Sunday, February 12, 2012

Guess Who Went To A Match

That's right, I haven't competed in six months, but I shot the ARPC match on Saturday and it was terrific. I got to say hello to a lot of friends I haven't seen much of lately, and the weather even cooperated .... temperature in the mid-forties, but the sun was shining most of the time so you didn't need much more bundling up than a jacket. ( I was overdressed, and was too warm toward the end of the match.)

Match Director Mike McCarter and his assistant "Yawn" built some challenging stages. As sometimes happens, that caused problems for some of us.

We had several new shooters who were attempting to complete their USPSA Certification Process by successfully completing an actual match. I'm afraid a few found the challenge was more than their experience level could meet. They ... and we ... were disappointed that they were DQ'd. In my squad alone, we lost one shooter due to "finger on the trigger while clearing a jam", and two because they broke the 180; those two lost it on the same stage. Even more experienced shooters had to concentrate on their perception of just where the 180 was; moving to or from a port, to or from downrange. The close-quarters drill was based upon a structure with walls in a direction about 30 degrees from the zero-degree angle of downrange, and we do tend to rely on the props to orient our understanding of just where that 180 line is.

(Click on the image to view it in full size.)

I shot poorly overall, which was no surprise to me after such a prolonged hiatus from competition. Fresh air, light exercise, good friends and about 130 rounds of shooting all combined to focus my attention on the immediately important things in life.

The classifier stage was 03-06, "Pepper Poppers".


Many of us learned something that we didn't realize until we were reminded by the MD. The staged named "4 By 6" was a virginia count stage with three Bianchi barricades and three metric targets. Two strings, movement between barricade A and B with mandatory reload, engage all 3 targets with 2 shots each freestyle from A and strong hand only from B was string one. String two was freestyle engagement from B and mandatory reload moving to C, with weak hand engagement from C. Barricades were staggered center/right/left, moving downrange between shooting positions.

The problem was that several shooters used the barricades as a support when not shooting freestyle. As I recall the rule is ... even leaning against props is support, and results in a per-shot penalty.

I didn't quite fall into that trap, but my shooting was so poor that I got a lot misses out of the 24 shots, and an extremely low A-count. No idea how many folks got dinged, but I know there were more than a few who just plain forgot about it .... even though that rule was WRITTEN IN PEN ON THE STAGE PROCEDURES by the time we got to it.

The good news, two of the new shooters from last week's "Introduction to USPSA" class beat my scores in LIMITED division ... congratulations Will and Carol. I've heard that there's a problem when the student becomes more proficient than the teacher, but of course there's no problem here. I never much liked them anyway.


Tonite, I had the first-time opportunity to appreciate the new features of the USPSA website. I had signed up for match results to be sent to me, and that was pretty kewl when I looked at them. Here are some match results from USPSA: the match results are here, and the results for the classifier (03-05 / Pepper Poppers) in LIMITED division are here (including individual competitor scores)

I'm pretty sure that somewhere in time, someone has defined SUCCESS as " .... meeting your own expectations". If true, I had a successful day if only because I had low expectations. I just wanted to enjoy the moment, and shoot safely.

I had bought a new camera recently, and I brought it to the match so I could take some pictures. Unfortunately, the battery had run down after being fully charged, then riding for two weeks in my coat pocket. Be very wary of Sony Cyber-Shot camera; it has a convenient slim pocket design, good lenses, lots of neat features and 14.1MP resolution --- but the battery runs down whether you use it or not. And it appears impossible to get extra or replacement batteries, either in a small town or through AMAZON.COM (who sent me the battery I ordered ... but not the battery I needed).

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