Shut Up and Paste Targets

The Winter 3-Gun Series at my local range is a popular event.  In the last three matches there have been groups of about 20 shooters and only a half dozen actually reset the stages after each run.  This lack of common decency seemed to be the norm rather than the exception and it was causing us to run super slow, super late and just basically getting on my nerves.  So when the Match Director sent out the stages for this Saturday’s match I couldn’t help but hit “reply all” and encourage my fellow shooters to chip in…

I would like to remind everyone that resetting stages after each
shooter is part of the practical shooting experience.  I reset the
stage after you shoot, you reset the stage after I shoot.  That’s how
it works.

Some added benefits of resetting stages:

1. You get some exercise:  Which is, of course, one of your New Year

2. You don’t look like a slacker:  Gun owners are not slackers.  You
don’t want your gun-pals to think you’re a slacker, do you?

3. We get to shoot more:  Contrary to popular belief, if we finish
with all the shooters in all the stages earlier, each of us gets to
shoot each stage instead of skipping out on the last stage because we
have to leave and attend to our other responsibilities.

4. It builds character:  In these times of YouTube and Xbox, most
young people are not used to being required to do anything.
Demonstrate to them that hard work is rewarding with the side benefit
of the work not actually being very hard.

5. You will be warm: I know that sometimes it gets a little chilly
standing around for a few hours during Winter 3-Gun.  I guarantee if
you move around to paste targets and reset steel, you will be much
warmer than sitting in your truck and waiting for your turn.

6. You build a network: Let’s be honest, as gun owners we are on a
very scary ride in the Colorado Legislature. We can all use the
connections and contacts that we make while resetting stages with our
fellow shooters.

7. You can talk while you work:  Busy talking about how crappy the
Colorado Legislature is or how messed up the economy is?  Great!
Bring your conversation buddy along to talk while you paste!

8. You could make money: I am bringing a pocket full of one dollar
bills on Saturday.  If you catch me not resetting/timing/scoring and I
am neither on deck nor in the hole, I will pay you a $1 penalty
(provided that you are resetting/timing/scoring when you call me on
it).  You will know me, I’m Dave, the really super sarcastic
and opinionated guy.

9. You will learn something: New or new-ish to 3Gun?  There is no
better way to learn stage breakdown and scoring than by pitching in
and helping.  If you are unsure of what to do or how to do it, just
ask.  Your fellow 3Gunners are all great folks and are more than
willing to help.

10. Show your appreciation:  It is a lot of work putting together one
of these matches.  Show the Match Director how much you appreciate his hard work
by making the match flow as smooth as possible.

See you on the range,

Mistakes are Costly – SHFC Summer Three-Gun Match, 2012.09.28

Summer Three Gun matches at my local range are awesome for guys that really want to improve their performance.  The first match of the month is a “drills day” where the Match Director, Walter T, has us run through a brief course of fire that is designed to work on one specific skill.  The second match of the month has us practicing that specific skill in a real stage under the clock with all the other usual things that shooters have to worry about during their run.

You may remember that the first match of September was a drills day where we practiced shooting on the move.  The second match we put all that practice to work and even got the opportunity to shoot the awesome disappearing mover that Walter has been working on.

I have been going to Physical Therapy for my ankle sprain and I am improving quite a bit.  The pain is nearly gone and I am getting a lot of mobility and confidence back as shown in the rifle and pistol stage movement.  That is a very positive thing for my stage performance.


Mistakes are costly.  Big time.  On the rifle stage I completely forgot to engage the swinger giving me a “Failure To Engage” and 30 penalty points on that stage.  My raw time was faster than everyone but the FTE put me in nearly last place.  On the shotgun stage I thought I would be clever and walk down the hill toward the second array while loading.  Turns out there was an imaginary wall there (I forgot this) and I incurred a penalty.  Couple that with a missed clay target, the steel I engaged while out of the shooting box and I dropped to 5th place.  I really didn’t shoot fast enough to be unhappy with that time so it looks like I need some more shotgun practice in my future.  The highlight of the day was my pistol performance.  I absolutely killed that stage.  But consistency is what wins the match and not even my performance on that stage could pull me out of the hole I dug on the rifle and shotgun stages.

The Match of Malfunctions, Colorado Multi Gun, September 2012


Saturday the 22nd of September was the monthly Colorado Multi Gun shoot at Weld Country Fish and Wildlife Range.  Coming off of a #5 class finish and some good progress on my ankle rehab I was excited to get back out and compete in this match.  I headed out bright and early with my regular match buddies Bill L. and Ben W. along with a new shooter, Nate.


We started the match on the shotgun pistol stage again and I had a dang good run.  Of course I have no proof as I forgot to give Ben W. my camera before the run.  Dang!  The course was pretty similar to last time with some key changes.  Again, we started in a box and engaged a full size IPSC target with two slugs (I had one Miss, need to get a rear sight for my JM Pro 930).  From there we were free to engage eight poppers on the right and eight poppers on the left as they became available with the caveat that we needed to fire one shot from each of four ports, two on right, two on left.  I did pretty decent on the poppers, but had two misses there too.  And I forgot my reloading scheme and actually went to slidelock once.  But I ended with an empty shotgun and did not have to burn any rounds before abandoning in the mandated condition.

I quickly drew my pistol and began engaging a whole mess of steel targets, 32 ish rounds for record if I remember correctly.  I had some stupid misses but shot the course fairly well.  One problem I had that is becoming more bothersome is that I ran two mags dry and the slide on my Glock 17 did not lock back.  This caused two dry-fires under the timer which are killer!


The rifle stage was very similar to last time, engage four steel targets ranging from a 12″ steel square to a 6″ x 8″ plate from five different positions at 100 yards.  The first position was a shooter’s box (had to have any part of shooter or rifle inside), second was a rickety wooden table frame (had to touch any part with shooter or rifle), third was through a cinder block (flash hider must be through one port), fourth was through a barrel (must shoot through) and fifth was another shooter’s box (had to have any part of shooter or rifle inside).

I chose to engage in the first box offhand and did fairly well.  Second I braced on the table which I should have either gone prone or taken a knee as it was just too unstable.  Third position I went prone and shoved my muzzle, sight and forend through, taking rested prone shots.  Fourth I backed up so my muzzle was behind the barrel but I was still shooting through it to avoid the blast.  Fifth and final position I began shooting offhand but had so many misses that I ended up taking a knee.  I need to know myself better and realize that the fifth position should have been either from a knee or prone from the start as my heart rate and breathing would have been up super high after shooting and moving.


The third stage for us (4th in the match) was a rifle hoser stage similar to the pistol stage we shot last time; first shot must be taken in uprange box, last shot must be taken in downrange box..  I thought I had a pretty decent strategy and had plenty of time to run through it many times dry.  I was going to engage all the targets I could see from the uprange box save for the two on the left which I was going to hit while shooting on the move.  I’d move up to the corner, engage the two targets obscured by no-shoots and then engage the one turned target on the move and finish in the downrange box.  Then I had malfs…

My rifle had a failure to extract on my first round.  I had to go to the next bay and clear it out with a cleaning rod.  I fired 4 test rounds and went back to wait for a do-over (local match).  I got up and the damn rifle extracted the first round but would not eject it.  Instead it shoved it up between the upper receiver and the gas tube.  Luckily Bill L. grabbed his rifle for me to use.  Bill as a sweet rifle no doubt but it has a few things on it that I was unfamiliar with, specifically the Magpul BAD lever, and I ended up screwing up my reload by not completely seating the magazine, wasting a ton of time trying to figure out the BAD lever and lock the bolt back.  I totally hosed that hoser stage up bad.


Continuing on to our last stage, Stage 1, Bill L. again let me use his rifle and I did alright on the close-range head shots but when I transitioned to pistol I cleaned up pretty darn well.  It is hard saying that you did well on a stage when you are shooting with guys like Drew Boldt (#2 overall in match) and they make your clean and fast run look like you’re out for your first match.  🙂



Tactical Class Results

Overall Results


If it doesn’t go bang every time it does not deserve to be in competition.  And if I am going to run in Tactical Optics, I need some magnification.  Getting placed in with the guys that have 1-4x scopes to my 1x Aimpoint kills me on the long range stuff.  The carbine gas system and mil-spec trigger kills me on the short stuff.  Basically what I’m saying is that my skill level has reached the point where my rifle setup is holding me back.  Unfortunately I don’t have the cash right now to go out and pick up a new Larue, JP, Noveske or even a Stag so I am going to have to do some lower-cost tweaks to get the most out of my current setup.  In the mean time I have a new bolt coming from Brownell’s and my old bolt is being sent back to the manufacturer for inspection.

SHFC Practical Pistol Match, USPSA Practice – 2012.09.14

One of the coolest things about being a member of my local range is that I get the opportunity to shoot in three Practical Pistol Matches each week.  Each match is run by a different Match Director and each Director has his own distinct match style.

The Friday Practical Pistol Match Director is Ben G.  Ben G. is a USPSA shooter and is definitely serious about it.  Each Friday Ben has a USPSA qualifier and two USPSA approved stages for us to run.  Ben has been preparing to compete in the 2012 Mile High Showdown and last Friday we switched it up and set three stages from the MHS packet.




My ankle was tweaky today and still slowing me down quite a bit.  I have more than a few weeks of physical therapy in front of me and then all winter to get my speed and direction transitions back up and running.

Penalties are killers!  Striving for speed and accuracy are very important and picking up a penalty for hitting a no-shoot is an absolute killer.  In my rush to finish the 3rd stage strong I didn’t lean out far enough and blasted the very edge of a no-shoot from just a few inches away while attempting to shoot the target that it was obscuring.  This was a dumb mistake.

This was the best I’ve ever shot at a Friday Practical Pistol Match.  I am sure the shooting on the move practice that we did earlier in the day helped out with that quite a bit.  I wasn’t going into each stage “cold”, I had plenty of warmup earlier in the day.  That makes me think that I need to so some dry-fire practice the night before or the morning of a match to get myself warmed up and primed for success.  Or I could go all-out like Ben G. and actually set up the stages from the match and shoot them the day before…  Brilliant!

Rule Revelations: What I Don’t Know Is Hurting Me

USPSA Rule Book

USPSA Rule Book

I was recently reading Ben Stoeger’s blog which is a great resource for real-world practical shooting information from a USPSA Grand Master.  From time to time he answers readers questions and I came across an old post where Ben explains what a person needs to begin shooting in USPSA pistol competition.  While they were all good, this one caught my eye:


2. Know the rules

Be sure you hang with experienced shooters. They will know the rules. Take an RO class, you will learn a lot.

The biggest thing you need to understand is scoring. You need to know how match points are derived. You need to know how hit factor works. You would be amazed how many shooters do not fully understand scoring in this sport. Don’t be one of those people.

I’ll admit that I don’t know the rules.  I have basically been learning the rules one error at a time and because I currently shoot local matches almost exclusively, the rules are all “house rules” where even the scoring changes from range to range and match to match.

In researching for the Budget Glock 17 Competition Pistol article I found a few interesting things that I didn’t know about allowable mods for Production guns in both IDPA and USPSA.  This got me thinking that there might be other gems out there that I am missing.

Along with my match schedule, fitness regimen and dry-fire practice, I am going to be learning the various practical competition rules as well as part of my “be better at 3-Gun” commitment.  I’m sure a lot of the rules will be a rehash of things I intuitively knew or was told at some point in time but learning exactly how they are written and coming up with my own interpretation will make me a more knowledgeable competitor.  I will attack the USPSA rule book first and record my Rule Revelations here.