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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am taking this is as a huge learning experience. My son Joshua (11) and I went to our first ever USPSA match in Montana. I mulled the entire match over many times on the way home. There were 62 shooters for the match, and 25 for Production division. I was using my XD-9 that I have had for about 6 years, and my son was using my CZ-75B. Final scores put me in D class with a 34%.

About halfway though my very first stage I had my XD lock up so tight we almost had to get a mallet to get the live round out of the chamber. After I looked at the round I found that it was a reload, not mine, and I did not catch it when I loaded up the magazine. I figure someone tossed it in my box at some point thinking it was. It was not sized correctly. The rest of the match went very poorly for me shooting wise. I normally will drop 1 or 2 for an entire match (club level), but over half my shots were out of the A zone today. More on that in a minute.

Joshua did fairly well today and did not drop that many points on the stages.

Pro: We came away with no extra holes, and I did not get DQ'd. Joshua had a good time.

Con: I, and Joshua, were repeatedly told what we were doing incorrectly. This is not a bad thing, just that there was a LOT of it. Of course Joshua gets his from me because I am the one that taught him. So, I found myself trying very hard not to break the rules and to heck with the front sight and if they were lined up was a result, along with my poor grip coming back (more later). I was told several times that we could have been DQ'd but they let it go since we were new. I am guessing that at the club level that we have been shooting, which is more of a 'fun' type shoot, has allowed bad form to set it or never get noticed.

Learning to be done: When moving, do not lower the muzzle of the weapon, keep it horizontal. This was a big one for us. It is what I was taught to do, and is evidently a big no-no. I also tip the pistol over too far when I do reloads and they want it to be close to vertical. I should stop getting so flustered and remember to keep on the front sight. Watching the front sight is a must, and getting my better grip ingrained needs to be done.

I have nowhere to go but up. Heck, I can't get much lower. :) I do have a timer coming, but there are a lot of basics that I need to cover first before shooing and speed is not one of them. Good or bad, almost all these issues can be done without actual shooting. I have to readjust my practice planning. I had purchased the training book my Mike Seeklander, and have spent 2 months working on my grip and shooting of the XD. The XD is a very poor shooter in my hands, but if I grip it just right, and concentrate, I can do ok with it. I am determined to use it this year and I am shooting NONE of my other pistols while I work on it. I have over 2000 firing repetitions that I have done wrong just in the last 2 months, so now I have to get forming new correct habits.
 

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Congrats to you and your son on the first "big" match. Good to know there are no extra holes and you didn't get DQ'ed. Safety has to come first in these matches so work on that 1st. Don't worry about the speed part; it will come. Sounds like you plan on getting completely comfortable with the XD and that will make a big difference in your performance. Get the safety issues corrected, practice, practice, practice, and have a lot of fun.
 

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Practical shooting is a game; remember that.

Games have rules. I'm guessing you didn't break many rules, rather you bent a few close to the limits. There seems to be a lot of ego manifest with the club you visited; they should have run you through a basic safety and technique tutorial. I'm guessing nobody wants that extra work (they all came to play) and there was great interest in collecting your match fees instead.



Don't practice without a coach to first show you the correct procedure; ask someone who seems competent. Maybe a range officer type; one with an outgoing personality. (Or get professional help see below.)

It's hard to understand what you did wrong on the reload. Drop the mag and slam a new one in with the well canted about 45 degrees toward the reloading hand; muzzle pointed at the rear backstop. I don't get the vertical thing.

The rules call for a DQ if you put a round into the ground too close to yourself and the range officer. They also make DQ a possibility if a round goes over the backstop. Along with the 180 rule this makes the safe muzzle direction down range toward the back backstop. You can get a copy of the rules from the USPSA website.

The front sigh mantra is overworked--true and all that--but still overworked. You can work out the geometry if you like but with the front sight on the target (at typical match distances) if you get it (the front sight) on the target and roughly centered in the rear sight notch as you press the trigger (without additional motion) the bullet will strike the target most of the time. They're big on accounting for bullets!

Re: your hand or grip technique: Modern Technique of the Pistol via Gunsite proshop will give you a better foundation than 10 IPSC shooters all yammering in your ear about their special adaptations.




My experience with both club fun matches and with IPSC matches is that only about 5% of the people know what they are doing; 300% of the group will try to convince you of their own personal expertise.




I quit playing for health reasons but the lack of real true knowledge as to technique was also a tipping factor. A couple good classes with a pro fixed almost everything. Follow through with your one pistol promise, it will give you the best chance of success. Modern, off the shelf guns from reputable makers are sufficient to build good skills. Once those are acquired, you'll be in a position to evaluate what in or on the gun might make further improvements.


The whole experience should have had a humbling effect-34% is a very respectable score for a novice (yes, I do know. I did the game stats (scoring) for more than 2 years back when the computer was just being introduced and this included several state championships). The extra belittlement was sloppy on the part of the club/organizers. You might also be a bit over-sensitive--it's common.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am overly critical, so I would not go so far as to place blame on the club or the members there. It is also tough to go some place where there is nobody that you know.

The biggest issue that I was harped on (as was my son, because guess who taught him) was my lowering my weapon during movement. They want the weapon straight out, concerns about sweeping your feet. Since I was taught that way, as it is used in dynamic environments with others, that is what I do. Our local club fun events have lots of LEO/Military, so probably the reason that it is common or not a big deal. So, I have to train myself to back out from a barrier farther while keeping the gun level.

The other item was that both of us tilt the pistol over too far while doing reloads. I don't know, magazine comes out fine. My son was harped on going too slow since he retains the magazine. That is due to him starting 2 years ago with a P22 at the club matches, them being fragile, and I telling him to retain them.

So, we had a good time, and we have lots to learn. I know my shooting level, and that is far below. Most of my stage times were in the 50% range, which is what I expected, even when I got flustered. I normally go that speed and drop maybe 1 or 2 C's for an entire match (club uses IPSC targets). Shooting minor and half C's or worse killed my score.
 

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I am overly critical, so I would not go so far as to place blame on the club or the members there. It is also tough to go some place where there is nobody that you know.

The biggest issue that I was harped on (as was my son, because guess who taught him) was my lowering my weapon during movement. They want the weapon straight out, concerns about sweeping your feet. Since I was taught that way, as it is used in dynamic environments with others, that is what I do. Our local club fun events have lots of LEO/Military, so probably the reason that it is common or not a big deal. So, I have to train myself to back out from a barrier farther while keeping the gun level.

The other item was that both of us tilt the pistol over too far while doing reloads. I don't know, magazine comes out fine. My son was harped on going too slow since he retains the magazine. That is due to him starting 2 years ago with a P22 at the club matches, them being fragile, and I telling him to retain them.

So, we had a good time, and we have lots to learn. I know my shooting level, and that is far below. Most of my stage times were in the 50% range, which is what I expected, even when I got flustered. I normally go that speed and drop maybe 1 or 2 C's for an entire match (club uses IPSC targets). Shooting minor and half C's or worse killed my score.

Like I said "a game". I do put a lot of criticism on USPSA/IPSC. They (as a group) have a tendency to get 'full of themselves'. You should have had an experienced mentor-same for your son. These people should have explained the 180, the muzzle level, the reload etc, etc. It's part of being 'full of themselves!"

In a purely practical sense, I like the muzzle level rule. There is real danger when swinging it up or down-in one case where does an AD go/end?, in the other I like my feet and legs. Good trigger finger control is paramount (another thing they should have gone over!). I wouldn't hold either LE or military up as standards of good (or even adequate) gun handling/muzzle control.


I am still very puzzled by the reload issue. First lets dispense with 'going to slow'. that bull poop. So your son is not the most competitive shooter, so what. In a first match he (and you) should be all about safety. As a former RO I can say definitively "you can crawl through the course as long as you are safe, I'll wait. But break a safety rule just once-no matter how fast you can go or how much experience you have, and you go home!" As fast as you can be unloaded, the sheet mark DQ and you can walk to your vehicle is all the time you have left on the range that day.

So you have the gun up to the line of eye/target and decide to reload. Pop the mag release, tilt the mag well toward the reload coming up from the belt in your other hand. Seat and slam the mag home, re-grip for firing and go back to work. Where does anything go vertical? What was tilting too far? Again, and again, who showed you how it's done?

There is no reason minor kills scores-you gotta miss the A zone. FRONT SIGHT, FRONT SIGHT, FRONT SIGHT! A D score in the top half of the D score range is perfectly respectable if you are safe---it's a game.


I spent three years going where I was unknown. I shot a stock minor pistol about half the time. In my home state and the five surrounding for the most part, but also a couple family vacations that took me into other states and 20-25 matches far away from home. In the best clubs you always get a mentor even with an A card. Once you demonstrate safe skills it becomes all about hospitality and friendship. You also always get a safety briefing covering a clubs special circumstances or the absence of same. It is 'how it's done' or it should be.
 
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