(Practical Shooting Competition 101) PM
Pistol Training Workshop is an unique workshop designed as an introduction to practical shooting competition where attendees are given an opportunity to learn skills and technique needed to successfully and effectively participate in local matches. Rules of engagement, safety and tactics are discusses and drilled.
This workshop is aimed for those who had previously taken TAC-1 Pistol-I module or equivalent. The 4 hr. pistol workshop will review techniques based on already instructed in prior modules and more. Students will be given different drills and practices that are difficult to reproduce at local ranges. Students will have an opportunity to shoot a Classifier to determine their shooting abilities compared to other shooters.
Prerequisite: Must have satisfactorily completed Pistol-I(a)(b). Pistol-II modules and/or equivalent are highly recommended.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Course Topic: “Practical Pistol Competition 101”
What: Pistol Skill Building Workshop
Where: A Place to Shoot in Saugus, CA
Live Fire Pistol Shooting: 4 hours
Ammo: Min 300 rounds
After Action Report
The Workshop started with the usual assessment of Marksmanship using the Dot Torture test. The shooters were to shoot the Dot at 3 yards and 40 points out of 50 was the minimum standard. Most were able to meet the requirement and there were total of 3 shooters with 50/50 perfect scores (They were Mike Snow, Steven Griffith, Christine Salazar). Everyone’s marksmanship was on the money with many in the 45 and higher scores. We hold accuracy very high on our agenda at TAC-1 – it comes first and the speed will follow. If the accuracy is not there at this point in your shooting, it is best to hone in on the marksmanship and work your way up competition once that’s accomplished.
Drawing and presenting your pistol fast and efficiently is one of the critical skills you’ll need to be successful in speed shooting. Drawing quickly and pressing smoothing each time should be a part of the drills that all shooters should be working on at home with a empty gun. There is no excuse to be fumbling around when you can do this at comfort of your own home. Learn to react to the sound of the buzzer, be explosive from a relaxed state, acquire a firm and sure grip, and decelerate on to target, wait for the sights to come in the the picture, then press.
Firing pairs: fundamentally, in most practical shooting events shooters will fire two rounds on target. You must know two types of scoring; “Comstock” and “Virginia Count”.
Comstock: Unlimited time stops on the last shot, unlimited number of shots to be fired, stipulated number of hits per target to count for score.
Virginia Count: Method of scoring where there are limits on the number of rounds shot
Fixed Time – Limited time, limited number of shots to be fired, stipulated number of hits per target to count for score.
As many of you shot on the IPSC or IDPA targets, there are no ways of telling where you shot the rounds. Often the rounds are hard to see and the ring scores are too faint to identify. You as a shooter must call the shots each time to know how you are shooting. Meaning, you must know where your sights were immediately prior to firing to ensure that you have proper hits. You should be able to tell, “it was too high,” “I know that was to the left” and if Comstock scoring you can immediately make up the shots without looking for the bullet holes on the cardboard targets. Learning how to call the shots are a critical skills you need to learn to be successful in competition shooting.
Shooting in pair must be accompanied by a pretty firm grip to minimize the recoil of the gun. Good shooter’s muzzle usually do not lift as high as some of the newer shooters. When observing Sean Hensley’s gun, you’ll see very little or almost no muzzle rise in the gun when firing. However, having over powering grip will affect your trigger flow so you’ll need to find the point of diminishing return when gripping the gun. We must maintain smooth and independent trigger movement while firing and too strong of a grip will affect the shots when shooting rapidly numerous rounds.
Reloading is truly a skill that you must master. It is one of the most important technique to cut your time. In action pistol reloading should be calculated, swift, smooth, consistent and with very little pause. Reloading catches many shooters off guard. Many good shooters will practice smooth and speedy reloads at home. Simply place a pillow or cushion on a desk or table and perform reloads on them without dropping magazines on the floor so that you don’t need to bend down and pick them up each time. Saves lots of back and leg aches.
Action pistol is truly function of multitasking. If you are not shooting, you should be reloading, if you are not reloading you should be moving, if you are not moving you should be shooting. There should be very little dead time. Many of you performed movement drills today but some of you got so involved in moving and focused on where to go and forgot to reload. This cost many with delayed and unnecessary time spend standing in front of the target completing the reload.
Each time you fired your last shot, you should already begin to, or prepared to move without displacing sight picture. This will cut your time even more. We did a drill today utilizing the wooden sticks. You had to shift or lean your body on the last round fired initiating the movement and stepping over the stick. This can be worked on at home with a laser gun if you have them. They are a great tool to teach yourselves the movements while maintaining sight picture. They key here in the movement is to maintain your legs bent at all times and absorb the shock of launching and landing.
Stepping into the box is also a learnt skill. When you are entering the box, your sights should be high and already be looking for the sight picture. As soon as your one foot lands in the box, you should already be thinking about pressing. The common mistake is to step into the box with gun too low or entering too aggressively overshooting the mark or waiting too late after entering the box to shoot. Begin to slow down your body speed just prior to entering the box and fire as soon as possible – that requires having a good sight picture prior to entering the box.
Almost all of you got the idea of moving quickly into position and getting the hits as we drilled further. The body mechanic begin to take shape and reloads begin to look more smooth. As you observe and learn from the fast shooters, all understood how fast they should be going. Dave Shaw in one of the string moved too fast and lost his footing and went down to his one knee catching himself and prevented a fall. You must know how fast you can push without overwhelming the bodies capability.
I think Man-on-Man drills really added to the element of stress which is a huge part of competitive shooting. All matches are at first stressful and it never really goes away. You’ll see unknown people watching you and judging you on every move you make. You place on yourself much higher expectations. You don’t want to disappoint your team members, etc. All that will equate to misplaced focus which could lead to poor marksmanship as well as poor tactics of the game.
I believe that the mentor/apprentice program worked well. Some mentors were more hands on than the other. Some apprentice did not need any guidance where as some mentors were to involved in their own game that assisting others was too much to handle. But this session gave us a glimpse of TAC-1 mentorship program that’s headed in the right direction. Given the right characters and personality, we can truly create a great TEAM where we feel confident that we won’t be embarrassed or looked upon as sub-par organization. It’s just the opposite. Given the number of training, for example Chris Weir had taken at TAC-1 and from other organizations, he stepped right into local matches. With the right support and mentorship he is running and gunning like a seasoned competitor. Lance has not shot a match yet and he’s already demonstrating his proficiency as a competitor – even before his debut day.
Some other’s need further drilling and more classes before entering into the arena – that is our recommendation. They are free to do what they want to do, but with more proper instruction and time spent in classes, they should be good to go in no time. Just remember the our top shooters had spent many hours thinking, training, drilling, practicing and discussing all of the elements of shooting for years – it did not just happened for them.
The last thing I say is this – the range was filled with TAC-1 uniforms and they looked great. Running and gunning the way you folks were today made me very proud to have everyone as a part of the TEAM. I dream of one day we all hit the match together in uniform and kicking asses. That day may not be too far out.
Individual Critique: Just so you know, you folks pay us to give you constructive criticisms for your development. I have lots of praisings and compliments to give you but that will not necessarily provide you with tools to improve. It it not necessary to agree with my every observation. If it helps you great, if not that’s fine too.
Dave Shaw – Be careful with your one handed shooting. If you do too much of it you may really end up doing it under stress where you really don’t need to do it. You may sacrifice accuracy by simply doing that. When speeding up in certain drills, your support hand grip took a serious dump where you had a very primitive looking hold with strict Weaver. I know you don’t shoot like that anymore, but we always revert back to something like that when stress kicks in. It’s a habit that you most likely may not be able to get rid of unfortunately.
Mike Snow – Your knees slowed you down and likely it won’t get much better. Your handicap means that you need to be near perfect with you shooting, reloading and transitioning. You can make up the lost time in that department if you can’t move fast enough.
Niel Gonzalez – Get rid of that ammo and master your Glock. Too much problems today with your gun and ammo combination. Workshop like this may not be the time to experiment with new ammo. Flat nose 9mm may be the culprit. Also, I don’t know if you want to shoot RMR for competition as that will place you in the Open division where all the sharks are. Stick with the iron sights and master that first. Furthermore, people in the Open division has a frame mounted red dot where it does not move along with the slide. On top of it, they even have a compensator. Your’s is a slide mounted optics which is harder to catch the sight picture each time when it fires. It’s a completely different animal.
Ray Pinenda – get your own 9mm. That .45 will not work for you for competitions. Truth.
Ana – I think you need a new gun also. Too much problems with your gun. Magazine is not inserting correctly, you are fumbling through malfunction clearance where a simple tap-rack is not being performed in timely manner. Time to retake P1b and really get the malfunction technique done. Even more, that 1911 looks too heavy for you. Time to consider a Glock. More rounds, easy to operate, no safety to deal with. If you want to stick with your 1911, work your buns off to master it. I recommend holding off on the competition until you get all the kinks out with your weapon and the manipulation.
Shinsuke – Although you have not taken any basic courses with us you have a working knowledge of how to operate your Glock. It’s good enough for me. Take more P2 classes and solidify your skill sets. This is a critical juncture in your shooting career. Learn it right now and you’ll function flawlessly.
Saman Shawn Afshari – Time to take more classes. You are right now too premature to compete. You just started shooting months ago and you need to put in some time developing your fundamentals and really understand the safety on the range. Until you can consistently keep your finger off the trigger, not cover people during reloads – do not attempt to go shoot competitions…you”l end up getting kicked off the range and you’ll lose interest in shooting all together. Get a Glock extended magazine release ASAP. http://www.lapolicegear.com/zev-technologies-fits-glock-zt-magrelease-s-b.html
Lance Wisdon – It’s time.
Erich Reinhart – You have come a long ways. Your body mechanic is settling down and starting to look very smooth and sure of yourself. If you can only stop smoking…
Sean Hensley – I think you need to start hitting the regional and the Area matches. Try to look for more sanction matches. You need to hit up some gun manufactures and request sponsorship. Obviously you are fast – may be too fast. If you could slow down a tad and instead see and work the sights a just a little bit. It may greatly improve your hit factor and score higher as result. I believe if you get your accuracy up, you’ll be unstoppable.
Chris Weir – I think you are now getting caught in the speed thing which is hurting you. Go back to accuracy mode and work on smoothness instead of brute speed. Don’t shoot like Sean. That’s his style that works for him…it may not work for you. As far as I’m concerned, that does not fit your character. You need to refocus on smoothness and accuracy. Eventually speed will come but don’t chase it. Too many misses today.
Karyn Weir – You are very good at shooting accurately at slower pace. Many can’t do what you do with marksmanship. What is not helping you shoot faster is your under developed hand and arm strength that’s causing the gun to flip up way too high. We had worked on this before with much improvement. That improvement had somehow disappeared. Try to bring it back.
Steve Griffith: Follow through, follow through. Let’s work on consistency.
Giovanni: I was pretty impressed with you today. No real issues that I can see. Only upper hand the other guy have on you is that they have more range time than you. You’ll need a TAC-1 T-Shirt.
Most of the new folks did not have the right gear for USPSA style matches. Let us know if we can assist you with that department. Ask questions before you buy and waste your money.