IPDA at PDHSC – April 27th

I haven’t shot an IDPA match at PDHSC since last October. Partly it’s because I’m just not a late night person and the last match I showot went past 10pm. Partly it’s because I have been shooting outdoor matches at The Range or Caswell Ranch. I heard on the Triangle Tactical podcast that the matches at PDHSC were ending much earlier and I wanted to see a shooting buddy I had not seen in much too long, so I headed over to PDHSC and arrived around 4:30pm to sign in for the match.

They will take charge cards so I paid my $15 on plastic and signed up for a squad with my buddy (who is always early). If you are new to shooting matches, they will assign you to a squad. If you want to shoot with a friend, just tell them and it’s usually not a problem.

Then I went back out to the car and “dressed” for the match. I tucked in my shirt tail, put on my belt with two mag pouches and and holster. I’m shooting the 1911. I added my concealment vest. I double checked to make sure the gun was unloaded and the hammer was down. This is how they prefer you arrive for the match. Use the parking lot just the way you would at an outdoor match. Or prep at home before you drive to the range. Space is at a premium in the building and folks unloading guns, or moving guns from range bags to holsters in tight quarters is frowned upon.

During the match, the only shooters permitted to have “live” guns at all times are the Range Safety Offices (RSOs).

I’d pre-loaded all my magazines at home. That is one less things to have to tackle just before the match. I also brought my small match bag instead of my full range bag.

David Bramble runs the match at PDHCS. He always starts off by reviewing the IDPA Four Rules of Gun Safety. He picks competitors to share the rules and that keeps everyone on their toes. He will review other rules that are unique the PDHSC or emphasize rules that have caused competitors to be DQ’d (disqualified) in the past. It’s all about creating an awareness of safety and I agree that can’t be over done.

We had 8 folks on our squad. The last time I shot it was 12. That may be why the matches are ending at a more reasonable hour. We were out by 8:30pm.

How did I shoot? My accuracy is improving but I’m very slow. I was 3rd to last. Sigh. I was very please with the first 5 stages. I shot the first stage clean. I was down 1 on most other stages except for a hit on a non-threat up until the 6th stage. However, I was grossly inaccurate on the last stage. There was a distance target that was in the shadows… and I had a failure to neutralize. Not a happy end to the match.

But I did go. I did shoot. And I’m continuing to learn.

More importantly, I gave a friend a hug who really needed one.





Got the bushings and screws from S&W!

In the final post about the 1911 Grip Saga, I received the replacement bushings and two kinds for screws to fit the original 1911 grips on April 2nd.

Original 1911 Grips and hardware - including a hex wrench.

Original 1911 Grips and hardware – including a hex wrench.

The grip screws came with the hex heads, but the fellow I spoke with on the phone sent me a set of screws which could be removed with a regular slotted screwdriver. I tossed it all in an envelope with the hex wrench my gunsmith gave me for the original screws. Now if I want to sell this gun, I have everything needed to restore the original grips, if desired.

Total time from the first call until the warranty claim was fully addressed: about 3 1/2 months. I know they are slammed due to the current political climate, but I’m glad I wasn’t in a hurry.

Previous posts: Part 1: The Defective Grip Saga,  Part 2: Call, don’t email S&W

You share, I share

I was leaving an office building late in the business day on a Friday. There was virtually no foot traffic and I happened to cross paths with the security guard. I took the opportunity to ask a few questions. His initial reaction was rather closed. When I explained that I had my concealed carry permit and I was interested in speaking with folks who understood security, he opened up.

He commented that he thought it was great to see a women take an active interest in her safety and to be an active shooter. I was able to ask his opinion on carry guns, holsters, and security. I shared the best places for women to learn to shoot locally once he mentioned that he wished his wife was more interested. And I encouraged him to consider shooting competition.

It was a great exchange. And even though it was late in the day, I left with a smile.

I’ve realized that most every gun owner has opinions. They often conflict. The more people I talk to, the more information I have to form my own opinions. I encourage any new shooter to do the same.


Forcing the Slide

Back when I managed to paint my XD9 shut, I made a visit to the gun smith that has been so helpful to me in this journey. He forced the slide open and showed me the hand position  that he found gave him the most leverage to do that. He was kind enough to let me take photos of that hand position on a future visit when I wasn’t in such a flustered state.

Here are the two views of his hands on one of the guns from the shop:

Hands from above

Hands from above

Reverse view of hands

I’m not going to tell you when it’s best to force the slide versus taking a problem gun to a qualified gunsmith, but if I ever paint another gun shut (no plans at this time!!!) I’ll have a plan for getting the snap caps out.

Frustrated… so I signed up for a class

I’ve been shooting for just over a year. I’ve learned quite a bit: about guns (that cranky 1911), competition, and shooting. But I’m not getting any better, really. I still come in dead last or in the bottom 5 at every match. A friend and I were trading email about our journey and he wrote: “I classified as an IDPA Marksman a few months back and am going to try for Sharpshooter”. We shot our first match together. I’m still a bottom ranked Novice. I am not happy about this.

One of the contributing factors was getting pushed into buying a 1911. I waited for the slim grips to arrive and I essentially started from scratch. I wasn’t used to a gun with a thumb safety and I had spent too much to sign up for more private lessons last fall. Several competitors at matches where I’ve shot have volunteered their opinion, “Whoever told you to buy that 1911 did you no favors.”. One of the local shooters I watch gave up on his 1911 (for now).  It’s a great gun. It’s just more gun than I know what to do with and it requires additional knowledge and experience to use well. Dealing with “hardware” issues has distracted me from developing my shooting skills.

Add to that I took off work at lunch on Good Friday (forgetting that it was a holiday) and intended to practice at the range — only to find a 45 – 60 minute wait for a lane. So back to work I went with no practice. The weekends are worse.

What have I been doing? Shooting a match or live fire practice at the range once a week.

What am I not doing? Dry fire practice and getting instruction. At this point I don’t even trust I’m practicing the right things.

Time for a change…

We all have constraints on time and money, but I found a class that I can afford, with an instructor that comes highly recommended by a match director and many past students. I’ll be packing a lunch Saturday and heading north for a full day of basic competition instruction. Once I have that refresher, I need to make time to do much more dry fire practice and see how that works.

I feel like I’m a slow starter, but I know I’m not a quitter. Signing up for this class makes me feel more positive, should improve my skills, and gives me the opportunity to meet other shooters.