Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cedar Mountain Practice Match

This past Saturday I made the short drive out to Culpeper for the Cedar Mountain Youths monthly practice match. Match organizer Mike had set up four stages based on USPSA classifier stages and two larger USPSA-style field courses. The previous matches this year all consisted of classifier-type stages only, so the two larger field courses were a change. Fortunately it occurred to me the morning of the match that I should probably bring my USPSA belt setup, which I've not used all year, in order to carry more mags. I've typically shot the Cedar Mountain matches using my IDPA belt and two mag carriers.

The morning was sunny, and quite cool. While I was waiting for the match to begin, I was really wishing I had brought a jacket. It did warm up as the sun got higher and it turned out to be a very pleasant morning, although the low sun was a bit of an inconvenience on the first stage.

Glare

Our squad shot the four classifier stages first. The shooting went very quickly, with just four of us on the squad, and we waited a short time for the other squad to finish the larger field courses. I went out fast on the fours stages, with the expected results. But, it's all just for practice and fun anyway.

I was looking forward to the longer field courses. As I was doing my walk-throughs I realized it was a good thing I remembered the USPSA gear, as that allowed me to make reloads on the move and drop partial mags, a stage plan I've gotten out of thinking about after shooting IDPA this year. At the end of my run on the first field course I felt really good. I felt even better as I quickly checked the targets. Then I heard the RO clear his throat and point to a target I had skipped. A target that not only had I failed to engage, but one that I never even noticed in the walk through! It was a low and close target, an easy "2 Alpha." It wasn't even that hidden; I think I had tunnel vision on the steel plates and swinger to be shot through the same port. That will teach to me to not check the target count against my stage plan. That hurt, and I admittedly needed a few minutes to assuage my frustration.

That's the one

The final stage, and second field course, was another mix of steel and paper, with lots of options for engaging all the targets. For my own ego, I needed a good run on this one to finish the day. And I got it. I may have been (purposefully) slow, but the score was 18 A and 2 C, with all the steel being hit one for one. It was a fun run and a good way to end the morning. Both of the field courses were my best stages of the morning; that whole "watching the sights" thing really works.

All in all it was an exceptionally fun morning. We were done shooting a little after 11:00 AM and had the stages torn down in short order. This was the last practice match at the club for 2015 and I'll miss the monthly low key events until they resume next Spring. Not only are the sessions a fun way to get in some practice, but I've introduced a number of new folks to practical pistol shooting at Cedar Mountain this year as well. I'll be looking forward to next year and the quick Saturday morning shoots.

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