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Advantages and disadvantages of female body in practical shooting

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Duane, because I have been thinking other divisions, I too have been interested in the differences in recoil between an Open gun and a major-power factor gun in another division. I'm a Google-fanatic and found this in my searches... http://www.handloads.com/calc/recoil.asp

If you use this information for Load One (121 gr bullet, 9.5 gr powder, 1363 fps, 2.5 lbs weight of the gun), you get Free Recoil Energy = 5.22 ft/lbs. If for Load Two, you use 180 gr bullet, 5 gr powder, and a 2 lb gun, the Free Recoil Energy is 5.43 ft/lbs.

If the guns weighed the same, the Open Gun would recoil harder, but the weights aren't equal.

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The comp completely changes the equation though, as far as how much of that recoil energy actually hits the shooter. What's your impression of the recoil level of your Major loaded Open gun compared to a Major loaded Limited/Limited-10 piece?

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I've shot Bobby's Limited gun in .40 at the range and it 'kicks' more than my Open gun in .38SC. But the blast that comes off the comp might make someone think there's more recoil. When I first started shooting, I didn't double-plug and Bobby never shot Open, so that double-plugging wasn't something he could teach me. Now that I double-plug for every match and at the range for practice, I don't have a blinking reaction from the comp blast. I can't really explain all the facts behind it, I can only tell you that I agree with the recoil calculator. ;)


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Lisa Munson. If it's the article of which I'm thinking, it wasn't making an across the board statement that lowering Major power factor from 175 to 165 had an effect on women's scores per se - though it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that was true - but just a quote from Lisa commenting that the lower power factor, and lesser recoil level, affected her own shooting, that at 180 versus 170 the gun was really beating her around. Of course, Lisa is also barely over 5" tall and, when she started the sport, literally weighed 98 pounds so I'm sure that factors into the equation somewhere. :)

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  • 7 months later...

Hi everyone. This thread is active again thanks to Brian. For some personal reasons I could not follow it after the first two pages but I finally got back to this.

If any of you took part in the discussion, first I want to say THANKs.

I got some great resources and ideas from you.

I am here to start it again, as I am in the middle of writing my final 35-page graduation papers.

There were some questions unanswered by me so I will try to give some answers here. Also, as someone mentioned before, English is not my first language and I did have problem following the discussion in some moments. However, I did get the idea on what to focus.

One clarification first. As this is supposed to be a very "tight" topic, I am going to narrow my work down to Production shooters because that is the divison I shot at. I have no experience with Open or Standard div. and we don't have female shooters in those categories. I guess the guns are just too expensive.

I loved the part of the discussion where people were talking about the recoil and how strong you need to be to pull the triger. You should try my service gun which I used to shoot with. It is a CZ 99 (not "Ceska Zbrojovka" but "Crvena Zastava"). It is heavy, all metal, but when it's all you got, you have to get the max out of it :)

In case someone wants to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of female body in IPSC please, feel free to join in.

I would love to keep the discussion focused so here are some tips:

- I would like to focus on Production division but I actually don't need too much data on pistols themselves as they are not really the subject of the papers

- I need advantages and disadvantages in anatomy, phychology, physiology...

- I need as much real experience as possible

I would give you a few ideas and things I learned while reading medical and other books doing the research:

- men are faster

- men are stronger

With strength, precision and speed being the three pillars of IPSC, it is easy and true to conclude that a woman can not be as good as a man.

IMPORTANT: The statement above applies to the top man shooter compared to top woman, or average man to average woman.

I have beaten many men in my competitions and some of them are generally better, but some stages were just better for me, mostly the ones where you don't need to run or be strong, but basically be precise.

Of course, there are women at the very top all the time, but the stress is on comparing what can be compared - a champ man to a champ woman.

I hope I am making everything clear as I really don't want to start a bad discussion. I am actually trying to do my papers with the aim to find advantages and ways how to use them to get closer to those man at the top and at the same time, to find disadvantages and how to minimize their effects.

This is not only important to me because it is my finals. It is important because my proffesor, which is a Doctor of shooting science (not joking!!) hated IPSC two years ago. Then I got an assignement to teach an IPSC class (he believed it would be lousy and he would prove the point that IPSC is stupid). I thought the class and everybody loved it. Since then he became a bit softer to us IPSC shooters.

I want to prove again it is a real sport that has much more potential than people believe. Take in consideration (since I guess most of you are from US) that IPSC in USA is a different planet than IPSC in Europe). As a future trainer I want to prove I can see what my student have as their advantages and disadvantages and make the best out of it.

My head is going to explode after all the books I read on this "medical" matter and still have reading to do.

Since I live in Serbia and there is an ongoing European championship here I will try to make some videos and share them with you so you can see the difference between this and what you do in USA.

Also, one last thing. Since interviews are considered a very good and valuable resource for this type of papers, I am wondering if anyone would be in the mood to fill out the form I would create as a interview so I could include those results in my papers too?

I don't care if you are a champ or a begginer because I value everyone's opinion and help with this. As long as I have some "compareable" results I can use them.

Also, I would write any article after I finish the work (someone mentioned it) and eventually I hope to translate all 35 pages and make it available for everyone.

Sorry for the long post and I hope to continue the great discussion we had the last time.

Edited by Brankica
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]I have noticed that the stance of the top women in Production Division is very different from the men. See the pictures below, men seem to stand more upright, but the women are lowering their center of gravity which also allows them to put more weight behind the gun.

post-293-046330700 1284556293_thumb.jpg post-293-048584800 1284556324_thumb.jpg

From another stage, two slightly different angles, see how much lower Julie is on this shot.

post-293-017688500 1284556373_thumb.jpg post-293-075548200 1284556391_thumb.jpg

Here's a side view of Jessie showing how much she leans forward when shooting.

post-293-046233000 1284556427_thumb.jpg

Edited by BritinUSA
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]I have noticed that the stance of the top women in Production Division is very different from the men. See the pictures below, men seem to stand more upright, but the women are lowering their center of gravity which also allows them to put more weight behind the gun.

Which makes sense. Women having naturally less strength than men are getting their bodies into a more bio-mechanically efficient position to absorb recoil. They physically can't be lazy behind the gun and still succeed. 10 - 1 says the men would see an improvement with that philosophy as well.

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David Sevigny mentioned much the same thing to me at the CO State Steel match, the lower center of gravity helps enormously when moving from one position to the next. Not only does the lower stance help recoil management but also enables them to move quicker.

I also noticed that they stand with their feet further apart than men do, an example of Randi Rogers is shown below:

post-293-087494400 1284565569_thumb.jpg

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Looks like she is leaning to shoot around something in that photo so that might not be the best place to take info from on standard width for her stance.

I know for me I always widen my base out when I have a heavy lean to one side. Most people tend to stand up a little straighter to shoot around something...this is a loser for the same reason Dave describes. It's often more important to be low (even lower than normal) when shooting from a less than ideal position such as a heavy lean or shooting on the move.

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Hi Branika!

If you end up posting questions anywhere, we would be happy to add them to the Women of USPSA blog to help you generate more feedback.

As a female shooter with less upper body strength as many of my male competitors I look for every advantage possible. I can't speak for anyone else, but I do prefer a wide stance with my right food further back than most (I am right handed). I find that this stance with an aggressive bend at the waist helps me to recover the sights more quickly. This stance also helps me use my body more for some types of target to target transitions. I can't muscle the gun as well as let's say a big, strong guy but I drive my upper body to transition to a target whenever I can.

Regarding keeping a low center of gravity it's a winner in my book. Probably the first person I studied that stayed as low as possible is one of the sport's all time greats, Jerry Barnhart. Jerry is not very tall and though he's strong, he doesn't have as much mass behind the gun as some other shooters. Check out this pick of Jerry moving into a position:


Notice Jerry's stance in this photo. It's a much wider stance than many other shooters. Wide stance is not just a "girl" thing. :)http://www.jerrybarnhart.com/images/classes/jbc05.jpg

For me there's one other critical component that becomes an issue common to many women - hand size. I have small hands and the distance from the web of my hand to the pad of my finger is 3 1/4" with no bend. When I bend my trigger finger to simulate holding a gun the distance is at 2.5". Large frames with non adjustable triggers are a challenge to shoot well and become increasingly so the heavier the trigger. Working around finger grooves that tend to fit larger hands can also be difficult to deal with. In cases like these I have had to work on grip and trigger finger strength. I am super envious of Jerry Miculek. He has very large hands that are super strong. It's how he manages to shoot large framed revolvers with heavy triggers so fast.

I hope that helps! If we can help you with your project at Women of USPSA, please let me know!

All the best,

Julie G.

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Thanks everyone for getting into this discussion.

You are all right and I now know where to find explanations for the things you are saying.

Anatomicaly we have lower center of gravity and that is why the stance is different. Also, we have less weight to move while running but we are naturally slower than men.

Smaller hands are a big problem and I have experienced it with the gun I shot with.

Keep the opinions coming and in a day or two I will post some interview questions here.

I can't believe I will have Julie's name in my papers :)

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Hi everyone.

First I want to say you gals and guys gave me the wings. I passed my last shooting exam today :) All I have left is a general sport exam next week and the final papers.

Tomorrow I hope to get some nice interviews from European shooters here at European Handgun Championship.

Still, as I believe IPSC in USA is on a higher lever, especially for female shooters, I am looking forward to American feedback :)

I have attached an interview I believe will answer all the questions I need.

I don't know if I am allowed to post e mails here so I hope someone can tell me? That way anyone who want to take part but doesn't want to make the answers visible can e mail it to me.

Gals, feel free to send me PM with filled forms. For sure I am not asking you to post your weight here and go public ;) The reason I am actually asking for that is so I can compare everyone to "average size woman". Maybe I will find some interesting data when I do some comparative analysis on different issues.

Please, be sincere and if you don't want you don't have to put in your name. I would however like to have some "big" names in my papers just to add credibility to it.

If you want to do the interview only partially feel free to, I will try to analyze everything anyway and don't want to take away too much of your time.

Please, I need Production shooters so I have homogenous data.

Thanks a lot and waiting for you all :)

interview IPSC.doc

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What a GREAT topic! Julie posted it on Facebook and I thought that I would add my thoughts:

One must look into the female anatomy as well. We have arms that naturally flail outward from the hips when shown flat against the body, (picture your arms with your elbows facing back, and palms forward). A man's arms fall flat against the body, where a woman's natural arm curve, is to, flail outward, and go out around the hips. We also must deal with larger hips and a chest, that is out of proportion to a man's. This is why we have a different holster position allowed. Many of us have to place our holsters LOWER on the hips, to CLEAR the hips and chest when drawing, our pistols.

I learned many years ago, when I was a bowler, that many women throw was is called, a "back up ball", this is/was a natural tendency to throw the ball in a backward ark, because of the arm shape. It takes a LOT of training to get a woman NOT to throw a back up ball, after getting used to the natural arm shape. Once learned, any lady with enough strength, can throw the ball properly. I being a very small person, was able to throw the heaviest legal bowling ball (16 lbs., without so much as a second thought), but this took time and training. Before I got hurt, I bowled at least three to four nights a week, and held down a 189 average. so it IS possible to adapt. But in USPSA and IPSC we must deal with many things that are out of our control. Things like a bowling ball could be custom fit to my hands, where a pistol can not. That puts a disadvantage to women, in one VERY large area alone.

Now lets all be adults here and keep this clean and scientific, and look into some of the other reasons as to why woman are at a disadvantage in shooting sports:

Because of breast tissue, our center of gravity is also changed. Men often do not have to carry around extra "chest weight". Weight that is carried ONLY in the chest area alone, throws off our center of gravity. Therefore, we must compensate for it. Women also often physically have smaller proportions than a man, just in general as well. Yet, we are forced to handle the EXACT same equipment, as the men do. We must learn to adapt our game, to that equipment, not an easy task. From shooting big guns, using male clothing, that often doesn't fit, it ALL comes with just a FRACTION, of a disadvantage. However, when you put together ALL of the "fractions", you often end up with, a rather large disadvantage, in a male dominated world. It is only now that I have found that the shooting companies are starting to understand that women NEED their own equipment for our sport. Even the sleeves on the professional shirts go to, (or past), our elbows. If you look at what many of the women do [to their shirts], when shooting, they often have to push up the sleeves, to get out of their way, so something as simple as a shirt, can actually throw off your game.

As more companies realize, that more women ARE indeed shooting, bigger caliber pistols, (not just 22's, like many companies would like to believe, that we can only shoot), I believe, that once some of these factors get eliminated, bit by bit, maybe, just maybe, more women Masters, will in fact emerge.

However, one must also look into the stages that are built for "Everybody". Often, there are stages with props that are built for a man shooter that is an average of probably 5'9 to 6'0. I stand at just 5 Ft. So often, I am faced with a stage that is just simply more difficult to shoot because of my size. When you factor in the physical differences, say leaning around a barrier, trying to shoot with your weak hand, with a female chest, that in itself brings about a difficult situation, because of our natural arm growth pattern, and a chest that we must learn to work around, shooting weak hand around a barrier is not an easy task. And, I also believe that USPSA needs to look into making sure that, when building stages, that they are also "women friendly". By not making us take a penalty, for not being able, to throw around a HUGE prop, and giving us a smaller comparable prop to work with, then maybe the scales will start to even out.Either way, we should have a comparable prop to use, based on our size and strength.

Size, strength, anatomy, and equipment ALL play a part, in this male dominated world sport. It is my hope, that as MORE women compete, and continue to join shooting sports, that they will start to understand that women CAN compete on the same level,,,,however leveling the playing field is going to be the problem, when a lady cannot pick up a huge prop like a larger man can, and finish the stage with competing times. A very good statistic to question, would be to also look into how many Grand Masters do we have in our sport, of MALE shooters, that are 5'5 and under, weighing about the same as some of the ladies. That would be an interesting statistic that I would like to see as well. Maybe THAT would help look into the stature size conundrum, and see if it has any merit, in the size and strength question.

These are just a few thoughts of mine, I hope that it may help in your quest!

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One more thing I am thinking about.

I stopped shooting because the judges were stealing results.

What happened: we have one lady that was "the best" for years. We have never seen her shoot as she always shot on Saturdays with the judges and we shot on Sundays. She was a judge too and a person who works on results on the computer.

Last competition I shot, one girl from my shooting club and I went to the competition on Saturday to see how can she shoot so much better than us. We could not believe because she was so much better then all of us, but when she goes to European she gets lousy results.

We watched one stage, she had 2 charlies, 2 deltas and 2 misses. Tomorrow on the result board, her result on that stage was 1 delta!!!!!!

I shot a stage in 6,16 seconds, on the result board they put 16,16!!!!!!

So we told all this to the president of the judge organization. He almost told us he didnt care and to f... off. She came all smiling and said, omg, anyone can make a mistake. Still, they never corrected it!!

So I just gave up. It costs too much money to do it here, to let someone steal all that from you.

I am sure everything is more legally set up in USA and other countries but I am wondering if you see any difference how judges treat you compared to men. Judges are often softer to ladies here because there are only a few and they don't want to push the girls away from the sprots.

Thanks for the feedback about my reserach and keep it coming :)

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