Match Report: Pistol Match at Louland 10/20/16

I had been trying to get out of the house to shoot a match on the weekend the last three weekends in a row, but time and tide worked against me. However, I realized that if I ducked out of work a bit early (thank goodness I’m salary, not wages), I could shoot the Thursday night match at LouLand and still have my weekends available for honey-dos.

So I did.

This is not a tough match. Lou has an extensive background in USPSA, but, in his own words, he’s tired of putting up with the crap that USPSA throws at him, so the matches are easy to shoot and have a low round count. Most of the stages consist of 3-5 shooting boxes with steel targets, and no table starts, memory stages or awkward shooting positions.

Like I said, not tough.

I shot well, or I should say, as well as I expected to given a three month hiatus. I had one Mike the entire match (I coulda sworn I hit that plate six times and not five) and a dropped shot or three, but other than that, I was happy.

One stage in particular was interesting, Stage Four. It was a very simple stage, but it revealed some things about my fellow shooters.


It’s a nice little balance between speed and accuracy, and if you swap out the partial targets downrange with 6′ plates and toss in a mandatory reload, it’d make a dandy little drill stage because it combines speed, movement and accuracy all within 12 rounds.

But it was interesting watching how the shooters accustomed to this match handled this stage. There’s one sound lad in particular who is blazingly fast on the trigger and has great food speed, but his accuracy is… suboptimal. He blew through this stage in just under five seconds, but with a bunch of Charlies and a Mike on that close-up target. He shoots this match a lot, and his shooting style was developed in an environment that rewards fast movement and fast shooting, and if you miss, well, that’s what makeup shots are for!


How he would do at an IPDA or Bianchi Cup match, where accuracy trumps speed? What would that do to how he approaches this match?

If you want to remove the blind spots in your defensive skills, you train with a wide variety of competent trainers. If you want to shoot matches and have them assist your defensive skills, you need to shoot matches that show where you need improvement, not what you’re doing well.


Take What Is Best, Discard The Rest.

There’s been quite a lot of chatter from parts of the internet about the effectiveness of timers in training and what skills we should use as benchmarks in our training. Some of it is good, some of it isn’t.

A lot of the talk centers around what should and should not be tracked with a timer, because chasing those skills, some say, is a waste of your time and effort.

Let’s look at one of the most “gamer” skills out there, target-to-target transitions. “On the street” it doesn’t matter HOW fast your gun moves from one target to another, right? That sort of stuff is pure gamer, useful only for getting a better score at a match or impressing your buds at the range.

Or is it?

Let’s review.

  1. Pistols, even the vaunted .45AKCACP usually do not stop a threat with just one shot*.
  2. This means that multiple rounds on-target (preferrably in the center-mass area or into the ocular cavity of the skull) are going to be needed, and they’ll be needed under very stressful conditions.
  3. People don’t like getting shot and they tend to run away from people who are shooting at them.

All of this means that if (God forbid) we get into a gun fight, we may need to dump many rounds into a target that is moving so that it does not get shot full of holes.

Think being able to quickly acquire a new target and move your gun so the sights are on-target helps in that situation?

I do.

Still think that target transition speed is a “gamer” skill?

Let’s watch this in practice. Notice how fast the bad guys de-ass themselves after their supposed victim shows his claws. The “victim” in this case wisely decides to stop shooting when it’s apparent that their victim du jour is anything but and de-ass themselves from the situation, probably weighing slightly more as well, thanks to the several dozen grains of lead that is now deep inside their chest cavity.

They call them “running gun battles” for a reason, people.

* Although a round into the ocular cavity that drives into the medulla oblagata does tend to end things right quickly…

You Know What Happens When You Make An Assumption?

You make an ass out of “u” and… mption.

Ok, that didn’t work.

I shot a lightweight, casual indoor match at Naples Gun Range on Tuesday, and I was unpleasantly surprised by how much I sucked. I shot it with my carry Shield, and I was slow, slow, slow. I made up for it, though, with a lack of accuracy.

While I am in no ways satisfied with how I did there. However, it points out that, despite my confidence with this gun, I need a LOT more practice with my Shield, and I also need to take it to a gunsmith because it is not locking back on the last shot.

Look, if Michael Bane can trip himself up with some assumptions about his carry gear, so can I. Fortunately for me, all I need to do is head to the range more often, not subject myself to physical therapy multiple times each week.

I’ll take it. Yes, it sucks knowing I have such a long way to go, but it’s better to find out I suck now than find out when I’m on a two-way range and the stakes are much higher than a match win.

Also, this was first time I shot a match indoors, and I recommend everyone who’s serious about this sort of thing try it at least once. The physicality of shooting indoors, where you feel the muzzle blast as well as hear it, brings a new level of awareness to what’s going on. The odds are very, very slim you’ll be on a pistol bay when the balloon goes up, and if you are, brother, are you at the wrong shooting range!

Double The Action, Double The Fun!

Wait, that headline sounded like an advertisement for a Nevada bordello…

One of the things I learned in my Leatham class was what actually makes up a good practical shooting / combat trigger press. It’s not “riding the reset” or what have you, it’s having the sights on-target when the bullet exits the barrel. A good trigger press affects that because it is the last major (relatively speaking) motion that is made to the gun before the bullet exits. If, say, scratching the roof of the your mouth made more of a difference in accuracy than a trigger press, we’d be talking about our lingual dexterity rather than trigger weights and shapes.

But it’s not, so we don’t.

There are four parts to pulling the trigger and making the gun go BANG!: The press, the break, the overtravel and the reset. Of those four, only one (the press) affects accuracy, so that’s the one that matters. In general, a shorter, lighter trigger is better for accuracy than one that needs more ooomph to pull and takes longer to get there. However, a good shooter can shoot ANYTHING and get his or her hits.

Take a look at Rob shooting a 1911, and watch as his finger comes OFF the trigger at 0:16 or so. We’re told that’s not a good idea. We’re told to ride the reset. And yet somehow, Rob makes it work, and wins championships with what he’s doing.

Rob shoots a striker-fired gun quite well. He shoots revolvers well. He shoots 1911s well. He shoots everything well, because he is in charge of the trigger and doesn’t get bogged down in minutiae. If controlling a double action/single action gun is causing you to think you’re not accurate, you’re right, you won’t be. Unlike Chris, I don’t carry DA/SA guns because of safety reasons, I carry ’em ’cause I like ’em, and I’ve never seen the DA/SA trigger as that much of a problem.

And it isn’t.


Obscured Sight Picture

This is why you train with someone who know’s what they’re doing:

I ran through a quick drill with my P07 at the Shoot N Scoot event back in April, and part of the course of fire for that drill was some 40 yard A/C zone steel plates. I had a more-difficult time than I expected hitting that plate, and Jeff Street suggested that the problem might be that my eyes were shifting to the target at the last second.

He’s right, and it took a 3rd-party, someone who can diagnose the problem, for me to understand what’s going on.

I have yet to find a sight setup for the P07 that I like. I bought one of the earlier “Duty” versions of the gun, so it came with sights that mimicked Glock sights (which is kinda like wanting to mimic the singing talent of Justin Beiber). I swapped those out for Meprolight tritiums, but because them suckers have a narrow rear notch and a rather huge front blade, I am still having issues isolating on the front sight during a course of fire.

This is where being a special snowflake and shooting a gun that’s not a Glock, S&W or Sig really hurts. If I shot a Glock, I’d drop a set of Sevignys on that gun in a heartbeat, I really like them. However, the P07 wasn’t really supporting by anyone, not even CZ, until the creation of the “Carry Optics” class in USPSA. Now I can find all manner of red dot accessories and suppressor sights for that gun, but there’s still only one or two options for fiber optic sights, and just the Mepros for night sights. I do love me my CZ’s, but that love comes at a cost.

Ok, Mike, Let’s Talk About Production

Hi Mike, thanks for reading the first part.

You did read the first part, didn’t you?

Let’s chat a bit about Divisions. I’m ok with Carry Optics and, as I’m a fan of pistol-caliber carbines, I also like this new division for them, but let’s face it, Production is broken. Two of the biggest items that comes to mind are,

  • Actual guns in use. I love my CZ’s, but really, how often is that gun actually carried? On the other hand, Beretta 92.
  • Holsters. I had a rules lawyer try to DQ me for my Blade-Tech dropped offset. Adopt the Single Stack Division holster rules, and that goes away.
  • Mag capacity, however, is the biggie. The mag capacity needs to be upped to 15 rounds in a mag to start the stage, effective right now.

I know that upping the starting magazine capacity puts a hurt on shooters in New York, California, and other places outside America, but that’s what L-10 is for. Heck, in Canada, every division except Single Stack and Revolver is a variation of L10 because 10 rounds is the most you can have in a magazine in any pistol up there, competition or not.

Besides that, having to reload between Every. Single. Port. is just silly, especially if USPSA wants to retain some of its roots as a “practical” shooting sport. Looking at how how often reloading is actually needed in a gunfight vs. shooting on the move would be one way to bring USPSA (and IDPA as well) back in-line with what we now know what really happens in a gunfight, thanks to dashcams and security videos.

15 rounds in a mag also updates Production with the reality of guns today. Part of the appeal of the Wonder Nine is lotsa boolits, and enforcing an artificial Clinton-era mag capacity on those guns is silly in today’s post-AWB world. Going to 15 rounds would also align the USPSA Production division more with IPSC Production, something that matters only a few times a decade, I realize, but still, the thought is nice.

Finally, and this is the big one, it would align Production with how people actually buy guns. I ran into this issue last month, taking a new shooter to his first match. He had a Glock 19, four mags, three pouches and a decent gun belt. This is pretty much as good as it gets for the average concealed carrier, and yet, because of the lack of mags and pouches, he shot Limited Minor and placed dead @!$%ing last.

It’s not 1996. There’s not a Clinton in the White House (well, not at this moment, at least…). Stop saddling Production with rules from 20 years ago.

Hi, Mike, We Need to Talk

First off, kudos to you for doing what needs to be done and firing Kim Williams. I don’t know the details of what really went on, but I do know how easy it is for a non-profit to spend money in a very unwise manner, so congrats for bucking up and tossing out the dirty laundry.

Secondly, it looks like you’re finally doing something about the antiquated, insecure website, so again, kudos, and I also heard on the grapevine that USPSA will be shown this year on some TV shows where they haven’t been shown in quite awhile, and that is also a good thing.

Let’s talk a bit more about media and USPSA. Ever looked around at a major match, Mike? Ever notice what’s missing? I see teenagers at big matches (some of whom are disgustingly good) and I see old farts like myself, but what I don’t see is twenty-somethings, kids who have spent their entire adult lives running around and shooting things in a virtual, online world, but somehow don’t show up to run around and shoot things at a USPSA match.

And that’s got to change. Scholastic Steel is a good entry sport for practical shooting, but because it uses steel targets, it’s a sport that can only be done on a pistol bay outdoors. This is silly, because today’s gun owners are urban, and that means their access to outdoor ranges is shrinking, not growing. Come up with something that can be shot on an indoor range in two hours with 50 rounds of ammo, and watch as people flock to your sport. It’s also a sport where kids stand and shoot things, but you know what kids like to do? Run. They run a lot, they move a lot, and unlike people my age, they don’t complain about their joints after they’ve stopped running. USPSA was dissed (that’s a word kids use still, right?) when it was starting out as a dangerous sport because people RAN with guns in their hands, and now, to get people interested in it, we have people stand (not run) with guns in their hands.

Bor-ring. Get something together that gets movement in the act, and we’ll talk tomorrow about divisions, ok?

See you then.

When Robs Collide

Well now this is interesting.

Teaser: “Worlds Collide” Video Series with  Rob Leatham for Personal Defense Network, sponsored by Springfield Armory

Rob (Pincus) is not a fan of competition shooting as training for self-defense (to say the least) and Rob (Leatham), is a tremendous competition shooter and is an advocate for good pistol work first, no matter what the environment.

Actually, having trained with both Robs, I think there’ll be more overlap than most people realize. For all of Rob (Pincus)’s complaints about gaming, the pistol work he teaches in his classes is essentially what Brian Enos wrote about lo these many years ago, just applied to defensive training, not competition training.

When Brian was competing alongside Rob (Leatham).

If this means more acceptance of “gamer” techniques inside Rob (Pincus)’s very successful Combat Focus Shooting courses, good. Such a thing can only help the gun community as a whole, because it will help tactical guys make the shot on-demand, and it will open up competitions to a new crop of tactards competitors.

I kid. I jest.

I’m rather curious to see how this turns out. My philosophy, I believe, is more like Rob (Leatham)’s: There is shooting, and then there is everything else. All the form, all the moves, all the posturing in the world means SQUAT if you can’t hit the target on-demand when it’s needed the most.

To be honest, Rob (Pincus)’s comments about “choreographed” stages confuses me a bit. Sure, we make a plan when we go to a stage at a match, and if we’re really good (and lucky) we execute that plan as we imagined it. However, more often then not, we bobble a reload or take twice the rounds we were planning on to clear a plate rack or go ZOOMING past an open port and we have to re-think our plan right quickly, on the fly and in front of our friends.

I’ve shot the Figure-Eight drill that Rob (Pincus) talks about, and it’s a good drill. I’m also, if I might brag a bit, quite good at, because I’m used to things falling apart all around me while I have a gun in my hand, and the Figure Eight is all about making snap adjustments on-demand and shooting in an ever-changing environment. The Figure Eight is a good drill, but it is not preparing us for a chaotic event. Chaos happens when plans fall apart, not when there is no plan to begin with.

Which is exactly what happens on almost every stage of a match. It’s not the perfect execution of a stage plan that makes a competition shooter a better shooter under stress, it’s the ability to recover and execute a half-@ssed plan, on demand and under pressure, that makes competition shooters better shooters under stress. Every match, every stage, every time we step up to the line, SOMETHING changes, and we learn to adapt to the changing situation and come out ahead.

Bonus quote:

“The reason the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices it on a daily basis.”

– from a post-war debriefing of a German General

"But I Qualified!"

A great take on why competition will NOT get you killed on the streets, over at

“No one will argue that a race car driver driving a specialized vehicle at speeds in excess of 160 mph will probably still outperform you in a street car. A skilled MMA fighter with some tactical street sense will outperform the average Joe in a hands-on street fight as well.”

Well duh.

Courtesy of Phil Wong from Gator Farm Tactical.

“But I Qualified!”

A great take on why competition will NOT get you killed on the streets, over at

“No one will argue that a race car driver driving a specialized vehicle at speeds in excess of 160 mph will probably still outperform you in a street car. A skilled MMA fighter with some tactical street sense will outperform the average Joe in a hands-on street fight as well.”

Well duh.

Courtesy of Phil Wong from Gator Farm Tactical.