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Sunday, December 29, 2013

IDPA is too easy? (match bump discussion)

I came across this interesting tidbit on a forum recently that kind of confirms my thoughts on the subject of match bumps.  I've bumped to Master in two divisions and haven't shot an actual Master classifier score in a scored classifier match...ever...so I guess I've benefited as much as anyone, but what he says makes sense.   Does the system balance itself out due to newcomers to the sport or are we all going to become Masters in every division eventually?  If the answer is yes, is that good or bad for the sport? Should it be changed?

Food for thought re: the independent  IDPA match bump & Classifier classification systems. The system's basic attribute - two independent promotion paths - leads to some interesting outcomes.

Start with 100 Marksmen in any Division. Have them do nothing - no practice, no skill improvement, no equipment change, etc. - but shoot against one another in successive Major matches.

After the 8th match, the system produces it's first MA. After the 33rd match, MAs are the majority. After the 49th match, the system literally locks up and 73% of the participants have been promoted to MA.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shotmaxx timer

I shot today's match wearing my new DAA Shotmaxx shot timer/watch. Once I remembered to turn it on before the stages, it was interesting to review my shot splits/transitions and reload times after each stage.  What I learned today: My transitions in IDPA are not as good as they should be. Adding the lean and pieing around cover definitely adds time. My reloads from concealment need work. I only recorded one on video but it was 2.22 seconds which is quite a bit higher than it should be.  Check out the video to see what I mean.
My new FGW gun worked flawlessly again, so I'm happy with that.  Time to ditch the weak ammo and start practicing for the USPSA season!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Super-Tactical brand swag!

We are looking to expand the firearms training we've done into a co-branded Super-Tactical and Standard Deviation Arms venture. Here is some Super-Tactical gear


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Back to basics - IDPA

October is here and the leaves are starting to turn. Here in Pennsylvania that means the two closest USPSA clubs are winding down for the winter and that IDPA matches(at least for me) are starting back up on a regular basis.

I shot my first match in months at Blue Ridge Cherry Valley today and had a good time.  People keep telling me that IDPA matches are supposed to be filled with close range, basic stages that test shooting skills and not bullet hosing and athleticism, and while I disagree with a lot of that, today's match follows that basic IDPA mantra and was still a pretty good time.

In other news, shooting 180 grain .40 minor after a season of shooting USPSA with major ammo feels like cheating.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Super Area 8 USPSA Tactical Championship Match Recap

First of all let me start with this....F that place and the ancient burial ground it's built on!  I think everyone on our squad had gun issues of some sort.  AJ dumped his primary after the first stage and went to a backup gun and I had mag issues all day Sunday.  I also broke a trigger spring somehow between firing my last shot on the final stage of Saturday and walking to the safe table to bag my gun.  Good timing!!  I pulled the spring out of my spare G35 and everything was good to go. Ben had a major issue on the second to last stage and wasn't able to continue the match which sucks because he was on pace to win.  An open shooter on our squad had a jam while running past a target which lead to him getting DQ'd. Not good.

Anyway, on to the match...technically, this was not a super difficult match. Most of the targets were inside of 15 yards and did not have overly difficult presentations. That being said, the stages were going to be fast, so you had to push as hard as you could to get a good time and still land good hits. I was able to do that on most of the stages but did have a couple of bad ones.  The highlights of my weekend were the last two stages we shot Saturday.  In the video they are the stages with the double swinger and the clamshell target, and the stage that you had to start with the gun and mags staged on barrels. I took 5th on both of these stages and beat Bob Vogel then Dave Sevigny on one then the other.  That doesn't tend to happen very often for anyone so yes I'm dropping their names here! (Dave went on to win the match so I'm sure he won't be too upset some jerk from Philly beat him once).

Lessons to be learned from this match:
-Don't wait until the last minute to sort your gear (I thought I had fixed my jam issues with new mag springs but apparently not)
-Check your ammo more often (I can't remember the last time I checked the OAL or crimp settings on my press)
-Don't travel with AJ anymore. A few little blood stains found on the pullout couch and he will leave you with the entire hotel bill and sleep somewhere else.  Thanks a lot Hampton Inn. Clean your shit!
-I'm still pulling off targets early.  I ate two easy mikes for no reason transitioning off of targets too fast. This is something I specifically work on but continue to do when the timer is running.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Something different (Ferrari\Lambo content inside)

This weekend I was invited to work as an instructor at the Imagine Lifestyles Exotic Car Experience being held at the Wells Fargo Center. The event ran Friday through Sunday and allowed customers to drive or ride along in Ferrari F430s, Lamborghini LP550-2s and LP560-4s.  The event was a great time and we managed to run about 1200 people through the course over the weekend, including on Sunday when Philadelphia saw a record setting one day rainfall of 8 inches get dropped right on us in less than 3 hours.

This video is me driving during a Pro-drive for a customer in a Ferrari F430 coupe.

Here I'm driving a yellow Lamborghini LP560-4 (560 horsepower all wheel drive coupe) and also an LP560-4 convertible during the monsoon.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Being Happy

On most match days if you ask me if I'm having fun my answer will be "I'll tell you once the results come out".  I guess that's not a very positive attitude to have, but I really like the competitive aspect of shooting. If they didn't keep score I'd definitely find another hobby.  I also realize this puts a lot of unneeded stress on myself and can make me look like a grump bastard on the range.  Today at the SCCSA USPSA match I had major gun problems, and it was hovering around 90 degrees but I did manage to have fun.  Maybe I'm turning a corner and learning to relax a little bit and not base my entire weekend on how well I do at the shooting match I'm currently attending.

Today I had a terrible day starting on the second stage where I tanked the classifier due to a double feed, then continued to have feeding issues for the next few stages until I borrowed a spare mag from a friend. At least I'm pretty sure at this point that my problem is with the mag springs. I was pretty relaxed about it and once I figured out what the issue was I was just happy to know I could fix it before the Area 8 match on August 10th.

Maybe it's just my new purple fiber optic insert in my front sight that kept my spirits high all day? It's hard to say.

update: Results are out and I ended up taking 2nd place in Limited. The winner is unclassified in Limited but is a Production Master so I'm happy with that.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Colt 3 Man 3 Gun Fun recap

Team Super-Tactical and Team Ham Sandwich met up again for the second leg of the Colt 3 Man 3 Gun event, this time at Peacemaker National Training Center, in SometownYou'veNeverHeardOf, West Virginia.

The stages were challenging and fun again this year and my teammates were there to make sure I was happy. Actually, the unofficial theme of the match was Make Matt Happy, and everyone did a great job, except Steve, who clogged the toilet horribly and was generally smelly and rude all weekend.

We started on the long range stages, which unfortunately I didn't get any video of.  The Pivothead glasses I wear are great for getting video, but they aren't able to see through the tube of my scope so video of those stages would have sucked anyway.  Stage 5 had one team member (me) start on the angled roof, engaging plates at 300 yards and 6 inch speed plates at 125-175 yards. The other two shooters started at either pistol or shotgun and shot 4 steel plates each, then switched to the other area, shooting 4 more plates.  When I was done at the long range, I ran to the shotgun area, then the pistol area to engage my own 4 plates at each position.

Stage 6 was another long stage where we had to engage seven targets from 100 to 300 yards and various distances and of various sizes from prone, and then the long range targets again from a barricade.  I chose to shoot all 7 from prone, then re-engage the three long targets from standing supported on the barricade and this plan worked well. Other shooters decided to take a knee and shoot through one of the barricade ports but kneeling has never been a very stable position for me so I chose not to.

From there, we took the drive back down the hill to stage 1.  This stage was a relay, with the first shooter shooting 8 steel targets with shot, then three slug targets at about 50 yards, then tagging a teammate and running to position two.  While I moved to position two to shoot rifle, Ted began shooting the same thing I had just done at position one.  At position two, I engaged four plates once each from each of two ports on a barricade, then waited for Ted to arrive so I could tag him and go to position three. Position three was a creepy van that you had to shoot from inside of at pistol targets from 15 to 50 yards.

Stage two was another relay, where each shooter started with pistol on some paper targets and two plates each, then ran to the shotgun area and waited to be tagged where you had to load your shotgun then shoot 8 knockdown plates. After that you moved again and then re-engaged the paper targets from earlier in the head with rifle from a barricade.

Stage three was a typical USPSA style "memory" stage, where you had to engage paper targets with rifle and pistol, and clay birds while moving laterally on the stage. Some of the targets could only be seen from certain positions and it was easy to miss one, and end up engaging the same target twice, which would have caused two miss penalties plus a failure to engage (25 seconds of penalties!).  We shot this stage decently well, with the only issue being that I just could not hit the last steel target through the hole in the hard cover. Steve ended up cleaning it up with the shotgun and we cleaned the stage, but I blew probably 10+ seconds on that last target.  From now on, that target presentation will be considered a shotgun target.

Stage four was an all shotgun stage, with spinning targets, knock down steel, clay birds and flying clay birds.  This was all about who could reload shotgun the fastest and who could shoot it with the least makeup shots. Unfortunately I failed both of those tasks but the good news is I forgot to turn on my camera so there's no proof it ever happened, ha!

Here's the video.
Thanks to everyone at the match and my teammates (even you, Steve) for making this a great weekend.  Next year this even might actually be three separate matches with scores combined?! Can't wait

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ready to go! (Colt 3 Man 3 Gun prep)

Ammo is loaded, gear is prepped, skills have been honed and I'm ready to go!

I finally feel confident with the rifle after sorting out some gear problems that were causing long range accuracy issues. I can't wait to get out there. I'll try to post an update Friday night if we get to scope out the stages but if not I'll have a match update posted Saturday and a full match review Sunday or Monday when we get back.
Stay tuned...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Too damn hot

This weekend I shot the first hot weather match of the 2013 season. In reality it wasn't even that hot...93 or so and about 400% humidity, but I was somehow not prepared for it.  I drank four gatorades and three bottles of water at the range and still ended up dehydrated.  The Colt Team 3 Gun match this weekend in West Virginia is going to be brutal.

Below is the match video. I don't have a lot to say about it.  From the jump I was not all that interested in being there and my focus was poor.  I started out with a few ok stages but my points were not what they should be. I ended up skipping a target somehow on Walt's memory stage and threw two mikes for no reason on another stage. I need to shoot at least 5% more points than I did. I know for sure I was accepting a "sights on brown" type of sight picture where I usually am able to really see that A-zone and aim every shot.  The good news is that I knew I was doing it while it was happening, and was generally calling my shots ok, I just didn't do anything during the day to correct it. Oh well, onward and upward!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

York 3 Gun challenge - new video format

This Sunday we shot the York 3 Gun Challenge in, you guessed it, York PA.  This was a great match and attracted some really good shooters including 3 Gun Nation TV competitor Greg Jordan who dominated the match.  I came away from the match decently happy with my performance. This is the first larger 3 gun match I've shot where I feel like I didn't have any major mistakes and actually shot mostly up to my ability.  I took a few extra shots with rifle on the "long range" stage. (only 175 yards so not really that far), and also took too many pistol shots on that stage, and on the last stage, which is not normal for me.  I finished 8th in Tac Ops out of 83 shooters, but my score was less than 70% of the match winner's. I have a lot of work to do if I want to keep up with the "pros"/

Below is my video from the match. I tried something different and did a voice over of each stage describing the stage and some of my thoughts.  Let me know if you like the format and I'll do more of this type of commentary at my next match.

Thanks for watching.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Holy crap, Half way through 2013!

Here we are, mid-way through 2013 already, and the shooting season is in full swing.  It's time to look back at the first half of the year and evaluate.

For me, I met one of my big goals for the year and was able to classify as master in USPSA Limited division.  My other goal, which I haven't been quite able to do, but still strive for, is to win every match I attend. This is a pretty difficult goal to meet and hasn't always happened but I think it is still a good thing to try and go out and do every time.

Going forward, I know I have a lot to work on. To be able to compete at the larger sectional and area matches in M class I need to improve by a lot.  This makes sense since I only just barely squeaked into M class in the first place.  The same applies to 3 gun matches. I'm starting to get more comfortable shooting these type of matches and am eliminating mistakes, but I have to improve A TON to be able to come close to the top guys in the sport.  I'd really like to take a shot at the 3 Gun Nation Pro qualifier in 2015 so there is definitely a ton of work to be done.

I need to step up my dry fire practice which has been next to nothing right now (I know!). I also need to stick with my workout plan so I can drop some pounds and get some of that speed that I used to have in my younger hockey days back.

How are your 2013 goals coming along? Have you met them already? Are you on the way to reaching them? Have you had to re-evaluate and change your goals?  I want to hear from you!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Standard Deviation Arms in the Media

Matt and Steve from Standard Deviation Arms get mentioned in Walt in PA's weekly video blog as he interviews the members of the Angrypig Shooting Team. They discuss their competition pistol match experiences, practice routines and training regiments after the Burt Schaffer Memorial IDPA match at Ontelaunee Rod and Gun.

We appreciate the shout out!

Stay tuned for another Intermediate Competition Pistol class that is currently forming. We expect to have it scheduled for some time at the end of June. If you are an IDPA or USPSA shooter with some match experience but looking to get to the next level, let us know, there are still openings in the class.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

VA/MD Section Match progress report

Ever shoot a match and have a great time and then see the results and realize you did everything about four seconds too slow? Yep...

I'll add a bit more later but right now it's time to relax after a fun and slightly soggy weekend.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Did I forget anything??

It's almost 10pm on May 16th, which means I'll be leaving for Fredericksburg, Virginia to attend the USPSA VA/MD section match in just about 12 hours.  I always feel a little nervous at this point before matches. Not because of match nerves, but because I always feel like I'm forgetting something.

Below is my packing list for this match. The truth is, it really shouldn't be that much different from packing for a weekend  match, but it feels like it is. Obviously I have to pack an overnight back, and will bring my laptop so I can insult people on the internet all the way up until the minute the match starts, but other than that, it's the same.

Did I forget anything?

Rain gear
Cold gear Under Armor
travel bag: 

Shoes, extra shoes, extra socks,

shorts and pants


laptop, charger, phone charger
ammo (duh)
spare pistol
Holster belt
SIRT pistol

reader suggestions:
bathing suit for pre-match part
BEER (how the hell did I forget?)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New IDPA Rulebook Rant

The title of this post was a bit misleading because I wasn't really planning on ranting about the new rules, just going over them and talking about them, but within the first two minutes of my scan of the book I already have to call out the Tiger Teams.

Why in the word would you make one of the most important gunhandling rules even more relaxed? I'm talking about having your finger in the trigger guard when it doesn't belong there...read this crap

S5.1.  The first occurrence of improper finger placement will be a warning with the “Finger” command given.  The second occurrence in a single match will result in a Procedural Error.  The third occurrence in a single match will result in a Failure To Do Right (FTDR) penalty.  Disqualification from the match will result from subsequent occurrences. 

That is unbelievable to me.

Moving on, another interesting thing to note is that ALMOST crossing a muzzle safe point (but not actually crossing it, which is a match DQ) now results in a warning, followed by an FTDR.

Next on the list of odd, stupid or potentially dangerous new rules is S14.

When a shooter is about to run into a barricade, potentially trip or fall, or do something unsafe, the SO will physically intervene when possible, to prevent a potential accident.  Because the SO kept the shooter from having a safety issue due to a shooter’s error, there is no reshoot. 

If a shooter is about to eat dirt, the best thing that can happen is for the shooter to keep his finger outside of the trigger guard, and to continue to eat dirt. If an SO grabs his arm, shirt, or otherwise it could cause all sorts of other problems. Forget that noise.

Speed round! (Quick things I noticed that I will post here but won't really talk much about)
No shots on scenario stages further than 25 yards, 6 shots only at 35 yards maximum for standards stages. Sissies.

Sanity has prevailed and it is no longer legal to require someone to load an empty magazine from lose rounds during a stage.

SSP guns now have a max weight of 43 ounces. Will we see more CZ Shadows now?

Match bumps now count as your classification requirement for the year.

No staged long guns allowed anymore

Holsters and pouches now must be behind the hip bone, not behind the centerline of the body

They made the classifier times significantly lower in SSP, and rounded the numbers off in the other classes.

and finally...

The words "round dumping" do not appear anywhere in the rulebook.

Monday, April 29, 2013

"Buidling" your competition Glock

I got a request from a youtube subscriber to do a review/setup video about my USPSA Limited Glock 24. I decided I'd do a break down of all of my competition Glocks.

We are also going to start taking requests for any gear or technique questions you guys have for USPSA, 3 Gun or IDPA.  We also are planning some other fun and informative videos coming soon.

Check out the first video below.

This is my first video blog entry so be nice. Or not. Constructive feedback is appreciated.

Slide machine work done by Jerry M at Jers Guns. Contact me for his info (I don't want to post his email address openly on the net and spam him to death)
Refinishing by Norton Gunworks
Sights and magwell by Dawson Precision.
Vanek Super trigger by Vanek Custom
JP mag release button
Lonewolf connectors
Trijicon RMR sight

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Time to get my shit in gear

With the VA/MD match barely three weeks away, I'm not really happy with my shooting and really need to step up my game. Maybe it's all mental, but I have this feeling that I'll go to this level 2 match as my second match since making Master and will get my butt kicked.  I guess that's a defeatist attitude but I was really feeling on my game at the Eastern Shore Practice Shooters month USPSA match in Maryland this month.

The good news is I have those three weeks to really hit the dryfire and live fire practice and square my gear issues away. I also have a good idea of what I want to work on in live fire in order to get dialed in before VA/MD. I need to work on visual patience and not transitioning off close targets too fast (the first target I shoot from the second position in the below video had one A and one miss on it, which is a terrible and unacceptable level of shitty shooting) and recoil control after shooting a lot of 3 gun practice with weak ammo and letting my grip get weak.  More later...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Colt 3 Man 3 Gun - Topton 2013

This Sunday Team Super-Tactical.com, in association with Standard Deviation Arms and Team Timmay! shot the first match in the 2013 Colt 3 Man 3 Gun series in Topton, Pennsylvania.  We had another great time at this match and really showed a lot of improvement over last year which was our first ever major 3 gun match and only my second 3 gun match ever.

The stages were varied and consisted of relays and "rolling thunder" type stages. The relays involved all three shooters shooting two or three guns, one at a time, and tagging the other team member when done. The rolling thunder stages had all three shooters shooting various guns, simultaneously at different target types.  One stage even required the pistol shooter to shoot two poppers, which in turn launched two flying clay birds that the shotgun shooter had to hit mid-air.  The only long range rifle stage required two standing and unsupported hits on a steel IPSC A/C zone target, followed by five hits on some six inch plates using a barricade for support, followed by four required hits on an array of six inch Colt speed plates that were partially obscured by steel hard cover. All of these shots were from 200 yards. We all managed to get our hits on what shouldn't be an overly difficult stage, but every year people seem to struggle majorly on this stage. Last year we ran into the time limit and took nearly two minutes in penalties for targets we were not able to hit on this stage.

As in many three gun matches, the scoring was simple; two hits anywhere on a paper target and it was considered "hit".  This means going as fast as possible while still keeping your shots on paper, but there was a massive 10 second penalty for any missed shots.  These penalties caught all three team members at some point during the day, both on mid-range rifle head shots and pistol shots.

The results will be posted later tonight and I think we had a pretty strong match overall, and once again learned what we have to hit on the practice range in order to do well in the second half of this match, which will be held at the Peacemaker Training facility in West Virginia.

One last thing...make sure your cleared pistol is firmly on the table before you let go of it in order to transition to the rifle. I almost had an embarrassing moment and a potential DQ on the last stage of the match. Check it out from two different angles in the below video.

All POV video recorded with Pivothead video recording eyewear. Check them out here 
Also, if you're thinking of ordering, remember to contact me for any deals, discounts or incentives that may be available from the manufacturer.

Monday, April 15, 2013

39 matches to Master

I started writing this post on March 18th, as I was sitting here trying to figure out my shooting schedule for the rest of the month, and being disappointed that the weather caused two match cancellations this weekend.
For some reason I found myself on my USPSA classification page and was looking at my old scores. I noticed that I really didn't start seriously competing until 2011 and that I've only shot 39 matches USPSA matches in my "career" (I guess it is slightly more than that because I've shot two or so matches that didn't have a classifier, and therefore won't show up on this page).  Below is the breakdown, by year, of my match participation.

1 in 04
2 in 05
2 in 08
1 in 09
3 in 2010
16 in 2011
13 in 2012
1 in 2013

What does this mean? What it means to me is that once I started to actually put time into this sport, my results changed pretty quickly.  I started out shooting IDPA in 2003 and have shot a lot of IDPA matches. It wasn't until 2011 that I finally "broke through" and made Expert. Shortly after that, I shot my first sanctioned IDPA match in a long while (the January 2011 Arctic Blast) and managed to place DFL in my class. That match was definitely an eye opener and part of what made me really decide to improve.

Yes, you must DECIDE that you are going to progress in this sport in order to actually do it. You can't just shoot your local match every month and wish for good results, you have to put in the time. For a while I had just been casually shooting matches, mostly IDPA and without any sort of training or practice regimen. In 2011 that all changed. I decided to up my dryfire practice and join a range, and actually put in real practice.  The truth is, I still don't practice nearly enough, but when I do I go out with a goal, and a few small drills to run through. I never go out to just punch holes in paper anymore.

Classifications (updated 4/14/2013):
OPENClass: UPct: 0.00High Pct: 0.00
LIMITEDClass: MPct: 86.76High Pct: 86.76    BOOM!
LIMITED10Class: APct: 72.07High Pct: 78.88
PRODUCTIONClass: APct: 71.18High Pct: 73.29
REVOLVERClass: UPct: 0.00High Pct: 0.00
SINGLESTACKClass: UPct: 0.00High Pct: 0.00

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Open Season!

The April USPSA match at Lower Providence is in the books and I have no fully converted myself into a complete gamer, not interested in anything resembling reality at all, ie. I'm shooting in Open division now.

The match went OK, but everyone on my squad was having problems with Mikes and No Shooters and I didn't escape with anything even close to a clean match.  In my head, I knew that shooting Open meant I had to go faster than I would with my Limited gun, which meant I was yanking the trigger without having good sight pictures for a lot of shots. The results were not great.

Anyway, it was a great day and I got my first sunburn of the year out of the way. Time to put the Open gun away and really get dialed into shooting Limited so I can be ready for the VA/MD section, Area 8 and the Mid-A section.

I switched to Bear Creek 180 grain bullets and they are way cleaner and less smokey than the other black moly bullets I've shot. Get them at Standard Deviation Arms

Monday, March 25, 2013

That's what I like to hear

I received a Facebook message this morning from a shooter that had trained with Steve and I last month through our training operation, Standard Deviation Arms. I'll copy and paste it below. Hopefully it speaks for itself.

  • Want to give you guys a big thank you. My IDPA classifier has dropped almost 20 seconds. I shot my M&P pro9 in esp yesterday and shot a 129.55. Thats moves me up to sharp shooter in esp and less then 10 seconds from expert in ssp. If you remember in the beginning of your class you asked us what our goals were. Expert is my goal. With your help I feel that goal is in reach this year. Thank you.
    Oh I was only 31 total points down. So I think I have to keep pushing myself.

This is the kind of stuff I love to hear.

To schedule a class, contact me through this site, or SteveLockwood at StandardDeviationArms.com

(click for full size)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fire up the excuse machine

Today Steve and I shot at Eastern Shore Practical Shooters USPSA match in Sudlersville, MD. I shot my new Open division build, a Glock 22, with Trijicon dual illuminated RMR.  The match was fun, and we had a good time as we always do at this club. Stages were broken down and results printed out (hooray for electronic scoring) by before 2PM.
I finished 4th in Open, 96% of the Open division winner, and something like 92% of the match winner...a GM who was shooting an 8 round gun. That crap is embarrassing.  There's no reason I couldn't have won this match, and if I didn't drop the two mikes that I did today I would have.

What I learned during this match was
1- trigger control needs work
1a- yes the trigger on this rig is gritty and creepy for some reason, but excuses are like assholes...
2- half assed Open division builds are not ideal
2a- see 1a
3- need to work on trigger control
4- my practice regimen in the off season has kept me from getting rusty while shooting, but I forgot how to break down a USPSA stage, sort of.
5- need more dry fire practice
6- For some reason I aim low on the target with the dot sight. Had a few targets with good center hits, but 2 inches below the A zone
7- Practice will fix #6

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

And now for something completely different


I sent my Glock 22 slide to Mark Housel at L&M Precision last week, he received it on Thursday, and today I have it back in hand. His turn around time was amazing and his work is perfect. The sight looks like it came mounted that way from the factory.

Machining of the slide to accept the sight makes for MUCH quicker dot acquision when coming out of the holster. I shot the gun earlier in the month at SJIDPA(see match video below) using the mount that fits in the standard Glock dovetail and it was tough at times to find the dot, being that it was so abnormally above where you usually look for your sights to appear.

Now most of my USPSA Open division rig is built. I'm still waiting on a threaded barrel and compensator from KKM, but for now I will shoot it as shown in the photo.  First match is going to be Saturday at Eastern Shore Practical Shooters in Sudlersville, MD.

I don't think I will shoot a ton of matches in Open, but I will be carrying this slide on my chopped g22 that takes g27 mags. I really like this setup.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Grip strength challenge! (do you want some of dis!?)

   Grip strength is something Steve from Standard Deviation Arms and I have discussed a fair amount over the time we have known each other. Steve even wrote an article about it.  How much pressure to apply to the pistol while you are shooting, which hand to grip harder with, 60/40, 70/30, etc are just some of the things that are up for debate. What is not up for debate is the fact that the stronger your hands are, the harder you can hold onto the gun. Most anyone would say this is going to be an advantage when shooting a pistol at high speed.  Many people involved in the shooting sports and elsewhere are familiar with the Captains of Crush grip trainers. These are rated from 60 all the way up to an insane 365 pounds.  I have the 100 and the 140 pound grippers and, although I have slacked off on serious training with them, plan to use them a lot more.  
    This brings me to the point of this post, the digital hand dynamometer. For those gearheads out there, yes, this is a dyno for your hand, used to measure the peak gripping force you can produce.  The particular model I picked up was only $29 on Amazon and will record up to 200 pounds of force, which is plenty for me for now, but really not all that much in the grand scheme of things. There was a post on Brian Eno's forum written by "CHA-LEE", a GM class shooter, where he discussed using one of these tools to guide his training. He also has tested a bunch of other shooters, from beginners, up to other GMs, and he was able to see a very clear trend. The GMs were generally able to grip the hardest, usually over 150 poounds, and the beginners and D class shooters the weakest. He also noticed that Open division shooters of the same skill level generally did not grip as hard as other shooters of similar skills. This is an example of why Open is for girls! (just kidding, mostly) 
     I was thinking about doing my own testing with my shooting buddies or whoever else was interested in giving it a try. Should I keep track of everyone who participates and give a prize to whoever demonstrates the most impressive feat of strength, maybe another Steve Lockwood signed Red Ring hat?  I have an idea for something else but would have to check with my sponsors to see if they would be interested in participating.  I encourage anyone reading this to pick up your own grip-o-meter, or find me at a match and ask to try mine out. Can you beat 148.8? (my current best)

SAFETY UPDATE: It's super easy to over train with the higher weight crushers, so start out slow and only practice with them a few times a week.  I gave myself a sore left wrist trying to post a "high score" with the grip dyno the first two days I had it, so be sure to take it easy.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Early season review:

With a few matches under my belt, and the full USPSA season on the horizon it's time to reflect a little bit. I've been keeping the below match log on my PC and recently converted it into a Google doc so I could more easily share it here.  So far this year I've shot 4 matches, and all of them went well except for the most recent 3 gun match where I had a bunch of gun issues.  I'm pretty happy with my performances so far but I can see that my focus on shooting super good points all of last year has taken some of the aggressiveness out of my runs. I need to keep my tempo up, while still maintaining good sight pictures for every shot. This is something I can work on in dry fire, and also hit at the practice range, although I don't get much time for that these days.  One thing that has been huge has been really hitting the dry fire practice hard, and working on running stages while working on lowering my par times. I like running short classifiers because I can set them up in the garage and also know what a "good" score is going to be. This was huge for the March USPSA match where I was able to finally make Master in Limited division.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Fail: Lessons learned

Let the above video be a lesson to us all.  You cannot throw your semi-auto shotgun into the case for three months and then shoot it dirty and unlubed in 25 degree weather and expect it to run 100%.  The same goes for your AR-15. Furthermore, when changing major components on your rifle (in my case the barrel), it is advisable to test fire more than 5 rounds of the ammo you plan to compete with on the coming weekend to ensure reliable function, especially if the ammunition in question was manufactured in a gulag in eastern Europe.   A little bit of oil and a quarter turn on my gas block fixed all of my problems, but not before I managed to record this embarrassing video.  Enjoy.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Standard Deviation Arms competition pistol class reivew

I'm reposting this great review of our recent pistol training course written by Kerry of the Angry Pig Shooting Team

This weekend the members of the AngryPig Shooting Team took a break from our usual match rotation, and scheduled a training class with Standard Deviation Arms.

The impetus for this class was simple; I started shooting IDPA in February 2012 followed shortly by Jake then Jamie then Sam. Even though I taught the boys how to shoot and introduced them to IDPA, Jamie and I quickly found ourselves being left in the dust first by Jake and then by Sam. All four of us want to improve our shooting, and since both boys are beating both adults regularly I figured there really is not much more I could teach them. So I started to look around for training.

I looked at the training classes offered by some of the big national names in practical shooting and I really couldn’t find a program that if felt really met our needs. We have been shooting matches for about a year and have had some success, so we were not beginner shooters, on the other hand I didn’t think that we ready for the more advanced classes out there. In short I was looking for some training that could leverage our currently skill sets and show us a path to improvement that we could take and work on week in and week out. In addition there was the matter of cost, with some of the big national trainers you have to travel to them and the per student fee was much higher than I could afford to shell out for 3 students.

Luckily we live in an area with a strong practical shooting community with some very good shooters. I started to ask around to see if any of the local Master level shooters were offering training. One of the first people I asked was Matt Olinchak, right away Matt let me know that he and Steve Lockwood were doing just that and that they would be willing to tailor a class to meet our needs. We have squaded with Matt at several IDPA matches, as well as both he and Steve at a few USPSA match. Both are excellent shooters and have the trophies to prove it. But in addition to that Steve has been in the firearms instructor business either in the Marine Corps, working for the DOD or in the Civilian world for many years, so not only does this pair bring their shooting experience to the table they have the professional instruction background as well. This was important to me in selecting someone to train with, being able to shoot is one thing, being able to train is a whole other skill set. I was confident Standard Deviation Arms had both

We traded information, and then the emails began. I had lots of questions for Matt and Steve, and they answered them patiently and quickly. We regularly post videos of our matches online, and it was clear that Matt and Steve were not just listening to what I was saying I wanted to get out of a training class, they were out there watching our videos and evaluating our performance in order to better tailor our session to our needs.

The day started out early at the Secret AngryPig Training Facility. We started off with a good discussion of what each person wanted to get out of the class and areas where we thought we needed the most attention. We all set goals and then we moved into what I think the most important part of the class was, 1.5 hours of dry fire. Now that may not sound like much fun, and it really wasn’t, but the amount we all learned starting with improving our draw on though presentation, front sight focus and reload drills was invaluable for being able to take advantage of the live fire portion of the class. Next we hit on movement into and out of position; Matt and Steve were able to show us techniques for staying in IDPA cover while maintaining a good firing position and preparing for moving to the next position.

The live fire portion of the class was equally intensive; we did drills that forced you to find that balance between speed and accuracy and then learned techniques on how to push that balance. We worked on transition drill to reduce our time between targets (something I seriously struggled with). We were put through the paces on several live fire drills that really had us riding the harry edge of control followed up with instruction on just how to increase our control and we all watched as our times dropped on drill after drill. But it wasn’t just work, Matt and Steve did a great job of adding fun to the day and if it wasn’t for the rapidly lowering sun we could have kept going, oh and it was cold too.

By the end of a very long day I am confident that the training we received, as long as we do our part and continue to practice, will provide us with a marked improvement in our match scores. In addition I think it was an incredible value as well!

If you are looking for training for any type of shooting check them out at:


Monday, January 21, 2013

Sharing Knowledge (part 2)

This weekend I had the pleasure of teaching a competition pistol shooting class with my co-instructor Steve Lockwood of Standard Deviation Arms for the members of the Angry Pig Shooting Team.  Steve has been teaching shooting for over 5 years, starting with his time in the Marines and now in the civilian world.  I have been shooting competitively for 9 years and have worked one on one with a few different shooters, but this was my first foray into teaching a group training session.  Steve has been great to bounce ideas off of and our   philosophies gel well together.

This great group of guys from the Angry Pig Shooting Team were eager and ready to learn.  The course started at about 930 with setting up the range, followed by student and instructor introductions and some discussion on the mental aspect of the game.  We moved into dryfire training, and worked on grip, draw and presentation to the target, smooth trigger press and other important fundamentals.  Following that, we jumped right into some advanced movement techniques, shooting around barricades, etc, with the goal being to be able to cut down on time getting into and out of positions as much as possible. This is a great way to lower your overall stage times and something you can work on in dryfire at home.

The live fire session focused on transitions between easy and difficult shots, changing tempos, calling your shots and decreasing target transition times.  Each shooter showed improvement during each of the drills and I look forward to seeing each of their progress throughout the year and into the future.  I think each shooter also walked away with an idea of what they need to work on, and more importantly, how they can work on it in order to achieve their goals.

Jake and Kerry tied for the win on the walkback drill. Both were able to ding the 8 inch mini target from about 40 yards before they threw a miss.  Congrats to both of them, you win an internet fist bump from Steve and I.

For additional training opportunities, to ask a question, or just talk shooting, email me.

check out the rest of the gallery here

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sharing knowledge

The primary purpose of this blog is to share my shooting experiences and videos I record, in order to share what I have learned in this sport along the way.  With that being said, I'm happy to announce that I'm joining former US Marine Combat Arms instructor Steve Lockwood and his company Standard Deviation Arms in teaching an intermediate pistol class this coming Sunday for a great group of guys from the Angry Pig Shooting Team. These guys are perfect students for what we offer because they already know the basics of safety and gun handling, and are looking for ways to improve their competitive shooting scores. I don't come from a teaching background in this field but I feel like I have a lot to offer to the students after my almost 10 years in the shooting sports, and Steve has been a great help in developing the class curriculum and working in his own knowledge into our program.
We are hoping to offer a lot more of these classes in the future, so if you have shot a couple of matches, but are looking to make big improvements, we would love to hear from you.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I shot my first BRCV match since the 2011 PA state match this Sunday.  Kevin puts on a nice, short and sweet, simple match. That's nice from a time stand point; you are able to get in and out in about 2 hours and setup and tear down for the staff and shooters if really easy. I do wish the match had a bit higher round count, but it is what it is.

Looking back, I really need to let go of the ego and force myself to push myself at matches and see what level I can achieve without having the wheels fall off. There are no payouts in IDPA and local matches obviously don't count for anything so the only thing holding me back from trying to go all out is the requirement I put on myself to win.  I feel like I've been a bit too conservative in the recent months and I need to break out of that....but then again, I shot the Liberty Match with a goal of shooting a very clean and accurate match, and whatever speed it took, and was able to do really well.  As always, there is a balance that must be achieved, and my goal right now is to speed up, without sacrificing any accuracy at all.

As always, this video was brought to you by Pivothead video recording eyewear. If you're interested in checking them out, click the banner ad above this post. If you'r interested in buying, contact me and I'll see if there are any specials or extra incentives I can pass on to you.

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Goals

So here we are, two matches into 2013, and I'm trying to work on my new years resolution.  There's an IDPA forum thread that I replied to where I set a pretty aggressive goal in response to the whole new years resolution question: Win every local match I go to.  Thinking back, I'm not sure if that was an overly arrogant statement to make, or actually a valid objective to strive for this year.  I definitely think it's possible, especially if I keep up the same improvement pace I've been seeing for the past two seasons, but is this a valid goal? Should I target something more quantifiable, like make M class in USPSA?  To be honest, I'm hoping a couple of new guys I haven't seen anywhere start showing up to local matches and kicking my butt. I know when I started shooting and training with AJ that my skills had to improve pretty quickly in order to keep up. I think we both need someone else to try and catch up to to break the plateau and achieve the final level.

How about you?  What are your goals?  Attend more matches? Attend your FIRST match (I want to hear from these people!) Move up in classification? Win your division at a major?  Let's hear it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

First match of 2013

Well 2013 is here and even though matches are getting cancelled left and right until spring due to weather, I did manage to shoot a match today. One range is still putting on IDPA matches year round and Mark and Annette do a great job of working with the weather limitations to designs fun and challenging stages. There was a couple inches of snow and some ice over top on a few of the ranges today, so there was not a lot of movement on most of the stages, but I still had a good time.

I'm still playing with my front sight widths. This is the second match I've shot recently with the .100 sight after using the .09 one for most of last year.  I think I will stick with it for a while and see how it goes. So far so good.

I'm also working on an excel document that I'm going to use as a log for all the matches I shoot in 2013. What other columns should I include in this table?

Match Date Location Match Type Divison Results Results Link Video Link
1/6/2013 <Undisclosed> IDPA ESP ?

Not sure if I like the .100 sight or not. Still need to work on speed. Accuracy is pretty good except for a random missed headshot at 10 yards

 Once again, this match video was brought to you by Pivothead video recording eyewear.

Results ( http://www.nepaidpascores.net/nhrpa/2013-01-06.htm )

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Hello internet. Welcome to my blog.This is the best damn tactical site on the interweb, and we are going to spend most of our time talking about the competitive aspect of the shooting sports, my adventures along the way, and hopefully posting some fun videos and match breakdowns as soon as I teach myself Adobe Premiere.

As always, this post and all of my videos are brought to you by Pivothead video recording eyewear.