Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Labor Day Range Time

On Monday morning I met a friend at the range for early morning shooting practice. I hadn't been shooting for a few weeks, and my intention to hit the range over the weekend never materialized into action. Greg is a newer shooter who's looking to start shooting USPSA matches and was hoping to do a little more than stand and shoot at a single target. We setup a few USPSA cardboard targets, as well as a couple of shooting boxes, and got to work.

Taking turns running the timer, we spent the morning running different drills. Even in practice, the sound of the beep, and knowing the clock is running can have an adverse affect on your shooting. We started out simple; shooting pairs on just one target at various distances. We also spent some time working on quick draws, with a repeatable grip, putting a single shot on target from close up. For a short time we worked on movement between two shooting boxes. We even tortured ourselves with the shot calling drill from the Steve Anderson class.

Greg specifically wanted to work on multiple targets from 15 yards and beyond, so we spent much of our time doing that. I eventually added in the challenge of no-shoot targets. First covering up one side of a target, then adding a second white target so that only the central A zone was showing. We started out shooting at two target arrays, eventually moving to three, the last target in the the array being the restricted one. I found it very interesting that I shot a lot of A-C combos on the first two targets, but consistently avoided the no-shoots and hit double Alphas on the last. And more often than not, those two Alpha hits were in a very tight group. I obviously concentrated on the sight alignment and trigger press much more intently on that target, even though I felt like I was not rushing on the open targets. It was a very enlightening exercise.

I would have liked to have worked on that drill more, but unfortunately we soon had a return visit from the range officer on duty. He had come by earlier, watched us shoot for a bit, and then left. I assumed we were not getting any "you are shooting too fast" warnings. But on his second visit we were admonished. After a few minutes trying to ascertain the definition of "too fast" we learned that when we were shooting just two targets we were fine, but when we added the third target to the drill, even though the shooting pace was the same, we were now in the "out of control" zone with six shots in a string. Someday, just maybe, we'll get that private range where the rules are static, understandable, and logical.

Despite the reprimand, it was an exceptionally enjoyable morning. When the 2 hour practice was over,  I had only put about 100 rounds down range. Sharing advice with Greg also was a great way to review my own habits. In fact, this turned out to be one of the most beneficial practices I've done in a while, despite the low round count. It's always a thrill to help introduce another shooter to the sport. In addition, it forced me to concentrate on the basics. I'm also excited to be bringing a new shooter to his first USPSA match this coming weekend!

The early morning session left plenty of time for yard work, followed by a few hours of sitting around the pool with friends. It was a fitting way to mark the unofficial end of Summer.

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