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Charlie, Stage 3 could actually be shot in a variety of ways. I shot the Popper that activated the steel, went to the middle set of targets on the backers and then shot the clamshell all from the start box. Moving to the point of the "V", I got the timing on the swinger and since it was going to be up, I shot the right set of targets on the backers and then shot the swinger and did not have to wait for it. I shot the left set of targets on the backers from the same position and then did a reload on the way to the plate rack. I was shooting Lim10 to practice reloads, but if I was shooting Limited, not sure I would have even had to go to the second box. I've shot that plate rack from under the canopy in under 4 seconds several times and it was not that tough. I think a good Limited HF of about 8 was doable. I was pushing speed at the match, and a terrilbe match for it with all the no-shoots. Had my worst accuracy match in 4 years, but still managed 4th in Lim 10.

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MarkCo> I agree with what you said about there being multiple ways of shooting the stage. Maybe I worded it wrong in my last post. We were all forced down the same direction through the COF. If we could have run outside the shooting area that stage could have been shot a lot different and faster. I seen the option of shooting most of the stage from the back and if I had an open gun I would have shot it that way. But the distance of the shots with the no shoots didn't make sense to shoot the stuff from the back. At least it didn't for me. That is one of those stages where I would have really liked to shoot it 4 or 5 different ways just to see which way was the best.

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jkatz44> Including the price of the gun and all of the upgrade parts I think I have about $1600 into it. Since I did most of the work myself on it or traded work for the things I couldn't do myself, like weld on the mag well, this kept the price down quite a bit. One of the main things I like about shooting the EAA Limited pistols is that you can have a top performing Limited gun at about half the price of a fully tricked out STI or SVI Limited gun. That and I like being able to compete with something that I built and know how to fix from the ground up.

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I was able to do a one on one training session with Ron Avery this past Friday. We worked on a couple of interesting things. One main thing that we focused on was shooting with a relaxed body but still retain a fast shooting speed. This seems like an Oil and Water situation as shooting fast breeds tension. It takes a lot of conscious effort to keep relaxed in body but still maintain a firm grip and crank out the rounds with vicious speed. We did back to back drills where I would shoot and move with all the effort that I could then do it again with a relaxed body but instead shoot as soon as I could with a firm grip and my relaxed runs would always produce better times and better hits. This was a real eye opener for me. It is going to take me a while to get use to shooting with a relaxed body because it feels REALLY slow. But shooting this way IS the direction I need to move towards if I really want to raise my skills to the next level.

After the one on one training by buddy Conrad and I went to an indoor match in the evening. This is a home grown IDPA style match that is interesting to shoot because they usually do different stuff. This evenings match was a Flash Light and Low Light match. I rarely get to shoot in these kind of conditions so its an interesting challenge. I didn’t get any video of the stage runs due to the lighting conditions and one of the stage was a blind stage where you didn’t get to see it until after the buzzer went off and you had to shoot it.

The first stage was a low light 38 round stage with four different shooting boxes. The light was low enough that you could barely see the outline of your gun while it was over the targets. My black on black sights were absolutely useless in these conditions so this whole stage would have to be shot purely on index. I shot the stage well and took my time to let my grip settle down after each shot since I was basically only able to point shoot the targets. I got all of my hits which was more than a lot of other shooters could say.

The second stage was a blind stage that was blocked off by walls and had no lighting. So you had to shoot the stage with a flash light in your weak hand and engage all of the targets SHO. There were a lot of shooters ahead of me so I could hear the average amount of shots for the stage and it came down to about 16 – 18 rounds in two different shooting positions. So basically the only stage info I knew was that I didn’t have to do a reload. This was good because needing to do a reload with a flashlight in your hand wasn’t looking like a fun thing to do. The buzzer goes off and I run around the wall to find a port with four targets to engage behind it. The targets are head shots with T-shirts covering the bodies. I tried my best to shine the light over the back of the gun as well as the targets but it was difficult to get a good balance of lighting the sights and the targets. I figured the t-shirts were simply soft cover so I put two rounds in each body then moved onto the second shooting position. Here were four more targets with t-shirts to engage. I engage the targets then unload and show clear. The lights are turned on and then they go to score the targets. They lift up the shirts and most of the targets under are cut down to half or even a quarter of a full size target. They also had some no shoots under some of the shirts to make it even more painful. I ended up with 5 misses and two no shoots because of this. I should have simply shot the heads instead of assuming that the bodies were there under the shirts. But it is what it is I guess. As I said before, this was an interesting match. I could have done without the funny business on the blind stage, but we don’t always get what we want right?

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I shot a USPSA match today. This is one of the matches I help put on so once again there was a lot of work setting up the stages before the match. We had 80+ shooters today and the weather was hot. I think it peaked out at 95 degrees today and we didn’t have a single cloud in the sky so there was a lot of hot sun beating down on us all day long. With 80+ shooters we had more than 20 people per squad which meant for a long day of shooting. My only goal for the day was to try and shoot with a relaxed body. I wasn’t able to achieve that goal on every stage but I felt like I did a decent job at it. I have to start somewhere right? Listed below are my stage runs along with the video.

Stage 3 – We started off on the classifier which was 99-24 called Front Sight 2. This was a fairly straight forward classifier with two stings of fire. The 100% hit factor for this stage is insanely high with you needing to shoot each string in under 2.5 seconds with all of the points. Since I know I am slow on my first shot of a turn draw I decided to go for points and just pace my shooting. There was no reason to try and burn down this classifier. Nothing to write home about on this stage run.

Stage 4 – This was the speed shoot stage for the match. You started with your loaded gun on the barrel then engaged four different targets blocked by no shoots. The buzzer goes off, I pick up my gun and shoot the first shot then pull the trigger for the second shot and “CLICK” but no bang followed by me seeing my magazine drop from the gun. I had pushed the mag release just enough to loosen the mag as I picked it off the barrel. After the mag dropped I lost all motivation to complete the stage. My run was twice the time of the normal run for this stage so I gave away at least 20 points to the other guys in Limited. Not a good start to the match

Stage 5 – This was an interesting field course with a lot of options on how to shoot it. You could either choose to run around more and shoot fast or move less and shoot slower harder targets. The less movement with harder shots was a very tempting option but I forced myself to use the more movement and faster shooting plan. This worked out really well for me on this stage. The only thing that wasn’t optimal is that I had 2 – 3 D zone hits due to the no shoots and hard cover blocked targets. I can live with this as a D is a lot less painful than getting a no shoot miss.

Stage 1 – This was a fun 22 round stage where you started with your unloaded gun and first loading device on a table. At the buzzer you loaded and it was off to the races. I wanted to use my 22 round magazine for this stage but I wasn’t sure if I could seat it and rack it in an unloaded gun start. But doing so would save me at least a second by not having to reload. I figured that it was worth the risk so I went for it. I shot the stage as aggressively as I could knowing that I didn’t have any make up shots. The bad thing was that my second shot on the third target was called marginal and I hoped that my hit was going to be there, but it wasn’t. So I ended up with a miss on this stage. I have not seen the results but I believe that I gave away a stage win with this miss.

Stage 2 – Last stage of the day. This was a difficult stage where you had to start in the front and then back up as you engaged targets. I tried my best to keep moving backwards through the COF as I shot and I think this worked well. The only thing that I screwed up was shooting an A zone only target blocked by hard cover too fast which lead to two marginal called shots along with a make up and then I still didn’t feel comfortable with it so I went back to it at the end and engaged it with another shot. When it was over and I looked at the target I had 4 alpha hits with two of them half in the A zone and the other half in the black. Even though I hated wasting the time to reengage the target I don’t feel too bad about it because the two hits were very marginal. They could have just as easily been misses. This extra shot took me at least an extra second which was a waste of time but it would have been worst to have a miss.

The results have not been posted yet so I am not sure how I finished. I felt like I had a fairly solid match with only a few issues so I should finish pretty high up in Limited. After doing a lot of shooting in the past few days and the hot weather I am pretty much burned out on shooting for the weekend. It’s a good thing its Sunday and the matches are over for the weekend. I am planning on shooting the indoor match tomorrow with my lady. We will see if my motivation to shoot is better tomorrow.

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USPSA indoor match last night. My lady went to this match with me and she had a lot of fun. We shot one field course and one classifier for the match and there were only 21 shooters so we got through the shooting and out of there pretty fast. I didn’t bring my video camera so no videos of the stage runs but I have listed the break down of them below.

The first stage of the match was a 20 round field course with two shooting boxes and a pallet you had to stand on. The targets were set at varying distances and most of them had hard cover or no shoots blocking them. This stage was a very good test of changing up your shooting speed as you engaged targets in each string. My main focus was on keeping the core of my body relaxed as I moved and shot and just let the shooting happen. I was the first shooter for this stage so I didn’t have any reference to what was a competitive time or shooting speed but that really didn’t affect me much. I can only shoot as fast as I can call my shots or run as fast as I can while staying relaxed so what others are able to do really does not matter. I feel that I shot the stage pretty good and I was able to vary my shooting speed quite a bit within the target arrays. I was down only 4 C’s for the stage which was nice.

The second stage was classifier 99-48 called Tight Squeeze. This is a fairly straight forward classifier to shoot. There are three targets with varying no shoot or hard cover blocking and the middle target is set out to 12 yards. I have shot this classifier before and remembered that the 100% HF is insanely high. You basically have to shoot it in less than 5.5 seconds if you drop any points. For me to do this I would need to be in Hoser mode and hope that my hits are solid. I start the stage and draw to the right target engage it quickly and then transition to the middle target which has zebra hard cover showing only the A zone and I couldn’t see my front sight. This was a funky visual blurriness that seems to happen when I shoot indoors. I could wait no longer on trying to find the sight and cranked out two rounds on the middle target then finished strong on the last. Reload then repeat it all over again. The same blurriness happened on the middle target on the second string again so I ended up flinging two shots at it. When the shooting was over I had good hits on the left and right target but the middle had one hit in the A zone and three just to the left in the hard cover. Three mikes on this classifier is pretty much a zero HF. I think that after getting LASIK done my indoor vision isn’t as good as it use to be. This combined with shooting black on black sights makes seeing a clear image of the front sight pretty difficult.

Overall it was a fun match and my lady had fun as well. She is getting better with each match she shoots. The funny thing is that I see her making a lot of the same mistakes I did when I first started shooting. Its interesting to see her shoot and experience the same issues I did almost a year ago. She says that she wants to dry fire at home so she can get down the mechanics of the draw and reload. This is a good thing and I think it might also motivate me to do some dry fire as well :ph34r:

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This is a good thing and I think it might also motivate me to do some dry fire as well :ph34r:

Sounds like Ron may have gotten to her and is secretly trying to get you to dry fire! :devil:

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I know..... I absolutely suck at making time to dry fire. I hate to dry fire and because I hate doing it I don’t do it. I always seem to find something else to do with my time at home. When I do mess around with my gun stuff there always seems to be rounds to make, brass to sort, mags to clean or guns to tinker on that come as a higher priority than dry fire. I think I am secretly wondering if I can make GM without doing much if any dry fire. But the number one thing keeping me back from making GM at this point are my slow draw and reload times. These things can only get significantly better with dedicated dry fire training. Maybe my lady and I can do some dry fire drills together?

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1. I think I am secretly wondering if I can make GM without doing much if any dry fire.

2. But the number one thing keeping me back from making GM at this point are my slow draw and reload times.

3. These things can only get significantly better with dedicated dry fire training.

4. Maybe my lady and I can do some dry fire drills together?

1. Sure, if you do enough live fire practice.

2. As to your draw, I disagree. I've RO'd a lot of GMs, including the Super Squad at Nationals and I have yet to see a sub 1 second draw on the clock in a major match. Sure they can do it in practice, but under match conditions, 1.08 is the fastest I have seen (yes on close full targets). Not saying it has not been done, but not in the 100 plus times I have been holding the clock on a GM. Reloads, for you, I think is all dry-fire practice. You are smooth right up until the point where you reload. If I may be so bold, I think that you think your re-loads are a problem so you mentally control that point in your stage runs and your motion becomes less fluid because you are engaging concious control of the reload steps and thinking it through instead of letting the right side just do it. Thinking through the reload in chunks will always be slower than letting go of the control.

3. Draw, a little, re-loads, a lot.

4. My wife would not let me type what I wanted... :blush:

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MarkCO> Thanks for the feedback and you are right on in your assessment. I still lack the motivation or time to dry fire practice. For example, tonight I spent 2 hours sorting and cleaning brass. After that mindless grind I don't want to do anything else with my shooting stuff. Tomorrow I have to load ammo for the High Desert Classic and the Area 1 match. Thursday I have to get my gear reset and ready to rumble for this coming weekend of shooting. Friday I have to set it all aside and give my lady some much deserved attention.

This Saturday I am helping with working the Open House at the Ben Lomond Gun club running the HPPS USPSA stage. This is actually a good opportunity to introduce new shooters to the sport and when we are slow a GREAT time to blow through some serious ammo shooting drills and working on skills that I currently suck at. To me, this live fire opportunity is really my only time within the next week to dedicate some serious effort to training. Dry fire is just not in the cards this week due to my schedule. Much like how it goes most weeks :wacko:

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This past Saturday one of the ranges I am a member at had an Open House event where the general public could come out and check out the range. All of the different shooting clubs at the range were there to represent their shooting discipline and I helped represent the High Plains Practical Shooters USPSA club. We had rain a few days before and it was also raining the day of this event. This range has dirt berms and when the dirt becomes wet it turns into a complete mud bog. The mud is thick and sticky like walking on peanut butter. Your boots are instantly 10 – 15lbs heavier with the mud sticking to it. The rain wasn’t heavy that day but a constant mist of rain was present most of the day. This kept the muddy conditions going all day long.

We decided to push forward and setup a simple 20 round stage that had a little bit of movement and a good mixture of close and far targets with hard cover and no shoots on a couple of targets. Much to my surprise we had a constant flow of people come by and check out the stage asking questions and giving it a try. I thought that the crappy range conditions would have scared off a lot of people from coming out but there were way more people than I figured would come out. My buddy Todd and I alternated between explaining what it was all about and then running the shooters through the stage. Then we would rotate ourselves through the stage every once in a while to show them how it looks when an experienced USPSA shooter would run the stage. We ran a lot of people through the stage that day and if I had to guess it would probably be about 50 different people with some of them shooting the stage 3 – 4 different times.

Everyone that shot the stage seemed to like it and there were 3 – 4 shooters that were really interested in coming out to a USPSA match to give it a try. That to me was worth all of the effort of the day which was pretty grueling. Slogging around in the rainy muddy conditions without taking a single break from 8am – 5pm was a workout. By the end of the day I was absolutely BEAT. My legs were totally wasted from slogging around with 10 – 15lbs of mud on each shoe and fighting the muddy berm all day. It was cool to experience shooting on the move in those conditions though. Due to the constant flow of people wanting to shoot the stage and the range conditions I really didn’t get too much live fire practice that day. Most of the shooting I did was in a demonstration capacity for the other people to see how we would shoot the stage. I hope that we are able to bring some more USPSA shooters into the game with this open house. Even if we only get one new shooter out of it, that makes all of the effort worth it.

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This Sunday I attended a USPSA match down in Pueblo. When I got up in the morning my legs were still aching and tender from the all day mud bog activities the day before. I took some Advil and hoped that it would relieve some of the pain by the time we got to the range. By the time we got to the range I was still not feeling my best and was really unmotivated to shoot. I didn’t want to be out at the range that day but decided to push through and give it my best. This resulted in my worst match in a long time. The morning started out the same way as the day before with rain/drizzle conditions but by the second stage it started to clear up and by the end of the day it was sunny and 70 degrees. There were not too many shooters in attendance that day so the squads ended up being pretty small. There were 8 people on my squad with only a few that knew how to RO or run the Palm pilot so I was tasked with doing those two things most of the day. With the limited number of people on the squad I decided to not film my runs as getting people to tape and brass was more important than filming. That and I could honestly not give a crap about shooting that day so why film it?

The results have not been posted yet but I know I had a craptactular performance on most of the stages so I could care less where I ended up. I think I only had two stages where I didn’t have a miss and I zeroed the classifier giving away 90 points. My best stage run was the last stage of the day and I think that was decent because I knew that it was the last stage of the day. Kind of like a horse finding a second wind and being able to run back to the stables after a long ride knowing that the end is in sight.

I was completely exhausted after the match with it mostly being physical. Had I known how unmotivated I was going to be that day at the range I think I would have just stayed home and rested. Note to self, if you spend all day slogging around in the mud running yourself into the ground physically, don’t try to shoot a match the next day <_<

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I am heading out to the High Desert Classic in Albuquerque New Mexico this Friday. I am really looking forward to attending this match for the second time. Last year I was still pretty wet behind the ears on big match experience so it will be interesting to see how this one goes this time around. Last year I finished at 74% of the match winner landing me 12th out of 62 shooters in Limited. This year my goal is 90% of the Limited winner and somewhere in the top 5. I know my shooting skills and big match experience is a lot better than last year so this should be a realistically obtainable goal. Its doable if I shoot to my potential and avoid having any train wrecks. We are going out early enough to get a good look at each stage on Friday. Having a solid plan for each stage the day before shooting the match will be a huge advantage for me.

Time to get all the gear packed up and ready to head out.

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I am heading out to the High Desert Classic in Albuquerque New Mexico this Friday. I am really looking forward to attending this match for the second time. Last year I was still pretty wet behind the ears on big match experience so it will be interesting to see how this one goes this time around. Last year I finished at 74% of the match winner landing me 12th out of 62 shooters in Limited. This year my goal is 90% of the Limited winner and somewhere in the top 5. I know my shooting skills and big match experience is a lot better than last year so this should be a realistically obtainable goal. Its doable if I shoot to my potential and avoid having any train wrecks. We are going out early enough to get a good look at each stage on Friday. Having a solid plan for each stage the day before shooting the match will be a huge advantage for me.

Time to get all the gear packed up and ready to head out.

No train wrecks possible. Ship wreck is a better term for this year's theme.

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I attended the 2010 High Desert Classic in Albuquerque New Mexico this past weekend. We didn’t have any wind/sand storms this year so that was a HUGE improvement over the previous year. A gentle breeze was present and much welcomed in the 100 degree no clouds in the sky days though. I can honestly say that the I had not expected the heat to affect me that much because I was doing a great job keep hydrated during the day but it still left me pretty worn out by the end of the day. Since Saturday was the longest day of shooting I forced myself to keep drinking water all day long, almost two gallons worth. But I was still parched by the end of the day when we got back to the hotel. I think I drank the right quantity of water for the conditions, but I think that since I only drank water it wasn’t replenishing my electrolytes or minerals well enough leaving me really worn out. Next time I will try a half and half mix of water and sports drinks to see if it makes a difference in my energy levels. Now onto the match report.

We got to the range at about noon on Friday to check out the stages and figure out some basic stage plans. We had plenty of time check out and break down each stage exploring all of the possibilities. I focused on getting a rough plan for each stage and figuring out where I was going to do my reload then burn in the flow of the stage a little bit. I purposefully didn’t fully program the stages because I didn’t want to paint myself into a corner on a plan only to see or be shown a better way of shooting the stage that was totally different. This worked out well for the most part. There was only one stage that I had to totally change my stage plan because what I had planned on doing ended up being a forbidden action by the time we got to the stage. It was nice to not have to worry about the stage plans the day of the match but to instead work on burning in the plans to polish up the strategies. Listed below are my stages in the order that I shot them.

Stage 3 - First stage of the match and it was a doozy. The placement of the targets forced you to go to all four corners of the COF, there was no way of getting around it. The difficult part of this stage was the center steel and paper section which had two steel swinging hard cover targets blocking the shots. There were two sets of three poppers all set in a line so you had to wait for the steel to fall before you could engage the next popper all the while the swinging steel hard cover was blocking your shots. This to me was the worst planned stage of the match. Clearing the center steel and paper was 100% luck of the draw as you couldn’t time anything past the first three poppers engaged. The rest of the time you were left with waiting for the hard cover to move out of the way so you could engage the targets. To me, this isn’t a good test of shooting skill but more of a luck of the draw factor. Oh well, it is what it is. I shot the stage the best I could but still ended up waiting many seconds for the hard cover to clear to make the last few shots. Another thing that killed a lot of time is that at the end of the stage after shooting the last target and dismounting the gun I noticed that the far right hard cover target had a miss in so I engaged it again about 5 seconds after the last shot. Not the smartest thing to do but I didn’t want to start off the match with a Miss.

Stage 4 – This was the run like a crazy man stage where you had to full out run between most of the shooting positions. When we looked at this stage the day before we noticed that you could eliminate two shooting positions by engaging the swinger and the lay down target from the far right shooting position. This meant that I would be stuck in the far right shooting position for longer and needed to take some fairly risky shots but it allowed me to eliminate at least 4 – 5 seconds worth of extra setups in the other positions. It also allowed me to engage the swinger on its first pass in a predictable position. If I engaged it later in the stage I wouldn’t know where the swinger would be and having to wait for it would kill even more time. I shot this stage as aggressively as I could but I knew that my non-shooting movement through the stage was going to be more important to minimize than the shooting time so I really focused on hauling ass between shooting positions. I ended up with one miss on the target that I engaged on the move as I moved forward into the stage. I called the second shot marginal high but figured that it would be on target so I moved onto the next section without making it up. When the dust had settled after the run I had a miss on that target with the second round barely marking the outer edge of the left shoulder well away from the D zone perforation. I thought that my stage run had been ruined by this miss and didn’t think much more about the stage until the end of the match when I seen that I had won the stage over everyone else even with the miss. This really shocked me but I guess all of the extra time I saved by eliminating the two extra positions was a good enough buffer to edge out all the other Limited shooters. Not the most graceful stage win, but I will take what I can get.

Stage 5 – This was another run around stage but it involved having to jump down from a platform onto the ground, at least if you wanted to save some time. Lets get this straight, I am not a small dude and running with some level of agility isn’t my strong suit. Throw in some ninja style running and jumping and I am way out of my comfort zone. I had never had to jump like that while shooting a stage so I was really leery of the situation. I didn’t want to lose my balance, trip, or fall after jumping down which would for sure lead to a bad situation. So I played it somewhat safe and instead hopped down instead of leaping at full speed. The other thing that was funky on this stage was a windmill swinger thing that had three shoot targets and a no shoot setup in a wagon wheel formation. When you shot the popper on the far right it would open the port exposing the windmill and also set the windmill off in its super fast back and forth rotation. There was NO WAY that you could engage the windmill at the start of the stage because it was spinning way too fast to get any kind of hits on it much less know where the hits are. So the only option for me was to shoot the rest of the stage and then finish on the windmill when it was slowed down to a more manageable speed. This plan worked out pretty good for me but my movement through the stage was pretty clunky. I think I could have saved a couple of seconds on this stage by shooting as I moved through the left two shooting positions. But it is what it is.

Stage 6 – This was a somewhat speed shoot style stage that required you to keep moving through the stage as you shot. I started off the stage ok but then clipped a no shoot blocking the fifth target. I made up the shot but the damage was done. Then to make matters worse, when I did my mag change my spent mag didn’t drop free so I had to rip it out of the gun before completing the reload which put me way behind schedule in my shooting on the move. This sent me into a blasting frenzy which resulted in a miss on the last target from shooting too fast. This was an ugly run all around. No Shoot, Check. Miss, Check. Botched Reload, Check. Falling behind schedule and shooting too fast trying to make up the lost time, Check.

Stage 7 – This was a really straight forward stage that only had one way to shoot it. You had to go to each port/tube and engage four targets of varying position and difficulty. The only monkey wrench thrown into the mix was the second port forced you to shoot strong hand only. So really this stage came down to who could shoot the most points as most of the better shooters would have almost the same stage time. I shot the stage a little conservative trying to collect as many points as I could but still ended up with one D on the strong hand only section. I called the shot a C but when I looked at the target after shooting it was about 2mm into the D-zone. Since I don’t shoot these turtle targets much its hard to know where the scoring zones are while you are calling your shots. I know, it’s a lame excuse but that’s where I am at right now with those things.

Stage 8 – This was a very interesting stage due to the moving platform you shot from. I have only shot from these suspended moving platforms a few times before and I knew that the best way to shoot from them was to NOT try to brace yourself against the outer frame but to instead try to move smoothly and work with the movement of the platform. I shot the first two section well then moved to the right while doing my reload. After the reload I noticed that my front sight alignment was biased to the left which made it hell to clean up the steel. Since I took so many extra shots on the steel I decided to reload again for the last section and this time my front sight alignment was even worse. I took five total shots at the far right target and only one hit was in the A zone. The rest of the hits were 2 – 3 inches in the left side hard cover. I honestly had ZERO confidence in all my shots in the last section and was surprised that I only had the one miss. I couldn’t call my shoots good, bad, or marginal because the front sight was always returning to the far left after every shot. After thinking about it for a while I think that the issue was due to my strong hand getting shifted to the left on the grip during the reloads and staying shifted to the left leaving the gun indexed wrong when I rebuilt my grip. This has not happened in a long time to me so I wasn’t sure what to do to recover from it while shooting. I know I could have shot this stage at least 3 – 4 seconds faster had I not screwed up my grip. Oh well, the mediocrity in performance continues.

Stage 9 – This was the last stage of the day for us so we were all eager to get it done so we could retreat back to air conditioned hotel rooms to cool down. This stage had multiple moving targets to activate by shooting poppers so the timing and target engagement order were very important. On Friday when I looked at this stage I figured that I found a loop hole in the written stage briefing because it said “On start signal engage targets from within the confines of the boat”. Ok, so what can I do creatively within the boat to gain an advantage? If I stood on the seat in the boat I could get a fully unobstructed view of the targets which would make shooting the stage a lot easier and faster. Since the stage briefing said nothing about not standing on the seat I figured I was good to go. Fast forward to the next day when we get to the stage the RO states that standing on the seat is a forbidden action so that blew my stage plan completely out of the water. The worst part is that I didn’t even look at the stage on Friday from the “Normal” perspective so I was in trouble not having a stage plan. To make matters worse I was the fourth shooter on the squad to shoot. This gave very little time to formulate a solid stage plan and thus I made a huge mistake in the middle of the stage. The middle section had a single popper that activated a swinger and a drop out target at the same time. The barrels pinched down the vantage point of the shooting position so that you couldn’t see all three at the same time, only one side or the other. When I watched the other shooters before me shoot the stage I noticed that the drop out target presented its self first by a small amount of time verses the swinger so I thought that it would be best to engage it first and then the swinger on its first pass. Bad idea. By the time I finished the drop out target and transitioned over to the swinger it was retreating behind the wall and I had to wait a painful 2 – 3 seconds for it to come back out. On a speed/timing stage like this that is a major screw up and even though I got all of my hits and shot the rest of the stage fairly decently that extra 2 – 3 seconds of waiting for the swinger killed my run.

Stage 10 – First stage of the day on Sunday. This was an interesting speed shoot stage with a lot of up close paper target blasting and then some tricky steel set out to a distance that is just beyond your fast blasting comfort zone. My plan was simple. Shoot the left side paper, reload, shoot the right side paper then finish on the steel. I figured that the majority of the stage time was going to be defined by how well you shot the steel so I focused on setting myself up to be able to shoot that as fast and as accurately as I could. This was a disservice because I took for granted some of the paper targets which resulted in a miss on the second paper target I engaged. Watching the video of this stage I can see why I missed my second shot. I started moving my head and arms toward the third target just as the second shot was breaking on the second target pulling the gun off target. This is a pure failure of following the fundamentals and assuming that my hits would be there because its so close, how could I miss? Famous last words. Without the miss this would have been a very solid run.

Chrono – We did the Chrono after stage 10 and I was really interested to see what my new Zero load would end up being here in New Mexico in the hot weather conditions. Shooting the match I could tell that the rounds I was shooting felt a little hotter than what I shoot locally but it didn’t change how I shot the stages. These match rounds ended up being 170.2 PF which is a little hotter than I intended them to be but after the scare of almost going minor at the Area 2 match last year I would rather error on the side of being too hot verses scraping by. My buddy Mark (who also filmed all my stage runs) almost went minor though with a PF of 165.5. I think that finding the right load can be hard for even the most experienced shooters some times.

Stage 1 – This was a pretty simple stage without many options because most of the shooting positions were forced due to target placement. The main thing that would make of break your stage run was the Polish Plate Rack at the end of the stage. They had setup the rack with floating weights on both ends so if you shot the plates off in the wrong order allowing the rack to tip enough to let the end weights fall off it would start swinging around very quickly an erratically. The goal was to get all of the plates shot off in a circular pattern starting in the center and working your way out. That would keep the weight balanced on the rack as much as possible but if you missed and let the rack lean too much one way or the other it would start the death spiral. I shot the front section of this stage pretty decent with the only screw up needing a make up shot on the far right target before getting to the door. Then I started on the polish plate rack. Since I was really worried about getting the plated off in a hurry it caused a lot of misses but I lucked out because when I missed the extra weight seemed to work to my benefit on keeping the rack level. I picked off the last plate right before the left side counter weight fell off starting the death spiral. Even though I had some misses on this plate rack I think that I got REALLY lucky in how it kept pretty balanced the whole time. I could have just as easily had misses on the plates that would promote the unbalancing of the rack and then it would have been really ugly.

Stage 2 – Last stage of the day and this stage had the most choices in shooting it out of all the other stages. There were at least 4 – 5 completely different ways of shooting this stage because of the placement of the targets on both sides of the stage. Lucky for me, we spend a lot of time on this stage on Friday figuring it out and my shooting plan was pretty solid. My plan was basically to shoot the whole left side from a stationary position then shoot the right side of the stage on the move as I went to the end of the stage to finish. This was a very solid stage plan for me and I didn’t have any doubts. The only part that was difficult was shooting the steel and paper from the back which left only the heads of the poppers to shoot. But I simply told myself to take my time and get my hits no matter how long it took and it worked out well. Then during the reload the mag didn’t fall free again which had me ripping it out of the gun and being behind schedule again. This resulted in my missing my first shooting position on the right and hitting the no shoot on the left. I noticed the no shoot hit as I ran by and knew that I had not called either of those shots well before so I decided that it would be best to back up and reengage that target with two rounds to make sure I had both my hits. This killed at least 4 seconds of my stage time but without knowing that I had any hits on the target I didn’t want to risk having two misses. After the stage run I had three hits on the target so the 4 second detour was a total waste verses blowing it off and taking a single miss. But it would have been worth it to make up two misses so it’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. I was really happy with my unloaded start and how I shot the back section of the stage making used of both activated targets without having to wait. I would really like to have those four seconds back, but what is done is done.

After the match was over I finished 5th in Limited at 79% of the winner. Finishing at 79% was not a surprise due to the amount of misses, no shoots and wasted time, but finishing 5th was a surprise. I figured that my poor performance would push me a lot further down on the results list. They did a random prize drawing and I scored a certificate for a free pair of Rudy Project sunglasses. This is really cool because I needed to get a pair of them for my wife and winning this certificate is going to save me a good chunk of change.

The lessons I learned for this match are pretty good. First I found that I did a lot better when I had the time to check out and figure out stage plans the day before the match. Now I need to take it one step further and not bank on super gaming stage plans like I did for the Boat stage that left me high and dry when I couldn’t use it. The second lesson was that keeping hydrated is a good thing but I also need to incorporate some sports drinks to fully replenish what I am sweating out. The third lesson is that I need to figure out what is going on with my magazines not dropping free.

I really need to take a hard look at my magazines to see what is going on to cause them to hang up in the gun. I think that its due to the springs being too worn out and not putting enough pressure on the top round. This causes the top bullet to bias its self forward as the slide moves forward. Since the top bullet is biased forward it hangs up on the inside of the frame keeping the mag from dropping. I don’t have much time to make any major changes to test out solutions before heading to the Area 1 match on Wednesday so I think that I am left with trying new springs and followers at the Area 1 match. Hopefully that will be the ticket to solving the issue.

Overall I had fun shooting this match and even though I wish that I did better in the results the lessons I learned during this match were priceless. These type of lessons can only be learned by attending big matches like these and I am sure there will be plenty more lessons to learn in the next match.

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On stage 3 it looked like you shot the static target behind the swinging gongs last. If that was the case why not shoot it first before shooting the forward falling poppers that activated the swinging hard cover. It was right up the middle and wide open, then start on the six poppers.

CYa,

Pat

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whatmeworry> That is a good observation and after shooting the stage I now think that would have been best. When first looked at the stage it seemed like it made more sense to leave the middle paper to shoot while I couldn't shoot the poppers because they were blocked by the steel hard cover. The steel hard cover did swing lower than the paper by a little ways so it seemed like it would be good to leave something out there to shoot at while waiting for the steel to become exposed again. But I TOTALLY forgot to account for the steel bars that the hard cover plates were attached to which blocked the paper more than the actual hard cover plates due to the hinge point at the top :blush:

Yes...... I am retarded some times and it shows. But at least I am learning one mistake at a time :wacko:

Edited by CHA-LEE
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Nice shooting, but...

In stage 4 you were very close to DQ. Actually you should be DQ'ed because after the first string moving from left to right you slliped a bit and your gun was more than 180. (look between 6-8 second on this stage). So you should review your gun handling in practice sessions.

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Nice shooting, but...

In stage 4 you were very close to DQ. Actually you should be DQ'ed because after the first string moving from left to right you slliped a bit and your gun was more than 180. (look between 6-8 second on this stage). So you should review your gun handling in practice sessions.

While there were some 180 breaks on this stage, that was not one of them. I was filming and I was actually watching his gun and it was parallel to the 180 if not a tad inside of it. I've got one on film that will make you duck watching it on a screen.

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I am not trying to attack someone here, I actually pointing on safety issue here. If your gun is parallel on 180 you are 50% on DQ zone. You can do some little practice to be safe, thats all. I think CHA-LEE will think a bout it.

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Ramas> Thanks for mentioning what you see in the video. I am actually not surprised by the gun being close to the 180 right after exiting the first shooting position. When I turned around and started to run I was heading RIGHT FOR the white pillar on the right side of the porch. The video does not show it very well but I had to take a big step to the right to keep from running into the white pillar. While taking this step I spread my arms out a little bit preparing to impact the white pillar if I hit it. During this arm movement the gun is very close to the 180 but I don't believe that it broke the 180. I was the last shooter on the squad to shoot this stage and there were a couple other shooters that had people ducking and jumping out of the way while they were shooting this stage because they were breaking the 180 but the RO didn't see it even through almost everyone in the squad was jumping out of the way or making loud comments about it. To that point, by the time I shot this stage the whole squad was on edge and keeping a close eye for 180 violations so if I did break the 180 you would have heard people in the squad yelling about it or as MarkCO said, he would have been ducking out of the way while filming. I know I was close to the 180 at that moment during the stage but I don't feel that I broke it.

Honestly, stages like this one are not that fun to me because its more about running than shooting. They could have made the same shooting challenge with half the running making it more of a fare challenge for all shooters. But it is what it is.

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