Saturday, June 04, 2016


It's  hot here.

"How hot is it, Johnny?"

"Too Darn Hot to be running around in a gravel-surfaced pistol range, Doc!"

Last year I changed my "Introduction to USPSA" schedule from 3 hours to four hours, because it was impossible to cover all the necessary material: there are often one or two participants who need more training in Gun-Handling skills than may be provided in a three-hour class.

And I changed the hours from 1pm to 4pm, to Noon to 4pm.   More daylight in the cold season, and it gets us off the range 'earlier' in the hot season.

This is, officially, "The Hot Season" here in Oregon.

It's 6pm as I write this, and the ambient temperature is .. you guessed it .. ninety-eight point six degrees.

Since it was easily 100 degrees on the training bay, I closed the class at 3:30pm so we could all get out of the heat.   Not just because of my concern for the welfare of my students, but I announced that my eyeballs were drying up.  And actually, they were.  I hydrated myself well (drank two bottles of water from 12pm to when we quit) but the glare on the gravel-surfaced bay acted as a reflector, so the accumulative heat was beyond the safety margin that I had established for myself and the students.

We still managed to get the basics covered, and even did the final exercise ("El President") where I recorded time and scores, and used that to demonstrate how Hit Factors are used to determine where each competitor placed in a given stage.

And we did "Mandatory Reloads", "Transitioning Between Targets" ("close" and "far"), "Steel Targets vs Paper Targets".

One of my students was kind enough to (inadvertently) NOT seat her magazine firmly in her pistol,, and when she turned to me for advice I informed her:
"It's your gun.  The clock is still running".   She finally realized the cause of the problem, applied the solution, and got back into the game.

 I let her complete the stage with benefit of instruction (but with the timer still running) so she could demonstrate the "Tap/Rap/Bang" clearance drill in real time, and we discussed the three kinds of malfunction ("Stovepipe", "Tap/Rap/Bang", and "Failure To Feed").

(This "Failure To Feed" malfunction is when a round .. usually the first in a reload magazine ...can best be resolved by dumping the magazine, the round which is jamming the slide, and loading a new magazine after which you trombone the slide to chamber the top round in the new magazine; when you struggle to make the 'old' magazine work it takes more time than this 'immediate action drill'.)

We even did the exercise where I have students shoot paper targets up close, then move to another shooting box and engage steel; that provides them the opportunity to judge when they can emphasize speed in addressing targets  vs when they need to focus on accuracy.

Another of my students was kind enough to demonstrate the fallacy of performing a reload during "Dead Time" (movement), when he had two rounds in his magazine and moved to engage a Pepper Popper and a U.S. Popper;  he missed both shots, and had to do a standard reload in his single-stack 1911.  [When asked, he said he was "trying to save time by not doing a reload"; he admitted that, in retrospect, that was a 'poor economy' considering that it cost him over 5 seconds to realize he needed to reload, cursed himself under his breath, complete the standing reload and get back to the business of engaging targets.  It only took him 2 shots to knock down both steel targets at 35 yards].

But the part that is most interesting to the students comes after we have completed all the Standard Exercises and invite them to design their own shooting problems.  We just didn't have time to do that.

I regret that the participants didn't have the opportunity to test their acuity in some of the more complex drills.  They were all bright, attentive and SAFE shooters, and none of the three students made the same mistake twice.

 Also, I regret that I didn't have time to even mention "Strong Hand Only" and "Weak Hand Only", let alone give them a chance to see how it feels.

One of the students had only brought 100 rounds to the class, and he was running low on ammunition, so I didn't really feel that anyone was ... you know ... shorted in their instruction.  Still, although everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, I know that there was more I could have taught them,

About "El Presidente":

"El Presidente; the real thing" includes three IPSC targets, with scoring rings, sited 7 yards (or 10 yards on other versions) from the shooter.     The shooter starts out facing up-range.  MOST versions have the shooter start with hands in the air, a few "demonstration" versions such as the one viewed below, start with hands at sides. The maximum score of El Presidenti is 60 points (four 5-point "A-Zone" hits on each targets) divided by the time required to complete the drill.  I tell my students that if they get it done in 11 seconds and don't MISS the targets, they're doing very well.)

For purposes of .. I don't know, demonstration?  Some well-known competition shooters perform the drill with HUGE steel targets where they don't have to hit the small A-zone, but a three foot steel plate "anywhere".

There is a rumor that 'someone' has offered a $5,000 prize for anyone who can complete a classic "El Presidente" drill in 5 seconds or less with sixty points ... in a "major competition" and witnessed by "acknowledged authorities".

This may be "IPSC LORE", but what fun is it to spend so much time and money in a shooting competition without a history?

(The following is a "Todd" version of El Presidente; the 'real thing' includes smaller (cardboard) IPSC targets, with scoring rings)


IPSC Target: 18" x 30"

The "Lower A-zone is about 10-7/8" x 5-3/4"; the "Upper A-zone"  is about 2"x3-3/4". 

No comments: