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Notes from the ludus


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#321 Stubb

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 09:31 PM

I went into the 2018 GA Championship having taken a two-day class with Ben Stoeger three weeks prior that spurred major changes in my shooting. These included needing to increase my shooting on the move and gripping the pistol differently. None of these changes happened during the class. In fact, starting work on them meant that I shot terribly both days and that subsequent practices were demoralizing, particularly because I was sending shots to the right and about to shoot a match filled with tuxedos, sending me into the match with low confidence. I buckled down on match day, telling myself “Grip the gun, see the sights, press the trigger straight back” before each stage.

 
With shooting on the move, I had been shooting stages by posting up in a few positions, emphasizing getting lots of Alphas. But I had been giving up too many chances to shoot on the move, combining scoring points with moving. This came out in the first practice stage on the first day, where we had to shoot four targets through a port. I ran to the port, posted up, shot the four targets, and backed out. When Ben ran the stage, he shot three of the targets through the ports on his way in, shot the fourth (a tight partial) from the port, then backed out. I tried this during my next run on the stage and failed miserably—there was too much going on with lining up on the three targets while moving and shooting them. But it’s something that I knew I had to make happen. USPSA scoring is points per second, so if you’re moving without shooting, you’re scoring zero points per second and dragging down your score. The GA Championship didn’t offer many opportunities to shoot on the move, but I did manage to do some in stages 1 and 3.
 
On grip, I started recognizing that gripping hard with my left (support) hand and moderately with my right (dominant) hand was good for isolating my trigger finger but less than ideal for recoil control. The necessary changes here didn’t click until after the match, and I paid for it with a ridiculous number of make-up shots on tuxedos. But to summarize observations since then, I’m now gripping equally hard with both hands, emphasizing front-to-back tension, and keeping my left thumb off the frame. This is centering up my hits, giving me some amazingly precise sight return, and inspiring confidence shooting partials at speed and on the move.
 
Stage 1: This was our ninth stage of the day. I was happy with my movement through the stage, especially considering that I was feeling rather tired at this point. Main problem was inadvertently dumping my magazine leaving the third shooting position, which lost me about a second.
 
State 2: This was our last stage of the day, and I was feeling pretty cooked, with my eyes feeling particularly tired. This resulted in considerable trouble both aiming at and calling my shots on the numerous tuxedo targets. Several of the make-up shots were necessary, and a few weren’t. I changed my stage plan during the walk through, and had a moment of confusion at the front-center position where thought that I forgot to shoot a target from the previous position and proceeded to double-engage it. God damn I was tired!
 
Stage 3: This was our first stage of the day and perhaps the stage offering the best opportunity to open the throttle, but I shot it conservatively, stopping more than was necessary on the open targets. This was a combination of first-stage jitters and shooting last (we ordered our squad by last name), where I saw many decent shooters walk away with one or more penalties.
 
Stage 4: This stage was largely about moving between positions where you’d post up and shoot a couple of partial Classics and mini Poppers. I had to adjust my grip slightly on the draw but otherwise shot the stage exactly as planned. It was fun going to eleven on the last magazine.
 
Stage 5: Executed my stage plan well here. Main issue was splits on the mid-range targets and transition speed.
 
Stage 6: I took way too long to shoot this stage and should have taken advance of being short by sitting down quickly and shooting under the barricade.
 
Stage 7: Very tricky stage here with many of the targets being partially hidden by barrels. I was very happy to shoot the stage exactly as planned with no hunting with targets.
 
Stage 8: My best stage of the day percentage wise. Everything flowed well while shooting it.
 
Stage 9: A slight change to my stage plan could have shaved a second or two off my time. After reloading coming out of the back-left port, I should have immediately shot the open target, then the tuxedo while settling in.
 
Stage 10: A big drop of sweat loaded with sunscreen rolled into my eye while entering the third shooting position, and I was tearing up badly while shooting the steel. I could barely see the tuxedo before leaving the position or any of the targets from the fourth (last) position. The make-up shots on this stage killed my time. Yuck.
 

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#322 Stranger Danger

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Posted 18 October 2018 - 05:49 AM

Not to be a dick but what about breaking the 180 on the second stage of the video?

#323 Sweet T

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Posted 18 October 2018 - 06:37 AM

Not to be a dick but what about breaking the 180 on the second stage of the video?

That didn't break 180.

Admittedly a very strange way to hold the gun for that kind of movement but at half speed the muzzle is clearly downrange.

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#324 Stubb

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Posted 18 October 2018 - 09:30 AM

Went out to work on movement and grip after GA Championship and found that a few of the stages were still set up, minus the steel. I did a couple runs on this one, gripping the gun equally hard with both hands and experimenting with moving sooner to see what I could get away with.

 
Gripping hard with both hands centered up my shots when I remembered to keep my left thumb from pushing sideways on the frame. Backing off tension in my right (dominant) hand definitely helped with learning trigger control, but I think that shooting at a high level requires effecting good grigger control while gripping hard. I'm very much emphasizing front-to-back tension in my grip and rolling up my elbows to put some side-to-side pressure on the gun.
 
This video and results (a few too many Charlies) were typical across runs where I was shooting with no fucks given but not actively pushing speed. In other works, how would you shoot if you were unafraid to miss? It didn't take much additional energy for me to come off the rails. That's the real trick at matches. I'm somewhat amped up from being at a match, and managing that energy takes discipline.
 


#325 ZachJ

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Posted 18 October 2018 - 12:01 PM

That didn't break 180.

Admittedly a very strange way to hold the gun for that kind of movement but at half speed the muzzle is clearly downrange.

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Agreed, watched it at quarter speed, looks good even though it gets close.

 

Would have no issues other than asking Stubb if there was a particular reason he chose to hold it like that.


Deliberate, then obliterate.™

 

I am unafraid to miss.


#326 Stubb

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Posted 18 October 2018 - 12:09 PM

Would have no issues other than asking Stubb if there was a particular reason he chose to hold it like that.

 

I was really fucking tired. My original stage plan had some up-range movement, and I switched to this one during the walk-through. Some of the mental programming from that original plan stuck around in the execution here. I blame that for trailing the gun behind me on this move (not how I every move laterally) and the double engagement (my original plan had me skipping the double-engaged target from the front-left position and shooting it from the center position).

 

Fun fact: the match winner shot the plan that I ditched for this one. FML.


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#327 Stranger Danger

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Posted 18 October 2018 - 07:41 PM

That didn't break 180.

Admittedly a very strange way to hold the gun for that kind of movement but at half speed the muzzle is clearly downrange.

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its as far from down range as it’s gets

#328 Stranger Danger

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Posted 18 October 2018 - 07:45 PM

Good looking match none the less

#329 Sweet T

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Posted 18 October 2018 - 08:51 PM

its as far from down range as it’s gets

Well I guess that's that.

Andreas, I'm sorry to report you've been internet DQ-ed.

Sorry, bro. Better luck next time.

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#330 Matt1

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 02:49 AM

That’s just GM level 180 flirting. Nothing to see here.


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#331 Stubb

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 07:15 PM

Goals for the match were gripping hard with both hands and shooting my way into, through, and out of positions where possible. Sal Luna, who came in 5th at the 2017 World Shoot, was also shooting Production, which gave me an opportunity to benchmark against a world-class shooter.

 
Shooting 91.36% of points wasn't great. Some of this was deliberate risk management on partials: shooting toward the A/C line or going for Alphas on the head box when the A-zone of the body was particularly small. The two Deltas were from getting sloppy on open targets. Improving grip consistency will clean up a good chunk of the Charlies.
 
Stage 1: The first position had eleven shots, four on tight partials and three on mini poppers, so made those shots very carefully. The one Delta was on the far paper target through the first port. Transitions and speed on the plate rack have room for improvement.
 
Stage 2: Lots of room for improvement rolling through positions here, such as shooting the target on the left from the second position (no need to stop) or the open target coming into the third position (should have shot it earlier). Also wasted time with foot repositioning at the port. I liked how I came in shooting on the first target.
 
Stage 3: I did a bunch of dry grips on my gun as I was waiting for my turn to shoot. When I casually gripped my gun, hand position was spot on. When I pushed speed a bit, hand positioning was all over the place. I knew that hand position had to be spot on with this stage, as there was no time to correct anything, so my mental rehearsals had me casually gripping the gun at the buzzer and pointing it at the A-zone. Similarly, I knew that I needed to see the inside of the magazine well to stick the reload, so my mental rehearsals included that visual cue.
 
My shooting felt relaxed on both strings, but I knew the draw and splits were solid with slightly rough reloads in the middle. Each string needed to be 0.2 s faster to break in to GM territory!
 
Stage 4: This was our first stage of the day, which I shot first in our squad. I thought that the gun was starting on the barrel and the magazines on our belt until a few seconds before I shot. I should have grabbed two magazines off the barrel, stowing one on my belt for the reload. Next time.
 
Stage 5: I had great plans for this stage before doing a partial dance leaving the first position. Next time.
 
Stage 6: This stage flowed well, particularly across the back. I shot the open target to the left of the back-right barrel through the port to give myself more room to reload coming into the port.
 
Good match for me overall. I'm getting more comfortable shooting while moving and gripping equally hard with both hands. Foot shuffling when leaving positions unfortunately continues to happen regularly.
 


#332 Stubb

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 08:47 PM

Goals for this match were to stay relaxed, combine shooting and moving where possible, and let my sights drive my shooting pace.

 
Stage 1: This was our first stage of the day, and it went well for me, especially considering the tricky stage plan. Positioning in the middle of the stage needed to be exact to avoid hunting for targets. My plan also had me going to eleven at the end on an array that included a tuxedo and a US Popper, which let me avoid an additional reload. It was satisfying to make this happen on the first stage.
 
Stage 2: I lost time from touching off the first shot in the front-left position a hair early, and I'm also holding back on movement speed to favor getting reloads done. Raw shooting speed on the targets across the back seemed weak. There's also some miscellaneous foot shuffling leaving positions.
 
Stage 3: I was shooting for the center of the A-zone on the partials and backed off the throttle excessively. At 25 feet, I should be shooting considerably faster. It was fun skipping the reload and confidently going to eleven on the poppers.
 
Stage 4: Shooting on this stage felt solid. Video unfortunately didn't work out.
 
Stage 5: Much improved shooting on the move here, but with room for continued improvement. There's some hesitation when coming onto targets that needs to go.
 
Stage 6: Shooting my way into the first position went real well. I would have liked to have moved continuously through the middle section instead of starting and stopping repeatedly, but that will take focused practice before it starts happening in matches. Two of the last three paper targets were readily available moving to the end of the stage, and a faster reload would have let me shoot both of them before arriving at the fault line.
 
I'm very happy with my shooting at this match, which was consistent with more overlap of shooting and moving than previously. I'll be continuing to drill this along with grip and reloads. Shooting 91.94% of points needs improvement. I'd like to see fewer Charlies and a percentage around 94%. This feels like it will mostly come from grip improvements and not coming targets off early, which was responsible for some of the errant shots at this match.
 


#333 Stubb

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 08:01 PM

Recent dry fire focus has been on developing an awareness of my foot position while moving, so that I'm pulling the trigger during a relatively stable sight picture. This occurs as I'm lifting my back foot or as I'm moving it forward. The sight picture bounces as I'm setting my foot down, so that's a bad time to fire as the aiming area gets tighter. I experimented with firing one or two shots on each step and getting a feel for the stride length and shot cadence with each approach.

 
Clips 1 & 2: Shots here started at 15 yards and closed in to 10 yards. I'd like to get the first shot off a step earlier. Firing two shots on each step felt awkward here, but I need to do some more experimentation.
 
Clips 3 & 4: I focused on firing two shots on each step for these 5-yard head shots. This often involved nearly pausing my foot as I moved it forward, giving a somewhat stable sight picture as my body continued to move forward.
 
Clip 5: I shot a 1.9x s Blake Drill with 6 A out of the gate then set up my camera and attempted to repeat that feat. The runs were almost all under 2 s but had one or more Cs. This was the best of the bunch.
 


#334 Stubb

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Posted 31 October 2018 - 07:04 AM

I'm continuing to focus on shooting on the move. The drill here involved setting up three targets through an aperture, where you could only see one at a time. The idea was to roll through the position, not coming to a stop at any point.

 
Two big takeaways from this drill:
 
1. Maintaining 50/50 grip tension on the gun provides way better sight tracking than squeezing harder with the support hand. There's very little time to be microsteering the gun while shooting a drill like this—the sights need to return perfectly.
 
2. You need to have the courage of your convictions in order to roll through positions aggressively. The targets are visible for only an instant, and then they're not. You need to be 100% confident that you'll get your hits in the time they're visible. And you want to be moving at a speed where you only get two shots.
 
I had a sensation that I was pressing the trigger when lifting a foot or hanging one in the air while shooting this drill. It was satisfying to watch the clips and see that that was indeed the case.
 

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