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Shooting USPSA and I 'm slow-way slow. Hints/tips please

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by Dudedog, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    In general my accuracy is decent good points, a few no shoots and mikes but not a lot.
    I am shooing single stack 9mm 1911 10 round mags so it take 2 mabye 3 mag changes. I know I am not as fast as could be but am not way slow currently say about 45 seconds for 15 targets (2/3 changes)
    I now I can pick up time there. I can pick up time moving faster, maybe save some buy not refineing my shooting position at the target. and I guess just shoot quicker. shooting mostly 1st shot aimed double taps except on the steel which I seem to get with one round most of the time. I know the answer is practice and improving my athletic ability (which is not real high as lately I have been driving a desk)
    Had my 4 match and both it a #3 I ended up about 20% overall
    So far goals are eliminate hitting no shoots. (seem to manage 2 a match, last match I had none), eliminate missed targets (2 - 5 of those)1/2 of these were mental errors not accuracy issues.
    My first match I shot slower and more accurate but my HF was lower.

    I don't except to be a master shooter, But I want to get my self out of D.
    I can post stage data if it might help with suggestions..

    Any advice would be appreciated..
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  2. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    The good news is that, at that level and level of experience, improvement is likely to come quickly and easily... you surely have a LOT of low-hanging fruit to pick. A few random thoughts, based on nothing in particular except running a club match that sees lots of new shooters every year and then getting to watch those guys/gals improve (or not improve):

    1. If you learn by reading, read one of the good books. I personally like this one a lot: http://astore.amazon.com/bensto02-20/detail/1533397716

    2. You say you lack athletic ability because you drive a desk. Lots of highly-classified shooters are flat-out obese. Being very fit is helpful, but it's not essential. What is essential is that when you move, you move with urgency. Lots of shooters - including guys who run marathons or who were serious high school or even college athletes - tiptoe through stages. To hell with that. If you need to move, MOVE! Move like you're playing shortstop and a ball has been hit into the hole, or like your toddler is playing in the street and a cement mixer is barreling towards them... you HAVE to get there, and being .5 seconds late getting there is as bad as not getting there at all. That's the mentality for movement, IMO.

    3. Lots of dryfire. Lots of draws and reloads especially. Just like with your feet, get used to moving your hands fast. Slow is not fast. Fast is fast.

    4. Don't worry about breaking the shot faster. Do everything else faster. Get the gun up and ready to fire faster (and before your feet stop moving if you're coming in to a position). Move your eyes between targets faster. Run as fast as you can. Break the shot when the sights are telling you.

    5. Get used to firing - or at least aiming - without being completely "settled" into position. Lots of people coming from a square range background really seem to want to "settle" into a shooting position for quite a while before they can really begin the process of shooting. Nuts to that. Be looking at the front sight while you're still "settling," and as soon as it tells you that you're aimed at the A-zone, go for it.

    It's possible that some or all of the above doesn't apply to you, but, IME, these things apply to basically all new USPSA shooters, especially slow ones. There are surely many other individual-specific points, but the above are near-universal. Next most common would be completely ineffective recoil control, but that is more individualized to identify and fix... and it's possible you don't have that issue.

    Note: I'm a B-class shooter, so I've got no tips on how to get really good. But I know how to get from terrible to mediocre!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  3. Peter Gun

    Peter Gun Member

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    Practice point shooting more. As said above , you can't get too settled into a sight picture or stance.
    On close targets, 3 yards and under especially, you have to get to the point where you don't even look at the sights. Practice dry firing at close targets without looking at your sights, then check your alignment with the sights periodically. You will develop confidence in your point shooting and be much faster.
    For more distance targets , practice bringing gun up to sight picture on target. If you seem to have trouble getting a quick sight picture, try playing with your grip until you get something that allows you to easily get the gun on target instinctively.
    Really, just about dry practice. Once you have developed decent trigger pull technique, it's really all about getting the gun pointed quickly on target. Don't even need to really practice the trigger pull as much, just lots of pointing at many different targets from different positions.
     
  4. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    what do you mean by mental errors? Missed arrays/targets?

    Your first match you were more accurate but slow as molasses. correct?
    However when you picked up the pace, you got serious penalties. correct?
    It sounds like you were going to fast for your skill level. What kind of drills do you practice? Dry fire regimen? what kind of sights are you running?

    Your shooting single stack minor.. your goal has to be all A's and speed will have to come later.

    While I agree with ATL on exploding out of position and to positions it will likely end in a train wreck from what you have described. As every no shoot hit, you might as well crawled between positions on your belly...

    Ive been a desk jockey for 25yrs and thats not an excuse. But you have to have your fundamentals correct first, before you can excel.
     
  5. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I really don't think there's a tradeoff between moving hard between positions and accuracy. In fact, I think a lot of D-level shooters feel more time pressure because they (correctly) sense that the time is really piling up on a stage... which just means they whack the trigger before the sights say it's ok. There's just no downside to running hard between positions.... then shoot however fast the sights say to.

    Further elaboration: Note that my post was based on the "non-diagnostic" stuff. Without understanding the specifics of what targets are being missed (are these 4 yard hosers? 25 yard WHO standards targets with a bunch of hardcover? 10 yard partials with no-shoots? movers?), I certainly cannot say whether "fundamentals" are the issue or something else. The things I mentioned are things that I have observed to be almost universal among new shooters, and completely universal to new shooters who know they are slow.

    Now, is it likely that the OP has some issue with recoil control or trigger press? Possibly. That wouldn't be surprising at all. Is it likely that the OP has issues with stage planning? Sure seems that way from the comment about mental errors. But based on what is available, the advice might or might not be different.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  6. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    yeah its impossible to diagnose with limited info + no video + no practiscore, etc. etc.
     
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  7. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    If you are a D class shooter finishing at 20% at a local match with only a handful of penalties, my first instinct is that you are SLLLLOOOOWWW, super slow, and that is going to be the lowest hanging fruit... you will need to speed up everything. Particularly gun handling and movement, and being ready to shoot when you get into a position. I would second what ATLDave said.

    In addition to developing the physical skills, virtually all new shooters also don't visualize the stage enough to make that quick/immediate flow through the stage happen. Develop a plan of EXACTLY what you are going to do during the walkthrough period. Then close your eyes if you have to, and visualize you actually shooting your plan about ten times in your head. Then when the buzzer goes off, you do not have to think about what your next step is... you should be on autopilot in more of an observational mode. Thinking takes time, and if you are doing it on the clock, that is bad.

    Video is one of the best tools for people in your current situation. If you can get some from your next match, post it up, and we can likely quickly evaluate the very best places for you to start shaving time.

    Like said... Dryfire all the gun handling items like draws, reloads. Start driving the time down on that stuff.
     
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  8. waktasz

    waktasz Member

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    This is pretty bad advice.
    Practicing to ignore your sights in certain situations is not a good idea.
    And the majority of shooters have bad trigger control, so suggesting that trigger control isn't needed doesn't help either.
     
  9. Peter Gun

    Peter Gun Member

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    Ok, I'm no grand master. It's advice that helped me. Yes you have to get the fundamentals down first, but point shooting is certainly an important part of shooting fast.
     
  10. muncie21

    muncie21 Member

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    For me the easiest thing to improve your scores, is to get to your shooting position faster. This doesn't require any fine motor skills or lots of practice, if you can save 1-2 seconds on each transition/movement you've got more time to aim.

    Someone once told me that you should never take more steps than necessary to get to a target/shooting position. Not sure if he was an A or D shooter, but it makes sense- more steps=more time
     
  11. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Don't misunderstand me I am not unhappy that I am a D shooter,(I only get what I deserve and earn) but on the other hand I'm not happy about it either and want to improve.
    The way I worded in my other post may have come out wrong.
    I am having a great time which is what is most important (after being safe) IMO. This was just the 4th match I have shot so I am still at the bottom of the learning curve. (conditions for last one were sloppy, raining, targets bagged, muddy, poor footing, which seemed to hurt the guys wearing tennis shoes but didn't seem to bother me other than my boots had 3 lbs of mud on them by stage end:))
    The no shoots I hit were on the edge on some of the longer shots. Not an excuse to hit them but just mentioning it. (rats not even a B hit on them )Generally I don't even know the ones I missed as targets are being taped by multiple people before I see them. (and I have a hard time seeing bullet holes in the targets more than say 13 yards away.)I have considered asking them to wait until I see them but I don't know if that would be considered poor etiquette?
    Mental errors were forgetting my stage plan, shooting one target from the wrong window which was closer but gave me a really bad angle, so I know I really need to improve on stage planning. (and lots of things---I am a D shooter)
    I don't have anyone going with me that could shoot video but can ask some of the other people if they wouldn't mind, I'm sure someone would help. If I can get some I will post it.
    I believe I can move faster, I am in good enough shape to run the course a couple times but a marathon is out of the question.
    I think this mentality for movement will help.

    Sights-stock Springfield loaded (2015 model) black sights with some orange paint on the black front sight.
    Sorry your correct, without proper information it's hard to reach a good conclusion.
    I was kind of hunting for the well new shooters all pretty much tend to do X when they need to do Y.
    I can post the practiscore info if you think it would be helpful and no one will hurt themselves falling out of their chair laughing.
    I will dig them up and post shortly.
    Thanks everybody for your help so far.
    ALTDave some good info for me in your post.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  12. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Match3.JPG Match4.JPG
    And Yes I know the misses are killing me and I am slow.
    I am sure practice and experience will help.
    As a side note the gun and ammo are up to the task at hand.
    A fiber optic front sight might help but the pistol and ammo combo is capable of shooting all A hits if I do my part.

    Still not enough info I know but for what it's worth.

    I know that it is unreasonable to expect improvement without practice.
    Side note: If the target is more than about 7 yards away I can't see the A zone marks unless I look really close and bullet holes are hard beyond about 12 or so.
    Sure was easier to shoot when my eyesight was better. Getting old is a drag but the only alternative is worse.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  13. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Cautious/tentative reaction: That's an odd-ish mix of a fair number of A's to go with a pantload of misses. Suggests* that it's not primarily a "cone of dispersion" issue (i.e., you just can't shoot straight). You're likely doing something different on those misses and no-shoots. Not seeing the sights, or pulling off on your way to another target/position, or... Do YOU see any pattern in them? How many of them are FTE (never even shot at the target)?

    * Unless there's a LOT of steel at those matches, which can "artificially" inflate A's - because steel is either an A or an M. Or just a ton of super close targets and then a smaller number of quite challenging targets. Or something similarly atypical about the match setup itself.
     
  14. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    That's a good question. I don't know which ones I missed. (or why) I should be able to hit them....I am not great on the ones 20+ yards away but I know I am cable of hitting them. (maybe not all A s)
    When shooting the stage I don't really think about my shooting position mostly just lining up the sights, but I could be wasting time adjusting it and not thinking about it. Video is the answer to a lot of the questions I think.
    (I should be able to provide lots of good examples of what not to do for others:))
    I do know on that a couple of the misses were BFs (Brain Farts AKA FTE) but only 2 for sure that I know I forgot in the matches. (maybe more but I don't think so??)
    Not an excessive amount of steel in the last matches.
    Makes me think though. I out to be taking pictures of the stages to look at later and think about...stage planning practice.
    Like I mentioned earlier I have only shot 4 matches so I don't really expect to become a C shooter over night, I should not have said ASAP. It's maybe just a hangup from back in my school days, I never got Ds and could count the Cs on one hand.
    As Dudedog a D shooter I would hate to become known as DDD:eek:
    Would asking them to wait for me to see the targets before they get taped be considered poor etiquette? (not trying to imply they weren't scored correctly but would like to see where I hit them)

    I think I will probably order the book looks like it might be worthwhile.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  15. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Follow whomever is calling the scores.. Pick up your mags, etc. afterwards while they are pasting.

    You definitely need to work on better scores before you think of going faster.
     
  16. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    Pulling the trigger well and improving overall speed is not and either/or proposition. You need to do both, and you can do both at the same time.
    It is not bad etiquette to want to see your targets; especially one with a mike. Generally it is bad etiquette for the scorers/pasters to NOT show you a target with a mike. Maybe for a newbie who is having a relatively high number, they won't call you to every one, but don't hesitate to slow the scorer down if you have a question.

    The good news is that for a D shooter without a serious physical ailment, there is low hanging fruit EVERYWHERE... a little bit of focused practice, or even just more general match experience is likely to get you big gains everywhere.

    Video is probably the next best tool as already mentioned.
    As far as stage plans, if you think you are still having issues, you can watch what the more experienced guys do, and copy theirs if they are in a similar round count division. Don't be afraid to do that, or ask others what they would recommend in terms of stage planning.

    You also mentioned a couple times looking at holes in the target. 95% of the time you should not see, nor be looking for, holes in the targets as you are shooting. It is a difficult skill to fully develop, so this probably wont happen overnight, but you need to work toward calling the shot off your sights and knowing pretty much where it went based on what you see in your sights and feel in your trigger pull. Looking at the target is taking up time that should be spent transitioning to the next shot or target.
     
  17. muncie21

    muncie21 Member

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    If the folks hosting the match are following USPSA rules, you can (most do) accompany the RO during scoring. This is done because scores can be challenged by the shooter, there are some exceptions, but generally this must be done before the they are pasted.

    Keep in mind that you aren't supposed to touch the actual targets before they are score, although this rule may not be enforced at lower level matches.
     
  18. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Yep, you can follow the RO. He/she will likely be trying to move fast, so you'll have to hustle. If you hear a call that you think is really surprising (e.g., you called two good hits or saw two holes and they say "charlie mike") you can say "hang on, can I see that?" You don't want to do that a lot, but it's allowed.

    Of course, for a two-mike target, there's nothing to see! Or at least nothing is different as a result of pasting.
     
  19. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Dont see why not... Only thing that is truly annoying is the guys that want to argue every close shot or want the overlay broken out on every Mic. :)
     
  20. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Well, you don't want to be the shooter whose scoring takes 4 times as long as any other competitor because you want to scrutinize every C/D target to see if you can find a second charlie. The shooter has a right to examine the targets... and an etiquette/social-norm obligation not to unduly delay the match. That's what I meant by "You don't want to do that [holding up pasting while you examine a target] a lot."
     
  21. waktasz

    waktasz Member

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    If they are scoring any taping while you are shooting, or just after you finish, you can assign someone to walk with the RO while they score the targets and check them for you. Otherwise, you are free to do it if you want.
     
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  22. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    No plan on arguing about a B hit vs a C hit or getting out the overlay. It's more I just want to see if I hit them were I thought I did.
    I am normally pretty consistent when I take my time but for example if everything is high right I need to figure out why.
    Am I gripping different because I am not as relaxed etc.

    Plan for the next move faster shoot slower. In the mean time practice practice practice.
    Thanks again for some tips.
    I will let you know how it goes.

    Somehow I seem to have forgotten this plan I made after the first match.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017 at 12:43 AM
  23. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    At the top of this thread a poster (ATLDave) recommended a Ben Stoeger book. That book is very good and I hope you have purchased it. Ben also has several books with practice drills, especially his dry fire drills book. If you really want to see your scores improve you need to devote at least 5 days/week to dry fire. Even if it's only 5-10 minutes/day, if you make the effort it will reward you.

    Along with dry fire, you should consider getting a shot timer or an app for your phone. Having a 4 second delay start tone and a "par" setting that give the start beep then another at a pre-set time is good to help increase speed in practice. Also if you use a shot timer all the time at practice you will get used to the sound and the dread feeling we get when it's our turn to shoot will go away. Make up some dummy rounds for dry fire and even spend time doing reload training. Make or buy scale down practice targets and set up mini-courses in your dry fire room.

    I just put my first dot sight on my revo and at first I couldn't draw and find the dot quickly. I practiced, practiced and practiced draws to first shot. Over and over. Eyes open, eyes closed. Then one day I went from not finding the dot without a lot of struggle to draw-there it is!

    I'm not advertising for another forum but the Brian Enos forum is mainly USPSA shooters. There is a ton of support and a lot of videos and tips/suggestions there. FYI I'm not a good shooter by any stretch of the imagination so I don't even post there, just browse. I've been fooling around with USPSA and IDPA for 4 years, happy to just shoot and not come in dead last. But this year is going to be different. I have been dry firing daily since Jan 1. My main thing is going to be steel because I wanted to use a dot and a dot on a revo puts it in USPSA open class. So when I shoot USPSA this year it will be production auto, which I'm even worse at then revo. I'm just going to do a few local club matches, my main focus this year will be Steel Challenge OSR (Optical Sight Revolver). I'm going to shoot 10 or more matches this year in steel challenge plus local other steel and a little IDPA revolver also.

    So another thing to consider if you haven't already is steel challenge. You will get a lot of draws under pressure and fast target acquisition. My first steel match this year is a week away.
     
  24. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    If you are not familiar with the very newest rules, there is a "Carry optics" division that is brand new, that is basically Production-legal gun, plus a slide mounted red dot and 140mm magazines. For those who may have vision issues or otherwise just want to shoot a dot in a division that should become at least mildly popular, and with a lower cost of entry for a competitive setup than Open, CO is now an option.
     

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