72 rounds in 103 seconds to make Expert. Two weeks to practice. Dunno if I can do this, but I'm gonna find out. Worst case I fail miserably while having gotten a lot better at a lot of shit I need to get better at.
SURVEY AND ALSO TARGETS AND ALSO SAD HEADSHAKING OF SO SAYS: NO
I screwed the pooch so hard it was yelping and dragging its ass on the ground for a week. In the noble tradition of Dave Barry, I feel obliged to inform all of you that I am Not Making Any Of The Following Up.
Drove an hour to the match (both a match and a classifier) and kitted up. 90+ degrees and humid when I first hopped out of the car, and it only got hotter. Set up for another two and a half hours, a fair portion of which was spent swinging a hammer, which is not perhaps the best therapy for a repetitive stress injury. Got voluntold to score, figure out the stage descriptions, and run the timer for the actual SO during his runs, which would have been easier if it hadn't been the first time I'd ever done it. (Not a certified SO, typically just set up and paste/reset steel.) Brought not quite enough water and not nearly enough food. Match itself took around four or five hours.
Fast-forward to 1630. I'm the second-to-last person to shoot the classifier, and it's finally my turn. (The last was the MD. He took over running it because the original SO was taking about 45 minutes a shooter.) I'm downrange pasting for the previous shooter when he yells at me to load up. I'm literally caked in salt from my own sweat.
I go to the 7-yard line. I load up. I take a deep breath, then another. I invoke my mantra. I Valsalva in the hopes of eliciting a parasympathetic response. Doesn't do shit, though to be fair sinus tachycardia s/p dehydration and electrolyte imbalance doesn't typically respond well to parasympathetic stimulation.
First string of the IDPA classifier is draw, two to each body, reload, two to each head. First six are fine. But then my slide lock doesn't.
I gaze at my gat as though it are become pineapple. Death pineapple.
"Did I misload?" I'm thinking. "I checked like six times. OTOH I did lose a mag in my cargo pocket earlier so who the fuck knows. Wat is gat? Wat is reload? Wat is shoot?"
"GO GO GO! You're empty, your slide just didn't lock!" yells the SO. This outside diagnosis at high volume spurs me to action. I finish the string in the year 2026. But the SO, bless his heart, at 1630, after standing in the 95-degree sun all day, offers me a reshoot for being a complete fucking idiot.
Fawningly, heart pounding, a hair's breadth away from shattering my chance on the very first string, I accept.
I reload. I approach the line. I load the 12-round mag instead of the 6-round mag. I catch it before we start and apologize profusely for continuing to be a complete fucking idiot while fixing it.
INT. LAST IDPA CLASSIFIER - SOME MONTHS EARLIER
SHOOTSLIKEADOG (SLaD) and I DON'T PRACTICE I JUST GO TO MATCHES GUY (IDP...G) are squinting at a Bianchi barricade with a spreadsheet of the updated IDPA classifier times tacked to it, furiously doing math on their phones. SLaD made this spreadsheet, and printed it, and brought it to the match, and also tacked it up, and does not really need to look, but does so for the look of the thing. If SLaD applied the same level of effort to dry-fire as spreadsheets, some might theorize that this night might have gone differently, but later events will prove this theory incorrect. If asked, our bumbling-yet-not-particularly lovable protagonist would stare at you blankly and go "Stegger who? Is he one of LAV's friends?" For now, though...
How'd you do?
Missed Sharpshooter by four seconds, otherwise known as "that headshot I flinched." What about you?
Oh, I made it by two! Really pretty pleased with my shooting, even though you burned up that middle stage in comparison to me. You smoked that! I was pretty worried! Bad luck on that headshot, huh?
With unusual perspicacity, perhaps detecting the murder vibes in his vicinity, IDP...G wanders off. SLaD remains in place, staring blankly into the middle distance, cheeks bright with rage.
Might be time to actually go to a class.
Still not dry-firing, though. Fuck that shit.
~ fin ~
Present day. Timer beeps. I draw and fire. Two-two-two, reload, two-two-two. Reholster. Look at the targets.
I have not flinched one headshot this time. I have flinched two.
And just like that, by the end of my first string: there's always next time, right?
Now, someone with three functioning brain cells to rub together would take this as a sign to slow the fuck down, take a couple deep breaths, and stop shooting like a coked-up spider monkey. I wish that person was me.
SO, gazing at my target: "Your grip is really good. All of this," he gestures to the Target Pox on the lower half of the -1 zone, "is trigger control. You know that, right?"
Me: "Yep. Happens every time I'm under pressure."
SO: "But you're only competing against yourself!"
In the end, I shot an Expert-level raw time with five seconds to spare... and dropped enough points through flinching (and, yes, it was pretty much 100% flinching--it was all dead fucking center in the middle of the target) to fail even to classify as Sharpshooter.
So I landed in Marksman. Again. By less than a second, this time. Three solid months of daily dry-fire, to include self-inflicted nerve damage, and objective, statistically significant improvement of zero.
Doodie, that right there is comedy gold.
Now, with regards to all these posts, I just gotta say that every single one of you deserves warning points for helpfulness. All y'all make me feel funny in my special place!
Snacks are a great distraction from getting all amped up and jittery.
This is a great idea, and now that I think about it I actually did this inadvertently at my last GSSF match and it totally helped. I was munching all day. Unfortunately, the indoor range frowns on snacks and I ran out around noon for the classifier. I need to start prepping my snack loadout with the same mindset that I prep my ammo loadout.
Yeah you can munch on a bag of dicks
NO I CANT I STILL HAVENT GOTTEN ONE
Go research "calming response" and find something for when you are on deck.
I was actually thinking about your posts on that topic while I was up at the line. I tried your "I am calm, I am warm." I need to think about it some more, though, because I really did not want to be any more warm, and I also assume I need to burn it in in other contexts before I try to use it under stress?
Do you have a heart condition? Try some beta blockers
For me? That'd definitely be a PED. Though, to be fair, you generally have to win something before there's any possibility of a doping scandal.