2017 US IPSC Nationals

Ben BerryMatch Debrief

Stages from the 2017 US IPSC Nationals, in the order I shot them.

2017 US IPSC Nationals results

Stage 5
First stage of the day. Called the steel misses before I left them, but two makeups on a six round stage hurts. I had my hat pulled down low so the sun wasn’t right in my eyes, but it definitely didn’t help.

Stage 4
Was first on both of these stages and waffled on whether or not to reload when transitioning the gun. As I walked over to get handcuffed, I decided not to, but that meant after my first miss on the DA shot I had 15 rounds left for a 14 round stage. I became very deliberate, which turned in to decent points, but was very slow. I was very aware of shooting in to the sun on this one. But that was a known thing going in to the match at Universal Shooting Academy in Frostproof, Florida.

Stage 6
The first of three light strikes in the match, each one on the second shot of a target, as I was transitioning away. I had a batch of ammo loaded that I was very confident in for making power factor and figured the slightly heavier springs in my IPSC setup (vs the slightly lighter USPSA setup) would pop the primers reliably. That turned out to not be the case. Lesson: don’t rely on guessing. Test the exact match ammo with the exact match gun and setup.

Otherwise, pretty good. That second reload definitely cost me as much as the light strike.

Stage 7
Committed the classic blunder of relaxing on the easy target and missed my second shot on the first target. Brutal penalty on such a short stage.

Stage 8
Drew right out of the holster and started shooting without confirming my sights, and put charlie delta in to the right hand target. It was a nice group, just in the wrong spot because I didn’t take the extra tenth to correct in to the alpha.

Stage 1
This stage had an option: shoot some extreme leans on 15 yard swingers or go prone and shoot them. I haven’t practiced prone very much, so I over-estimated how stable it would be compared to the very hard lean. Lesson: don’t try to do stuff in matches you don’t practice if you have a choice. It’s probably not as appealing of a choice as you think (if you practiced it, you would know that).

Ended up taking a mike on my second shot on the left swinger. I called it iffy at the time, but I didn’t have a lot of confidence in being able to make it up (even prone, 15 yards is a hard shot) so I left it and hoped. No dice.

Also had my second light strike here, as the swinger was swinging away, so I had to wait for another presentation. Pretty much the worst place it could happen.

My Mobius Mini started crapping out on this stage, so no first person video of the targets.

Stage 2
A stage with a lot of options on which targets to engage through which port. I picked a simple plan that minimized total distance moved, but having to shift to multiple positions and take targets from far away cost me a lot of time. I had the most points, but was about 3 seconds off the pace (13.XX vs my 16.23). The winning plan involved moving more but put you a lot closer to the targets.

Stage 3
Was first on this stage, and it had a ton of options because most of the targets were available from multiple places. I kept trying to come up with a plan to avoid stopping for one target in the middle, but I couldn’t get it to work in the 5 minute walkthrough. Happy with the finish, and my only regret is the number of makeup shots it took to get good hits, but even that I can’t complain too much about. Each of them was better than taking the delta or mike.

Once again, no hat video. Mobius Mini going in the trash.

Stage 13
The first stage of day 2, this time facing away from the sun with amazing target lighting. Another terrible time for a light strike, but at least the DA second strike was an alpha.

Paid attention to the activator sequence but not the timing, so I shot both activators as quickly as I could. That ended up exposing the second and third max traps at almost the same time, resulting in having to run to the end of the stage to pick up the last two hits (the one shot I got off was a called miss). I shot a risky stage plan and got burned by not paying attention to the precise timing, but that’s a lesson for next time.

Stage 14
Another stage with no complaints aside from the number of makeup shots. A little more patience before breaking each shot would have saved a lot of raw time.

Stage 15
Generally mediocre. Not fast and not great points. Felt myself speeding up toward the end of the stage, resulting in charlie delta on the last paper and the steel miss. Something about the targets being wide open made me lose discipline and get lazy.

Stage 16
Got a bad grip out of the holster, which was literally the most important part of the stage. I just took it for granted and was thinking about working the trigger smoothly. Missed the second shot on the second target for no good reason. Couldn’t have been any worse if I took the time to fix my grip, but was in the wrong mindset.

Also, didn’t think ahead of time whether I could take makeups, even though I knew at the time that IPSC doesn’t even have Virginia Count (limited) stages anymore! I erred on the side of caution and took the miss, but that was a failure to prepare properly and know the rules.

Stage 9
This is shooting on the move way faster than I usually practice and the points weren’t great. But ultimately that makeup on steel is what hurt me on this one. No real excuse except it was another Frostproof stage with the sun in my eyes.

Stage 10
Another case of just aiming at the wrong spot. Took two charlies both right next to each other on the last target because I didn’t finish transitioning all the way to the middle of the target.

The start position meant being a little off balance too, so I think I pushed off too hard which made my first setup very rough.

Stage 11
Another very unusual challenge. Got bit by focusing too much on gripping the gun and didn’t get a good hold on the magazine, so it went sideways in my hand.

Stage 12
Ended up going first on this stage again, which manifested mostly by being a little sluggish and not as decisive as if I’d had a few more shooters to really solidify my plan. (IPSC 5 minute walkthroughs are no joke.) Was very hesitant because I knew both of the second two magazines didn’t leave a lot of extra rounds for makeups.

Nearly center-punched the no-shoot moving in to the second position because I was moving so aggressively, but just made it up and moved on. That rattled me but the rest of the stage went okay. That first position was very nerve-wracking so I was glad to get out of there alive.

Overall thoughts

I knew this match would be lightly attended for a few reasons. Registration for the match opened less than 90 days before it started, and it was scheduled for the middle of July in Florida. Not to mention the fact that since the World Shoot is this year, it wasn’t a requirement to shoot this match in order to qualify to be on the US World Shoot team.

I’m pretty happy with how my actual trigger pulling went, including making up most of my bad shots (outside of short courses which me default to shooting them like classifiers without makeup shots). The two main issues were 1) not having the ammo and gun setup 100% squared away well before the match and 2) stage planning. On stage 1 I shot prone despite not having practiced it at all, which was a mistake. On stage 2, I took a very conservative plan because I placed too much of a premium on time spent moving and didn’t think about how much time it takes to aim.

Not to mention managing to perform reasonably well in the challenging Florida heat.

So, the to do list starts with fully debugging the gear before going to a Nationals (duh!) and then on to really being comfortable with the tradeoffs between things like moving vs aiming and leaning vs shooting prone.

As I write this, it’s about 70 days until USPSA Nationals.