Jump to content

Adventures of a complete beginner in USPSA


crg
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi I'm Corey, and I'm a PhD student in control engineering. I mention this only because to some extent my engineering background has shaped the way I look at things and approach problems, as may become apparent. I don't know if anyone actually reads these things so the goal is mostly to document my venture into USPSA for my own purposes, and all the better if this helps anyone else down the road.

 

Some background on myself: I bought my first handgun about three years ago and have shot a total of maybe 1200 rounds casually at a nearby range since then. This range doesn't allow movement, drawing from a holster, or firing more rapidly than once every three seconds. Last year I started to get bored of just statically shooting at paper 10 yards away and decided some form of competition may be more interesting. USPSA looked fun and my very supportive wife bought me Charlie Perez's book for Christmas, so naturally  after reading through it once I was ready to jump right into a match with absolutely zero experience performing any of the skills required. In the immortal words of Jeremy Clarkson, "how hard can it be?"

 

About two weeks ago a new belt, some mag pouches, and a training book by Ben Stoeger came in and I started doing the level one dry fire drills recommended. Last Saturday I shot my first match and completed it without getting disqualified, which I consider to be a great personal success. I was, however, slow as molasses and not even very accurate despite that. I shot a completely stock P320 X5 (the pre-Legion version) in Limited as recommended by the match director so I could focus less on reloads and more on safety. I deliberately took it pretty easy to avoid tripping over myself or breaking 180, two things I was legitimately nervous about.

 

 

 

So with about two weeks of dryfire and a match under my belt, here's my initial thoughts:

 

- I need to find a new range. The dry fire has absolutely been helpful but I need an opportunity to verify what I'm seeing during training with live fire outside of matches. Even basic things like double tapping targets are completely foreign to me due to the forced delay between shots at my local range. As you can see in the video above, I'm extremely hesitant about making follow up shots since I really have no idea how quickly I can make them and stay on target. I found myself waiting for a perfectly clear sight picture for every shot like I would at the range, wasting a lot of time.

 

- I'm not in love with the X5. The grip is wide and the backstrap is very gently rounded which makes it difficult for me to consistently get the same grip on it out of the holster with my relatively small hands. I also have a Shadow 2 which fits my hands a lot better and the sharper backstrap forces the gun into my hand way the same way consistently. To make matters worse I have a hard time reaching the mag release button so I usually have to break my strong hand grip to press it. I'm using the X5 for now because I ordered a GX holster for the CZ which won't be in for another two months, so in the meantime I bought a cheap holster for the X5 so I can use that for now. Once the CZ holster comes in I will most likely swap to that gun, but for now I need to buy an extended mag release for the X5. I'm also going to buy some grip tape because the polymer frame might as well be an ice skating rink once there's some sweat on it.

 

- Dry fire is tiring. I was initially trying to do an hour a day but after a couple days of that I couldn't maintain proper grip strength for the duration so I've cut back to half an hour a day, five or six days a week. I suspect the fatigue will only get worse with the significantly heavier CZ. I'm also somewhat limited to what I can do since I live in a third floor apartment; anything involving running will likely get me evicted. I will need to find a way to practice movement (that doesn't get me arrested or evicted) at some point.

 

- It feels much more natural for me to focus on the target than the front sight. I understand that's how you shoot with a red dot but I've never even looked through one before so I don't have any old optic-related habits to break. At first I was trying to force myself to focus on the front sight for distances over about 10 yards but after doing some research on these boards I'm thinking maybe I'm fine just shooting target focus all the time, except maybe for particularly long shots. I'm planning to test out shooting both ways during my next range trip later this week to see the effect on groups.

 

- From reading the two books and spending a bunch of time here I have some idea of what I need to be doing, but I'm definitely not doing it yet. I'm shooting another match this weekend where I will again focus on safety, but this time I'm going to try and speed things up a little bit as far as getting into and out of positions and making follow up shots. I think there's a lot of low hanging fruit in simply moving faster and eliminating some of the excess time I spend getting on target and lingering there too long. Really everything I'm doing is pretty slow so maybe just introducing a bit more urgency would help.

 

- I find the competition against myself very appealing. I have no ambitions of being competitive against anyone else for the foreseeable future, but being able to video myself during practice and matches, and see my performance in classifiers over time will let me quantitatively and qualitatively analyze my performance over time. Hopefully I can use that information to improve my shooting.

 

If anyone actually took the time to read this then thank you! If not, then this will just be a means for me to document my own progress and ramblings which is okay too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, crg said:

Hi I'm Corey, and I'm a PhD student in control engineering. I mention this only because to some extent my engineering background has shaped the way I look at things and approach problems, as may become apparent. I don't know if anyone actually reads these things so the goal is mostly to document my venture into USPSA for my own purposes, and all the better if this helps anyone else down the road.

 

Some background on myself: I bought my first handgun about three years ago and have shot a total of maybe 1200 rounds casually at a nearby range since then. This range doesn't allow movement, drawing from a holster, or firing more rapidly than once every three seconds. Last year I started to get bored of just statically shooting at paper 10 yards away and decided some form of competition may be more interesting. USPSA looked fun and my very supportive wife bought me Charlie Perez's book for Christmas, so naturally  after reading through it once I was ready to jump right into a match with absolutely zero experience performing any of the skills required. In the immortal words of Jeremy Clarkson, "how hard can it be?"

 

About two weeks ago a new belt, some mag pouches, and a training book by Ben Stoeger came in and I started doing the level one dry fire drills recommended. Last Saturday I shot my first match and completed it without getting disqualified, which I consider to be a great personal success. I was, however, slow as molasses and not even very accurate despite that. I shot a completely stock P320 X5 (the pre-Legion version) in Limited as recommended by the match director so I could focus less on reloads and more on safety. I deliberately took it pretty easy to avoid tripping over myself or breaking 180, two things I was legitimately nervous about.

 

 

 

So with about two weeks of dryfire and a match under my belt, here's my initial thoughts:

 

- I need to find a new range. The dry fire has absolutely been helpful but I need an opportunity to verify what I'm seeing during training with live fire outside of matches. Even basic things like double tapping targets are completely foreign to me due to the forced delay between shots at my local range. As you can see in the video above, I'm extremely hesitant about making follow up shots since I really have no idea how quickly I can make them and stay on target. I found myself waiting for a perfectly clear sight picture for every shot like I would at the range, wasting a lot of time.

 

- I'm not in love with the X5. The grip is wide and the backstrap is very gently rounded which makes it difficult for me to consistently get the same grip on it out of the holster with my relatively small hands. I also have a Shadow 2 which fits my hands a lot better and the sharper backstrap forces the gun into my hand way the same way consistently. To make matters worse I have a hard time reaching the mag release button so I usually have to break my strong hand grip to press it. I'm using the X5 for now because I ordered a GX holster for the CZ which won't be in for another two months, so in the meantime I bought a cheap holster for the X5 so I can use that for now. Once the CZ holster comes in I will most likely swap to that gun, but for now I need to buy an extended mag release for the X5. I'm also going to buy some grip tape because the polymer frame might as well be an ice skating rink once there's some sweat on it.

 

- Dry fire is tiring. I was initially trying to do an hour a day but after a couple days of that I couldn't maintain proper grip strength for the duration so I've cut back to half an hour a day, five or six days a week. I suspect the fatigue will only get worse with the significantly heavier CZ. I'm also somewhat limited to what I can do since I live in a third floor apartment; anything involving running will likely get me evicted. I will need to find a way to practice movement (that doesn't get me arrested or evicted) at some point.

 

- It feels much more natural for me to focus on the target than the front sight. I understand that's how you shoot with a red dot but I've never even looked through one before so I don't have any old optic-related habits to break. At first I was trying to force myself to focus on the front sight for distances over about 10 yards but after doing some research on these boards I'm thinking maybe I'm fine just shooting target focus all the time, except maybe for particularly long shots. I'm planning to test out shooting both ways during my next range trip later this week to see the effect on groups.

 

- From reading the two books and spending a bunch of time here I have some idea of what I need to be doing, but I'm definitely not doing it yet. I'm shooting another match this weekend where I will again focus on safety, but this time I'm going to try and speed things up a little bit as far as getting into and out of positions and making follow up shots. I think there's a lot of low hanging fruit in simply moving faster and eliminating some of the excess time I spend getting on target and lingering there too long. Really everything I'm doing is pretty slow so maybe just introducing a bit more urgency would help.

 

- I find the competition against myself very appealing. I have no ambitions of being competitive against anyone else for the foreseeable future, but being able to video myself during practice and matches, and see my performance in classifiers over time will let me quantitatively and qualitatively analyze my performance over time. Hopefully I can use that information to improve my shooting.

 

If anyone actually took the time to read this then thank you! If not, then this will just be a means for me to document my own progress and ramblings which is okay too.

 

Welcome to the competitive shooting world, where your adventure just started and will certainly expand even further 🙂 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent first post!!  Welcome to the forum!  Continue to hit the matches and you’ll become more comfortable which will allow you to then focus on what you need to do better.  Make friends on the squads you shoot and advice will come freely..

 

Enjoy the sport!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, crg said:

Hi I'm Corey, and I'm a PhD student in control engineering. I mention this only because to some extent my engineering background has shaped the way I look at things and approach problems, as may become apparent. I don't know if anyone actually reads these things so the goal is mostly to document my venture into USPSA for my own purposes, and all the better if this helps anyone else down the road.

 

Some background on myself: I bought my first handgun about three years ago and have shot a total of maybe 1200 rounds casually at a nearby range since then. This range doesn't allow movement, drawing from a holster, or firing more rapidly than once every three seconds. Last year I started to get bored of just statically shooting at paper 10 yards away and decided some form of competition may be more interesting. USPSA looked fun and my very supportive wife bought me Charlie Perez's book for Christmas, so naturally  after reading through it once I was ready to jump right into a match with absolutely zero experience performing any of the skills required. In the immortal words of Jeremy Clarkson, "how hard can it be?"

 

Welcome Corey! I am excited to see how your brain goes over and learns this sport. Different minds will learn differently and often through new perspectives. That is good information for anyone who is a student of the game. Also +10 points for the Clarkson reference. 😄

 

11 hours ago, crg said:

About two weeks ago a new belt, some mag pouches, and a training book by Ben Stoeger came in and I started doing the level one dry fire drills recommended. Last Saturday I shot my first match and completed it without getting disqualified, which I consider to be a great personal success. I was, however, slow as molasses and not even very accurate despite that. I shot a completely stock P320 X5 (the pre-Legion version) in Limited as recommended by the match director so I could focus less on reloads and more on safety. I deliberately took it pretty easy to avoid tripping over myself or breaking 180, two things I was legitimately nervous about.

 

Don't worry. 99% of folks start out slow. The fact you have a bit of caution is good to start. Your initial speed will come with comfort in gun handling (not to be mistaken with carelessness). After that you can focus on adding urgency to negotiation of stages and really hit the gas on stages.

 

Accuracy at speed is a training issue. Stoger's book on live and dryfire practice is a good resource to help develop that skill.

 

11 hours ago, crg said:

 

So with about two weeks of dryfire and a match under my belt, here's my initial thoughts:

 

- I need to find a new range. The dry fire has absolutely been helpful but I need an opportunity to verify what I'm seeing during training with live fire outside of matches. Even basic things like double tapping targets are completely foreign to me due to the forced delay between shots at my local range. As you can see in the video above, I'm extremely hesitant about making follow up shots since I really have no idea how quickly I can make them and stay on target. I found myself waiting for a perfectly clear sight picture for every shot like I would at the range, wasting a lot of time.

 

Yup. Depending on where you live that can be easier or harder to do. Ask around at your next match. Those folks will be able to provide guidance and opinions on your options. 

 

11 hours ago, crg said:

- I'm not in love with the X5. The grip is wide and the backstrap is very gently rounded which makes it difficult for me to consistently get the same grip on it out of the holster with my relatively small hands. I also have a Shadow 2 which fits my hands a lot better and the sharper backstrap forces the gun into my hand way the same way consistently. To make matters worse I have a hard time reaching the mag release button so I usually have to break my strong hand grip to press it. I'm using the X5 for now because I ordered a GX holster for the CZ which won't be in for another two months, so in the meantime I bought a cheap holster for the X5 so I can use that for now. Once the CZ holster comes in I will most likely swap to that gun, but for now I need to buy an extended mag release for the X5. I'm also going to buy some grip tape because the polymer frame might as well be an ice skating rink once there's some sweat on it.

 

If you aren't happy with the X5, ditch it. You aren't gaining any skill or wisdom shooting a gun you aren't happy with. If you like the S2 shoot the S2. Sell the X5 and use the $ to buy ammo and/or spare parts for the S2. You'll much happier. 

GX may say they are on a 2 month delay but it's probably longer. You can get a decent holster for the Shadow 2 from any competition holster company. If you are set on the GX get a Comp-Tac or BladeTech for now then swap over to the GX when it arrives. 

 

11 hours ago, crg said:

- Dry fire is tiring. I was initially trying to do an hour a day but after a couple days of that I couldn't maintain proper grip strength for the duration so I've cut back to half an hour a day, five or six days a week. I suspect the fatigue will only get worse with the significantly heavier CZ. I'm also somewhat limited to what I can do since I live in a third floor apartment; anything involving running will likely get me evicted. I will need to find a way to practice movement (that doesn't get me arrested or evicted) at some point.

 

Good. That means you're doing it right. If your hands are tiring you are doing it right. I don't know that you need to be dryfiring 30+ mins a day but that is up to you. I suggest having a specific goal for that dryfire that day. i.e. Run a simulated Blake Drill in under 4 seconds, 5 times in a row, clearly seeing the sight picture. Once you have accomplished that task you're done dry-firing for the day. Pick an new drill the next day and do that again. Once you shoot more matches you'll start to get a feel for your weak areas and you can target your dryfire to those areas to continuously improve your shooting.

 

11 hours ago, crg said:

- It feels much more natural for me to focus on the target than the front sight. I understand that's how you shoot with a red dot but I've never even looked through one before so I don't have any old optic-related habits to break. At first I was trying to force myself to focus on the front sight for distances over about 10 yards but after doing some research on these boards I'm thinking maybe I'm fine just shooting target focus all the time, except maybe for particularly long shots. I'm planning to test out shooting both ways during my next range trip later this week to see the effect on groups.

 

I am going through something similar right now. I just came off a 4.5 year stint shooting red-dots exclusively and I am swapping to irons to shoot in Limited this year. I think target focused is the way to go even with iron sights just like you described. You can check out my range diary starting here (Reds_Dots Range Diary) for more info on what I am discovering.

 

11 hours ago, crg said:

- From reading the two books and spending a bunch of time here I have some idea of what I need to be doing, but I'm definitely not doing it yet. I'm shooting another match this weekend where I will again focus on safety, but this time I'm going to try and speed things up a little bit as far as getting into and out of positions and making follow up shots. I think there's a lot of low hanging fruit in simply moving faster and eliminating some of the excess time I spend getting on target and lingering there too long. Really everything I'm doing is pretty slow so maybe just introducing a bit more urgency would help.

 

- I find the competition against myself very appealing. I have no ambitions of being competitive against anyone else for the foreseeable future, but being able to video myself during practice and matches, and see my performance in classifiers over time will let me quantitatively and qualitatively analyze my performance over time. Hopefully I can use that information to improve my shooting.

 

Yeah you are on the right track for sure. Just like Charlie says you need to add urgency to what you are doing. 

 

It sounds like you have a pretty good grasp on things going forward. Just remember: not all advice on the range is good advice. Take it with a grain of salt and decide for yourself if it works.  I am looking forward to reading this range log in the future. 😎👍

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@crg I find your approach and observations very interesting because they seem very similar to mine as I've gone along in this sport.  Maybe not coincidentally, I'm an engineer as well.

 

There's little I can add that hasn't already been said but I have a few observations, in random order of importance.

 

In such a short stage, keep the gun up and aimed at your upcoming target as you move.  Along with that, keep both hands on it.  You can see the targets through the mesh walls.  If you play in slow motion your entry into the left shooting position you can see how much time you lose bring your left hand to the gun, then bringing the gun up to your eyes, then aiming for longer than you needed to get 2A on such a close, wide open target.

 

You've identified that you take too much time over-confirming the sight picture, but then you send a shot into a no-shoot target on the inside target of the left array.  If there was one target to slow down your trigger finger and clamp down hard on the gun, that was it.  On that target you got a miss and a no shoot, so you lost 15 points in a fraction of a second.  That's a pretty costly mistake.

 

Make ready with a purpose.  Handle your pistol purposefully, crisply, and with the same exact motions that you would use while handling it at speed, even if you do it slowly or less rapidly.  Bring the pistol up to where you would normally reload.  Grip the magazine with the index finger along the front side, exactly the way you should when reloading the pistol on the clock.  The way I saw you draw and load your pistol was pretty sloppy and it just reinforces poor gun handling. 

 

Don't forcefully shove the pistol in the holster.  That goes double for striker fired handguns without an external safety.  That goes triple for when it's loaded.  It's not a rule, but there's no need to hurry.  It's a poor habit to get into, particularly if you carry a striker fired pistol in an IWB holster.

 

When you're done loading and holstering, keep your strong hand on the grip of the gun while you move around and are settling in.  It's against the rules to start with the hand on the gun or on a magazine, so any semi experienced RO will know immediately that you're not ready while your hand is on the grip.  Once you release the pistol and you fully assume the ready position (wrists below belt, wrists above shoulders, hands on marks, etc, facing downrange, etc), stop moving.  I mean don't even twitch.  Then the RO knows you're ready and will ask "are you ready?".

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Corey - Great initial post and your observations are on point with many others that have gotten on the path of enlightenment before you.  I'm not going to give you specific suggestions since I'll freely admit I'm no expert and each person needs to learn based upon their own abilities, motivation, and time/money available.  There are plenty available on this forum, at matches, and other places, who will freely give you their opinions about what you should be doing and how you should be doing it.  Just remember, their advice is worth every penny you are paying for it.  I will say that after you get your feet wet in the sport, if you can swing a shooting fundamentals class with a high level shooter, someone like Ben Stoeger for instance, it will be money well spent and you can really save time, money, and frustration in the long.  I took a class with Ben a few years ago and while I did not come away from the class a better shooter, it did give me the confidence and the tools to train better and become a better shooter than I could have if I kept stumbling around without professional guidance.  Good luck and always remember that the shooting sports should be fun too!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the warm welcome and all of the kind words!

 

7 hours ago, Reds_Dot said:

If you aren't happy with the X5, ditch it. You aren't gaining any skill or wisdom shooting a gun you aren't happy with. If you like the S2 shoot the S2. Sell the X5 and use the $ to buy ammo and/or spare parts for the S2. You'll much happier. 

GX may say they are on a 2 month delay but it's probably longer. You can get a decent holster for the Shadow 2 from any competition holster company. If you are set on the GX get a Comp-Tac or BladeTech for now then swap over to the GX when it arrives. 

 

You make a really good point. With the money I would spend on an extended mag release for the X5 I could just buy a holster for the CZ to use in the meantime and shoot a gun I like more. I have a Comp-Tac for the X5 that seems to do the job fine so I'll probably just get another one for the CZ.

 

7 hours ago, Reds_Dot said:

Good. That means you're doing it right. If your hands are tiring you are doing it right. I don't know that you need to be dryfiring 30+ mins a day but that is up to you. I suggest having a specific goal for that dryfire that day. i.e. Run a simulated Blake Drill in under 4 seconds, 5 times in a row, clearly seeing the sight picture. Once you have accomplished that task you're done dry-firing for the day. Pick an new drill the next day and do that again. Once you shoot more matches you'll start to get a feel for your weak areas and you can target your dryfire to those areas to continuously improve your shooting.

 

I think Charlie Perez mentioned in his book that you should be training with your grip exactly as you'd be shooting live ammunition so I'm trying to take that to heart. For training I'm following the drills from the Practical Shooting Training book. I like the idea of working on something specific each day to give me something to focus on, I'll give that a try. I'm only on level one so far so it doesn't suggest any par times but I think in the later levels it does. I don't have a timer to practice with yet but for the time being it might be interesting to video myself doing the drills to see my speed and identify anything I'm doing wrong.

 

7 hours ago, Reds_Dot said:

I am going through something similar right now. I just came off a 4.5 year stint shooting red-dots exclusively and I am swapping to irons to shoot in Limited this year. I think target focused is the way to go even with iron sights just like you described. You can check out my range diary starting here (Reds_Dots Range Diary) for more info on what I am discovering.

 

Thanks, I will check it out. I appreciate the opportunity these forums offer to glean as much knowledge as I can from everyone else who's already crossed these same bridges.

 

 

1 hour ago, Johnny_Chimpo said:

You've identified that you take too much time over-confirming the sight picture, but then you send a shot into a no-shoot target on the inside target of the left array.  If there was one target to slow down your trigger finger and clamp down hard on the gun, that was it.  On that target you got a miss and a no shoot, so you lost 15 points in a fraction of a second.  That's a pretty costly mistake.

 

That was definitely a costly mistake. At the time I didn't realize I'd be penalized with a miss on top of the penalty for shooting the no shoot. Entirely a failure on my part to read the rules. 😅 In addition to what you mentioned I find myself looking at the white target thinking "I definitely don't want to shoot that" moments before I inevitably shoot it. I should know better from riding dirt bikes (where if you stare at the big rock you want to avoid you will 100% run into it) but this is something I'll need to work on: focus on where I want to shoot, not where I'm trying to avoid shooting. Thanks for the rest of the advice, especially everything safety related. The last thing I want to do is have a negligent discharge or put someone, including myself, in danger.

 

57 minutes ago, ShredderTactical said:

Corey - Great initial post and your observations are on point with many others that have gotten on the path of enlightenment before you.  I'm not going to give you specific suggestions since I'll freely admit I'm no expert and each person needs to learn based upon their own abilities, motivation, and time/money available.  There are plenty available on this forum, at matches, and other places, who will freely give you their opinions about what you should be doing and how you should be doing it.  Just remember, their advice is worth every penny you are paying for it.  I will say that after you get your feet wet in the sport, if you can swing a shooting fundamentals class with a high level shooter, someone like Ben Stoeger for instance, it will be money well spent and you can really save time, money, and frustration in the long.  I took a class with Ben a few years ago and while I did not come away from the class a better shooter, it did give me the confidence and the tools to train better and become a better shooter than I could have if I kept stumbling around without professional guidance.  Good luck and always remember that the shooting sports should be fun too!

 

That's a great idea and definitely something I will look into, thanks for the suggestion. Maybe I can even convince my dad to join me..

 

Thanks again everyone for the all advice! I'm heading to the range friday for some practice and another match this weekend so I'll report back soon with some progress (hopefully).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, crg said:

That was definitely a costly mistake. ).

 

My mistake, that was a 25 point penalty.....-5 for the A you could have scored but didn't, -10 for the miss on the brown target, and -10 for the hit on the white one.

 

Yeah, A/M/NS is painful

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Corey!  

I enjoyed shooting with you last Saturday.  I thought you did a fine job for your first match.  I'm sure you'll do even better on 5/15/22 ( I see we're on the same squad again).I look forward to shooting with you again.

 

Dr. Brian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/21/2022 at 3:19 PM, Johnny_Chimpo said:

@crg There's still plenty of room at the Michigan Section championship.  I would encourage you to go.

 

https://practiscore.com/cheely-custom-gunworks-uspsa-michigan-sectional-2022/register

Oh yeah! I'm shooting the MI Sectional! You should go. It should be a fun match. 😎👍 It would be cool to meet in person too. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/21/2022 at 1:22 PM, LordManHammer said:

Hey Corey!  

I enjoyed shooting with you last Saturday.  I thought you did a fine job for your first match.  I'm sure you'll do even better on 5/15/22 ( I see we're on the same squad again).I look forward to shooting with you again.

 

Dr. Brian

 

Hey Dr. Brian, I really appreciate all the help and advice you gave me last time! I was glad to see you already signed up for the next match so I could secure a spot in your squad. Hope I'm not too much of a bother. 😁

 

On 4/21/2022 at 4:19 PM, Johnny_Chimpo said:

There's still plenty of room at the Michigan Section championship.  I would encourage you to go.

 

1 hour ago, Reds_Dot said:

Oh yeah! I'm shooting the MI Sectional! You should go. It should be a fun match. 😎👍 It would be cool to meet in person too. 

 

Just looking at how many people are already signed me has me feeling pretty intimidated! It would be a good opportunity to meet people though so I'll see if I can make it. Thanks for the suggestion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Someone recently suggested I detail strip the X5 and give it a thorough cleaning as this apparently can remove some of the mushiness from the trigger. I decided to give it a shot this morning since all it costs is some time.

 

ZnATUDD.png

 

I got everything looking pretty good, conservatively applied some lubricant and put it back together. Pulling the trigger on the FCU alone felt pretty good, definitely an improvement from before. Once I installed it into the grip module and put the slide back on it went back to feeling pretty much the same as before though. I'm no expert but this leads me to believe a lot of the slop comes from the striker assembly so I'm planning to take a look at that next. I'm sure a trigger job would go a long way to improving it but I have a(nother) holster on the way for the CZ so will likely be switching to that soon.

 

After I finished reassembling the gun I headed to the range to do some testing. The two big things I wanted to work on today were comparing some groups shooting target focused versus a hard focus on the front sight, and concentrating on the sight picture after taking a shot for when I'd fire a follow up shot. Since I can only fire once every three seconds at this range I couldn't actually take the follow up shot, but I have a bad habit of immediately looking for where my first shot hit that I need to break. Here are the results of my sight vs target focus test with the X5:

 

xyn14Zo.png

 

Each of these groups is twelve shots from ten yards. First things first, we can see I'm not a very good shooter even under the best of circumstances. After I took my target down the range officer walked over to me and asked how things were going, then took a look at the target and said "not very good I guess." 😒 That said, with the X5 it doesn't seem to me that my groups got too much worse going from a hard sight focus to a hard target focus. This is the first time I've shot target focused with live fire, though I have been target focusing exclusively while doing dry fire for the last few days. I found that shooting target focused it seemed like I was ready for a follow up shot earlier, probably because that's the way I've been training. Next is a comparison shooting the Shadow 2:

 

FhlCdbX.png

 

The top two groups are twelve shots and the bottom is sixteen, again from ten yards. A few really bad flinches aside, it seems with the CZ the difference is a bit more pronounced. The trigger, which is probably half the weight of the X5's, probably has something to do with it. I don't know if these results are concrete enough to draw any real conclusions from but at least for the time being it doesn't seem that shooting target focused is hindering my accuracy that much.

 

As far as tracking the sights for follow up shots, I think I made some progress but it's hard to tell without being able to actually take the shot. I did notice that after firing the first shot the sights track roughly straight up and down with the X5, but tend to land left of my first shot with the CZ. I think I can remedy this with some adjustment of my grip on the gun and more practice though, I've only shot about 100 rounds through it in total. Tomorrow morning I'm heading to a different range to help setup for the match on Sunday, and maybe if I'm lucky there will be an opportunity for some more live fire practice. Thanks for reading as always!

Edited by crg
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/22/2022 at 4:29 PM, Reds_Dot said:

Oh yeah! I'm shooting the MI Sectional! You should go. It should be a fun match. 😎👍 It would be cool to meet in person too. 

 

I'll be working as staff.  I'll say hi as you come by my stage.

 

BTW that's a long way to go from where you are....

Edited by Johnny_Chimpo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/22/2022 at 5:54 PM, crg said:

Just looking at how many people are already signed me has me feeling pretty intimidated!

 

It really shouldn't be intimidating.

 

I got home about an hour ago from shooting the Delmarva sectional (it's about 7 hrs away) with a friend who is new to USPSA and had only shot four indoor matches this winter.

 

He and I had a hell of a good time and he's now even more fired up about the sport.

Edited by Johnny_Chimpo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/23/2022 at 10:16 PM, Johnny_Chimpo said:

 

I'll be working as staff.  I'll say hi as you come by my stage.

 

BTW that's a long way to go from where you are....

 

It is but I am going up to shoot with Alex (Manny Talks Shooting) and Tony and Jacki Salis from the Laugh-n-Load podcast. It should be a hoot of a squad. Looking forward to the fun. 😃

 

On 4/23/2022 at 10:19 PM, Johnny_Chimpo said:

 

It really shouldn't be intimidating.

 

I got home about an hour ago from shooting the Delmarva sectional (it's about 7 hrs away) with a friend who is new to USPSA and had only shot four indoor matches this winter.

 

He and I had a hell of a good time and he's now even more fired up about the sport.

 

100% agree. You're new so you just need to worry about you. MI Sectional will be a major match but it should be a laid-back version. Plus you'll get a "both feet in" perspective on the sport for yourself. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Reds_Dot said:

100% agree. You're new so you just need to worry about you. MI Sectional will be a major match but it should be a laid-back version. Plus you'll get a "both feet in" perspective on the sport for yourself. 

 

That's true and a good point. I'm registered for a match on May 15, and the club I shot with this last weekend has a normal match on the 22nd then a classifier match on the 29th. Going to matches four weekends in a row is tempting but may be a tough sell to my wife. I'm not at a point where I care about classification so maybe I should skip the classifier match and do the sectional the following week instead.

 

Speaking of the match last weekend, I present to you the mind-bending speed and precision of a newly minted D class shooter. 😂

 

 

The stages this week were a lot bigger and more complicated which was a bit nerve wracking but a lot of fun. It also meant there was more stage planning involved, which definitely is not one of my strengths right now. I fortunately had a lot of help from my squad so I could focus mostly on the execution part, but as the video shows I still got lost a few times. I'm going to list my thoughts on the stage chronologically, and if you guys have any input or advice it would be greatly appreciated.

 

- First, the make ready command. I tried to follow @Johnny_Chimpo's advice and put a little more purpose into my actions, including leaving my hand on the grip until I was ready to start. No more shoving the gun in the holster.

 

- The steel targets at the start were about 30 yards out. I've never shot a handgun beyond about 15 yards so I was really nervous about whether I'd even be able to hit them. I had a pretty poor grip on the gun and it shows in my shooting. After an adjustment I managed to get them down, but this really emphasized the importance of getting a good grip out of the holster. I have some scaled down targets for dryfire training, I think I should do more practice (in dry and live fire) on 20-30 yard shots since it seems to be a lot less forgiving on a subpar grip. A later stage had a texas star at 25 yards, so precision at longer range is something I definitely need to be ready for.

 

- After I finally got the steel down I was ready to take off for the second position, then I remembered there's another target. This would not be the last time I forgot the plan on this stage.

 

- In my head I was the spitting image of Usain Bolt dashing across the stage, and I nailed having the gun up and ready to go when I got into the second position. The video, however, shows a middle aged man haphazardly jogging through a field then leisurely lifting the gun up to a target. This is perhaps a good lesson in why video review is important.

 

- I remembered the plan was to reload here which is good (I didn't remember on another stage and shot to slide lock..) but it took way too much of my attention so I was really slow to get moving out of the position. Then when I finished the reload I immediately stopped and started shooting, completely forgetting my plan to go all the way to the edge of the area where I could engage all of the targets from. This cost me more time as I had to take another step forward to be able to engage the last target.

 

This was a pretty challenging stage compared to everything I'd shot up to this point, which to be fair was a total of about 7 stages ever. I have a lot to work on, and thanks to the video I can clearly see where I need to put my effort. I do think I gained some confidence shooting this match, and by the end of the day I was moving and shooting quite a bit faster than last week. I know overall standing doesn't mean much but by the last stage I shot I was inching my way up to the middle of the pack (23 of 36).

 

Something I have been putting a lot of thought into is confidence in shot calling. I frankly do not have any confidence in my ability to shot call. I just don't have the experience to do it in any meaningful way yet. The temptation is then for me to look for all my shots to make sure I hit them, but I know this is the wrong approach and will only ingrain bad habits. I mulled over how to deal with this sort of paradox and decided in the interest of building good habits that I would just take my shots and trust what I was seeing in the sights with the understanding that I would probably get a lot of misses, but it'd be better to begin practicing the right way now than have to unlearn the wrong way later. I did get a good amount of misses but I think this helped me transition and shoot significantly faster than last week and as the day went on. If anyone has any input on whether this is the right or wrong approach I'd love to hear it.

 

One last bit of good news is I think I found a reasonably nearby range where I'll be able to run around, rapid fire, etc. so hopefully soon I can get some good practice in. Unfortunately I'll be busy with school finals for the next week or so. Anyway, as always thanks for reading!

Edited by crg
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the last couple days I made a big breakthrough: I discovered by grip was awful.

 

I've been playing around a bit with my grip because I have not been satisfied at all with how much the sights move, even during dryfire. The gun also moves quite a bit in my hands as you can see in the videos, so I find myself adjusting my grip constantly. If I can't keep the sights at least close to stationary doing doubles in dryfire there's no way I'll be able to do it satisfactorily in live fire. A few nights ago I was watching a HumbleMarksman video on youtube and saw this image of a gun just like mine, and something dawned on me.

 

GvccE5g.png

 

See all that dead skin and other nasty stuff ground into the circled part of the grip? Now look where it is on my gun:

 

OhwQc52.jpg

 

Almost the opposite; his is all grimy where the support hand contacts the grip, and mine is where my strong hand does. I gripped the gun like I normally do but this time paid really close attention to what my hands are doing. At a glance everything looked right to my untrained eye, but sure enough the palm of my support hand was barely contacting the grip. I seemed to be making two big mistakes:

 

1) I was squeezing my strong hand almost as hard as I could around the gun. In addition to being horrible for trigger control, the strained heel and thumb of my strong hand was preventing my support hand from making almost any contact with the grip.

2) My support hand thumb was pressing hard against the dust cover, levering my support palm off the grip. I probably should have caught this in live fire because I bet this was causing the gun to recoil hard to the right.

 

I did a deep dive on youtube and ended up watching Max Michel and a handful of others draw their guns about a thousand times in slow motion until I figured out what I think I should be doing:

 

1) When I draw, instead of immediately wrapping my strong hand tightly around the gun I need to squeeze the the front and backstraps between my fingers and the heel of my palm. This begins establishing my strong hand grip but leaves plenty of room to get my support hand onto the gun.

2) Press the palm of my support hand into the grip instead of my thumb. I'm practicing floating my thumb entirely off the gun for now to ensure I don't inadvertently apply any pressure. With my support hand doing way more work my strong hand is able to relax instead of vice gripping the gun, which should help my trigger control.

 

I've been practicing this way for the last couple days and even in dryfire I notice much less sight movement. I will head to the range tomorrow to test it out in live fire. On the one hand it's unfortunate that I'm lacking even fundamental skills like how to grip the gun, but on the other hand I'm glad to be crossing this bridge now before I ingrain too many bad habits. I also took a few minutes to do a $5 grip tape job on the gun that I'm excited to try out.

 

ZUqfHbC.jpg

 

It may not be pretty but the price was right. 😁

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

His mark is probably higher up because he is getting as high on the grip as possible and rotating the wrist forward as much as possible .  This rotates the meaty part of your palm higher….  As you noted,  strong hand grips just tight enough to insure smooth trigger movement.  Weak hand,  grip it like your trying to kill it!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A much better grip

image.png.72bb4931fa98f471e691ffc54b3dbfa4.png

 

An easy way to learn how to build the better grip.  Except at the end force your elbows down using your pectoral, deltoid, and trapezius muscles.  Pointing out with the elbows makes the bottom of the hands pull away from the grip, weakening it, and eventually sets you up for tendonitis.  Ask me how I know........

 

Edited by Johnny_Chimpo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Johnny_Chimpo said:

A much better grip

 

An easy way to learn how to build the better grip.  Except at the end force your elbows down using your pectoral, deltoid, and trapezius muscles.  Pointing out with the elbows makes the bottom of the hands pull away from the grip, weakening it, and eventually sets you up for tendonitis.  Ask me how I know........

 

14 hours ago, Johnny_Chimpo said:

This guy shows what I'm trying to convey about the elbows better than I could

 

Thanks so much for posting these videos. The explanation in the first one made sense to me in a way most haven't so I could see what I was doing wrong. I think I have a much better idea of what I need to be doing now to improve my grip. I'm going to focus on getting a good grip and stance from the draw and after reloads for a while, I really need to develop some good fundamentals. I have a few weeks to dryfire train before my next match so hopefully I can make some improvement in the meantime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, crg said:

Thanks so much for posting these videos. The explanation in the first one made sense to me in a way most haven't so I could see what I was doing wrong

 

A one or two day pistol fundamentals class would speed your learning curve quite a bit.

 

I've heard really good things about this guy from people I trust: https://www.achillesheeltactical.com/product-page/baseline-pistol.

 

He has a baseline pistol class next Friday in NE Ohio.  Short notice but figured I'd point it out.

Edited by Johnny_Chimpo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...