Crawfish Cup 2014 and GSSF at Dallas Pistol Club May 2014

Crawfish Cup

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The Crawfish Cup marks the start of Bianchi season. It is never more than a month away from the Bianchi Cup, this year with the World Action Pistol Championships the week before Bianchi this match is even more important as there are few opportunities to practice between the trips for each match.

Anyways I am honestly disappointed with my performance. I made a number of mental errors that cost me points that would’ve otherwise resulted in a pretty descent score.

Equipment wise other than my ELS belt system there were no changes from Bianchi Cup last year. My XDM 9 5.25″ is still going strong.



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This match snuck up on me, I was totally unprepared for it. When I got my Glock 34 Gen 4 all I did was put Warren Tactical sights, I didn’t have enough magazines, and the gun had only a little more than a hundred rounds through it. I also realize now that I should’ve gotten a Glock 17 Gen 4 as that would’ve allowed me to compete in the civilian category which had a number of cash prizes to be won. Anyways I did well until 5 to Glock, where the factory trigger and my lack of practice with the gun came together for a massive number of dropped points.


US Steel Nationals 2014 – A long overdue update

Probably thought I completely forgot about shooting since I haven’t posted anything shoot related since late last year. I haven’t stopped shooting, simply haven’t had time to get any new posts done.

US Steel Nationals 2014

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I spent a week and almost 5,000 rounds in Florida shooting. I first spent two days with Shannon Smith of Universal Shooting Academy, during this session we established realistic goal times for all the stages. I then spent the remainder of the week leading up to Saturday practicing. The match was fun I didn’t do as well as I was hoping, but I still walked away with 6th production which is 4 positions higher than last year. One bright spot, is though I was within a second of my time at the Texas State match, I only had 17 make up shots which is much much less than I did at Texas State.

Stage wise, I only set a personal best stage time during Smoke and Hope; and Roundabout both of the hoser stages. On the other hand even though my stage times were worse on other stages like Five to Go my times were more consistent. Since I know that I had shoot these stages faster, I just need to do it more consistently since my previous way of doing it often results in me crashing and burning. Now two things I noticed that I really need to work on is to reacting to the buzzer faster and prepping the trigger. I really need to get my hands moving at the first sound of the buzzer rather than waiting for the buzzer to complete. Also I noticed from watching the video (you didn’t think I did the video because it is cool?) that I was resetting the trigger after I got to the next target, I really need to do that between targets.


Smith and Wesson M&P 9 Pro 5″ – This was the first time that I’ve had a parts breakage at a major match. During practice on Thursday the left side slide lock lever broke off. It wasn’t a major issue since you are doing reloads in Steel Challenge, so I trucked on with my current gun rather than breaking out the back up. The only thing I had to do because of it, was use an empty magazine to lock the slide back. I called S&W and they said it was a factory only part so I would have to send the gun in to get a free replacement. I just bought a couple, and will be doing the replacement myself during the next spring replacement cycle.

Now I did have three stoppages, all three were with Freedom Munitions Remanufactured 9mm, and all three sounded like a squib with a stove pipe failure to eject. I had no issues with the Atlanta Arms and Ammo 9mm reloaded match ammo.

Safariland ELS Belt System – This was my first major match with the Safariland ELS belt. Overall I like the stiffness of the belt along with the convenience. Every time I put it on the mag pouches and holster are all in the same position. When I am eating lunch I can quickly slip off my QLS attached holster, and my ELS attached mag pouches. If I am going into town for lunch, I can simply take off the outer belt. And then there is the fact that even though the mounting platforms don’t change, I can easily change the exact attachments for the division that I am shooting. So for this match I had my Comp-tac International Holster for the M&P, and the Safariland 773 magnetic mag pouch. For Bianchi it will be the XDM version of the Comp-tac holster. For USPSA I will change the mag pouches. The list goes on.

Now I did have one issue with the belt system, somewhere during the week I lost one of the pegs that holds the belt together. I noticed it on Friday, and I didn’t have a back up belt so I had to keep on trucking (Safariland has said that a replacement peg is on the way). I also say people that didn’t secure their belt well lose the belt during stages like Outer Limits. I can see why Shannon Smith uses police style belt keepers with his competition belt system. If I have any issues I will likely be doing the same.


Bianchi Cup and Other Pistol Matches

I picked up my second XD(M) 9 5.25″ that I will be using as a back up gun for these season’s NRA Action Pistol matches and any in the future. It took a few hours but I got it configured the same way as my other XD(M), now I am just waiting on the backup holster from Comp-tac. Anyways I am signed up for the Crawfish Cup, World Action Pistol Championship, and the Bianchi Cup. I got my squading for Bianchi Cup, I request and got the same shooter number as my last two years, and I got all afternoon slots. I am definitely looking forward to shoot the new mover in Columbia, as they’ve upgraded it to an Action Target tracked mover. I am currently working on getting an extra day at the SWLA Rifle and Pistol Club range to practice the stages a little more.

Anyways on to the second half of my season, due to the World IPSC Championship being at USA this year, the Monster Match is cancelled. Since I enjoy shooting Shannon’s matches I’ve signed up for the US IPSC Nationals, which will be the same stages just a week or two after the world match. Should be a fun match, and since I am going to be shooting classic division this will be first time shooting a major match with a 1911. I need to get some stuff hammered out to get my STI Trojan ready for the match.

I was hoping that the USPSA would move the World Speed Shooting Championship to fall at USA, but that didn’t quite work out. The date for the Texas State Steel Challenge Championship hasn’t been announced yet, but I am hoping that it will work out so I can shoot it in addition to the US IPSC Nationals. Either way, I am seriously thinking about going to the Georgia State Steel Challenge Championship next year.

Bianchi Cup 2013 and Flagler Cup 2013 AAR

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With the last shot fired at the Bianchi Cup marks the end of my major match shooting season, with exception of the Monster Match I have no major matches scheduled until next year. All though I enjoyed shooting the Bianchi Cup, I am disappointed with my mental errors, I practiced quite a lot on my weak areas, and though I felt I addressed them some what my score didn’t reflect that. But even saying that, at the Bianchi Cup I got a better score than last year, and I was within a point of my score at Flagler Cup.
Falling Plate Event

  • Flagler Cup 400 – 40x
  • Bianchi Cup 400 – 40x

This year is the first year that I went prone at 25 yards, I managed to get 9 plates at 25 yards during both matches, which is a much more consistent score than in the past, with a little work I think I can bring that up to clearing both runs fairly regularly. Unfortunately due to mental errors I dropped plates at shorter distances (including getting fragged at 10 yards during Flagler). I am also considering going prone at 20 yards, but that is something that I need to test on a shot timer.

Practical Event

  • Flagler Cup 443 – 14x
  • Bianchi Cup 413 – 18x

This event I made some major improvements, my Flagler Cup score is the highest practical score that I’ve gotten yet; and my Bianchi Cup score, though not stellar, is my second highest. I did this by working on eliminating my issues at 50 yards with dropping shots below the target, I also worked on my weak hand only string. Though I have some work to do to bring the score up even higher, this is one of the few parts of the match that I truly happy with how it turned out. Other than the usual tightening up the groups, the major thing I need to work on is weak hand only, though I am pretty sure that I got 8s or greater on most of those six shots, at that distance I really should be getting all 10s.

Moving Target Event

  • Flagler Cup 420 – 9x
  • Bianchi Cup 435 – 15x

Nothing to really report here, I did descent though not as well as last year. I think I need to spend some time working each distance, putting together more exact holds for leading the target.

Barricade Event

  • Flagler Cup 391 – 14x
  • Bianchi Cup 400 – 6x

This is probably my weakest event, I have a lot of work to do on this event to get it under control. Unlike the plates I am not quite sure exactly what is wrong. My best guess is that I am not letting my sights settle between shoots by shooting too fast. Using something to support myself with shooting isn’t something that I normally do. I guess I simply need to practice it.


  • Flagler Cup 1654 -77x
  • Bianchi Cup – 1648 – 79x


At Flagler I got third production, and second sharpshooter overall, winning me $50 and a plaque. At Bianchi I got 23rd production and third production sharpshooter, winning me $200. I am continuing the tradition of donating a dollar for every X-ring I shoot at Bianchi, along with 10% of any cash prizes from that match. So I will be donating $99 to the American Cancer Society, the better I do, the more money they get. It is win – win for both parties. I also achieved one of my shooting goals, I didn’t get a single mike on the AP-1 targets throughout the entire Bianchi Cup, so that goal has been revised to make it harder as noted by a earlier post.


Gun: Springfield XDM 9 5.25″ Competition – It is funny that this is the gun that I like the least, but it has won me the most money. Since I keep the magazines cleans it has been very reliable, and accurate. Beyond that there is nothing really to report as I’ve made no changes this year.

Holster: Comp-tac The International DOH Holster – I changed to this holster sometime late last year, it really works well. About the only issue I’ve had with it is sometimes not pulling the gun straight out. Also there was the pointy thing that I mentioned in my initial impressions review of the holster, but a few minutes with a Dremel took care of that. Anyways I highly recommend it.

Mag Pouch: Safariland Magnetic Competition Magazines Pouch – I’ve wanted this pouch since last Bianchi Cup when Rob Leatham showed me the prototype (which as a side note he neglected to mention that it was a prototype), Safariland finally released it. Through a little trading I was able to get one at the Bianchi Cup. I will have a more in depth review in the future, but I love this pouch.

Ammo: Atlanta Arms & Ammo 115gr Match/Practice Match – Thanks to the ammo panic it was very very hard to get the ammo I needed to shoot the matches. I was literally scrapping together every spare round to shoot my major matches. But beyond that the Atlanta Arms performed to expectations, chronoing well above power factor for both match lots that I was using. While having zero issues with the 1,705 rounds I fired. I also brought another 400 rounds of Federal white box range ammo, that I used to supplement my Atlanta Arms ammo, by shooting it during the shorter strings.

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Changes for the next Bianchi Cup

Other than the issues I noted above, one thing that I am going to do to bring things together is to practice by shooting group periodically. I hate shooting groups, but I think if I can buckle down with the fundamentals, that is the only way that I am going to tighten things up. I also need to work on developing a more evened pace through out my shooting. Watch someone like Rob shoot the match, and his pace between shots is practically the same since he lets his sights decide when he lets the shot off.

Equipment wise, I don’t see too many changes. Unlike last year I am going to work on the assumption that my M&Ps will not be back from Apex. If my M&Ps come in before I go to Florida for the Monster Match great, but I can’t rely on that happening. But other than doing a recoil spring replacement and a deep clean of the my current XDM I am probably not going to do much to the gun. Now one thing I will be changing is my ammo supply, I am going to switch to Zero Ammunition. I am not switching because I don’t have confidence in Atlanta Arms & Ammo, in fact quite the opposite I love their ammo and they’ve been good to me. But Zero allows me the option of placing an order today, with delivery at Bianchi next year, that way I am not running around like a headless chicken a few weeks before the match.

That about wraps things up, I will have the occasional local match report, along with range logs but it will be fairly quiet until next year.

Score sheets

Flagler Cup

Bianchi Cup

My plate score sheet went missing so here are the hits by distance and string

  • 10 Yards 5 – 6
  • 15 Yards 6 – 5
  • 20 Yards 5 – 4
  • 25 Yards 5 – 4


Last practice session before Flagler and Bianchi Cup

Went to the range today for one last practice session. Unfortunately after seeing six rounds on target, I wasn’t feeling it. It just so happened that I also chose today to test my RX100’s video mode. Once I saw the video I saw why my shots all sucked, I was slapping the trigger rather than working it properly with a slow trigger press.

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Anyways video is really helpful for diagnosing issues, as it sees things that many are incapable of seeing while competing or practicing. They aren’t as good as having a instructor, and high level training partner watching you, but they work well if you plan things out. Which means that I will be spending the next week dry firing the shit out of the trigger.

AAR: The Crawfish Cup 2013

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I really enjoy going to Lake Charles for the matches at the Southwest Louisiana Rifle and Pistol Club, it is a great facility with a great crew running the matches there. This time it was for the annual regional tournament that they hold, the Crawfish Cup. Since it is a regional level match, it attracts competitors both regionally and even from those nationally. Like most NRA Action Pistol matches there was a practice day the day before the match, but I wasn’t feeling well so I only got a short amount of time thus this almost was a cold match for me.

Even with that issue I still managed to scrap together a 1611 – 83X, which is my best score since Bianchi, which was high enough to get me high Sharpshooter, and 3rd in production. With my practice at home for the practical I got my best practical score yet by tackling my mike problem at 50 yards, I only had one mike on the entire practical event. On the barricade event it seems that I am still incapable of counting, as it seems that I fired seven shots at 25 yards on one side of the barricade which netted me a penalty. My mover was descent, but nothing to write home about, and my plates were horrible at 10 and 15 yards, but I got the most hits ever at 25 yards. But since I didn’t get a chance to practice I wasn’t able to work on going prone for the plates. I am hoping during the week leading up to Bianchi I can work on that.

  • Practical Event 405 – 22X
  • Barricade Event – 389 – 13X
  • Falling Plate Event – 390 – 39X
  • Moving Target Event – 427 – 9X

Equipment wise I am using the same Springfield Army XD(M) 9 5.25″ that I used for Bianchi, I’ve made no changes since then. As I mentioned earlier I switched to the Comp-tac The International, like with the one I use with the M&P 9 Pro series, it gave me no issues. Ammo wise I was shooting Atlanta Arms & Ammo remanufactured 9mm with the 115gr Zero JHP. I had enough of the AA&A new ammo which has the Hornandy XTP, but since I didn’t get a good practice session I decided not to waste it. I honestly didn’t fell held back with the reloaded ammo, but I haven’t had a chance to shoot any groups with it.

Anyways except maybe a range log, this will likely be my last update until after Bianchi. With a little bit of luck I should be able to scrap the money and ammo to go to those matches. My score sheets will be in a gallery below.

So I am laying there thinking “Did I just blow up my gun right before a major match?”

Backing up a few minutes, today I was at the range again practicing prone in preparation for the NRA Action Pistol matches I would be shooting in the up coming months. I shot three shots on the left target and transitioned over to the right target, I pulled the trigger all of the sudden I felt gas impact my face and my hands.

It was at that moment laying there that I thought “Did I just blow up my gun right before a major match?” I check out the gun, locking the slide back a live round exits the gun, overall it looks like it is in one piece. Suddenly it hit me, I should probably check to see if I am okay. I don’t know about anyone else when I shoot prone with a pistol on the deck I am looking over my sun glasses to see the sights. I check my hands they appear fine though dirty, no blood on my face, and my eyes are fine. Time to figure out what happened.

I looked at my ejected brass, with quality ammo the XDM makes a small little pile of brass at prone, but I see one brass sticking way outside of the pile. Examining it I see clearly what was wrong. It was a ruptured case, being that this was reloaded ammo that explains that, simply was reloaded one too many times. Which explains very few use the reloaded Blue Box Atlanta Arms & Ammo practice ammo at matches. They pay 50% to know that there is little chance of an issue with new brass. Now here I should probably give the disclaimer, this wasn’t the Atlanta Arms & Ammo that I’ve said that I used in the past. This was from a different competition ammo reloading company, I just had a few boxes that I wouldn’t use for practice at a match, or at the match itself since I use AA&A.

My targets (ignore the added numbers as it seems I am incapable of doing simply mathematics today):

Anyways other than that ruptured case my practice sessions went fine, but the greatest I’ve shot, but I am getting better at prone which is the area other than the plates where I dropped the most points.

Update after a bit time off…

Well a bit of an update, I had a bit of burn out combined with bad weather I haven’t made it to the range much. Also with the ammo crunch I am conserving my pistol ammo since I have just barely enough for all the matches I need to shoot for the next three months. So probably no local matches, and limited practice on the things that I really need help on.

Today I spent some time with my M&P 15-22 on the rimfire range. And then went to the pistol range to work on shooting from prone. During my last few matches I have been throwing too many shots from prone at 50 yards. The range doesn’t support 50 yards, so I did it from the maximum range of 35 yards. It went very well, nothing off the target, and a final score of (though not even remotely comparable to a stage score) of 472-14x out of a possible 500-50x.

Anyways I’ve been sitting on this, but here is the video from the December Steel Challenge Match at BAPS.

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IIRC I did some game stage times, but they weren’t the fastest single run times.

Two for one update this week: Steel Challenge and NRA Action Pistol

Yeah yeah, I was lazy and didn’t get around to publishing last weeks video, so here both videos in one post.

Steel Challenge at Bay Area Practical Shooters:
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I haven’t shot this in a while and it shows both in a good way and a bad way. It is good that I was more accurate, but it was bad that my movement from plate to plate was slow.

NRA Action Pistol at Southwest Lousiana Rifle and Pistol Club:
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A better score than I’ve gotten in a while, but still not that great. My barricade event pretty much carried me through the match.

First NRA Action Pistol Match since Bianchi…

Well on Saturday the Southwest Louisiana Rifle and Pistol club, the same club that holds the Crawfish Cup, ended their summer break and held it’s first NRA Action Pistol match since Bianchi. Which means this was my first time shooting NRA Action Pistol since I came back from Columbia, in fact it was the first time I shot my XDM since then too. My performance was subpar in my opinion, I only got a 1569. But on the other hand I had no practice with either the gun, or the match unlike the other three matches I shot where you have a day or more to get tuned up.

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I made a number of mental errors, namely firing five shots when I should’ve fired six at least twice. I know that I need to work more on the Barricade event with the bracing, but I am starting to get the hang of it. On the Falling Plate event I got my highest score yet even though I tried going prone for the first time which didn’t work out. But it has shown me that prone provides enough stability, that the time required to get down is worth it. I got a number of things to work on, but I have over six months until the first major match of the NRA Action Pistol season, so I think I can get it worked out.

Comp-tac got my the International for the XDM to me in time time to shoot at the match. Except for once where I didn’t pull the angle right it worked very well. This one also has the issue where it stabs me in the side, so I think I will be breaking out the Dremel in the next few days.

A short update on my Bianchi M&Ps, both Pros are at Apex, they have a couple boxes of my match ammo. Now the waiting game, they can provide me no date on when they will be done, I just hope that perhaps it is before the 2013 Bianchi Cup.

Bianchi Cup 2012 Shooting AAR

Shooting the Barricade

Photo by: Dustin Pluth

Final score 1630 – 78X

  • Practical – 401 – 15X
  • Barricade – 399 – 10X
  • Moving Target – 450 – 15X
  • Falling Plates – 380 – 38X

I was going to write a stage by stage analysis, but honestly other then a couple of issues I think I’ve got a handle on the match, now it’s just refinement, bringing my fives into eights, and eights into tens.

I know some say don’t worry about the longer ranges, but IMO the longer ranges make or break your performance. 25% of the match is at the 25 yard line alone. Another 12.5% at the 35 and 50 yard line. That makes nearly 40% of your available points at 25 yards and greater. That almost 40% of the points is where you are going to make up ground as nearly everyone is going to score most of the close range points.

Thus over the off season I think I will be spending a lot of time during the off season practicing. Also I am going to look at going prone at the 25 yard line during the practical, and the falling plates.

Also before the match I said that I would donate $1 for every X shot at the cup, and 10% of any award I took home to the American Cancer Society. Thus I donated $78 to the ACS this week. Next year I want it to be at least $100 in X rings alone.

Oh one final thing. I wanted to mention something about the pressure at Bianchi. IMO the level of stress this match can put on the shooter is tremendous.

Even state level matches don’t compare to the pressure cooker that is standing on the line on a Friday (the busiest day for spectators based on my observation) with at least a dozen people watching, not counting the photographers, and videographers.

Couple of stage comments.
Practical: I zoned out, and didn’t look for my front sight on the weak hand only string which resulted in two mikes, and two fives. 30 points right there.

Barricade: My mike was caused by forgetting to fire my last shot at 25 yards. I think my last minute switch to using the barricade for support might have something to do with my shots. I will practice that extensively between now and the next cup.

Also speaking of using the barricade for support, I need to watch my muzzle, at the 20 yard line I knocked my pistol out of battery. Luckily I noticed it before I started shooting, and used my thumb to correct it.

Score sheets: