Archive for January, 2009

I used to have an awful time with my reloads. They were so inconsistent that I never knew if I was going to hit it or not. Most likely it would kinda work, but I’d say most of my reloads were fumbles. I’d always put it down to the fact that my thumb is not long enough to reach the magazine release button without shifting my grip a little. I thought the problem was that when doing the reload, I would shift my grip a little differently every time, which would mean I’d be holding the gun slightly differently in my strong hand every time. Well, I found out tonight I was totally wrong about what was happening.

I realized that my reload sequence went like this:

1) Shift grip in strong hand with help of support hand.
2) Press the magazine release button while reaching for the new mag.
3) The magazine ejects as I grab the new mag and start bringing it up to the magazine opening in the grip.
4) Relax my grip with my strong hand and insert the fresh mag, slamming it home
5) Rotate the gun to the proper gripping position in my strong hand as my support hand takes hold
6) Look at the target, extend the gun forwards as I acquire the front sight in my peripheral vision
7) Shift my focus to the front sight as my arms get to their fully extended position.

The biggest mistake I was making was in step 4.

Because I was anticipating having to shift the gun around in my strong hand again to get back to the proper grip, the butt of the grip was constantly moving. So when I was bringing up the fresh mag, I never knew where the opening was going to be. So instead of working on putting the mag in the same place, in relation to my strong hand, I was trying to anticipate where the magazine opening was going to be as it shifted around in my hand.

This is just totally amazing, I can’t quite believe that I’ve been struggling all this time with reloads because essentially I’ve been giving myself a moving target.

So I found the one thing that helped overcome this, is to shift my grip, reach for the new magazine as usual, but now I press the magazine release button and hold it down, concentrating now on not moving the grip. Once the magazine has started to slide in, I can then relax my grip and get my hands back to where they’re supposed to be.

It’s much easier to hit reloads now when the magazine opening in the grip is not moving around!

Gosh, I’m so glad that I was able to “see” what I was doing and make the correction. Every time I do some dry firing I learn something.

Once I had done a few repetitions with my new technique, I stopped my dry fire session so that it’s the last good thing I remember and I could end on a high note.

Now I feel like I’ve figured something out, I really can’t wait to do some more dry firing.

Tonight after doing some basic dry fire drills, I’ve come to some realizations.

I need to do something about the thumb safety on the para as my thumb bleeds after a dry fire session. If I change it, I believe I could be disqualified from IDPA since it’s an external modification.

With my normal grip, when I remove my support hand, my thumb cannot reach the mag release button. I have to shift my grip a little, which costs me time and introduces the possibility of 2 additional errors:
1) Reloads can be fumbled because I cannot consistently put the gun in the same spot/angle/orientation.

2) I have to shift my grip back again and if not done correctly, the recoil from the first shot will be inconsistent, making the follow up shot much slower.

Adding a large mag button is also prohibited in IDPA. So I think for now, I don’t need to think about speed. I need to think about consistency. I have some par times recorded for Burkett reloads and regular reloads. But instead of practicing them using the methods Steve Anderson suggests in his books, I’m going to modify the drills so that I will only lower my par time if I can complete 10 perfect repetitions.

At my level, the difference between a 1.2s vs 1.7s reload is negligible. I think I will gain a lot more if I can perform a 1.7s reload every time.

If I can perform 10 perfect 1.7s reloads in a row, my time will come down anyway.

This is not a criticism of Steve’s dry fire method, just the realization that I need to work on some fundamentals before I take his speed based approach.

Tuesday update

Posted: January 7, 2009 in IDPA
Tags: , ,

I started Steve Anderson’s drills tonight. I knew I didn’t have time to complete the first 14 drills, but I wanted to at least get some dry firing done, since it’s been so long.

I only managed to do the first 4 drills and practice some reloads using some azoom snap caps. The snap caps did seem to make it easier, but I still need a mag well to help guide from the backstrap in.

I also need to do some research to make sure I can simulate the distances by using 1/2 size targets. I haven’t yet managed to work it out, but next time I’m on a range I’ll start making note of target measurements at various distances.

The other thing I noticed is that I need to either toughen up my thumb, wear a bandaid, or smooth the surface of the thumb safety since it’s grinding the skin on my thumb away.