Sunday, October 9, 2011

October Steel Match

The monthly match at Black Creek Shooters was held this weekend.  I haven't been able to attend this event since April so I was looking forward to the "ring" of lead on steel. As a bonus it was a beautiful fall day; perfect for being outside. The match consisted of four stages of static and falling steel. I enjoy this match as it allows me to fully load my (evil, high-capacity) magazines and shoot more between reloads. When I shoot Production in USPSA I'm limited to 10 rounds max in a mag.

Stage 2, the first stage our squad shot, consisted of 5 steel plates and 5 shooting positions. From each position engage each target with 3 rounds. When you complete the fifth shooting position, do a mandatory reload and reverse direction and engage the first four targets again. This was a fun stage and I was happy with my run.

Stage 3 was very interesting. There were 9 split poppers that were engaged by shooting through a barrel set on its side, while remaining seated. You started with the loaded gun, as well as your additional mags, on the table. With that much metal downrange, one can be tempted to just blast away. But that doesn't work; aiming is still required. A lone standing half-popper looks mighty small when the clock is running!

Stage 4 consisted of just three round steel plates. The directions were to engage each target with three rounds, move to the closer shooting position and engage each target with two rounds shooting strong-hand only, then repeat using weak-hand only. Shooters were required to perform a reload between each group of three. I always look forward to the weak or strong-hand only stages as I try to practice those skills regularly. Unfortunately, that hasn't frequently paid off in competition. This time though I was very happy with how I did. I did make up a couple of shots when I wasn't sure if I had hit the target. I had my highest finish on this stage, so maybe the SHO/WHO practice might be starting to pay off.

Stage 1, the last stage I shot, was a 24 round stage. From behind the first barricade engage the plate rack, then move to the wall and engage three spring-loaded poppers. From behind the center barrel engage the steel plate with six rounds before continue to the last two shooting positions, which mirrored the first two. Despite looking forward to this fun stage, I just couldn't get my act together and struggled with the plate racks. As one of my squad mates remarked, "You know that small bump thing on the front of the gun...?" Yea, I should watch it better. This stage pulled my finish way down. It was fun anyway, but it's frustrating to be having a good day and then do so poorly on the last stage. Black Creek is the only opportunity I have to practice on a plate rack, so I need to attend this match more frequently.

I've commented before that the shooting can be a family activity. There were a number of husbands and wives shooting together today. Several of the dads even had their young children along. The kids played together in the back, all wearing appropriate eye and ear protection of course.

This was a really fun match. The squad consisted of a wide range of shooters, from a Grand Master shooter to a first-time competitor. Everyone was friendly and helpful, and there were a lot of smiles to be seen.

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