Making good stages better

This weekend I attended the Automatic Accuracy USPSA class in Louisville, NE. I’ll have a full writeup on the class once I finish going through my notes, but first I want to share one of the things that really stuck with me from the class.

That video is from day 2, where at the start of the day we ran a USPSA mini-match to test our skills and build on day one. My run on this stage was pretty good, and prior to taking the class I would have walked off the stage thinking “yeah, I nailed that.”

The thing is, and what really stuck with me from the class is that there are so many little things you can do to improve, even on short speed stages like this. In the video, there are three things that I wouldn’t have noticed before the class that I notice now.

  1. I’m slow out of the holster to the first popper – Because it’s a 9 round stage, I know I want to hit the popper with my first shot, so I don’t have to reload. That being said, I could have pushed it a little quicker to that shot.
  2. I don’t transition quickly enough from the 2nd paper to the 3rd paper target (on the opposite side of the barricade)
  3. The reason I don’t transition quicker is I didn’t set up optimally in the box.

The second and third observations are things that can have immediate payoffs, especially at Single Stack Nationals. The transition I’m dealing with is a long swing from an intermediate range target to a 3 yard blaster target; so my first and second shots on the short range target should happen ASAP after the intermediate target.

The reason my transition takes so long is because the way I was set up forced me to twist my torso more than I needed to coming into the 3rd paper. When I set up in the box, I set up to optimize my first three shots, the steel and first two paper, when what I should have done was set up to optimize the longest part of the stage, the transition from the 2nd paper to the 3rd paper.

Little observations like that aren’t going to gain me big chunks of time, but they’ll help as I spend a year shooting the same gun and focusing on developing my skill with one gun in one division.