I went down to St. George Utah this last weekend and took a handgun competition mastery class with Ron Avery and Ken Nelson as the lead instructors. The single biggest take away from that class was I need to work on letting the gun go off without disturbing the sights. That seems rather obvious but all problems I seem to be facing now is directly related to me anticipating the gun going off. Fortunately I learned some rather useful ideas and techniques that will help me along that path. Shooting 1500 rounds over the course of three days adds to that. One of the more handy drills we rand was the dot drill. It’s literally the best 75 rounds you can do to work on fire control.
One other thing I learned was to watch the front sight. But not just the front sight, actually the very top of the sight blade. Seeing and concentrating on that front sight blade, as in actively focusing on that one small horizontal line does so much to put shots on target because it pushes everything else out and allows you to just see what you need to see.
I am currently pulling too slow through the double action of the trigger. Brian Nelson showed me I need to be gripping hard with my strong hand pinky and ring finger while at the same gripping with my usual force with my support hand. This allows me to pretty much slam through the double action portion of the trigger without disturbing the sights. That was pretty illuminating. I’m going to be spending a ton of time working just on that one thing.
We had one drill stage that had us working on moving into and out of position. I learned I really have an up and down movement. Ken gave me some tips on movement that should help to work through that problem. Basically I need to be using my legs and knees to move and absorb the bounce so as to keep my head and upper body on a stable platform. He described it like a tank turret reminding stable while everything else is bouncing up and down. He suggested taking a glass of watery about 2/3 full and moving about your house quickly and stopping all without spilling anything. This also applies when you are bringing the gun up on target. Slamming the gun into position causes it to bounce and takes more time to get the sights lined up. The ability to move the gun quickly, then slow it down just enough as your presenting to the target is going to pay huge dividends in the future.
On the advice of a friend, I started this today. It’s surprisingly effective for the little amount of time involved. It gets your heartrate up and does a good job at using all of your muscle groups. And, it’s actually fun.
I picked up a very part time job at a local gun shop I frequently attend. They needed some seasonal help and asked me. The big advantage to me is I get access to a range to do drills and practice.
When talking with the owners, I was told they would only need the help from now until March or so. That’s just fine with me because I’m not really shooting matches much until then anyway.
This should be a fun opportunity. I’ve never had another job before (26 years at the same place) so it will be a new experience. Additionally, I get to talk with people about my passion and help them find what they really want to shoot.
If I imagine an 8″ string attaching my hands together, I have better consistency getting the draw stroke right. Also, I need to be certain in dryfire I’m gripping the gun with my support hand as firmly as possible.
Also, it helps to imagine the trigger finger working independently of the hand.
This is a core fundamental and one I need to get good at. I’m already decent getting the gun out of the holster. I’m looking for consistency.
This is really important to do for yourself so you can actually see how much of your sights actually need to be aligned at any given distance.
Ben Stoeger dry-fire training
Par time 1.6
I can’t hit 1.6 consistent. When I do hit it, I’m noticing that I’m indexing the first shot and quickly cranking through the remaining five.
I need to be quick to the holster. Having my support hand slightly in front of my right hip bone helps me get their faster. I need to make certain I have a good stance. In live fire, a straight up stance will have me on my heels as soon as the 2nd shot goes off.
I’ll work on another drill tomorrow and circle around to this one again as its a core USPSA skill.
From Ben Stoeger’s Dryfire Training Book page 85
Pickup load and engage two targets at simulated 10 yards 2.0 par time.
What I learned:
I need to get a taller table. TV trays are low.
2.0 par time at 10 yards is fast. You see the wheels come off when you’re trying to rush while learning.
If I keep the gun closer to the table when I pick it up instead of grabbing it and standing more straight up, I tend to have better results. I’m not sure if this is because I’m staying down in the workspace, or if it’s coincidental. My long term goal is to hit that par time with good sight pictures on each target. Right now, i’m indexing. Maybe at 10 yards, you can do that in live fire. I should take this to the Armory and try it out.
I decided to take a quick 15 minute bike ride to warm up before going to today’s ICORE match. We’ll see how that effects me one way or another.
On the only stage I didn’t have video of, there was an up down, and a swinger. When I shot it, I messed up the timing and the up down started to drop out of view before I could get two good shots on it. Fortunately, I was still able to see the headbox so I took a quick shot it to avoid that down five points. There is an important lesson for me to learn here because I have a tendency to rush these activators. In the future, I really need to take more time and pay attention to the activator to see how long they are exposed. I think the process of doing this and then going through the order in my head a number of times will greatly help me to avoid train wrecking the stages.