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Stage 15: The Standards
Score: 49.98, down 22
Raw time: 38.98
Analysis: Of all the stages I shot, this was the one where I was most disappointed with my performance. A standards stage based on accuracy? I should have made this stage my bitch. I didn’t. Instead, I rushed the strong hand headshots and dropped two, and then I thought it would be cool to slap a couple of down-3s while I was at it. If I had slowed down, I could have shot the stage in a 40 or so raw time and dropped about 14 fewer points.
Tips for improvement: Honestly? Suck less. This stage was all about patience with the trigger and sights, and I rushed it.
Score: 7.36, down 2
Raw time: 6.36
Analysis: Another fast and furious stage, this one had you start with your gun grounded on a dummy, which you had to retrieve and then engage three targets from the awkward position of kneeling between airliner seats. I chose to shoot one of the targets strong hand only and then instead of staying SHO and using my support hand to get leverage, I went back to a two handed grip on the gun. That cost me about a second of raw time and -2 points on the last target.
Tips for improvement: Better stage planning, honestly. One of the things that I struggle with when I shoot IDPA is that for some reason, I turn my “stage planning” brain off. Perhaps it’s the lack of individual walk-throughs, but that shouldn’t be an impediment to coming up with a good plan and executing it.
Score: 13.12 down 1
Raw time: 12.62
Analysis: By far my worst stage of the match. On T2, I didn’t step deep enough into the position to get a clear shot, so I had to shuffle step around a little to get to the target, that was probably 1 extra second right there. Then disaster struck, on the reload one of the rounds didn’t seat cleanly in the cylinder, so instead of a sweet 2.75 second reload, I had a 5+ second reload into the last target. Take those two issues away I’m looking at a raw time around 10, which would have been competitive.
Tips for improvement: Brush the cylinders more, and see above about stage planning.
Overall, you can see that by going through this stage by stage, I’m able to give myself a more honest performance assessment. On some stages, I shot very well and would say I executed the stages to the best of my ability. Obviously on other stages I didn’t do that. Unlike a USPSA match where you can battle back from a bad stage by placing well on the next stage, in IDPA (like Steel Challenge) your extra seconds will haunt you from stage to stage. At IDPA Nats, I finished Day 1 within 5 seconds of the pace I wanted to shoot. By the end of day 2, thanks to some poor shooting, I was 30+ seconds off that pace.
The moral of the story: SSR ain’t no joke. If I’m going to shoot one of those silly spinny-roundy guns, I need to spend more than one week and 200 rounds prepping for a major match.