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I am finally ready to head out to the Area 1 match tomorrow morning. Having only two days to get my gear reset, ammo reloaded and everything else ready to go has been a hectic situation :wacko:

My buddy Conrad and I are driving up to Idaho tomorrow so we can have a full day on Thursday to check out the stages. We are shooting the whole match on Friday and then heading back home on Saturday. Churning through 12 stages in one day is going to be a grind. But I hope that with having a full day to break down and plan for the stages before hand will make the shooting day go a lot smoother.

My performance goal for this match is to make the top 10 in Limited and finish at a minimum of 85% of the winner. Time to make it happen!!! :devil:

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We got to check out the stages today. The match has a good balance of field courses speed shoots and standards. Most of the stages are pretty straight forward. I don't want to say that any of them are "Easy" because you can underestimate any stage thinking its easy and then be rewarded with a train wreck performance. I have solid stage plans for all of the stages and feel confident in being able to execute my plans. I am looking forward to shooting tomorrow and giving it my best.

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We got to check out the stages today. The match has a good balance of field courses speed shoots and standards. Most of the stages are pretty straight forward. I don't want to say that any of them are "Easy" because you can underestimate any stage thinking its easy and then be rewarded with a train wreck performance. I have solid stage plans for all of the stages and feel confident in being able to execute my plans. I am looking forward to shooting tomorrow and giving it my best.

Good Luck! :cheers:

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We got to the range early on Friday so we could get our gear organized and give the first few stages another dry run before starting the match. By the time our squad assembled I was ready to go and much to my surprise I had a bunch of really good shooters on the squad. We had three GM’s on our squad which included Ron Avery, Todd Jarrett and David Cutts. All of these guys are really good shooters and being able to see how they performed on the stages would be a good comparison to how my shooting was going as well. My shooting plan for the day was pretty simple. My only goals were to shoot relaxed and to allow myself to take however long it takes to call all of my shots. If I focused on those two things and executed on them I knew that I would shoot as well as I could. Below are my stage runs in the order that I shot them.

Stage 4 – First stage of the day and it was also a good test of movement as well as strong hand only shooting. The morning was still pretty cool being only about 60 degrees and I knew that it was going to be warmer later in the day so I went out with only a T-Shirt on and was feeling a little cold. My fingers were cold for sure and I kept trying to heat them up by putting them under my arm pits but that only does so much when you are helping reset the stage between shooters. I am pretty amped up before the start of the stage and I knew that I was a little too excited but there was nothing I could do as I was already making ready. The buzzer goes off and I move towards the first shooting position as I draw and as the gun comes up and is almost on target it fires. I didn’t intend it to fire so I knew that it was an AD and I was waiting for the “STOP” to come from the RO but it never did. This early shot and anticipating being stopped made me shoot the left portion of the stage pretty tentative. I shot the stage with a somewhat OK performance but was kicking myself in the ass the whole time for almost getting DQed on the first stage of the match. The RO gods must have not had their fill of coffee that morning or I am a super lucky guy because I really think I could have been DQed for an AD due to the early first shot. I still can’t believe that it happened like that. All I can think of was that I was extra excited and had cold fingers. Either way, I was a lucky bastard for not being sent home after only firing one shot in the match. Time to buy a lotto ticket!!!

Stage 5 – This was pretty much like a classifier stage. Shoot three targets on the right of the barricade, reload and then three more from the left side. I shot the stage pretty hesitant after the stage four situation and decided to go for maximum points resulting in a couple of make up shots. Nothing to write home about on this performance. I lost some match points on this stage from noting being aggressive enough, but with it only being a 60 point stage it didn’t hurt me too much.

Stage 6 – This was tricky speed shoot stage where you started unloaded with mag on table. There were two poppers set in front of one another and the front one was a big one. This big popper took forever to fall so you were basically forced to shoot it first, then both paper then finish the small popper behind it. I fumbled the load at the start which killed at least a half a second but once the pullets started flying it was good. Once again, since this was only a 30 point stage not too much damage was done by the fumbled load.

Stage 7 – Second field course for the day and it was a pretty straight forward one. This stage had a bipolar mix of super fast close blasting and far away or tight shots. Switching gears was needed or you would shoot too slow or have a boat load of misses on the far or tight targets. I started the stage with some hoser vengeance and it showed on the first string of targets. I wanted to be done with the first three targets FAST and it resulted in me tripling on the second target in the string. This was actually a good thing because as soon as it happened I told myself to stop trying to force the shooting and just shoot. Doing this helped me be more relaxed for the rest of the stage run. I did pretty decent on this stage but I would really like to know what the splits were on that second target. There had to be at least two of them at or below .10 sec. The Big Panda trigger finger can move fast when it wants to.

Stage 8 – This was a fun stage to shoot with three drop and return no shoots in the middle. You had to hit the step pad and then shoot on the move at a pretty brisk pace to keep up with the targets being exposed. There were quite a few people that got in trouble with these targets due to hesitating and falling behind in the no shoot drop out sequence. You had to shoot and move consistently fast which a lot of shooters had problems with. I made a last minute stage plan change and decided to shoot 22 rounds before my reload. To do this I used my 22+1 mag and told myself to earn every shot which I did until I got a nose dive jam while shooting in the port. This nose dive jam cost me about 2 seconds and sent me into the dreaded “YOU ARE BEHIND SCHEDULE” mind set sending my shot calling out the window. I was further punished by this complete lack of watching the front sight by needing about 6 make up shots on the steel. There was one pesky mini popper that I kept nicking but it wouldn’t fall. I nicked it three times before pausing and shooting it dead in the middle to take it down. I hate it when the steel goes “DING” but then does not fall. I felt like I was back at the Double Tap all over again. This was my train wreck stage of the match having wasted about seven seconds in clearing the jam and taking a boat load of extra shots on the steel. The only saving grace here was that I had all of my hits. After this stage train wreck Ron Avery pulled me aside and told me to stop “Trying” and simply have fun and shoot. I took these few words to heart and simply let go of any expectations. The rest of the match I did just that, had fun and shot as soon as I could call my shots.

Stage 9 – This was a widow maker of a standards stage. Two strings of fire with the first being 6 shots free style, reload, then three shots SHO to a zebra hard cover target about 12 – 15 yards away. Second string was the same at the start but then three shots WHO. It was also Virgina count so if you had a miss on that back zebra target you just took it in the chops hard. I shot the first string good with all of my hits. Then on the second string I dropped two misses in to the C-zone of the hardcover. This wasn’t pretty and I tried my best to wait for the sights to settle between WHO shots but they wouldn’t stop wondering around due to my hand shaking. Everyone had at least one miss on the back zebra target. Todd Jarrett had the best analogy for this stage when he said that shooting the back zebra target was like shooting a full size target at 50 yards and that’s hard to do with any speed freestyle much less weak hand. Lucky for me, well probably lucky for everyone, this stage was thrown out of the results due to inconsistent assessment of procedural penalties.

Stage 10 – This was an interesting fixed time stage with 8 targets needing one round on each within seven seconds. The Par time as easy to make so this really came down to getting as many points as you could. Since you started in an unloaded state the only thing I focused on trying to do fast was my load and rack. Then I tried to take the time to get all A-zone hits. I missed one A-zone by less than an inch on my last shot and it was opposite the side of the no shoot so I think I was being too cautious of not hitting the no shoot instead of just shooting an A. Being down only 1 point was nice, but there is no reason why I shouldn’t have shot all A’s since there was plenty of time.

Stage 11 – This stage was a lot harder than it looked on the surface. You had groups of turtle targets that were close and far with the far ones being heavily blocked by no shoots. If you clipped a no shoot you would be handed a hard blow to your HF so I decided to be extra cautious on the far shots. This also translated into shooting the close stuff slower than it should have been wasting time, but I would rather lose a combined half a second in splits verses trying to shoot fast and getting a lot of D’s, misses, or no shoots. I was happy to simply tread water on this stage and not waste any points.

Stage 12 – This was really the only large run and gun stage of the match. My initial plan was to blow off the drop turner because it was a wash in points and time if you took more than 1.5 seconds to shoot the DT. But that plan had me doing more running than gunning and it always ends up being faster if you are shooting while moving so I decided to incorporate it into my stage plan. This stage also had two EVIL swingers triggered by the same step pad. They both came out at the same time and were fast. To shoot them both on their first pass you had to shoot FAST!!!. I was the last person to shoot on my squad and watching Todd, Ron, and David all fail to shoot both swingers on their first pass was starting to shake my resolve and second guess my plan of attack. I waffled on whether to do it or not for a little bit than simply said to myself “You KNOW you can do it, so just do it”. This is where I would have to tap into the Angry Panda trigger finger skills without trying to push it end ending up with trigger freeze. Just before the start of the stage I started to think about needing to shoot fast and then I immediately stopped myself and said that all I have to do is shoot, not fast or slow, just shoot. Then the buzzer went off and the bullets started to fly. I get to the double swinger port and shoot both swingers on their first pass like it was a chump of a challenge, I was so shocked that I had done it that I actually paused to see if I got my hits but then snapped back into reality and continued on with the stage run. I wish I had not wasted the time in the port because it did affect my stage time but I think that was a small price to pay for being able to experience that situation. Just shoot is all my intent was on those swingers and the bullets came with much vigor. I had all of my hits and this ended up being a pretty solid stage run.

Stage 1 – This was a 20 round stage could only be shot a couple of different ways but even those were only small variants. There was a port and a door that were activated by separate poppers and you had to shoot in a specific sequence or it would be a total waste of time. So everyone pretty much shot the stage in the same sequence and it came down to who could hustle through the stage the fastest with the most points. Really no different than any other stage but since the sequence was pretty much mandated everyone did it pretty much the same way. I shot and moved through the stage aggressively but had a D hit on the far right target before going to the door and this didn’t help my HF any. Fun stage to shoot but it really wasn’t the normal “Freestyle” type of stage because the positions were pretty much mandated.

Stage 2 – Another medium size field course which was totally opposite of stage 1. There were a bunch of different ways to shoot this stage and this was evident by the mixed bag of shooting plans you seen for every shooter. Some people chose to hose as they ran around like a mad man, others chose to shoot things from far away. I picked a plan that was pretty simple and would allow me to keep shooting almost the whole time during the stage run. There was a swinger that you had to engage from an untimed spot so I picked a plan that exposed me to it for an extended amount of time along with some other static targets that way I would have something to shoot at while I was waiting for the swinger. I shot this stage about as solid as I could but still had three make up shots which were all needed.

Stage 3 – This was the last stage of the match and it was probably the one that had the highest wild card factor having a polish plate rack. The plate rack was kicked off in motion by shooting a popper on the back right of the COF. So you had two basic choices. First, shoot all of the back targets including the activating popper then go up front and shoot the plate rack while it was in motion. Second, was to run up and shoot the plate rack while it was stationary then run back and shoot the rest of the targets and popper. Running up to shoot the plate rack required a couple of different shooting positions because the bottom row of plates were blocked by hard cover plates. You also had the time of running up then back. This was a “safer” plan but it also would take longer. I opted to roll the dice and shoot the back portion of the stage then shoot the plate rack while it was moving. This plan worked out somewhat but still left me hunting and pecking for the last few plates which hurt my stage time. If I had a chance to shoot this stage again I think I would shoot the top plates from the back left port then shoot all of the other targets and activator then finish the last four plates while the rack was moving. But we only get to shoot the stage once so it is what it is.

Overall I was happy with my match performance. I only had a train wreck on one stage and the rest of the stages I shot pretty solid and competitive. This performance landed me in 4th place in Limited at 87% of the winner Blake Miguez and also first Master. I exceeded my placement goal but missed my percentage goal. If I wouldn’t have tanked the one stage I would have been right at 90% but its all a learning lesson and well worth the experience. The match was fun and I am happy with my overall performance. Finishing 4th out of 109 Limited shooters isn’t too shabby. Being able to shoot with Ron, Todd, and David was also a really cool experience as well. Its cool to see the big dogs get it done in person. I was able to video some of Ron and Todd’s stage runs so that will be very interesting to review compared to my performance. The biggest surprise to me was how different the shooting and movement styles are between these guys. They shoot and move very differently but end up with almost the same time and points once the shooting is done. There is a lot more for me to learn but I look forward to the journey :cheers:

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I went in for my 6 month post op LASIK checkup today and the final results are looking really good. I am almost able to read the 20/10 line clearly but I can see the 20/15 line without even trying. They said that my “flaps” look good and that I should be good to go for many years of perfect eye site. I am so glad that I got this procedure done. It has been awesome to not need prescription glasses any more and be able to see clearly any time I open my eyes.

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Wow; how time flies!! It is amazing to hear that it's been six months since you had your procedure.

I am very happy to hear such excellent results. Also, congratulations on achieving Top Master and 4th Overall in Area 1! VERY NICELY DONE!! :cheers:

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Since I had the day off on Friday I decided to get some live fire practice done. It has been a while since I have been able to do any live fire practice so it was nice to get out and let it all hang out while trying to learn some new stuff. I went out with my buddy Todd and we decided to mainly work on shooting on the move. We setup a couple of walls and then had a series of targets to engage on each side. We shot a bunch of different movement drills and I worked on pushing the limit on foot movement speed while shooting. I also shot Limited 10 and forced a mag change on every run to further burn in reload practice on the move. I went through about 300 rounds of ammo that afternoon and I was able to learn some new stuff about my shooting which was good. There were a couple of glaring holes in my game that were exposed which was also good. The first hole in my game was shooting while backing up. I can only shoot consistently accurate shots if I am going at a snails pace while backing up. This is all due to poor body position and foot work, which I really need to work on. The other thing that I found out is that my black on black sight setup really hurts my shot calling ability in shadow conditions where the sun is at the back on the targets. I always thought that my accuracy issues on “Shadowed” targets was due to the scoring surface of the target being in the shadow but it turns out to be an issue with my front sight. In this lighting condition the blade of my front sight is also in shadow condition when compared to the rear sight and its very hard to see when its in such a different contrast to the rear. My shots kept going high in this situation and I think it was due to me pointing the gun up to try to see the front sight more which obviously causes my shots to go high as well. Even though this is a sucky down fall of running black on black sights I still like shooting them better than using a FO front. I will just have to aim harder in these shadow conditions.

Overall it was a good practice session and it was nice to let it loose while shooting and also have some fun. We did some shooting on the move strong hand only and the results were not pretty but it was a lot of fun to give it a try. I am still trying to figure out how these Movie Action Hero’s can shoot 98789242349734 bad guys all day long strong hand only while running around, oh yeah and also never have to reload. Maybe I will be able to do it some day :roflol:

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This past Sunday was one of the USPSA matches I help put on so I was able to get a good work out in the morning and then some shooting in the afternoon. With it being the 4th of July I wasn’t sure if we were going to get a decent turn out or not but we still ended up pulling in 70 shooters. The weather forecast called for rain in the afternoon so I think a lot of the people that showed up wanted to take advantage of the nice weather early in the day to do some shooting. We had a bunch of help with setting up the stages and this made the setup process go fast which was nice. Listed below are my stage runs in the order that I shot them. I wasn’t able to get footage of all my stage runs but I have listed what was captured. My only goal for this match was to implement the suggestion that Ron Avery gave me at the Area 1 match. He suggested that I only focus on the shot happening right now and set aside any preconceived expectation of a time line “Schedule” for the stage. So my goal was to do just that, focus on the shooting as it happens and not worry about being ahead of or behind schedule during the stage run.

Stage 3 – This was a Fixed Time stage with 8 targets to engage with one round each from two different shooting boxes. This all had to be done within 6 seconds. The par time of 6 seconds was doable but you really had to reign yourself in to not shoot too fast and get crappy hits. I shot the stage at a decent pace and was in full control without feeling like I had to rush or hurry. I was left with a little less than a second of extra time when I was done shooting and was down 2 points total for the stage.

Stage 4 – Classifier CM 99-16 called Both Sides Now 2. This classifier has you shoot three paper on one side of the barricade, reload then shoot two poppers and two paper from the other side. I have shot this classifier well in the past so I really wasn’t worried about doing well on it. The buzzer goes off and I shoot the right side solid hit the reload then miss the first popper on the left needing a make up shot to take it down. The miss was due to mashing the trigger as I seen the front sight dip low left right before the shot broke. This was a disappointment and it made me not care about the rest of the string so I started slinging shots giving me a D hit on the paper and another miss on the other popper. I know I could have shot this classifier at 100% but gave it away with poor execution. I ended up with an 87% national result on this classifier. No video for this stage run.

Stage 5 – This was the long field course stage of the match. The targets were set out in a large horse shoe formation with walls setup so you had to run to the extreme ends of the back of the COF. This stage reminded me of the stages in New Mexico where you had a bunch of full out running between shooting positions because that is exactly what was needed for this stage. There were a couple of different ways to shoot the front section of the stage and I chose to shoot the left half first then come back and shoot the right half second. There were also two swingers activated by a single step pad in the front middle of the stage. Since there were two swingers set off by this one step pad you really could only plan for the timing of one of them. Most of the shooters chose to step on the pad first then engage the targets behind the barrels but this left them with an unknown position for both swingers. I watched a some of my squad shoot this stage and found that it would take about 2.5 seconds for the left side swinger to be in its lull on the left side swing so I decided to step on the pad then haul ass to the left shooting position. This worked out well and the target ended up right where I wanted it to be. Then I hauled ass to the right side of the stage and tried to mow down the targets as fast as I could call my shots. I thought that I had a solid stage run in time but there were a couple of other shooters that were able to shoot it a second or two faster than my run. So I think I probably picked the wrong plan for shooting the front section of the stage. Either way I was only down 7 points for the stage so even though the stage time was off a little I had really good points.

Stage 1 – This was a 20 round COF that had you start standing behind a barrel in the back of the stage. Your unloaded gun and first mag were on the barrel as well. I loaded up a 21 round mag for this unloaded start so I would have one extra shot if needed and didn’t plan on doing a reload. The key to this stage was to pick a target engagement order that kept your gun running the whole time. Since this was going to be a 9 – 10 HF stage I knew that time was more important than points so being able to shoot sooner was going to be the best plan. I shot this stage decently and had a slight hesitation on the right target that was half blocked by hard cover. When I indexed the gun on the target I was really high so I had to aim lower before I could break the shots. I think I gave up about half a second with this hesitation but the rest of the stage went well. I had one D zone hit on the first target engaged in the second port. This was due to me driving the gun through the target as I was breaking the shot trying to move over to the second target. I called it a marginal shot but given the high hit factor of this stage making it up wouldn’t be worth the time. The video for this stage was started a little late so it starts as I was engaging the first target of the stage run.

Stage 2 – This was the last stage of the day. It was another medium size field course where you had you unloaded gun on one barrel and then your first loading device on the other barrel. The way that the targets were laid out in the stage made for only one way of shooting this stage effectively. So it was more of a “who can follow the leader the best” kind of stage. It had a good mixture of up close blasting and long distance poppers. I shot the stage well and hit both poppers on the first shot without wasting any time lining up the shots. This is another stage where I didn’t get a video of the run. It sucks to not have a video of this run because it was probably my best run of the day.

This was the first solid local match that I have had in a LONG time. I didn’t have any penalties, misses, or no shoots and only had two D-zone hits. I knew that I had a very solid match and it would be hard for the other shooters in attendance to beat me. I was really proud of my performance and the big win of the day was that I was able to achieve my goal of only focusing on the shot happening right now. I really need to make this my new mental state when shooting matches as it is working really well for me. When the results were posted I ended up first in Limited 11% ahead of second place :cheers:

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Hey Cha-Lee didnt know about this. Very cool looking at and seeing your feelings during a shoot. Tom and my self debrief on the way back home and that seems to help bring out points that we both need. As you know my speed is my biggest limitation and after your point about weapon position on trans sition Tom brought up that it looked like when I went for the door an that stage I came close to possibly sweeping myself by not having it high enough so good call hope to see you Sunday.

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frunkenstein> Good to see you on this forum. There is a ton of information to be learned on this website and all you have to do is research the topics and read up. See you guys on Sunday :cheers:

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This weekend was a busy driving and shooting weekend. Saturday I shot a match up in Steamboat Springs which is about 200 miles one way. Then we went down to Pueblo on Sunday to shoot another match which is 100 miles one way. I think that I bit off more than I could chew with all of the driving this weekend. I was worn out and unfocused both days which lead to less than stellar shooting. Its interesting to shoot in this unmotivated worn out state though. It’s a pretty good replication of the mental/physical state I was in while shooting the Double Tap Champs earlier this year. Its good to experience this and find ways to pull yourself together so you can refocus when needed, but it took a lot of fun out of it which was a bummer. Listed below are my stage runs from the Steamboat Springs match on Saturday in the order that I shot them.

Stage 3 – This was a medium field course with two shooting positions and a bunch of steel. Since this was an 18 round COF I decided to load up my normal mags to 21+1 and run the stage without a reload. I started out the stage a little unfocused and was punished by having three misses on the Texas star. After having the misses I buckled down and forced myself to clearly call every shot which resulted in a solid finish of the stage. This was an ok stage run but I gave up at least a second screwing around with the Texas star.

Stage 4 – This was an interesting stage where you had a couple of targets on the right and the majority of them on the left setup in a run and gun formation. Then at the end you had a popper that activated a swinger. The interesting part was that the WSB mandated that you had to shoot weak hand only after shooting the popper. So this basically forced you to shoot the popper last free style then switch to weak hand and shoot the swinger. I made two major mistakes on this stage. The first was that the stage was 21 rounds so I figured that I would use my 22+1 magazine to avoid a reload, then proceeded to shoot too many rounds and had to do an unplanned reload at the end of the stage. The second was to try and shoot the left hand paper target on the move too far away too quickly which resulted in 2 – 3 D’s on the left side of the stage. I should have moved closer to the left as I shot the targets as this would have allowed me to shoot more accurately and move faster. The unplanned reload and resulting waiting to reengage the swinger on its second pass wasted at least three seconds on this stage as well. I could have easily done the reload after finishing the left hand side and then been totally ready to rock on the last second of the stage. Oh well, lesson learned.

Stage 5 – This was a funky long field course where you had three different shooting positions. The first was some fairly close targets with a lot of hard cover so you couldn’t go completely hoser crazy. The second position had two poppers and a paper at about 10 yards then three paper targets out to about 25 – 30 yards. The last position they mandated that you had to shoot prone and the targets were set out to about 40 yards. This wasn’t a “Legal” stage due to the round count of the first shooting position and mandating that you had to shoot pone in the last position, but we all played along and tested our skills. I shot the first two positions well and then went to the last position and I thought that I shot well but ended up with a miss on the last target. The ground was sloped down in the prone position so you couldn’t rest the gun on the ground to shoot. I had to rest my elbows on the ground and prop the gun up by bending my elbows which pretty much ruined any chance of having decent recoil control. I think this is what caused my miss on the last target, but at that distance it could have also been a poor trigger pull as well.

Stage 1 – This was the classifier for the match which was 99-16 called Times Two. I really like shooting this classifier because it plays to my strengths. I shot the stage in a decent time of 5.94 seconds but had two hits just into the D-zone which sunk what would have been a 95+% run. One of these days I am going to get 100% on this classifier. Its so close I can taste it.

Stage 2 – Last stage of the day and it was a medium field course with 21 rounds. I decided to use my 22+1 magazine again and go without a reload. You started with a key touching the door knob in your strong hand. Opening the door activates a swinger and you can only engage the swinger and steel from a 3x3 box. I didn’t have much time to watch the door activation sequence to know if I should engage the swinger or popper first so I figured that I would go after the swinger first then the popper. When I got to the shooting box the swinger was retreating from its first pass and even though I was ready to shoot it was too late so I had to shoot the popper instead and then come back for the swinger. I should have just shot the popper first and then the swinger would have been right where it needed to be. I also had a nose dive jam after the first shot which I had to clear before I could engage the swinger. I knew I was pushing my luck on using the 22+1 magazine twice before cleaning and rebuilding it and it came back to bite me. I shot the rest of the stage decently and I was able to move fairly quickly in the middle while shooting which I was happy with. I did end up with a miss on the diagonal hard cover target in the last position. This hit was only about 1 mm from the scoring edge of the A-zone with both of my shots within 2 inches of each other. This would have been a perfect two alpha hit if it wasn’t for the diagonal hard cover. I was getting a little too greedy going for all A’s instead of accepting C’s and staying away from the hard cover. The miss pretty much sunk salvaging this run after screwing up the start.

The big lesson for me this match was to not use the 22+1 magazine as a crutch when its really not needed. Both times when I tried to use it there was plenty of time during the stage run to do a reload and not lose much if any time. I think I will make a new personal rule to only use it if there is a significant advantage to doing so. I also need to actually practice doing some prone shooting. I have never practiced it and the only times I have shot pone were in matches when we were forced to do it. Overall this was an “ok” match for me but nothing to be excited about.

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USPSA Match in Pueblo on Sunday. When I woke up in the morning for this match I was really tired and unmotivated. I knew that this wasn’t a good sign to start off the day but decided to push though anyway. We got to the range in enough time to check out all of the stages and formulate some plans so I felt pretty good about my stage plans. It was going to be hot that day so I knew a long hot day of shooting was in order so I tried my best to stay focus and execute to the best of my ability. I started filming my stage runs but stopped after the second stage. I was so unmotivated to shoot that I didn’t even want to film my runs so I didn’t. In hind sight this was probably a bad thing because it would be nice to see where I am screwing up while in this unmotivated condition. I need to film and review my runs even if I am not “into” it. Listed below are my stage runs as I shot them.

Stage 6 – This was a long field course stage with three sets of four targets. The shooting area was a straight path down range and you had to engage 4 targets through a port on both the left and right side. The ports had no shoots on the sides making the ports narrower as well. I think the course designers intention was to have the shooter engage the targets on the move as they went straight down range. But with the position of the targets behind the ports and the no shoots blocking the ports even more there wasn’t much of a shooting on the move flow that you could take. The first shot of the stage was through one of the ports and you had to be jammed to the extreme left side of the shooting area to see even half of the lower A-zone with the rest being blocked by a no shoot on the port. When I broke my second shot I nicked the no shoot and didn’t see it until I was already advancing down range so I had to back up and reengage the target but was rewarded with a solid no shoot hit. Two no shoots and a miss to start off the stage really grinds on you and kills your desire to finish the rest of the stage. After this crappy start I tried to go through the rest of the stage but had zero visual patience and needed a boat load of extra shots on the steel and hard cover blocked paper targets. I gave away at least 40 match points on this stage and with the competition in Limited that day I knew that was just about impossible to recover from for an overall win. This further set my mood into sour grapes mode.

Stage 1 – This was some what of a standards stage where you started with your loaded gun on a barrel and then were facing up range. On the buzzer you grabbed your gun and engaged four paper targets, reloaded, then from a kneeling position engaged 5 steel. The steel was a mixture of pepper poppers and US poppers with the smaller ones behind the bigger ones. I shot the paper well and did a decent reload but then proceeded to miss my first two shots on the steel needing to come back and start the string over. I cleaned up the steel after that well until I got to the last US popper and shot three shots at it all missing. Now I was pissed and unleashed my angry panda trigger finger on it and hit it with 5 shots as fast as I could. How I can miss three “Aimed” shots but then get pissed and hit it 5 times in a row shooting .15 splits is beyond me. The funny thing is that if I hadn’t of gone angry panda on the last popper I would have shot the stage fast enough to win the stage. That will teach me to get frustrated on the clock.

Stage 2 – This was a strange large field course that had targets and walls all over the place. The shooting area was wide open and the targets were placed at vantage points where you could see both the front and back of the scoring targets. A lot of shooters were completely lost in how to shoot this stage but I had given this stage a lot of time and thought before the match and had a solid plan that kept me shooting most of the time. At the start of the stage I had to engage a head shot on the move and called my second shot a miss but then tried to sling another “hoper” shot as a make up and it ended up being a miss. I shot the rest of the stage well though and had a decent stage time. The miss sunk my run though as I would have had a stage win without the miss. At this point in the match my frustration had peaked and I simply told myself to stop worrying about it and just shoot while having fun with what I can.

Stage 3 – This was a medium COF with two left and right ports and a good mixture of close and far targets. There was also a step pad that activated a swinger and a drop out/return disappearing target. The timing of the swinger and drop out was very close with the swinger coming out a little sooner than the drop out and they were both fast. You had to really shoot fast and in control to engage both on the first pass. As I had planned I simply told myself to have some fun shooting and that’s what I did. I shot the stage pretty good and was able to hit the swinger and drop out target on their first pass. I did end up with a D hit on both so that killed some points, but I would rather take a D verses a miss.

Stage 4 – This was another medium COF that was somewhat of a memory type of stage. You could see multiple targets from multiple shooting positions and there were quite a few people on my squad that had FTE’s or double shot targets. I picked a plan that was as simple as I could make it with needing to only hit one precise shooting position. The end of the stage had you opening a door which activated a swinger and a drop out/return target that wasn’t disappearing and left about a quarter of the lower A zone exposed with a no shoot blocking the rest. The drop out target wasn’t even worth trying to shoot while it was activated because the shot when it was done moving wasn’t that hard. I instead focused on engaging the swinger on its first pass after opening the door. I was able to hit my positions and had really good hits on the rest of the targets in a good time. This was my best stage run of the day and it showed by winning the stage by 12% over second place.

Stage 5 – This was one of the new classifiers (CM 09-04) called Pucker Factor. The stage is pretty straight forward. Standing in a box facing the targets with the gun loaded and hands relaxed as sides you engage four targets with two rounds each. The targets are setup in increasing distances from right to left. To make it interesting they also have reducing amounts of hard cover as they get further back. The closest one is a head shot followed by head and shoulders then bottom half hard cover and the last is a fully open target. Given the distance and hard cover blockage difference in the targets they were pretty much all the same shot difficulty. The way I looked at it you would engage each target at about the same shooting speed. I prefer to shoot from right to left so I started with the close head shot and finished with the further away open target. I drew fairly well and then shot all of the targets with the same fast paced shooting cadence. This resulted in a 10.8 Hit factor which I think will be pretty good but since these are the new classifiers I don’t know what the national average will be until USPSA processes it. It was a good finish to the day though.

This was the worst match in a long time for me. I was really unmotivated to be there much less shoot and it really showed in my performance. You can’t force anything and expect it to go well and that also applies to even showing up to shoot a match. I think that I should have just stayed home that day instead and rested up. I think that all of the driving, hot weather and lack of sleep Saturday night really did me in on Sunday. Its nice to confirm that when all else fails its best to just let the shooting happen and try to have fun. But when its not fun and you don’t really want to be there, its not worth it. During these really hot summer weekends I think I will cut back my match attendance to only one match per weekend. I really like to shoot, but sweating out gallons of water and being exhausted and unmotivated while shooting isn’t fun. Time to fine tune the balance of return on investment.

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USPSA match on Saturday. I helped setup in the morning as I supplied a couple of stages for the match. It was hot that day but also a little windy so that helped quite a bit on at least making it feel like it was cooler. This was a strange day of shooting for me. I have been trying to figure out some new mental strategies during matches and it didn’t work out so well. Basically I have been trying to come up with a way to stop setting a shooting “Schedule” in my head during a stage run. The intent is that if I don’t think there is a schedule, then I can’t get into a situation where I have an issue during a stage run and then feel like I am behind schedule. This day I tried to not worry about anything, basically giving myself no expectations of performance and it lead to some pretty unfocused and inconsistent shooting. I had botched stage plans and very poor shot calling all day long. I think that the lesson here is that I need to at least set some kind of performance expectation or I will just not be “There” when I need to be. Since I was in the “I don’t care” mode I didn’t film my stage runs. Listed below are my stage runs as I shot them.

Stage 3 – This was a box to box stage where you had to engage four targets from each box. Two walls were blocking half of the targets so you had to do some hunting around for them while in each box. This was one of my stages that I brought to the match and setup. It was based on a drill that I did in my last live fire practice session. I figured that since I had shot the same thing so many times in practice that I didn’t need to really break it down. I was the first shooter up and after the buzzer went off my stage plan imploded. I forgot a target in the first box after leaving and had to come back into the box to get it. Then finishing the string I shot too fast trying to point shoot and had a miss on the last target which I made up 2 – 3 seconds after finishing shooting because I seen that there was a miss. What a fantastic way to start off the match.

Stage 2 – We shot Classifier 03-05 called Paper Poppers. On this classifier you have the choice of shooting two paper targets or six pepper poppers reload then engage the other set of targets. I had not shot this classifier before and everyone was totally sold on shooting the paper first then the poppers because they didn’t want to be left with a popper standing after the reload. I shot it paper first then poppers. I did good on the paper but then lost all visual patience on the poppers needing a boat load of make up shots. Yet another stellar stage run. I thought that a better way to shoot this classifier would be to shoot the poppers first then paper because starting on the poppers would set a nice controlled pace of shooting for the stage run. I shot the stage again just for fun shooting it poppers first then paper and it went way better. One for one on the steel and decent speed on the paper. That performance would have been an 85 – 90% national run so I know what to do with this classifier the next time I shoot it in a match.

Stage 6 – This was an interesting long field course. The targets were laid out in a horse shoe formation with some walls and no shoots placed to block visibility so you couldn’t shoot them all from a single place. The walls had ports in them so there was a bunch of different options on how to shoot the stage. I picked a plan that had me shooting the majority of the right side targets from the starting position and then shooting four on the move and the rest from a second stationary position. This plan worked out well but I ended up with an Alpha Miss on the last target shooting on the move which I am sure was due to me pulling off target before the second shot broke. But since I wasn’t diligently calling my shots I didn’t even know I had a miss until the shooting was over and they were scoring the targets. This would have been a really good stage run without the miss, but the miss killed it.

Stage 5 – This stage was a medium field course that had you starting in the front of the COF then back up as you engaged targets on the extreme left and right. All of the targets were really close so this was a big time hoser stage so keeping moving quickly while shooting quickly was a must. At the start I drew the gun and had a funky strong hand grip which left the front sight pointing low left when my grip was completed. I had to force the sights to align properly on every shot which significantly hampered my ability to shoot fast. I was able to shift my hand back to the right spot during the reload but by that time the damage was already done to the stage time. Botching up the grip on a stage like this was a big time failure due to the extremely high HF of the stage.

Stage 4 – Last stage of the day and it was a speed shoot style stage where you had to keep shooting and moving the whole time. Before the match I chose a stage plan that I thought would be really good but then started to change it up right before shooting the stage. I wanted to do a hybrid mixture of two different plans but didn’t have enough time to program it properly which lead to a significant hesitation in the middle of the stage. I rolled with the screwed up stage plan pretty good, but wasted at least a second doing so. When you waste a second on a 6 – 7 second stage it’s a significant donkey punch to the hit factor.

This match was overall pretty crappy and I attribute it to my lack of focus on anything that was performance related. This was a really good lesson on what NOT to do from a mental standpoint. I now know that you can’t shoot a match form a pure apathetic standpoint and expect anything to go well. Experimenting with this stuff is not fun because I know I can shoot and perform better than I did on Saturday. But I also think that its valid to try things to see what works and more importantly what doesn’t work.

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USPSA match on Sunday. This was a section qualifier match for the Weld County Practical Shooters so it brought out a lot of competition. These section qualifier matches are usually really tuff to do well and my track record while shooting them has been pretty poor for whatever reason. Fresh off of the super hurting performance of the day before, I decided to go back to the basics from a mental stand point. I wanted to set a performance goal for the match but one that would not allow me to set a predetermined “Schedule” of shooting for the stage runs. I settled on making it a goal to call every shot solidly and to allow myself to take the time to do it. This worked out really well for me and my stage points reaped the rewards. I had one D zone hit for the day and that was called marginal when it broke. I filmed my stage runs and have listed the stages below.

Stage 4 – This was the long field course stage of the match. It was a variant of a stage we shot at the Area 1 match where you had to shoot specific poppers to open ports. This mandated that the stage be shot in a specific order with a few different options but not many. I shot the front section of the stage well but then had a bunch of misses on hitting the popper that opened the second port. This cost me at least a 2 – 3 seconds on the stage run. But the good thing here is that I was still able to call my misses as misses and didn’t let the delay disrupt my mental state forcing me into the dreaded “YOU ARE BEHIND SCHEDULE!!!” mode. For me, this was a win in its self.

Stage 5 – This was a medium field course with a bunch of hoser style blasting at the front and then two swingers at the end. The back section was mirrored in setup where you had an activating popper, swinger and a static target. There was plenty of time to shoot the popper then the static and then the swinger, so much so that you were pretty much waiting for the swinger to come out. I shot this stage solidly but a little on the safe side. After shooting the stage I think there was probably a better way to shoot the swinger section. Waiting on both swingers to come out did waste at least a second of stage time. I think I could have come up with a better way of shooting the swingers if I had a chance to watch a bunch of different shooters run the stage to figure out the timing better.

Stage 1 – Another medium size field course but with an IDPAish flavor. There were three specified shooting positions that also had dictated target engagement orders. Since the whole stage procedure was mandated it was more of a who can follow the leader the best on this stage. You started with the gun unloaded on the table then you had to engage two targets from above the table and two from below. Move to the next position and engage four targets from around a barricade. Then move to the last position and engage two paper and two mini poppers through a port. The only way that I could see to make up time on this stage was to optimize the starting position by shooting the upper targets as you lowered down so you could shoot the under the table targets right away. I tried my best to get low as I was shooting but I ended up getting low then shooting which wasted at least a second. Other than that the stage run was solid.

Stage 2 – This was the speed shoot stage for the match. You could start anywhere in the shooting area but you were also forced to go to both extreme ends of the COF so it made the most sense to start on the side with the tightest shots then move to the other end. I had a hell of a time shooting the steel on this stage and I think it was due to the blue steel on black sights. I tend to point the gun high looking for the front sight in these conditions and it causes my hits to go high as well. This is where a Fiber Optic front sight would come in handy but I shoot it really bad on everything else so shooting black on black sights is the lesser of two evils. I tried to shoot the far right target as I was falling out of the shooting area but ended up clipping the no shoot on my first shot. On a low points stage like this hitting a no shoot pretty much sinks any run.

Stage 3 – This was classifier 99-52 called Cash ‘n’ Carry. I have shot this classifier before with horrible results by either hitting a no shoot on the first string or needing a bunch of shots to hit the popper in the middle while shooting on the move. This time I decided to aim for head shots on the middle target in the first string to avoid the no shoots then take one step out of the box to shoot the popper from a stationary position. Shooting it this way seemed like it took forever but it actually ended up being a decent time. I shot the stage solidly and was rewarded with a 95% nationally.

This was a pretty solid match for me. I stuck to my plan of calling every one of my shots and was rewarded with some great points on every stage. I ended up with one D and one No Shoot for the whole match. I don’t think that having the mind set of calling every shot hurt my stage times at all either. I ended up second in Limited at 92% of Henning Wallgren. At this point in my shooting skills I am pretty happy with shooting 90+% of Henning who is an animal when it comes to shooting. The really cool thing is that 2nd through 4th place was separated by less than 4%. Its awesome to have so much heated competition in Limited at these local matches. This heavy competition really makes you earn it. On the classifier front I am getting really close to making GM. If I account for the 99% run last week and the 95% run this week that will put my average at 94.6%. Figuring out the math I need another classifier at 90% or better to push my average above 95%. Knowing this I am setting my results goal for the Area 3 match to shoot at least 90% of the winner. I think it would be pretty sweet to earn my GM card by having a solid 90+% finish at the Area 3 match. We will see how it goes :sight:

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Stage 5; At the end I shot left paper, left popper, right popper, right paper, left swinger then right swinger.

I had a trigger freeze moment on the final swinger so I had to wait for it to re-appear but it was do-able this way.

Stage 1; I loaded the gun as I dropped down to shoot the targets under the table first then as I moved toward the foot fault I engaged the two targets to the right. Combining the movement with the two targets above the table would have saved you some time.... Not much I admit, but it was quicker this way.

Edited by BritinUSA
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BririnUSA> Thanks for the feedback. For stage 5 it sounds like you got the swingers figured out better than me. When you shot it that way were you able to engage both swingers on their first pass? The timing of that section would have been easier to figure out if I had a stop watch and timed the sequence. But like I said, I didn't have much time to check it out and half of the stage I was ROing so I was pretty much stuck with using a simple and predictable plan.

On stage 1 I thought about doing the first section as you described and a lot of shooters on my squad did what you said. But the more people I watched do it the more I seen them turning the first shooting position into two separate positions with a fairly significant delay between getting shooting under the table after the buzzer then again after getting up to continue shooting. My goal was to try to minimize the "Two position" situation as much as possible by shooting the upper ones as I got lower and then shot the lower ones right after that because I was already down. Doing this allowed me to get out of the position quickly without worrying about engaging more targets until I got to the barricade. I don't think that a lot of time could be "Saved" doing it one way or the other, but a lot of time could be wasted if you didn't nail your plan. I am more confident with shooting as I lower down verses shooting as I stand up, so I picked that method. Shooting as I stand up is something I plan on practicing in the next live fire practice session though.

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BririnUSA> Thanks for the feedback. For stage 5 it sounds like you got the swingers figured out better than me. When you shot it that way were you able to engage both swingers on their first pass?

Kind of.

I did not have to wait for the swingers.

I got both shots on the left swinger on its first pass, as I moved across, the right swinger was just coming down to its lowest position. I got the first shot on the right swinger then got the dreaded 'trigger freeze' and had to wait for it to re-appear. Without the freeze I could have easily hit it twice on the first pass.

On stage 1 I thought about doing the first section as you described and a lot of shooters on my squad did what you said. But the more people I watched do it the more I seen them turning the first shooting position into two separate positions with a fairly significant delay between getting shooting under the table after the buzzer then again after getting up to continue shooting.

I've been doing a lot of squats at the gym lately, not with extreme weights but just lots of repetitions, getting up from a low position is something that is common (I'm 6' 2"). I've found that doing the squats helps me with 'changes of direction' movement on field courses, that extra strength I've built up is very noticeable to me.

Edited by BritinUSA
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On stage 1, I was loading as I was stepping back and squating (yeah, I am a lot shorter than both of you) and stayed there to shoot the two targets below and then above the table. Seemed to work pretty well.

On 5, I shot the popper to activate the swinger right after my reload, then the static paper then the swinger on one side and reapeatred on the other side. This worked well for me. I had a 3 second double feed on the first part which dropped my HF by 1.1.

On stage 4, I think I shot it different than almost everyone. I shot the two closer right side targets and then ran all the way down the the end taking the 3rd right target once I got into the shooting area. No memory, straight up shoot everything from every port moving uprange. I did my reload after the far port (13 rounds fired) while backing to the next port uprange. This method cut out 5 yards of movement and really reduced the "think" factor.

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Last night I shot the indoor ICORE style match down in Colorado springs. It has been a while since I shot at this indoor range so it was nice to get down there again. Since they use the ICORE targets and time plus scoring I use this match to push the limits and try stuff out verses trying to win. We shot three 22 round stages and for once we didn’t use shooting boxes so I used that opportunity to do some shooting on the move. We ran the same stage twice. Once from right to left and then again from left to right. Then the last stage we rearranged things a little bit and then turned down the lights to make low light conditions. Once again I battled seeing my front sight clearly in the normal lighting conditions and seeing a clear sight picture on the low light stage wasn’t going to be any better. Either way it was fun to do some shooting on Monday night. I didn’t video any of the stage runs as we were pretty short staffed and I was ROing a lot of the time. I was able to get my buddy Todd to come down and attend and he had fun so that was a win in its self.

Its now time to get my shooting gear ready and packed up for the trip to San Francisco California. I am going to be shooting the Golden Bullet Championships on Saturday then doing the tourist thing the rest of the time. I have been to San Francisco many times for work but I have never had the chance to really check out the town. This will be a great opportunity to get away for a mini vacation and also do some shooting. My only performance goal for this match is going to be calling every shot solidly. We will see how it turns out.

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Hey Cha-lee by now you should be close to completed ar Golden Bullet just shor PSAC .Had ny first no miss shoot, but by a quarter of an inch both times I had NS . well at least progress. Jeff Morgan saw my failure to feed issue and said I may be pushing the slide and beating my self. Well I'll have to look at the grip and readjust. Hope you do well.

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I attended the Golden Bullet Championship this past weekend. This trip was a first for a couple of things and cool to experience. This was the first time I have flown with my shooting equipment and I was really surprised at how easy it was to check my gun and ammo in at the airport. It was truly effortless which I didn't expect. The second was shooting at the Richmond Gun Club which is just north of San Francisco. I showed up at the range on Thursday to break down the stages and get the lay of the land. All of the stages were well planned out and challenging to shoot. I seen Taran Butler shooting that day with the RO's and he was shooting Limited so I knew that the bar was going to be set really high for the rest of the Limited shooters. I watched him shoot a couple of stages and his speed of fire is incredible. I got a decent plan or all of the stages and was pretty much ready to go for the next day.

Saturday morning I was squadded with a great group of shooters that were a lot of fun to shoot with. I didn't know anyone on my squad and we only had 10 people on the squad so I didn't want to over step my welcome asking them to film my stage runs. I am sure that they would be willing to film my runs if I asked. I just didn't want to cause any issues if people didn't feel comfortable with doing it. I am kind of glad that I didn't film the runs as it allowed me to focus totally on the shooting. Listed below are my stage runs in the order that I shot them.

Chrono/ Stage 2 - This berm had the Chrono setup for you to run through then immediately shoot the stage which was a classifier called "The Upper Pad II". On the chrono my first round was slow at 908fps, then 916fps, then 935fps giving me a PF of 165.5. This was cutting it close but my gun has almost always been slow on the first few rounds fired in the morning. I have shot this classifier before and knew that you would have to shoot pretty fast to get a decent run but I also didn't want to push my luck and end up with a miss. So I decided to hold back a little and survive the first stage without any penalties. I didn't realize how much I scaled it back until they called out the stage time at 8 seconds. This was two seconds slower than the last time I shot it. Yuck. I at least got all of my hits and since it was a low points stage it wouldn't hurt me too bad in the match results.

Stage 3 - This was the first of many medium size COF's. There was really only one way to shoot this stage because you were forced to run to each shooting position. The first two positions had two medium distance targets and one low close target. The middle two positions had two paper and one popper between them. Then the last position had a step pad that activated two drop forward and return no shoots which we're pretty fast. When they closed you were left with half a head shot which was pretty brutal. You had to have some serious shooting and transition speed to get both targets when the no shoots dropped forward. I started the stage and hauled ass to the first position shooting the first two targets fast and then dropped down to shoot the low target and had trigger freeze on the second shot. Right after that I told myself to RELAX and the rest of the stage flowed well. I was able to call all of my shots and haul ass between positions. At the end I was able to hit both no shoot drop down targets while they were exposed. I think this was a pretty solid run only giving away about a second on the trigger freeze.

Stage 4 - This was an interesting stage with a lot of different shooting positions. There was only one logical path through the COF so it was more of who could execute the best than anything else. You started forward then had to back out to the left. There were four targets to engage at the start and a lot of shooters were standing at the start position while they engaged these targets. I stepped back and kept walking backwards as I engaged these first targets and that put me a lot closer to the second position by the time I was done shooting. After that there were a couple groups of steel and paper targets that lead you to a port where you engaged two rows of poppers. The back poppers would fall on a universal trip line that would activate two swingers. Both swingers presented themselves on the first pass at the same time but the left one cycled faster. My plan was to shoot the front row of poppers then the back row. Then shoot the right swinger first followed by the left. Well that was the "plan" but when I got there my second shot missed the second front row popper but hit the back row popper triggering the swingers way ahead of schedule. I let the shooting just happen at this point and shot what I could see. This didn't turn out too bad because I was able to hit the right swinger on its first pass, then work on the remaining poppers while waiting for the left swinger to come out. It seemed like it was a timed plan to shoot it that way but it was really nothing more than getting lucky during my shooting frenzy. I probably wasted a second in the final port though.

Stage 5 - This was basically a four corner fire drill. You started in the back middle then went to the back left. There were two partial papers, two poppers, then a swinger. Then you haul ass to the back right and you have two more partial papers an open paper an also a clam shell that left a head shot when closed. The clam shell was activated by a step pad and there was very little delay or exposure of the full target before the no shoot closed down. The challenge here was that the step pad was placed right in the way of where you needed to stand. This required some tricky foot work as you shot the open target to activate the clam shell at the right time. Executing well here would make or break the stage. After that you run to the front left and engage four plates and two more partials. Then you wrap up the stage by running to the front right and engage two poppers, two paper, then a head shot that is obscured to the bottom of the upper A-zone from around a barrel. I executed well on the stage and thought I had a solid run. But I ended up with a miss on the head shot. I took three shots at it and called one of them left but figured the other two would be there. All three hits were on target but two were through the barrel. Oh well. It is what it is.

Stage 6 - This was the memory stage of the match. There was a boat load of ways to shoot the stage and the wall and target placement created some really tight shots if you missed your positions. You could shoot more of the targets from further back but it required pin point precision in hitting your positions. I opted for the closer plan that had me moving more but kept the gun running a lot more. This plan worked out well. I needed a few make up shots but kept the gun and feet moving most of the time.

Stage 7 - This was an odd stage. You started anywhere outside the shooting area but the stage had you moving to both extreme ends of the COF. So really the only way to start was on the left side and shoot as you moved to the right. You started by engaging two poppers and two paper though a port where you had to swivel a blocker door out of the way. This door rested on your hands as you shot as well so this was an odd situation. After that you moved a step to the right and engaged three paper then hauled ass to the extreme right side of the stage. On the right you engaged three mini poppers and a partial paper through a port then stepped left to engage another mini popper and a Texas star. The Texas star had four shoot plates and one hard cover so it would become unbalanced as you shot the plates off. I shot the stage well up until the star where I needed three extra shots trying to shoot down the left side of it. If I had the chance to do it again I would have shot it the normal back and forth way engaging the hard cover plate as well. But at the time it didn't occur to me to shoot it the normal way because of the hard cover plate.

Stage 8 - this was a really fun long stage that was almost a mirror image on both sides. You had to go to both extreme ends to engage a single target. Then next to that was a port where you engaged four poppers a paper then a drop turner that disappeared. The poppers were all lined up in a row with the last popper activating the DT. In the middle of the stage you had a series of targets blocked by walls pointing down range. The best way to shoot these was on the move with some serious foot speed. A lot of the stage time here would depend on the sequence of target engagement through the ports. You could go big and shoot the activating popper first then the other three and the static paper then finish on the DT. But that would require some seriously fast shooting. I decided to use safer plan by shooting the steel first finishing on the activator and then shoot the static paper as I waited for the DT. When I shot the stage this plan was way too conservative and I ended up waiting at least a second for each DT to come out. I did shoot the middle on the move really well but had the dreaded mag won't drop issue when I initiated the reload. I had to rip the old mag out before inserting the new one and this cost me another second or two as well. This was my worst planned stage of the match. I gave away at least three seconds on the DT's due to my conservative plan. Then the mag issue was just another donkey punch to the stage time. I should have been able to shoot this stage in 13 - 14 seconds but ended up with a 17 second run. No bueno :sick:

Stage 1 - This was the last stage of the day for me and I ended up being the last shooter on the squad. This stage was full of log jams and precise position shooting. You started on the left with a phone on your ear. The base of the phone was on a step pad placed on a table. Pushing down on the step pad activated two different swingers. Since you could activate the swingers when you wanted I chose to gently hang up the phone so it wouldn't activate, engage the first two targets then hit the step pad and move to the second shooting position as I engaged the first swinger on its first pass. The middle section had a series of shuffle step shooting positions where you engaged popers and partial paper targets along with the second swinger. There wasn't any way to make this middle section flow due to the target placement. Then you moved to the far right and engaged two more poppers and three more paper before moving to the end of the stage where you were faced up against a polish plate rack. I shot the polish plate rack from center out in a deliberate controlled pace knocking the plates off one for one until the last plate which required two shots. Shooting it in this smooth pace and order kept the plate rack very level. It barely moved at all, which was nice as this thing can be evil if you let it get unbalanced. I shot this stage well and got all of my hits, which is a lot more than most could say with all of the partials and no shoots.

The day was done and I had a great time shooting at a different match with completely new people. I hope that I was able to make some new friends on my squad. I am sure I will see some of them at future matches. On Sunday I showed up later in the afternoon to double check my scores and wait for the awards ceremony. After the scores were tallied I ended up second in Limited at 85% of Taran Butler. It was cool to finish second in Limited but getting stomped by 15% was a wake up call letting me know that I have a long ways to go at getting better. On a positive note I succeeded in my performance goal of calling all of my shots. Allowing myself to shoot in the present tense for a whole match is a huge confidence builder for me. I just need to keep building my skills one brick at a time.

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I attended the Golden Bullet Championship this past weekend. This trip was a first for a couple of things and cool to experience. This was the first time I have flown with my shooting equipment and I was really surprised at how easy it was to check my gun and ammo in at the airport. It was truly effortless which I didn't expect. The second was shooting at the Richmond Gun Club which is just north of San Francisco. I showed up at the range on Thursday to break down the stages and get the lay of the land. All of the stages were well planned out and challenging to shoot. I seen Taran Butler shooting that day with the RO's and he was shooting Limited so I knew that the bar was going to be set really high for the rest of the Limited shooters. I watched him shoot a couple of stages and his speed of fire is incredible. I got a decent plan or all of the stages and was pretty much ready to go for the next day.

Saturday morning I was squadded with a great group of shooters that were a lot of fun to shoot with. I didn't know anyone on my squad and we only had 10 people on the squad so I didn't want to over step my welcome asking them to film my stage runs. I am sure that they would be willing to film my runs if I asked. I just didn't want to cause any issues if people didn't feel comfortable with doing it. I am kind of glad that I didn't film the runs as it allowed me to focus totally on the shooting. Listed below are my stage runs in the order that I shot them.

Chrono/ Stage 2 - This berm had the Chrono setup for you to run through then immediately shoot the stage which was a classifier called "The Upper Pad II". On the chrono my first round was slow at 908fps, then 916fps, then 935fps giving me a PF of 165.5. This was cutting it close but my gun has almost always been slow on the first few rounds fired in the morning. I have shot this classifier before and knew that you would have to shoot pretty fast to get a decent run but I also didn't want to push my luck and end up with a miss. So I decided to hold back a little and survive the first stage without any penalties. I didn't realize how much I scaled it back until they called out the stage time at 8 seconds. This was two seconds slower than the last time I shot it. Yuck. I at least got all of my hits and since it was a low points stage it wouldn't hurt me too bad in the match results.

Stage 3 - This was the first of many medium size COF's. There was really only one way to shoot this stage because you were forced to run to each shooting position. The first two positions had two medium distance targets and one low close target. The middle two positions had two paper and one popper between them. Then the last position had a step pad that activated two drop forward and return no shoots which we're pretty fast. When they closed you were left with half a head shot which was pretty brutal. You had to have some serious shooting and transition speed to get both targets when the no shoots dropped forward. I started the stage and hauled ass to the first position shooting the first two targets fast and then dropped down to shoot the low target and had trigger freeze on the second shot. Right after that I told myself to RELAX and the rest of the stage flowed well. I was able to call all of my shots and haul ass between positions. At the end I was able to hit both no shoot drop down targets while they were exposed. I think this was a pretty solid run only giving away about a second on the trigger freeze.

Stage 4 - This was an interesting stage with a lot of different shooting positions. There was only one logical path through the COF so it was more of who could execute the best than anything else. You started forward then had to back out to the left. There were four targets to engage at the start and a lot of shooters were standing at the start position while they engaged these targets. I stepped back and kept walking backwards as I engaged these first targets and that put me a lot closer to the second position by the time I was done shooting. After that there were a couple groups of steel and paper targets that lead you to a port where you engaged two rows of poppers. The back poppers would fall on a universal trip line that would activate two swingers. Both swingers presented themselves on the first pass at the same time but the left one cycled faster. My plan was to shoot the front row of poppers then the back row. Then shoot the right swinger first followed by the left. Well that was the "plan" but when I got there my second shot missed the second front row popper but hit the back row popper triggering the swingers way ahead of schedule. I let the shooting just happen at this point and shot what I could see. This didn't turn out too bad because I was able to hit the right swinger on its first pass, then work on the remaining poppers while waiting for the left swinger to come out. It seemed like it was a timed plan to shoot it that way but it was really nothing more than getting lucky during my shooting frenzy. I probably wasted a second in the final port though.

Stage 5 - This was basically a four corner fire drill. You started in the back middle then went to the back left. There were two partial papers, two poppers, then a swinger. Then you haul ass to the back right and you have two more partial papers an open paper an also a clam shell that left a head shot when closed. The clam shell was activated by a step pad and there was very little delay or exposure of the full target before the no shoot closed down. The challenge here was that the step pad was placed right in the way of where you needed to stand. This required some tricky foot work as you shot the open target to activate the clam shell at the right time. Executing well here would make or break the stage. After that you run to the front left and engage four plates and two more partials. Then you wrap up the stage by running to the front right and engage two poppers, two paper, then a head shot that is obscured to the bottom of the upper A-zone from around a barrel. I executed well on the stage and thought I had a solid run. But I ended up with a miss on the head shot. I took three shots at it and called one of them left but figured the other two would be there. All three hits were on target but two were through the barrel. Oh well. It is what it is.

Stage 6 - This was the memory stage of the match. There was a boat load of ways to shoot the stage and the wall and target placement created some really tight shots if you missed your positions. You could shoot more of the targets from further back but it required pin point precision in hitting your positions. I opted for the closer plan that had me moving more but kept the gun running a lot more. This plan worked out well. I needed a few make up shots but kept the gun and feet moving most of the time.

Stage 7 - This was an odd stage. You started anywhere outside the shooting area but the stage had you moving to both extreme ends of the COF. So really the only way to start was on the left side and shoot as you moved to the right. You started by engaging two poppers and two paper though a port where you had to swivel a blocker door out of the way. This door rested on your hands as you shot as well so this was an odd situation. After that you moved a step to the right and engaged three paper then hauled ass to the extreme right side of the stage. On the right you engaged three mini poppers and a partial paper through a port then stepped left to engage another mini popper and a Texas star. The Texas star had four shoot plates and one hard cover so it would become unbalanced as you shot the plates off. I shot the stage well up until the star where I needed three extra shots trying to shoot down the left side of it. If I had the chance to do it again I would have shot it the normal back and forth way engaging the hard cover plate as well. But at the time it didn't occur to me to shoot it the normal way because of the hard cover plate.

Stage 8 - this was a really fun long stage that was almost a mirror image on both sides. You had to go to both extreme ends to engage a single target. Then next to that was a port where you engaged four poppers a paper then a drop turner that disappeared. The poppers were all lined up in a row with the last popper activating the DT. In the middle of the stage you had a series of targets blocked by walls pointing down range. The best way to shoot these was on the move with some serious foot speed. A lot of the stage time here would depend on the sequence of target engagement through the ports. You could go big and shoot the activating popper first then the other three and the static paper then finish on the DT. But that would require some seriously fast shooting. I decided to use safer plan by shooting the steel first finishing on the activator and then shoot the static paper as I waited for the DT. When I shot the stage this plan was way too conservative and I ended up waiting at least a second for each DT to come out. I did shoot the middle on the move really well but had the dreaded mag won't drop issue when I initiated the reload. I had to rip the old mag out before inserting the new one and this cost me another second or two as well. This was my worst planned stage of the match. I gave away at least three seconds on the DT's due to my conservative plan. Then the mag issue was just another donkey punch to the stage time. I should have been able to shoot this stage in 13 - 14 seconds but ended up with a 17 second run. No bueno :sick:

Stage 1 - This was the last stage of the day for me and I ended up being the last shooter on the squad. This stage was full of log jams and precise position shooting. You started on the left with a phone on your ear. The base of the phone was on a step pad placed on a table. Pushing down on the step pad activated two different swingers. Since you could activate the swingers when you wanted I chose to gently hang up the phone so it wouldn't activate, engage the first two targets then hit the step pad and move to the second shooting position as I engaged the first swinger on its first pass. The middle section had a series of shuffle step shooting positions where you engaged popers and partial paper targets along with the second swinger. There wasn't any way to make this middle section flow due to the target placement. Then you moved to the far right and engaged two more poppers and three more paper before moving to the end of the stage where you were faced up against a polish plate rack. I shot the polish plate rack from center out in a deliberate controlled pace knocking the plates off one for one until the last plate which required two shots. Shooting it in this smooth pace and order kept the plate rack very level. It barely moved at all, which was nice as this thing can be evil if you let it get unbalanced. I shot this stage well and got all of my hits, which is a lot more than most could say with all of the partials and no shoots.

The day was done and I had a great time shooting at a different match with completely new people. I hope that I was able to make some new friends on my squad. I am sure I will see some of them at future matches. On Sunday I showed up later in the afternoon to double check my scores and wait for the awards ceremony. After the scores were tallied I ended up second in Limited at 85% of Taran Butler. It was cool to finish second in Limited but getting stomped by 15% was a wake up call letting me know that I have a long ways to go at getting better. On a positive note I succeeded in my performance goal of calling all of my shots. Allowing myself to shoot in the present tense for a whole match is a huge confidence builder for me. I just need to keep building my skills one brick at a time.

Good job on your Limited performance Cha-Lee!!! Next time, all BE members should meet up.

Going to Nationals? I'll be there...

I agree was a good Match , I competed in Open, squadded with some Locals and a few of the best Women shooters I have seen. Valerie, Athena, Jenny and Lily!

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Flack Jacket> Thanks for the complement and yes the BE Members should get together so we can put some faces with names.

I am not going to the Nationals this year. For what it is I don't think its worth it to attend at this point. The nats is a pretty expensive match and I could attend 2 - 3 other state/regional matches for the same cost as going to only the Nats. I don't need to go to the nats to figure out how much I suck either. We have several national caliber shooters that compete locally to show me my place in the shooting world for a lot less money. I don't want to sound cocky but if I go to the nats, I would be going to win not just participate. I know that my shooting skills are not to that level yet so why waste the time and money when I can focus on other matches to gain more big match experience?

Edited by CHA-LEE
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I finally got my shooting gear unpacked and reset for this weekends shooting. I am planning on doing some live fire practice on Saturday and then shoot a USPSA match on Sunday. There is also a USPSA match on Monday night at the indoor range down in Colorado springs that I might attend. It is nice to get back home so I can get back into the "Normal" groove of things. Going on trips is fun but it always leaves me with a strange feeling of being home sick. I just hope that these back to back big matches do not burn me out. I like shooting but being away can get old. Either way I have all of my gear and ammo ready for the Area 3 match and look forward to shooting at yet another new place that I have never been.

I have an interesting situation brewing with my classification average. With the classifiers I have shot between the last recalculation and now all I need is one more 90% or better classifier to bump my average over 95%. I have two opportunities to shoot classifiers this weekend and on Monday, then the Area 3 match will also count against my classifier average. If I shoot these two club classifiers sub par and end up with a result that is between 80% - 89% it will throw a monkey wrench into my average. For the past 6 - 9 months I have been shooting classifiers just like any other stage in the matches and not giving them any more or less attention than any other stage. Now that I am in this mathematical Perfect Storm I am wondering if I should go back into hero or zero mode? Or just keep shooting them like any other stage? What I am thinking of doing is going hero or zero on these two club classifiers and then shooting solid at the Area 3 so I can earn a 90% or better in match finish pushing my average into GM territory. I know its all a game and the letter next to my name really doesnt make me any better or worse shooter than I really am. But it would be nice to get the GM classification out of the way so I can focus on getting better without wondering about classifier results. What do you guys think is the best course of action?

Edited by CHA-LEE
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