Month: March 2016

Ready for the match season

Yesterday I hit the indoor range. I would rather be training outdoors as I have a lot of movement drills that I want to be working on, but the weather has not been cooperating and the range and the road to it has been soaked. Last thing I need to do is piss off the board and lose my access.

Got to the range a bit before the RO’s were ready so I just chilled out in the lobby.  Once they were ready, I went to lane 2 and shot some of my new load for group testing with Blue.  The group size at 25 yards was excellent, but slightly to the right.  I knew this would be the case, as the rear size was just a bit off still.  Red also shot excellent groups with the new reduced OAL load.

I pulled Red out and set up a FAST target at 7 yards and ran the drill multiple times. As they don’t let you draw I started from loaded table starts.  All times were under 5 seconds and my best was 3.58.  The last couple runs I did I really tried to push for speed and threw a couple of the head box shots out, just about 1/2 inch low.

I did a bunch of reload drills, 1 reload 1, 1 reload 1 reload 1 reload 1, 4 Aces and double Bill drills at 7 yards using a 5 x 8 index card.  Ran the crap out of these, slower than I wanted and I am not sure why.  I think I am looking for too good of a sight picture for the shot after the reload.  I will have to do some testing to make sure.  Averaged around 1.3 seconds.  I practice the shit out of reloads in dry fire but can’t seem to get them much faster than this.  Some of the best shooters can do it in 1 second repeatable, yet I just can’t get that last .3 of a second.  I probably does not matter that much, but if someone else can do it, why can’t I?

Did a bunch of strong hand, and weak hand only shooting.  I have to dry fire the transfer from strong to weak a bunch more.  It was much easier with a plastic gun that was lighter, I could almost just throw it into the weak hand.  The Shadow seems to need a bit more focus to get it perfect.

Ran the Dot drill a few times, once again doing table starts, easy to make the 5 seconds par, and cleaned it at 5 a couple times.  Failed to clean it at 7 yards, threw 1 out each time.  I did some Dots strong hand and weak hand only, but by that point I just was not feeling it and lost focus.  So I packed it up and called it a day.

Today, I woke up and ran out to a nearby gravel road that I have done some quick function testing of guns in the past and setup my chronograph.  After bumping up my load to 3.4 grains of Titegroup both guns showed a power factor of 132, which gives me plenty of cushion.

I came home and cleaned up both Red and Blue as I have decided not to wait 6 to 7 thousand rounds between cleanings anymore.  Just wipe out the big crude and re-lube. I centered Blue’s rear sight properly.

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Minnesota Sectional has been moved from Rochester, MN area to Forest Lake, MN which is the range that hosted the Ron Avery course that got me back into USPSA and is August 6th.  I have to make a decision if I am going to go to the match.  If I do that means that I will be attending major matches 4 weekends in a row.  Area 3, MN Sectional, Nationals, and Area 5.  Which I would love, but my job may get a little pissy with.  We will see.

 

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I want to shoot a match!

Due to work, I am definitely not going to make the first club match at Sioux Falls Practical Shooters.  This sucks for me as it would be the only practice match that I can get in before the Wisconsin Sectional, but it is what it is.

I have been working on a bunch of stupid administrative crap for my job, so instead of being out on the road I have been sitting at a desk. So when I get home I am chomping at the bit to do some dry-fire.  The other day as soon as I got home, I hit the basement, and unloaded my carry gun a CZ P-07, and loaded up some dummy rounds to do some FAST drills from concealment.  Holster is an AIWB from JM Custom Kydex, and the magazine pouch is also from him. Par time was 4 seconds, and seemed pretty easy.  The next time I hit the outdoor range, I am going to have to shoot a few runs of it from concealment to see if I can make the 5.0 second goal time that Todd Louis Green specified for the drill.  Todd recently passed away from a long bout with cancer and while I never got to meet him, he definitely helped shape firearms training of today.  We are diminished.

After a few runs from the concealment rig, I switched over to my competition rig, and blazed through a couple FAST drills at 3.5 seconds.  Really, really easy when you don’t have a cover garment!

I then did a bunch of free form field course drills where I would just develop a course at random from all my targets, and would engage them in different orders, and throw in some different reload points and movement.  Everything felt pretty good and I was enjoying myself.

Finished up by setting up my phone and recording some slow motion drills, one being Reloads from Ben Stoeger’s book, Dry-Fire Training for the Practical Pistol Shooter.  The drill calls for 3 open targets setup like for El Prez.  The book calls for 7 yards simulated, I did 10 yards simulated.  You draw and “fire” 6 rounds on the first target, reload, 6 on the next target, reload and 6 on the last target.  Par time is 5 seconds.  I got interested in this drill as a guy I follow on Instagram and Facebook posted this drill and he stated a 5 second par time.  After watching the video a couple times, it seemed off.  I used my stopwatch app on my phone and he really had the par set at 6 seconds.

I am not going to pretend that I nailed it every time, in fact it was far from it, but even the blind squirrel finds a nut on occasion.  I nailed the drill a couple times and this one was the prettiest, for me the draw and the trigger control with A hits is the easy part, but man when I screw up a reload, I really screw it up!  I have to focus on getting my eyes focus to the mag well and slow down the reload just a bit as I am guiding it in.  Just a millisecond “pause” will go a long way.

Since I filmed it in slow motion mode, the video quality sucks.  From now on, I will just film in 1080p 60fps and use software to slow it down to help me break down my screw ups.

Overall I am feeling pretty good and ready for the season.  Currently registered for the Wisconsin Sectional, Area 3, Area 5, pre-registered for the Great Plains Sectional and on the wait list for open entries for Production Nationals.  Waiting to see when the Minnesota Sectional is going to be, I am kind of hoping that it will be the Saturday after I shoot Area 5 as it is on my way home, and then I can shoot that match also.

Definitely nervous for the Wisconsin Sectional as I am squadded with Alex Gutt, who is freaking awesome.  Me going into it with no matches to practice with before is going to be difficult as I have been in practice mode and have been pushing speed.

 

Much Needed Range Therapy

Snowed again yesterday and while we didn’t get the 6 inches that they predicted we would,  it was just enough to coat everything. Today the weather was warmer and almost all of the snow melted, so the road to the outdoor range would be a soupy mess and I didn’t want to tear it up, so back to the indoor range.

Honestly I shot more than I probably needed to, probably 800 rounds of 9mm and a couple hundred of .45 ACP. I took my 1911 with me, and decided to shoot that first. I hadn’t shot the 1911 in a long time. I busted it out yesterday and did some dry fire with it, and I will be damned if I couldn’t reload that bitch faster than I expected.

Loaded up the 1911 and shot a few groups at 25 yards. 4″ black circle was my target and all of the first 2 magazines went inside it with no problems. I screwed around with that gun for bit and just basically plinked with it. Definitely enjoyed shooting it, and I will probably shoot it at the super classifier match for Single Stack after shooting in Production.

Switched out to the CZ and threw the belt on.  Worked some 1 reload 1’s, 4 Aces, double Bill drills, and a bunch of different things with reloads incorporated in.  FAST drills at 3.80 to 4.00 seconds at 7 yards.  Basically trying to push my speed with tight low probability targets again.  Best thing I did was the 1″ TPC dot drill that I talked about in my last entry.  5 yards, 14.63 seconds with 4 out, and just barely out.  I liked that!

I do need to get outdoors and shoot.  Need to work on stuff that I just can’t do at the indoor range.  Hopefully the weather will start to cooperate and the road and bays will get dried up.

On a side note, I did clean the practice gun last week.  This is what it looked like before the cleaning, and it was last cleaned around Christmas.  Roughly 6 to 7 thousand rounds through it, and it was still running perfectly, but I was bored so I decided to clean it out.  It was gooey.

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Damn you weather!

Weather took a turn for the worse and it got cold and snowed today, so I hit the indoor range instead of being able to train outdoors. Also decided to take a blaster I haven’t shot in awhile to do some plinking with.

Barely anyone at the range when I got there and setup in a lane and started with a 4″ circle at 25 yards. All but 3 in the black with a fairly decent rate of fire of around 1 second per shot.

I then tried a drill that Ron Avery posted on Tactical Performance Center’s Facebook page and Brandon asked me if I thought I could do it. The drill was a TPC 1″ dot target, found Here. Ron didn’t specify the range, but it was either 3 yards or 5 yards, and I would guess that he did it at 5. Goal of the drill was to shoot each dot once with a par time of 15 seconds. I loaded my magazines to capacity which meant I would have to reload once. At 3 yards, I could make par but missed a couple of the dots. To shoot it clean, I went over in time to 16.82 seconds. At 5 yards, it wasn’t nearly as good and I threw 5 out and was at 18.6 seconds. Still a great drill for small transitions and precise shooting at speed. You definitely have to grip the gun well and push it.

I shot a bunch of Dot drills and variations of them. Some of the variations I did were shooting each dot once, then reloading and shooting them again. Also 6 shots on a dot, do a reload and fire six more on the next dot.

Biggest thing I tried to work on was accuracy and reloads. I found that my reloads in live fire are not as fast as in dry fire, which is normal, but not this much deviation. I can hit 1 second reloads in dry fire, but am averaging 1.5 to 1.8 in live fire. I need to video myself and see what is causing it. Did a bunch of 1 reload 1 drills, and Four Aces with focus on the reloads. Best load I did was 1.3 seconds, but had a few that were just embarrassing

I finished up the day with some groups at 25 yards, and put Red away. I then pulled out my Beretta 92 and shot that for a bit. I have always liked the Beretta so that was fun.  Didn’t do any real drills with it just plinking. I just wish the gun was a Brigadier so I could change the sights, but I got such a great deal on the gun I just live with the factory fixed sights. It shot well, but I shoot the CZ’s just a bit better.

It needs to get warmer out so I can hit the outdoor range. I am also chomping at the bit to shoot a match. I need to satisfy my need to compete!

50 mile an hour winds

Today I took a new officer to the range for his initial firearms training and qualification. Lucky him as the wind was blowing like crazy with sustained winds of 30-35 mile an hour and gust of 45-50 mile an hour. The range is in the middle of nowhere with no wind break so just keeping the targets standing and the qual targets stapled to the backer was almost impossible.

The new officer did well as I have been doing some dry fire sessions with him over the last few shifts. This was his first experience with a pistol and he was able to qualify on the first attempt. From 3 to 15 yards it was pretty easy for him as there was a slight wind break from the side berm which slowed the wind down to about 30 mile an hour, but once we hit the 25 yard line the full force of the wind struck.  Amazing how much a gust of wind can push your sights off target at 25 yards, you have to really be aware of your sights and when to press the trigger.

As it was a work thing and as I was teaching I didn’t bring the CZ’s to shoot, and just took my department issued M&P to do some demos and while he was topping off his magazines I got to fire a few rounds.

I haven’t shot the M&P since last summer when I qualified, but I didn’t seem to have any issues.  Still not my favorite of pistols, but it does the job, and makes hits easily.  I have to check the weather to see if I can make it out to the outdoor range on Friday, but I have a feeling the weather will be a bit too cold for my candy ass, so probably the indoor range.