Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reaching a Shooting Goal

A few weeks ago the monthly USPSA match at Fredericksburg Practical Shooters was a "classifier match." Four of the six stages were classifiers; standard exercises used to rank shooters against the whole of the USPSA membership. This was a good opportunity to take a big step towards my 2011 goal of getting my "C card." It's been less than a year since I shot my first USPSA match last July, and coinicidently, it too was a classifier match at Fredericksburg.

We were given near perfect weather for shooting. The morning started cool, but warmed by the time we started shooting. There was a brief hint of sun that threatened to make things a little uncomfortable, but the skies quickly changed to overcast. It was verging on too dark for the smoked lenses in my glasses, but never quite got there. I was very happy that I saw no rain, until I was leaving the range.

Our squad started off with the two field course stages, stages 3 and 4. These were straightforward 32 round run 'n gun courses. Stage 3 posed an interesting decision for the last shooting position; does my body contort far enough, or do I lean around the wall and shoot weak hand only? For me, it was the latter, because, no, I just don't bend that way any more. Stage 4 had one target "out of sequence" that I actually passed right by during my first walk through, I managed to burn it into memory and remembered to shoot it during my run.

The four classifier stages were shot through quickly. For me, all four classifiers selected were ones I'd never shot previously. I particularly enjoyed the challenges of straying from the comfort zone with two table starts. The head shots on "It's Not Brain Surgery" (09-07) were intimidating, but conquered. "Pucker Factor" (09-04) I thought was a fun stage. "Table Stakes" (09-13) was straighforward and let me prove I can even hit steel; something I seem to often prove otherwise down at Black Creek! Finally "El Presidente" (99-11). Strange as it may seem, I've never even practiced that drill, which is a classic exercise.

Personally, it was a day of "bests." I had just one miss all day, a costly hit on a no-shoot, and completed all four classifiers with "C" percentages. Actually, on a couple of online classifier lookup tools, one of my scores was predicted to be a "B". But when USPSA ran the scores this week, they all showed up as "C". Not sure if the third-party data is bad, but at least my goal was met. I received my C classification in Production this week. It's a low C admittedly, but I look forward to raising it up.

Do I set a new goal of "B" for 2011? That might be pushing it, but let's see what the rest of the season brings. Recent matches have shown me some areas I might easily cut some time; mag changes and position transitions are skills I'll be working on in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone on the range again soon.

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