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Well ... as with most things in life you get out of it what you put into it. Which is what I got out of Area 7. A few gun problems added insult to injury but at the end of the day how I performed was overwhelmingly impacted by my level of commitment to preparing for this match. 


Execution was off the charts terrible. On target was ok ... but stage execution was terrible.


Leatham and I recently traded some texts about performance and my last text was something like "when I don't want the results I am getting that want will manifest itself in effort and preperation" and that is excaperated by this weekend. 


Frustrating, but my own fault. I did nothing, not even dry fire, to prepare. I got what I earned. 

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Welcome 2021 ... a new year.


Things are different today than in the past several years. In 2019 I started shooting a couple of matches. In 2020 I actually shot several matches including Area 7. While I didn't report on them, I also shot two additional matches after in October and November. The November match actually turned out to be ok.


Here's the thing about 2021 - I know I'm going to shoot this year. My life situation is set up that I know that will be the case. And reading my last post in the diary it's one of those things that I have decided to actually make some changes this year. 


I'll break this down into a couple of things. 


General overall changes: First things first - lose some weight. That work has started. I've lost 10lbs in the last month. And have been great about sticking to this diet. I suspect I'll be down somewhere around 20 pounds by my first match, maybe more. That alone will make a difference. 


Dry Fire: this will become a habit. I hadn't started but today has ... in a word... motivated me. More on that in a bit. The core focus of my dry fire will be as follows:

- First off we'll start with the basics. It's still butt ass cold outside so there's no ability to get outside and work on movement. That's ok. First focuses will be on draws, reloads, target transitions, and SH/WH. That's it. I will focus a rather large component on reloads - it's something I used to be very good at and it is key to being successful in production. So that'll get a lot of work.

- As the weather warms up then I will work on three things: movement - getting in and out of positions, quick movements and long movements. This is costing me, by far, the most time on stages. Stand and shoots I do ok on, movement stages have cost me. So that will be key.

- longer/harder/steel target transitions. They are too slow right now. I will be working on insuring the gun is ready to go as I transition. There's not much to this outside of practice. 

- reloads. Reloads in tight spots. Standing loads. Moving loads. All loading. This will be worked on until it no longer needs to be worked on.


Those few things should get me foundationally where I need to start the season with our first match in May. 


Matches - I will document better. Like when I was in Pittsburgh I would jot down thoughts after each stage. What was good, what was bad. That helped a lot and my improvement back then was quicker. Last year I actually improved very little through the year. That was driven by a lack of dry fire, and a lack of note taking to know where my gaps were. For instance I reference in my last post that I executed very poorly but there's no detail there. So where were my specific things to work on? That needs to be documented.


And a little more stage diligence. Clearly I know the impact of various different stages. How hit factors impact the stage and the match. So just a little more diligence on that - but bent around execution. I already shoot as fast and as best I can so really it's about having a stage plan that allows success. Essentially ... don't mail in the stage strategy.


Today I went back and looked at Area 7 results. Just trying to look at and review how things looked. For me, with a little effort, it would have been easy to be 100 points better in that match. Easily. Like blind folded easily. I didn't do well at all, and yet could have done so much better. 


And I was talking to a CO shooter I shoot with and he said ... essentially ... "I'm going to beat you this year you know" and I was like "really ...?" and he said "yeah - you are on the plateau. You don't practice. You don't do anything. I practice, I work at it, I'm on the climb. Soon enough, those points will come together and I will beat you" 


And that was it. Fire ... lit. I KNOW I'm shooting this year. It isn't like a "I hope I shoot this year" or "I intend to shoot this year" I know I'm shooting this year. And I know I can be much, much better. So it's time to stick a ladder on that plateau and start going a little higher. I'll never be on Everest again, that ship has sailed. But there are still plenty of summits to climb that will be fun, and rewarding. And will insure that my Carry Optics friend has his work cut out for him :)


See you on the range.




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And so dry fire I did.


Felt great to get the rig back on. 


Very basic tonight. Draws and reloads. In the house, so a light switch was the target.


I'm in an awkward place with this journal because it is mostly just me but it's a public forum ... so kind of weird. I write a lot thinking someone might read it BUT the truth is nobody really does and I want to use this diary (or dairy as I guess I'm prone to calling it) to document a little. So I can grow. And learn.


Tonight, while relaxed, I had a little intensity. I felt that little burn. It felt great. 


Draws were really just about motion. I won't say I did a lot to dial in draws. Primary focus was hits, keeping the head still, and just executing good, clean,respectful draws. That was mostly successful. 


I want to alleviate all issues this year so one issue is that my grip tape is slipping. So I'll need to remedy that soon with either new grip tape applied correctly or stippling. A decision must be made soon there. Also this contributed to me missing the mag release button a few times. More than I'd care to admit. After a good 20 minutes there was some fatigue but I remember doing this several times at Area 7 as well. I will look at mag releases for the P320 and come up with a remedy - quickly. 


Reloads were a focus tonight. While many were rough, many were really rock solid. I did a number - maybe 30 or 40 of holding the gun at my chest, mount the gun, two shots, reload, two shots. This was awesome. At first pushing a bit and flubbing the loads. Then just moving at maybe 80% speed and starting to nail them. 


The core focus in reloads, for now, will be no excess movement of the gun. Drop the mag, pull the gun to its spot, and keep it still as possible. This lead to much more consistency and speed. 


Tomorrow I will do nearly exactly the same thing. Building the fundamentals. In fact tomorrow I'll just build a sheet for a 20 minute dry fire session. standard drills. And I think that'll be all I do for about two weeks or so. 

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Thanks for the writing! I like reading about how others train and you've given me some good ideas; Basics! I need to stay good at draws and transitions and work to be solid on reloads. I'm dropping the ball on dry fire movement, I know. I need a match to motivate me! I just switched to full time target focus from front sight focus and it feels like cheating!

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2 hours ago, Russty said:

Thanks for the writing! I like reading about how others train and you've given me some good ideas; Basics! I need to stay good at draws and transitions and work to be solid on reloads. I'm dropping the ball on dry fire movement, I know. I need a match to motivate me! I just switched to full time target focus from front sight focus and it feels like cheating!

I have to figure out target focus. I'm so old school ... haven't even begun to figure that out.

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Signs ... 


I guess I'm not allowed to get religious here ... so I will avoid that outside of saying that I believe... and I believe in signs. And signals. And winks. And whatever else those who believe similarly would say.


So the chain of events:

I put in for a match I never thought I would get into several months ago. It was kind of a set and forget moment. And I forgot.


Last night, had a great dry fire session. And I got poked a bit by a buddy which kind of stoked some competitive juices.


Today I ordered a few parts for the P320 to solve some issues - some from past matches I just never resolved which some kind of reared their heads last night. So today I got off the horse and ordered them.


This afternoon I get an email - don't know if it's because of shooting an Area match, or some other contributing factors - but the match I put in for some time ago emails me. I'm in. 


Tonight was a learning dry fire session. Not quite as solid as last night, but actually better because it started the learning phase. The move forward stage. 


So we'll see. I don't know what I'm gonna do for the match. Can't decide. But it is, without question, an interesting chain of events. Something that I can't really ignore. 

More to come.



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Sometimes I guess I can be a bit over zealous.


Some solid dry fire the past few days. Much more intense, much more intentful. There's a deliberate focus. For some reason it all feels very different. 


Well, there's one new things that also feels different. The soars. Again, it's been intense sessions with a lot of reps. And my hands simply aren't used to it. So ...


I have a raw spot on my weakhand index finger from under the trigger guard, my weakhand palm area where it contacts the grip, my strong hand index knuckle from where it contacts the grip, believe it or not I have a small cut on my stronghand thumb thanks to the mag release and finally my strong hand middle finger has a little raw spot from under the trigger guard.


None of this is bad per se ... but probably taking two days off from dry fire. I think I'll do some gun maintenance and really make sure it's cleaned up and ready to go. I hope my box of parts shows up in the next day or two so I can maintain progress.


It's a very interesting time. 



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