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.

Scoresheets:

GSSF

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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.

Scoresheets:

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.

 Equipment

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.

Scoresheets

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.

Attaching Safariland QLS Fork to Comp-tac International Holster

This guide is an addition to the Comp-tac guide, as frankly I don’t feel it goes into too many details on how to attach the International to the QLS fork.

You will need the following:

  • Your Comp-tac the International Holster disassembled
  • Three Comp-tac T-nuts
  • Three Safariland screws 0.495″ long
  • Safariland QLS fork
  • Hex drivers for both Safariland and Comp-tac
  • Drill
  • #10 drill bit

The last item is probably the most important as the holes on the Comp-tac holster that they don’t normally use for their attachment methods come undersized. Comp-tac has claimed that you can pull the nut through with a screw, but I haven’t been successful doing that. Even after drilling the hole out with the #10 drill bit often I still have to pull the nut through. No fractional size will work, the #10 is just the right size in that it is slightly undersized. The drill bit is available on Amazon or other shops they can be had for a few dollars, or just buy a full set as it is useful to have them around for more precise jobs.

The newest design of the International has slots for the top screw holes, which gives you have two ways of attaching the QLS fork. The two ways are highlighted in yellow and purple. For older holsters you just have the regular top holes, you can only use the attachment holes highlighted in purple. For the newer holsters the slots don’t need to be drilled out, just the single holes. I found that there is very little difference between the attachments methods, the yellow holes results in a very slightly higher resulting position of the QLS fork on the holster, but not high enough that it is noticeable on the draw.

I found it easier to remove the adjustment screws so I can get my hand more easily into the holster, but beyond that it is pretty easy just try to get the nuts in the holes. If it is a little too tight I use Comp-tac suggestion to use the screw to pull it into the hole a little. For the slots you want to make sure that the nuts are in the inner edges of the slots. And then using my hand to make sure that the nuts aren’t pushed out I tighten each one a bit, making sure that it is still straight.

After that you need to put the adjustment screws back in. To do that you need to hold the holster together squishing the rubber adjustment posts. You will need to adjust the tension on the holster again but you are ready to give it a test at the range, and loctite the screws if you are happy with everything.

The Monster Match 2013

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The Monster Match is probably the match I enjoy the most every year. Every year Shannon has new tricks up his sleeve with the match, this year it was a treadmill. But beyond that he takes excellent stage design and ramps things up quite a bit, over half the stages were redresses from the US IPSC Nationals. So there were some very difficult props, and many of the stages were built with more than one way to shoot it. It is hard to single out a particular stage that I liked the most, but I found the challenge of the Ghost Ship enjoyable.

No real major issues, my S&W M&P 9 Pro ran fine, the only issue was the slide locking back prematurely stage 5 “Waking the dead.” Also I should mention stage 5, the popper that activated the mover didn’t want to go down so I called for a challenged the calibration of the popper and won that. Thus I got a reshoot, and I didn’t do badly on the reshoot. The calibration and reshoot gods were pleased with my sacrifice of a virgin (Do you know how hard it is to find a virgin anymore?).

Beyond that most of my issues were mental, like forgetting my stage plan, or in one case simply forgetting to shoot an array of targets. My overall performance was not bad, I shot 81% of the points available, and walked away with high ‘C’ class in the Production division.

Anyways it has been announced that The Monster Match will likely be cancelled in 2014, which is unfortunate. On the other hand there is a rumor that the World Speed Shooting Championships might move to that time of year. But if that doesn’t come to pass I am thinking about shooting the US IPSC Nationals in Classic division.

Texas State Steel Challenge Championship 2013

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I didn’t think I was going to be able to shoot this match, but with the Monster Match delayed to the weekend after Halloween I was able to swing it. Anyways the match is held at the Corpus Christi Pistol and Rifle club, and it is recognized as a level 2 match by the SCSA. Anyways unlike the Steel Nationals it isn’t open ahead of time for practice, so you have to approach it fairly cold with only a couple of practice sessions working on basic skills. And honestly I did quite well, with exception of Roundabout I set a string, or stage record.

I’m thinking about making some changes to my stage plans, and even tried a couple of them out at this match. Which prevented me from being as smooth as I have been in the past, and I even got a miss during Accelerator because of it. Also I really need to work on my misses they are once again killing me. Anyways score sheets below.

This weekend’s project…

This weekends project is working on the prototype of the ELS fork for the Ghost 360 magazine pouch. The first printing didn’t quite fit right, after fitting it, I’ve made some changes to the file, and sent it off for printing for the next prototype. But this one works enough that I can use it at some upcoming matches for testing. Though honestly the material seems like it will work well.

Anyways working on this project for two reasons, one because I recently purchased a Safariland ELS belt system and wanted to use my current favorite magaizne pouches. The other reason is because Ghost as discontinued the quick release belt clip that I liked so much. By creating a Safariland ELS fork I can use the ELS system plates to quickly remove and attach it to my belt. I can also use it with the Blade-tech Tek-lok to create a quick release belt clip without attaching it directly to the belt, like I did with the test setup in the pictures below.

AAR: Training with Robert Vogel and 10/11/2013 Range Log

Just completed two days of training with Bob Vogel. It was a nice small class with only eight students with only Bob doing the training. It was hosted at the CCCS in Cresson, TX.

I honestly don’t remember the exact sequence of things. But he started in the class room going over the basics of his grip, gear setup, and grip strength. Moving on to basics like trigger control and sight alignment, then to draws, and reloads. Moving further on to more complex topics like swingers, multiple targets, and finally some basics of stage planning.

Equipment wise I used my typical USPSA production setup which consists of my S&W M&P 9 Pro, Comp-tac the International DOH Holster, and my Ghost 360 magazine pouches. No issues with anything but the gun, which had a number of light strikes, which I believe was caused by improperly loaded Freedom Munition remanufactured ammo.

It was nice to get some practice on the swinger, and I learned Bob’s methods for one handed shooting which I will be working on to improve my weak handed shooting at during the Practical event. Beyond that I think I was practicing most of his opinion on grip, I only had to make a minor change to replicate his grip.

10/11/2013 Range Log

Getting ready for the Texas State Steel Challenge Championships. I worked on getting my draws on 15 yard targets, and transitions using the smaller IPSC C/B steel targets. I also did some strings of fire at 25 yards just to verify that the Atlanta Arms 147gr ammo hit fine at 25 yards, and that I can also do it. This was my second practice session at my new range, I got to say that I am really liking it, the bays are much bigger than the previous two I was a number of. It was also my second range trip with a camcorder on a tripod, I got to say it does allow me to see my trigger to see if I am prepping between targets which is a huge improvement. Anyways some pictures below.

Mass update…

A post over a month in the making. Frankly I get burnt out after Bianchi, the seriousness of a major match combined with the heat of summer wears me out. But with the Texas State Steel Challenge Championships coming up it is time to get back in the game. Thus in this post I have updates for three matches that I’ve shot recently.

August 2013 Steel Challenge Match

It is amazing that I come back from Bianchi fastest than I’ve ever shot before. I set personal stage and string records for all but Roundabout.

  • Roundabout – 16.88 – Best String: 3.80
  • Speed Option – 18.82 – Best String: 4.37
  • Accelerator – 19.26 – Best String: 4.19
  • Five to Go – 21.38 – Best String: 4.91

September 2013 Steel Challenge Match

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Not as good as last month, but I got some descent times. Honestly the misses are plaguing me. Something I need to work on before Texas state.

September 2013 Real Steel Match

I shot this match since I will be missing Octobers Steel Challenge match due to attending a Bob Vogel class. This match is a local outlaw steel challenge type match. This one takes the rules even further, adding start plates, limited shot count stages, overlaying plates on top of one another, and even adding a Texas star.

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  • Stage 5 – Pretty straight forward stage, like steel challenge the red stems indicate the stop plate.
  • Stage 1 – Another straight forward stage
  • Stage 2 – The two outer square plates are start plates you have to hit them first, before moving on to the other plates.
  • Stage 3 – This looks like a straight forward stage, but the stop plate is layered over the other normal plate, which can cause you to hit it prematurely, like I did in string 2.
  • Stage 4 – Probably the most complex stage of the match, each popper is a start plate for each of your five strings. Also the stage was limited to 5 shot per each string, and that is on top of the 18x24s being layered on top of one another.
  • Stage 6 – Each of the knock down plates is a start plate, with the standard star. This was a single string stage

This was my first match out with my GoPro HD Hero 3 Black Edition. I need to work on the editing settings, but overall I like this camera.

Anyways as these were the last matches for me before Texas state, all I have left is practice sessions, and the usual prematch maintenance. Such as chamber checking all my match ammo, now all of the four hundred rounds that I will be taking to Corpus are checked. In the next couple of weeks I will clean my magazines, and clean my gun.

My off season project…

If you don’t shoot in the south you wouldn’t realize that many people here think of the summer as our off season, as we can shoot fall, spring, and much of winter, but the summer can be oppressively hot. So we tend to take it easy in the summer. For me it is doubly so, all the major matches I shoot run March through May, after that is practice, fun matches, and some local matches to round things out. This year for the off season I am going to work on a little project that will help me shoot better, and will help prove or disprove that hand strength is important to shooting.

After my chemo I let myself go, I haven’t worked out since I got cancer and my overall strength has diminished. I am going to change that, but in addition to the usual cardio, upper/lower body workouts I am going to work on my grip strength. To that end I picked up a three pack of the Captains of Crush Grips Strengtheners, that includes a Trainer, #1, and #2; I also picked up a bag of the Expand Your Hands bands, and will be picking up other tools as needed . Right now I can close the trainer with my strong hand 10% of the time, and need a ton of work on my weak hand. It is going to take some time for me to work things up, but my goal is to be able to close #2 pretty easily.

In an effort to track how the grip strength effects my shooting I am going to go a few simple drills. I will be doing the accuracy tests every six months, and will be testing the speed tests monthly (with exception of April and May due to Bianchi).

  • 25 Yards bullseye from prone
  • 10 yards weak hand only bullseye
  • Pistol-Training FAST Drill
  • Pistol-Training Dot Torture
  • El Presidentie

These drills should track the variety of skills that I need to work on, and will be working on during my off season. In addition to that I have a year of Steel Challenge scores, along with a year of NRA Action pistol scores. All of this should get me an accurate picture of how my shooting improves as my fitness and grip strength improves. I will mention that I won’t be doing the intial testing for at least another week or two as my calendar clears up, but I’ve already started using the CoC grip trainers.

Now granted this won’t be a scientific comparison as at the same time I will be practicing my weak shooting areas, and will be doing Mike Seeklander’s Competition Shooting program. But it will be some evidence on whether or not grip training helps or hurts your shooting.

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.

Totals

  • 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.

Equipment

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