True North August 2021 USPSA Wrapup

Ben BerryBlog

This was my second USPSA match in CO. I didn’t have any live fire since the last match, just dry fire with specific cues on getting a good grip on the Glock in the holster, getting a good wrap with my left hand on the front of the gun, staying low when moving, and pulling the trigger without moving the dot. In other words, basic field course skills. No work on high speed gun handling, which showed on the classifier at this match.

Stage 5

This was an 18-round stage, so I made sure at Make Ready to get a feel for how much force I needed to seat the 23-round mag on a closed slide which I don’t do in matches much. That was helpful.

You had to start in the chair, but it was pretty top-heavy and likely to tip over or get in your way, so I visualized in taking a step off to the side so it was out of the way as I loaded the gun. Some folks chose to shoot from seated but that struck me as risky. It also made transitioning to the left side a regular 180 degree transition.

The headshot on the left was right at the 180, and so I planned a strong cue to shoot it standing still and not try to leave position on it. But I also visualized in that I needed to be aggressive moving to the last position because otherwise it would be a lot of dead time in the middle of the stage. The two came into conflict, and I ended up pulling off the headshot as soon as I saw the dot but before I finished pressing the trigger. That one shot was the largest mistake of the day.

Stage 6

This stage was apparently based on a stage at the VA State match last year (video from Beaker here). On principle, I approve of the the practice of borrowing good stage designs. Not everyone is a great stage designer, and even the best don’t always have 6 good ideas a month. You also always learn something new by setting up good designs from someone else–or even just stealing a section of a stage that has an interesting flow. To my eye, the version of the stage set up at this match was actually much more interesting than the original, with tighter shots and having to work more around the barrels in the middle of the stage. Also the array at the end with the targets at receding distances instead of shoulder to shoulder at close distance was more interesting.

This stage offered two basic options as a consequence of the two start positions. If you start on the left, you have to do a short run forward to be able to shoot all the targets from the box, but then the rest of the movement is left-to-right. If you started on the right start position, it was less overall movement, but all the movement was right-to-left.

As you can see, I chose to just move into position, do the reload moving across, and shoot the right box in two positions. It worked well.

Classifier: Can You Count

All the usual mistakes: didn’t take the classifier seriously because it’s so easy. Was sitting in the shade talking to squadmates while everyone else shot it. When it was time, I was just thinking about grabbing the gun and running the trigger as fast as possible, and rattled off 6 shots instead of the specified 5.

I also have a bad habit of letting the fact that I think a given stage or classifier is stupid give me an excuse for not giving it all my focus. Maybe on my blog I can talk about how this stage is dumb, but in the match, it’s worth points. And the classifier goes on my record, even if it’s low enough to not really matter. Whatever the challenge is in front of you, in order to denigrate it you should first conquer it. And I failed at that here. Biggest mistake of the match.

Stage 2

Another set of targets on the left where it would be very easy to break the 180 leaving. Visualized making sure to finish them before moving on.

The targets on the right were a pretty interesting array. Some folks shot them 1-3-2-4 starting with the ones visible from uprange and then shooting the ones behind the barrels as they could see them. I took the approach to just shoot rolling through, with a short burst of speed for the last target until I had A-zone to shoot at. I think it was a good choice.

Aside from the last two paper targets, all the paper shots were pretty close, but still, I was proud of shooting the whole stage without a Charlie. I made sure to pick a spot on each target, not just shoot near the middle of the cardboard.

Stage 3

Some folks on the squad took the two partials towards the back on the right side as they were moving forward, but I chose to shoot them solidly planted and just rack up Alphas. Various factors just added up to it not being worth it to shoot on the move: being almost 90 degrees off the path I would be moving, being at least 10 yards away, and being partials with about half the A-zone available. If they were closer, or more open, or more along the path of travel, I probably would have tried to roll through on them. But they weren’t, so I didn’t.

Other than that, pretty straightforward stage. 1 Charlie total, which again I was proud of. I definitely was shooting very controlled, perhaps too much so.

Stage 4

Pretty much just one stage plan here since most of the targets were only available from one spot. Four positions. Pretty high shot difficulty, so I took my time and shot extras when something look or felt weird. Everything went pretty well.

During the walkthrough I kept instinctively thinking I would drop the mag when I left the third position, and worked hard to visualize moving out of position, pumping my arm with the gun (to give it something to do instead of reloading), and looking hard at where the next target should be as it comes into view. That worked, which I was happy with. That would have been an awkward place to do an unnecessary reload.

Also, I had been using some Pro Grip throughout the day and wiping my hands at Make Ready as the weather got hotter and sweatier, but it was only kinda working. On this stage I just put on a ridiculous amount of Pro Grip and it definitely helped. You would think after 8 summers shooting in this heat I’d know, but when in doubt, put more on.


Overall a pretty good match. Movement is trending in the direction I want it to. Points were overall quite good.

Watching the video the gun is still flipping more than I would like, but subjectively at the time it seemed like the dot was coming back quickly and reliably, so I’m not sure how much stock to put in that. More Pro Grip and/or cooler temperatures will probably help.

And of course, the classifier there is just no reason to do poorly at it. Even if it’s a dumb challenge, I shouldn’t let my contempt for it boomerang on me and make me shoot it poorly. Set the ego aside, complain later, and shoot the stage in front of you.