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matir

How good a shot before starting USPSA?

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The only visible place where you initially have to be a decent shot is steel. On paper, you (1) won't know where it hit (for a long time), and (2) there are C and D zones to pick up some of the loose change.

 

Learn to keep shooting and leave some steel up if you are having hard time with accuracy. It's not worth using up two magazines, then have to take all sorts of penalties for not having ammo to engage the last part of the course. 

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I shot Bullseye and IHMSA prior to USPSA,  my main problem was in trying to be too accurate which resulted in making me too slow.  Being 46 when I shot the first match didn't help either.

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8 hours ago, Hi-Power Jack said:

 

Sounds like you're reacting to the noise and recoil of the 9mm cartridge.

 

Part of the problem is also a weight issue.  I definitely tire much more quickly holding my steel-framed SP-01 than my Browning Buckmark.  Maybe I just need some arm strength training.

 

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2 hours ago, matir said:

  I just need some arm strength training.

 

Absolutely     :)

 

Hold a 5 lb dumbbell out at arm's length, with each arm, as long as you can, every day.

 

You should also get a spring gripper that strengthens your wrists and hands.

 

That SP-01 will feel like a feather after that.     :) 

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On 12/31/2018 at 4:16 PM, broadside72 said:


Tell them you are new and everyone the will help you learn and make sure you are safe and walk you through the commands and stuff. Their stages might be a little intimidating for a first timer but don't let that worry you. Take your time and don't try to go fast, just learn the rules and methods.
 

 

This is great advice.   At my first match I knew no one.  I told the folks at the sign up table that it was my first time, and they made sure someone looked after me.  Many many people at my local matches will go out of their way to help a noob.

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I was a terrible shot when I started USPSA.  I mean, like I had only been shooting pistols for a month when I started competing.  Right now I'm looking at the results from my first match, and the only stage that I didn't zero was the classifier.  I was slow, I was nervous, I was inaccurate, but I was having fun!  With practice, I got better and better, and in five months I actually won my first match.  Granted, it was a local Steel Challenge match, but it felt really good to have all that work and practice pay off.  It just so happened that it was my friend's first match, so he got to see me win while doing his first competitive shoot!

 

Like others have said - the community is very supportive.  Someone will shepherd you through your first match because they want you to have a good time and come back!  Eventually, if you do it enough times, you will end up being the one showing a new person how it works.

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If I recall correctly Richmond has a required??? Course you have to complete to their standards prior to being able to sign up for their clubs matches. Go to the website and confirm this as I am working from a feeble memory that goes along well with my feeble body and skillset.   Sign up for the course and get all your questions answered by the people you will be shooting with.   As an added benefit you will be with people who have also not done this kind of stuff before. Meet people with similar interests and maybe meet some new  shooting buddy's.  I shoot at least twice a year at richmonds bigger shoots and the people there are great to us out of towners that they don't know so I am sure they would be just the same or better with new shooters.   Don't tell anyone but even all these big bad evil gun guys want new shooters to join the sport and have the same kinds of fun they have.   Squirrelcop

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Doesn't matter how good you are, you will improve in time.... As long as you can handle the gun safely, that's the main thing.

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On 2/2/2019 at 3:04 AM, jskd82 said:

Doesn't matter how good you are, you will improve in time.... As long as you can handle the gun safely, that's the main thing.

This. No one will judge you on anything except safety. I've watched people take two minutes to get through a stage that could be twenty seconds, who cares? We still need another five minutes to reset, if there's another sport that is more accommodating to new participants I don't know it.

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I just took a "Safe Handgun Competitor" course at Richmond Rod & Gun club and I'm hooked.  Unfortunately I can't shoot a match until April because of my work schedule (unless I find another club...) but I'm so excited to go for it.

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I personally don’t think it matters a ton. As long as you can be safe and have fun, (and make hits at all on a torso sized target) you should just go give it a try. I think something a lot of people don’t realize is that there aren’t really prerequisites for what you should or shouldn’t be before you shoot your first match - Except being safe.  Just remember that your first time you aren’t going to win, and that’s just how it is. Bring what you have, be safe, and have fun. You’d be surprised at how supportive the competitive shooting community can be.

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When I signed up for my IPSC course, I hadn't even touched a handgun (except for a cheap bb-gun I had as a kid). We had two live fire practices before we started shooting level 1 club competitions. Over here, where you need two years of experience with a pistol before you can even apply for a license, that's pretty much the route you have to go; jump right into the deep end.

So, yeah, you don't have to be good at all to start.

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On 2/9/2019 at 5:37 PM, matir said:

I just took a "Safe Handgun Competitor" course at Richmond Rod & Gun club and I'm hooked.  Unfortunately I can't shoot a match until April because of my work schedule (unless I find another club...) but I'm so excited to go for it.

 

Well that leaves you a month and half to study up on the rules and dry fire!

 

With respect to your original question: I have no idea. I suppose I was able to hold a fist-sized group at 7 more often than not. 6" at 15 is great, but keep in mind that your pace of shooting might change when you run through a stage.

 

What I took note of was the scoresheet. I noticed a lot of D's, M's, and some NS's. I realized that was bad so I worked on getting those shifted towards A's and C's. I would wager that I could shoot a tighter group now than I could pre-USPSA.

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Over the last couple years, the squad that I regularly shoot with has been tagged as the "starter squad" or the "Noob Squad"... 6-8 guys that have been doing it since Christ was a corporal... I really enjoy helping the people that are new to our sport. So I'll echo a few key points that have been mentioned here. First and foremost are safe gun handling skills, not accuracy, not speed. There is no quicker or worse way to negatively influence people at a range than to point a gun at them. So mind the basics, upon arrival at a match, follow range rules while gearing up (use safe areas as designated), once geared up... don't handle your gun unless an RO tells you to, when it is your turn to shoot - keep the muzzle pointed down range (don't break the 180 - particularly while performing reloads) and keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger unless you are engaging a target. Many new shooters we see have only experienced standing in a booth or lane of an indoor facility; they haven't considered the mechanics of a shoot while moving exercise. As noted by others in this thread, ask for and be receptive to help. There is nothing wrong with identifying yourself as a new shooter at the sign-in or safety meeting before the match and partnering with people that have experience. In fact that will ensure you succeed in getting off to a good start and have fun. 

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There is a few things going on here. First who cares if you look bad or good.The only person you are competing with is yourself. With that being said competition brings stress, pushing yourself, and most importantly seeing what works and what doesn't work for you. Everyone has a starting point, and by finding out your sticking points early you can smooth them out. 

 

One of the biggest sticking points I have seen is  gun handling of new shooters with lack of confidence in weapon manipulation and fixing malfunctions quickly. I have even seen people stop a stage or give up because of the malfunction. Fix the problem and continue the stage this might save your life in a real life situation. Confidence and  safe handling skills also makes the RO happy. 

The next key is dry fire which is extremely effective for learning your weapon and becoming consistent with same grip ,same placement of the trigger finger, trigger pull , natural point of aim and body alignment. As you become more consistent with the steps and  analyze what you're doing wrong, the groups with become tighter.

 

Most importantly shoot at your speed there is no points for shooting fast and missing.. There are a few great books on dry firing.

https://benstoegerproshop.com/dryfire-book-combo-pack-dry-fire-training-reloaded-for-the-practical-pistol-shooter-paperback-book-and-scaled-targets/

 

https://www.amazon.com/Refinement-Repetition-Dry-fire-Dramatic-Improvement/dp/1930847769

 

 

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Like others have said, you don't have to be a crack shot to start. I know I wasn't, and still aren't. I've gotten better just by going and participating, along with dry-fire and live-fire practice.

 

The main thing is to just go and be safe. Ignore the score, timer, etc. Just be safe and have fun. Did I mention to be safe? 🙂

 

Let them know you're new and they will help you. I got a great RO in my first match and she kept reminding me to breath and relax and didn't rush me at the start. Plus I had multiple people helping me around stage planning, and giving me encouragement throughout the match.

 

Your quality of shooting will definitely get better over time with practice and going to matches.

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I read about dry fire, bought a shot timer and Steve Anderson's book, and did some dry fire before shooting my first match.  That helped a lot.  Not necessary though.

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I wasn't good when I started but I could shoot a pepper plate at 15 yards! I just went to one after hours and hours of YouTube learned a lot and still hooked!

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I will beat a dead horse here... Find a local match and do it already!!

 

I shot my first match this past January. I wanted to do it the year before but kept putting it off. Wanted to get better. What a waste of time. I had everything I need to compete the year before when it came to skill and that was being safe with my gun. Muzzle awareness, trigger discipline, etc. You really just need to get out there and shoot a match. 

 

I also don't know anyone that competes. Hell, I don't know anyone that shoots pistols more than a couple of times a year. I called the match director the week before to get the low down and let him know I was going. Showed up a little early. Told them I was new. They had me wait a sign ups and paired me up with a guy. We then joined a squad. Everyone was extremely helpful, accommodating and encouraging. Hell, even the one guy that was sort of a dick was really positive towards me, gave me tips and encouraged me. I left that day totally hooked and have become friends with the guy I was paired up with.

 

We go practice together. He's been shooting UPSA since the late 80's and has been a tremendous help to me and my progress of becoming a Jedi Practical Shooter.

 

I guarantee you will have the same experience as me. If you don't, I will buy you a hamburger next time I go up to Northern California. And hell, if you do start to compete, I'd love to shoot a match up there with you when I go to visit my daughter. She lives in North Sac. 

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On 12/31/2018 at 2:06 PM, matir said:

How good a shot were you before you started shooting in USPSA?  How tight should my groups be?

 

I just got a CZ-75 SP-01 (my first full caliber pistol) and I'm very excited about trying competition, but right now my groups are still pretty terrible (6" at 15 yds).  How tight should I be getting them before I start competing?  I'd rather not look foolish at my first match, after all.

 

Group sizes don't mean s#!t in what we do.

 

You are going to look foolish your first season (and maybe the second and third too).

 

WTF are you waiting for?

 

IME those who ask "how good do I need to be" or say "I'm not good enough yet" are forever no shows on match day.  Please prove me wrong.

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I'm not that good of a shot really. If I go slow and concentrate I can keep 10 shots in a 3 inch dot out to 10 yards. At 25 yards I can shoot a 6-8" group..most of the time. So at 25 yards I can hit a head box, steel plate or A zone if I take my time. I'd suggest if someone is interested in the sport that they understand how their gun works, the safety rules, know how to reload the gun, and can hit A-box most of the time out to 15 yards before they head out to a match. Everything else is going to come with time.

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Posted (edited)

Better hurry up; by the time i got good i also got older and slower.

Edited by Max It

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Before I started shooting USPSA, I could shoot a 10” group at 5 yards.  Now I shoot paster-sized groups at 10 yards.

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