- I took my NRA First steps Pistol just over a year ago: 2/12/12.
- I shot my 6th IDPA match 2/24/13 at my 3rd IDPA venue: Caswell Ranch in Prospect Hill, NC.
The first 3 matches I shot were indoor matches. You bring your range bag, park it in a staging room, and leave it there. Weight really isn’t an issue. The last 3 matches I shot at outdoor ranges. You haul your bag with you from stage to stage and weight can become an issue. After my first outdoor match. I decided my shoulder needed a break and I wasn’t really using most of the items in my range bag. I decided to take a smaller bag, and haul only what I needed to the outdoor stages. I’m still fine tuning that, so here’s what I started with:
- $3 Red & Black Flannel bag from Goodwill (because no one will mistake this for their bag and I liked the pockets),
- 200 rounds ammo (the match states 100 rounds, but I like to bring extra),
- plastic container to dump ammo into (easier to load from),
- 5 magazines & the UpLULA,
- water, reading glasses, notebook for note/reminders,
- I added beef jerky before leaving the house.
- I added eye/ear protection when I got to the range.
I still brought my regular range bag in the car as a back up, but this worked nicely getting from stage to stage. After shooting on Feb 24th I think I should add a small first aid kit. I like this approach and I’m going to stick to this plan for now.
I realized I should load the magazines before I left my house. That would be one less thing to do when I arrived at the range. I loaded 4 magazines to 10 round capacity and the 5th magazine (#1) with a single round. That magazine seems to have lower tolerances so I’ve opted to always use it as a the barney mag.
Since this would be my first trip up, I printed directions to the range. I checked the weather the day before and it looked like it would actually be warm: close to 60 degrees and sunny. The previous week had been cold, overcast, rainy and had snowed. I was trying to get over the flu and wasn’t up for a wet, cold day. I was nervous about going. Once again: a new place and I didn’t really know anyone. But I’d picked this weekend to go, the weather wasn’t going to give me an excuse to bail, so the next thing to decide was what to wear.
I got cold at the last outdoor match. One of the guys in my squad reminded me of wisdom I’d ignored: bring one more layer than you think you will need. I started with a t-shirt, added a long sleeved thermal shirt, a fleece jacket (a concealment garment & warmth), and I tossed in a Gortex jacket. I was determined I would not be cold at this match. I selected hiking boots and wool socks. I keep a hat, gloves and a scarf in the car. It was so warm I actually wore just the t-shirt and the Woolrich concealment vest I keep in my regular range bag. But I was prepared!
Next, I needed to spend some time with my gun. I’d lost a grip screw at a previous outdoor match. I’d had that replaced and ordered the correct strength Loctite from Amazon, so it was time to secure the screws. I really didn’t think my gun smith was going to give me yet another screw after telling me how to deal with this problem. I punched the end of the thread locker with a “T” pin, grabbed the hex wrench and secured all 4 screws.
Google maps said it would take an hour to drive to the range but I wanted to give myself extra time to grab lunch and get lost, so I started out at 11am for a 1pm match. For future reference, 90 minutes would have been plenty of time. Also the last place to really grab fast food on the way to Caswell Ranch is on the far side of downtown Hillsborough.
Next post: the Match!