In Which I Revert To Auto Pilot

Went to the USPSA match on Sunday.  It was the first match I actually did as a USPSA member and I screwed the pooch hard.  Thankfully this pooch wasn’t the classifier.

I drew the short straw and got to start off the match as the lead shooter on the first stage.  Had a nasty failure that current suspicion is a failing mag.  The round went vertical and didn’t feed properly.  I promptly racked the slide, nothing happened. did it again, looked, said a couple expletives, dumped the mag, reloaded and was off again.  Then to add further annoyance I ended up shooting through a target and hitting the steel target behind it.  I finished the stage and then said, “Wait isn’t that a range equipment failure?”  To which Adam replied, “Yes it was, would you like a reshoot”.  To which I replied, “YES!”  It wasn’t intentional but it was for the best given my failure, in more ways than one with a no shoot taking a bullet to the face.  Reshot the stage clean other than one miss thanks to a barrel which caught the round.  I missed the fact the barrel moved, which was a tip I got after I completed the stage.  The RO saw the barrel move and mentioned to look for it next time.

Then we went and shot a Virginia count that I went all Ry on as I switched to auto pilot for some reason.   We were supposed to draw, engage each target once freestyle, mandatory reload, then engage again strong hand only.  Then we would holster and repeat this process where we would use our weak hand instead of strong hand.  Your humble host for one reason or another hit all 6 targets, dropped his mag, inserted a fresh mag, and then went right back into it… with both hands.  I didn’t think about the strong hand only.  So after I holster the RO says, “Your brain work?”  To which I replied, “Usually, I think it just did a halt though.”  To which he replies to me and the score keeper, “I’d say so… 6 Procedurals”.  At this point I’ve screwed the stage.  That’s –60 points and at best if I aced the first 6 hits, and ace the last 12 I can only score a 30 on the stage.  I run the stage remember to go weak hand, but I didn’t ace all the hits in the first string.  Yeah, I didn’t look, but I’m reasonably sure that was a big fat goose egg.

Then we did the classifier which was El Strong & Weak Pres.  I actually rocked the first half.  No misses, no hits on the no shoot, decently fast (for me).  Then I shot the second string weak hand.  Missed one shot on T1, drilled T2 both shots, drilled T3 on the first shot, and then the inevitable happened.  As I squeezed the trigger weak hand I felt the break.  Mid recoil I knew what I had just done.  I dumped around in the no shoot.  Without missing a beat a noun form of a particular 4 letter word escaped my mouth to which Adam started laughing.  Then I saw the target, sure enough there was a nice .45 caliber hole through the no-shoot on his left side.  Had the no shoot not been there it would have still been in the A zone of the target, but that doesn’t matter, I hit the white guy.

Then I ran the last stage, which was one of my favorite types, a hall with targets on both sides.  Prior to going down the hall you needed to engage 4 targets through two different windows on opposite sides of the hall.  I started off fast, then it happened.  The same exact failure as before.  A round went vertical in the mag well.  Dump the mag, reload and continue.  I didn’t mark which mag that was, I should have.  I know two are excluded from worry, but that leaves three.  The other option is I didn’t ride the recoil well during a second shot since I was double tapping targets at close distance.  I wasn’t looking for a super tight sight picture on the follow up shots.

The good news was I didn’t screw the classifier, other than the clip on the no-shoot, which is more than enough to kill me.  Lesson, I need to practice more weak hand.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

About Barron

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.
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4 Responses to In Which I Revert To Auto Pilot

  1. Michael Fry says:

    As I am sure everyone has told you, we all wind up zeroing stages at some point.  Including classifiers, it is all part of the learning curve.  A couple of the guys that I shoot with regularly have state championships under the belt and I see them have off days on stages, it happens.  It just doesn’t happen to them as much as it happens to me.  Practice and experience.

    • At least I wasn’t the guy that Kevin Imel showed video of during the RO class who kneeled down to take the shots through a port and his foot when over the line.  Then when he went prone his foot went over the line again.

      Every last shot for him was a procedural.

      Mine was my brain decided that there was something else it needed to pay attention to than telling me, “One hand you [email protected]#$ing dolt!”

  2. Robb Allen says:

    Good on you for understanding your mistakes and learning from them. That’s pretty much my goal when <a href="http://blog.robballen.com/2012/04/03/p5506-full-video-for-march-uspsa-shoot.post&quot;?I video my matches . I can watch them later and catch where I was borking up. Often, I can also ‘relive’ the moment and think about what was going through my mind.

    I think the biggest gains are learning from the mistakes, but you have to take care to also learn from your successes.

    • Yeah, my biggest problem currently is remembering to just slow the hell down for followup shots and not worry that much about time.

      Since I’m shooting my XD more though I’ve been getting better and not needing as much of a warmup to actually hit the broad side of a barn.

      I think what I need to do is switch gears in my brain and ignore hit factor and focus purely on score.  Screw the time, ace the score reliably and then look at those times and start moving forward.