Monday, January 28, 2008

Creative Dry Fire - Field Courses!

I'm not one of those folks who can stand and do 10 million draws in a row. I get bored, lose focus, and start working bad habits, instead of refining technique. Its just one part of my mental temperament. Here's one of the ways I keep things more interesting - note that I left a couple of key points out when I shot the vid, so check out the comments following it...

For the comments, hit the DR Performance Shooting main site!

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CTRP - January 18th, 2008 - USPSA Match

This was the first match with the new gun, and the first monthly match of the year in Waco. Arthur Brown runs a fine match! I won this match, even with some difficulties. Here's the video - comments follow...

Here we see one example of why its not a good idea to take new equipment to a big match. Obviously, this was just a local match - I use local level matches as match practice, so its an appropriate venue to try out new equipment. I have a tendency to push the gun into my left hand when indexing the gun, or when moving from right to left, and this causes me to bump the mag button and drop magazines. For most folks, the answer is to not use a mag release button. In my case, my short thumbs require me to shift the gun around a lot to reach the mag release, especially on a wide body STI frame. So, I've developed a method of building a guard around the mag button using JB Weld that works like a champ. In practice, I hadn't caused the problem with my new Open gun, yet - but it showed right up in a match situation. Needless to say, I've built the mag button guard on the new gun, now, and the problem is resolved satisfactorily.

The weather was pretty chilly - good training for the Florida Open coming up in a week and a half. I'm not sure anyone had a good match, in the end - there were lots of misses and no-shoots being hit, mental errors, etc. Even with the two dropped mags, and a rather stinky classifier, I still won the match by 25%. On the plus side, the new gun times well in the real world, and runs sharp, and I started getting dialed in on the gun well during the match.

The courses were a bit different, compared to what we've been used to at Waco. For starters, the "house" that usually dominated stage 2 is gone in preparation for the Texas Open. There were quite a number of partial and/or long shots in the match, which worked out to be good training for Florida, as well. Many times in the past, the Waco match has a lot of closer, wide open targets, but not this time. Between Arthur's stage designs and the weather, this became a very challenging match!

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Test driving new equipment

In addition to introducing you to the new machine, let's chat a bit about evaluating new equipment. This subject has come up in recent conversations - seems to be a theme.

First, the new "toy"!! Back in late 2006, shortly before the Open Nationals, the range where I practiced was shut down, leaving me without a venue to hone skills for the impending match. I was bummed pretty seriously. A couple of folks came to the rescue - Karl Rehn at KR Training and Bob Londrigan at Brazos Custom Gunworks. Bob and I ended up squadded together at the following Florida Open, and he invited me up again to practice whenever I was able.

Long story short, we eventually had a discussion about equipment, and I lamented that, while I felt I had an accurate, reliable gun to shoot, I felt that in absolute terms, it wasn't as flat as it could be, and that was hindering my ability to excel in long range splits. Most of the time, this is a shooter issue, not a gun issue, sure. The current gun was built for "old" major, though, and using the current power factor is not as efficient as the modern racegun can be in this regard. Bob offered to let me try a few things, and if something worked for me, he offered to sponsor my shooting in the next year. We did find something - more on the evaluation, and how it applies to you, too, after the jump. He did sponsor me ;) And here it is - a Brazos Custom Gunworks Pro Series 5"....

For the full story on how we arrived there, hit the DR Performance Shooting main site!

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Goals: Appropriate and Attainable

Specificity. That's what this really comes down to. High level performers set specific goals that give a clear direction to their efforts. In a solid goal setting program, there are no vague, directionless goals - the goals become like a ladder, pointing a constant, straight, unwavering upward path.

Goals set in this fashion will be appropriate and attainable, and will mostly be "performance goals" as opposed to "outcome goals". A performance goal might be "Achieve a consistent 1.00 second draw with A-zone hits at 7 yards", as opposed to an outcome goal such as "Win every local match." I may talk about this a bit more in a later post - but for now, we left off last time with a promise to discuss those first two bits - appropriate and attainable. What do those mean to us, and how are they important in our goal setting??? I bet you can guess already....

That's right... head over to the DR Performance Shooting main site, and check it out!

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Get Back To Your Plan

How many times have you been mid-stage, and something goes a little wrong? You do what you need to do to correct it, and move on - but now you're improvising, off your original plan, and somehow things go from a little bad, to a lot worse? You look around and think "Where am I? And why am I in this handbasket?"

Head over to the DR Performance Shooting site to see the video and read the article!

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

ALSPPC 1/5/08 USPSA Match

Not a bad little match for the first foray of the year. The weather around La Grange, TX started off overcast and a bit cool, but warmed to the mid-70s and cleared to partly cloudy skies by 11:00am. I won the Open division in the match, and was High Overall. Here's the video - my comments follow....

This was the typical 5 stage local match. My squad started on Stage 5, so that's where the video starts. As you can see, the stage was a short little 27 round "field" course - if a 3' square shooting box for the shooting area counts as a "field course". It was really more of a big speed shoot, and had the high hit factor you'd expect. I was down 7 points here, which puts me just shy of 95% of points. The footwork was a bit goofy, and I ended up out of position moving into the last array - thus the foot shuffle, but the last set of targets was through a 4"x8" port that was positioned about 5' away from the box, so you had to angle yourself around to see all the targets. The only real mistake here was the 2nd to the last shot on the middle array - a little trigger freeze here, and I broke the 2nd shot on the last target off to the right. I had to make that one up, and then move on - that always costs time.

From there to stage 1. I had to wait 7 or 8 minutes, and had 3 false starts on the stage as targets downrange kept blowing over in the wind that kicked up as the sky cleared. Even so, I had a decent run, excepting my 3 to the last shot, which went over a headshot target at the end - I called it, but didn't make it up for reasons I can't really explain. I was happy with how I got the gun up and ready for the 2nd array, moved hard into the third, and took the Texas start 1 for 1, without the luxury of shooting it in an optimal pattern...

Stage 2 was the classifier, 99-12 Take Your Choice. The 100% hit factor for this one appears to be an 11 - so my 11.3772 is enough for a 103% run there. Unfortunately, the club doesn't own a Bianchi Barricade prop, so the box was a bit wider on each side, and one could see over the top of the barricade (though shooting that way wasn't really a good option for me). This might have made the lean to the inside targets a bit easier, but probably isn't enough to scream about.

Stage 3 really could only be shot one way - you could make some choices on the outside arrays, but nothing too incredible. The plates you hear are 6" squares - I chose to pin up at the beginning and hammer the near target, then take the plates, and sweep the last two as I departed. I took two extra shots here - without them, I'd have been sub-7 seconds on this stage. As it is, this was another high hit factor run.

Stage 4 was the only stage I made any real large mistakes on in the match. My name was pulled first, and I didn't really get comfortable with the stage before I began - definitely a mental error, and one I've recognized in my game, but not fully corrected, yet. C'est la vie. Better to do this in a local match. The middle array is 1 Pepper Popper and 9 US poppers, and I basically hosed at it, not really calling shots, and in the end, ran the gun dry and had to do a standing reload. A tough break, too - the only shot in that array that I fully remember calling was on the first target I shot in the middle - but it didn't go over. It subsequently passed calibration, so I had a miss... to go with another miss on the right side that resulted from - foolishly - trying to make up time lost in the middle. I know better, of course.... Interestingly, another of those same US Poppers (the kind with the funky L-hinge that sometimes have issues...) did not fall when center punched with a 230gr .45 bullet at Major power factor.... so I don't feel so bad about my missed popper... Those targets have sat in a trailer for two years with no use, and this is only their second match, so they could probably use a little TLC in the form of some lube...

Fun match, and a good way to open the season. Hard to tell I literally hadn't shot the gun in over a month (since the last ALSPPC match), isn't it??? ;)

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My 2008 Calendar and Results

For the folks who are interested in following along, this post will track my 2008 match and training calendar, and will have pointers to video and results from the matches I shoot this year...

January 5ALSPPC USPSA Match - 1st Open, HOA - match video included
January 12-13Teaching Competition Pistol with Matt Burkett
Sherman, TX
January 19Waco USPSA Match - 1st Open, HOA - match video included
February 2ndALSPPC USPSA Match
Feburary 8-10Florida Open - placed 5th overall - match report and videos
February 17Alpha-Mike - High overall, and 1st Open - match video and report
March 28-30Double Tap Championship - placed 7th overall - match report and video
April 18-20Area 6 - placed 7th overall - match report and video
May 9-11Texas Open
September 11-13USPSA Open Championship
November ??Area 2

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Like what you're reading?

If you do, sound off!!! Feel free to leave comments here - possibly the best way is to talk this blog up in other places. Feel free to link to articles here, tell other folks about it, etc. I need all the help I can get from you to make this blog a vibrant, active breeding ground for ideas, techniques, and strategies to play these shooting games.

For starters, think about subscribing to this blog via RSS - there's a link in the right hand toolbar that'll help you do it. That way, you can stay up on what's happening, and easily find new posts to the blog.

If you have ideas for things you'd like to see discussed, shoot me an email, or leave a comment here, and I'll do my best to cover them for you (already had a couple of these!).

Due to the forum policy at the Benoverse, once I announced here that I was available to start teaching, I'm no longer allowed to promote my blog on the forum. That means I can't link back to it from my signature, for instance. But, if you find an article here that you like, you can link to it in a forum post.

If it becomes affordable for me (ie, maybe if I pick up a couple of students), I'll enroll as a dealer on the Benoverse, and then this issue goes away. But, for now, with match apps going out, and airline tickets being purchased for the season, I'm a little strapped for cash. Any help in getting the word out about this blog would be greatly appreciated!!!!!

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The Forum on

The Forum on - aka, the Benoverse. I've been editing and re-editing this post for a while, now (like, since the inception of this blog), cause I'm finding it hard to be succinct. I could go on for days...

Hit the DR Performance Shooting main site, where I'll go for ten minutes, anyway... ;)

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Self Talk, the M2/TT Way

Inevitably, any discussion about the mental game gets into the concept of Self Talk. Put simply, Self Talk is all of the things you say to yourself. Sounds a little nuts, I know. Try this, though - for one 24 hour period, consciously monitor every thought that runs through your head. You'll probably find that you really do talk to yourself a lot - and if you've never done this exercise before, you'll probably find that a lot of the things you say to yourself aren't all that flattering. "That was stupid." "You look like a dork." and so on.

Now, pay attention to what you say to yourself with regards to your shooting. Your Self Talk reveals a lot about your self-image - what you truly believe you are capable of doing, and also has the ability to undermine your performance (or, if used to your advantage, support and build it up). This really comes out following a stage with some mistakes in it - what runs through your head, then? "You dumb jerk, you really suck." "You might as well give up now." "Things never go my way." "This match stinks." Maybe you said some really, complimentary stuff to yourself before the stage, too... "I can't hit those hardcover targets." "Swingers always eat my lunch." "Let's see how bad I suck on this stage."

Would your best friend ever say anything like that to you? If so, why are they your best friend??? We would all do well to head on over to the DR Performance Shooting main site take a lesson from two of the best shooters in the game on how we should be treating ourselves on and off the range - Max Michel, Jr. and Travis Tomasie.

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Hanging a Shingle

I've wrestled a bit with exactly how to announce this. In the end that usually means I should just stop quibbling with myself and spout it out. So....

I'm now (officially) available for shooting training!

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