Archive for November, 2008

I used to look at swingers and think “wow that’s hard, how am I supposed to hit that when it’s moving so quickly? I’ll try and see if I can at least get on the paper somewhere”.

I also used to think about shooting on the move like this: “I know where the targets will be, but I know I need to get to the next position, so I hopefully I won’t miss them before I get to the next position”

That all changed after a class with Scott Warren. He really managed to change my attitude and turn my psyche around to thinking positively. By changing my attitude I found that I was able to visualize stages better, be more confident, aggressive, accurate, focussed and able to move through stages quicker.

There’s one phrase that sticks in my mind and just sums it up perfectly. I recite it before every match as part of my prematch routine:

It’s strong hand, support hand, because there’s nothing weak about what I do

Just changing my mental attitude has done wonders for my scores. I know that just this one nugget that I learned on those two cold days at the range has improved my shooting tremendously.

Pre-weekend update

Posted: November 22, 2008 in Equipment, IDPA

I went to bed early last night and didn’t get to dry fire.

Blade-tech sent me the wrong mag pouch and attempts to contact them (emails and voicemail) are fruitless – they’ve decided to start ignoring me.

Just found out that tomorrows IDPA match has been cancelled due to the cold weather. So the next event will either be a USPSA match at Circleville on Dec 1st, or next spring when the season starts again.

I was at the New Albany Shooting Range yesterday for a spot of live fire practice and started to figure some things out with my grip. I don’t usually grip the pistol lightly and never suffer from stovepipes, even when shooting with support hand only or from retention. I found that when I gripped the pistol a little harder, three things happened:

1) The front sight moved right back into the notch by itself.

2) The muzzle rise was less and so shot recovery was quicker.

3) I was able to much better isolate my trigger finger and break the shot quicker without pulling on the trigger and torquing the gun with my other strong hand fingers.

The first two are just obvious and logical, but the third one is what surprised me. Because I could break the shots with more control over my trigger finger, I was able to shoot faster because I didn’t have to concentrate so hard on trigger control. If I can work on a stronger grip and good isolation of the trigger finger, I’ll be able to step up my game to a new level. I may only save a few tenths here and there, but during a stage that soon adds up, especially when I can better call my shots, not pull shots low or have to make up shots.

This is definitely something I need to practice a lot more as it addresses a number of areas of my shooting. Just having a good grip makes all the world of difference when it comes to action pistol shooting.

Getting into reloading

Posted: November 17, 2008 in Equipment, IDPA
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I used to use my father-in-law’s Dillon XL650, but I no longer have access to it, so I’ve decided to get my own press and reloading setup. I’m piecing it together bit by bit and started off with the CV-2001 tumbler and large media separator. It has a maximum capacity of 1300 45ACP cases, although the brass that I tumbled was a mix of mostly 45ACP with some 40S&W, 9mm and 223. I tumbled them in Lyman walnut media for 90 minutes, then to get them polished I’ll run them for another hour in fine corncob. I need to head to pick up some corn cob from the local pet store (or Andersons) this week during lunch.

After that they usually come out polished, slick and ready to run through the press. I never used to use any polish or lube, but I’ve read that it can help when running them through the press. Maybe one day I’ll try a batch and see what difference it makes.

Once I clear out some space in the unfinished part of my basement, I’ll set up a bench and start getting ready for the press. I’ve already decided to go with the Dillon XL650 again because I’m very familiar with its set up, operation and what’s needed for caliber changes.

I bought the tumbler and media separator from the Brian Enos store.

Drive the gun

Posted: November 15, 2008 in Equipment, IDPA
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I was dry firing again last night, trying to work on my draws to improve on my baseline time of 1.6 seconds to draw, aim and pull the trigger. The timer is starting to make me think more about my technique and where I can gain speed. I realized that once I get a grip, pull up and start rotating the muzzle forwards, I can reduce the time if I really thrust the gun forwards much quicker. But then you also have to be in control of the end point, since you need to control sight alignment ready to break the shot. After hearing some top shooters talking about driving the gun forwards, I think I’m starting to understand the concept much better now. After last night I managed to shave 0.2 seconds off my time, just by driving the gun forwards more aggressively.

I also realized why so many 1911’s have a nice curved beavertail grip safety. With the stubby A1 style, it’s easy to get the web of your hand over the grip safety instead of having it slide underneath in a nice high grip. Without adjusting my grip so that the web is repositioned underneath, the hammer could bite me after the first shot. I’d also have a horrible grip and my followup shot would be much more inconsistent. I guess I know what’s on my Christmas list now.

New Blade-tech holster

Posted: November 13, 2008 in Equipment, IDPA

I received the Bobby McGee Pro Series IDPA PAK today and pulled out the holster. It’s a popular holster so I was curious how it compares with the uncle mike’s I’ve been using. First off, it’s IDPA legal, which means I can use it for state matches. It came with a paddle attachment, but I didn’t try that out yet. I don’t know if I will because it felt pretty snug and solid on my 1.5″ leather belt, after I had adjusted the belt guide. I think it must have been factory set for a 1.75″ belt. After fiddling around with it for 5 mins I managed to get the guide reset to fit my 1.5″ belt. The guide fits into molded slots, so you don’t have to worry about setting it too loose or tight, or worry about it moving around.

The first thing that I noticed compared to the Uncle Mike’s was that the gun rode a little lower. This made it feel a little easier on the draw and lets me start rotating the muzzle towards the target earlier in the draw sequence. At my current level, I don’t think that tiny fraction of a second is going to make any difference, but it did feel a little easier somehow.

The pack also comes with a double mag holder, but I’m really happy with the comp-tac pouch, so I didn’t try that out yet. Perhaps if I take up flexmoney’s offer and try a USPSA match I’ll need it, since I’m probably going to need more than 2 mags. In fact, I better check how many mags I actually have in my Midway USA range bag in case I have to order some more.

Update (10/14/08): I took out the mag pouch last night and was about to adjust the belt guide, when I suddenly realized that the pouch is for single stack mags. I called bladetech today and am waiting on a call back to get an RMA number and have it swapped.

Some Par Times

Posted: November 12, 2008 in IDPA
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I played with my timer last night and recorded some baseline par times. I don’t have a proper structured dry fire routine yet (waiting on Steve Anderson’s book), but I recorded a couple:

Hands by my side, draw from a belt holster, two handed grip, align sights and fire = 1.5 seconds.

Gun pointing at target (not at slide lock) two handed grip, reload, point at target, align sights and pull trigger = 2.1s

I wear my comp-tac mag carrier at 8 o’clock and don’t have a magwell on the para, so my reloads are quite inconsistent. So even though I can hit 2.1s when it goes right, it only goes right some of the time. I know my technique needs work, but I’m thinking that using dummy rounds and a magwell will help with the consistency, which was a problem I had in the last match.

I deliberately didn’t do a slidelock reload because I don’t have any snapcaps or dummy rounds yet, so I’m a little hesitant to close the slide on an empty chamber over and over again.

Once I get a reloading press set up, I’m going to make up some dummy rounds with 230gr round nose bullets, so I will be practicing reloads with the right weight and feel. I’ll also be a lot more comfortable doing slidelock reloads.