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  1. #1
    leam's Avatar
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    Finding the challenge areas...

    Since my first actual IDPA match is this Saturday I used the Monday night league shoot as a start on practice. I will have had my SA 1911 for all of a week by the time of the match so any practice is needed. Last night's league shoot was bowling pins on paper at 25, 50, and 75 feet. Since the strings are 30 seconds and you normally start with the blaster down at a 45 degree angle but loaded and ready to go, I started holstered and unloaded, and shot the second half of each string off handed.

    I certainly saved on ammo. At the 50' and 75' ranges I didn't get all my shots off. Naturally the scores went down and I really caught myself trying for speed instead of smoothness. So it was a great time to find out where my challenge areas. Hopefully down the road there won't be so many that are so obvious!

    Although my ego would have been much happier if scores were better because I found a "natural talent", my brain is pleased that there are measurable places to improve. I need to develop drills and habits to overcome them. Lots of opportunity!

    ciao!

    leam

  2. #2
    leam's Avatar
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    Add to the list of challenges "Unreasonable Expectations". The past few days my shooting has been off; mostly because of a hectic work schedule. Today is my first match so the nerves are up. Sometimes I forget that my pistol shooting background isn't fully 2 months old yet.

    There seems to be a significant difference between the SigPro and the SA 1911. I'll shoot the 1911 though and start to look for some grips that fit my hand better.

    Slow...accurate...relax...

    leam the very nervous newbie

  3. #3
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    Wandering Man is offline GM HGF Gold Member
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    Sounds fun. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

    WM
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

  4. #4
    leam's Avatar
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    Lots of challenge areas, found some strengths.

    Match started good, a guy was selling old used mil-spec 1911 mags at $5 for a pair. I took them all as I only had the two that came with my springer. Unfortunately I had several feed issues in the first couple of stages but they were with the factory mags. While I'll get the gunsmith to check them out it's more likely a case of operator error. The flat base of the mags really requires using extra effort to seat firmly. Already a known issue for me.

    In IDPA you are ranked by shooting a classifier. You can get promoted by re-shooting the classifier and doing better, or by being the high score in the match for your current level. If you've not been classified, like me, you are rated as a master. Seems to make room for the beginners to move up since a hot-shot from another sport will compete against their skill-peers. As you might guess I was significantly at the bottom of the master class. Way at the bottom. However, of the 30+ shooters we had I was #9 in the accuracy analysis!

    Accuracy is based on the number of points you lose. IDPA targets are scored 0, -1, -3, -5, and "FTN" (Failure to neturalize). A hit in the killing areas of the torso or head is 0, and then the torso goes to -1/-3 as you get to the edges. -5 for a miss and FTN if there is no shot in the 0/-1 area. Each point adds one-half second to your time and all results are based on time. The best shooter of the day was down 7 points, I was only down 18. I was very slow in my shooting but when I got around to pulling the trigger it was in the right place.

    I got a few compliments that really stand out. Up front I let the Safety Officer know I was a brand new shooter and that this was my first match. In the first stage I had serious feed issues and resolved them in the course of fire though my time was way up. The SO and another skilled shooter complimented me on my cool and safety mindedness while resolving the issues. The second compliment came after a tough stage where the first bad guy was hiding behind a "no shoot" target. There was a 3-4 inch slice visible between the no shoot and the wall. Or there was the head of the bad guy which was nicely available to us tall folks and got two shots from me.

    I got another compliment on a head shot where the course of fire had you move from one side of a wall with holes in it to the other and shoot targets as you saw them. A bad guy between two barrels was meant to be shot through a hole in the wall. But if he sticks up his head there's no reason not to take advantage.

    The main match was the pistol and we finished up on time. The first side match was rifle and we shot mostly the same stages except that we doubled up a couple of times. That is, you'd do one stage and then run to the next and do it, all on the same clock and mag change. Someone messed up my game and prevented me from coming in last! What makes that funny is that I was using a borrowed rifle, shot off-side as I'm cross eye dominant, didn't know how the optics worked, and haven't shot an AR at a target since Air Force basic in '82.

    Second side match was a low-light shoot. Some of the same stage set-up, some different. I didn't come in last but definately see some areas to work on. Like "bring really warm clothes for a late night match in the mountain shoots in November"! By the end my feet were aching up to my shins and my fingers were losing sensativity.

    Overall I had a blast. I'm normally an introvert and can't be around people more more than a few hours without being exhausted. Last night I spent 12 hours straight with a bunch of folks I've never met before and it never bothered me. Everyone was helpful, I found some new friends, and I got to do a lot of shooting in a very fun setting.

    Challenge areas are speed and keeping my head clear. I forgot a target on the rifle match, the same one I had head-shot with the pistol! Strengths are choosing good shots, and body movement. I've done some self-defense training in years gone by and I could really feel my body relax and stay centered with good foot movement throughout the day. Well, at least while I could still feel my feet.

    I also appreciated the conversations here. You all have made me feel welcome, even as a newbie, and that helped reduce some stress because I didn't have to meet any high goals to be accepted. I also figure the after action report will garner me some advice on how to improve.

    Thanks!

    leam

  5. #5
    Wandering Man's Avatar
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    WM
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  6. #6
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    Glad you caught the competition bug, as I have. It is totally addictive and somewhat contagious, a very powerful strain indeed.

    I got interested in handguns about 18 months ago and started shooting IPSC and IDPA shortly thereafter. I use my Glocks models 34 and 35 primarily though I will use a CZ 9mm and a 1911 9mm occasionally. I enjoy IPSC a little more than IDPA basically because the round count is higher. In IDPA, there is a ceiling of 18 rds per string while in IPSC, there basically is no ceiling (I don't have my rule book handy so I could be mistaken about this)and I have seen plenty of courses of fire with rd counts in the low and mid thirties. And that's if you don't miss. As in IDPA, there are courses of fire where you can't make up shots and some where you can. The targets are similar but the scoring system is very different. I won't go into all the details but you might want to look at the US Practical Shooting Association website (USPSA) to check it out and expand the opportunities for competitive shooting.

    Like you, I usually am pretty nervous around strangers but the camaraderie of competitions allows me to be more relaxed than I thought I would be.
    I am one of the poorer shooters but I have a good time even if I don't shoot well. Competitive shooting has become my favorite hobby.

    Are you shooting Monday night matches in Asheville, NC? I live near Winston-Salem and noticed the Monday night shoots at an indoor range called On Target.

    Good luck and good shooting.

  7. #7
    leam's Avatar
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    Our Monday night league is in Mt. Holly. Between Gastonia and Charlotte. Went well tonight, though I had 5 failures to feed in 60 total shots, will get the local gunsmith to work on the reliability issues. I'm not discounting operator error as I was shooting off-handed the whole match. However, might as well get the work done.

    ciao!

    leam

  8. #8
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    Today's match went well. It was this clubs first actual match as they are new. Ten shooters total and I placed 5th in accuracy and 7th in time. There were only three of us 1911 shooters and a bad luck hit by another gave me best overall time of us three. Of course, the real fast guns were much faster than me, but having shot my springfield for all of two weeks now I'm not unpleased.

    ciao!

    leam

  9. #9
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    Hey Leam,

    Where are your weekend matches? I went to Rowan Co. Wildlife Club on Saturday for an advertised IPSC match and found out it was cancelled due to the start of hunting season. No mention of the cancellation on the website. I'm not too far from Charlotte area so maybe I could travel to your neck of the woods and join in.

  10. #10
    leam's Avatar
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    The Saturday shoots are IDPA in Rock Hill. Take I-77 south, right after you cross the Catawba the first exit is for 161/Celenese Rd. That the going Right (West), for a few miles until you hit 274. Turn right/north and it's about 50 yards up on the left. They do practice shoots every Saturday unless there's a match. Practice is just running through some stages; no pressure, lots of helpful hints or just friendship.

    If you're more north of Charlotte then you might look at Watauga Gun Club and Foothills Defensive Shooters. Both IDPA, outdoor ranges, and once a month. Fun bunch and most shooters go to both clubs.

    The 3rd Sunday of each month is a Siloette (sp?) shoot. I'm just learning about it so can't give you too much information.

    I apologize for being IDPA centric. Nothing against IPSC/USPSA but I don't know any of their activities in the local area.

    ciao!

    leam
    Last edited by leam; 11-18-2006 at 05:24 AM.

  11. #11
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    Leam,

    Thanks for the info. Maybe I'll see you on the competition circuit.

  12. #12
    leam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martial_field View Post
    Leam,

    Thanks for the info. Maybe I'll see you on the competition circuit.
    Yeah, look for the low scores.

    Actually, I'm having fun learning to shoot with the 1911, and trying to avoid pushing myself too deeply into the competition scene. Right now the issue goes back to expectations, I've only been shooting a couple of months and there's just too much to learn any time soon. So I want to keep moving forward and slow down when it becomes more chore than pleasure.

    On a different note, I've been thinking about 3-gun stuff and am going to try to build an FN-FAL from a parts kit. No idea if it will ever work but am looking forward to trying!

    ciao!

    leam

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