The 2017 Carolina Cup hosted by Frank Glover (Part 2)

2017 Carolina Cup / Sadie taking a break during the match

2017 Carolina Cup / Sadie taking a break during the match

All photos courtesy of Parrish Brian. The camera got soaked in the rain so the images suffered a bit, but the full set for the 2017 Carolina Cup can be found here on Facebook.

To read the first part of the article, go back to Part 1.

I started a new job about a month before this match. I had not been shooting as I was focused on coming up to speed at the new job. I had one floating holiday I could use for time off as I hadn’t earned any vacation days. So I didn’t shoot the match. I volunteered instead. The volunteers who do shoot the match do so prior to the match. This year that was on Thursday. The big smile in the photo above shows that I think any day on a range is a good one, even if you are not shooting.

This match is scored on paper. It’s a two part form so a copy can go to the shooter as soon as the stage is scored. The challenge is to remember NOT to keep the current score card at the top of the stack. If you do, the writing will go through at least 2 other scores card carbons. Ask me how I know…. It also is a challenge to keep them dry when running shooters in the rain. An umbrella works OK but it’s hard to juggle a clip board and an umbrella and paste targets. You can read scores just fine on damp score cards though so it works well enough.

We ran Stage 9 and Stage 10 in Bay 5. We had more squads come through Friday than Saturday. I believe their were 12 squads total for the match. I think the largest was 8-10 shooters and the smallest we saw was 4 shooters.

If you’d like to see a shooter bang out our stages, Ben Berry started on our bay and you can see both at the beginning of his match video. He shot Stage 10 first (the bread truck stage) and Stage 9 next (the standards stage). Rusty is calling the commands for both stages in this video of the entire match.

Stage 9 was a standards stage. There were 3 targets and the instructions were straightforward. The stage was limited. That means the shooter could not take any make up shots, only the exact number of shots required by the stage was acceptable. Start from the back shooting line. Shoot 2 shots on each of 3 targets. Reload. Again shoot 2 shots on each of 3 targets. The short version is “6 reload 6”. At this point, the shooter is instructed to reload and reholster their gun. Then we record the time for the first string of shots. The shooter moves forward to the next shooting line. Instructions are to shoot the same 3 targets but this time shoot one shot on each target strong hand, move the gun to your support hand and again shoot one shot on each target.After the shooter unloaded and showed clear we recorded the time for the second string. Then we scored the targets looking for 6 shots each.

And yes, there were a few shooters that didn’t follow the instructions. Any extra shots resulted in a procedural penalty. Then when scoring the target, we pasted over one of the best shots and scored the rest. Any shots taken with the wrong hand on the second string resulted in a procedural penalty. What was the most procedural penalties we gave?

On Saturday, Frank brought a score sheet back with 7 procedural penalties  that was shot on Friday. it was my handwriting. He wanted to know if the “7” was correct. . I told him, “Oh yes, I remember that run. Once the shooter finished shooting, he just started laughing because he realized how badly he’s messed up.”

I walked Frank through the penalties: The shooter took a make up shot on string 1. That was the first penalty. Then the shooter shot all 6 shots strong hand on string two. There were 3 penalties for taking the second shot strong hand and 3 penalties for taking no shots with the support hand. I had two shooters do this. But that made a grand total of 7 penalties for one of our shooters. Frank shook his head, grinned in sympathy, and headed back to the office. He wanted verification and I provided it.

2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 5 / Stage 10 Bread truck in the background

2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 5 / Stage 10 Bread truck in the background

Stage 10 was shot inside a bread truck. There were 8 targets total. Two shots each. Instructions were: Start standing beside the driver’s seat facing out the driver’s door. Shoot one target straight ahead (obscured by a junk car). Turn and shoot two targets out the back of the truck behind a short hill. Move forward and slice the pie out the side window of the truck with two targets – each shot through the windows of junk cars. Move forward and shoot two targets directly behind the van flat on the ground and finally, turn left to shoot the last target far to the left of the back of the van. At this point any desired makeup shots could be taken.

Only one shooter shot this stage clean the entire match. It was challenging.

We had a wide variety of shooters: old, young, in jeans, in tactical gear, in shorts, in dull colors, in bright colors, with very short hair, with long hair & long beards, men & women. Only one of the shooters that passed through our stage seemed to be unaware of IDPA rules and wanted to argue about them.  Otherwise we found the shooters to be safe and courteous. Since I didn’t work stats I don’t know the total number of shooters this year but I think it was 100 -150 shooters total.

Our oldest shooter was 83. He was not fast but he was very accurate. I hope I’m still shooting at 83!

2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 5 / Waiting for shooters and enjoying the sun

2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 5 / Waiting for shooters and enjoying the sun

My right foot and left knee were really hurting by the end of the day Friday. You spend a lot of time on your feet running a stage. I spent Friday night on the couch and that was all I needed to recharge. Saturday wasn’t as demanding because but we had more breaks and fewer shooters. We were done running shooters in our bay by 2:30 pm Saturday. Based on our experience with the rain the day before, we broke down the bay while it was dry and had everything packed away prior to the massive rain storm late Saturday.

This year there were only a few minor injuries. No ambulances were called.

The awards ceremony was preceded by dinner with excellent BBQ pig right off the grill. It’s a Carolina Cup Tradition. You can smell that pig cooking all Saturday afternoon.

After the awards ceremony Frank announced this was the 18th Carolina Cup and it would be the last that he would host. That made the experience a bit bittersweet but I was extra glad I made the effort to participate.

There were a few rumors that there would be another Cup, possibly hosted by someone new. It’s as much a family reunion as it is a shooting match and I know many folks want to continue to return for that reason. Frank & Paula may be up for attending rather than hosting in the future.Time will tell.

2017 Carolina Cup / Sadie & Rusty at the Awards Ceremony

2017 Carolina Cup / Sadie & Rusty waiting for BBQ before the awards ceremony.

The 2017 Carolina Cup hosted by Frank Glover (Part 1)

Frank & Paula Glover: Welcome to the 2017 Carolina Cup!

Frank & Paula Glover: Welcome to the 2017 Carolina Cup! All Photos by Parrish Brian.

All photos courtesy of Parrish Brian. The camera got soaked in the rain so the images suffered a bit, but the full set for the 2017 Carolina Cup can be found here on Facebook.

After several  years of volunteering for the Carolina Cup  at The Range in Oxford, North Carolina by working on the stats team (data entry for scoring), Frank asked me to work as a Safely Officer on one of the bays for the 2017 Carolina Cup. I started running scoring at various local matches and I felt comfortable with that. I agreed to work the Cup also because the leader of the group I would be working with is one of the safest shooters I know.

I worked Bay 5 with 3 other safety officers. Our Team: Rusty, Hal, David and Sadie. We also had an additional volunteer, Joe, for part of Saturday. Rusty was the team lead and my primary point of contact for planning. Instructions were fairly simple: he told me what time to show up. The rest was inferred: Plan for sun or rain. Come with everything you’d bring to a match except your shooting gear. Turns out that water proof boots were a plus. My feet stayed dry.

I opted not to run shooters but I ran scores (recorded times and points down) and pasted targets. The shooters don’t have to paste targets at the Carolina Cup, the Range Safety Officers running the bay take care of that. If you are the score keeper you also call the shooting order. And call it again every time you have a new shooter:

  • Call the shooter,
  • Call who is on deck,
  • Call who is on the hole,
  • Call who is in the deep hole.

So a shooter should get a heads up about 3 shooters in advance of actually shooting.And they will get a reminder of their position as they move toward shooting.

I had a hacking cough for at least 10 days prior to the match but I figured if I could go to work, I could work the Cup. My voice was a bit squeaky toward the end, but it held out.

We started at 7:30 am Friday and 7 am Saturday. I live an hour away so these were early mornings for me. I always make time for breakfast. I took my first and only vacation day at a new job to work the match.  Why did we start earlier on Saturday? That is the morning for the traditional photo of all volunteers in the event t-shirt. This year we were all in Royal Blue. You can see it on Facebook here.

The match had a total of 14 stages, two stages per bay over 7 bays. No stages were shot across the road in the trees this year. Each had unique challenges. Frank is known for offering the unexpected. He didn’t disappoint. Since the match is no longer sanctioned and bound by IDPA rules, various bays offered challenges across a variety of pistol sports: zombie shooting, steel stages and traditional IDPA stages.

On Bay 5, our responsibility for the match, the match director supplied one canopy. One of the volunteers I worked with, Hal, supplied another (note the NCSU logo). These canopies provide shade in the sun and cover in the rain. They are critical for a good match experience. Hal also brought a cooler with water & ice too. There are a couple of volunteers who’s job it is to drive a Gator around to distribute water and pick up scores during the match, but it was very nice to have a cooler with drinks handy in the bay.

Carolina Cup 2017 / Bay 5 / Raining

Carolina Cup 2017 / Bay 5 / Shooters sheltered from the rain.

As for weather, we saw it all. We ran shooters in a light rain on Friday morning. Then we ran shooters in the sauna that was created by hot sun burning off the rain in the afternoon. Due to the Friday morning rain, we also found every hole that was just waiting to become a puddle. One was so deep and was stepped in so many times we named it in honor of the first guy that fell in. “Hal’s Hole: deep enough to soak your cleats.”.

Running shooters in the rain is slow. We dropped clear plastic bags (dry cleaning bags?) over every target to keep it as dry as possible. Here is the adult part of this post: These are unofficially known as “target condoms”. Yes, I really wrote that. Here’s a photo that Parry took showing these babies in action.

2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 1 / "The Flood"

2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 1 / “The Flood”

As you score the stage you must lift each plastic bag to apply a sticker over every hole. in the target. These are called target pasters. They are very difficult to use when they get damp, much less wet. It slows things down considerably.  I tried also juggling an umbrella. The umbrella was to attempt to keep the score sheets and pasters dry –  with limited effectiveness. We did the best we could do under the circumstances then appreciated the sun when if finally dried things out somewhat.

2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 5 / The dry version

2017 Carolina Cup / Bay 5 / The dry version

On Saturday we lucked out and were only running shooters when it was dry. It rained at lunch and then in the late afternoon we had a serious downpour. Neither impacted our shooters. But Bay 1 essentially flooded with the Saturday afternoon downpour and they did still have shooters in process. The link above to show rain proofed targets  also shows the flooded version of Bay 1.

I’m going to wrap up Part 1 of this post, but not before mentioning the highlight of the day Friday: lunch. We had the traditional southern offering of a bologna burger or a hot dog. I can get hot dogs many places, but I only get the opportunity for bologna burgers at the Cup. I figure I can indulge once a year. They have a food vendor onsite to handle the rush of hungry shooters at lunch both days.The selection is limited but the food is hot and the service is fast.

2017 Carolina Cup / Friday lunch

2017 Carolina Cup / Sadie in line for Friday lunch.

More on the match and my volunteer experience in Part 2.

A beautiful day to shoot IDPA (March 12, 2017)

Triple Shot(big)
I started my day with a snow covered car. And a commitment to pick up a holster and 3 mag pouches from the local guy (D&D Holsters) I bought them from last year. My house was burglarized last fall, most of my shooting gear was stolen and I was in the process of rebuilding. This was the last bit of equipment I needed to shoot my next match. The forecast predicted that the snow wouldn’t stick and my holster would be ready for pickup at noon, so I took a broom to the car to remove the snow and I headed north to The Range in Oxford.

I had no intention of shooting a match. Really. There was snow on the ground! I think the last match I shot was back in May of 2016. I needed to practice with the new gun and the new holsters. I wasn’t sure I even remembered how to do a reload on the clock.

But an hour later I arrived and the weather had turned beautiful. It was 50 degrees and warm in the sun. I ran into friends I hadn’t seen in months. Everyone of them encouraged me to shoot. The holster I picked up fit the gun with a minor adjustment and the mag pouches were perfect with no adjustment.

I was short on ammo since I was sure it would be much too cold for to shoot. A friend filled that gap and said he’d give me what I needed if I ran short.

  • Was I ready to compete? No.
  • Was all my gear the way I wanted it it? No.
  • Was my gear sufficient? Yes.
  • Could I be safe? Yes.

I sighed up and shot the match. I was a good decision. Thanks to everyone who badgered me into it!

I had chosen a down vest that morning due to the cold so this was my first match using a down vest as a cover garment. It worked fine.

I remembered what I liked best about shooting a match: spending time with friends. I’m not competitive. I always place near the bottom of the list. But I really enjoy the sport and I’m a safe.shooter. They asked me to help out with scoring so I pitched in and did that as well. Once the match was over I checked in with the guys who were running the timer to get feedback on how we worked together. I’m glad I did. I’ll be able to do the job better when I’m asked again.

The timer keeper is responsible for ensuring no one wanders into the line of fire as well as recording the time, the points down and any penalties. I was focused on the scoring part of that list. I was aware of where the rest of the squad was subconsciously but I’ll be looking more actively to keep other shooters safe if/when asked to help again.

We shot moving targets, we moved and shot stationary targets, we shot both paper & steel, we shot through walls and had to back down a hallway and make a right to get yet more “bad guys” (targets) in the shoot house. It was sunny and warm. It was absolutely a good decision to participate. It was an excellent day.

I’m working on making peace with my poor scores and enjoying the good parts of the day. Like the triple hit I made on a target from my first stage (above). The requirement was 3 shots per target. This was at t 15 yards, I think. That’s a sweet grouping and really made me smile. I have much to work on but I’m really thrilled when I see results like this.


Shooting a BUG match with a Snub-nosed Revolver

GirlGoesBang hat

I’ve written about the BUG (Back Up Gun) matches at The Range in Oxford, NC that are offered on months with a 5th Sunday. The one I’m writing about in this post was on January 30, 2016.

I’ve made a habit of shooting these matches with my smallest guns, which are the guns I carry. In the past I’ve shot my Springfield XDS in 9mm and the Ruger LC9s Pro I picked up last year. Note the caliber. I stockpile 9mm as I made a decision a few years back to only buy 9mm handguns. I did purchase a .22lr prior to my first 9mm handgun and it’s great for new shooters. The only other exception was the first gun I ever bought, a snub-nosed .38 Special revolver. A previous post mentioned the steps I’d taken to get it back into reliable shape.

The BUG Match at The Range in Oxford is still using 5 rounds as the maximum round count for BUG guns, so I bought a box of .38 special ammo on sale at Walmart (Perfecta at just under $15/box) and brought along the M&P Pro with a couple of boxes of 9mm ammo. I had the exact number of rounds needed for the BUG gun: a box of 50. That wasn’t good planning, it was dumb luck. I’d recommend at least 60 rounds for your BUG Gun in case you need to do a reshoot on any stage.

If you plan to shoot a BUG match, you don’t need holsters. You can use a gun rug or gun case to transport the gun from stage to stage. Just DO NOT take the gun out of the case until it’s your turn to shoot and the Safety Officer asks you to load and make ready.

Shooters were placed in 3 squads and started on alternate stages (1, 2 and 5). My squad started on Stage 5. That turned out to be fortunate for me as the shoot house, the stage with the most movement, was Stage 4 and my last stage of the day. I learned a few things about the revolver on the other stages that were helpful to know before shooting that stage.

Stage 5 was two strings of 5 shots with the BUG only. Reloads are off the clock. So the first “aha!” moment was at “Load and Make Ready”. A speed loader would sure come in handy for this. I picked up 2 of these a few weeks later.

I put 5 rounds of .38 Special in on pocket and 5 rounds in another pocket so I had the exact number of rounds and could load as fast as possible even if I was loading one by one.

My next “aha!” moment was when I pulled the trigger and there was no BANG! As hard as it is to hear with ear protection, I clearly heard my RO say “Pull it again!” (Thanks Frank!)  I had 5 shots for 5 targets. The next 4 trigger pulls did go bang so I put the sites on the 5th target and pulled a 6th time. This time it went bang. I had experienced my first malfunction drill with a revolver.

It’s amazing how many thoughts can go through your head in a short period of time while you are engaged in a serious activity. But I did have a conversation with myself. “That’s what you get for buying cheap ammo and never shooting it. So what’s the harm in trying to shoot that first round again? None. Wow, since it was the first round, I know exactly where the malfunction was. I wonder what I’d do if it was a different round? Figure that out if you have to. Now pull the trigger!

Stage 6 was also two strings of 5 rounds. Be careful what you ask for as I had another round fail to go bang and I had no idea which round it was. When I counted to 5 I still had one target left so I put the sites on the target, started counting from 1 again and pulled the trigger as fast as I could. If I got to 5 again I was going to stop and unload. It went bang on pull 3 so clearly a second firing pin strike was firing these rounds. I was pleased to see when we scored the targets that with the fast pull I actually hit the cardboard.

This revolver is small and the trigger is long and heavy. The sites barely peak over the top of the gun and I was serious about getting good hits, so except for the last target on stage 6, I pulled slow and steady. I pulled so slow that a friend encouraged me to try it single action. Basically, it hurt him to watch me shoot so slow. Really.

We grabbed our range bags and walked back to Stage 1. That presented a new challenge. Stage instructions: 5 shots at a single target weak hand only, reload off the clock, 5 shots strong hand only while retreating at the same target. Now the approach of shooting single action might not be viable? So I asked our RO Frank. He really didn’t care how I cocked the hammer (use your hands, your toes…) as long as nothing was touching the gun but the designated hand when the trigger was pulled.

One of my shooting buddies said it was possible to cock the hammer with the same hand holding the gun but it was clear to me that trying that for the first time with a loaded gun was a very bad idea. So I cocked the gun with the non-shooting hand and shot single handed with the designated hand.

Here’s what I learned:

  • I’m more accurate with my “weak” hand than my strong hand. But I use that hand for writing so that may be an advantage for me.
  • That gun really kicks. I was really glad to be done after 5 shots single handed and was convinced I’d find bruises in the web between my thumb and index finger later.
  • I can shoot faster (when trying to be accurate) taking the time to cock the hammer and pull the single action trigger.
  • The single action trigger has a lighter break than my 1911. Well, maybe not, but it is much lighter than I expected. My first round did hit the target but the trigger break surprised me. I learned very quickly not to put my finger anywhere on the single action trigger until I had the sites on the target and was ready to shoot.
  • If there is a “no shoot” positioned mid-body of the target, don’t shoot the body. Make the head shot. I hit the no-shoot. Sigh.

Stage 2 was the first stage we shot that brought the primary gun into play. There were two stages total where we basically did a New York Reload.  You load the BUG and place it on a flat surface as directed by the Safety Officer. Ditto for the primary gun. When the buzzer sounds, you pick up the primary gun and shoot the designated course of fire. You keep shooting till you complete the course of fire for the primary gun. You move to the position of the BUG, put the primary gun down, pick up the BUG and shoot the rest of targets. Essentially the BUG is your reload as this all happens on the clock. It’s not a skill you get to use in any other match.

The “aha!” moment came on this stage as soon as the beep went off to start shooting. When I picked up the 9mm M&P Pro, I fumbled the grip after shooting the tiny revolver in all the previous stages.  I wasn’t used to switching back and forth.

On the stage, the course of fire for the primary gun included two poppers and two movers. I missed the first popper and had to take a 2nd shot at it, but got holes in both movers so I was happy with that portion of the stage. I emptied the primary swapped it for the BUG and shot 5 additional targets. All the targets shot with the BUG were down zero, so I was very happy about that. I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to aim as well due to the difference in trigger, sights and grip.

Stage 3 was also a New York Reload style stage. We shot large steel targets just like those used for Steel Challenge. This was my first time shooting these type targets. You keep shooting till you hit each piece of steel once or you are out of rounds. It took me all 11 rounds in my primary gun to hit the 6 targets. That was pretty humbling but did inspire me to shoot my first Steel Challenge match in March. After the steel, I again switched from primary to BUG and shot 5 paper targets. This time I had zero points down and missed the non-threat. That was encouraging.

Stage 4 was in the shoot house and required movement down a hallway and shooting targets around walls (we never break the 180 degree line to avoid putting shooters behind us in danger). We shot two BUG strings, so: 5 targets, one shot each, reload off the clock, and again 5 targets, one shot each. The single action trigger on the revolver was super light and I was glad this stage was last so I’d had time to learn to work with that. I didn’t want an accidental discharge into a wall. I think some of these required head shots and this was the only stage where the targets were obscured by walls initially.

We had good weather for January. I finally put the gun to use in a match that got me into shooting a few years back, and as always, learned a few new things.

Start with an unloaded gun. Really.

Stage start with magazine and empty gun on the barrel.

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:

2015 Carolina Cup – Day 2 for Volunteers

Stage 16 Start: "Old Office"

Stage 16 Start: “Old Office”

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

    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.

Water crew! They even pose for photos.

Stage  13: Not my Garage! Shooting through the back of the NC Moonshine car

Stage 13: Not my Garage! Shooting through the back of the NC Moonshine car

Stage 15: Get off my Deck!

Stage 15: Get off my Deck!

2015 Carolina Cup – Day 1 for Volunteers

Stage 1: "A shooting at the library"

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.

Shooting from a Vehicle & Testing Ammo

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.

Here’s the video, profanity included:

BUG Match!

BUG Gear: 2 mags each gun (brown & red) + holsters fro primary gun (brown) and backup gun (red)

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.

Lessons Learned:

  • 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.

Here’s a recap in just over 4 minutes:

IDPA at The Range in Oxford: 11/9/2014

Stage 6: Shooting Seated at The Range in Oxford

David shooting Stage 6 at The Range in Oxford. Note the wooden blocks restricting movement on the bench.

My friend David and I drove up to Oxford, NC to shoot in last Sunday’s IDPA match at The Range.. The equipment constraints and procedure rules are more restrictive than the Wake County Action Pistol Matches, but shooting an outdoor match brings different opportunities for learning — especially a match in Oxford.

The overall summary was:

  • 6 stages
  • under 90 rounds
  • match briefing at 12:45pm
  • finished our last stage around 3:45pm
  • no malfunctions with my 1911!

All IDPA matches involve shooting and moving. At The Range in Oxford they can also involve shooting from a vehicle: in this case a very abused Toyota 4Runner.

The 4Runner Stage. Driver side targets highlighted in red,

The 4Runner Stage. Driver side targets highlighted in red,

Stage 5 featured the 4Runner. The scenario was basically: Start with your gun in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Shoot 6 targets near to far. Each target gets 2 shots. To achieve that, you needed to shoot two targets out the passenger window, two out the driver window, a 3rd target out the passenger window and back to the driver’s window for the final target.

As I sat in the 4Runner I realized a big person used to drive this vehicle in it’s better days because I sunk way down into that seat. From that position, the first target I needed to shoot was out of site on the passenger side toward the rear of the vehicle.

I thought I had a plan but when the buzzer when off, I picked up the gun with my strong hand and was able to see the first target. It was going to take some effort to slide forward and twist my entire body to get both hands on the gun, and the target was right there. I thought “reach out and touch it” and just lined up the shot with my strong hand and squeezed the trigger. I shot the 2nd target the same way then began to use both hands. For the first time ever I noticed a low shot and took a make up shot immediately.

I shoot slow. I always place close to last in every match. But I have fun shooting and in the this case had zero down. I was so happy I had a huge grin the rest of the day.

I also want to mention a few other lessons learned / observations:

– Stage 6 (see photo at the top) required the shooter to stay within the wooden blocks on the bench while shooting. In that case being small was an advantage. I had more wiggle room to line up my shots. I was down zero on that stage as well. I am thrilled with small victories like that!

– The last stage we shot, Stage 3, had rectangular steel plates partially blocking some of the targets. I’d never seen that before so I asked if they were non-threats. I was told they were “round eaters”. It was a limited vickers stage so if your shot hit the steel, it wasn’t going to hit the target. The ping of hitting steel also telegraphs your mistake to the entire squad. Oh joy… I managed to avoid all the steel and did a little victory dance in my head. Especially since the first 6 shots were weak hand only and the next 6 were strong hand only. The final 6 shots were head shots with both hands on the gun. I did manage to miss one head. Bummer.

– Finally, I got called for moving while reloading across an opening in cover. The RSO told me he was going to have to assess the penalty and my response was, “I was really moving while reloading? Go me! I had no idea I could do that. I’m happy to take the penalty.” He grinned and said “And it was a tactical reload too.”  This is progress!

I checked the scores. I came in 3rd to last. As I said, I’m slow. Also, I admit that I really don’t practice much. I’ve had to think about why I shoot these matches and for now there are several reasons and none of them have anything to do with winning.

  • Handle my gun safely on a regular basis
  • Challenge myself with scenarios that require planning, moving and shooting
  • Have fun!!! And I certainly achieved that!