Weekend shooting: Speed shoots

On the first installment of the Quest for Master Class, I shot the IDPA classifier with a tight focus on accuracy.  This was to establish a baseline level for one component of a successful competition shooter.  This weekend, I’ll be shooting it for speed.  I am going to shoot the classifier as fast as I can physically drive the gun while still being safe.  We’ll do this to establish the other end of the spectrum – pure, raw speed.  Accuracy will be less important than raw times, but I’m also not going to intentionally take bad shots.

After we get the bases established for speed and accuracy, the next couple of installments will focus on combining the two concepts into a holistic approach to shooting the classifier, finding the balance of speed and accuracy necessary to get the hits you need.  To do that, we’ll break down each stage of the classifier and look for places to cut time or improve accuracy on the classifier, all the while providing training tips and drills to do the same.  Check back next Wednesday for the post and video about the next installment in the Quest for Master Class – the speed run!

Do you log your rounds?

In the Hi Point Challenge thread at Tam’s, someone asked me about round count.  I know I’ve talked about tracking rounds before, but here’s a copy of a single page of the spreadsheet that I use.

Link to Spreadsheet here.

This has worked very well for me to keep track of what I’m shooting, when I’m shooting it, etc. As you can see, the list of guns from 2009 is kind of psychotic – I spent a good chunk of 2009 going back and forth from one gun to another, until I settled on my S&W 625 near the end of the year. But the round counts and the malf counts are pretty accurate – I never go to the range without a pencil and a notepad, so that if something happens with a gun then I’m 100% aware of what’s going on with it. Another to note on there is that with the exception of the rounds I shot at Gunsite, I didn’t count .22 LR. It’s just not worth it to keep track of that, because I can go through 1k rounds of .22 like it’s not even there.

Now, my wife would say that I’m a spreadsheet geek (I am), but there’s value in this. If something happens to my gun at the range, I can look back at this and see if it’s a new problem, if it’s a problem that only occurs with this type of ammo, which means I can take measures to reduce the problem in the future. For example, my ParaUSA Tac-5 had continued failures to extract using 115 grain FMJ ammo, but when I used the hotter 124 grain NATO ammo it ran like a top. My 625 and S&B primers didn’t get along, so I didn’t use S&B ammo in my 625. The list goes on and on. Don’t like my format? That’s okay, because you can get one of your own!

Exercises for shooting

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of fitness.  I often get asked “what exercises should do if I want to shoot better/faster?”  The problem with that question is that the answer is different depending on your personal level of fitness, how much time you have to invest, and how hard you’re willing to work.  For example, if you have an hour a day, six days a week to work out, then try Crossfit or P90x or one of the “extreme” fitness programs.  Those are probably the best, because they’re total body workouts that build your athletic strength and functionality.  I’d eschew “just” weight lifting, especially the way most people lift weights, which is “go to gym, do a set, sit for like 4 minutes, do another set, sit for like 4 or 5 minutes, get some water, do a set”.

But hey, a lot of people have lives and they don’t have an hour a day, six days a week.  The most some people can do is come up with 20 minutes, 3 days a week.  If that’s the time you have, make the most of it.  Work out hard.  Simplefit is a great program for that, as it consists of bodyweight exercises, the “perfect trio” of pull ups, push ups, and squats.  If you can squeeze another 20 minutes out of one more day, add a little cardio.  My very FAVORITE cardio exercise for the shooting sports?  Shuttle runs.  The bane of high school gym class for certain, but also a GREAT exercise for the shooting sports and for real life.  Shuttle runs train the body to explode over short distances in “stop and go” sports like basketball, not unlike the short bursts of speed needed in USPSA…or running from an attacker.

Now, the great thing about firearms is that they provide equal footing in self defense.  Before guns, if you weren’t strong and/or well-trained, it was much more difficult to defend yourself.  Firearms allow Granny Goodness to equal the force presented by a mugger with a baseball bat, but they’re also not a panacea.  Don’t toss that shiny new 1911 in your holster and saunter out thinking that you don’t need to train, both with the gun and without.  A gun by itself is better than nothing, sure.  A gun that’s backed up a user who has trained with the gun and trained their body as well?  That’s a deadly combo.

Worth a thousand…words

Gander Mountain recently had a price drop on ammo.

What you see before you represents 250 bucks after taxes, which is better than anywhere I could find the same ammo online.

Plus, not worrying whether UPS would make it in time for the match is nice.  I have recently become a fan of the Remington UMC 250 round bulk packs, because they’re efficient.  I can drag one mini-case to the range a lot easier than 5 loose boxes of ammo, or if I’m settling in for a long session a couple of those are pretty easy to manage.  All of this should be shot up before the end of the month – between the Quest for Master Class and the upcoming USPSA Section Match at the end of July, I’ve got a lot of blasting to do!

More on the IDPA Defensive Multigun rules

Are they perfect?  Absolutely not.  Are they a step in the right direction?  Absolutely! Do I share the same concerns as cjr?  Yes.  The only way this is going to work is with support of shooters and local match directors.  Just because I’m excited about it doesn’t mean that people will come out and shoot it, especially if the matches are somewhat haphazard and not well organized.  There needs to be a cohesive push and effort behind it to get people to shoot it.  Now, the nice thing is that there is the potential for crossover between the big Outlaw 3-gun matches and IDPA Defensive Multigun.  Your tactical iron sight rig could be IDPA legal, and bringing over the shooters from the existing matches could be huge.

The bottom line though is that these rules aren’t perfect, but I cannot stress enough that we need to support IDPA by shooting these matches and giving them constructive feedback.  It’s been FIVE YEARS since IDPA made any changes in the way rules were released and handled, and if we just turn our backs and say “you’ve broken my heart for too long” then things won’t get any better.  Let bygones be bygones and let’s get on with bringing IDPA to the forefront of the shooting sports again!

I actually heard that sizzling

The burn, that is.  From The Way of the Multigun, one of my favorite gun blogs is the ultimate Hi Point throwdown.  Here’s the money quote:

However, if the Hi-Point fails to live up to the reputation of its online adherents and I do not place as well as or better with the Hi-Point, or it fails mechanically to the point where I can no longer use it at matches, I reserve the right to bag on Hi-Point guns to my heart’s content from now until the day I die.

Basically, if a Hi Point fanboy will pony up a C9 pistol, he will shoot it side by side at Steel Challenge matches with his standard gun, a CZ85.  If he does better with the Hi Point in six matches, he’ll stop bagging on the Hi Point…if he does better with the CZ85, then it’s game on forever.

Words cannot describe how hardcore I love this challenge, in fact if Hi Point fanboys aren’t willing to pony up?  I will.  Just seeing this happen is worth the $150 or whatever they’re charging for a Hi Point these days.  Seriously, go read the whole thing.

IDPA Rules question

One of the issues I’ve had with IDPA that isn’t addressed by the new rulebook is the “reloading behind cover”.  IDPA clearly stipulates that all reloads must begin and end “behind cover”, an even specifies that cover means that 50% of your torso must be concealed from the target to be “behind cover”.  Here’s my question, and to do it I’ll give you a scenario from a match.

Start at Position 1, in the open.  You have two targets in the open that you must engage on your way to Position 2.   Other than the two targets in the open, you are not exposed to any targets during the movement from P1 to P2, and are not exposed to any targets at P2 until you start slicing the pie.

Based on my understanding of IDPA’s rules, once the two targets in the open are neutralized (shot), then you would be considered “behind cover” as you are not visible to any threat targets at the time.  The way I understand “cover” is that it doesn’t matter if already engaged targets can see you, because they’re shot up anyway.  So in my situation above, say that after you shot the first two targets you had to engage 5 more targets (making this a 14 round stage).  I would do a reload with retention after engaging the first two targets on my way to P2 so I had a fully charged gun to finish the COF.  I figure that I’m behind cover the whole time since no un-engaged targets can see me.

This is one thing that I do wish that IDPA would clear up with the next rules update – it seems logical to me, but I have seen safety officers say that you’re not behind cover unless you’re hugging the available barricade.

What say my IDPA guys out there?

IDPA Defensive Multi-Gun Rig idea

I just thought of this rig for IDPA Defensive Multigun.  You’d be in Enhanced Pistol Caliber Carbine, and you’d also be the biggest stud on the range if you ran this.

Rifle: M1 Carbine with Ultimak Rail and Aimpoint.

Shotgun: Remington Model 11 in 20 gauge, like the Horrible Frankenshotgun I built.

Pistol: ParaUSA GI Expert ESP or STI Spartan.

You’re rocking an M1 Carbine, a Remington Model 11 and a 1911?  Trust me, even if you don’t win your rig will make the ghosts of John Moses Browning and Jeff Cooper smile.