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#1 SlivGod

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 10:19 AM

I haven't kept a Range Diary since the OG Doodie, but -inspired by a disaster of a practice session yesterday- I'm going to give this another try. My hopes are twofold: 1) An additional form of accountability. I'm already my toughest critic. But, making everything public may help clarify flaws. 2) Maybe some other idiot will learn something from this idiot. My apologies ahead of time. 

 

General baseline: Sandbagging (against my will) A Class production shooter. Did okay-ish at Iron Sights Nats, and now doubling down to try to run with the bigger dogs thanks to that inspiration. 

 

Yesterday's Disaster

Equipment

Apparently, I own the only Shadow 2 in existence that won't light off S&B primers with the 11.5# HS. Last range session, I switched to the 13 and resolved the issue. Stupidly, I couldn't leave that alone, and decided to follow Rowdy's method of clipping off the last 2 coils. In theory, it should still light off everything, but make the DA pull a little less shitty. Did not work. So, nearly every run on the Accelerator was slowed down even further thanks to light strikes. 

 

Shooting

The plan was to shoot The Accelerator, one sheet of dots to confirm everything was OK on the match gun, and then do mini-stage drills. What actually happened was I shot so poorly on the Accelerator that I spent the rest of the time working on those issues: 

  • All of the issues were on the closest target. I would really like to blame it on the temps being in the 30s, it's early in the season, etc etc. But, I know better. 
  • Draws were consistently glacial at ~1.15.
  • Reloads were even worse. ~1.2 when I actually stuck it, and up near 1.8 when I would bobble.
  • Consistently kept leaving the close target early, and thus shot a boat load of Cs on it. 
  • The good: transitions and hits were excellent on the 15 and 25 targets. Though, that just made it even more infuriating that I was fucking up the easiest target. 

 

By the end of the session, I had focused and removed the early transition. However, draw and reload times still sucked. I switched to 4 Aces and got the times closer to normal. Draws got down to ~.9, and loads to 1.1. That said, I was definitely cheating on my grip to hit those times. 

 

None of the above is particularly earth-shattering, but it stung deeply in contrast to past performance. Last week, I hit my PR in Distance Changeup; I consistently was shooting it in 2.2 clean. Last year, my 4 Aces times* were in the 2.2-2.3 range thanks to much faster draws and loads. (*The hits were shit, because my training sucked in 2016). 

 

 

 

Looking at the big picture, my training and shooting have evolved greatly. It's going to be a good year. I spent 2017 and this winter working on good hits at speed (a crazy idea, I know) and it has paid off greatly. But, it was horribly demoralizing to be floundering around on two of the most basic shooting components like a D-class newbie.

 

Solution in Dry Fire: Incorporate more gun handling / hoser type stuff into the mix. I switched to almost-exclusively shooting tight partials at distance, hence my growth last year, but I've definitely neglected some of the "easy" stuff. 


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#2 Ben

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 11:18 AM

Any video coming?



#3 SlivGod

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 11:23 AM

Any video coming?

From future sessions and matches, yeah. I was too distracted by yelling at the gun and myself yesterday to remember to record anything. The only video from the prior week was 1 minute long, so I delegated it to IG rather than YT. 

 

I think I'll be keeping them here rather than the Video Review subforum, just for sake of convenience. 


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#4 SlivGod

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 06:02 PM

Obsessively been spending extra time on reloads in the past few days, which has helped get me back on track. I've also been trying to modify my draw slightly over the past couple of weeks (moving my support hand slightly higher, rather than indexing off my belt). 

 

The more interesting developments in dryfire recently have been in movement. I have been trying to find the point of failure for explosive movement. While my movement had become notably more efficient in the last year, I have still been lacking the raw speed and explosiveness. Finding that feeling has been successful (Ben's tip on feeling "out of control" is pretty spot on, FYI) but now I'm working on toning it back just enough. There's been a lot of over-running positions and sight wobble on position entry, but it's getting better. Hard exits aren't quite there, so I'll be dedicating more time to that over the coming weeks. 


"Forget the necessities, it's the luxuries I can't live without." 


#5 Stubb

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 08:35 PM

I've found that the Shadow 2 is only reliable with an 11.5# main spring if you also swap in the reduced-power firing-pin spring. Using the extended firing pin may help reliability. Seems like cheap insurance.



#6 Sweet T

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 09:22 PM

Following!

#7 SlivGod

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 05:10 AM



I've found that the Shadow 2 is only reliable with an 11.5# main spring if you also swap in the reduced-power firing-pin spring. Using the extended firing pin may help reliability. Seems like cheap insurance.

Unfortunately, that's what I already have in the gun. At this point, I'm guessing it is the depth of the primers. But, I don't really care enough to mess with it. The 13# is just fine for the practice gun.

 



Following!

So much pressure! 

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#8 SlivGod

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 03:05 PM

I'm sure as hell not going to post daily updates of what I do in dryfire. If you're working out of Ben's books, then you already know. But, I figured I would share part of today's work for the sake of others. 

 

In the last year or so, I think one of the best changes to my training has been working extra hard on days where I really don't want to dryfire. For me, it's been the best, if not only, way to simulate the final stages of a big match where everyone is exhausted... or early morning matches where I'm just not that "into it," etc etc. It's a legit form of mental, and usually physical, exhaustion.

 

Yesterday's workout was the 11 Minute Squat Challenge* so my legs still feel like jello today. I wasn't really in the mood to dryfire, and definitely not in the mood to do anything movement related. So, I did my usual hour (roughly broken up into 15min segments on 4 drills) and ended with Hard Exits. It's amazing how much more you have to pay attention to something so simple when your legs don't really function the way you want them to. I was seeing the sights well, shifting weight as needed, driving hard with both legs, and getting a reload done in the first 2 steps. It was hard, but the only real challenge ended up being coming into the second position. 

 

Maybe it won't work for you. But, I suggest at least trying sessions where you work on the thing you least want to. 

 

 

 

*Squat Challenge = Use 30-40% of your max squat weight. Set 1) Do as many squats as you can in 3 minutes; rest 3 minutes. Set 2) Do as many squats as you can in 2 minutes; rest 2 minutes. Set 3) Do as many as you can in 1 minute. Done. 


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#9 SlivGod

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 05:59 PM

Well, today's range trip was poetic. 

 

  • This game, like many things in life, favors mental strength. I left that at home today. Thus, I should have just stayed the fuck home. Today was one of the shittiest, most stressful days I've had in a long, long time. I considered staying home, not because I didn't want to go, but because I thought it would be a waste of a trip (in hindsight, I was right). Comparatively, I felt a lot more relaxed when I arrived at the range, but the day had already done its damage. 
  • Technology: My phone did nothing to help the mood.
    • The added pressure of performing in front of an anonymous audience added a little bit of stress. Not much, but any little bit was not helping today.
    • Just found out that nothing actually recorded thanks to the way I re-formatted my SD card to make room for practice videos. I should have checked this ahead of time. To be honest, I'm slightly thankful that I don't have to post it now.
    • I realized I have no idea the best way to format practice videos. I've always taken them in the past just for shits and giggles, and they end up on Instagram. Today, I set up a pseudo-tripod with me in focus, called out times and relevant splits verbally, and called out non-Alphas verbally. That felt dumb; I'm sure there's a better way to do it (both for my own analysis and for public scrutiny). Thinking about that distracted me for the first few minutes or so, then I got on with my life. If you have suggestions, please share them. I like Stubb's formatting, but I'm pretty sure he writes down his hits to add into the video as text on screen. I hate taking time to write shit down while at the range, so I will not be doing that. 
  • The important part: Shooting! I worked on Criss Cross today at 10 yards. It's probably my favorite drill, even if it does require a lot of time spent stuffing mags. The OG Skills & Drills calls for 7.0 seconds, clean. The time was no problem, but the hits were rubbish.
    • Time was typically 6.6s, +/- .2. I lost a lot of time on the draw still: ranging anywhere from 1.1-1.3. I was unhappy with loads in the 1.2 - 1.3 range until I "forgave myself," remembering that it's a reload to a head box (I only ran it this way today. Not the inverse). 
    • On average, I would say I was shooting 2 Cs per run on the bodies and dropping 1 head shot down just below the B perf. (I still have 2 cases of the old targets, sue me). 
    • Some of the worst runs included Deltas on the center target from dragging across and flinging head shots over the top after the reload. 
    • I finished with a very conservative run just to see if I could pull it together. I thought it was "the one." Time was 7.00 - on the nose. Hits were all As on the bodies, nearly all As on the heads (the groups were damn near cloverleafs)......... but I threw a mike on the middle head. Even worse, I didn't even call it. [sigh]
    • I went to run it one last time after that so I could duplicate the run without the Mike. I was on track for that, until I had a fucking squib on the 8th round. On the bright side (sarcasm), it only took about 10 minutes to get the squib out. Bastard did not want to move. 
  • Small miracles: I had one run where the hammer did not drop, noticed the slide had not gone fully into battery, started to move to tap it forward, changed my mind, and just racked the round out, and finished the run.  Upon inspection of the round that kicked out, I discovered the case was split. Had I tapped the slide forward, I'd most likely be buying a new gun right now, if not sitting in the emergency room. Yes, you should read "small miracles" in your best Archer voice. 

 

TL;DR:  Live fire sucked today because I was mentally disengaged; I don't know how to work a camera; and, I nearly blew my hand up. 


"Forget the necessities, it's the luxuries I can't live without." 


#10 Stubb

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 06:30 PM

I call out times and non-Alpha hits at the end of each practice run but trim that shit when assembling the clips for upload.

 

 

Shooting well is very mentally demanding. I can tell that my match performance takes a hit if I have a mentally taxing week at work. There's an edge that just isn't there. Same thing happens if I do a hard workout or have a Scotch too many the day before. Having to compete against the ATL-area heat puts a damper on Friday-night fun


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#11 SlivGod

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 06:36 PM

I call out times and non-Alpha hits at the end of each practice run but trim that shit when assembling the clips for upload.

 

 

Shooting well is very mentally demanding. I can tell that my match performance takes a hit if I have a mentally taxing week at work. There's an edge that just isn't there. Same thing happens if I do a hard workout or have a Scotch too many the day before. Having to compete against the ATL-area heat puts a damper on Friday-night fun

Ah, that makes a lot more sense.

 

Absolutely agree. I think one of the quickest things to go when that edge is lost, at least for me, is visual processing. Reflecting on today's session, I don't really ever remember seeing the fiber on the target I drew on... mostly just the outline of the gun. At 10 yards, that's really insufficient. 


"Forget the necessities, it's the luxuries I can't live without." 


#12 SlivGod

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 02:04 PM

Today's live fire was notably better. Perhaps not so much in performance, but definitely in attitude. Got my head put back on straight and came ready to put in some work, push hard, and be prepared to handle failure when it came up. Also, I normally train alone, but brought a training buddy today to help prevent me from wallowing in self-pity. 

 

Started with Ben's Doubles drill at 20 yards

The goal is to shoot 2 As in 1.8s. I ran it 20 or so times. 

-It started off ugly. The times were mostly okay, some a tenth or two slow. But the hits sucked. I wasn't gripping hard and slapping the piss out of the trigger. The first few attempts were low-left on DA (down to the C/D perf), and then high-left on SA (nearly flinging them over the shoulder). 

-2nd portion were a little better. I fixed my grip but was slapping the shit out of the trigger still. So was still shooting lots of Cs, mostly coming off the draw.

-Last portion was marginally better. Everything was As and really close Cs. But, the goal of the drill is to shoot Alphas and only Alphas. I need to spend more time on just fundamental Grip + Trigger in dryfire, especially with my new, heavier trigger on the practice gun. 

 

Switched to a mini stage. 

- Left array was a tuxedo at 11 yards between two 8" plates at 13. This array really tempts you to do dumb shit, and it did - as seen in the video.

- Middle array was supposed to be 2 burner targets to take on the move. They ended up being positioned where they appeared and disappeared quite quickly, but I left it alone to take on a new challenge. Far target was about 10 - 12 yards. Closer one was 7 or 8ish.  Last position was an 8" plate at 20 yards.

 

-Again, grip and trigger need work. Thankfully, this tends to iron itself out rather quickly now that I can live fire again this time of year.

-REALLY need to work harder on goofy start positions. I'm slow as shit, and was often getting a crappy grip coming out of the holster. 

- Shot calling needs a little work. I was surprised by the M and D on the open target. Again, will get better now that live fire is an option. 

 

-Looking forward towards Battle in the Bluegrass, I really just want to focus on discipline for the next couple of weeks. I only shot the match in 2016. I don't recall any stage being difficult on its face, but most were set up in a way that tempted you to be really dumb and take unnecessary risks. I just want to shoot it cold and disciplined. 

 

Video Note: I'm not sure what my issue is with iMovie, but some of the captions are all fucked up. Typo on "stell" rather than "steel," video trimming magically untrimmed, etc. Technologically challenged. 

 

 

ETA: I may take a couple days off from touching my gun soon. My support hand index finger is pretty busted up, and I'd like to let it heal. That said, I've been thinking about doing that for weeks and haven't yet. Soooo... maybe not. Stubbornness is fun. 


"Forget the necessities, it's the luxuries I can't live without." 


#13 Stubb

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 08:02 AM

Athletic tape is your friend for wrapping fingers when they get beat up.

 

On your grip, I get a sense that I'm driving the knuckles of my support hand into the target when I'm shooting well. Also, see if rolling up your elbows a bit helps.

 

You have some easy gains available on your draw. When the buzzer goes off, get your blaster on target like there's a clock running!



#14 SlivGod

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 08:28 AM

Athletic tape is your friend for wrapping fingers when they get beat up.

 

On your grip, I get a sense that I'm driving the knuckles of my support hand into the target when I'm shooting well. Also, see if rolling up your elbows a bit helps.

 

You have some easy gains available on your draw. When the buzzer goes off, get your blaster on target like there's a clock running!

I definitely want to try elbows up a bit. Even when I'm gripping like a gorilla, I notice there's still more visible recoil compared to dudes, like Ben, where the frame stays perfectly flat. 

 

Already spent some time on goofy starts this weekend and time gains came easy. Weird how being aggressive  leads to more aggressive results. 


"Forget the necessities, it's the luxuries I can't live without." 


#15 Stubb

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 12:43 PM

Weird how being aggressive  leads to more aggressive results. 

 

Shoot with zero fucks given.


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#16 SlivGod

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 12:59 PM

Shoot with zero fucks given.

[sarcasm] I believe that's the Tim Meyers method... [/sarcasm] 

 

Considering the actual intent of that idea, I like the fuck out of that. 

 

 

 

ETA: 

Messed with both things tonight in DF. 

1. The hyperaggression during difficult starts works crazy well. Any time that got lost with the occasional missed draw was still faster than trying to do it at a relaxed pace.

2. Years ago, it was difficult to break the "tactical turtle" stance, hence my incredibly relaxed stance now. Rolling my elbows back up just a little bit definitely makes an improved feel in recoil control. But, it will take a while to engrain and needs to be confirmed in live fire. 

 

 

Also, my PT (and also gf) has yelled at me to stop dry-firing for a short while, and to ice, rest, & ibuprofen. I was noticing a pain in my strong hand wrist, in line with my thumb, whenever I pulled the DA trigger yesterday and today. I'm told that's "overuse" and "can only be fixed with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories." 

I'm not pleased. But I'd rather get healthy. This one is harder to ignore than a scraped up finger. 


"Forget the necessities, it's the luxuries I can't live without." 


#17 SlivGod

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 04:35 PM

The Good: First day of dryfire since Monday. It's nice to be back to practicing. Also, the "reset" of taking a few days off seemed to help a few things (discussed below)

The Bad: It's probably a little too soon to return. I have a very mild case of de Quevain's tenosynovitis (basically tendonitis along the thumb), and my PT is going to chew me out. But, BITB is only 2 weeks away and I can't stand not getting prepped for it. 

 

The Good: I've cleaned up my grip a little bit. I used to keep my offhand rotated back a little bit because I felt I could get the most strength that way, but it left me riding the slide stop. Now I'm back to wrist rolled forward, both thumbs pointing at the target. It's not 100% engrained, but we're almost there. The few days off helped.

The Bad: That grip strength isn't quite what it used to be. I need to dedicate a little more focus and practice on gripping even harder with the new technique. 

 

The Good: I've also cleaned my draw up a little bit. Weakhand now comes just a little bit further towards the gun, and slightly higher up. I think this will aid in establishing my grip effectively sooner. 

The Bad: --

 

The Good: Rolling my elbows up definitely continues to feel like an improved stance.

The Bad: Going to need a TON more time to engrain that. I need to consciously think about it now, and it occasionally throws off my draw. Also, the weather went back to shit here, so I haven't been able to confirm its effectiveness in live fire. 

 

The Good: Finally got around to installing my spare 10x bushing in the practice gun. More accurate is more gooder, I guess. 

The Bad: Will need to confirm or re-zero the practice gun next range trip. 

 

All in all, these changes are pretty minor tweaks that should only benefit me in the long run. But, I almost feel like I'm starting from scratch in the meantime. It's an odd sensation to disrupt such basic, fundamental aspects of my game. 


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#18 SlivGod

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 04:22 PM

Very far removed from training, but figured they would be amusing to some of you:

1. I still don't know who did it. But, somebody sent me a CZ Custom team jersey (most likely trolling, considering my opposition to fake jerseys). Joke's on them; it's comfy as a motherfucker.

2. My thumb is mostly better. But, I balanced that out by injuring the same wrist and breaking my small toe. I have no idea how I hurt my wrist. So far, neither seem to have any impact on performance other than just being annoying. 

 

 

ETA: Spent a good portion of tonight working on shooting as soon as my sights clear the edge of a vision barrier on the A zone. Also, copying Andreas and Turner, worked on aiming for the upper A zone.


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#19 SlivGod

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 08:13 PM

Shot Distance Changeup and El Prez today, for a fairly short session because I was running out of day light. 

 

DC: 

  • Lack of trigger control was evident by the large number of mikes on the head box.
  • Also, I realize that when I posted my PR for this earlier, I unintentionally falsely presented it. My 2.2 PR was using a mini popper as the back target, not a head box. Considering my slow splits on the head, the time difference makes sense. (See my original post)
  • Times were slower than I'd like. Draw is still sluggish, and my splits are incredibly slow on the head box.
  • The good: Consistency was pretty well there. Intentionally aiming for the upper A zone is good. 

El Prez:

  • Bad trigger press carried over here. Note the wild hits, especially Deltas. On the good runs, I could definitely sense the good trigger presses... My trigger finger was moving independently and smoothly, entirely distinct from the rest of my grip.
  • Turning draws are slow. I switched to a new style: I load my weight on the plant leg and pivot. I'm considering going back to my old style: load weight on left leg, do a turning step with right foot, and throw my whole body around. It felt faster. Will need to do some better comparisons.
  • Reloads sucked. Need to spend more time on there. I see I'm losing a ton of time going from mag insertion back out on to target. That should be punching the gun back out, not casually getting back on target. 
  • There's a good 1/2 to 3/4 second to be gained just in the draw and reload alone.
    • One of my goals for this year is to be consistently at 5.0 or under. I'd like some PR runs closer to 4.0.
  • Loading weight on, and turning on, a foot with a broken toe is uncomfortable but does not appear to actually slow down the movement. 
  • The good: I'm pleased to see that I've (mostly?) broken the habit of "sweeping" across the center target. Points dropped were from jerking the trigger combined with weak grip, but not from sweeping. 

 

Overall:

  • This practice was not about pushing, but was a "check up" to see how the changes were going. While it was valuable, I don't want to spend too many more days like this. I need to push and get out of my comfort zone. 
  • Things went better when I remembered to roll my elbows back up. I definitely need to spend more time on this. 
  • Grip still needs to be harder. Thankfully, I was much better about my new technique. Dry fire is working. 
  • Will be shooting a lot of dots next range trip to work on trigger press. Will also be doing the doubles drill and/or far Bill Drills to work on those pesky far splits.
  • Today was the first live fire session where the S2 finally feels like a natural extension of me, like my old S1s were. Strictly a subjective analysis, but there's a level of comfort that goes with that.
  • Having some random person show up and ask to watch your practice is really fucking strange, but apparently the pressure helped (or I just had two lucky runs). At least I may have recruited another USPSA shooter out of the exchange. 
  • Whatever is wrong with my wrist definitely needs attention. That will wait until after Battle in the Bluegrass.
  • If you're wondering why I use bullet-point formatting: I tend to reflect on sessions and piece together my thoughts. I find this is easier to do in list format rather than paragraph. Sorry, not sorry. 

 

video forthcoming. It's uploading, and will be posted in the AM


"Forget the necessities, it's the luxuries I can't live without." 


#20 Peally

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 08:28 PM

What are your scores looking like for El Pres? That's the only drill I have a decent idea in my head as far as my own performance.

 

As far as recording scores yes, writing shit down is quick and easy compared to saying it out loud and burning video time with that audio. Seems easiest to me, I used to use my phone but taking that out and unlocking it and typing on a tiny keyboard into Evernote every run is a PITA.






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