Did a little shooting today. No strict practice. I wanted to run a couple standards against a timer and see how I do.
It’s been hard to find a clear description of the Gunsite 250 standard. For instance, what target? I figure from a holster, but open carry or concealment? Is there a particular scoring, or just you “hit in the right spots” else it’s a miss? So I just filled in the blanks for myself and this will be “my standard”, if you will. Even if this winds up not being exactly like the Gunsite standard, well, this is the course I shot.
I shot at a home-make IPSC target. I get lots of cardboard from UPS deliveries or Costco or wherever, so on pieces big enough I keep them and trace out my own IPSC target at the official size. It’s cheap, and works with that “reuse” portion of recycling, and then I can still recycle it when I’m done. 🙂 I shot my Springfield XD-9 Service from an IWB holster, drawing from concealment (t-shirt, pulling it upwards). No race, no gaming, like I carry.
From what I can tell, the standard looks like this:
- 3 yards – 1 head shot in 1.5 seconds
- 7 yards – 2 rounds to the body in 2.0 seconds
- 10 yards – 2 rounds to the body in 2.0 seconds
- 15 yards – 2 rounds to the body, standing to kneeling, in 3.5 seconds
- 25 yards – 2 rounds to the body, standing to prone, in 7.0 seconds
I couldn’t get to 25 yards nor go prone, so #5 was shot standing to kneeling at 20 yards.
- 1.72 seconds
- 2.3 seconds
- 2.39 seconds
- 3.39 seconds
- 4.63 seconds
Not bad, but not great. I also didn’t get 100% A-Zone hits. On the whole you can see I’m running just a couple tenths of a second slow. I’ll analyze in a moment.
Rangemaster Level 5 Handgun Qualification Course
This is the way I found the test. While the description only said “fired on an RM-Q2 target”, given the nature of the Rangemaster classes I’m going to assume this course of fire also assumes things like a concealment draw, carry guns (i.e. not race guns), and so on. I shot this using the same equipment and setup as above, including using an IPSC target instead of the RM-Q2.
- 3 yards – draw and fire three rounds in 2.5 seconds
- 5 yards – draw and fire 5 rounds with dominant hand only, in 5.0 seconds
- 5 yards – from low ready, fire 5 rounds with the non-dominant hand only, in 5.0 seconds
- 5 yards – draw and fire 3 to the chest and 2 to the head in 5.0 seconds (the write-up I found didn’t say “dominant hand only”, but I shot it that way because the next string did explicitly say “non-dominant hand only”, thus I figured this string must be dominant hand only).
- 5 yards – from low ready, fire 3 to the chest and 2 to the head with the non-dominant hand only in 5.0 seconds
- 7 yards – draw and fire 5 rounds in 5 seconds
- 7 yards – start at ready, fire 3 rounds, reload, fire 2 more rounds, in 8.0 seconds
- 10 yards – start at ready with a stovepipe malfunction in place. Clear the malfunction and fire 2 rounds in 5.0 seconds
- 10 yards – start at ready with a dummy round at top round in the magazine. Fire 2 rounds in 5.0 seconds (my assumption here was a live round in the chamber, so bang, click, tap-rack, bang).
- 15 yards – draw and fire 3 rounds in 5.0 seconds
- 25 yards – draw and fire 4 rounds in 8.0 seconds
Supposedly the total possible score is 250 with a 200 to pass. Trouble is, I can’t figure that out. If my math is correct, only 44 rounds are fired, and assuming 5 points for each proper hit, how do you get to 250?
Updated: Here’s the proper course.
Nevertheless, I had only 3 non-A-zone hits: 2 were in string #5, the 2 to the head with the weak hand (they were just below the A-Zone), and then one Charlie. My times:
Seems acceptable, but more analysis in a bit.
I didn’t plan on doing a Bill Drill but I figured why not and ran it. Target at 7 yards, from concealment, same equipment and setup as the above. I did 3.03 seconds.
I’m no Rob Leatham, but I’m happy to see I’m improving.
I shot this cold. Just set up the targets and off I went. I only let off 2 shots prior to starting so I could ensure the shot timer was working (more on that in a bit), and then those weren’t even trying… just for the noise. The Gunsite 250 wasn’t that good, but it all came down to a simple thing: I need to get faster and more efficient. I need to get simply faster. The primary place for this is my draw; concealment draw is just slow but I know I can get quicker with even more practice. Speed can come in other ways like just getting my brain to shorten the reaction time between when my eyes see the “good enough” sight picture for the distance I’m shooting at, my brain processes that, then brain tells trigger finger to move. That’s just going to take more live fire to get there. The efficiency part comes with compounding movement, like getting on the trigger sooner.
The thing is, I didn’t go into shooting this with any particular mindset… just shoot. What I saw is some improvement areas from long ago are becoming natural. What I also saw was the recent improvement areas are not yet natural. This goes back to what I’m working on now, which is getting the finger on the trigger sooner and working to just generally speed up. Dry fire can help me with the draw speeds and getting on the trigger. I will need live fire to help improve my eyes and brain processing.
I am happy with how I shot. I had a couple true “WTF” moments, especially with the malfunction drills, and my body just moved… no thinking, just doing. I am also really happy with my 15 and 25 (well probably 20) yard performance; it’s just applying fundamentals of trigger control and sight picture, and not going too fast. But I know I can do better. Accuracy is good enough, so for now I’ll work more on speed: getting on the trigger sooner, improving draw from concealment times, and so on. Yes more dry fire is in store, but I also need more live fire practice than I’ve been getting.
To me, the key for today was to continue to establish hard data points for myself, and to shoot some courses of fire I haven’t shot before. Practice practice practice, then shoot them again. Work to beat the par times and shoot them 100% clean. Quantified performance is useful.
Updated: for later reference, how to improve split times.
Some time ago foo.c gave me a bunch of old .38 ammo, and included in them were about 8 .38 Special shotshells. Check out what The Box O’Truth has to say about them. I’ve been curious to try them out. I don’t think they’re good for anything except as snake-loads. Given the place I was at today is known for having venomous snakes about, I not only had my snake gaiters on but figured to load my snub revolver with these loads.
Before packing up, I shot two of them to see how they would perform. Both shots were on cardboard out of my snub revolver, one at 3 yards and one at 5. They shot fine, but the pattern is very wide. I would say, at least out of this snub, that 5 yards is kinda pushing the limit for a pattern that hopes to hit a snake on the ground… 3 yards is perhaps even a bit much, but that pattern did seem to be “hand sized” (my hand, spread out). Not horrible. Certainly I plan on carrying these things in my snub when I go into the field… I see no reason not to.
SureFire Shot Timer
SureFire made a free shot timer for the iPhone. I tried it once before but it failed miserably where a real shot timer succeeded. My guess? We were shooting under a tin roof and all that echo created too much noise. Probably could fiddle with adjustments to get it just right, but meh… didn’t bother at the time.
Today I was out in the open country: nothing above me but blue sky. Furthermore, there was no one else around, no other shooters, no other sources of noise. So I figured this would be a good “ideal situation” to try out the timer again.
I fired one shot, it didn’t pick up, adjusted the sensitivity to 100% and it picked it up, so I left it there. I used that timer in all of my work today. Just set it to beep for a random start, then I’d shoot. It recorded all the shots and split times just fine. Even caught some slide racking a couple times. I’m pleased.
One thing I noticed was the difficulty in finding the start button. I’d find the button, press, search the screen with the sun glare to ensure it started, then I’d get ready to shoot. While I was shooting I found this annoying because it rushed me. There were more than a few times I would finish verifying it was running (and of course that meant maybe a second went by), look at the target and then immediately heard the beep… I wasn’t ready! It was a little irritating. But looking back on it now, I’m glad it did that because it added a dimension of pressure and stress to me… it took away my ability to have a 100% clear head that was 100% “game focused”. I didn’t have time to start the timer, then clear my head and settle in ready for the buzzer. No, I had to get right to shooting. I’m glad it happened, and I’m glad it annoyed me, because it gave me what I needed: pressure.
Anyway, I’m happy with the timer, especially given it was a free app. For now I’m going to continue using it instead of buying a dedicated timer. It’s “good enough” for my needs. I’m sure eventually a dedicated timer will be purchased, but meantime there’s other things that need my financial attention. 🙂
Daughter came with me for all of today (setting up the game camera, filling the feeder, shooting… she would tell me the course of fire and record my times). It was good to spend time with her. 🙂