Shooting Sports

Shooting sports

Michael Bane write about the growing popularity of the (non-hunting) shooting sports

The big trend for 2010 is the bigger than expected successes of shooting competitions on television, led by TOP SHOT on History and 3-GUN NATION on Versus. I hear channels are scrambling for more shooting programming. 

Well duh. What took them so long?

First-person shooter games have been around for thirty years, which means for thirty years, we’ve been running around and shooting things in a virtual environment. It only makes sense that the same impulses that drive us to blast the legions from hell would drive us out to the range and try our hand at the real thing. 

So what would a TV-friendly shooting show look like? Well, a lot like Top Shot or 3 Gun Nation, actually. Head-to-head competition is what makes slalom skiing so exciting, and that’s another sport that relies on technique to shave thousands of an inch at every opportunity, which is also happens to be the key to winning practical shooting. 

And, to quote Jules Winnfield, personality goes a long way. Top Shot drew in so many viewers because we were attracted to the people of the sport, and not just the sport itself. NASCAR gets this, practical shooting needs to learn this, too. 

A few more things to get practical shooting more TV-friendly: 

– Reactive targets and/or real-time scoring. Waiting around for an RO to yell out “Two Alpha” (or in my case, “Charlie Mike”) is boring. Steel is good, some kind of electronic target that shows hits in real-time would be better.

– Side by side comparisons of runs. Why did Mike Voight beat Taran Butler on Stage Three? Was it because he shot a bit faster or a bit cleaner? Showing the same run using identical camera angles and editing would go a long way into helping others understand the sport. 

– Colour commentary. Many, many football fans rely on the experts in the booth to tell them why a wishbone offense is a better idea in a given situation than the shotgun, and it’s the same with practical shooting. Why did a competitor screw the pooch on a given stage? Why did one do better? Without a colour commentator, you have to be involved in the sport to know why. A good TV host can open the competition and the sport to people who aren’t shooters, making it even more popular. 

If paintball can be shown on ESPN, why can’t USPSA? Imagine how popular IPSC would get if Dave Sevigny was on the Wheaties box… 

Fifth Report

Fifth Report

“Diligentia – Vis – Celeritas”
“Accuracy – Power – Speed”

– USPSA Motto

Behold, the (almost) perfect Dot Torture Drill. 

091510 Report

Dot Torture Drill: 49 out of 50. 

And the instant I dropped that one shot, I knew it was because I let my concentration slip. Next time, it’ll be perfect. 

El Presidente Scores


CZ75 1 CZ75 2 CZ75 3 P3AT
Target One A 2C D A B D M 2A 2C A B 2D
Target Two 3A D 2A C D 2A 2C 2A C M
Target Three A 2C D 3C D A B C D A C 2D

Time 8.1 8.65 10.09 15.81
A’s 5 3 5 5
B’s 1 1
C’s 4 3 5 8
D’s 3 3 1 3
M’s 1 1
Points 40 20 44 42
Score 4.94 2.31 4.36 2.66
Draw 1.88 1.95 2.09 4.46
Reload 2.51 2.89 3.08 5.85
Avg. Split 0.36 0.35 0.45 0.57

I wanted to get in some more time with my P3AT, and at first blush, my times with the CZ look really bad, as my scores were much lower than last time, including one really awful run there in the middle. 

But. 

Let’s compare where I was back in July versus where I am now. 


07/16/10 09/15/10
Target One 3C M A 2C D
Target Two 2A 2C 3A D
Target Three 2C 2D A 2C D

Time 8.16 8.1
A’s 2 5
B’s
C’s 7 4
D’s 2 3
M’s 1
Points 23 40
Score 2.82 4.94
Draw 1.82 1.88
Reload 2.6 2.51
Avg. Split 0.37 0.36

The times for everything are about the same, however, my accuracy has definitely improved, which was the point of all of this all along.

Cool.

More …

Bangclangbangclangbangclang

Bangclangbangclangbangclang

Whoever was in charge of telling just how much fun it is to shoot steel plates with a .22 semi-automatic pistol? 

Fired. 

Wow, was that fun. Nothing fancy, just a little practice with my S+W M22A before next month’s .22 match at Rio. Three plates at ten yards, two round on each, but wow, before I knew, it, I had put a hundred round through the little sucker and could have plinked for hours longer. 

Seriously, if you’ve not done it, do it. Most fun I’ve had with a firearm in my hand in a long, long time. 

On a semi-related note, I made a had’jj over to the local Cabelas (it’s over in Glendale, Arizona, which is the back end of beyond for an East Valley guy like myself) and was shocked, shocked to discover they didn’t stock spare magazines for my S+W M22a. 

I’d a bet money otherwise. Genuinely surprised about that. Oh well, shipping costs from MidwayUSA are about the same as what the local sales tax would have been, I just have a wait a bit more. 

And I hate waiting. 

 

Fourth Report

Fourth Report

“90% of the game is mental, and the other half is physical.” 

– Yogi Berra 

I took a different approach to how I approached the Dot Torture drill this time. Rather than worrying about trigger press and front sight picture, I visualized the result I wanted to see, and then just shot. 

And it made a difference. 

082510

Dot Torture Drill: 46 out of 50. 

And it could have been perfect if I had kept my mind in the game.

Thinking about the end result is far more natural for me than thinking about the process. When I was a shooter (of photos), I began every assignment with a pre-visualization: I saw the photo I wanted in my mid first, the rest was getting it done. Ansel Adams was the master of this; the Zone System is nothing more than a way of defining how you want the final print to appear before you even set up your tripod. 

If I can see it , I can do it, and I’ve known that this is the way that I think since my senior year of High School, when I’d get C’s in Algebra but A+’s in Geo-Trig. However, this is not how I’ve been training up to this point: I’ve been relying on the slow, methodical process of analysis so typical to left-brain thinking. However, I’m a right-brain thinker, and I learn via the creative process. 

Now, the fact is, the actual methodology is pretty much the same: Drills and practice routines are still a part of both disciplines, but how I approach training will change. Instead of relying on a slow progress and analytical thinking, I have to wait (and trust) for the “Eureka!” moments, and then build upon that. 

The first of which was today, when I remembered how I think. 

El Presidente Scores

 

CZ75 1

CZ75 2

P07 1

Target One

3A C

3A C

3A C

Target Two

3A C

3A C

2A C D

Target Three

3A D

3A C

3A C

       

Time

10.86

11.94

14.16

A’s

9

9

5

B’s

     

C’s

2

3

8

D’s

1

 

3

M’s

   

1

Points

52

54

42

Score

4.79

4.52

2.97

Draw

2.58

2.28

2.27

Reload

2.98

3.53

4.18

Avg. Split

0.48

0.58

0..76

Not a lot to say here, except that I’m happy that I’m not seeing a lot of swings in my scores. They may be low, but they’re not shifting into the utter horrible on occasion

 

Steel Match

Steel match

Off to Phoenix Rod and Gun Club tonight with Danno from Sandcastle Scrolls to shoot a steel match, but this time I’ll be using my CZ P07 rather than my usual CZ 75. I’ve ordered a tuckable IWB holster for the P07 from Atomic Dog holsters (bowwowwowyippeyoyippeyay) that should be here any day, so it’s time to put the P07 through it’s paces one more time before I start to use it for my everyday carry firearm. 

More …

First Is First

First is first

Ok, so there were only three shooters in L10 and it was a laid-back casual club match, but first is first

Cool. 

And I shot  an all-classifier match today at Phoenix Rod and Gun. My first run through the first four stages was spectacular. 

Spectacularly bad.

Stevie Wonder could have shot the match better than I did. If I let it go with the score from that run, not only would I not make “C” Class, I may have been banned from the USPSA for life. 

But I anted up for another run, and that went better, though I swear that no-shoot wasn’t there when I shot a it. Let’s see if I was good enough to make my goal a bit earlier than planned.

More …

Third Report

Third Report

Dot Torture Drill : 44 out of 50. 

080410

I’m kinda happy about this result. My score was just a bit higher than last time, but groups are definitely tightening up, and that’s a very good thing. 


CZ75 1 CZ75 2 CZ75 3 P3AT 1
Target One 2A C D A B C M A 2C M A 2D M
Target Two 3A D 3C D 3A C 2A B M
Target Three 2A C D A 2C D A 3D A B 2C

Time 8.41 19.21 8.16 21.37
A’s 7 2 5 4
B’s 1 2
C’s 2 6 3 2
D’s 3 2 3 2
M’s 1 1 2
Points 44 23 27 14
Score 5.23 1.2 3.31 0.66
Draw 2.18 1.93 2.02 3.16
Reload 2.24 2.05 2.42 4.83
Avg. Split 0.4 1.52 0.37 1.34

My best score on the El Presidente, ever! (Ignore the FTF on the second run. Please. I’m begging you.) On the third run, I tried to push my speed a bit with less-than-stellar (and predictable) results. 

I also ran my Kel-Tec P3AT through an El Prez as well, just to get in some practice with it and see how it performs versus my competition gun. 

The short answer? It doesn’t. I drew it from the same pocket holster I use for everyday carry, and I had my spare mag in my off hand pocket, just like I do when I carry it around with me. If I need to use my P3AT, I’ll need to rely on my awareness of my surroundings and have it prepped and ready to use, rather than relying on stopping someone from a draw with it.

More …

A Shot In The Dark

A Shot in the Dark

I had the opportunity to go to a four-hour “Fight at Night” training class over at Rio Salado on Saturday night, put on by Brad Parker of Defend University. I took the class because I knew I had a big gap in my training when it came to low light and night encounters. Most lethal force incidents happen in low-light conditions, but for reasons of safety and convenience, we do most of our practice and training on clean, well-lit ranges. It’s like a karate student who spends all of his time in the dojo doing kata and never does any sparring.

The class covered many of the standardized flashlight and pistol grips, types of lighting (backlit, frontlit, etc.), how to manipulate your firearm with a flashlight (your prirmary hand armpit, btw, makes a handy-dandy flashlight holder when you need both hands free), the basics of using a flashlight as a defensive tool and some of the physiological effects of darkness on the human body.

And then we got to the shooting. And it was unlike anything I’ve done before.

Backlighting

Here we’re trying to learn to shoot with our off-hand while trying to deal with a backlit target without illumination from with our flashlights. The glow you see behind the steel targets comes from a couple of dozen road flares strewn about the berm, and I’m kinda happy I was able to get a couple of muzzle flashes in the shot. For safety reasons, we all wore glowsticks so the RO’s could keep track of our whereabouts, and the firing line was designated by glowsticks as well. If this sort of thing looks cool, well, it was. 🙂

I learned a LOT for this class.

* This was the first time I’d used my new CZ for anything other than practice on the range, and it performed without a hiccup, which increases my confidence for using it as an everyday carry pistol.

* My $25 Coleman flashlight from Wal-Mart was up to the task. Sure, it’s not a Surefire, but it does 90% of what a Surefire does for 30% of the price. Not bad.

* I need night sights, a flashlight and/or a laser for every firearm I may use in a self-defense situation. The sights on my P07 are great in broad daylight or at sunset, but once the lights go out, they’re utterly invisible.

* I learned I can trust my instincts. One of the drills we did was in total darkness: No lights, no nuthin’, just the backscatter of the lights of Mesa off the clouds overhead. Despite the lack of light, I was able to bang the steel four times out of four. Maybe I should close my eyes each time I go shooting…

The class was DEFINITELY worth the modest registration fee, and I’d recommend it (or any other low-light training class) to anyone who is serious about defending their life or the lives of their loved ones.

Oh, and if you haven’t read any of my posts over at the mothership, I have a tendency to use song titles in my posts, and this one is no different. 🙂