ICORE Match thoughts

Shot my first ICORE match this previous weekend.  To give a one sentence summary: “This is both easier and harder than I expected.”  To go into further detail, I was concerned with the possibilty of the long trigger pull “helping” me pull shots, rapid reloading with an unfamiliar operating system, and the boogeyman of a bullet getting pulled by recoil.  I wasn’t too concerned with the targets I’d be shooting at, as the NRA D-1 target used in ICORE has the exact same dimensions as the NRA AP-1 targets I’ve been shooting for Bianchi Cup and in practice, so that was an easy transition.  Really though, my biggest concern was operating unfamiliar gear – a borrowed holster, moonclip holder, moonclips, and gun all worked themselves into a combination that could have easily equalled “match DQ” for doing something dumb.

Thankfully, I didn’t get DQ’d.  I did learn some interesting things though about shooting a roundgun under stress.  The first thing was that I’m glad I’d been shooting an LDA for so long, because it’s an ingrained habit to let all the way off the trigger in between shots now.  Doing that allows the trigger to fully reset, and ensures that I don’t short stroke it causing the dreaded “click” when I expect a “bang”.

The second thing I learned?  When shooting a revolver, grip strength is even more important than it is with an auto.  While you can’t “limp-wrist” a wheelgun, the tighter you’re crushing that grip, the easier it is to pull the trigger without the front sight jumping all over the place.

With regards to ICORE specifically, I also learned two important items that will help me in future matches.  Number 1: moonclips are cheap, buy lots.  Have enough moonclips to load an entire match worth of ammo, because there is nothing worse than having to unload and load moonclips at a frenzied pace during your strings of fire.  Secondly, slow down.  ICORE penalizes heavily for shots out of the A-zone (1 second for B zone hits, and 2 seconds for C-zone hits, yeeeesh) so being screaming fast but not accurate generally won’t get the job done.  I’m a walking testament to that, as with Saturday’s match I shot very fast times, reloaded relatively quickly, but I had waaaaaaay too many B and C hits to win.

Final ICORE verdict?  It was fun as hell.  Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t been shooting wheelguns in competition before this, but shooting an ICORE match was like drinking from a firehose…of awesome.


  1. I had the same comment after I took the Professional Engineer license exam a few weeks ago.

  2. Y’know, I just remembered that I have a 646…

    L-frame, stainless frame and Ti cylinder , eats .40 from moon clips…

  3. A tip – after you get those million moon clips, and load them, pop the cylinder out of the frame and test fit them a day or two before the match. Nothing worse than getting a rythm going on a stage and having one round in one moon clip bind going into a chamber. The first response is to try to force it in, and it may go; then when all 6 are empty you have to get it back out. It took a couple of ejector rod holes in my left palm to teach me “test fit.” And, when moon clips start to wear out and hold the cases sloppily, twist or bend them double and trash them. just like malfunctioning magazines, it’s guaranteed that a bad moon clip “reserved for practice” will accidentally enter the rotation during a match.

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