Stage start with magazine and empty gun on the barrel.
I shot the IDPA match in Oxford today. Frank let us opt out of cover garments due to the heat. That was a great start to the match. Our squad started on Stage 2 so shot Stage 1 last and I got a treat: something totally new. We started the stage with the gun unloaded and both the gun and magazine lying on a flat surface (barrel top).
When the buzzer went off, I picked up the gun and the magazine, loaded, racked a round into the chamber and got buzy shooting. The video clip shows the first half of the stage with 2 shots on each cardboard target and one shot to knock down the plate.
New challenges are the #1 thing I like about shooting matches. This isn’t a difficult way to start a stage but you do need to try to get the parts together and get it loaded quickly to get to the actual shooting. Here’s how it went:
I picked up defensive rounds from 9 Forward at the Cup last week. I rode up to Oxford with a practice partner Saturday morning (June 27th) and one of my goals was to try the defensive rounds in the two guns I rely on for defense.
Using the “Library” for Ballistics Testing
The “Library” was still in place, although a bit soggy, and I used one of the books to test penetration and expansion of the defensive rounds. Note the book on the top right shelf. It was wedged in tight and just the right height. It was also seriously thick, partly due to the rain soaked pages.
I put 3 round in on the right side of the front cover. My practice partner suggested I also put in 3 rounds from my regular ammunition. I shot a row of 3 on the left side of the front cover.
~ double Click to see detailed captions ~
I took the book off the shelf and started turning pages to see the impact patterns and find the lead and casings.
The defensive rounds penetrated 1110 pages. They torn much larger, irregular holes.
The practice round penetrated 1600 pages. The holes remained round and uniform.
If you are local and want a first hand look at the book, let me know and I’ll bring it to a match. I’ll hold onto it for a few weeks, then it will go into the recycling bin.
Here’s exactly what I was using:
Practice rounds vs. Defensive rounds
I really liked the lighter recoil of the defensive rounds but unfortunately they stove piped in both guns several times. That’s why you try ammunition in the gun you plan to use it with: to verify they work well together. I’ll go back and buy regular defensive rounds to test as the “Lite” version failed in my guns. Bummer but better to know now.
H&K USP Compact with stove piped defensive round
This was still a very interesting experiment for me. I know what the outcome is supposed to be but touching the book, turning the pages and digging out the lead and casings felt like an adventure! Here’s what I found:
Lead & Casings from the book! From left to right: Defensive round, defensive lead & casings, practice rounds (lead still in casing).
Another view of the lead and casings, Practice rounds at the top, defensive rounds (one unused ) at the bottom.
Finally, the obligatory water bottle video (because I couldn’t resist):
June 17th, 2015: The heat continues in Oxford, NC. We shot in smaller squads today and I finished the last 8 stages in 4 hours. The photo above is the start of Stage 16. The gun and magazines are in the inbox to the left of the laptop. There is a nasty moving target set off by shooting a popper behind cardboard. I knocked that down first try today. That was a moral victory after yesterday’s full magazine experience.
I’m tired and I’ll be back in Oxford tomorrow at 7am to help in registration before I start with entering scores so I’ll keep my comments short:
The boys making water deliveries were diligent and cheerful.
On the camping stage, load your gun before you pick up the firewood for the stage start. There is a story behind that comment but you’ll have to ask me in person.
It’s seriously hot. Plan for the weather.
The weeds and poison ivy have been mowed down for the stages in the woods. I wore shorts and wasn’t worried about the vegetation.
I swapped from sunglasses to clear glasses again today. This time it was for the two stages in the woods.
I shot 123 rounds yesterday, 110 rounds today for a total of 233 rounds. I did shoot an extra mag or so into “the popper that would not fall”.
I was stung by a small wasp on the garage stage. I’m not allergic to stings, but if you are, bring an epi pen or whatever works best for you to battle the reaction.
I’m not really aiming at close targets any more. I used to slow down for site alignment, but no more if they are close. It’s point & shoot. Finally. I’m still kind of amazed I can hit them this way, but it’s working for me.
Loaded H&K mags the night before the match
My H&K is a work horse. It worked flawlessly for the entire match. I shot Lawman 124 gr. rounds with zero issues.
I used a tactical reload on Stage 16, the office stage. I dropped the magazine onto the desk because I have always practiced reloads by dropping the magazine. Duh! I need to work in some tactical reloads and stow the magazine since IDPA requires that per the rules.
In some places there are both Men’s and Women’s PortaPotti’s. They think of everything!
More photos from both days:
Water crew! They even pose for photos.
Stage 13: Not my Garage! Shooting through the back of the NC Moonshine car
Today, in 90+ degree heat, I shot 8 stages of the Carolina Cup. Volunteers shoot on Tuesday and Wednesday to be available to run the match Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Most of the volunteers are RSOs. I will be working on the stats team (entering scores).
The photo above is from Stage 1, “The Library”. From what I understand, it’s taken quite some time to collect all the books on these shelves and it was a family effort.
I didn’t run video as I was focused on shooting today. I will share a few observations:
There was plenty of water and everyone was encouraged to stay hydrated.
There were moving targets on 5 of 8 stages. I need much more practice shooting at targets that move: swing, drop or pop up then disappear.
After being out in the sun for 4 stages, the shoot house appeared dark to me. I swapped out sun glasses for clear glasses to shoot “inside”.
I’d never shot at poppers behind cardboard before. They are set up that way to require 2 shots on the target while dropping the popper starts other targets in motion. On stage 6, my worst stage of the day, I unloaded 11 shots into one target trying to set off the popper. Persistence prevailed but it did add insult to injury to hear a call for a “roll of pasters” to paste up my shots. There is always something new to learn. Never give up!
On every bay, shooters were squeezed into every bit of shade that could be found while waiting to shoot. Wet towels and battery powered fans were used to help shooters stay cool.
We took a break for lunch and had build your own sandwiches and delicious watermelon. It’s nice to be able to have a conversation with other shooters where you can actually hear the responses.
Shirts this year are denim blue T shirts with actual denim caps. I’ll be wearing my new hat tomorrow when I go back to shoot the last 8 stages.
Vehicles on Stage 5. Photo taken last week. Targets this week are in a different configuration and we shot from the driver’s seat of the center vehicle.
Sunday June 7th I shot another IDPA match up in Oxford. We had the opportunity to shoot from a vehicle and through the open windows of a car on the left and an SUV on the right. You just don’t get this kind of experience at a typical shooting range.
Stage Scenario: 6 targets, 2 shots each, shot in tactical priority (near to far). Start with the gun on the passenger seat. For IDPA purposes, the two targets shot through the windows of the adjacent vehicles (one on each side) were considered equal distance. The next two targets in front of the vehicle (one seen from the driver’s window, one seen from the passenger window) were considered equal distance. With the last two targets there was clearly one that was much farther away and had to be shot last.
Shooting the stage required quite a bit of movement back and forth, from driver side window to passenger side window. You have to think about moving up and over the steering wheel and taking your finger off the trigger with each transition. I found myself extending my arms through the windows for the first 2 targets but hanging an arm over the door for the 3rd and 5th targets.
The stage also required a reload and I ran into issues. I popped out a bit of profanity during the process of correcting the issue. All captured on video. Sigh. So what happened? I was testing out some reloads (147 gr) with a lower power factor (ie: lower recoil) and they were just too low power. With 50% of my reloads, the slide would lock back but the brass would not be ejected, so the reload resulted in a jam each time. This was the first one. The bad news: I let fly with my frustration. The good news: I never gave up. And I know I shouldn’t shoot these rounds in this gun.
I shoot slow. When I watch the video, it appears painfully slow to me. The final target was quite some distance so I put a third shot in it. Final accuracy count for the stage: down 2. If you are not familiar with match scoring that means I hit the zero zone on all but two shots. For each of those I hit outside the zero zone in the 1 point penalty area. I was accurate, but I was very slow and placed dead last for the match.
So once again, this isn’t about what a great shooter I am, but what a great learning experience shooting matches can provide.
BUG Gear: 2 mags each gun (brown & red) + holsters for primary gun (brown) and backup gun (red)
I shot my first BUG Match Sunday May 31st at The Range in Oxford, NC. BUG stands for Back Up Gun. A “BUG” match incorporates both a primary gun and a backup gun.
Primary guns are loaded to 6 rounds
Backup guns are loaded to 5 rounds (although the IDPA rules concerning this change tomorrow (June 1st) and then require 6 rounds.
Roughly half the stages only require the backup gun (no primary gun).
No stage is shot with the primary gun only.
No stage requires a reload on the clock.
I opted to carry both in a holster, but a holster is only required for your primary gun. You can carry the backup gun in a gun case. When it’s your turn to shoot: uncase, load, shoot, unload, re-case.
For stages with both guns, there is a safe place to put down the primary gun after you’ve shot it.
The BUG is always picked up from a flat surface (or a trunk, or a dashboard, or a refrigerator door shelf, or a car seat…) but not from a holster.
Many of the shooters commented that they didn’t shoot their backup gun often and struggled with it somewhat. I shot mine for an Action Pistol match in March when I sent my 1911 back to S&W. I found that to be valuable experience prior to shooting this match.
For this match:
We started at 1pm and were done by 3:30pm.
I shot 68 rounds total.
My primary gun: H&K USP Compact in 9mm shot in SSP (Stock Service Pistol: decocked with a double action first trigger pull, followed by single action trigger pulls).
My “BUG”: XDS in 9mm.
These are FUN matches!
I like shooting steel!
I thought I’d set the primary gun down softly but on the stage with the barrel positioned to swap guns, I bounced it a bit.
When I swapped guns in the SUV, I hesitated because it just felt like I needed to drop the magazine for a reload… which is how I usually shoot matches. So it takes a change in habits.
I’m getting better at shooting on the move.
I got 2 of 3 shots on the mover and didn’t hit the non-threat. So never stop trying new things.
I shot the Action Pistol Match last night in the May heat and managed to get two of the stages on video. I’m posting not because I’m a great shooter (I’m not, yet) but to show you that women do participate in these matches. On both Stages I have a female Range Safety Officer.
Hold the camera vertically to film horizontally (old Flip camera we pass around).
Stage 2: Don’t just start running with no clear destination in mind. If you can’t see the targets, pick a point on the floor to head for it. I overran the gap in the barrier and backed up to make my shot.
Shooting a complicated stage can be easier the second time. I shot all of these stages on Monday of the previous week and Stage 1 took some time to figure out. Last night I shot 2nd, it was our last stage, we were all hot and tired, and we didn’t take as much time to plot strategy. I’d shot it before so I knew there were low, long shots from each corner. I split up the targets in set of 3: 3 from the initial gap, three from the left corner, a single at the right gap, and the last 3 from the right corner. For once I ran the stage as I intended. I’m still slow but all my shots were alpha or charlie (no penalty points for “alpha”, one penalty point for a “charlie”). No misses. I was very pleased with that.
At one point in time Caswell Ranch took a hiatus from IDPA. I took an even longer hiatus from shooting. But I’m back and Caswell Ranch is back to offering IDPA matches the 4th Sunday of the month. This month they will be offering a 5th Sunday match – even though it’s not on the calendar. Contact info is here if you want to verify the match.
I shot the match on May 24th and stuck around for a classifier after the match.
We shot 6 stages on a beautiful spring day. We started with a car scenario. We shot these 4 targets through the passenger window, then exited the car and shot one target while backing away from the driver’s door, moved to the rear of the car and shot a few more.
When we shot in the shoot houses, there was no way to really get good video. The other 3 are included below. I’m very new to video editing so this was the result of playing around with new video editing software.
A few comments:
I am painfully slow at shooting one handed. But I am fairly accurate. The first shot is double action and a longer pull, but even so, that’s WAY too long. These were all headshots and some only part of a head, but even so…. Since it’s not on the video, I included a photo of the targets.
Headshots Only. One hand only. Are you kidding me?
I need to learn to transition the gun from hand to hand better. When I moved from strong hand to both hands, I hand a lot of extra thumb action.
I don’t have my supporting hand positioned correctly – the thumb is way too high in most cases.
I need to stop pulling the magazines out of the gun. They will drop. That’s bad habit I picked up from my XDS.
On the second stage I needed the front magazine (loaded to 3 rounds) but grabbed the back magazine, realized the mistake, and fixed it. I’ve never grabbed the back magazine before. So, something new to focus on during dry fire practice.
On the positive side, I started the last stage looking at the first target.
One of the stages for the May 18th (3rd Monday) match I shoot included targets with T shirts. Even though it tough to see the down zero zone on targets, this made it impossible. And more realistic. It’s more difficult to score as you have to undress the target, look for the holes, score the target, paste the holes and redress the target.
This is one just one more of the reasons I shoot matches. This is one more exercise to stretch my skillset.
In April 2015, I shot 4 different pistols. All were 9mm but for the most part were very different guns.
I started the month shooting the 1911 at an IDPA Match in Oxford.
I was so frustrated with the 1911, I decided to give CCP(concealed carry pistol division of IDPA) a try and switched to the Springfield XDS. I shot a match and an IDPA Classifier hosted at the Wake County Range the 3rd Saturday with this gun. I like the way it shoots, but I find it difficult to get the magazine to drop and I pinched my palm when reloading to the point of bruises. The grip is the “perfect” height to make that an issue.
I volunteered for a WOT event and had the opportunity to shoot a S&W M&P in 9mm. Not much shooting here, but enough to knock down 8 steel targets.
Finally,I switched to an H&K USP Compact after I shipped the 1911 to S&W. I didn’t know how long the 1911 would be gone or how well it would work when it came back. I have plans to shoot the Carolina Cup, so I needed to pick a pistol, stick with it and continue to practice. I bought the H&K about 3 years ago because it was a deal I just couldn’t turn down, however I really haven’t shot it much. It’s supposed to be reliable and after my experience with the 1911, that was appealing.
I could shoot the H&K in SSP (Stock Service Pistol) if I decock it and ensure the first shot is always a double action pull. Or I can shoot it in ESP (Enhanced Service Pistol) if I put on the safety and include taking the safety off each time I draw from the holster.
Since I can’t consistently reach the safety, I opted to start shooting SSP and learn how to deal with the double action trigger pull. I’ve found that to be challenging.
I made the switch May 6th when I took a half day off work to work on the IDPA Classifier. I worked on that again May 9th and shot another classifier, in Oxford this time, with the H&K in SSP on May 10th (Mother’s Day). I missed qualifying as Marksman by 3 seconds. My first trigger pull is painfully slow to avoid slapping the trigger and dropping the shot. So once again, something new to work on. I also am a bit too quick with the second shot due to the contrast in the trigger weight. I haven’t measured, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the H&K single action pull is as light as my 1911.
A final comment: When I got the 1911 back I shot it then shot the H&K. I didn’t think the H&K had much recoil until I shot them back to back… the 1911 makes it feel as if the H&K kicks. But I’m sticking with it for now.