Chrono: Trust, but verify

Ben BerryBlog

This is post 5 of 5 in the series “2020 Carolina Classic” A series about things that went well in the 2020 Carolina Classic Match Format & Stage Inspection Walking the Prize Table Five Minute Walkthroughs Staff Reset Chrono: Trust, but verify The way that most major matches run chrono, including Nationals in my experience, would be trivially easy to cheat if you wanted to. Just keep a box or mag of full-power chrono ammo in your bag and take it with you when you walk up to chrono, and you can use whatever else you want for the rest … Read More

Staff Reset

Ben BerryBlog

This is post 4 of 5 in the series “2020 Carolina Classic” A series about things that went well in the 2020 Carolina Classic Match Format & Stage Inspection Walking the Prize Table Five Minute Walkthroughs Staff Reset Chrono: Trust, but verify When you pay your match fee for a Level 2 or above match, what are you actually buying? Debugged stages? Consistent staff for every stage? More competition? Trophies? I submit that it is also entirely reasonable for big matches to have staff do all the pasting and reset for you, leaving you to just worry about refilling your … Read More

Five Minute Walkthroughs

Ben BerryBlog

This is post 3 of 5 in the series “2020 Carolina Classic” A series about things that went well in the 2020 Carolina Classic Match Format & Stage Inspection Walking the Prize Table Five Minute Walkthroughs Staff Reset Chrono: Trust, but verify It’s become somewhat common at matches to cut walkthroughs down to 4 or even 3 minutes in an effort, misguided in my opinion, to save time and get more shooters through the match. First, this is bad for competitors. On any given stage, one of two things will be true. Either the stage will have a small shooting … Read More

Walking the Prize Table

Ben BerryBlog

This is post 2 of 5 in the series “2020 Carolina Classic” A series about things that went well in the 2020 Carolina Classic Match Format & Stage Inspection Walking the Prize Table Five Minute Walkthroughs Staff Reset Chrono: Trust, but verify Typically you only walk a prize table at bigger Area matches and Nationals where all the shooters end on the same day and there is a formal awards ceremony. Because of the multi-day schedule, only half the competitors will be on the range each day, which poses a problem. Most level 2 matches solve this by just randomly … Read More

Match Format & Stage Inspection

Ben BerryBlog

This is post 1 of 5 in the series “2020 Carolina Classic” A series about things that went well in the 2020 Carolina Classic Match Format & Stage Inspection Walking the Prize Table Five Minute Walkthroughs Staff Reset Chrono: Trust, but verify It’s been a few months now since the 2020 Carolina Classic, and I wanted to reiterate all the things that went into the planning and execution of the match that went well, to hopefully be emulated by more matches in the future. This is the first of a series that will be posted, one each day, for the … Read More

RO Stories: Bullet Stuck In The Target

Ben BerryBlog

Back in the winter of 2012, I was shooting Single Stack at the Sir Walter USPSA match, and walking around scoring the targets, we found just what you see above on one of them: a 230 grain FMJ stuck literally halfway through the target. This provoked two questions. First, how the heck did this happen? And second, how the heck do you score it? The answer to the first question turned out to be logical once we figured it out: the bullet had first skimmed the barrel that was partially obscuring the target, which robbed it of a lot of … Read More

Polymer Offseason 2020

Ben BerryBlog

Back in the dim mists of 2012 and 2013, I spent the offseason shooting a 1911 in Single Stack and CDP. When November 2014 rolled around and I took a Steve Anderson class, I was motivated to just keep dry firing through the winter and shooting Production, which I’ve continued to do every year since then. I might take some time off from practice when it’s cold out, but I haven’t shot a match with a different gun than my main once since. At the time, it was an M&P Pro, then in the 2016-2017 winter I switched to a … Read More

Match Video: Sir Walter, January 2021

Ben BerryBlog, Match Debrief

It was a good day out at the range with friends, and surprisingly warm if a little muddy in places. SC Section, Area 6, and Production Nationals are all coming up fast, so this is the first match of my 2021 season and it’s a good start. Scores are here. Since the last two matches, when I was shooting my M&P Pro, I had taken a few weeks off over Christmas and gotten back into dry fire with the Stock 2, putting in two sessions the week before this match. For the most part, it all came right back, although … Read More

Stage Brief: SWGC Jan 2021 Stage 2

Ben BerryBlog

For the first of what I intend to be a recurring series, I want to talk through interesting stages and break down what I think we can learn from each one. First up, we have this stage that I designed for the January 2021 USPSA match at Sir Walter Gun Club. Here’s the screenshot I sent (along with the sketchup file) to the build team: The yellow lines are the fault lines, and the pairs of Xs on the ground are steel markers we stake into the ground as a start position. Options Usually when people talk about options in … Read More

“Just fundamentals faster”

Ben BerryBlog

Timer showing a value of .90

There is an idea in shooting instruction that there is no such thing as advanced techniques, just the same fundamentals applied faster. There are two possible reasons that I can think of that someone would say this. The first, more charitable one, is the emphasis that fundamentals don’t change and there are no secret ninja tricks. If you want to get good, you have to have good fundamentals. And, as far as it goes, I think that’s true. But there are some “fundamental” techniques that just don’t come in to play if you’re trying to shoot fast in a USPSA … Read More

Dry Fire Goals – January 2021

Ben BerryBlog

In my experience, the main problem with dry fire practice is that I try to do too much all at once. I want to work on five different deficiencies. I want to work on things on the move before I have made progress standing still. I tell myself I should dry fire for long stretches of time, and I end up putting it off until it’s too late in the evening to even put the belt on. The only solution that I’ve found to this is organization and planning. Write down (on paper, not your phone) a list of the … Read More

Change of Plans (September 2020)

Ben BerryBlog

Since the NC Section match wrapped up last week, things have slowed down a bit and I’ve had time to look ahead to what my training looks like for the rest of the year. As an aside, it’s worth mentioning that my training this summer has been basically none, with a handful of live fire sessions and basically no dry fire since March. This was largely a consequence of things reaching a breaking point for me at my old job, which has now changed. Also, we just found out that the 2021 Area 6 match will be two hours away, … Read More

Warming Up In The Practice Bays

Ben BerryBlog

I saw some discussion elsewhere online talking about the upcoming Low Cap Nationals and how best to take advantage of the practice/warmup bays that are typically available at Frostproof (as well as any halfway decent range that is hosting a match as big as Nationals). It wouldn’t be productive for me to post my answer there, but it got me thinking about the question. Should you use the practice/warmup bays at big matches? No. But I thought the different reasons why were worth talking about. So, to start, let’s paint the picture of what these bays look like, in my … Read More

More Reps?

Ben BerryBlog

Reloading with the new mag on the way to the gun before the old one hits the ground

At a match last weekend, while our squad was shooting the classifier, a friend who practices a lot but only gets to shoot one match a month asked me: “How do you guys reload like that? I try and practice reloads, and mine are never that smooth.” and then he mimed fumbling a reload as I started to consider what he was asking. “What do you do?” he asked. “Just more reps?” Now, I don’t know what other guys do, just what’s worked for me. But here’s what I told him: More reps won’t fix doing the wrong thing. All … Read More

“Just Go Shoot”

Ben BerryBlog

This summer, one of the changes I’m making to my practice is to live fire at least one evening a week. Last year, I would live fire every weekend I wasn’t shooting a match, which was two practice sessions most months. This new schedule gives me four a month, with as many as six if I go on the weekends. This is much more in line with the typical practice schedule for someone who wants to be competitive at the GM level. The First Practice Last Friday, June 22nd, was the second week of this new routine. It had been … Read More

Lesson From Practice

Ben BerryBlog

Another example of why you have to look for patterns in your practice and not just score the targets, from my practice this past weekend: Technically this run on Ben Stoeger’s Practical Accuracy was all 6 hits, none even really cutting it close. And the time was fast. A few hundredths faster than the runs before it. But it was also sloppy and bad technique. I felt myself pulling the trigger with my whole hand, and so it’s no coincidence that 4 of the 6 shots clustered low left. So for the next rep, I focused on gripping the gun … Read More

Reading Targets in Practice

Ben BerryBlog

During my practice session at the range on Saturday, I shot a lot of dots, all at 7 yards. I’m still working out these changes to my grip and trigger pull, but I can feel the progress, I just have to make it repeatable. But in the targets I shot, I saw an interesting example of the value of reading the pattern in the targets, not just scoring them. (Also a major theme of Ben Stoeger’s “Breakthrough Marksmanship” book.) Here are the first and last sheets I shot of the day: The first sheet is all over the place. You … Read More

Flying To A Match With Guns

Ben BerryBlog

2017 Iron Sights Nationals - USPSA Nationals - Southern Utah Practical Shooters - St. George, UT - Berry Shooting

I flew to Iron Sights Nationals  in St. George, Utah this year, and it was the second time I’d ever flow with guns. Nobody ever talks about the hassles of flying with competition guns and enough ammo to shoot a 417-round match (it’s a lot more than 417 rounds), so I wanted to talk about my experience while it was fresh. First off, ship your ammo. It is somewhat expensive, but well, well worth it. Compared to the $25 for another checked bag or $100 for an overweight bag, not to mention match fees, plane ticket, and so on, shipping … Read More