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.

STAGES

THE GAME FILM

TAKEAWAYS

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!

How to Build a Budget Glock 17 Competition Pistol, Part 1 – Introduction

In this series I’ll show you step-by-step how to build a competitive budget polymer pistol for IDPA, USPSA/IPSC or club-level Practical Shooting matches.  You’ll see first hand how to tailor each modification to your specific needs and get the most out of your competition pistol.

BACKGROUND

Classic Steel

My first and second pistols were the 1911’s shown at left.  A Springfield 1911 GI and a Springfield 1911 Loaded Target.  I’ve always liked the classic look of the famous design brought to us by John Browning and you just cant beat the feel of a giant, steel, .45 ACP-slinger in your hands as you’re tossing rounds downrange.  I was a casual tactical-style shooter and was fine performing 2-3 times more magazine changes than my shooting pals because I enjoyed the pistols, the heritage and the mechanical “kerchunk!” each time it cycled.

Then in 2008 Barack Obama was elected President of The United States.

Almost overnight the supply of .45 ACP dried up from the local stores and online retailers. The prices skyrocketed from an “affordable” $0.29/round to an insane $0.49/round. This seriously put a damper on my pistol practice and I began looking at alternatives.

THE POLYMER TEMPTATION

Budget Glock 17

Project Budget Competition Glock 17

My buddies had always teased me about shooting an antique at the range, always asking why I had so many malfunctions and why I had to reload so often. They all shot Glocks and one of them just happened to have a well-used Generation Two G17 for sale for the right price of $400. That price included a nice bonus of the original Tupperware-style box but unfortunately only one magazine. I tried it out at one of our range days and was impressed by how easy the 9mm round was to control and how well the lightweight, blocky pistol fit my hands and shot for me. I also liked that 9 mm Luger was slightly more available than .45 ACP and was about half the price. I went home that day with a new (to me) pistol.

CHANGING FOCUS

Practical Pistol Match

Changing Focus to Competition

That was nearly four years ago and since then I have sold one 1911 and barely shot the other one. While my original focus had always been Self Defense and Tactical shooting, last fall I finally made it out to my first Three-Gun competition at my local range. I figured it would be good practice for the type of Tactical shooting I normally did and would be great to get more trigger time, especially trigger time under stress.  I was immediately hooked and have been to at least one multi-gun match each month ever since. This spring I also began competing in Practical Pistol matches at the local club. The club offers different Practical Pistol matches three nights a week and Summer 3-Gun matches every other Friday so I have been shooting practical matches 2-4 times each week all summer. Getting that much trigger time in a competition environment on my completely stock Glock 17 has given me the itch to start tweaking it a bit to better compete.

FUNDAMENTAL MODIFICATIONS

I have basically been growing a wish-list in the back of my mind of parts that I can modify, rework or replace to upgrade this gun without breaking the bank.  I’d like to improve the major systems enough to shave a few seconds off my course times here and there but I will keep the modifications basic to stay in the budget-spirit of the original reason behind its purchase.  So don’t expect any flames, compensators or red dot optics.

Another reason for the basic upgrades is that I intend to keep the pistol legal for Stock Service Pistol and Production classes in both IDPA and USPSA. While I have only shot one major USPSA match (Multi-Gun) and do not shoot any sanctioned matches on a regular basis, I would like to attend larger matches more often in the future and I would hate to be bumped into a race-gun class beyond my skills and abilities due to a modification I made to gain an edge in my local club matches.   Some research into the requirements of the respective Production classes was required to be sure that I fell within the rules.

RACE PARTS ARE JUST A CLICK AWAY

I’ve cracked both the Brownell’s catalog and my piggy bank, filled up my online shopping cart and clicked “buy”. In later posts of the How to Build a Budget Glock 17 Competition Pistol series I’ll showcase each part I chose, explain what I hope to accomplish by installing or modifying them, detail the installation process and give a full range report.

 

Tueller Drill In Action is An Eye Opener – Practical Pistol for Personal Defense


THE TUELLER DRILL

The Tueller Drill is one of those famous drills in self defense, gunfighter and shooting lore.  Basically the premise is that an assailant armed with a knife can cover a 21 foot distance faster than you can draw your pistol to defend yourself.  This study was originally performed by Sergeant Dennis Tueller and published in SWAT Magazine in 1983.  With the rise of concealed carry in America, the Tueller Drill has experienced a resurgence and was even featured on the popular television shows The Best Defense and Myth Busters.

PRACTICAL SHOOTERS IN ACTION

Ben G., the Match Director of the Friday Practical Pistol Match at my local range, built a sled and engineered a simple method to activate the sled with a rope and a runner.  It is pretty interesting to watch this video compilation that I put together.  Even though each of us knows that the sled is coming many of us are startled or hesitate and many guys can’t get a lot of shots off in the time necessary.  It is important to note that this experiment consists of a guy towing a sled behind him and not just running.  In real life the assailant would cover the ground far quicker.  To switch things up in subsequent rounds Ben G. added a second target, a third and then cover while slowing the sled down to a walk or jog.

TAKEAWAYS

Deescalate – If you can, always deescalate the situation. Tell the aggressor anything he wants to hear to get out of the situation.

Cheat The Draw – If you can’t deescalate and things are getting worse, get your hand on your weapon at minimum. If things have gotten very bad, get your weapon out of the holster.

Get Off The “X” – Move! Get out of the way of the aggressor to buy yourself time on the draw.

Find Cover – Place anything you can between you and the aggressor to slow his progress. Cars, light post, trash can, etc. Any fraction of a second counts.

The Other Side – If you are ever caught in an active-killer, mass-shooting in progress and for some reason you don’t have your CCW, you CAN do something about it.  From this drill I’ve learned that rushing a person can catch them off guard and cause them to hesitate even if they are anticipating the attack.