One of my favorite posts to write last year – even if no one read it – was the 2018 in Review post. This was a review of the year, followed by some plans and goals for the next year. My shooting year is basically complete at this point, barring a couple of matches, so I think it’s time to start looking back so I can move forward.
It was 5:30AM on Tuesday morning, and I had just been woken up by the soft sound of my smart alarm clock telling me it was time for another day of earning a living. I rolled out of bed, turned off the alarm, and grabbed my phone to do a quick overview of the day’s events. While perusing Facebook, I noticed that a 6PM slot at the USPSA match had opened up literally minutes earlier. I posted that I wanted it, then politely asked my wife if I could shoot it. This is perhaps the wrong order of operations for a happy marriage, but, fortunately, she acquiesced.
That is the story of how I wound up shooting this USPSA match. You want to know how it went? Keep reading.
I finally got myself back to the NRA HQ range for a USPSA match last night. This was my first one in like seven months.
It was not my finest hour – I’m out of practice. But I absolutely noticed substantial improvements to my shooting, and lost it more on unforced errors and equipment problems more than simply bad shooting.
I love competition. I have been slacking with doing it due to family commitments and taking up BJJ, but I’m hoping to do a bit more USPSA in July-September. Competition really drives the standard for speed, accuracy, and efficient movement, so I want to lead off the post by saying this isn’t some sort of variation on “competition gets you killed in the streets” or other nonsense. However, I just want to talk about how competition has had something of a negative effect on firearms development in a couple areas, because I think that has been inadequately explored.
First and foremost, I think factory compensated pistols have not been nearly as developed as they could be due to the fact that they dump you straight into USPSA Open division. Contrary to nonsense opinions on the Internet, good compensators make a noticeable difference with 9mm ammo, and I really think their downsides (cycling problems) could be greatly reduced if manufacturers spent some R&D time on resolving them.
Second, detachable-mag shotguns. As I think I’ve noted previously, Swearengen’s well-written 1970s-era book “The World’s Fighting Shotguns” extols the virtues of detachable-mag shotguns. He felt that if you were going into trouble, they were a superb weapon in almost any close-in environment (note that the book was written before the proliferation of effective body armor, though). While I readily acknowledge that they have logistical issues in a home defense situation, they put far more firepower on target in a sustained fire engagement (like 15+ rounds), can be changed from breaching to buckshot ammunition much more quickly, and provide certain benefits in gun handling and administration.
Unfortunately, that detachable magazine dumps your shotgun into 3 Gun Open (and maybe USPSA Open), which is a huge disincentive to their use in more casual competition settings (and makes pump guns with them completely unusable). Courses of fire and training classes are designed around the limitations (and sometime strengths!) of tube-fed guns. This leads people to downplay the advantages they bring, because they are never put into a situation where they need to use them. (I would suggest that shoot-load drills with more than three rounds are where detachable mag shotguns start looking substantially better.)
Honorable mention: IDPA is doing no one any favors by banning weapon lights. I don’t think this has significantly harmed the development of weapon lights, but it’s contrary to the IDPA “run what you brung” mindset.
Those are the two that come to mind. I’d love to hear if my readers can think of others.
I have a buddy from Green Ops who shoots at Blue Ridge Arsenal, so I figured I would give it a try.
Analysis after the break.
As I’ve worked to try to improve my skills – with mild success – I’ve come up with a few things that have really improved my dry-fire practice with Glocks. They may or may not help you, but they have been winners for me.
The biggest thing, of course, is consistency and timing yourself. You need to dry-fire daily to really develop the skills you’ll need to get better.
I shot my first USPSA match of 2019 last night. I had a good time, learned a little, and got some more motivation, so it was a success.
I forgot to get the video of the last stage, but it was a boring classifier anyways. Did reasonably well by my standards, given that I was a bit out of practice and recovering from a cold. First time shooting a match at TMGN – they have a nice range there.
Video after the jump…