Sixth Report

Remember how I said “next time, it’ll be perfect?” 

I lied. 

4 to go

Dot Torture Drill: 46 out of 50

Not unexpected: I’ve not had any range time of note since the Classic last month, and while dry-fire is good, live-fire is better. 

El Presidente Scores 

CZ75 1 CZ75 2 CZ75 3  CZ75 4
Target One A 2C D A B D M 1A 3C 1A 3C
Target Two 3A D 2A C D 2A 2C 2A 2 C
Target Three A 2C D 3C D 3A 1C 3A 1C

Time 8.78 8.88 8.98 8.51
A’s 4 6 6 6
B’s
C’s 5 5 6 6
D’s 2 1
M’s 1
Points 27 46 48 48
Score 3.08 5.18 5.35 5.64
Draw 2.09 1.95 2.09 2.05
Reload 2.52 2.89 3.08 2.48
Avg. Split 0.42 0.39 0.39 0.38

Even with sucky draw times, I scored my best El Prez score ever, and all of my runs were sub-10 seconds.

I’ll take that. 

More …

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 …

Train up a child in the way they should go

I remember one of the major network newsmagazine shows did an entire show on kids and guns a few years back. They gave a bunch of eight year olds the standard “If you see a gun, don’t touch, run, and tell a grown-up lecture”, and then later in the day, set up a deactivated gun in an unattended location with a hidden camera on it in order to record the kids reaction. 

And the kids not only touched the gun, some of them picked it up and played with it. Why? Because kids are curious about stuff they’re not used to, that’s why. Their conclusion was simple: If you have guns, you shouldn’t have kids (I wonder if they feel the same way about kids and swimming pools. I digress.).

My kids know not touch a gun or ammunition, but they are also used to guns, in fact, my youngest is a bit bonkers for them, I have GOT to get him an air rifle as soon as I can.Now I’m not saying my sons are impervious to the temptation of reaching for the forbidden fruit, but both of them were playing unsupervised in our master bedroom yesterday, and my unloaded rifle and unloaded shotgun were resting on the bed, waiting to be put away after my three gun match. I snuck in and watched what they were doing, and rather than play with Daddy’s guns, which were sitting there right out in the open, they were playing with our cat. 

That’s good to know. I’m still going to lock everything up, but that’s still good to know. 

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

 

Mommie Oakley

The Washington Post is shocked, shocked to discover that firearms are a part of American culture

On a June evening that had cooled to a mere 110 degrees, more than a dozen women waited for a timed competition as Carol Ruh, president of the Arizona Women’s Shooting Associates, went over safety rules.

The group’s oldest member is 89. The youngest is Susan Bitter Smith’s 16-year-old daughter, who has brought her AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and her American history homework to the range. Some look like anyone’s grandmother — silvery hair possibly just styled at the salon, pastel-colored golf shirts, pressed slacks, orthopedically correct shoes — but for the handguns on their hips.

Aaaaaaahhhhh!!!! Oh noes!!!1!! Pistol-packin’ mommas on every street corner! No permit for concealed carry! The streets must be overflowing with blood! 

Eeerrr, not so much. 

But gun rights advocates say that the District’s gun control laws — not to mention prohibitions against murder — did not prevent a drive-by shooting in March that involved illegal weapons. They also say that despite having nearly 158,000 people with concealed weapons in Arizona, their homicide rate of 6.3 per 100,000 is lower than the District’s, 31.4. That’s true of Phoenix, too, where the homicide rate is 10.5 per 100,000.

It’s almost as if criminals break the law or something. 

Not yet

Current Classification

PRODUCTION Class: D Pct: 29.77 High Pct: 29.77

Previous Classification

PRODUCTION Class: D Pct: 27.65 High Pct: 27.65

A few take-aways …

Previous to starting The Quest, I essentially hadn’t done any competitive shooting at all in the past year, aside from staff days prior to the Desert Classic and the Superstition Mountain Mystery 3 Gun. Therefore, I consider this a baseline to grow on rather than the be-all and end-all of my scores in USPSA. 

The practice is working. Even with that long sabbatical from practical shooting, I shot better than this last classifier than the any one before it. A little more accuracy practice and a little more discipline can get me there, I think. 

I think my goal at my next practice session should be to shoot my Presidente’s as cleanly as possible, ignoring speed and dropping every single shot (if I can) into the A Zone. 

Stay tuned….

More …

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 mind of many things

At the night shooting class I took a couple of days ago, a good number of people said that they had issues with doing many things at once with a firearm in their hand. They had problems with stashing their flashlight in a safe place, performing reloads and just keeping everything straight in their heads in a semi-stressful environment.

I’ll admit I had some issues with this as well (memo to self: a magazine with four rounds in it and a fully-loaded magazine do NOT weigh the same), but for the most part, I did pretty well.

I credit practical shooting for this. Let’s go back to the simple USPSA stage I diagrammed out last month.

Stage

My initial approach to this stage was to shoot eight rounds at each mini-stage within the larger course for a total 24 rounds. But what happens if, for some bizarre (and all-too-common) reason, I totally charlie-foxtrot a portion of the stage? What if it takes five or six rounds to knock down a popper rather than just one? Now I have to do a standing reload, (which kills your time) and adjust how I shoot the rest of the course accordingly.

This is what practical shooting teaches you: How to respond with a firearm in your hand when things don’t go according to plan. You can learn to shoot a 4″ bullseye at 25 yards on the public range and a training class will teach you the best way to engage targets around barricades, but practical shooting gives you the mindset you need to quickly and safely respond correctly with your firearm when things go all to pieces.

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. 🙂

Beyond the basics

Practical shooting is a lot like golf in that it’s a mind game: It’s you and what you can do vs. how the course is laid out. The only person you’re competing with in golf is your confidence in your abilities (“175 yards to hole? I think I can carry that bunker.”). I’m finding out that knowing what I can do and planning each stage based on that knowledge are the keys to a successful run. 

For instance, I shoot Production, which means I start out with 10 rounds in each magazine (and usually another in the chamber at the start) and that gaur-an-frckin-tees I’m going to reload on almost every stage I come across. That also means I’m going to have a slight edge on Single Stack and Revolver shooters who shoot only 8 rounds before they have to reload.

Let’s see how this plays out in reality. Here’s a simple USPSA stage that I built using stagebuilder.com

USPSA Stage

Comstock scoring, 24 rounds 

Now, because the stage designer (me) decided to build the stage in a way that accommodates Revolver and Single Stack shooters, it makes the job of anyone shooting Production and Limited-10 a little easier. Also, there’s no real tricks to this stage: There aren’t multiple paths to each group of targets and no real “gotcha” opportunities for missed targets and failure to engage penalties, it’s pretty much a run and gun scenario, and if you’re shooting Open and have more than 24 rounds in your pistol, a decent shooter should be able to shoot the whole stage without a reload. 

Here’s how I’d run this course. 

If it’s a complicated stage (this one isn’t), I’d offload the thinking part by using making a quick diagram on a Stage Analysis form before I turn in my scorecard for the stage. I’m a kinesthetic learner: I need to physically grasp a concept before I can work on it, and sitting down and drawing out a stage allows me to grasp just what is needed to accomplish my goals. It also means I print out my emails, but that’s another story… 

I then plan my reload points by physically walking the course, determining how many rounds are needed for each group of targets and then miming the act of reloading my pistol in each spot I’ve chosen. The nice thing about this is that I can usually do this part of my planning without interfering the other shooters as they also go through their prep for each stage. In this case, I’d plan on one reload between each group of targets, and hopefully that’d be it. 

Then, as it gets closer to my turn to shoot the stage, I start to work on what order I’ll engage the targets. This is hard to tell from a stage diagram, so it’s something that has to be done on the course itself. 

When I’m in box and getting ready to shoot, my mantra is simple: “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast“, and I try to visualize a good sight picture with my pistol. 

And then the timer goes off, the red mist descends, my brain locks up and all this planning goes out the window. 🙂