Back in May, at Production Nationals, I picked up a Romeo 3 XL dot off the prize table, at first thinking I would just flip it for cash. But the idea started to grow, and here we are a few months later and this was my first USPSA match in CO.
I had 3 practice sessions to get used to the Glock and the dot, which honestly hasn’t been as much of an adjustment as I was expecting. The best comparison I can make right now is that the dot is like going from a DA/SA or striker trigger to a single action trigger: it doesn’t make you better, it just removes a skill from the test. Unless you have visual focus issues that make iron sights hard to use (I don’t, for now, thankfully), it’s not like a dot is better or worse than iron sights. Just different and easier.
That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the speed advantage it gives. I can’t deny I like that reloading less and fewer visual focus changes means shooting CO is more of a drag race. I’ve never said that reloading a lot is what makes Production interesting to me. It’s the low cost of ammo and gear, lack of tweaking and tuning required, and reward to accuracy of minor scoring. CO definitely preserves the last part, and over the course of the match I tightened up the points I was dropping significantly which helped my scores on the later stages quite a bit.
And, of course, the increased participation in CO is undeniable. Taking a data point at random, the August 2017 Sir Walter match, 22 of the 102 shooters were in Production, 6 in CO. At this match, of the 65 who didn’t bail due to the rain, 3 were in Production and 20 were in CO. That’s hard to argue with.
Anyway, on to the match video. As I hint at the beginning, it rained all morning and got more intense when the match was due to start, so we held off for an hour, during which time the waterproof targets got a thorough soaking and still turned out shockingly well. The only real casualty was the heads that flopped down and were folded out of the way to make things fair for each squad.
Wearing mud boots and the first shooter on the first stage (as usual), I distinctly did not come out swinging on this one. Pretty conservative, and not really gripping the gun enough. The movement was okay, but the shooting was just slower than it needs to be given that the targets weren’t that far away. Very cautious on the steel as well. Plan was to shoot 19 with 23 in the gun and distinctly did not want to go to war with poppers off the bat.
Didn’t quite hit the right spot in the middle, and picked up a Delta on one target and a Mike on the other from skipping rounds off the barrels. I had an idea of how I wanted to move through the stage, and executed it pretty much to a T, but didn’t adjust when I messed up the positioning and had bad target presentations. If I wasn’t going to move back to get a full presentation on each target, I should have at least paused my movement to get good A/C hits and move on. As it was, plowing ahead racked up some painful points. Had plenty of makeup shots, but just didn’t take them because they weren’t in the plan.
I was starting to settle in on this stage, but just made a similar mistake on stage 1: I was planning to roll out of the second position on an open target, but I was too impatient and tried to take the top partial rolling through as well, and netted a no-shoot just over the perf. Obviously shooting target focused made it easy to see and confirm it and shoot another makeup to not take the miss as well. Let it go, focused back up for the rest of the stage and got the double plate swinger on the first swing which was nifty.
Another stage where I was focused on movement and hitting the right spots and made two errors. First, not gripping and just double tapping targets, picking up a bunch of silly charlies on close targets. Second, basically point-shooting that big popper and losing count of the number of makeup rounds I had. Also, strategically, just running to each spot and shooting a bunch of targets flatfooted seemed simple, but the stage winner on this one shaved off two seconds somehow. I can only guess by rolling through and spending less time stationary (and shooting one target three times).
This is where things started clicking. All I was focusing on in this stage was gripping the gun, letting my legs carry me through, and shooting the A-zone, not the cardboard. Two of the four Charlies were on the swinger (shooting too early on each swing…) so fairly pleased with the improved hits for the rest of the stage. (We also had more folks on the squad taking the timer at this point, so I had more time to visualize in detail.)
This stage had a lot of targets available from multiple spots, and so I defaulted to a straightforward plan where I shot everything I could see at each position except the last, and through the port I only had to shoot two targets, both of which were right next to vision barriers on their left. I visualized this a lot and when the buzzer went, again it was time to just grip the gun and shoot the A-zone, not the cardboard. Similar results with pretty good points.
Pretty interesting speed shoot where the right-most big popper activated the clamshell. The safe run was to shoot it last in that position and be ready in the next position. My buddy Gerrit went ahead of me and laid down a stout run where he shot it first and took the other two big poppers and still had time to get two As on the clamshell, so I figured I had to keep up. In the first position, I let my grip and the dot settle just a smidge because I knew once I fired that first shot, I had no margin for error, and it worked out quite nicely.
CM 06-05 Fluffy’s Revenge II
I’m still a little sketchy on high speed draws and reloads with the new gun, so I just wanted a good grip out of the holster, which I got. But finding and confirming the dot, trigger freeze on the third paper, and a makeup on the last steel added up to too much lost time. Looks like a GM run on this one is about 3.2 all As, and I was 4.1 with two Cs. I’ll be a CO M after four classifiers regardless, but being able to shoot competitive times on classifiers is still a goal.
I really did not want to miss this match because I knew it would be a good all-around test and give me things to work on. It definitely did that, but especially as the day went on, showed me what generally good runs look like. I feel like the switch to the new division is pretty much complete, and now it’s time to get back to fundamentals and finally maybe make my movement start to suck less.
The other thing that appears somewhat new is that I’m hunching my shoulders pretty much all the time. I can’t think why this would be caused by switching guns, so maybe it’s just old habits creeping back in. Either way, something to watch for and work on in live fire and dry fire.