I’m finally back from two weeks of living on the road shooting NRA Action Pistol, which means it’s time to take a hard look at my performance. We’ll start with the NRA World Action Pistol Championship, held May 16th and 17th in Rockcastle, KY. For a detailed look at the match itself, check out the match review. I didn’t have a lot of expectation going into the match, I hadn’t spent much time training for it, but I knew my holds and my gun was pretty well set up for it.
NRA WAPC: The Good
The best thing I did at the WAPC was shoot relaxed. Because I didn’t have a lot expectation for my performance, I was able to come in, shoot, and not really worry about what happened. The result of this was I put up a new main match Personal Best for the “classic” NRA AP stages (Practical, Barricade, Mover, Plates). Coming in at a 1717 for the match actually really made me happy, and coupling that with a top 10 finish in Production was just a great all-around feeling. I shot to event PRs at Rockcastle as well; a 442 on the Barricades and a 441 on the Mover. For the most part at this match, I shot relaxed, I was patient with my sights and trigger pull, and generally executed within the envelope of my ability.
NRA WAPC: The Bad
As usual, I struggled on the Plates. There is something about that event that makes me get all stupid with my trigger and sights. My main match best on the Plates is 42/48, and once on the Agg I shot 47. At Rockcastle I got 41, which for me isn’t terrible in match conditions, but it’s also not as good as I can do. I also had some issues with the Practical, throwing a miss at 50 over the top of the target.
NRA WAPC: Conclusion
Honestly, I was pretty pleased with how I shot at WAPC. I shot better than I expected to, not as well as I’m capable of, but still set a personal best and finished in the top 10. It’s hard to not be happy with that.
NRA Bianchi Cup: The Good
About the only good thing in my performance at Bianchi was my Mover. I shot a 461, breaking the PR I set just a few days earlier at Rockcastle. A big part of that PR was that I knew my match was already tanked, so I might as well relax and just shoot it. On the Mover I did all the things I should have done on the other events: I was patient with my sights, I didn’t slap the trigger, I executed to the best of my ability. The rewards were obvious, I crushed my previous PR on the mover and set a new PR for highest score in one of the paper events.
NRA Bianchi Cup: The Bad
Unfortunately, my Mover score was too little, too late. My match had begun with disaster, dropping over 60 points on the Practical and Barricades the very first day. It’s easy to see where things went wrong, especially in comparison to the Mover; I didn’t wait for my sights, I wasn’t patient with my trigger pull. I took too many shots where the sight picture was “good enough,” which in Bianchi Cup is never a good idea. And then there were the plates…the plates. The f*cking plates. All week in practice I’d been lights out on the plates. Constantly shooting 44s or better. Just wrecking it. Sure, my plates in the agg hadn’t been great, but I wasn’t worried. So I get out to the line, and what happens? I drop plate 6 on my first run. The worst thing is I know exactly what I did. I managed to clean them at 15, no problem there. But then 20 and 25 yards, the wheels just came the rest of the way off. I ended up with a 36/480, my worst score on the plates since 2011.
NRA Bianchi Cup: Conclusion
It’s a little weird, but I’m less down about this year’s performance than I was about last year. I think the big reason is that I didn’t train as hard for the match this year, so failing to hit my goal doesn’t feel as bad? Or it could be that the blow is softened by what was a pretty decent performance at Rockcastle. I didn’t have any gear or ammo issues, so that wasn’t the problem. I just didn’t execute the fundamentals of marksmanship very well…except for the Mover.
As a fun exercise, I went back and totaled up all my PRs from the main matches, just to see what I’d score if I shot my very best scores all on the same day. Those PRs are: Practical-443, Barricades-442, Mover-461, Plates-420. That would give me a theoretical total of 1766 if I were ever able to pull it off in a match. At the WAPC a 1766 would have bumped me up to 8th in Production, and at Bianchi Cup I would have ended up 25th in Metallic, just sneaking into the top 25.