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Tips for Newbies

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Here is some advice that I think would be great for a newbie or anyone else for that matter. This is something that I have NOT followed so I feel very qualified to say do the opposite of what I have done. You hear it on the forum all the time and it is great advice: " PICK A GUN AND SHOOT IT" !

I started shooting again after a 12 year layoff. First IDPA then USPSA. In 1 1/2 years I have owned and shot 15 different guns. I have shot in every division in IDPA and USPSA except the revolver divisions and Limited 10. I've went back and forth between 6 single stack 1911's, a Glock 34, Springfield XD-9, S&W M&P 9L, 3 custom STI Limited guns (two 5" and one 6" fat free), a Para P16, and 2 Open guns ( first a shorty and now a full size in 38supercomp.)

I feel this is why I am no higher than an upper C in any one division. Yeah, it's been real fun and half the fun of this sport to me are the pistols themselves. BUT if your goal is to advance as quickly as possible the old " Pick a gun and shoot it " addage will serve you well.

Just call me Sir Tradesalot. :roflol:

Edited by baerburtchell

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Newbies must leave their ego at home. Especially if you are LE. Every year the crop of new shooters shows up and they suck, just like every person who has not done this before sucks. Most people can understand and ride it out because you can get unsucked realitivily quickly with a small amount of practice and a positive mental attitude. But LE sometimes has a hard time with the ego issue. Some of them can not accept being bested by civilians so they quit and never come back. We accually have a fair number of LE from the big city and when a new one starts they all squad together so they are around familiar people and getting over the ego hump is a short process. Then they start shooting with people they haven't shot with before and realize no one ever disrespected them and didn't care if they were good or bad beyond the "can i beat you" thing. Then a permanant action shooter has been created. I always try to imprint upon new shooters that everyone at some point was where they are now and soon enough people will be asking them for advice. I tell them when i started i didn't hold the gun correctly or know how to aim and i never had to use many pasters and then all my squad mates will say that i haven't changed at all. <_< Weiners. But i digress. Just don't feel bad if you can't move and shoot like a more experience shooter because it will come.

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Newbies must leave their ego at home. Especially if you are LE.

That's an excellent point! People need to realize that when they watch the better shooters, they're seeing the product of thousands upon thousands of rounds downrange and usually, countless hours of dry fire practice as well. It's very easy to think "no way they're seeing the sights" or something similar like "that gun/ammo is set up perfectly so they can just point at the target and pull the trigger twice".

Anybody that I talk to about shooting their first couple of matches I always suggest simply walking through the stage....don't bother trying to run or move quickly. Just shoot, get your hits, move smoothly and do one thing at a time. Later on they can rush up to a door, hit the mag release with their right thumb while opening a door with their left hand and reaching for the fresh mag. ;)

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Another thread made me think of this:

If you're getting ready for a big match, don't change anything on your gun, gear or ammo unless you have plenty of time to test it before the match, preferably in several local matches as some things don't crop up in practice that will in a match. I learned that the hard way...seems I seat mags a lot harder in a match then I do in practice....found a magazine issue out that way at a local match. I can't count how many times people have problems at big matches because they're trying a new load, just changed a part and it's causing some other issue...even simple stuff like "I put in a new firing pin and I'm getting light strikes".....ouch!

In fact, if you can swing it financially, it's a great idea to have a backup for almost everything. A second gun that is a known performer is great to have in the bag, as are spare parts for the stuff that might break (springs, pins, safeties etc). I go so far as to have a second complete belt with holster and pouches when I go to big matches (at least if I'm driving).

In short, stick with what's working and don't try to get "the best" if you don't have time to test extensively.

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don't trash talk about the rules, say like for starting positions, etc when you're just a member of the peanut gallery and you yourself haven't been to an RO course and are NOT a certified RO. It's up to the acting RO and/or scorekeeper to correct the "at bat" shooter. As far as commenting from the peanut gallery and learning up on the rules, it might behoove a shooter to take a look at section 10.6 (on page 47).

Edited by Chills1994

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don't trash talk about the rules, say like for starting positions, etc when you're just a member of the peanut gallery and you yourself haven't been to an RO course and are NOT a certified RO. It's up to the acting RO and/or scorekeeper to correct the "at bat" shooter. As far as commenting from the peanut gallery and learning up on the rules, it might behoove a shooter to take a look at section 10.6 (on page 47).

B):D

BK

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Good thread! A couple of my thoughts:

+1 on not rushing out and buying equipment right away. Run what ya got. It will be a while before a) you know what you want and b ) you're good enough for race equipment to make a significant difference.

Not forgetting the creature comforts will make a new shooter much more likely to enjoy the match and come back. That can mean dressing for the weather, boots, remembering the raincoat, a chemical hand warmer or two, or sunblock and/or some water.

Edited by DarthMuffin

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Hand warmers inside the gloves.... Oh... had my first experience with them this past weekend. Thank you Brad!

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@ Kevin... you're welcome! They do rock, don't they?! :cheers: I get those at Wally World, in the sporting goods section... ya know... where the empty ammo case is. :wacko: They also make kind of the same thing to go in your shoes or socks.

@ whopper junior... ya just never know who is going to be RO'ing you next.... :devil:

:roflol:

Edited by Chills1994

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@ Kevin... you're welcome! They do rock, don't they?! :cheers: I get those at Wally World, in the sporting goods section... ya know... where the empty ammo case is. :wacko: They also make kind of the same thing to go in your shoes or socks.

@ whopper junior... ya just never know who is going to be RO'ing you next.... :devil:

:roflol:

Had those in my shoes!

:roflol:

BK

Edited by bkeeler

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This is an excellent thread - many thanks to Bart and all the others who contributed! I haven't been to any matches, or even any local ranges, as I normally shoot at a private range most of the time, but plan to as soon as possible. I can't wait to get out to watch one of the local matches - I do want to see a match or two instead of just seeing what I can on the occasional "Wednesday Night at the Range" :surprise: :surprise: :surprise:

This has proven to be a great resource - thanks again to everyone who contributed!!!

redintex

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Going through my bag today after getting home from the match I realized I'd left something out....so much stuff to remember!

It's a great idea to put together a little bag or kit of minor emergency personal supplies. Out here the dust and pollen can really get my allergies going and it's no fun shooting a stage with a runny nose, so I keep some Sudafed in the bag. I also keep eye drops, chapstick, 30SPF sunscreen, Motrin, Pepto Bismol tablets (really a good idea when you're travelling to a match and eating on the road), a pretty big assortment of band aids and medical tape. With surprising regularity I wind up giving someone a band aid because nobody else has one. If you use any other medication on a regular basis keeping a small supply in your bag is a good idea...just in case. I also like to keep a couple of packages of Jelly Belly Sports Beans in there too...ever have a match go WAY longer than you expected and you realize you're starting to tank? Jelly Belly to the rescue! If you wear soft contacts a spare for each eye isn't a bad idea either...and some cleaning solution. I'm sure other folks carry similar items and will chime in to add stuff I've missed.....lets hear 'em folks :) R,

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Practice your Load and Make Ready routine. Make sure you remove all bad habits from it. Strive for clear and concise gun handling. Very few things make a RO more nervous than a new guy that bumbles around with Load and Make ready.

Never Scare The RO.

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First sanctioned match I ever shot in the RO blew the whistle (yes it was before timers!) and backed away from me because he had no idea of my abilities! Sort of made me feel bad.

FWIW

Richard

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What I've noticed is that when an RO is giving a 'new' shooter the LAMR, the RO will stay close behind, usually within arms reach.

If the shooter were to turn around after LAMR the RO can step to the inside, take control of the gun hand and push it downrange.

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- Stage planning: Once you have a plan, stick to it and don't make a change just because you see someone else do something cool unless you have enough time to be certain you've reprogrammed it in your head. Worst case is you do half of one plan, half of the other and forget something really important in the mix...like an array of targets or something similar.

To add just for emphasis. This is such a critical element for success and satisfaction in our sport. A DETAILED plan that is fully memorized and easily visualized before the buzzer. We shoot much better when we're just shooting :) and NOT thinking. Details details.....

Now I need to apply this. :cheers:

Jim

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- Stage planning: Once you have a plan, stick to it and don't make a change just because you see someone else do something cool unless you have enough time to be certain you've reprogrammed it in your head. Worst case is you do half of one plan, half of the other and forget something really important in the mix...like an array of targets or something similar.

To add just for emphasis. This is such a critical element for success and satisfaction in our sport. A DETAILED plan that is fully memorized and easily visualized before the buzzer. We shoot much better when we're just shooting :) and NOT thinking. Details details.....

Now I need to apply this. :cheers:

Jim

Jim,

I think we all need to constantly strive to apply it as well!

A 50% perfect plan that is perfectly memorized/rehearsed is better than a 100% perfect plan that is poorly memorized/rehearsed....think I'm paraphrasing that from something else, but it's true. R,

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another great tip for newbies. after you shoot a stage and even when you first load your mags. COUNT every round!! don't trust the holes in the mag. don't trust feel or when it stops its got this many. if anyone distracts you, start over. when you get back to your bag don't try and deduce how many are left in any one mag. empty them and COUNT. its just a simple thing to do that takes little time and will pay big dividends.

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I can't believe I left this out of the initial post! Make sure you get some footwear that works for the range surfaces you normally shoot on. For most outdoor ranges some sort of soccer or football cleats will work the best. I've been running some movement drills lately and picking apart the movement more than the shot splits, draws etc. For fun I've run a couple of the drills with my normal Merrell hiking shoes on and then with my soccer cleats. Since the ground is hard, sun-baked dirt here anything but a cleat will leave you sliding around when you're trying to stop. I had to consciously slow down about a step farther away, really work on getting my weight low and planting the first foot in the box wearing the hiking shoes or I'd slid into the side of the shooting box and be off balance. Switched to the cleats and I could run harder and get closer before hitting the brakes. The first shot (IPSC turtle with hard cover except for the A-zone) was usually .3 to .5 faster with the cleats....that's free time just buy getting some proper shoes :cheers:

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In the last month I have seen two things that seem common sense would dictate but then again they really are not talked about much especially where new shooters are concerned.

1. Starting a stage with your back to the targets(facing up range). When you are told to load and make ready, do so while facing DOWNRANGE then turn around to start the stage.

2. When shooting prone(laying down) and you get told to reholster get up on at least one knee before trying to holster. Don't holster while laying down.(try this at home and see which way the muzzle is pointing) It looked like the parting of the red sea behind this guy with everybody moving to either side.

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Something that I saw this weekend that should be mentioned. Shooter hit an activator popper (with Major .38 Super), but it didn't go down. As soon as he hit it he left the position for a port maybe ten feet to his left. The swinger from the prior activator wasn't visible because the popper never fell. He shot the other targets from that position and then turned to the RO and said "the swinger didn't activate". The RO just said "the popper is still up". The shooter then went back and knocked the popper down, went back to the port and engaged the swinger and finished the rest of the stage.

If you're leaving on steel and especially if it's an activator you have to make sure you've called a good shot. If you do, press on and finish the course no matter what happens (short of a safety situation/command from the RO etc). If you think you hit the steel solidly you can request calibration of it and if it doesn't fall you get a reshoot. If it does you're going to have to eat the FTE and mikes on the swinger, but that's better than having a ten second discussion with the RO before going back to shooting. It's one of those situations that can really hurt and there isn't a great way to deal with it other than to ensure you've dropped the activator before you move. R,

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Here's one that isn't in the rulebook in these exact words. You sort of have to back into it, but...

"While making your attempt at the course of fire, if you come up on a target that wasn't pasted after the last shooter, DON'T STOP! Keep going!" Turning to the RO and telling him that target wasn't pasted will likely only earn you a look at the timer clicking away precious seconds.

I'd like to see that incorporated into the rulebook as a Range Equipment Failure, and deserving of a reshoot, but it isn't. Until it evers gets added (IF it ever does), just keeping going.

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Great post.

The one thing that's missing is the most important advice (In my opinion) when it comes to this game.

HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!! And always remember that the fun is why you are doing it.

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Here's one that isn't in the rulebook in these exact words. You sort of have to back into it, but...

"While making your attempt at the course of fire, if you come up on a target that wasn't pasted after the last shooter, DON'T STOP! Keep going!" Turning to the RO and telling him that target wasn't pasted will likely only earn you a look at the timer clicking away precious seconds.

I'd like to see that incorporated into the rulebook as a Range Equipment Failure, and deserving of a reshoot, but it isn't. Until it evers gets added (IF it ever does), just keeping going.

I have been and I'm sure others here to have been too, Saved by a Paster falling Off :-D

:unsure:

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