Perhaps the cool weather was the impetus behind the larger than normal crowd for this month's IDPA match at Cavalier Rifle & Pistol Club -- our squad consisted of 18 shooters.
Most of the stages this day featured plenty of movement, including several that involved backing up while shooting, and most presented many options for shooting. That often also meant lots of discussion during and after the stage brief before shooting the stage. Discussions the went on for too long at times in my opinion. Combined with the larger crowd, it made for a long day, with prolonged interludes between actual shooting.
Stage 1 began with the unloaded firearm on a table mid-stage, and all spare magazines on an adjacent table. After engaging the three open targets in front, the next fault line was slightly back and to the left. The shooter then turned and moved further up range to shoot another target. Advancing from there, two more shooting positions were encountered for a total of eight targets. I finished my first stage 0 points down, getting off to a good start.
Stage 2 had us seated facing up range, with the loaded firearm placed on a barrel at the first shooting position. All spare loading devices were left on another barrel at the next fault line. After retrieving the firearm we engaged the visible targets and moved down range to retrieve any needed magazines and engage the targets as they became visible. Alas, not a lot of joy for me here, with 12 points down and a hit on a non-threat. Sadly, that trend would be repeated at several more stages.
The next course of fire had a simple setup consisting of a long fault line and four targets, two open and two partially blocked by barrels. The first target was shot up close and from retention. After engaging the close target, the partial exposed to the left of the barrel, then the head shot only target, I moved down the line midway to get the tuxedo target behind the right side of the barrel. Four or five shots fired, and most of them sounded like they were hitting a barrel! Despite making both the head shots, I still was 10 points down. I was not shooting very accurately at all, and the fun of shooting was being overtaken by frustration.
Okay, let's try this again. Moving on to Stage 4 we saw a rather complex setup that left a lot of shooters confused. The layout seemed to be a closed course of barrels, walls, and chains with no apparent access to several of the targets. The stage briefing explained that we would need to back out and go around the wall to the up range side of the course stage where we saw the final targets. Even after the explanation there was a frustratingly extended period of discussions on "gaming" the stage.
The brief was actually pretty straightforward once read. The loaded firearm was placed on one barrel with the spare magazines on the nearby barrel, and the shooter was seated on a bench a couple yards back. There was an open target with a non-threat directly on front, and most of the remaining targets were visible with small adjustments from the start point, while some could optionally be shot from the final positions. For two of the final targets minimally the shooter needed to make the circuitous route around the back of the bench and around the wall to the right then advance to a chained off area to shoot the remaining targets. Those last two targets, and any unengaged targets were then shot. The biggest caveat was "muzzle awareness" when making the loop. I shot it with only a slightly better result and heard "down 10" for this stage.
Frustration was still on my mind. In looking at my hits, and as was pointed out by the SO, whatever I was "seeing" had my shots falling directly to the left, in tights groups. I wasn't jerking the trigger to shoot low and left, but it looked like I was sighting to the left.
Stage 5 was another standards type stage. Five targets and three non-threats were lined up 10 yards distant with each requiring one hit. I shot the stage without any makeup shots and was -1. Obviously the issue I've been having is not the gun. Seems to be "the Indian not the arrow" as the expression goes.
To finish the day we made the hike up "the hill" for Stage 6. This was another "running" stage, with lots of walls and many ways to go through the course. Depending on how you went through it different targets had to be shot from different positions due to the shooter being exposed to them. There was again a fair amount of discussion before we actually got to the shooting. And yet again I was 10 points down for the nine targets.
It was a long but fun day of shooting with good friends. After starting a little after 9:00 AM I was finally in the car to head home at 2:45 PM. I was happy that the temperature never even hit 80° until I was on the way home. While it was not an extraordinary long day, it was longer than typical -- and the ride home was another hour and 20 minutes.
I was disappointed to have shot so many -1 hits throughout the match. That frustration can easily detract from the fun. Upon review I feel like a lack of applicable practice with few matches to put it into practice doesn't help. I struggled with many of the shots leaning around walls, and was probably thinking too much about the next target. This recent aberration of shooting to the left is frustrating for sure. At least these days, it's just about the fun of shooting and spending the day with good people. Still, better shooting will add to the pleasure. It seems the best solution is to shoot more!