As the shooting season FINALLY gets underway now that we’re out of the doldrums of winter, it’s time to start bringing match video and review to the Shooter’s Log.
One of the things that’s helped me grow as a shooter has been to watch film of myself.
It’s a lot easier to see mistakes when you’re outside your body than it is from a first person view.
Here’s our first match video of the year, courtesy of Loke Uei, a member of the Rudy Project team.
Stage 1: Start facing the targets, draw and shoot ’em as you see ’em.
There 17 targets on this stage, and quite a few different ways to shoot it.
Some shooters started by running all the way to the left and working their way back, I chose to start by shooting the middle targets as I went left, working back and hauling across the targets I’d already shot.
Doing it this way saved me a reload.
Stage 2: Start with the gun unloaded and holstered, and engage the targets as you see them.
The left and right side arrays were a stacked pair of paper targets requiring two shots each, and the middle array was a devilish plate rack with tiny 6 inch square plates.
Stage 3: To shoot this stage, I decided to draw to the paper targets, since I can get a much faster presentation on those than I can on the lone pepper popper.
Not everyone shot it the way I did, as many shooters drew to the pepper popper and engaged that.
I shot the 3 paper and the hit the popper.
Coming in to the middle array, I went far too slow on the close targets.
The far right array was very solid though.
Stage 4: I’d rather not talk about this stage.
In all seriousness, this was my worst stage of the match.
I had two misses during the strong hand only part of the stage, my shooting was far too slow on the close up targets, and I wasn’t moving very well either.
This is one of those stages that I watch a lot to see where I made my mistakes and what I can do to stop them.
Stage 5: The classifier! In USPSA, you generally will shoot a classifier stage or standards course every match.
Since you need at least four to get classified, this helps shooters get their appropriate classifications quickly.
This stage is called Paper Poppers – you can shoot the steel or the paper first, but you have to do a reload before engaging the next array.
I chose to shoot the paper first then the steel, and that worked out very well for me.
Using my M&P in Limited-10, my hit factor would be good enough for an “A” classification if I were able to do that consistently.
Interestingly, if I had shot the same hit factor in Production, it would have been good enough for Master class.
Stage 6: The final stage! Start in the box, engage the targets, move to the next box, engage those targets.
Not a lot of real strategy here, just a good opportunity to execute the fundamentals of marksmanship.
Match thoughts I need to work on two major areas right now – my shooting speed and my footwork.
I shot a lot of “A-zone” hits, but for some reason I’m shooting far too slow on target that are up close, even when they’re partially obscured.
I should be able to shoot a partial target at 3 yards just as fast as I could shoot a full target at 3 yards.
My footwork needs work as well; right now I’m settling both feet in a shooting position before I start firing; I need to get my first foot down and be looking to break the shot the same moment my second foot hits.
Right now it’s “run, plant, stand, shoot”.
It should be “run, plant, shoot, run”.
That being said, this was a good start to my shooting season.
A solid classifier run always feels good, and the final match results came my way: I won Limited-10 division outright, winning 4 of the 6 stages to start my season off with a win.
With that in mind however, winning club matches are like winning baseball games in April.
A win is still a win, but it’s not as nice as winning in September and October. We’ll have regular coverage of my matches shot for Cheaper than Dirt here on the blog, including major matches such as the Ruger Rimfire Championship, Bianchi Cup, and the ICORE Nationals!