Working on a couple things here: smooth trigger pulls on the plates, tracking the A-zone of the close paper through the barrel to shoot it the instant it becomes available, and shooting the far paper without setting up. So much going on here in the span of a few seconds—it’s why I love this sport so much.
Side-by-side of Andreas Yankopolus (GM) and Luke Crawford (A) at the 24 March 2018 RBGC USPSA match. It's interesting to watch the different stages and see where we pull apart, mostly splits and transitions on targets at 10+ yards, but a little bit on movement efficiency and shooting sooner when coming into positions.
Knocking the cobwebs off my AR-15 with some transition drills. It’s been a couple of years since I touched this thing, and it sure transitions quite differently than a Glock. Super important to keep your focus downrange and get your eyes to the next target ahead of the gun to bring the dot in smoothly. Four Charlies total here. Lots of room for improvement in speed!
Happy with how I exited the starting position (getting moving while shooting the second target) and came back into it (shooting the targets while still moving). My exit from the second (front) position, not so much.
Grip practice from dry fire is carrying over well into live fire, but still had a few meltdowns during practice today from getting too amped up and over gripping with my strong hand.
Adding moving parts around fundamentals (reloads, in this case) ups the perceived difficulty by increasing the number of things to manage while running the drill. Tricky part for me here is popping in a burst of foot speed during the reload while sticking to the process for the reload: dropping the pistol to a consistent point, getting a positive grip on the next magazine, and looking it into the magazine well. It’s not easy to command some parts of your body to move faster while keeping others under control. Well, maybe for some of you, but not for me!
Dropped my El Prez par time from 5 s. to 4.5 s. to test out improved reloads. Blew up regularly when I wasn’t paying attention to establishing a solid grip on the spare magazine and looking it into the magazine well, but things came together when I focused. It will take a while before these are subconscious things. Also have a bunch of wasted motion to trim on the turn and reload. Sight pictures here are red dot on brown, can’t hold mostly Alphas at this speed yet.
Worked on reloads with a par time of 1 s. to reload and get an acceptable sight picture. Dropping the gun to a consistent location and angle is key, as is not skimping on getting a positive grip on the magazine. It’s easy to not reach all the way down to the next magazine when pushing speed, but then you end up grasping just the base pad and not the entire magazine. Similarly, starting to rotate the gun back vertically before the magazine is seated is a sure way to bind it up in the magazine well. Go fast, but not too fast!
Lots going on during the draw. Shooting a tight 17-yard partial here. I’m trying to take up the slack in the trigger while bringing up the gun so the dot shows up exactly on my aiming point and the striker will drop with just a little more pressure. Also dialing back tension in my strong hand and isolating my trigger finger so the dot doesn’t move at the click. Needless to say, there’s plenty of room for improvement in how I’m doing all of those things right now…
Put together a little dry-fire drill that combines several areas that I'd like to improve over the winter: short moves, reloads, and quickly establishing firm support-hand grip pressure while keeping my strong hand relaxed. Targets here are three scaled IPSC targets at 17 yards followed by four scaled US Poppers at 11 yards. The dot makes every mistake in gun indexing and trigger-finger isolation clearly visible. It’s gonna be a productive winter working on this and more in the ludus.
Far targets have been vexing me at recent matches, so the main goal for this range trip was to shoot targets at 25 yards and dial in the sight picture and trigger press needed to score mostly Alphas on them. I quickly realized that I haven’t been giving them sufficient respect, as there’s little room for error. Grip needs to be firm and even, the front sight centered in the rear notch as well as on the target, and trigger pull isolated and straight back. A little slop in aiming, pushing the trigger slightly sideways, or a shift in grip tension invariably produced a Charlie or worse.
Clip 1: This was shooting at a match pace, making a serious attempt at every Alpha in the drill. Shooting earlier on the tuxedo often sent a round wide, but there’s definitely room for improvement there. It’s trigger-finger isolation while coming into position that’s holding me back. I’m aiming just below the A/C line on the body of the horizontal partial at the end. There’s more A-zone there than in the head, and I’m confident about not pulling shots low.
Clip 2: I make it a point to review videos right after taking them to look for areas for improvement while still at the range. Here it struck me that after the move I’m not shooting the open target until I’m fully set up. The sight picture on such a shot doesn’t need to be very good so long as trigger control is on point. I’m also hesitating slightly to start the move after shooting the second partial.
Clip 3: Shooting the third target while setting up and exiting the first shooting position with less hesitation shaved nearly a half second off the run. That’s significant when the whole drill is just north of nine seconds.
The improvements to movement, transition speed, and trigger control that I’ve been seeing in practice carried over into this match. I still need to shave off another second or two per stage, and it’s easy to see how that time can come from shooting a little sooner coming into positions and when transitioning onto new targets along with snapping more quickly between targets.
Disciplined mental rehearsals resulted in running all nine stages according to plan. I walked away from the match thinking that I shot it nearly as well as I could that day, which is the best you can do at a match. Then doing better is simply a matter of improving your skills in practice.
I’ve now been shooting a Glock 34 Gen 5 MOS for nearly three months and liking it a lot. It draws, reloads, and transitions faster than heavier steel-frame guns but does require a firmer grip and more careful trigger press to shoot accurately at speed. The practically zero-maintenance aspect is also very appealing. I’ve picked up my CZ Shadow 2 a few times for dry fire, and it feel comically heavy. I need to take it to the range and see what happens.
Stage 1: This was our first stage of the day. I ran through many detailed mental rehearsals prior to shooting, and while I felt the usual amount of anxiety stepping up to the line to shoot, I also felt confident that I’d stick to my plan and turn in an acceptable performance. I did one more rehearsal while making ready, paying particular attention to several details such as running hard to the first shooting position, shooting those two targets aggressively but still seeing the green fiber in the A-zone and pressing the trigger straight back, pushing off hard towards the second shooting position while reloading, and the like. When the buzzer sounded, it all went down as planned and ended up being one of my strongest stages for the day. While shooting, things felt like they were happening quickly but in control. I left some time on the table shooting the third target later than possible, some of which was due to arriving at that target sooner than expected. I’ve been pushing harder on movement in practice, and it’s requiring that I recalibrate my sensation of when I’ll be arriving at the destination!
Stage 2: Targets here were in the 15 to 20 yard range and my rehearsal focused on waiting for a crisp sight picture and pressing the trigger straight back for every shot. That went fine except for the sixth shot from the second position where I fired a little too soon and threw a miss. I didn’t call it at the time, but in the video it happens a little off pace. Some quick math shows this costing me about three positions in the results from that stage. Ouch! This is an issue I’ve had in practice, and I’m getting on top of it, but there’s still work to do.
Stage 3: Time here wasn’t bad, but with only six shots, every Charlie is a killer. I fired one round slightly high on the first target and landed one just outsize the A-zone on a back target. The reload also lacked snap.
Stage 4: I picked a lower-risk stage plan that added an extra reload to shoot a target from six feet away instead of across the stage. Accuracy was good with two of the four Charlies came on the last target, where I could barely see the A-zone while falling forward out of the shooting area. I’m getting noticeably better overlapping shooting and moving, but there’s still room for improvement.
Stage 5: No video for this stage. I think that most of my time lost to the people who came in ahead of me was in the initial shooting on the tuxedos and poppers. You need to have the courage of your convictions when going full speed on targets like that, particularly when shooting Production and knowing you only have one make-up shot.
Stage 6: This stage went exactly as I visualized it other than the third shot on the third target, a hard-cover partial. One of the shots didn’t feel right, so I fired another one that did. The target had an Alpha and two Charlies, so the make-up didn’t end up being necessary.
Stage 7: I got slightly tense thinking about shooting pace before the beep, and the resulting trigger freeze on the third target cost me a fair amount of time. Transitions also need to be faster.
Stage 8: Shooting this stage happened significantly faster than I expected, but I simply rolled forward in the present tense, trying to press the trigger straight back when the sights looked good. The Delta happened on one of the two back targets at the end.
Stage 9: Isolating my trigger finger and dropping the hammer without disturbing the sights takes me way too long, particularly when shooting one handed, and this stage delivered maximum punishment in that area. Getting crushed on time when shooting lots of tight targets is getting old.
This was the first match I shot with the Glock 34 that I purchased on the way home from the previous month’s match, which was a disaster. My theory was that shooting a different pistol would put me back in a beginner’s mindset as I learned how to draw, grip, aim, shoot, transition, and reload it. That certainly happened while training with the Glock the previous three weeks, as it handles and shoots very differently than the CZ Shadow 2 that I had been using. There’s no question that the Glock draws, transitions, and reloads faster than the CZ. It also feels more responsive to variations in grip pressure and poor trigger control. I’ll continue shooting the Glock exclusively for at least another month, as the trigger still does not feel entirely natural to me, then see how I do picking up the CZ again.
Stage 1: It was a bit intimidating having a couple targets out around 25 yards on our first stage. I simply did my best to aim at the center of the A-zone and pull the trigger straight back. Things worked out well enough for me despite my grip being a bit loose. I could save time shooting earlier coming into position.
Stage 2: Points here weren’t great due to sloppy aiming, and I’m loosing time breaking the first shot when transitioning onto targets.
Stage 3: Exiting the first position looked weak. I’m not sure if it would be better to start falling out of position while shooting the last target or bend my knees more to enable a more explosive exit. I’ll need to play with this in practice.
Stage 4: I need to work on shooting my way in and out of awkward positions like the third one here.
Stage 5: This stage had a lot of shooting from positions where you couldn’t get into a solid position without getting killed on time. Feeling the need to get a solid position is a weak point of mine.
Stage 6: Like on stage 2, I’m loosing time letting the sights settle when coming onto targets.
Stage 7: Places to shave time on this stage were the targets from the second shooting position. I did a hard pause on the head shot but was rewarded with 2 A on it.
Stage 8: The D was on the hard lean in the last position—I got C/D on that target.
This was the most relaxed I've been going into or shooting a match. I fell asleep within minutes of lying down the night before and woke up right before my alarm, feeling well rested. I had a few jitters prior to shooting the first stage but ran it fine with no fumbles on the reloads. Main areas for improvement are transition speed (particularly breaking the first shot coming onto targets) and accuracy. Shooting 92.50% of possible points wasn't great given the open target presentations at this match. Other big problem was mechanical with wet sand getting up in a magazine and causing a hitch in cycling, adding an unplanned reload to a stage. I emptied and cleaned all my magazines after shooting and short-loaded one of them, which caused another additional reload on the next stage. Ouch.
Stage 1: I could push harder on long moves like this and should have been moving harder when shooting the third target. I also started aiming too early coming off the front-left target and burned time with slow movement.
Stage 2: The delay in breaking the first shot when transitioning is very obvious here. Reloads also need work.
Stage 3: Nothing eventful here. Shooting one shot on each target, I was able to keep the gun in motion across the array and break shots when entering the A-zone. But I tended to be a little late on the trigger pull, and my Charlies were all slightly to the right of the A-zone.
Stage 4: Shooting on this stage felt smooth. There was lots of close, fast shooting, and I was able to avoid tensing up and stay relaxed. A stage like this would have been a recipe for trigger freeze a year ago. My time was 0.1 s behind the stage winner but four Charlies wasn't great.
Stage 5: Shooting the first target sooner would have been good, as would not having to reposition my foot in the front-left position would have been good. I made up a Charlie with an Alpha with the third shot on the last target. Reloads could be faster.
Stage 6: This was my best finish of the day. Getting slightly lower here would have helped with the short moves. The sights tracked real well on this stage, and it was satisfying to see that result in good points and going one-for-one on the mini Poppers. Now to do it faster!
Stage 7: I need to shoot more aggressively the close targets.
I've been pushing reloads hard in dry fire and continuing to work shooting on the move. Seeing the importance of maintaining a neutral grip and pulling the trigger straight back without disturbing the gun when shooting on the move also got me doing a bunch of untimed shooting on tiny targets in dry fire. Nearly constant rain here meant two weeks of this before checking in with live fire.
It’s not in the video, but I started with untimed shooting of my 4" plate at 25 yards. Results there were much better then in the past—I was able to regularly connect with 7 or 8 shots out of 10. Not bad given that the plate is roughly the width of my 0.090" front sight. Moving to my 8" plate at 50 yards, I was able to connect on it 6 or 7 shots out of 10. The flight time the bullet was pretty cool here in that I had an instant to call the shot before seeing the plate move and hearing the hit (or not). Consistency and shot calling improved across about 400 rounds of slow-fire shooting.
On both of these targets, I'd have to take up the slack, then gradually increase pressure against the break point in order to hit the plate. I couldn't start with my finger just off the trigger and pull through in one smooth motion. But I was able to connect more often than not doing that with the 8" plate at 25 yards. Something to work on.
It was getting late at that point, and I banged out a couple runs of the aperture drill, putting the 8" plate at 10 yards in aperture along with a pair of paper targets at 7–10 yards on each side. The goal was to hit the plate without stopping and nail a quick reload before engaging the last two targets. The reload practice in dry fire very much paid off—I was actually getting some done at a respectable pace. Consistency needs work, as I deleted a couple videos with spectacular reload failures. On the plate, there was plenty of time to make the shot if I got my eyes on the plate and started aiming before the barrel, cleaning up the sight picture and gently pressing the trigger once it came back into view.
Accuracy on the paper was just okay with lots of Charlies. That needs work in the coming weeks. But overall I'm pleased with the progress I'm making.
I've been continuing work on this drill, where the idea is to keep moving and shoot the five targets in a continuous stream of fire, treating it as a single shooting position. In clips 1 through 4, I'm shooting five paper targets. In clips 5 and 6, I replaced the center paper with an 8" plate at ~12 yards, which I want to be able to shoot while my hips are still in motion even if my feet pause for an instant.
Clip 7 is a recent stage win. My last two matches have been a mess as matches as I'm forcing myself to shoot a wider range of targets on the move. This has lead to some spectacular blow-ups, but I'm fine with tanking the next few matches as I acclimate to this more aggressive style of shooting. I'm already feeling that some of it is happening naturally and I'm shooting targets on the move that I would have subconsciously posted up on in the past.
Maintaining a neutral grip on the gun and superbly isolating trigger motion is non-negotiable when shooting like this. I'm also continually getting hung up by slow reloads. My in-motion reloads need to get much smoother.
The idea on this drill is to treat it as a single shooting position, linking the fire in a continuous stream while staying in constant motion. Keeping your lower body moving means you also need to keep you upper body rotating in the opposite direction to track the A-zone of the targets. Maintaining awareness of your foot position to avoid shooting while putting your feet down (which disturbs sight alignment considerably) is also a thing.
I still have a lot of work to do here. It feels like my steps are often too big, and rotating my upper body to track the targets is still requiring conscious effort. I’m occasionally firing my shots while putting my feet down, which often doesn’t end well. I’m also casting slightly on my draw. Good parts are that I’m maintaining a neutral grip on the gun while firing from torqued-up shooting positions and working the trigger straight back.
I'm continuing to focus on shooting on the move. The drill here involved setting up three targets through an aperture, where you could only see one at a time. The idea was to roll through the position, not coming to a stop at any point.
Two big takeaways from this drill:
1. Maintaining 50/50 grip tension on the gun provides way better sight tracking than squeezing harder with the support hand. There's very little time to be microsteering the gun while shooting a drill like this—the sights need to return perfectly.
2. You need to have the courage of your convictions in order to roll through positions aggressively. The targets are visible for only an instant, and then they're not. You need to be 100% confident that you'll get your hits in the time they're visible. And you want to be moving at a speed where you only get two shots.
I had a sensation that I was pressing the trigger when lifting a foot or hanging one in the air while shooting this drill. It was satisfying to watch the clips and see that that was indeed the case.
Recent dry fire focus has been on developing an awareness of my foot position while moving, so that I'm pulling the trigger during a relatively stable sight picture. This occurs as I'm lifting my back foot or as I'm moving it forward. The sight picture bounces as I'm setting my foot down, so that's a bad time to fire as the aiming area gets tighter. I experimented with firing one or two shots on each step and getting a feel for the stride length and shot cadence with each approach.
Clips 1 & 2: Shots here started at 15 yards and closed in to 10 yards. I'd like to get the first shot off a step earlier. Firing two shots on each step felt awkward here, but I need to do some more experimentation.
Clips 3 & 4: I focused on firing two shots on each step for these 5-yard head shots. This often involved nearly pausing my foot as I moved it forward, giving a somewhat stable sight picture as my body continued to move forward.
Clip 5: I shot a 1.9x s Blake Drill with 6 A out of the gate then set up my camera and attempted to repeat that feat. The runs were almost all under 2 s but had one or more Cs. This was the best of the bunch.
Goals for this match were to stay relaxed, combine shooting and moving where possible, and let my sights drive my shooting pace.
Stage 1: This was our first stage of the day, and it went well for me, especially considering the tricky stage plan. Positioning in the middle of the stage needed to be exact to avoid hunting for targets. My plan also had me going to eleven at the end on an array that included a tuxedo and a US Popper, which let me avoid an additional reload. It was satisfying to make this happen on the first stage.
Stage 2: I lost time from touching off the first shot in the front-left position a hair early, and I'm also holding back on movement speed to favor getting reloads done. Raw shooting speed on the targets across the back seemed weak. There's also some miscellaneous foot shuffling leaving positions.
Stage 3: I was shooting for the center of the A-zone on the partials and backed off the throttle excessively. At 25 feet, I should be shooting considerably faster. It was fun skipping the reload and confidently going to eleven on the poppers.
Stage 4: Shooting on this stage felt solid. Video unfortunately didn't work out.
Stage 5: Much improved shooting on the move here, but with room for continued improvement. There's some hesitation when coming onto targets that needs to go.
Stage 6: Shooting my way into the first position went real well. I would have liked to have moved continuously through the middle section instead of starting and stopping repeatedly, but that will take focused practice before it starts happening in matches. Two of the last three paper targets were readily available moving to the end of the stage, and a faster reload would have let me shoot both of them before arriving at the fault line.
I'm very happy with my shooting at this match, which was consistent with more overlap of shooting and moving than previously. I'll be continuing to drill this along with grip and reloads. Shooting 91.94% of points needs improvement. I'd like to see fewer Charlies and a percentage around 94%. This feels like it will mostly come from grip improvements and not coming targets off early, which was responsible for some of the errant shots at this match.
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