After a restless night due to the previous day's injury, I arose early to head to Lexington Park, MD to shoot the monthly Sanner's Lake IDPA match. I picked up my traveling companions mid-way and continued on the trip in good company. Fortunately the injury only revealed itself strongly when enter and exiting the car, but had minimal effect on mobility while shooting.
One of the attraction of this match, besides the courses of fire, is that they efficiently run 50-60 shooters through six stages in about 2 1/2 hours. It's still a long day with the approximately 2 hour drive each way, plus the fun stops to shop for whiskey and to eat lunch.
As usual, the stages were interesting and enjoyed with a friendly and fun group of shooters. This was the first time I had shot the Full Size SIG P320 in a match for a couple years. I had to constantly remind myself I had 15 rounds allowed per magazine, thus 16 rounds when starting with a loaded gun, per SSP division rules, as opposed to the 10 allowed in CCP that I had been shooting. This especially came in to play on the couple stages that had an exact 16 round minimum shot count. That meant added pressure for a "perfect" stage with no make up shots and no reloading.
The first stage we shot started facing up range center stage. Eight targets, from three shooting positions, all requiring two hits each, except the last which need two hits on the body and one to the head -- something to remembered at the end. I was two points down for the stage.
Next up was another eight target stage involving weaving around walls, before heading down range to engage four quick targets behind some barrels. It was another good stage finished with just three points down.
The third course our squad shot was a Standards exercise involving SHO and WHO shooting. It started with the gun downloaded to six rounds. The symmetrical stage had three targets on each side, two of them partially covered by non-threat targets. I was actually very pleased with the results on this stages I finished with three points down -- 1 while SHO, and 2 shooting WHO, and placed 2nd in my division.
Our next stage started with the shooter seated on a stool facing up range. Shooting positions with a variety of target distances and availability followed. Though I enjoyed the stage very much, I found I had miscalled a head shot, mistaking a loose paster for a bullet hole, along with a another miss on a far target.
The day was warming up now, but still quite pleasant as we moved on to our next to last stage. Here, after shooting a few targets around cover, we advanced downrange engaging surprise targets in the open as we passed. Shooting while moving towards the back gave the opportunity for some quick shooting action. However one had to be attentive, as there was actually four surprise targets, one of which was a non-threat. The repairs on that target revealed that a few previous shooters had been lulled into engaging it. Sadly it turned out one of my first shots from cover had gone through the edge of the barrel before striking the target, counting as a miss. Often one can hear when a round strikes one of the plastic barrel, but this one I had missed noting. On the bright side, I was told that my two shots on the further target could be covered with one paster. Small wins.
Finally, the last stage of the day. We started seated behind a table centered on the stage. Two barrels were placde in front of the table, with the unload gun on one and all magazines on the second. After retrieving the firearm and ammo, and moving between and opening in the wall, there was a target on either side to be engaged in the open. The shooter then moved either left or right along a wall of barrels. From both sides there were matching arrays of two steel poppers, and two paper targets to be engaged. This was the stage where my brain disengaged, and a lack of proper stage prep showed. The center array of targets needed a hard lean around each end of the wall to shoot one half of the pair. I totally forgot to shoot those center two targets! This meant 20 points down for the misses, plus the two PE's for not engaging the targets. That put a dark cast over the morning. Fortunately it was the last stage, and I didn't have that weighing on my mind for the entire match.
Admittedly, and perhaps not surprising, I beat myself up for a bit afterwards. However, it is part of the game. As a friend is fond of saying, "it's not like I was going to win the Lexus anyway." I also came to realize as I put together my thoughts on the match and the day, the majority of the match was not a disappointment. Much of the day I found some improvements gained even from the recent limited practice time, also noting that many of the points down were due to competition induced rushing, giving me some match-specific adjustments to be made in the future.
After the match, our trio headed to the local purveyor of adult beverages, my goal specifically to hunt for interesting bourbons not available under the limitations of Virginia's government monopoly. This trip did not result in anything especially rare, but I did add a couple of new bottles to my shelves to enjoy in the future.
Our excursions always include a stop for lunch after shooting. The trip we ventured slightly off the route to visit a local BBQ restaurant. There isn't much that smoked meat won't make better, and this stop was particularly satisfying. I suspect it may be added to our list of regular stops.
Despite a few disappointments, the day was exceptionally pleasant. The drive on rural roads on a bright day, challenging shooting, tasty food, and most importantly, the company of good friends, all combined to make for a remarkably enjoyable day.