My New (to me) Cameron Open Gun

Why did I move to USPSA Open Class?

This year, I jumped to the dark side – I’m an open shooter now!  *gasp*

Why?  Three reasons.

Well, first and foremost, it looked really fun!  While I have short and long term goals for shooting, the primary reason I do it is to have fun.

Second, I *think* shooting in open class will help me learn a lot of transferrable skills for other games/divisions.  A GM-level friend of mine told me that shooting Open is easier than other divisions because all the non-shooting aspects of the game are so easy.

Reloads are easy – assuming you have to reload at all.  Gaining sight picture is easy because you have a holographic dot telling you where to shoot.  You are able to get Major scoring with little recoil/muzzle flip.  Triggers are really light.

That means, the name of the game in Open is fundamentals:

  • ACCURACY (calling shots)
  • Grip
  • Trigger control
  • Transitions
  • etc

These are the fundamentals I need to work on to reach my lofty-ish goals in all shooting games.  Also, I am terribly slow shooting with holo-sights – especially in 3-Gun.  I hope this helps me speed up rifle as well.

My goal is to be a GM in Open as well as Production.  Going into this, I know that Open and Production are vastly different games – my first match shooting Open showed me that.  If I can nail the fundamentals, though, I think the transition back and forth between Open and Production will be easier.  Stay tuned – we’ll see how this goes!

Lastly – when I shoot fast in Production, it makes me chuckle.  When I shoot fast in Open, I laugh out loud.  It’s that much fun!

4 Majors this year!

My current definition of a “major” is a Level 2 match or higher.  This year, I will be shooting 3 Level 2 matches, and 1 Level 3:

  • Texas Open USPSA Championship (Production)
  • Oilfield Classic (Production or Open?)
  • Double Tap Championship
  • Area 4 Championship (Open)
  • Indiana State Open USPSA Championship (Open)

…guess I’d better practice :)

2014 Goals and Plans

I’m not necessarily a New Year’s Resolution guy, but, I am in favor for forming goals.  My shooting goals for this year are as follows:

  • Make “B” Class in USPSA – Prod
  • Make “B” Class in USPSA – Open
  • Make “Expert” in IDPA SSP EDIT: 2014.02.20 – I may not renew IDPA membership this year. IDPA and USPSA are different games, and at my skill level, I need to get better at one pistol game first
  • Win 1 3-gun match in the Tac Irons division

My plan is to practice dry-fire drills 3 x week (Steve Anderson’s book).  Also, to raise my endurance level so I can run during stages and have enough energy to make it through a major match, I will work out 3 x week.

Stay tuned – I’ll post updates.

Takeaway 2 – Move with your eyes

Has it really been since July?  Wow – sorry for the delay folks.  Lots of non-shooting life events happening lately, and I’ve just lost track of time.

Anyway – today’s takeaway is:  Move with your eyes.

While this article will talk specifically about unconventional drawing and target transitions, I think the concept can be applied throughout the course of fire.

The gist of the takeaway is to look before you shoot.  While this sounds like a simple concept, you will be surprised at how easily your eyes will wander if you lose concentration.

Take a look at this course of fire as discrete example (USPSA Classifier CM 99-23).

USPSA Classifier 99-23

USPSA Classifier 99-23

When I first started shooting, I would look at this and think “ok, no swingers, no no-shoots – I’m good here.”  I shot it, and thought “man, I really smoked that stage,” but when comparing to other shooters, I was 2-3 seconds behind them.  So, I watched a video of me shooting this and saw that my trigger-pull splits were as good as others, but my transition time was bad.  What happened?

A master-level shooter, and good friend, helped me deconstruct this stage.  His first question was “what were your eyes doing during the stage?”  I had no answer because I had no idea what my eyes were doing.  He said: “You will gain speed by knowing what to look at and where to find it – so the course of fire for your eyes should be,”

  1. Find the gun
  2. Find the target (1) (while drawing)
  3. Find the front sight (then trigger squeeze)
  4. Find the front sight (then trigger squeeze)
  5. Find the target (2)
  6. Find the front sight (then trigger squeeze)
  7. Find the front sight (then trigger squeeze)
  8. Find the target (3)
  9. Find the front sight (then trigger squeeze)
  10. Find the front sight (then trigger squeeze)

“This is what you should repeat during the walkthrough – memorize where your eyes need to be.”  The eyes should lead your gun through the course of fire.

Think about the transition from target 1 to target 2.  As soon as you break your 2nd shot, your eyes should find target 2.  Your gun will follow your eyes.  As trivial as this sounds, practicing this will shave .1 – .2 seconds off your transitions… maybe even more!

The most common distraction here is “scoring while shooting” – looking at the bullet holes you just made to see if you need to put another round into the target.  Don’t do that.  Trust your front sight and your eyes.  If you see your front sight on target and you pull the trigger correctly, you need not verify that the shot was good because you know that you set it up properly.  Also, if you happen to see the front sight dive or jump, you’ll know that the shot was bad and that you need to put another shot into the target.  This way, you save time by not needing to reacquire your sight picture multiple times.

The same rule applies for unconventional draws, such as drawing off a table or from a box.  Your first task during the course of fire will be to draw the gun, so look at the gun from your starting position.  Keep your eyes on the gun until you see your hand on it, then find the first target.

Do the same thing when reloading – practice your eye transition from front sight to mag-well when practicing your reloads, and your reload time will drop.

Hope this tidbit helps you all as much as it has helped me!

Takeaway 1 – Grip

Grip

Your grip is important for two reasons: sight-picture control and recoil management. There are a number of schools of thought about how to properly grip your pistol. So far, what has worked for me has been Brian Enos’ philosophy – which essentially is “do whatever is comfortable.” Regarding grip tension, hold the pistol about as tight as you hold a hammer.

There should be no push/pull action. Instead, imagine that the pistol had two grips. If you were shooting a pistol with two grips, you’d hold both grips with the same tension, right? So should be the way you grip the pistol.

Now, one added thing I do is that I cant my support hand forward 45 degrees – this will help keep your sights still and also help with recoil control. What do I mean by “canting?” To demonstrate, you’ll need to get 2 pens or pencils. Put 1 pen in each hand. (as if each was a hammer). Stick both arms out in front of you. The pen in your trigger hand should be pointing directly to the ceiling – this is how your trigger hand should grip the pistol. Now, take your support hand, and point the pen towards the wall in front of you – this is how your support hand should be when you grip your pistol. Try it!

This has really worked well for me.

2013 LSSA World Championship 3-Gun – Inaugural Championship Match

Yesterday was the 1st ever LSSA World Championship 3-Gun, and it was a blast! The CCC range in Navasota, TX is a fantastic place to have a 3-gun match and the LSSA crew are good guys all around.

The US was heavily represented by Texas shooters (as one may expect), and though many of the European shooters were unable to make the trip due to a downswing in their respective economies, LSSA Italy sent representatives.

All in all, great day, great range, and a hell of a lot of fun!

Scores will be posted soon!

Funny story on my way to IDPA SSP Sharpshooter…

Today was my 2nd ever classifier match for IDPA, and if you look at the date for my previous classifier, I took this one a little early (the people for TX State told me that I needed another one).

Instead of changing at work, I decided that I needed to beat traffic and change at the range.  I arrived at the range and immediately noticed that I had not brought any “shooting” clothes.  …so… I classified SS wearing an undershirt and dress slacks!

I actually shot pretty well except for stage 2:

Stage 1: 37.71 (11, 1 miss)

Stage 2: 45.96 (33, but I had 3 misses… so dark I had a hard time seeing the front sight)

Stage 3: 57.37 (15)

Oh well, maybe next year I’ll get MA! :)

USPSA Texas Open 2013 – Scoring Analysis

Finished shooting my first ever Level II match in any of the practical shooting genres. Man, it was fun! I also got to watch some super-human shooters including Max Michel, Jr. Incredible shooter and fantastic dude also!

Anyway, to the point of this particular blog. Those who I practice with have probably noticed that I lean towards getting “A” hits versus getting a lower time. During the state match, though, I wanted to shoot very aggressively. I think this comes from my experience in other sports, where you really have to “push” at “gametime” to win.

My scores are below. You may notice that the score is littered with “C”s and “M”s. In fact, I averaged .5 “M” per stage, which is definitely not like me.

Stage Gun Type Place A B C D M NS PR LS XS XH Raw Pts Total Pts Stage Points Hit Factor Time
Stage 1 – Stage 1 – Panic Pistol 47 12 5 2 1 77 67 32.6670 2.7437 24.42
Stage 2 – Stage 2 -Relax Pistol 44 16 1 9 1 1 1 111 91 61.2537 4.7150 19.30
Stage 3 – Stage 3 – Baliw Pistol 40 10 7 2 73 73 38.2912 2.5587 28.53
Stage 4 – Stage 4 – Chyld Diss Pistol 18 19 6 1 114 114 78.9009 5.5664 20.48
Stage 5 – Stage 5 -Seeraah Pistol 30 21 5 120 120 81.5101 4.5045 26.64
Stage 6 – Stage 6 – Amnesia Pistol 40 18 11 2 1 125 115 75.1670 3.4216 33.61
Stage 7 – Stage 7 – GPS Special Pistol 28 25 5 2 142 142 105.2092 6.8599 20.70
Stage 8 – Stage 8 – Tx Sports Pistol 34 16 8 2 106 106 71.2160 4.3765 24.22
Stage 9 – Stage 9 – Horesy Pistol 27 21 5 4 124 124 80.0212 3.8750 32.00
Stage 10 – Stage 10 – Hangover Pistol 28 24 7 141 141 102.3269 5.8799 23.98
Stage 11 – Stage 11 -Shooting with Jesus Pistol 39 16 8 3 1 104 64 36.0835 1.7458 36.66
Stage 12 – Stage 12 – Shaky shaky bun bun Pistol 35 4 1 1 24 24 14.1816 2.2792 10.53
Total: Pistol 202 1 77 17 6 1 1 301.07

I began to wonder what would happen if I get all “A” hits? Surely my score would be better, but how much better? Would I have jumped from 6th to 1st in my division? Don’t know. So, I plug everything into Excel, and make the following assumption: Add .5 second to my stage time for every “A” hit and recalculate assuming all “A” hits.

The results of this analysis are wild: If I would have taken .5 seconds more per shot to solidify an “A” hit, my scores would have gone up by ~10%!!!

To take the analysis one step further, I could have added 8 (actually 8.304) seconds, or 99 total seconds, to each stage to get the same hit factor assuming all “A” hits.

Conclusion: I definitely would have been better off taking the extra 8 seconds per stage to solidify “A” hits.

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