This was my first time back at the CGGR USPSA match near Asheboro, NC (halfway between Raleigh and Charlotte) since November and I knew it was going to be a tough match. Heat in the 90s, humidity, and a range that has notoriously little shade or wind. They did end up having coolers of water and a popup canopy on each bay which helped.
I ended up having a match I’m fairly happy with. It wasn’t perfect, but the big problems came towards the end of the day. I stayed hydrated and tried to pack as much as I could in to my stage plans and get all the details right.
This stage had a lot of tight, positional shooting but also lured you in to trying to hose the steel because you had plenty of extra rounds. I tried to shoot with high confidence on the steel and mostly succeeded. The one hiccup was the position in the middle where I could stay far back and work around the wall or go all the way in and commit. I ended up trying to split the difference and couldn’t see all the plates, so I had to adjust my position. That difference of twelve inches in foot placement made a big difference and cost time.
This was also the only non-classifier stage where I shot a delta. I didn’t call it and it was almost a miss so that’s pretty bad. Also, shooting the long paper target at 0:27 off balance was very strange and it felt like it took much longer than it did for my sights to settle. I had never shot with my body bladed like that and was surprised how little leverage I had to control the sights. It worked out though because I got the alphas, but it felt really bad at the time.
This was an 18 round stage, with arrays of 8 and 10, and an unloaded start, giving me 20 rounds to work with. I knew I wouldn’t have much ammo to spare. I aimed a lot because I wanted to avoid having to do a standing reload at all costs. I called the bad shot coming in to the last position and knew I had to go one for one on the last three plates and come back for it if I could. Ended up with second on the stage at 98.5%, which is fine. You can’t win the match with this stage, but there’s so much danger it’d be easy to lose it. I shot all alphas and got out alive with 98.5% of the stage points so that was okay.
This stage combined both the opportunity to shoot aggressively coming in on steel and also had small plates far away. In general I shot this one a little too loose, with two steel makeups and two paper makeups while still not being particularly fast. I’m not sure why I didn’t bring more energy to this one. Probably just because it was “only” 21 rounds across three positions, and the whole stage looked pretty straightforward.
Another stage that was just okay. The first target that I drew on was two charlie and I had those slow makeups on the plate rack. Not terrible, and given the heat in that frying pan of a bay, maybe this was a good stage.
Dropped way too many points (half the hits were not alphas), mostly on the 15 yard freestyle and stronghand strings. I haven’t been training strong and weak much because it doesn’t show up in matches a lot (just being honest) but it still hurts to shoot a 68% classifier like this.
Somehow had the stage win (even including Single Stack which had two skilled Ms shooting minor) on this one, despite having to backtrack after leaving a position early. In this case, I transitioned from the small hex steel to the closest plate of the star instead of the top one like I was planning. No real excuse, just laziness and not visualizing that particular detail enough. That got me off plan enough I forgot the 20 yard paper hiding downrange. Like I said, by all rights this should not have been a stage win, but I guess this stage just kinda worked it’s magic on everyone.
The one bright side is that after the mixup and recovering, I went right back to aggressively executing my plan and finished out one for one on the rest of the steel and all alphas for the stage. Even when it goes bad, just remind yourself to see your sights and call good hits. You’ll naturally want to speed up to make up for the lost time, as though that’s possible, so redoubling your efforts to aim will balance things out.
My worst stage of the day. Got trigger happy on the steel because I had rounds to burn and burn them I did. I realized after the miss on the plate rack I had to go one for one or do a standing reload, so I made sure to confirm every shot after that.
And once again, I left a position early. In my mind, I knew those targets were there, but I thought of them as being on that side of the range, so moving toward that side of the shooting area seemed natural. I should have visualized those targets from that position more, instead of just relying on the lazy workaround of “shoot all the plates you can see from here” which I did because it was the end of the day and I was tired. I need to burn this memory of me backtracking on the last two stages in a row in my memory as a warning to myself about coasting and getting complacent at the end of a match. It’s never too late in the day to wreck your match.
Luckily, in this case, the error was minimal and the rest of my match was good enough that it made these flubs stand out by contrast.
The NC Section match is coming up in about three weeks, so my takeaways from this match are
- Bring the energy and aggressiveness even to “simple”/”short” stages like Stage 5.
- Visualize complex engagement sequences like Stage 1 and 2 repeatedly, especially when a mover is involved.
- Keep up the shot calling. Keep shooting lots of alphas and making up anything that looks or feels bad. Keep up the high hit rate on steel