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  1. #1
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    Sin-ster's Range Diary, Plus Musings

    March 10, 2011
    Range


    Toying with format ideas...

    Focus

    Accuracy. Tight, consistent groups before fatigue sets in.

    Issues

    Shots pulled to 9 o'clock. (Lazy support hand.)
    Recoil Management. (Sights won't realign! Keep working on hand and wrist strength and tension.)

    Session

    200 rounds, all 7 yards. Until the center bullseye starts disappearing, we're staying at this range most of the time.

    25 strong hand, 50 weak hand. 125 "slow fire", with some controlled pairs and 5 shot dumps for reference and to break the monotony.

    Approximately 1 hour total, with 15 minute break after 75 rounds.

    Observations

    ProHands and wrist curls has helped, but hands and wrists are still fatigued from so much focused work. Suggested that you taper this back before any kind of competition unless significant endurance gains reveal themselves. Fatigue noticed ~50 rounds earlier than normal.

    With focus on a firm grip and wrist tension, the groups become tighter but fliers get worse. Possible anomaly, but NOT perception-- even had a couple of hits at the outer edge of the 9. All shots called and felt. Theory-- "bear grip" will take more strengthening and getting used to, and all twitches result in dramatic misses.

    Coupled with past weeks sessions, the sights are finally starting to align again on their own. Still not sure WTF caused this, but focus on crystal clear front post and firming up the grip has apparently solved it. Fired some AMAZING pairs and short strings today, without a single unacceptable one either. VERY happy with this progress.

    Developing a strange... habit, obsession? Form of anticipation, difficult to line up POA/POI shot. Literally have to force myself to raise the pistol and not use a 6 o'clock hold. Even MORE aggravating than the previous issue. NOTE-- not an issue with pairs/follow ups, but slow fire and the 1st shot only. Mental failure-- how are we going to fix it? Dry fire should help; loading one round per magazine seemed to help. Perhaps try shooting flat colored targets, instead of bright red centers? Don't know, that sounds like avoiding a problem instead of addressing it; distant steel plates won't be any different...

    "Shooting the reset" seems to have settled in quite nicely. No longer waiting for the "click", but naturally reaching that point without conscious effort. Continue to feel it out during dry fire, but turn majority of your focus elsewhere.

    Strong hand was oddly erratic today for the first 5 shots. Group tightened up very well with focus on trigger press and (more importantly) a firm grip. Weak hand was alright, but whatever tendon is a bit inflamed in that hand is definitely playing a factor in this regard.

    Suggestions

    Continue to feel out "failure point" of hand/wrist exercises. Be sure to formulate a more formal regiment, instead of the "pick it up when idle" method you've been using. For now, ease up on thumb-to-palm squeeze and Trigger Pull exercise on the left hand, as they seem to be aggravating that tendon.

    Clean that "range mag", and rotate it with one of the others. The idea of pushing it to the failure point can still work while spread across the other 2 mags purchased for this purpose.

    Work some presentation, drawstroke and reload drills during dry fire. It's been a while. Consider video again after a couple of focused sessions.

    Continue to focus on proper grip while dry firing, and don't get lazy with stance either. It's likely that your lack of dry fire in the past few months, coupled with subpar practice has caused all of these glitches to suddenly appear.

    Try to stockpile some 9mm for the range-- starting to get sparse. Don't use its presence as an excuse to go shoot it up!!! 200 rounds seems to be your optimal point right now-- perhaps 250 if you're bored or it's been a while.

    Pull out the USPSA targets for some dry fire when time permits. Sight picture on these needs to be reestablished if you plan to shoot some matches in the future.

  2. #2
    GM of 4 Letter Outbursts

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    March 17, 2011
    Range


    M&P .45, 200 rounds; half WWB, half UMC JHP

    Focus

    Stay proficient with EDC-- in all aspects.

    Issues

    Rushing shots. (Failure to reacquire proper sight alignment.)
    Recoil Management. (Sights aren't realigning well-- and NOW we know why!)

    Session

    200 rounds, varying distances.

    50 rounds @ 7 yards slowfire, for warm up. (Forgot how sweet this trigger is...)
    50 rounds @ 7-10 controlled pairs. Called every flier, and amazingly consistent pairs.
    25 rounds @ 7 yards, strong hand. Just a touch high right, with a couple lazy throws.
    25 rounds @ 7 yards, weak hand. Coming right along, but inconsistent. Work on grip and trigger press in dry fire.
    50 rounds @ 3-10 yards, assorted. From retention, failure to stops, simulated malf's.

    Observations

    First and foremost, when not firing "at speed", you are relaxing in all of the wrong ways-- not appropriately at the wrist, but dropping the hands/arms. That accounts 100% for the sight picture issue while slow firing, and is solved by "pretending" a follow up shot is pending, but not actually breaking it.

    Anticipation is a problem-- but not in the common sense. No jerks or flinches, but the utter inability to control your cadence. The sense that we need to "get this mag empty", or else too much focus to prep for the next shot. Helpful drills in following section.

    Mistakes are more pronounced with the .45 than the 9mm. It's actually easier to see what you're doing wrong. This gun just shoots better than the Glock, and I have some theories as to why. A custom trigger job is obviously the key factor, but the elimination of many left-to-right fliers makes no sense. MUST be a trigger press issue-- focus more during dry fire.

    Suggestions

    Dry fire this thing more. Apprehension over the striker is moot with Snap Caps and the revision. The system of "setback prevention" works, and all that ammo you just got makes it more viable. Note that the reset is amazingly short, and the recoil of the pistol does all of the work for you. Not something to be overly concerned with.

    Drills for the relaxation issue:
    Load 1 round and 1 snap cap. Break shot, immediately align sights, dryfire. (Works well for problem 2 as well.)
    Controlled pairs, focusing on follow through.

    Drills for the "anticipation":
    Load 1 round. Vary "hang time" between indexing the frame and pressing the trigger.
    Normal load. Break a shot, align sights, index the frame. Vary time. Rinse and repeat.
    Alternating snap caps. Break shot, reset trigger/align sights, hold! (Repeat with live rounds.)

    Write these reports up faster so you don't forget. This one feels incomplete and inconsistent.

  3. #3
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    March 20, 2011
    Failville, MS-- AKA Pearlington Classifier Match


    G17, ~75 rounds Federal Champion

    General Comments

    Ugh. I suck.

    What Worked

    The red FO front is better than the green on these sunny days-- maybe all around. Seems to give a cleaner picture, possibly because the lower brightness. Question-- does it make for better alignment???

    Drawstroke was consistent and reasonably fast. Your focus on getting a good grip doesn't slow you down much at all, and your splits were comparable to better and faster shooters. First shots were ALL on target today!

    Reloads. When you remember to do them without hesitation, they are smooth and quick.

    Shooting the reset. Got it down pat. The only stage you did well on was 5 round speed dumps, and you put up some awesome groups-- albeit at very close range.

    Speed in general. On par with B class, and don't feel like you're rushing at all. Almost certainly need to slooooooow down-- especially on shots past 7 yards.

    What Didn't Work

    Everything else? Specifically...

    Transitioning between targets sloppily and too quickly, leading to some VERY wide shots. Couldn't call them as fliers, so they must have hit where you were aiming!

    Holding low on "distant" targets. REALLY bad habit from shooting static all of the time, and should become a major focus in the future.

    Focus!!! Wasted at least 1.5 seconds PER STRING by hesitating on one stage, and then turned around and did it again! Stop deviating from the plan! Which leads to...

    Game the Classifiers. They are mostly straightforward, but rehearsal is vital. This should help in making mandatory reloads more natural, as well as not suddenly shooting targets out of your planned order.

    Accuracy. Cripes, it was awful today-- so bad that you're probably doing everything wrong. Culprits include: moving on to the next target (mentally and physically) before the current one is finished. Using 7 yard sight pictures on 15 yards targets-- rushing. Shoddy trigger work. Weak grip, and inconsistent. Crummy aim-- holding too low!!!

    Multi-string, multi-reload. You bumped a mag to the front, but reached all the way to the back as if it had never been moved. Not sure WTF that was about honestly-- probably a fluke, but gets back to focus on some level.

    Notes

    Chrono'd for the first time today. Thought it'd be interesting to see what the factory stuff looked like compared to hand loads. It's WAY too hot, even when compared to the 124 grain stuff that feels softer anyway. Certainly not the cause of your crappiness, but a factor to be sure-- and something that needs to be corrected if/when this gets more serious.

    Proven: Federal Champion says 1125 on the box, but reaches 1250+ out of your G17. Second shot was too fast for the chonro's second sensor!!! Bob's loads were 135's at ~925 from a longer barrel; Swamp's 124 PMC was ~1k out of an identical pistol.

    Pick a problem, fix it. Pick another, fix it. Just too much going on right now in your practice and everything is suffering. I THINK the order should go: 1) point of aim, 2) sight picture, 3) grip, 4) recoil control. ((Note-- grip can be worked into all of these, without taking too much focus away.))

    Might not be a good idea to shoot the slick 45 right before a match-- for a number of reasons.

  4. #4
    GM of 4 Letter Outbursts

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    March 24, 2011
    Range


    G17, ~230 rounds Federal Champion.

    Focus
    Sort out accuracy.
    Adjust POA on USPSA brown target.
    Improve sight picture on said target at ranges past 10 yards.

    Issues
    Limited!
    Fatigue setting in a bit early; keep working on the hands and wrists!
    A bit too fast to break the 2nd shot of a pair from time to time, without proper sight alignment.
    The occasional trigger slap.

    Session

    30 rounds @ 7 yards, slow fire warm up.
    50 rounds @ 10 yards, bulls eye, slow fire for groups.
    25 rounds @ 15 yards, green, slow fire for groups.
    25 rounds @ 25 yards, green, slow fire for groups.
    25 rounds @ 10 yards, bulls eye, strong hand.
    25 rounds @ 10 yards, bulls eye, support hand.
    50 rounds @ 10 yards, USPSA target, pairs.

    Observations

    Working the green POST targets really helps in developing the proper hold. No more six o'clock! That red circle is a real problem!

    Support hand thumb!!! Figured out why all of the misses were left, regardless of trigger finger position and action. Well, maybe I didn't figure out why, but I did figure out how to prevent it. Press that thumb firmly against the frame and keep it there. Doesn't have to be super strong-- "firm" is a really good descriptor. PERFECT dry fire practice is going to be necessary; that grip has to be the same every time you even think about picking up a firearm.

    The A Zone is a lot bigger than it seems. All of the pasties on your old target made it impossible to see that line, and you were surprised at just how many were worth full points that at a distance seemed to be C's. Furthermore, it's TALL. Wasting a TON of "good hit area" by holding right in the middle.

    Finally found the feel of proper recoil management again! You can literally feel the spring working when it's done right, and performance improvement really shows!

    Suggestions

    Hold higher still, even on ring targets where the center is lower than optimal. Dry fire work in tandem with a USPSA target will really help with this, and also to help you get used to just how big the A zone really is.

    Confidence is a darn fine thing. Good days like this, especially on competition targets, will pay dividends in the long run. Remember-- who the eff cares anyway?!??!

    Don't forget to practice "all of the little things", even if it's only 5-10 dry fire shots per week. Focus in, make sure it's perfect, and move on.

  5. #5
    GM of 4 Letter Outbursts

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    March 29, 2011
    Mars!!!


    Training AR, ~150 rounds mixed M193 and unknown (probably Wally World or PMC)
    G17, ~110 rounds Federal Champion

    Focus
    A taste of the real deal!
    Real-world quals, at speed.
    CQB drawstroke.
    The right way to clear a room.
    In/out of a vehicle.
    Working in tandem.
    Shooting on the move.
    Shooting with the left hand (x1000).

    Session

    What DIDN'T we do is probably a better question.

    Observations

    Did you shoot a better group prone @100 left handed? I think so! Left handed in general is natural, the transitions are very smooth and it's really not as difficult as it would seem. Eye dominance means cock the head a bit with the pistol, but needs some work with the RDS-- had to close strong eye several times.

    Truck + pistol = reasonably easy. Truck + rifle = tight fit.

    You are in TERRIBLE physical shape. 300 yards + 10 shots in 2 minutes = WTF is wrong with me!

    PMAGs are not a magic talisman.

    The training rifle is way too heavy for long term carry. ("Damn, this thing is heavy!")

    Shooting from retention is... interesting.

    Suggestions

    Practice all you've learned. A lot.

    When you can't get the rounds to sink in a mag with finger pressure, download until you can. These things simply will not seat-- at least in the AR you used today. (Note-- good improv on the tandem drill, without any coaching or training. DVD's pay off I suppose...)

    Lube this rifle up a lot. May need some tweaking, or doesn't like certain mags-- it wouldn't lock the bolt back on an empty chamber from time to time. Cleaned and got really wet-- keep an eye on it.

    Work on accuracy. Met the vast majority of qual times, but past 15 yards, struggled with some hits. The same for the AR. Prone at 200 and 100 was on, but 50 yards off hand was oooooogly. (Didn't help that you were breathing a mile a minute.)

    Get in better cardiovascular condition. Right. Now.

  6. #6
    GM of 4 Letter Outbursts

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    Multi-Session
    Supplemental Post

    Lazy, lazy! Shot a bunch and didn't take any notes!

    G17, 200 rounds.
    "Beater" AR, ~300 rounds.

    Session
    Standard G17; mixed "plinking" with the AR. 3 separate days, across 2 weeks.

    Observations

    Grr. Stuck case + no brass hammer = trip to the shop and the end of a range session. Wolf case rim sheered right off, extractor slipped right over. Case came free with a couple gentle taps to the cleaning rod. Sucks.

    The primer sealant on the steel cased stuff is hard to flush out of the barrel extension. Scrubs free easy enough, but doesn't wanna get out of there! Check for large chunks in the bore BEFORE brushing, and catch with a clean patch.

    G17 felt a bit better with the tungsten rod, but no real improvement in splits. Look into a lighter spring and a stainless steel boy of good quality. This stupid thing won't stay together even with Locktite. Basically a paper weight. G22 and G17 both returned to factory config.

    Keep an eye on the grip tape. Starting to rub smooth near the right palm contact point. Seems to be some life left, but will need replacing sooner than later.

    Suggestions

    Clean faster, type these reports!

  7. #7
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    April 1, 2011
    Range

    P226, 200 rounds.

    Focus
    Shoot this thing again-- it's been a while. (Note-- this gun only has 1200 rounds on it!)
    Comparison of accuracy and speed between two very different guns.
    The usual.

    Session
    25 rounds @ 7 yards, warm up.
    50 rounds @ 10 yards, slow fire.
    50 rounds @ 15 yards, slow fire.
    50 rounds @ 25 yards, slow fire.
    25 rounds @ 10 yards, pairs (+1) on camera and under time.

    Observations

    The gun (in SA) is just easier to shoot well, when compared to the G17. The grip, the weight or maybe even the trigger-- something makes it more accurate in your hands. That's a simple fact.

    A bit slower than the G17, but that's to be expected with the non-race 3 dots on it-- and the utter lack of practice with that sight picture. Frankly, for as little as you've shot it (including almost NO dry fire), it's amazing how fast and accurate it was.

    Still having some issues with recoil management, although I think we've had a breakthrough in diagnosing the problem AND solving it! Three cheers!

    Suggestions

    Grip the pistol tighter, and "better".

    Specifically, the strong hand is doing almost no work at all front-to-back, and likely going through relax-grip-relax-grip process during fire. Lock that sucker down, especially with the lower 2 digits. Should show improvement in recoil management.

    The support hand, while positioned pretty well, is causing a lot of problems that it's meant to solve. While the strength of the grip isn't the problem, the way in which it's being applied is causing the gun to "stick" in the recoil position. Specifically, you're jacking the trigger guard UPWARD with your natural grip! Active "cock" of the support hand after initial contact gets rid of this problem, AND applies pressure in an anti-recoil position to the bottom of the grip. It actually seems to improve your grip strength side-to-side as well. Again, lower most fingers need the most attention.

    Keep working the ProHands, they are definitely still improving things.

    EVERY TIME you pick up a pistol, squeeze that sucker like you're trying to snap it in half! Honestly, gripping too hard during live fire might be necessary-- and easier to work with than not gripping hard enough. The "feel" of the proper grip seems to be with you, but might fall apart at the range. Only time will tell-- so go shoot soon.

  8. #8
    GM of 4 Letter Outbursts

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    April 5, 2011
    Range

    G17, 200 rounds.

    Session

    50 rounds @ 7 yards, warm up
    25 rounds @ 10 yards, slow fire
    25 rounds @ 15 yards, slow fire
    25 rounds @ 10 yards, strong hand
    25 rounds @ 10 yards, weak hand
    50 rounds @ 10 yards, Zombie pairs

    Observations

    Found the "damage" point of that middle right knuckle again. The same tendon is acting up. I guess that crooked finger isn't just ugly, but a PITA t'boot. Isolate (after this post) and dose with Aleve.

    Grip changes are REALLY making a difference, all the way around. Bravo. Now, get that finger healthy and work on making it natural. Dry fire, drawstroke, reloads-- it's almost like starting over! Most importantly, handle the thing as often as possible. Presentation from retention and general sight picture practice are really, really helpful.

    Shooting the reset slowly is hilarious. BANG, click-- hold, BANG, click... Someone actually asked about it today.

    Not all of the zombie targets are good for pairs. "Roxie" has no real central reference point, including being asymmetrical AND having ill defined edges. Her black hair and odd head angle even make using the head a bit of a problem. Continue to mix-and-match between sessions however, as it really simulates plates, poppers and silhouettes at different ranges and angles.

    Took some rough shots today with subpar sight picture, but called every last one of them. Need to work more with the new grip, and slow down the cadence in some cases until they start to match up. Tracking the front post VERY well, but unable to turn off the trigger finger when it's not aligned properly. No issue inside 10 yards, but that range and beyond will give you real trouble.

    Suggestions

    Replace that grip tape in the near future. Right palm contact point is wearing at an accelerated rate, and the gun can be felt slipping around after very few rounds.

    Rest up the hands. I swear, those two left knuckles are broken from this weekend-- still black and blue, swollen and sore. A non-issue for shooting really, but still a PITA. The right middle finger is a problem.

    Holds are getting much, much better and consistent-- even on the red X-ring targets. Several of the improvised drills must have been effective, if not all of them.

    Vast improvement in recoil control with the new grip, but fatigue sets in much earlier. Dry fire is going to be the key in mastering this, but it's well worth it!

  9. #9
    GM of 4 Letter Outbursts

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    April 6, 2011
    Range

    G17, 200 rounds.

    Session

    Recent Standard

    Observations

    Well, finished the necessary stuff earlier than expected today, still had 200 rounds in the range bag (which was staring me in the face as I worked) and the GF was in Houston on business until late. Range is closed for repair tomorrow-- let's go shooting!

    Ouch. My fingers are about 20 years older than the rest of my body-- which is probably 15 years older than normal. Really, it's just the middle strong hand tendon that's giving me problems-- but it sucks. Definitely resting up until Sunday-- on pistol, anyway.

    Good shooting, all around. Had to rush a little bit, still a bit off on breaking your cadence, but that's going to come with time. Cannot speak highly enough about general accuracy today. The grip was the key the whole time, although you still make the occasional trigger or sight picture mistake.

    WWB is filthy freakin' dirty, compared to the Federal. It's definitely time to start handloading anyway. GF seems moderately receptive to a bench in the garage, provided you clean and organize the mess SHE'S made out there before hand. (Hint-- Remind her that having so much personal interest in the area will mean you'll keep it clean from here on out.)

    "Slippage" issues were all but imperceptible today. Stronger grip? Shorter session? Just getting used to the feeling? Accuracy didn't suffer.

    Weak hand is REALLY coming along. Some issue with sight picture, but that's to be expected. More dry fire should get that problem out of the way pretty quickly.

    Suggestions

    Cripes, rest that finger. As it starts to get stiff, it's a real pain. (FYI-- typing doesn't help.)

    Do some more filming. Third party actually commented that your grip/recoil looked much better-- so see for yourself! Probably ought to be filming quite consistently, as it's so easy with the iPhone.

    Strong thumb sort of floats around and may be causing some of the fliers. Support thumb follows it from time to time, but much more rare. You noticed this because the slide actually locked back today, for the first time in... wow... thousands upon thousands of rounds.

  10. #10
    GM of 4 Letter Outbursts

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    Week of March 10th-March 16th
    Poplarville and Range

    Match
    Threw a shot at ~20 yards that was uncalled. No clue how it happened.
    Lost a shot on a 3 yard headshot, thanks to the target folding back. Pause in the pair to let the muzzle blast settle.
    Strugglefest on 25+ yard steel plate.
    Strugglefest on 15 yard pepper popper.
    Steel struggles lead to ammo shortages, and slide lock.
    Why is the gun going into slide lock? Right thumb is flailing in the wind. Addressed.

    Finished 3rd in Production, but in a small field. Time spent on steel absolutely wrecked the day. Shot more points than J on two stages, but got blown away on the clock and mauled in HF.

    Range

    Shot 600 rounds total; 100 were testing RWS ammo @ 10 yards, pairs.
    300 were at 8" steel at 25 yards.

    DON'T look over the sights to see if the steel fell. Makes for terrible habits and problems.
    Holding top 30% of steel plate is ideal. You don't throw rounds high.
    Wind WILL push a 9mm at 25 yards. Not a huge concern, but something to think about.
    Arm strength does play a factor with precision shooting. The gun wavering around even a little bit can be a big problem.
    Continue to work on grip consistency, all of the time. Right thumb!
    Still a minor issue with holding too far left. Adjusted stance to favor natural point of aim, but focus on it until it's second nature.
    Last edited by Sin-ster; April 17th, 2011 at 01:44 PM.

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