In previewing the printed course of fire drawings, while I was excited to shoot the match, the stages did not strike me as especially interesting. However, that initial impression was totally incorrect. The nine stages (Flicker photos) were all excellent, challenging, and most importantly, fun! There was a variety of challenges, including many moving and strategically hidden targets. Most of the stages required plenty of movement by the shooter. The gun club has many large bays that they made good use of to provide opportunities to get in the "run" part of "run and gun." Also interesting, and initially uncomfortable, was that a lot of the courses were run right to left, which can be challenging to right handed shooters, especially when performing reloads. Another aspect I found interesting was the number of shots that were taken down the edge of the 180° line. The stage designers took advantage of the full 180° of shooting. There were a couple of places where I had to look further left or right than I am used to.
I started out the day strong, completing the first three stages with good accuracy. I did remark that I felt I could be timed with a sundial. After that, I started struggling with accuracy and had to force myself to slow down. It was a frustrating to not be able to find my stride, or apparently the front site, in the later stages.
Stage 7, "Pick 'em Up," had an interesting prop where the shooter hit a large button above a small window. That action opened the port and activated a "Max Trap" that exposed the target for very short time, requiring a fast response by the shooter. It was interesting that I could pull that off with fast A zone hits, yet still have a C hit on a stationary target. I remarked that perhaps I should treat all targets as disappearing!
Another interesting prop setup was found on Stage 4 "BPS The Delivery." This course of fire started out with a series of very tight shots, leaning out over the side fault lines. (And yes I shot the "no-shoot" on the edge, twice.) Then the shooter had to carry a package across the field and place it down a "mail slot." That action exposed two ports through which more targets were engaged. Behind both those ports were more Max Trap disappearing targets.
The final stage we shot, Stage 5, "The Swamp," had perhaps the longest shots in the match. During the morning walk through, my plan had been to take the four mini-poppers at the beginning, despite their distance. By the end of the day, I was discussing it with other shooters and we felt we were too tired to risk relying on making those shots. So, I took the last 2 poppers at the end of the course of fire. That added movement to one more shooting position at the end, but shortened the distance to two of the small poppers. Surprisingly, I shot the initial two mini-poppers dead on, while still nicking an up close no-shoot.
The Sir Walter club has a reputation for putting on an excellent monthly match. I know of shooters from Northern Virginia who make the drive every month, but this was my first time at the club. They certainly put on an outstanding Sectional match. There was a long list of match sponsors supporting the match and offering "goodies" for the shooters. Through random selection I received a $75 certificate from Precision Delta, which I'll be putting towards an ammo purchase soon.
Despite a disappointing performance, the match was a lot of fun, and that's what matters. The road trip with shooting friends Alex and Clay was a blast too. We frequently joked during the long drive, "Who's idea was this anyway?" (I checked the Facebook messages guys, and I think I hold the blame.) There was plenty of friendly ribbing and fun conversation. I'm looking forward to the next time.
I was quite exhausted by the time I returned home that evening. Although I made predictions of a night cap for the evening, I settled for a refreshing bowl of ice cream before hitting the sack. But not before I reset the Saturday morning alarm time!