The Accidental Master

Whoops.  If you’ve been following the Quest for Master Class at Downrange.TV, you know that we’ve been on hiatus during the election.  I’m actually filming the next four episodes, so get ready for new content coming up soon!  However, that’s not what this is about.  Last night, we threw together an impromptu classifier match and instead of running the Ruger SR40 I was cajoled into borrowing my co-author’s Kimber Pro CDP II just to see how I’d do with an alloy-framed Commander sized 1911 in .45 ACP without any of the stuff I’m used to on 1911s like magwells, decent competition sights, etc.


Total time for the classifier: 89.15.  Time required to make CDP Master: 91.76 seconds or less.  Here are my stage breakdowns:

Stage 1 raw time: 26.67, points down – 1.  Total time: 27.17

Stage 2 raw time: 21.54, points down – 5.  Total time: 24.04

Stage 3 raw time: 32.94, points down – 10.  Total time: 37.94

That gives me the aforementioned total match time of 89.15, making this the third fastest classifier I’ve ever shot, and the fastest official classifier I have on record.  The question is, why did I do so well with a gun that isn’t well set up for competition?  To be frank, a compact .45 ACP with an alloy frame is not exactly a fun gun to shoot for extended round counts (i.e. more than 12) and 1911s aren’t known for being easy to reload in a hurry either.  So what happened?

The easy and obvious answer is mindset.  I came in to this classifier and I just didn’t care!  I figured “what the heck, I’ll shoot this gun, see what I can do with it and I’ll probably suck”.  Obviously, I had a pretty good day, and was able to classify Master (giving me two out of five).  This goes to prove two points that I’ve addressed here at Gun Nuts many times, the first obviously being how tremendously important mindset is to your shooting.  Like Brian Enos has said, when I was shooting this match I just saw what I needed to see and observed my shooting as it happened.  I could at points actually see the brass fly out of the gun with my peripheral vision, and I distinctly remember on the 20 yard stage of being able to really call my shots as they were happening.

The second point in all of this is that training works.  I’d just taken Insights Training Center’s Intensive Handgun Skills class where I’d spent a majority of the class working on my press-out to the point where I was able to do a 1.1 draw to an a-zone hit at 7 yards.  It’s not a ccoincidence that I had one of the best classifiers of my life immediately after spending a lot of time working on one of the most important skills in the IDPA classifier.

The Quest for Master Class continues, as new episodes are coming back next week!  The point of the Quest has always been to see if you can pick up any reasonably well made firearm and shoot it to a high IDPA standard, and for at least one night I was able to meet that goal.  I’m really excited about the upcoming episodes, as we’re going to give both the Ruger SR40 and the M&P Pro .40 a really good workout!


  1. Why not shoot the same gun at the next classifier? Maybe you’ve found a match. The worst that could happen is that you would fulfill your original prophecy and blow it. Then you could follow up with another post on mindset, since going into it next time you will be expecting success.

    Of course if you’re afraid that further success would steer you back to a compact .45 1911 then thats another story 😉

    In all seriousness, similar examples of how mindset influences performance can be found in all competitive venues.

  2. I’ve observed this as well. The classifier I shot last week, I had a 128s run. I was very, very serious and trying to be as focused as possible.

    At this impromptu classifier, I just relaxed, and shot at a comfortable natural pace. My time was 107s.

    Relax! Don’t do it…then you want to go do it…

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