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j1b

j1b

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Decided to start one of these - for my own development and to document (and re-read) as I relearn what I already know.

First couple of casual observations:

The muscles have got to get used to being back in the routine. Everything is cool, but my arms get tired a little quicker. That'll go away but I find it curious how less crisp things are at the end of dry fire versus before. I've decided just to stop then. There is no sense practicing bad juju. Now that nats is out of the picture it's time to just build a solid foundation.

Been mainly just hitting the basics on a 10 yard target. Not a single real live fire session yet. All dry fire. The blisters have started popping up and I'm not looking forward to the coming weeks as they develop into calouses.

Knowing how production works, I've left the timer in the bag the last two weeks. Know I have to shoot A's so I might as well just get into that.

Still, the past two nights I did break out the timer and I'm glad I did. Learning to NEED to see - while still having goals. Makes for fun games. At first I was just trying to hit the par times - but then I started forsaking par time to get the A - and if I made the time then things were good. So that's been going ok. The pressure of the clock is real - but even tonight I realized that was getting easier. Two or three more days and It'll be like the old days.

Draw times are slow. 1 second on a 10 yard target. Nothing to write home about so I know there's work there. Reloads are ok - though again - slow. Missing quite a few right now - which I know is just a function of getting back in the groove of things. I also have to reconcile the fact that this is a new gun and new holster set up - so there are things I'd be learning regardless.

Got to look the mag into the mag well. That is crucial to keep solid for me right now. Especially when I bump closer and am trying to burn out the quick ones. Can't look up to the target too quick. My mind will get itself around the timing on that. Again - just need to practice. Also got to keep that gun still during the load. Still not consistently pulling it back to where I want to and that's causing some misses.

That's all there's been. Draws and reloads. All static. All 10 yards. Very simple. But, when that starts coming together (and I am making some progress) then the foundation can settle and I'll be able to get on to other things.

A little frustrating at times - but then I'll hit a smooth section and I'll remember that I do know how to do this. Maybe not quite like before - but I do know how.

The next week or so is going to be more of the same. Get the body used to doing this again. Get the eyes used to seeing. Get the hands good and calloused up so I don't have to deal with that.

I think my first match will come in August. No expectations - other than to show up and shoot A's. Not figurative A's - real ones!

J

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Jack..

good to hear you are back on the saddle..looking forward to your observations on your progression.

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The pressure of the clock is real - but even tonight I realized that was getting easier. Two or three more days and It'll be like the old days.

Holy crap! That's scary.

Glad to have you back Jack. I'll make a point to come out to Arkansas when I get back to the States.

Rich

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As an aside, I seem to remember you saying you're going to shoot Production with an XD?

Did you go 9 or 40? What kind of sights are you running??

Awesome news, glad to see you getting back in the saddle.

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Rich - was just meaning to say the pressure of the clock. Not like I'll be shooting like the old days. That'll be . . .well - who knows if that'll ever happen. But I liked making the adjustments in terms of seeing with the pressure of the clock.

In other words, when I first put 1 second on the clock I was just seeing if I could get out on target in the second. 10 or 15 of those and I started feeling like I was just "shooting" and not getting the points. I left the time on the clock but then just wouldn't squeeze the trigger until I saw what I wanted to see.

So the evolution started, in terms of remembering stuff, about keeping the head still. Smooth motion. Intersecting the eye line with the gun. Then the 1 second time became easier if you will while still seeing what I wanted to. I know a 1 second draw isn't magic fast but it's a start. And of course all of this will get tweaked and bent when the live fire starts.

The XD is a 9mm tactical. I have a boat load of 9mm bullets so I figured just get something that I can use them up with. The sights are just the basic sights. They've got all that red/green dot stuff - which I don't really like. But it won't matter. I just watch the profile of the sight more than anything else.

J

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Jack, you know as well as I do that a solid, repeatable 1 second draw to the A-zone on a 10 yard target in a match is all you actually need ;) I know that won't stop you from improving upon it, but... Sounds like you're off to a good start, anyhow ;)

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First draw tonight a blister pops. Uggg. Bandaid - and back to it.

Decent night. Set up a second target - same ten yards and about 2 yards apart. Nice to start working on transitions. Working on the shoulder turn instead of simply moving the arms - or worse moving the arms while doing the shoulder turn.

Continued working on the base. I really started getting the feeling of watching what was going on as I focused on keeping my head still. The more still I kept it - the more I could see things going on and the better the gun popped up on draws. Setting the index which allowed the transitions to be smoother with better points.

Still slow though. I was doing a draw 2 transition 2 drill and realistically only getting 1.5's or so. I would've expected 1.3's. Still, I figured a draw 2-2 load 2-2 drill should then be done in 3 secs. I was wrong (for me). Took more like 3.3 or 3.4.

So, lots and lots of work to do. I pushed a little more tonight. The finger was bothering me - just cause it was there. And as I startet getting tired I started getting sloppy. I figured that little stress point (being tired) was perfect to just start focusing and drilling the basics in. Kind of match like.

Worked ok. Wasn't stellar but wasn't horrible either.

Still not pulling the gun back to a consistent spot on the loads - but was looking the mag in pretty well tonight. I didn't miss nearly as many loads. Realize as long as the gun is still that's ok. The consistent spot thing will come as I practice more.

All in all - decent little session. I did enjoy the transistion work and look forward to just cranking that stuff out over the next week or so. Running maybe 15 or 20 minute sessions so the finger can calouse up, the muscles can build up, and I can really start drilling things in.

J

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I don't know you Jack, but reading about your progress is very educational for me. I'm a newish production shooter, and it's interesting to read someone experienced at the game learning some of the basics I still am trying to learn.

I look forward to see how you progress.

Nate

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Jack,

If you want to make a major match, take a look at the TN section match at Memphis in Mid September. (close to home)

Hopalong

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Thx Hop - I'll look into that.

For Traxman - and anyone else who reads this - If you need interpretation of what I'm talking about please just let me know.

I'm more using this for me than anything else. To re-read and not have to force myself to remember what I learned two weeks ago. In other words - for the first time in these forums I'm just typing stuff the way I think. Not so much in a way that I believe people would understand. It's my own jiberish. So if I write something that you think might have merit, but you're also scratching your head saying "is he a dumbass or is he on to something" let me know. I can try and clarify.

Oh - and Carina you've got it backwards - you're MY hero! :cheers:

J

Edited by j1b

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I'm more using this for me than anything else. To re-read and not have to force myself to remember what I learned two weeks ago. In other words - for the first time in these forums I'm just typing stuff the way I think. Not so much in a way that I believe people would understand. It's my own jiberish. So if I write something that you think might have merit, but you're also scratching your head saying "is he a dumbass or is he on to something" let me know. I can try and clarify.

J

Jack, your jiberish should be patented. It's priceless stuff.

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Developing blisters from practicing?

I'd like to meet this guy...

Keep it up Jack. What do you mean Nats is out of the Pic?

Just didn't get in? Don't you have "contacts" boy! :)

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Nats is out because of work. Plain and simple. I have to be at a meeting that falls on exactly the same dates as nationals..

Which sucks.

Even worse - I did try and pull a few strings to try and get in to the match. Now it's all for not (at least for this year).

Freakin' meetings. I swear. Sometimes I feel like I have meetings where the agenda is to discuss what we'll discuss for the next meeting in preparation for the meeting after that . . .

Probably a good thing though. I like giving myself a year to get the foundation set, lose some weight, and get some local matches in. Local's help me the most. Because I get nervous as all get out before any match - shooting 15 or 20 local matches before nats will be just the same as shooting 15 or 20 majors. It's the only benefit of being nerve racked all the time.

Now, if I win the lottery between now and then all of this will change :cheers:

J

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Didn't hit it long tonight.

Interesting though - my wife parked her car in the garage tonight. She's been traveling so all of the sudden the second target became a partial.

It was cool. All the distractions of the garage. Car, trash can, loading press etc. etc. all in the background. Interesting to contemplate that none of that will be there come match day. Still, it was there tonight. Made for fun dry fire.

Blister popped again tonight. Oh well.

Loads were ok. Draws were ok. Keep the head still - that is the key. The more still the head, the better the draw. Keep the gun still reloading. Drop the xtra and stop the gun. The xtra mag will get there quickly then. Also, have to pull the thumbs back a bit on the load. Get the xtra mag positioned properly and the load is smoother - gotta work on that.

Worked indexing a bit. Again, shoulders and legs. I've worked to take arms out of the equation as much as I can. Unless there are significant vertical differences, I've found shoulders and legs allow the index to be better.

Skipped the timer. It was about points tonight. Didn't feel silky smooth - but progress continues.

Realize the next few sessions need to emphasize loading past the first. Time to start 2, 3, ane 4 load drills to get used to reaching back that far. I've done a bit - but must integrate.

Also, movement must come in the next few weeks. Not as worried about engagement movement as much as reloading movement.

Once the base begins to settle that is next.

J

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The post nationals post.

Ok - dry fire has been slow. Been on the road.

Good news though. First match in 2 years comes on Sunday. And I will be there.

Now . . . the dry fire has been slow to say the least. I've been traveling for weeks on end and my company doesn't view a carry gun as "company equipment" so I've been out of practice.

That said . . . tonight my (spectacular) bride and I went to dinner and I was talking about how excited I was about shooting this weekend. It was going to be rough but I knew it was "right." She said "I'm so excited too - thinking about going down with you to the match"

Freakin' confirmation that this is "it"

It has been 2 years since my last match. It was the AR State match in Little Rock. Well . . . 2 years is what it is. I can't kill rust - but rust can't kill my soul.

Will let you all know how it goes. I'm hoping for a75% classifier. If I pull that off it'll be a sign of things to come. If not . . . more work to come. Since when was that a challenge????

J

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Jack,

Did you and Julie end up getting married? If so, can we add another IPSC super couple to the field (Rob & Kippi, Mark & Tasha Hanish)?

Great job and I'll make you a deal. I'll get classified in Production and you get your GM card (back) by next year and we'll meet up at a match somewhere in the midwest. First couple of rounds are on me.

Rich

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Rich,

Nope - Julie and I split many moons ago. It's all good though, I found my perfect match.

Back to the diary -

Went and shot today, figured a few live rounds would be good before tomorrow's match.

Went ok, my timing is clearly off. My accuracy stinks, which surprised me. I figured that not shooting would impact my speed more than my accuracy. Today I was still slower than before, but my accuracy was ALOT worse. Not good for production!!! So I need to work on that.

Timing was a big discovery as well. I did a few bill drills just to see where I was at. Now, I am not a Bill Drill fan overall - I've never really used it as a comprehensive part of my training but today it was eye opening and I'll be using it over the next couple of months until my timing gets better. I'll probably let it go again, but it's worth as a drill became more validated today.

Reloads were ok. Honestly, a little better than I expected. Same with the draws. All those "weird" feelings I was having dry firing just went away and I was just drawing the gun and punching holes. Now, I was still slower than where I need to be. But the mechanics were there.

The gun is sighted in but still shoots a tad left for my liking. But I also think I'm pushing and pulling a bit. If there are 25 yard head shots tomorrow I'll likely have some challenges. If the targets are relatively open or are 15 yards and in on the tough ones then things should be ok. I didn't want to get the sights moved too out of whack. Once I start shooting more my platform will tweak a bit at which point in time the gun may be sighted in perfectly.

I asked myself for a 75% classifier and after today I may have set the bar a little high. My objectives at this point will simply to go shoot. Assess the stages and put together plans that will allow a cleaner match (versus a speedier match).

I'm not nervous yet but I will be in the AM. That's cool too - looking forward to it.

My last match was May 21, 2005. It was the AR State IPSC match. Things went pretty well there so hopefully I haven't forgotten everything.

Oh and Ben - after today and after your 5th place finish at nationals . . . you are safe from anything I can throw at you.

J

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Holla,

Made it back from the match.

Overall, it was an adequate performance. Very rough around the edges. Nothing crisp, nothing solid, everything just adequate.

First stage, first shot, was on a texas star. I really don't like those things anyhow so I wasn't terribly excited about having to shoot the damn thing. Took seven shots to get through it, and I had three other poppers to engage through the same port. I pushed a shot on one of those poppers too so I ended up doing a static load where I didn't want to. I was keeping track of the shots but when you know you've only got ten and you've taken a couple of extras I pretty much figured I was close to dry. Rest of the stage went ok.

Next stage was a classifier. Fluffy's revenge (2?). Anyhow, shot it ok. Did the ol' classifier calculater thing and it looks like about an 87% classifier. My draw was slow and the shooting in general was very deliberate.

Third stage was ok. Couple of D's. Nothing to write home about. Wasn't overly aggressive which means I wasn't fast.

The rest were basically like the third stage. I really never felt like I could drop the hammer and go. Nothing was a green light. So I was forced into being very deliberate. I'm hoping as I shoot a little more that comes around. I've always liked feeling like I could attack a specific stage or section in a stage. Today I didn't have that in the back pocket.

Pretty fun match. Good to be out there. Kelly Raglin was in my squad - a solid A shooter (probably a master now) - so he was a good guage on where I'm at. We were close on the first three stages. I took two, then he got me by two seconds on the third. We were close. Unfortunately on stage 4 or 5 he wound up with two misses.

I was never the fastest today. Again, I attribute that to rust. Just never being able to go. Most reloads were "ok" - nothing was stellar though.

Fun day. No misses, no no-shoots, no penalties. Some dropped points - and some times that could be improved upon. Overall though I'd say I've got a lot of work to do but that there is still at least a little I remember about how to play this game.

J

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Confidence.

That is what this boils down to.

I can blame the layoff. I can blame the lack of practice. I can blame work. The issue is confidence.

Tonight I realize that technically, things are on their way. Technical improvements are necessary. Today I have technical improvements I need to make.

But the root issue is confidence. My earlier post said no "green lights". There were green lights on every stage. I just didn't have the confidence in me to pull them off.

If I were to guage the changes in the game since I left, from a technical standpoint, I'd say top is 1 to 2 percent better than when I was super active. Now, from a technique standpoint I was probably there back in the day. From a competitor standpoint I wasn't - but technically I was sound. So, I have to get a touch better technically over where I once was. Very achievable.

Today was interesting. I was a better competitor. Nothing got to me. I didn't like the way I shot, but it never got to me. I knew I was slow, and I never pushed to speed up. I took each stage and just shot it. The draw, the reload, the transitions, the splits - those will all come. I was not where I needed to be with any of them today - but I was more comfortable with all of them than I envisioned I would be. New gun, new rig - and I was as comfy as a priest in church. Never once did I think "I should have practiced with this gear more" - which is unlike me. Normally I'd bend up if I'd switched sights the night before.

Yesterday I loaded my match ammo. I'd also put some rounds on the gun and I'd decided I liked the N350 w/ the 135 load the best. Still . . . I'd played with titegroup. So, after one practice session with one load, I switched the night before my first match in 2 years. It simply wasn't that big a deal. Don't know why I went with TG. Couldn't begin to guess. I just figured it didn't matter so I went with it.

Today I never had a draw that was crisp. But none of them were horrible. Just steady. In two weeks they will be faster - by default. I did have some rough loads. Those will come too. Just practice. The comfort level I had with this gun (the XD) today was un-nerving. I've never felt that comfortable with a set up with so little practice.

In two weeks, I'll be better. By default. By simply giving it all some attention I'll be better.

That confidence piece, I'm feeling better about it. It's coming. I can feel it. I didn't today - but an afternoon of reflection is a good afternoon. I wish I'd shot better today. I wish that I "bagged the W" without much thought. Now, I'm glad it didn't go super smooth. I've got work to do - no doubt. But nothing I've got in terms of goals is out of my reach. And that is encouraging.

I will say the skill level of shooters in general is much, much better than in years past. Used to be if I shot a match like today's I would most likely post a "w". Today, nothing was secure. I don't know if I won or not. 10 years ago, if I'd shot like I did today (smoother though because I was more active) it would have been a bagged match. Today, not so much. "A" shooters are better than I was as a GM 10 years ago. Amazing - and a true measure of how far the sport has come.

Reflection - match was good. Need work. But the match was good. Once the platform is better I feel good about being in a more competitive position. The process is slightly intimidating - but that's ok too ;)

J

Edited by j1b

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