February Blackwater 3-Gun

Last Sunday, as has become a habit, I shot the monthly Blackwater 3-Gun match. This time, though, I brought my new HD camcorder along…

I ended up winning the match by just over half a second.

The Good:
Shotgun – I ran the shotgun better than I ever have. Loading, accuracy, and speed were all excellent. It’s probably fair to say that I won this match on the shotgun.
Movement – Looking at some of my old match video from last year, my movement has been improving a great deal. I still have a lot of work to do on this part of my game, but my progress has been pretty significant.

The Bad:
Rifle – I don’t know if I’ve just been getting faster with the other guns, but my rifle shooting seems really slow, especially offhand and supported offhand. It’s probably well past time to break out the .22LR and do some serious position shooting practice.

Fun match as always. Next month, the season really begins to heat up, so expect to see more posts like this.

-C

Enough is Enough…

From time to time, I shoot with Todd Green, of Pistol-Training.com fame.  So I’ve had the occasion to shoot the F.A.S.T. drill a time or two.  I normally turn in a pretty fair score on this drill, in fact I still hold the student record for the year 2009.

What I have never been able to do is shoot two consecutive sub-5-second F.A.S.T. drills.  The highly coveted F.A.S.T. Challenge Coin has so far eluded me.  Now to be fair, I have never really trained on the FAST drill skills.  It appears that if I’m going to get that coin, I’ll need to make a systematic effort at it.

To start, I broke down the FAST Drill by each shot:

Shot description Time Allotted Total Time
Draw, fire shot 1 1.50s 1.50s
Fire shot 2 0.50s 2.00s
Reload, fire shot 3 2.00s 4.00s
Fire shot 4 0.25s 4.25s
Fire shot 5 0.25s 4.50s
Fire shot 6 0.25s 4.75s

The first element of the FAST Drill is also the easiest to practice. Starting with a concealed, holstered pistol, draw and fire two rounds into a 3×5″ index card at 7 yards. This drill, or something like it, is already a staple of my practice routine (and the routines of many others, I’m sure.) I just need to work the time down and the accuracy up. My current time for two rounds on a 3×5″ card is about 2.4 seconds. I need to get it down to 2.0, with at least 90% accuracy.

Element I – Draw, 2 shots on 3×5″ card @ 7yds. Current time: 2.4s Goal time: 2.0s

The second important part of the FAST Drill is the reload, and this is the thing that has been eating my lunch lately. I like to practice the reload starting from high ready, press out to fire one shot on an 8″ circle, reload, then fire two more shots. I need to get my reload down to two seconds, which equates to a 1-R-2 of about 3.25 seconds. I’ll run this a few times with the shot timer and adjust it as necessary.

Element II – 1-R-2 from high ready. Current time: 4.0s Goal time: 3.25s

Last, of course, is recoil control on a fairly large target. This can be simulated with the Bill Drill, six shots from the holster at 7 yards. In order to win the coin, I need to get my splits down to about 0.25 seconds, which equates to about a 2.5 second Bill Drill. I can already do that most days, but I’ll spend some time on it anyway. I’d like to get my time down to 2 seconds flat.

Element III – Bill Drill @ 7yds. Current time: 2.5s Goal time: 2.0s

That’s about the whole thing. If I get those three elements down on demand, I should be able to hit a FAST Drill between 4.5 and 4.75 seconds, allowing for slippage.

I’ll be running the FAST drill as my cold drill for the next month at least, and practicing the three elements two or three times a week. By the end of Feburary, when the competition season has started up again, I’ll either have my coin or a good idea of why not.

-C

Yup, I’m still here. Mostly.

No, I’m not dead, in prison, or lying in a gutter in south Baltimore, guzzling strawberry Cisco.  I just took a little break from shooting after the RM3G, and a somewhat longer break from blogging.  Yeah, I know.

And then yesterday morning I got an email saying that someone had subscribed to the blog. So thanks, dude from Pooler, Georgia, for shaking me out of my laziness…

Actual content will be forthcoming shortly. In the meantime, I dragged my Dad down to the Blackwater 3-Gun match last month. We had a great time, and actually remembered to take some pictures. Enjoy!

Arrrgh…

The evil extractor pin on my #1 Smith and Wesson M&P9 finally screwed me over good.  While replacing the extractor, I managed to break the pin off, half in and half out of the slide.  An overnight soak in Kroil did nothing to loosen the broken pin, so it looks like I’m going to have to drill it out.

Fortunately, I have M&P9 #2 to keep me going in the meantime.  It’s almost identical – sights, trigger, grip, recoil springs, everything but the stippling pattern on the frame.

Thus the lesson – any weapon system you’re going to run hard, you need to have an identical backup copy.  Don’t let a broken part take you out of the game.

Ernest Langdon Advanced Handgun Skills class – 11/21/09 thru 11/22/09

This past weekend I took part in Ernest Langdon’s 2-day Advanced Handgun Skills class.  In this AAR, I’m going to try to get some of my notes and class thoughts down on paper.

Background

The class was held at a private range just outside Culpeper, VA.  The facility was large and well-equipped, with plenty of space for nine shooters plus Ernie.

I’m going to gloss over a lot of Ernest Langdon’s background, because frankly, it’s too much to relate here.  Suffice to say, Ernie has done just about everything a shooter/instructor can do, between his service in the Marine Corps, his professional firearms training, and a very successful competition career.

The students were a mixed bag.  Several current or former special warfare types, a couple of federal cops, two parachute designer/instructors, and at least one geeky museum exhibit designer.  The overall average level of skill was pretty high.  One interesting note – out of the nine students and the instructor, six of us were recreational skydivers.

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