’s hard to describe his stuff unless you’re standing there with a pistol in your hand.  The reason I’m asking is because I’m trying to make a final decision in the training technique.  The way I’ve been doing it is to try and time the first shot to go off as the gun settles, but I may need to change my strategy to bring the gun up very fast and then pulling the trigger very quickly. MemphisMechanic seems to be timing it.  

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When the trigger is pulled is all dependent on the sight picture required.

 

I can pull the trigger on an open 5-7 yard target as soon as I see the outline of the gun roughly centered in the a-zone

 

I can pull the trigger on a 15 yard open target when the fuzzy bumps are lined up in the center of the A zone

 

I CAN NOT pull the trigger on a 25 yard mini popper until the sights are settled & I have a clear front sight focus.

 

Does that make sense?

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We talking about a DA or SA trigger pull?  I’ve got a DA first pull. 

Edited by Just4FunLP

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Just now, Just4FunLP said:

We talking about a DA or SA trigger pull?

 

Doesn't matter.  In theory, I should pull the trigger with the same force along a straight axis into the frame every time, DA or SA.

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1 minute ago, SCTaylor said:

 

Doesn't matter.  In theory, I should pull the trigger with the same force along a straight axis into the frame every time, DA or SA.

 

Yes it does make sense.  It’s just like any shot, easier shots require less sight picture and difficult shots require more.  I’d say my biggest problem is when I’m running a classifier where my first shot is a partial at 10 yards with the DA trigger.  

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Dry fire with partial targets at/simulated at 15-20 yards. Focus on trigger control at speed (See Stoeger's book) and accept zero sight movement.

 

Translate that level of sight stillness into your dry fire exercises.  Its hard, damn hard, but will pay off in a big way.

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I ran an 11lb hammer spring in my old SP01 Shadow for a couple of years but stayed with the 13lb when I got my Shadow 2. I can prep my trigger and shoot groups better with the 13lb spring.  I just switched back to the 11lb spring and the DA first pull is much better.  This may make more sense for shooting classifiers, because there’s not a lot of time for prepping the trigger anyway. I get about a 3lb SA pull with the 13lb spring and about 2lb with the 11lb spring. It is very light.  I’ve never had a problem with keeping my finger out of the trigger between shooting positions, but every once in a while I will let one fly just before my sights land on the target. Never been DQd for it.  

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Don't worry about the trigger weight that much, it isn't worth the time or effort IMO. I train with ~7lb DA and my match gun is closer to 6.25lb. SA is 3.25ish on both.

 

Just for grins I played with a Shadow 2 with 8.25lb? DA which was just as easy to use on 20 yard partials (DA and SA). Learn proper grip & trigger control so any relatively smooth sub 10lb trigger can be usable.

 

 

I know, I know, I'm Lord Buzzkington but the truth is the truth.

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I feel pretty confident that you're not gripping hard enough with your support hand.  Few people are.

 

 

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18 hours ago, wtturn said:

I feel pretty confident that you're not gripping hard enough with your support hand.  Few people are.

 

 

 

I think you’re right.  MemphisMechanic said the same thing the other day and I tried it during dryfire and it does make a difference.  I saw a post a long time ago about how to stop faster on targets during transitions.  One guy said to try driving the gun primarily with the weak hand instead of equally with both hands.  I tried it back then and noticed an improvement in transitions, but I never dedicated any time to train on this.  The other day I noticed a similar affect when I tried increasing weak hand pressure so maybe this will be a big help overall. 

 

During the draw I think that, for me, the trick is to achieve this weak hand crush grip as early as possible in the draw stroke.  I’d say the goal is to draw into the target as quickly as possible and be prepared to fire as soon as the sights land on target.  But if I’m still increasing weak hand pressure at the end of the draw my sights seem to be moving around a bit and throwing off my first shot. I’d appreciate any feedback on this...

 

I guess the reason I’m posting all this is that I learned a lot from my day and a half with Shannon Smith, and found that the small details really matter.  And since I’ve decided to push for Master, I need to reconsider everything I’m doing in a classifier. The techniques I’m using work pretty well, but they’re a bit sloppy and everything needs to be refined.  Shannn said I was like a bull in a china shop.  When I draw, reload or move to another position I do it with a lot of effort, which is commendable, but I need to smooth out the rough spots.  So, I’m starting at the beginning.  Right now my goal is to retrain myself to draw on a partial target and get two accurate hits while keeping the recoil under control, and do it very very fast.  If I’m able to do this, I can usually perform well on the rest of the targets.  If the first target doesn’t go well it all goes downhill.  Next, I will be concentrating on transitions, followed by mag changes.  In the past I’ve trained on too many things at once and tried to overcome sloppiness with maximum effort. While max effort is helpful, it’s not enough to take me where I want to be. I need max effort and perfect technique. 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Just4FunLP said:

 

 

 

During the draw I think that, for me, the trick is to achieve this weak hand crush grip as early as possible in the draw stroke.  I’d say the goal is to draw into the target as quickly as possible and be prepared to fire as soon as the sights land on target.  But if I’m still increasing weak hand pressure at the end of the draw my sights seem to be moving around a bit and throwing off my first shot. I’d appreciate any feedback on this...

 

 

 

 

This is spot on.  Not just for you, but for everyone.  

 

In fact, I was critiquing another GM friend of mine recently and it's the suggestion I made to him.  That's just to say that this issue transcends class.  

 

Get the weak hand to the gun early in the draw process and have a firing grip long before you're actually firing the shot.  

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do all the dry fire and live fire drills in S Anderson's Refinement and Repetition book and you should  be fine. Classifiers are seemingly universal in draw, shoot 6 shots on partials, reload, shoot the same 6 shots now strong hand or week hand. Normally from 10-15 yards. If you get good at railing this then M ranking will come just fine.

 

Let me phrase the grip thing a little differently than you've been hearing. Your goal is to be a stable and repeatable platform for the gun and specifically your interaction with the sights and your eyes. The sights have to be perfectly aligned where you're looking over and over through the firing cycle. Stance and grip help you accomplish this. But being told "just grip it harder" is a start but a little vague because it doesn't really tell you what you're trying to accomplish. It is the equivalent of just being told "go faster" and nothing else. What I'd say to you is to develop a more complete idea of grip beyond  just "harder". You' can't stop the slide from reciprocating, nor do you want to. That's how our semi auto pistols work! So the slide is going to move, so forget about it. What can you control then? The frame. Your job is to develop a grip that holds the frame as still as possible. Which is more of a process than simply applying more hand pressure, hoping the just friction between your palms and fingers keeps the gun "flat".

 

ps-i started uspsa when i was 42, initial classification as B class and made M at 44. it is doable.

Edited by rowdyb

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Thanks rowdyb.  I use Stoegers dryfire book, and I loaned out his live fire book.  Ive been working through his dryfire books for years now.  I did work through his first live fire book and found it to be a big help.  It forces you to work on a lot of skills that aren’t very fun, like shooting difficult targets around barriers and such.  Maybe I’ll try Anderson’s book.  

 

Ive tried many different grips in the past.  The Vogel grip is my all time favorite. Wrists twisting upward and creating all that tension really works wonders.  The same is true for tightening the heels of my hands at the back of the grip.   Also, shooting with my finger on the front of the trigger guard provides amazing control under recoil. It’s almost like shooting a rifle. The only problem with these techniques is that they take more time to aquire the grip.  That’s every draw, mag change and move between shooting positions.  It also seems to be a little slower between targets.  When I took lessons from Shannon my biggest question was if he thought it was worth investing the time to make a big change in my grip.  After he watched me shoot he said my grip and accuracy were fine.  I needed to speed up.  He was seeing the gun just sitting out there doing nothing before I broke my first shot.  A lot of this is from that DA trigger. He worked with me for a long time to get me to break the shot as soon as I extended the pistol. Of course this was on very close targets. He said I had to know in my heart that the shot was going to be in the A zone and just pull the trigger. I’m able to do this now on close shots, but ten yard targets are a little different.  I digress..   Basically I’m pretty satisfied with my grip when running a stage.  

 

I’d say my favorite all purpose grip is pretty standard stuff that Max and Shannon show in their videos.  One thing that may be a little different is when my weak hand first makes contact with my strong hand I like to have the four fingers of my weak hand pointing slightly up.  Then as I roll my hands out and extend my arms the index finger is applying a lot of upward force to the bottom of the trigger guard. When it’s done, those four weak hand fingers are actually under tension as they’re bending upwards.  At the same time I’m getting a fairly high placement on the thumb side. Just before the buzzer goes off I cock my fingers on my weak hand up slightly to remind myself to make them land in that position. This finger tension definitely requires grip enhancer, especially in the Florida heat.  I can achieve this grip when drawing on a field course, when reloading and changing positions.  If I get this hand position right and the strong hand is high in the beaver tail, the gun feels like it’s welded into my hands and I can run it fast with confidence. It’s making this happen consistently on very fast draws that’s causing me issues.  I’ll need a lot of reps. 

 

I really like Max Michel’s videos. He discribes his techniques step by step and is right to the point.  He can cover everything you need to know in about 60 seconds. If you didn’t get it the first time, just watch it over and over.  All th information is there. When he draws, he brings the index finger of his weak hand up to the trigger guard and then rolls the hand onto the strong hand as the gun comes out.  This works awesome in most situations, but when I draw fast I end up slamming my index finger into the trigger guard so hard it hurts.  I’ve even thought of covering my index finger with something to cushion the blow.  

 

I’ve been consentrating on making the move from the holster to the sights on target position one fast smooth movement.  Maybe a little slower getting my grip in the gun in the holster, but making up for it with speed into target.  It seems to be helping.  Today I was watch a video of Stoeger shooting a classifier and noticed him wiggling his fingers just befor the buzzer to keep his hands sand arms loose.  I do the exact opposite.  I tend to tense up as I prepare not go.  I tried it all loosey goosey a few times and it seemed to make a big difference. 

 

Wow. We’ve just about written a book and haven’t even moved onto the second target.  ?

Edited by Just4FunLP

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3 hours ago, Just4FunLP said:

Thanks rowdyb.  I use Stoegers dryfire book, and I loaned out his live fire book.  Ive been working through his dryfire books for years now.  I did work through his first live fire book and found it to be a big help.  It forces you to work on a lot of skills that aren’t very fun, like shooting difficult targets around barriers and such.  Maybe I’ll try Anderson’s book.  

 

Ive tried many different grips in the past.  The Vogel grip is my all time favorite. Wrists twisting upward and creating all that tension really works wonders.  The same is true for tightening the heels of my hands at the back of the grip.   Also, shooting with my finger on the front of the trigger guard provides amazing control under recoil. It’s almost like shooting a rifle. The only problem with these techniques is that they take more time to aquire the grip.  That’s every draw, mag change and move between shooting positions.  It also seems to be a little slower between targets.  When I took lessons from Shannon my biggest question was if he thought it was worth investing the time to make a big change in my grip.  After he watched me shoot he said my grip and accuracy were fine.  I needed to speed up.  He was seeing the gun just sitting out there doing nothing before I broke my first shot.  A lot of this is from that DA trigger. He worked with me for a long time to get me to break the shot as soon as I extended the pistol. Of course this was on very close targets. He said I had to know in my heart that the shot was going to be in the A zone and just pull the trigger. I’m able to do this now on close shots, but ten yard targets are a little different.  I digress..   Basically I’m pretty satisfied with my grip when running a stage.  

 

I’d say my favorite all purpose grip is pretty standard stuff that Max and Shannon show in their videos.  One thing that may be a little different is when my weak hand first makes contact with my strong hand I like to have the four fingers of my weak hand pointing slightly up.  Then as I roll my hands out and extend my arms the index finger is applying a lot of upward force to the bottom of the trigger guard. When it’s done, those four weak hand fingers are actually under tension as they’re bending upwards.  At the same time I’m getting a fairly high placement on the thumb side. Just before the buzzer goes off I cock my fingers on my weak hand up slightly to remind myself to make them land in that position. This finger tension definitely requires grip enhancer, especially in the Florida heat.  I can achieve this grip when drawing on a field course, when reloading and changing positions.  If I get this hand position right and the strong hand is high in the beaver tail, the gun feels like it’s welded into my hands and I can run it fast with confidence. It’s making this happen consistently on very fast draws that’s causing me issues.  I’ll need a lot of reps. 

 

I really like Max Michel’s videos. He discribes his techniques step by step and is right to the point.  He can cover everything you need to know in about 60 seconds. If you didn’t get it the first time, just watch it over and over.  All th information is there. When he draws, he brings the index finger of his weak hand up to the trigger guard and then rolls the hand onto the strong hand as the gun comes out.  This works awesome in most situations, but when I draw fast I end up slamming my index finger into the trigger guard so hard it hurts.  I’ve even thought of covering my index finger with something to cushion the blow.  

 

I’ve been consentrating on making the move from the holster to the sights on target position one fast smooth movement.  Maybe a little slower getting my grip in the gun in the holster, but making up for it with speed into target.  It seems to be helping.  Today I was watch a video of Stoeger shooting a classifier and noticed him wiggling his fingers just befor the buzzer to keep his hands sand arms loose.  I do the exact opposite.  I tend to tense up as I prepare not go.  I tried it all loosey goosey a few times and it seemed to make a big difference. 

 

Wow. We’ve just about written a book and haven’t even moved onto the second target.  ?

It's 2 am as I read and write this so, hopefully I get my point across. 

 

From reading this post above only, I'm gonna say you might be over complicating this. 

 

You need to find a grip that is consistent and grip hard. I'm sure you already know that but sometimes you gotta just start from there and try not to over think complicate things. Easier said than done some times. 

 

Not everyone can do the Vogel grip or this or that grip. Some guns work better with lower a grip due to controls. I wouldn't sweat not getting it so high like Vogel. If you can and it works and it's repeatable that's great. 

 

As for your week hand index finger hitting so hard it hurts, you may try doing the "tactical tummy tap" first. It's sounds lame I know.  The second the beep starts you move your weak hand near the gun, maybe touching your belly close to the holster.  Then when your weakhand gets to the gun from there it's not traveling as far/fast so maybe it won't hit so hard. Then maybe your technique will morph to not touching your stomach but instead it's just near by waiting for the gun to get out of the holster. Saying that, I do have to tape my finger because I break the skin. So, you may also just have to get used to it hurting. 

 

Find what works for you. It may be a combination of different techniques. I wouldn't worry about it. Get it consistent and grip as hard as you can with your weakhand. Then, try to get the speed. It should come. Also, you mention your tense. Well, try to relax. Gotta find that combination of tension/relaxation.  Too much of either and it may be too slow or too wild.  

 

Do the micro drills for grip in Stoegers book while finding your own way. You'll get it!

Edited by B_RAD

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From reading the previous posts, you might be putting to much pressure on yourself to perform at matches. 

This might help.  I emailed a GM friend of mine and I asked him a similar question.  My question was making the jump from master to GM in steel challenge.  His advice might shed some light to help you think about what you need to do.

  1. focus on your weaknesses  .... if PEN & ACC are 10% below other stages you need to work on them.  I would stop trying to work on all the stages all the time.  the only time I dryfire all 8 stages in a single session is the week before a major when I just want to get in the rhyme of 'just shooting' & not training.
  2. What are your live fire times on these stages?  if they are significantly off from dry fire you're doing something wrong in dry fire
  3. You need to break down each stage and see where you are losing all your time.  Which transitions are causing you problems?  Do micro drills to address those specific issues.
  4. get more focused on specific problems and not just the entire stage as a whole.  I would suspect some parts of the stage you shoot well ...?
  5. I never work on more than 2 stages in one session ... at 5-6 sessions/week you will still see all 8 stages weekly which should be plenty
  6. focus on the quality of training sessions & not just quantity.  You should be learning something on every rep.  If you aren't then you're more focused on what you are doing then how you are doing it.  the goal of every training session is to learn something not simply complete whatever training you planned on
  7. Look at doing the 'Pyramids drill' , it's great for working on individual pieces of as stage and then putting it all together 
  8. Set specific par times for the individual transitions within the stage and work on exceeding them
  9. Do not treat or look at ACC & PEN any differently then any other stage at a match ... if you walk up to the stage thinking to yourself .... "hmmm, we're at my problem stage now"  you've already failed .... shot without expectations & just focus on the process of shooting, not any specific result ...

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Practiscore phone app shows times for individual strings. This lets you see how fast (or slow) you are shooting strong hand only and weak hand only compared to others. I was surprised how much time I was losing on weak hand only. It turned out to be much easier to shave off half a second from the weak hand only string than from the freestyle string.

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