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Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!

There's A Lesson Here Somewhere....

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I shoot a basically stock SA 1911 single stack in L-10. In 2.5 years and 25,000 rounds it has been flawless. Any problems I had were traced to operator error or errors in reloading. I give it a good top end cleaning once a month and do a full teardown twice a year. Once a year the recoil and firing pin springs are changed. Not lavished maintenance but not neglected either. The day before a match I do my usual routine. Inventory the range bag. Case gauge the match ammo. Clean the barrel and relube the top end.

The people with the letter M on thier classification card will never have anything to worry about from me. I'm just a guy who likes to shoot and hopefully improve. Currently classed at 50% and ever so slowly moving up. I'm throwing a party if I ever make B class. I've been plagued with a problem I haven't found a solution for. I collect penalties like kids collect baseball cards. I do fine in practice but at the match it all falls apart.

Stage 1, long field course. Draw bang bang click huh rack bang click huh reload (repeat as necessary). The gun is choking! What has happened to old reliable? Finished the stage with a patheticly slow time. But no Mikes, no-shoots, no penalties. Stage 2, stand and deliver paper and steel. Same as stage 1. About ready to pack up and head home to see whats wrong with the gun but hey lets at least do the classifier, besides I've already paid for it.

Since the gun may not work lets go for all A's on the classifier and let the time be what it is. Dropped 10 on a 60 point stage. Not great but they way I've been shooting lately I'll take it. Oh, and the gun ran fine. Gee, only two more stages. May as well finish the match.

Finished the match with the gun giving me a problem or two but nothing like stage 1 and 2. Finished the match with no penalties. First time ever. Woohoo.

Got home and the gun teardown revealed the following:

Recoil spring had taken a set.

Recoil spring missing about 3 coils.

Firing pin spring broken.

Firing pin stop cracked.

Replaced what I could and ordered the rest. Also noticed the tub of slide glide on the table from when I cleaned the gun the day before. It was slide glide 1. Heavier than the slide glide lite I normally use. Poopy. I know what happened to the gun. What happened to the shooter?

Looking at the score sheet my jaw hit the keyboard. The classifier will move me up a small percentage. My overall stage percentage didn't really change from my historical average. What! I'm shooting a broken gun and my overall doesn't change! But my scores did change. Sure the time was in the sundial range but I didn't collect a penalty.

Did the gun problems change my focus from time to points? Did the gun problems simply change my focus? Was this change of focus something I needed to see to break through my penalty collecting habit? I feel something is within my grasp but I'm not sure what it is. Just need to take this event and wrap my brain around it for a while.

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Did the gun problems change my focus from time to points?

Quite possibly. I can remember many stages where I got a horrible grip on the gun to start - so bad that I almost stopped, re-gripped, and started over, but didn't - and shot a really great run anyway even though the gun was flying all over the place. In all those instances I remember seeing the sights tracking much more clearly than I usually did. In that way our perfectly perfected techniques can sometimes work against us. We stop paying attention to what really matters.


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This may of just been a mind set thing. You had already written off the match in terms of success. So, what ever the little voices normally say at the start of a stage were silenced and you shot the match cleanly to your current ability. I think you may want to figure out what it is that you do when things are going "right" <_< !



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  • 5 months later...

It's been a few months since my broken gun=clean match incident. Thought I'd give a little update.

I've since shot another clean local club match. I shot the Gator Classic and was very pleased with the results. One stage in particular was one of those alcholic moment of clarity things.

I was the only guy in my squad with a 10 round mag limit so I was on my own in trying to figure out my strategy for the stage. It was a move left to right engaging targets through ports and doorways with a few other targets thrown in here and there. The monkey move was grabbing a ammo can at the midway point and dropping it in a bucket at the R/H end. It was toward the end of the match and all I wanted to do was shoot it reasonably well. I'm tired, hot, and just wanting to finish the grind of twelve high round count stages in two days. Stage description here.

Buzzer goes off and something strange happened. Time slowed to a crawl. Bang. Slide goes back then forward, sights align, bang. Repeat. Finished the stage. Picked up my mags. (As an L-10 or Production shooter you'll never get lost. Just follow your trail of mags back home.) I'm thinking to myself. "Well I could have done better here or possibly there but all in all I did OK"

A shooter in my squad shooting Open, and I think in A or better class made it point to come up to me and said "Well done". Huh? In my mind it was nothing special. Just another so-so run by another so-so shooter. Yet when the score sheet was posted I dropped 14 pts on a 170 pt stage and did it around 20% faster than the average. Placed 4th out of 15. I'm still soaking in what made the performance in me come out on this stage. What moons aligned for me to go to this level?

I think I've got it figured out. I didn't give a damn. All I wanted to do is finish in a somewhat reasonable fashion. The hell with time. Get an A. Let the gun cycle. Get another A. Repeat. Between this stage and the broken gun match I have a new mindset. It's hard to put into words but I know now what I must do the next match.

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Thank you very much for sharing your experineces! I too am doing my best to plug in to the different senses and experiences in my shooting through both dryfire and livefire.

Big congrats, and start saving money for that B class party :D

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