Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 1st USPSA Match

April 1 marked the second USPSA match of the season for Fredericksburg Practical Shooters. As typical for this event, it was another long day, but the weather couldn't have been more cooperating for a day outdoors. Although it started out cool, the temperature eventually approached 70°. The match consisted of 8 stages in all. We started shooting about 9:00AM. When my squad finished around 4:00PM there were still some folks finishing up. (Note, stage links go to pictures of the course.)

Stage 7 was a particularly fun stage for me. There were as many ways to shoot it as there were shooters. Most of the targets were engaged through portals, and everyone had their own idea on how to approach them. I made my plan and, for a change, stuck with it. I decided to try shooting some of the targets on the move, albeit slowly. (Though after the fact, I don't recall how much I was moving at the time.) This was probably my favorite stage of the event. This stage followed a stage at which I had made many errors, so as I told a squad mate after shooting it, "I owed myself that run." As it turns out, I saw my best finish on this stage, 15th out of the 48 competitors in my division.

The Classifier stage was another fun one. There were four targets, all partially blocked by no shoots. Since I've had run of disappointing classifiers in previous matches, I was very happy to shoot this without incurring any penalties, though I would have liked a few more A-zone hits. My score on this stage should be about in the middle of my "C" classification, but still one of my lower classification percentages. The final stop for our squad was Stage 3, and it was a fun way to end the day. The course of fire was a variation of the classic "Bill Drill' and consisted of two strings. Put 6 fast shots on a single target, reload, and put six shots on another target. The second string was the same on the two remaining targets. Two of the 4 targets had half their area covered which meant slowing down a bit. 

The match had a good combination of "run and gun"courses, as well as "stand and shoot accurately" stages. All the stages were fun and it seemed like folks were especially enjoying themselves. I admittedly pushed it a bit too fast on some of the stages, so took the hit on accuracy. However, to improve I feel I have to push myself out of my comfort zone just a bit. Finding the right balance will be the key. Overall I ended up 25th out of 48 in the Production division. I was a bit disappointed with that, and it shows I need to work on consistency.  I can shoot one stage really well and then totally bork the next. Or I sometimes will shoot mostly A's in a run, and then throw a miss in the middle. But I do see noticeable improvement so far, both in general accuracy and in execution. A key to that is learning to relax a bit, and remember I'm there to have fun. Keeping a smile going after a bad run is important.

I had also volunteered to help set up the match on Saturday afternoon. This was an interesting learning experience as I got to see what goes on in the Match Director's mind as he lays out the stages. It's not just a matter of plopping targets and walls down in random order. Although I must admit that knowing a bit about the fun challenges ahead kept me awake the night. I wasn't nervousness, but instead the excitement of looking forward to shooting the match.

This match fell as early in April as possible, and there's no monthly match in Fredericksburg in May. I'll need to look to some of the other nearby matches to get my next match fix.

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