Posts Tagged ‘competition shooting’

Basic Gun Control

Posted: November 27, 2011 in IDPA
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One of my coworkers wanted me to accompany him to the local indoor range for some paper punching, so naturally I obliged. I hadn’t shot in a while so I wanted to work on my trigger control. We threw some targets out maybe 20 feet and unloaded about 3 or 4 mags.

After that I started to watch him and pay attention to the three fundamentals, stance, grip and trigger control. This guy has been shooting for a while, but would still be classified as a novice in IDPA standards, essentially he’s the typical average Joe off the street. After watching him it was clear he really needed some help. I offered some advice on what I thought he was doing wrong just from observing. Due to the lighting and me not wearing my glasses, I couldn’t see the holes in the paper. He looked at me with some skepticism when I called his group, but that quickly turned to amazement when the target was brought back and the group was exactly where I told him (low left).

His stance was a really awkward looking semi-weaver, the grip was almost the olde cup n saucer and his trigger control was like he was having a seizure.

I straightened him out into an isosceles, changed his grip to the typical competition style Enos/Leatham grip and let him run another couple of mags through the gun. His group had tightened but was still low and just a tad left of center. His trigger control was still herky jerky, but that was ok, I wanted him to first feel the difference in stance and grip. It didn’t help that he was shooting a DAO 9mm compact (the brand/model is irrelevant). After I’d put a couple of mags through it, I got him to dry fire it a few times and told him to stage the trigger, since it had quite a long pull. His group tightened up again and raised up closer to the center. There were still some low fliers where he was flinching, but we can work on that later, since that’s a project unto itself.

I gave him some dry fire homework to do making sure that he only works on those three things and sent him Todd Jarrett’s excellent video on how to grip a gun.  I can’t wait to hit the range again and see what he can do.

But it just goes to show, shooting IDPA for 5+ years and doing thousands of reps of dry fire really does put your basic skill level WAY above the average Joe. And just think, my skill level is nowhere near the levels of the top dogs.

Today’s match

Posted: July 25, 2009 in IDPA
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There were four stages which were a good mix. Two were what I’d call regular courses of fire with a mix of targets and some movement. One required 16 headshots from behind a barricade and the fourth stage was a standards based stage, a mix between the idpa classifier and an el prez.

There were no reshoots offered today because we wanted to get done before the nasty weather came down upon us, but as it turned out, a nice downpour arrived before the end of the match.

Overall I think I shot well, although one of the poppers needed an extra hit to get it falling, but other than that my head was together and I had a good attitude. It’s funny how the stage which required 16 headshots messed with some people. I think they were already defeated before they walked up to the line. I heard all kinds of comments like “I hate headshots”, “I’m not going to do well on this stage”, etc.

When I heard people saying those things I’d try to lighten the atmosphere and try to change their attitude. If you walk up to a stage thinking that you’re going to do badly, you probably will. Before I walked up to the line I ran through the stage in my mind several times seeing the sights line up, lift and come back down in the middle of the head.

All that was needed on this stage was a little extra care and attention to the sights and a nice smooth trigger press. Time is not a factor but accuracy really is because every missed head shot costs you 2.5seconds. So instead of trying to race to get a fast raw time, I just took my time and made sure of my hits.

That ended up being a nice warm up for the el prez/classifier type stage which had 3 targets requiring 5 head shots and 4 body shots. It was run in three strings at 3, 5 and 10 yards with each string requiring the shooter to start facing uprange.

Even though the scores aren’t yet posted, I think I did pretty well. I certainly felt like I shot well and didn’t have any reload fumbles or any silly mistakes. The only thing I hadn’t planned on was needing extra shots on the popper. That put my reload in a different place, but apart from the extra time needed for the extra shot, I don’t think it actually cost me much time at all, perhaps 1/2 second.

Top 10 Most Popular IDPA Guns

Posted: February 21, 2009 in IDPA
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I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while since I found it really interesting reading the IDPA magazine with the 2008 Nationals equipment survey. So without further ado, here are the most popular IDPA guns used at the 2008 Nationals.

Rank Gun Make/Model Caliber Competitors
1st Glock 34 9mm 52
2nd Glock 17 9mm 32
3rd Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm 24
4th Smith & Wesson 625 45ACP 11
5th= Springfield XD 9mm 8
5th= Glock 35 40S&W 8
6th Smith & Wesson M&P 45ACP 7
7th= Smith & Wesson 686 .357 Mag 6
7th= STI Eagle 5.0 9mm 6
8th= Sig Sauer P226 9mm 5
8th= Springfield 1911 9mm 5
9th= Smith & Wesson 66 .357 Mag 4
9th= Kimber Custom II 45ACP 4
10th= Beretta 92G Elite II 9mm 3
10th= Caspian 1911 45ACP 3
10th= Glock 21 45ACP 3
10th= Glock 22 40S&W 3
10th= Kimber Stainless Target II 45ACP 3
10th= Rock River 1911 45ACP 3
10th= Smith & Wesson M&P 40 S&W 3
10th= Springfield XD 40 S&W 3
10th= STI 2011 9mm 3
10th= Wilson Combat CQB 45ACP 3

As you can see Glocks were the dominant manufacturer, but the other manufacturers were fairly evenly spread. Below is a chart of the top 10 manufacturers, regardless of model used.

Rank Manufacturer Competitors
1st Glock 102
2nd Smith & Wesson 68
3rd Springfield 30
4th Kimber 23
5th STI 18
6th Sig Sauer 12
7th Wilson Combat 10
8th Colt 7
9th Beretta 5
10th= Caspian 4
10th= Rock River 4

I ordered the press from Brian Enos, along with a number of accessories, including the spare parts kit, electronic scales, digital calipers, aluminum roller handle, strong mount, case feeder and bullet tray.

When I unpacked the press, I was pleasantly surprised to find the primer feed mechanism already attached. The only thing I had to do was to mount it, attach the bullet tray, case feeder, roller handle, insert and adjust the Dillon dies.

Set up was a breeze and I got it all done in about 1.5 hours. The only thing I don’t have yet is the scales, so I couldn’t calibrate the powder bar. Calibration only takes about 5 to 10 minutes and I can be ready to reload.

I bought some Clays powder today because Vances had sold out of Titegroup. They also didn’t have any large pistol primers. I can’t find primers anywhere… this could be a bit of a problem!

I did manage to load up 30 dummy rounds, which I will be using during dry fire. These are rounds created with no powder or primer and will be kept in my practice room, away from live ammo.

It’s important to practice reloads with mags that are as close to the real weight as possible because the balance and feel is quite different.

I tried USPSA

Posted: February 10, 2009 in IDPA
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In December and just last weekend I shot a couple of USPSA matches at the Pickaway Range in Circleville since there weren’t any IDPA matches (that I could find) being run locally.

I used my Para P14 and ran it in Limited10. I experienced a lot of malfunctions, which I believe is due to the Para mags, but apart from that I had a really good time. It was great to mingle with a new group of shooters and shoot a slightly different style COF. I joked with the guys that it should be easy because the A zone is so much bigger – I don’t think they had quite grasped my English humor yet.

I did find it quite odd to be running around in the open, reloading and shooting, but very quickly got used to it. It’s always felt slow to me in IDPA, when I have to duck back behind cover, reload, then move to the next position. I liked the speed element of the game, also being able to drop partially loaded mags, so you can get through the stage quicker.

The December match was basically a lost brass match, since it was snowing so hard that once you had completed the stage, your brass already covered up by the snow. Those chemical hand warmers were a must.

The Feb match in contrast was a skating rink as the bays ended up being one big sheet of ice with rivers of melt water flowing over them. While this may sound dangerous, no one fell and everyone maintained good muzzle discipline.

One of the highlights for me, was being able to shoot in the same squad as Bob Vogel, 3 time IDPA champion and 2008 USPSA Production National Champion.

One of the stages was the El Presidente classifier, which I’d never shot before. I asked Bob which way was better to turn and he ended up giving me a mini tutorial with lots of tips. I shot that in 8.7seconds scoring 54 points. Bob shot it in just over 5 seconds. I was happy with my performance even though I was up until 2am the night before fitting an S&A magwell!

I don’t have the camp mentality when it comes to IDPA vs USPSA. They’re both pistol shooting sports and should be taken for what they are. One is not better than the other, they’re just different sports with different rules. Being experienced in both can only make you a better shooter overall and that’s what we’re all striving for right?

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.