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So I Did My First USPSA Match....


Flea
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...and I was really bad. As in dead last by a wide margin out of 28 people....but I had a lot of fun. Putting aside the fact that I had mental overload and didn't even shoot things (targets, left popper standing) I was supposed to, I had a lot of difficulty in just shooting. For context, I've only been shooting a handgun since Nov 2019 and I have a 4.25" 1911.

 

What I found most challenging was shooting at USPSA targets. Up until yesterday, the only things I shot at were black or fluorescent circles or squares or triangles or bars. Something that my 58 year old eyes could focus on when aiming. With the USPSA targets, there is nothing black or distinctive to help me focus. I was amazed how difficult it was for me to aim at the A zone.

 

Is this a normal type thing for a new shooter of USPSA? I need to start shooting mostly at USPSA targets to get used to that visual.

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14 minutes ago, Flea said:

Is this a normal type thing for a new shooter of USPSA? I

 

Probably it is normal to start off aiming at the whole target rather than aiming at a small enough zone of the target to allow for wobble & imperfect trigger control and etc..

 

The big kids say "see what you need to see" , on very close stuff that turns into "fist on brown hammer down" and on hard shots it can be the center of the "A" zone. 

 

 

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wait until you shoot idpa and they put shirts on the targets...

 

congrats on getting into shooting and even better, starting doing matches!!  you will def get better over time.  ask the match director for a couple of targets (or just take the shot up ones at the end of a match) and dry fire at them at home so you can get used to where the scoring zones are.  basically it's sorta supposed to simulate a human body and the vital areas you want to hit.

 

find a good shooter at your next match and ask him or her to mentor you a little.  there are a lot of things you can do that will help you shoot better and be faster over a course of fire.

 

be safe and have fun!

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Completely normal.

 

I came into shooting sports as a manner of seeing what I’d actually be capable of doing under stress involving a handgun.

 

Like all of us, the answer was “I am much, much less than capable than I thought I was.”

 

There are two reactions to this:

 

About half the people can’t take the harsh truth and they never come back.

 

Half of us see it as motivation and can’t wait to learn and do better at the next match.

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10 hours ago, Flea said:

What I found most challenging was shooting at USPSA targets. Up until yesterday, the only things I shot at were black or fluorescent circles or squares or triangles or bars. Something that my 58 year old eyes could focus on when aiming. With the USPSA targets, there is nothing black or distinctive to help me focus. I was amazed how difficult it was for me to aim at the A zone.

 

Is this a normal type thing for a new shooter of USPSA? I need to start shooting mostly at USPSA targets to get used to that visual.

 

Your first problem is that you think you should focus on the target.  If you're using a pistol with traditional iron sights, you would be wrong.  100% of your focus needs to be on the front sight.  Maybe, after you develop a really solid index out of the holster and a really solid grip you can start learning to transition to target focus.......

 

In any case, yes, you need to shoot lots of uspsa targets to learn where the A zone is without having it in sharp focus.  Even if you shoot a pistol with a reflex sight (aka red dot sight) you still won't be able to see the A zone even though reflex sights allow you to focus on the target 100% of the time.

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44 minutes ago, SGT_Schultz said:

100% of your focus needs to be on the front sight.


Well, not completely true and an often talked about topic.

 

Here’s what I read, hear, and observe from the GMs.

It is also what works for me.

 

Iron Sights:

Target or front sight focus depends on the difficulty of the target. Shoot what you see and never disrespect your target.  A close target can except a bit more displacement between the front and rear than a far target. 
 

Dots:

Target focus and don’t stare at the dot like a front sight. 

 

Both:

Look at where you want the bullet to hit and drive the sights to that spot. Don’t look at the sights and move them to the location. 
 

I hope this makes sense.  Maybe some others can add a bit more. 
 

BTW I switched to CO from production last year and seeing the A zone, even on a 25 yard target, isn’t a problem, unless one is looking for the zone perfs on the target. The A zone is always in the same target locations. 
 

The best advice for aiming at the targets comes from Steve Anderson, “aim at the center of the available target.”

Edited by HesedTech
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14 minutes ago, HesedTech said:


Well, not completely true and an often talked about topic.

 

Here’s what I read, hear, and observe from the GMs.

It is also what works for me.

 

Iron Sights:

Target or front sight focus depends on the difficulty of the target. Shoot what you see and never disrespect your target.  A close target can except a bit more displacement between the front and rear than a far target. 
 

Dots:

Target focus and don’t stare at the dot like a front sight. 

 

Both:

Look at where you want the bullet to hit and drive the sights to that spot. Don’t look at the sights and move them to the location. 
 

I hope this makes sense.  Maybe some others can add a bit more. 
 

BTW I switched to CO from production last year and seeing the A zone, even on a 25 yard target, isn’t a problem, unless one is looking for the zone perfs on the target. The A zone is always in the same target locations. 
 

The best advice for aiming at the targets comes from Steve Anderson, “aim at the center of the available target.”

 

So clearly you stopped reading my post very early on and ignored everything I said past the portion you selectively quoted.

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13 hours ago, SGT_Schultz said:

 

So clearly you stopped reading my post very early on and ignored everything I said past the portion you selectively quoted.

 

Clearly I did read your entire post and clarified what you wrote and stand by that clarification.

 

I'll repeat it again

 

14 hours ago, SGT_Schultz said:

If you're using a pistol with traditional iron sights, you would be wrong.  100% of your focus needs to be on the front sight.

 

This statement is not entirely true and it contrasts with most if not all GMs and world level shooters teach. Maybe you missed the famous video from Rob Leatham:

 

https://youtu.be/li0rGtXh23I

 

While he's shooting with a dot the advice applies to iron sights.

 

Now here's another about "acceptable sight picture:"

 

The OP needs good advice.

 

Edited by HesedTech
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4 hours ago, HesedTech said:

This statement is not entirely true and it contrasts with most if not all GMs and world level shooters teach. Maybe you missed the famous video from Rob Leatham:

 

I don't need your lectures on target focused shooting.  That's all I've been doing for the last ten years due to presbyopia.

 

Also, stop selectively quoting people.  Everyone can see through it.

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On 6/8/2020 at 9:38 AM, Flea said:

...and I was really bad. As in dead last by a wide margin out of 28 people....but I had a lot of fun. Putting aside the fact that I had mental overload and didn't even shoot things (targets, left popper standing) I was supposed to, I had a lot of difficulty in just shooting. For context, I've only been shooting a handgun since Nov 2019 and I have a 4.25" 1911.

 

What I found most challenging was shooting at USPSA targets. Up until yesterday, the only things I shot at were black or fluorescent circles or squares or triangles or bars. Something that my 58 year old eyes could focus on when aiming. With the USPSA targets, there is nothing black or distinctive to help me focus. I was amazed how difficult it was for me to aim at the A zone.

 

Is this a normal type thing for a new shooter of USPSA? I need to start shooting mostly at USPSA targets to get used to that visual.

 

   It was your first match correct? By being safe, not incurring a safety infraction, and simply seeing what it's all about you did fantastic. A lot of first time shooters are not so fortunate. Additionally as you have only been shooting for @ 6 months, try to have reasonable expectations. 

 

   As you're on this site you have a wealth of information readily available at your fingertips for the low cost of free!!! Money back guarantee. Don't sweat missing / forgetting targets at your first match. Stage breakdown / analysis/ planning is science & art, some learned and some comes with time. The scoring zones of targets are obscured for a reason, makes it fun! Also the words "normal" & "new shooter" don't usually collide in the same sentence; if your new at anything there is no normal yet. 

 

   Advise I wish I would have been given after my first match:

1- Pick a platform/division and commit to it while you learn the game & rules. 

2- Simple dryfire drills. Nothing too elaborate, even 10 min / 3 times a week will pay extreme dividends early. 

3- Maintain your equipment. When it doesn't go bang every time it sucks. 

4- See 1-3. 

 

   Don't overthink it too much. Have fun & enjoy. After you have 3-4 matches under your belt you will look back at your first and not recognize who you were then. The progression will amaze and inspire you. Have fun and best of luck. 

 

-PTR

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5 hours ago, SGT_Schultz said:

 

I don't need your lectures on target focused shooting.  That's all I've been doing for the last ten years due to presbyopia.

 

Also, stop selectively quoting people.  Everyone can see through it.

Nothing to see through. 
 

Dude you have to chill out.  Just a bit sensitive I’d say. 
 

Only trying to clarify for the new shooter and pass on some advice. 

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After I shot my first match and my results were simular to yours one of the RO’s told me to not leave after the match because he had something for me....I hung around and what he gave me changed everything for me at the next match one month later....

 

He gave me two new USPSA targets and told me to take them home and paint the A sections on one and on the other one paint everything except the A sections with BLACK paint....He told me to take these targets and practice drawing and dry firing at both styles at least twice a week for the next four weeks until the next match....Then he told me to do one other thing that helped me more than anything...He told me to put the targets up and stand 10 yards away and with nothing in my hands STARE at each target for 5 minutes then close my eyes and visualize the target....Then do the same for the other one.....and do this at least once every other day for three weeks.....I did what he recommended and.......

 

The next  match I went from dead last to 19th out of 32 shooters.....You might want to give this a try...USPSA targets can be purchased usually at your local gun stores or call your match director and ask if you can purchase a couple for your own use....

Edited by Sigarmsp226
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On 6/8/2020 at 9:17 AM, Hi-Power Jack said:

My first few matches (30 years ago), I had some very nice, tight

groups all 6" below the A-Zone.

 

Took me a while to realize the A-Zone was not in the middle of

the target.

 

But, I made up for the inaccuracy by being Very Slow   :) 

Oh man for the longest time I thought I was the only one struggling with this. I had to consciously tell myself each stage aim higher for so long. The center of the target just seemed like a natural aiming point and as I tried to go faster I wound up pointing there even more. It was a hard habit to break. 

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On 6/8/2020 at 10:17 AM, Hi-Power Jack said:

My first few matches (30 years ago), I had some very nice, tight

groups all 6" below the A-Zone.

 

Took me a while to realize the A-Zone was not in the middle of

the target.

 

 


Being an IPSC shooter and only shooting USPSA between 5-10 times a season I tend to trend low in the A-Zone when I head South to shoot.

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19 minutes ago, Chili said:


Being an IPSC shooter and only shooting USPSA between 5-10 times a season I tend to trend low in the A-Zone when I head South to shoot.


I have the same issue going back and forth between USPSA and ICORE (the latter uses NRA tombstones).

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My first 2 matches my whole goal was just to get out of there without screwing up.  I decided before I got there that it was a win to just not DQ.

The worst thing I remember was transitioning from one side of the course to the other and thinking I made 4 good hits but instead I had 4 mikes.  haha

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  • 4 months later...
On 6/8/2020 at 10:06 PM, HesedTech said:


Well, not completely true and an often talked about topic.

 

Here’s what I read, hear, and observe from the GMs.

It is also what works for me.

 

Iron Sights:

Target or front sight focus depends on the difficulty of the target. Shoot what you see and never disrespect your target.  A close target can except a bit more displacement between the front and rear than a far target. 
 

Dots:

Target focus and don’t stare at the dot like a front sight. 

 

Both:

Look at where you want the bullet to hit and drive the sights to that spot. Don’t look at the sights and move them to the location. 
 

I hope this makes sense.  Maybe some others can add a bit more. 
 

BTW I switched to CO from production last year and seeing the A zone, even on a 25 yard target, isn’t a problem, unless one is looking for the zone perfs on the target. The A zone is always in the same target locations. 
 

The best advice for aiming at the targets comes from Steve Anderson, “aim at the center of the available target.”

Yes!  I shoot CO and I focus probably 80% on the target.  When I shoot irons now it’s about 50% sights.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Total beginner and haven’t shot a true match but I was having trouble seeing the center also. At my home range I just put a black paster on the center of the A zone. Makes 100% difference and during dry fire it conditions muscle memory. 

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  • 3 months later...
On 6/8/2020 at 10:38 AM, Flea said:

...and I was really bad. As in dead last by a wide margin out of 28 people....but I had a lot of fun. Putting aside the fact that I had mental overload and didn't even shoot things (targets, left popper standing) I was supposed to, I had a lot of difficulty in just shooting. For context, I've only been shooting a handgun since Nov 2019 and I have a 4.25" 1911.

 

What I found most challenging was shooting at USPSA targets. Up until yesterday, the only things I shot at were black or fluorescent circles or squares or triangles or bars. Something that my 58 year old eyes could focus on when aiming. With the USPSA targets, there is nothing black or distinctive to help me focus. I was amazed how difficult it was for me to aim at the A zone.

 

Is this a normal type thing for a new shooter of USPSA? I need to start shooting mostly at USPSA targets to get used to that visual.

It’s definitely difficult at first, my fist match I got DQ’d for a 180 violation by about 5 degrees. I was frustrated at myself but in doing so, it let me always focus and analyze the 180 on every stage I shoot. When you make any mistakes, you will learn to fix them or at least learn to know when your making one. 

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