The 2013 USPSA Single Stack Nationals wrapped up their final shot on Saturday, with Rob Leatham taking home another win from PASA. I went home with a lot of lessons learned and plenty of things to think about from my performance. I wanted to win B-class, which I didn’t, finishing instead 7th out of 90 B-class shooters and 63rd overall out of 349 scored shooters.
This was my first Single Stack Nationals, and my first USPSA Nationals of any type. There are parts of my performance I’m quite pleased with, and parts that I’m not; areas that need improvement. Post match analysis aided by video and a thorough examination of the scores helps a lot with the takeaways and targeting things for improvement. Let’s look at good, bad, and ugly aspects from my performance at SS Nats.
- Accuracy: I actually got out the match with zero no-shoots and zero misses. I shot an accurate match to the point that only one shooter in the Top 5 overall finishes shot better points than me, and that was Rob.
- Footwork: Maybe it’s because I’ve shot a lot of IDPA matches with short courses, but I didn’t have any footwork problems this match. I moved pretty well in and out of positions, didn’t go too deep into ports (phrasing), and generally had pretty decent economy of movement.
- Reloads: After struggling with reloads at the Automatic Accuracy USPSA class, I spent a ton of time in dry fire reloading my gun. I didn’t bobble a single reload at SS Nats.
- Gear: My gun ran great, my shoes were awesome, I couldn’t be happier with my gear.
- Stage Planning: While the stages were for the most part fairly straight forward, there were a couple that presented the shooter with options, and on one of them my plan was…a little weird. It worked okay, but that mostly due to having good foot speed pull me out. I need to remember guidelines to breaking down a stage that Matt Mink taught.
- Speed: I mentioned that I shot great points, which I did and I’m really quite happy with. However, I wasn’t quick about it. On average, I was 4-5 seconds slower per stage than Rob, and 3 seconds slower than the 23th place finisher. I know I’m not losing time to Rob in movement; I’m just shooting the gun slower. The speed that I can shoot a wide open 7 yard target at is the speed at which he shoots a 15 yard partial. More on speed below.
- Swingers: I suck at shooting swingers. Half my deltas were on swinging targets, with the other half coming on the strong hand portion of the standards stage. But swingers, oh my gosh. I don’t know what it is about a swinging target, but I just can’t shoot them for a hill of beans.
However, the biggest takeaway is speed. I could actually loosen up my accuracy a little bit – shoot a few more charlies, a few less alfas and pick up a second here and there on a stage. A big part of the reason that I was slow was because I shot a very conservative match. From the outset, I didn’t want to go to my first USPSA Nationals and get wrecked; the last thing I wanted was to show up, turn the wick up to 11 and shoot a bunch of mike/no-shoot stages. So I shot conservative. Never out of control, I didn’t take any risks, and I ended up with a respectable finish in the top 20% of shooters. I did the USPSA equivalent of going 1-4 with a walk and a run scored. Nothing spectacular, but nothing terrible.
Overall, I’m happy with my performance. No, I didn’t accomplish my goals. That’s okay, because there’s always next year. I shot well, and most importantly I learned more about my shooting. I know now exactly how good I am when ranked up against the best shooters in the country when I shoot a conservative, accurate and extremely risk adverse match. That’s valuable data to feed into my training; I used to make risky stage plans simply for the sake of going hero or zero. At SS Nats, I did none of that, now I can start adding risk back into stage management and see how it affects my results.
Of course, all that will have to wait until July. My next big match is Bianchi Cup, followed by the Great Plains Sectional in July. I’d like to thank my sponsors, especially Colt for providing me with an excellent gun!