View Full Version : MORE GSSF Tips 2003
I'm proud and excited to announce that the FIRST of 35 threads that will be reported each week will begin tonight. The MORE GSSF Tips 2003 threads will run through November 22, 2003.
The Master Class shooters that have volunteered their time and efforts to share with you their winning "tips" will be:
Dale Rhea: West
Tony Clemens: Midwest
Jerry Worsham: South
Stuart McDaniel: East
Debbie Nosse: East
Millard Ellingsworth: West
Matt Kartozian: Midwest
Dan Johnson: South
Mike Finch: Midwest
Bruce Warren: North
Bobby Carver: Midwest
The topic of each thread, reported weekly, arrived from the questions surveyed on Glocktalk a few weeks ago. Each New Thread will begin on Sundays and this will allow each GSSF'er the opportunity to read and ask the Host of the topic questions during the upcoming week.
I encourage each and everyone of you to print these topics weekly and share them with friends that are interested in GSSF shooting and current GSSF competitors that do not have access to Glocktalk. If you know newcomers to GSSF, inform them about Glocktalk and the MORE GSSF Tips 2003.
These tips will introduce you to the "winning methods" that have proven successful to the winners hosting each topic.
Host of Topic Question: Bobby Carver
Question: What is the single most important thing to being a successful GSSF shooter?"
Response by Bobby:
Being successful in any sport activity or career involves many elements including:
2. An understanding of the fundamentals
3. Good equipment
4. The ability to focus
5. Practice time
Most amateur shooters believe that you must have the best equipment to allow you to be successful. That may appear to be the most important "thing" but it's not. Since we are all using the same equipment, a Glock, in GSSF competitions, the playing fields are level and we all have "great equipment"!
"The single most important thing to being a successful GSSF shooter is PRACTICE"
Practice will allow you the time to improve your weaknesses and to identify your strengths. Do you think that a runner would enter a race without practicing his running and testing their running shoes before the day of the race? Of course not!! The same principle applies to your GSSF competions. In order to become successful in GSSF matches, it's imperative that you practice "some" before the day of the match.
Here's my recommendations for practice sessions:
a. Identify how much time you have available from your home and work life to devote to practice before competing in a match.
b. Once you have identified how much time you can devote to practice, establish how much ammunition you will need or can afford for your practice session.
c. The amount of time and ammunition that you will have available will determine how you will organize your practice sessions. Detail the objectives of the practice sessions. List what your weaknesses are, if you have competed before. Plan to spend as much time as possible on the weaknesses.
d. Run through a GSSF match, at the practice range, the same way that you will compete in the GSSF match. This will strengthen your subconcious mind and will allow you to respond instinctively the day of the match.
e. Record the progress of your practices, including run times and scores for each stage. Set realistic goals and work to achieve them.
Through the course of the next 34 weeks, you will receive many tips that will allow you to build on your "practice methods" and techniques. The most important rule to remember, when practicing is, "utilize practice sessions for learning new techniques, avoiding the reinforcement of bad habits."
If you have any questions regarding this response, please feel free to "reply to this thread"
The second topic that will be discussed in the More GSSF Tips 2003 will be the question asked about "zeroing" your sights. The question was:
How about commenting on "zeroing" your sights for those who use either adjustable open sights or Red Dots. For instance; GSSF targets are set from 5 to 25 yards, do you zero your sights at a 25 yard target or use some intermediate distance? Do you adjust your sights from a free hand stance or do you use a rest of some sort? I have tried both ways and everytime I set my sights or Dot using a rest when I shoot free hand as in a match my point of impact is off. If I set them from a free hand stance such as in as in a match then they give me better hit. Is this caused by me and something I am doing improperly or is this common?
Dale Rhea will be hosting this question this week.
Host of Topic Question: Dale Rhea
How do you sight in or “zero” your pistols for GSSF?
Make safety your first concern every time you use your pistol.
Before you can sight in your pistol you must select the ammo you are going to use for the match. Test several different kinds of ammo on a 25-yard target. You can begin the process using a rest, which allows you to check the accuracy of the ammunition without the variables of stance and balance. The initial requirement is that the ammunition is consistent. Every round must fire and you must be able to shoot a tight group with it.
The next step is to test the ammunition using the techniques you will use in the match. Be as serious about testing as you are about shooting a match. Remember the importance of grip, stance, and balance. There are a number of factors to consider when testing. You need ammunition that gives you a tight group at 25 yards. Your ammunition should have enough power to make your pistol eject and feed properly, with as light a recoil as possible. A lighter recoil allows you to quickly come back onto the target after each shot. The same ammunition does not work for everyone because of differences in upper body mass, arm and hand strength, grip, and stance, so what works well for one of your buddies may not work at all for you, and what works perfectly for you may not work well for a female friend.
When you have settled on the perfect ammunition, sight in the pistol at 25 yards. Do not try to sight in your pistol from a rest. The groups shot from a rest will be slightly different from your freehand groups, so sight in your pistol the same way you are going to shoot it at the match. Each shot should be carefully and thoughtfully squeezed off, being aware of you grip, stance and balance for each shot. Make sure that you are pressing the trigger straight back, that you are keeping the sights aligned perfectly and that you are pulling through smoothly.
On my Stockmiester pistol I use fixed sights. Once the sights are set they almost never need to be changed.
On my Unlimited pistol I zero the scope at 25 yards and check it before each match.
Post by Bobby Carver for Dale Rhea
The host of this week's topic will be Tony Clemens.
Topic #3: Where do you focus your eyes when shooting the plates using
When shooting plates using iron sights, my focus is on the front sight. A clear focus on the front sight results in a slightly blurry target and rear sight, but when trying to precisely align three items, focusing on the middle one results in the best compromise. Some say they are able to change their focus from target to front sight to rear sight, but that takes too much time.
Maintaining a clear focus on the front sight during
a run (whether on steel or paper) is very difficult, since it's a
natural tendency to want to watch the targets fall. Well, when I start watching the plates, they stop falling! My most consistent, quickest runs with iron sights come when I remember a distinct, clear focus on the front sight for EACH shot.
When you see someone hit the first 4 or 5 plates in quick succession, then miss the last 1 or 2, their focus has
shifted from their front sight to the plates. Practice resisting the
temptation to shift focus during a run. Practice seeing a clear, precise sight picture on each plate (or D1 or popper).
Refer to Bobby's 1st post concerning practice habits. Sight in your gun so you have confidence in knowing the shot will go exactly where the sights are aligned. Refer to Dale's 2nd post. I use a piece of "scotch tape" on the left lens of my glasses when shooting with iron sights. This gives me one clear sight picture, and can help people with opposite eye dominance problems.
Another tip I can give is somewhat hard to explain, but it works for me. Before the buzzer goes, I cross my eyes slightly so when I raise the gun to my line of sight, I have a clear focus on the front sight. I don't have to wait for my eye focus to switch from the target to the front sight, resulting in a quicker first shot. To help determine how much you need to intentionally cross your eyes, raise your EMPTY gun and aim at a target. Focus on your front sight, then slowly lower your gun while noticing how much your target is blurred. Practice this until you know how much to blur your target so that when your gun is raised, the front sight is in clear focus IMMEDIATELY.
Speed comes from decreasing the time from buzzer to first shot and the time between subsequent shots. Don't "try" to shoot fast. Speed will come with practice. Shoot smooth.
Bottom line - regardless of whether you're shooting plates or paper, let your sights dictate your shooting pace. Don't break the shot until your sights are aligned sufficiently for the shot required.
The host of this week's question is: Jerry Worsham
Question (Topic):The other issue and a larger issue for me is getting a proper sight picture at long distances. Using my sights, targets at 25 yards are so small I don’t feel I can consistently keep accurately aligned with the 10 ring. At these large distances my front site is about the width of the target so how do you get tight groups at farther targets? Also with focus if I keep my focus on the front site the target at 25 yards is very blurry and I can’t be sure if I am perfectly aligned. Now I do have bad vision at distances (not horrible but a little blurry) but I still have this problem with my glasses.
A clear sight picture is important to accurate shooting. Unfortunately as we get older one of the first things we lose is the ability to have a deep focal range, i.e. the ability to focus on two objects separated by some distance. I have read that our eyes start losing this ability when we reach 19. I don’t know, 19 was a long time ago. What I do know is there are several things we can do to help improve our ability to shoot targets at distance with iron sights. I’ll mention the ones that I have used for GSSF shooting that have helped me.
Distance targets are the hard part, particularly the 25 yard D-1. You basically have a choice, focus on the target or focus on the sights. Focus on the sights, if your sights are clear you can make sure you have them cleanly aligned. If you have vision problems the first step is to decide if you’re near sighted, far sighted, and/or Presbyopic. Anyone in their mid to late forties and later will start having trouble focusing up close, that’s Presbyopia. If you’re near sighted and this starts happening iron sight shooting can get real tough. The solution I found to be best for me was to get glasses with my dominate eye lens set to focus on my front sight blade, my off eye lens set for distance. This is typically referred to as mono-vision. I trimmed 30 seconds off my stock gun times the first time I used glasses set up like this. And that was the first time I had shot with the new glasses. To avoid having to close your non-dominate eye you can apply a short piece of Scotch tape right at the line of the target. This allows you to keep both eyes open without having your weak eye distract your focus when shooting. By keeping the tape horizontally right at your focus line you can still see down when walking between stages. Note: If you’re over 40 don’t wear sunglasses when shooting, the sunglasses cause your pupils to dilate and so reduces your depth of focus, this is not what you want! Smaller pupil openings increase your depth of focus.
The factory Glock sights are great for what they are designed for, combat and self defense shooting. Unfortunately I find them to be extremely limiting when trying to shoot quickly and accurately, especially at 20 and 25 yards. The best solution is to find a good pair of black iron sights. I prefer the drop-in adjustable Bo-mars. Black sights limit the distractions you have to deal with when getting a fast, accurate sight picture. Additionally by choosing a sight with a thinner front sight blade and/or wider rear notch you make it easier for your eyes to pick up the sight picture and to get back on target, this is especially important on your second shot at each target. Thinner front blades hide less of the target and make it easier to find the center of the target. A less expensive but less efficient method is to improve your stock sights by applying sight black to them, eliminating the white outline and dot. Additionally you can carefully widen the stock rear sight notch with a Xacto knife and give yourself a little more light on each side of the front sight.
Aiming is the last part of this equation. With a clear front sight picture your target will be slightly out of focus. At 5, 10 and 15 yards you’ll find you can still see the rings in good light, at 20 and 25 you will need to rely on aiming center mass on the target. I aim for where I know the center of the target to be. I know that my aiming point needs to be centered side to side and mid point top to bottom. Even with my glasses focused for the front sight blade I can still see the outline of the D-1 and pick out my aiming point. This is where practice starts paying off. Set up with a D-1 and try sighting first at 5 yards, check your overall sight picture. Now move to 10 and again check your sight picture. Do this all the way out to 25. This way you can establish exactly what your sight picture should be on your targets, especially the 20 and 25-yard targets. Shoot a few rounds and then bring it in and check. Repeat this drill until you’re comfortable with your aiming point and can find it automatically. There is no substitute for practice.
Response/Answer posted by Bobby Carver for Jerry Worsham
Reprinted with written permission from Matt Burkett. I have Matt's new DVD and feel it should be a part of everyone's collection. Thanks, Matt.
The concept of a continuous sight picture. Nearly everything you hear in
training or at a match is see your front sight. I don¹t think that is the
correct way to approach a major problem with peoples shooting. The main
issue they have is that they don¹t see the sights when they need to, which
is during the entire firing sequence and return to the targets. Most of my
students would be familiar with the timing drills. One of the biggest
benefits of a timing drill is that it would develop the ability to see the
sight all the way through the recoil. That is how you shoot fast and
accurate splits on target.
Understand that the GRIP of the pistol is different than getting a GRIP on a
pistol. This is a difficulty in common language usage especially when
Recoil control or timing:
Most shooters have a significant issue with recoil control. Well okay
they don¹t have any recoil control would be a better way to put it. We have
worked on flinch. If you can see your sight lift and return, your most
likely not flinching.
Poor recoil control covers a spectrum of problems. From not having a
consistent return of the gun to the same spot you just shot to the hand or
hands breaking and losing grip on the pistol. Generally I see either a hand
readjustment right after a shot or I see the weak hand actually lose its
grip on the pistol.
Now lets define the issue. The concept of recoil control or timing the gun
(from the shooters perspective) is to subconsciously return the sights to
the same spot. This is a neuromuscular firing of fast twitch muscles that
occurs .04-.07 of a second after the shot is fired. Notice is said
subconscious. You have to set everything up right for and then let it
happen. The top shooters don¹t look like their working hard when their
shooting do they? That¹s a big hint. Their not!
Common problems to address:
Does the gun fit your hand? Can you actually hold the pistol in a good
firing grip and actuate all safeties along with get a proper finger position
on the trigger? If the gun doesn¹t fit you, how do you think you will shoot
it fast and accurate? You will be able to shoot it accurate regardless of
grip, but, not fast. Accuracy is purely sight alignment and trigger control.
Another issue that comes up when people are shooting a gun that doesn¹t fit
is that they can¹t index the gun consistently. Fixes for improper gun fit
include modifications to the grip, trigger length, or maybe a different gun
entirely. <A sponsor prompt here> If your using a 1911 or Wide Body gun, SVI
has an insert trigger system (ITS) that allows you to change the trigger
length, style, and even color without taking your gun apart.
Is it slippery? I once had a student that had a full custom .45 and his
issue was that the gun was just plain slippery. There really was no way to
get a good purchase on it, especially with hard ball loads. I know this
sounds like common sense, but, you have to be able to ³stick² to the gun. It
didn¹t help that he also liked to silicone his gun. THE WHOLE THING. Grip
and all! That¹s like greasing a ball bearing then trying to hold on it when
it gets 150 g¹s of force applied. Good luck! Skate board tape, checkering,
different grips they will all contribute to a better grip. If your sweaty
hands aren¹t helping the issue any, get some Pro-grip from Krunch Products.
Do you have a crappy grip that doesn¹t lend itself to holding the gun
properly? Is there a gap between your hands? Is your weak hand thumb not
pointing at the target? Is your weak hand actually getting on the grip
itself or just kind of riding your strong hand? If you have seen Practical
Shooting V 4, we mark the hands on Kevin to see if he is getting a
consistent grip on the pistol. Have a training partner do the same for you.
Then do 25 draws and see what happens.
The weak hand needs to be an integral part of the two handed grip. For me
that is where most of the recoil control happens. Trigger control occurs
with my strong hand. Most shooters try to do too much with their strong side
of their body. This is a natural thing that we need to overcome for really
fast shooting. Fast shooting doesn¹t happen when the strong side is tensed
up. This is when you will see shooters have trigger freezes, and horrible
follow up shots. Sometimes it doesn¹t even look like they were shooting at
the same target! A drill to work on that will help you bring your weak side
more into your shooting is when the hands hit the reception position (about
where you clap), the weak hand ³brings² the gun to the sight plane. This can
help take the focus off the dominance of the strong side and help balance us
out a bit. (Wouldn¹t it be a better world all around if more people were
well balanced? I am talking mentally here though. J
Pushing and pulling on the gun like the old style weaver technique. Alright,
so this one never made sense to me. The gun is recoiling rearwards, why in
the hell do you want to help it? Dynamic tension is a bunch of BS. When you
have an adrenaline rush, what happens? You get stronger right? Use more
gross motor skills right? Well here is a hint, what side is stronger? Your
strong side, umm duh. That¹s why you will see a lot of shooters that use the
weaver push their second shot low left. Their first one may be fine, but,
after that when the pressure is on, it can have a tendency to go to hell
really quick. If your pushing forward, using a positive pressure with both
arms and get an adrenaline rush, what happens? Your just putting more energy
into the gun in the exact opposite direction of the recoil. Not a bad thing
Make sure your stance is solid. Have someone push on your hands in your
shooting stance. (solid constant pressure) If you can¹t hold the same
position, guess what the gun is doing.
Make sure your relaxed and in a positive position. Tension kills fast
shooting. Tension is different than strength. (That¹s a fun on to explain
that I am not even going to touch here. If you don¹t get it, call me.) Can
you wiggle your toes in the shooting box before the timer goes off? Bet you
can¹t the first time you try. The nerve going to the big toe is the longest
nerve in the human body. Guess what, if your toes are tense, everything else
is tense in between. Take a lower abdominal breath and relax your abs. Focus
on your stress and get rid of it.
Okay so now you have a solid stance, your relaxed, have a good grip on the
gun, and your can reach the trigger. Do you have sights you can see
effectively? Can you make out the front sight clearly? Time to see the eye
doctor? BTW if your over 40 and suffering the standard far sighted issue (ie
need reading glasses) ask your doctor about a new procedure called CK.
Drills to develop recoil control:
Dryfire won¹t cure a recoil control problem. That is the one thing you
can¹t do in dryfire. What it will develop is proper stance, grip, etc..
The first thing I want you to do is to aim at a berm that isn¹t to far away.
Say 10 yards. Make sure that it is a good backstop and your not going to get
any ricochets. Load and make ready and get everything behind the gun right
_ grip, stance, relaxed etc. Aim the gun at a target and just burn off the
whole magazine as fast as you can. What did you feel and learn? Where you
able to shoot all the way through the magazine without stopping and was your
trigger speed consistent? Were you able to keep a grip through the whole
magazine? If so, great, skip to doing my timing drills. (tip is on my
website or in PSV4) If not, figure out where the problem is. Is it your weak
hand? Did your tension build as you shot? What¹s going on? Have a practice
partner help you diagnose the issue if necessary by having them watch you
shoot. What is your body language? Can they see you tighten up? Side note:
what is your trigger finger doing? Is it leaving the face of the trigger or
bouncing on and off it?
Once you can get that down, which may take a lot of ammo see if you can get
a continuous sight picture during the whole magazine.
An interesting note: A lot of students have found that when they were able
to get their gun under control, they generally cured most of their flinching
Take care and good luck with your shooting! Please email this article to
your friends that it could help out.
©mattburkett.com 2003 reproduction allowed must include link to
7040 East Wilshire Drive
Scottsdale Arizona 85257
Host of Topic Question #5: Debbie Nosse
Topic:□_____ At major match's my adreniline pump kicks in and my fine motor control is gone. I have tried deep breathing, trying to get into the zone, tricking my mind that it's practice, ask Matt Burkett, read Brian's book, monoter my pulse which hops ten when I hear the first shot go off, etc. I am amazed how hard it is to hit the center circles at twentyfive yards after hearing the buzzer goes off so I practiced just that, even. Some call it match jitters, some hyped, excited, but we all get it.
Match jitters are part of every athlete’s performance. To enjoy an optimal performance, you need to have the proper equipment, the proper technique, and the proper mental focus. The purpose of this tip is to help explore the various techniques used to develop a good mental focus.
In any performance-based sport, the participants eventually engage in exploring their mental game. In researching this tip, I found references to vision and focus in newsgroups for billiards, weightlifting, golf, tennis, and archery as well as firearms of every genre. The martial arts newsgroups offer particularly interesting information. I myself have practiced Tai Chi as an adjunct to shooting. A friend practices Tae Kwon Do to build strength. Both provide an opportunity to work on the mental game. I offer these avenues so you can do further research on your own. Just like in practicing firearm fundamentals, you’re only limited by the amount of practice time you spend on improving yourself.
One beginning exercise for focus I use is to face the berm without a target in place and without ammunition. Force yourself to watch the front sight as you hold it in perfect alignment and pull the trigger. This is commonly known as dry firing and without variations or a bigger plan in mind, can quickly turn into a dull boring affair. Your task is to challenge yourself so this doesn’t happen. The way you accomplish this is to concentrate on only the sight and only the sensation of holding the gun and feeling the smooth trigger squeeze. You are trying to clear your mind of all conscious thoughts while you are shooting. This is more an internalization rather than a mechanical exercise. Repeat this a few times. If you feel yourself losing your focus, stop for a brief time to gather your thoughts and start again.
The next thing to add to the exercise is distractions. I have seen and used everything from loud music, others shooting on the line, as well as shouting and/or quietly speaking to the shooter. Your shooting buddies can probably dream up more variations on this theme. You can add live fire when you can master your focus as well as quiet your mind regardless of what is going on around you. When you do go to live fire, aim and focus on the front sight. Forget about recoil. Forget about the berm. (Remember we are doing this without a target.) Focus on the front sight and watch it rise through the recoil of the shot. Remember to clear your mind of all conscious thoughts while you are shooting.
Remember these exercises and strive to use them when you add the target to your practice routine. If you are timer-shy, practice while using a timer or some other start signal, preferably a loud one! Practice using both your shooting fundamentals and your mental exercises together, but don’t hesitate to go back to dry firing.
These exercises are work for your conscious focus. Believe it or not, your mind’s subconscious needs some work, too. If you visualize a stressful incident, your body will react physically to the incident just as if it were real. For some people, the match in itself can be very stressful. How many times have you driven to the match, worried about how you will do, if your buddies will do better, or how many plates you will leave standing? I’m here to tell you that if you spend your idle time visualizing doing well, your performance will follow. Visualize yourself shooting a perfect match, walking to the 25 yard target and having all of the holes inside the X ring. Imagine yourself being congratulated by the RO and your fellow shooters for such an awesome performance. You should learn to expect an exemplary performance, and that you can and will achieve the same.
I had someone on the line behind me once ask how I could shoot while someone was taking my picture. When I am totally focused I don’t even know the range officer is there, much less the spectators. I practice using the same routine I use in the match. I quiet my mind, get my focus and inner calm, give a nod if required. After the beep my focus is on a perfect sight picture and a straight-back trigger pull. For plates, this is especially important. Seeing that half-moon of white plate above the perfect sight picture, practicing just like shooting at the berm. You’ll get them all in record time, and have a great time driving home with your memories of the match.
Posted by Bobby Carver for Debbie Nosse
Hosted by Bobby Carver
Question: When running the plates does one stay focused on the front sight and transition across the rack or does one focus on the next plate in line and bring the front sight to that picture?
Response by BCarver:
I have been asked this question at the range and at a match more than any other question asked. I’m going to reply to this question the same way I may have told some of you in the past:
Shooting Plates 1, 2, 3:
I am right eye dominant and shoot with both eyes open. I shoot left to right and when I am shooting, “I stay focused on the front sight and transition across the rack”, aiming at each plate, getting a clear sight picture before I break the trigger and shoot the plate. In fact, when I focus upon the sight 100%. I do not know if a plate does not fall from the hit until I shoot plate #6 and rescan my rack with my left eye.
When I’m shooting “focused”, I know that I hit each plate and don’t worry, when I go to the next plate. I don’t wonder if I hit the plates because when I have my sight picture and break the trigger, I know that I hit the plate whether I hear it or not. How do I know this? Here’s how:
1. I DO NOT take my eye off the front sight, even when it rises upon recoil
2. I break my trigger, releasing the striker “WHEN” the front sight is on the target
3. After each shot breaks, THEN, I pivot to the right with the muzzle, with my eyes on the front sight until I see the next plate and apply 1 & 2 again.
NEVER, EVER look at the plate and move the muzzle and front sight to the plate. Once you begin this habit, you will struggle to overcome it. NEVER, EVER try to watch the plates fall. “I know they look neat when you do 1-3 correctly, but watch them fall on film not at the time you are shooting them.
Now, let’s be realistic, if you think that you will be able to shoot a 2.25 to 2.65 plate run the first time you try this technique, you will be fooled. This technique requires practice to development your confidence and accuracy. Here’s a training tip that I want each of you to try:
Prepare your training plates by using plates, (paper plates) for targets. Go out and buy a 100 at the discount or grocery store for about $1.50. These plates will be about 8” in diameter. Cut the centers of the plates from the plate. These will be about 6” in diameter. Staple these centers on a 7.5” 2” x 4” or equivalent in length. Staple your first plate 6” from the edge of the 2” x 4” and then staple the remaining 5 plates 15” from center to center. Place the 2” x 4” rack onto a saw horse that is about 48” in height from the ground. Now step back 11 yards and perform the following drills, focusing upon shooting 1 shot each plate:
1. Using a start signal, simulating the commands and cadence at a GSSF match, shoot 25 starts, shooting only the first plate, recording or being aware of your first shot. Replace the plate with a new plate. (Note: reducing your first shot .25 of a second will save you 1.0 second in a match)
2. Now that you have completed the first shot drill, perform 10 runs, shooting ONLY plate 1 and 2. Replace the plates that have been shot with new plates.
3. Now, using the same start method, shoot another 10 runs, shooting ONLY plates 1, 2 and 3. Replace the plates that have been shot with new plates
4. Now, using the same start method, shoot another 10 runs, shooting ONLY plates 1, 2, 3 and 4. Replace the plates that have been shot with new plates
5. Now, using the same start method, shoot another 10 runs, shooting ONLY plates 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Replace the plates that have been shot with new plates
6. Now, using the same start method, shoot another 10 runs, shooting ONLY plates 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Replace the plates that have been shot with new plates
After each step, review your hits, focusing upon what you need to do to correct the next set of runs.
NOW, place full size 8” plates over the 6” plates that you have been shooting and run through a full 4 run plate match, recording your times. Be sure and use the methods you practiced, not shooting too fast but one shot for each plate.
After each of you attempt this training method, please let me know the results and how much time you were able to shave off of your normal plate runs. Email me at www. Carvermounts.com.
Tip #7-35 Hosted by Millard Ellingsworth (editor of sportshooter.com)
I just started shooting GSSF last Sept. and have been watching the masters who have been shooting all for many years. They all appear to recover faster from shot to shot. What type of hold and stance works best for faster recovery?
Response to Question:
I’m glad you mentioned both hold and stance in your question because the place to start this discussion is an understanding the “shooting platform”, which involves everything you do to support the gun. While your hold or grip is important, proper positioning of your arms, elbows, shoulders and upper body all contribute to a consistent reaction of the gun to firing which is the key to having it return to the proper place for a quick next shot.
It’s hard to accept at first, but the less you try to do, the better things will go. “Old school” thought around the Weaver stance and grip had you in a tense “bladed” stance with your dominant arm locked out at the elbow and your non-dominant arm bent downward and pulling backward. The idea was to resist the recoil and muscle the gun into not moving at all (or at least to resist it as much as possible).
The problem with any tense or “muscle-bound” approach is that without ever firing a shot, you can get very tired just maintaining it. As soon as your muscles start to fatigue, any chance you had at consistency is gone -- tired body parts don’t react the same way every time. The key is to understand and use the gun’s recoil energy, not to fight against it.
A fast follow-up shot is completely about consistency. The top shooters get fast second shots mostly because they eliminate shot setup time. Their gun recoils just like yours does, but because of how they manage (as opposed to resist) the recoil energy, it tracks right back down on target ready for another shot. Yes, they have to aim for the second shot, but instead of finding the front sight and moving it back to the middle of the target, they just need to fine-tune the location while they are starting their trigger press. And they can do it over and over again all day long because they’ve learned how to let the gun do most of the work for them so that they don’t get tired. The approach many top shooters use is some variant of the modern isosceles.
Sometimes it's even harder to tell where an idea really came from. This image is from the Airborne & Special Operations Museum archives showing pistol training for WWII. Sure looks like these guys are using many elements of the "modern" isosceles.
Before I describe this more, it is important to give credit where it is due. I learned this from others who wrote about it and probably learned it from others still. It is frequently difficult in this field to really give credit to the progenitor of an idea or approach, so I’ll point to a couple of resources I’ve used as additional sources of information for you. Then I’ll describe what I learned from them.
I’m a huge fan of Brian Enos’s book Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals. It blends real instruction with valuable exercises as well as some of the psychology of performance that is useful for any sport. You can buy his book, read additional material of his and interact with him at his web site, www.brianenos.com. J. Michael Plaxco’s book Shooting from Within is also an excellent resource. With all the money you’ll spend on match fees and ammo, consider buying them both and spending the time to understand them. Ron Avery is a regular columnist for the United States Practical Shooting Association’s (USPSA) Front Sight magazine and a strong proponent of the modern isosceles platform. In this article at his web site he discusses his experiences learning and using the modern isosceles platform. His web site is at www.practialshootingacad.com.
Enough preamble. The elements of the modern isosceles platform (quoted from the Avery article mentioned above) are:
1. Muscles and tendons of both forearms, the elbow joints, wrists and hands are set in a medium to firm static contraction, depending on amount of recoil. The rest of the body is more or less relaxed, based on individual preference.
2. Both arms are braced behind the handgun with the elbows at natural extension. This allows two pivot points at both shoulders. Shoulders are relaxed and down.
3. Gun is centered close to midline of body.
4. Recoil is absorbed passively by the body through both arms. The axis of recoil is roughly through the centerline of the body. The upper body is generally more squared to the target, though the spacing of the feet is a matter of shooter preference. Stability is achieved by shifting the center of gravity forward and keeping the hands close to the same height as the shoulders in order to keep the arms from pivoting up in recoil.
5. The shooting grip places the heel of the support hand very close to boreline which decreases the leverage the gun has in recoil .as well as putting the tendons of the support hand and wrist in a straight line, resulting in a biomechanically stronger grip. Both wrists are set.
The major difference between the Weaver and the Modern Isosceles is the active use of isometric (push/pull) tension in the former to control recoil vs. a static contraction of the hands, arms and wrists, passively absorbing recoil with the body.”
Without some more descriptive text and a picture or two, that might be hard to get your head around, regardless of how accurate it is. Let’s walk through it in order.
What you need to do is hold the gun firmly so that it operates properly and stays still while you are pressing the trigger. You can pretty much accomplish that with the muscles from your elbows forward. Tension in any other part of your body just tires you out and contributes to unrepeatable reaction to recoil. The proper grip creates some tension between the hands, wrists and forearms which provides the gun a stable location. Everything else is loose, allowing the recoil energy to dissipate rapidly.
I frequently see the question “what do I do with my thumbs?” My advice is to keep them out of the way so they don’t get hurt. An important part of the grip is to cant the supporting wrist forward. Try this: Hold both arms straight out, pointing your thumbs at something directly in front of you, fingertips touching. Rotate your support wrist forward so that its fingertips naturally move down “one and half” fingers, aligning your support index finger with the groove between your dominant hand’s middle and ring finger. Keeping your trigger finger pointed outward, wrap your support hand fingers around your dominant hand’s finger. Notice how the gap that used to form between the heels of your hands (when the meaty portion of the pads were opposing each other), closes up naturally.
Now do this with an unloaded gun a notice how much more of your left hand is pressed up against the grip and how your support hand grip helps keep your dominant hand pressed up under the trigger guard for as high a grip as possible. More skin on the gun means more control with less effort. With your hands positioned properly, you need only apply enough pressure to keep the gun in place. Also, notice that there is nothing for your thumbs to do. Allow them to chill out and point naturally in the direction of the target.
The best description I’ve heard of how to grip the gun is that your dominant hand mostly grips front-to-back and your support hand mostly grips side-do-side. Because you want to have your trigger finger hand relatively loose (a tense hand means a less than smooth trigger press), most of your grip strength comes from your support hand. A 60%/40% split is the conventional wisdom. The point is to make sure that your trigger finger is free of hand-induced tension.
The equal sides of the isosceles triangle formed by your arms place the gun in the middle with both arms providing equal support and paths for the recoil energy. This places the gun at the midline of your body. Holding the gun with a natural extension of your arms means it is also near eye level, so don’t droop your head (it will just make your neck sore).
When the gun recoils after a shot, the path for it to follow is defined by your grip and stance. With a grip that is holding the gun at the centerline of your body, the gun will push back on each arm the same. Movement of the slide and the body’s inability to absorb all of the energy directly will cause the muzzle to flip up some. But the centered position it started from is the natural place for it to return to. The little bit of twist energy from the rifling will be counteracted by the tension in your grip (allowing the gun to return to a position where the sights are easy to find). Your elbows, upper arms, and shoulders will eat most of the recoil energy and your hands will drop back to where they started. The gun will be on target, ready to go again.
Now, the other part of a quick follow-up shot is sight awareness and visual ability. It has been said that “shooting is seeing”, an aspect that Enos certainly discusses and that may be covered in a future installment of GSSF Tips from the Pros.
To view demonstrative pictures of Millards response, click on the following URL:http://www.sportshooter.com/GSSF/tips/gssf_pro_tips7.htm
This topic and response was posted by Bobby Carver for Millard Ellingsworth.
This week's tip #8-35 is being hosted by Tony Clemens.
TOPIC: What order do you shoot the targets on Five-To-Glock?
Tony's response to this topic is:
Personally, I’ve always shot the targets on Five-To-Glock from left-to-right. We read and write that way, so it always seemed more natural. As with the plates, I tried right-to-left, but it didn’t result in better, or even equal, times, so I stuck with left-to-right. Everyone is different, though, so I suggest you try both directions and stick with whatever direction feels more natural and results in the best times.
One thing I sometimes see competitors do, that I do not recommend, is shooting from near-to-far or far-to-near. If this is done, the shooter sweeps the same “dead space” between the targets several times during each run, wasting valuable time. Also, the distance between the targets is greater when they are engaged in this order. Whether you decide to shoot left-to-right or right-to-left, shoot the targets in the order that your muzzle covers them. Less gun movement is required to engage the targets as you come to them, resulting in less time elapsed.
Shoot at a pace that your sights dictate. As in every shooting sport, do not break the shot until your sights are adequately aligned to achieve the desired result. A typical Five-To-Glock run will start off with fairly quick shots at the beginning, slower precise shots in the middle, and fairly quick shots to complete it. Shots at the 20 and 25 yard targets will take a more precise sight alignment than the 5 yard target. Take whatever time is necessary to get the required sight picture that will result in an accurate shot. An accurate 15-second run with no time added is better than a 5-second run with 15 seconds (or more) added for points down resulting from a lack of adequate sight alignment and careful trigger control.
The Five-To-Glock stage contains the only shots in a GSSF match that are 25 yards away – make sure they are accurate shots!
Posted by Bobby Carver for Tony Clemens.
This week's topic is hosted by Dale Rhea.
The topic was:
□_____ Pointers on "How to tailor your loads for GSSF type shooting". Not necessarily looking for specific receipes but general steps the pro's use when developing their perfect load. Distinguish the difference in approach, if any, for developing your load for an Unlimited gun verses a stock gun. I know some may not currently reload but a high percentage do and more probably will in the future. Comments on powders, bullet weights/styles and general process. I am guessing that the most common calibre in GSSF in order would be: 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, 10mm and .357 Sig.
Dale's Response is:
Tailoring your loads for GSSF
GSSF recommends that you use factory ammo. So unless you have a special reason or can make more accurate and reliable ammo than a factory I urge you to use factory ammo. You will have to shoot a lot to offset the cost of reloading equipment. If you shoot in two or more matches a month and practice enough to become proficient in our sport you will reload enough to defer the cost.
Some reasons to reload are
1. To save money, see above.
2. Taylor the loads to the minimum power of the sport.
3. Make more accurate ammo.
4. Taylor the loads to your pistol.
5. Solve a special problem.
1. If you are really into this sport you will not save money by reloading, but you will get to shoot more. You will spend all you can on ammo either way.
2. GSSF is easy to reload for. There is no specified minimum power factor. The minimum power you need is any thing that will knock down a pepper popper, perforate paper and last but not least made the pistol operate reliably.
3. With GSSF you need ammo that can hold the “A” ring at 25 yards.
4. You need ammo that will operate your pistol reliably. The Glock pistol was made to operate with full power ammo. If you are feeding it low power target ammo you may be below the lower limit for reliable operation.
5. Small shooters may not have enough upper body mass to give the pistol enough to recoil against. The pistol may fail to feed or eject properly. This is sometime misdiagnosed as limp wrist or weak grip, the result is the same.
I only use 9MM for GSSF so I will not be of any help on other calibers.
I have been reloading for a long time but until my wife started to shoot GSSF I had not really learned to reload for the Glock. Rather than go trough all the trials and tests that led up to the final load that works I’ll just tell you where you need to be.
My wife and I shoot the same ammo. There is no way I could keep different ammo separate at a match. Also maybe someone could explain to me how I could convince my wife that while her ammo is different it is somehow just as good.
We use 124 Gr JHP Montana Gold bullets (www.montanagoldbullet.com). Starline brass (www.starlinebrass.com).
It is very important to use a fast progressive burning powder that will make the pistol operate fast enough to smartly eject the spent case and pick up the next round even while operating against a weaker shooter.
Shooters with a strong grip and enough body mass will be able to use slower powder and may achieve better accuracy.
Dale Rhea's response to topic was posted by Bobby Carver for Dale Rhea.
This week's topic was hosted by Jerry Worsham:
Question: How much do you care about sun angles, shadows cast over the targets, target condition, plate rack condition, activity on adjacent bay, who the RO is, etc, etc, etc....
Answer: I think observing conditions is one of the most overlooked areas of shooting a GSSF match. I am much more interested in having optimum conditions than in shooting through the match quickly. In other words, I’d rather wait and shoot at the pit/setup that I feel offers the best opportunity for shooting a good match than move through another pit/setup with no wait. These are some things that can save you seconds on your score and they cost you nothing but a little attention to detail.
As soon I get my sheets I walk the entire range and observe how the sun hits the targets, where the shadows are, the physical condition of the layout and certainly how the ROs are running the stage. After I’ve made my observation I then drop off my sheets where I think I’ll end up with the best conditions. Some of the factors I look for are: I look to keep the sun behind me whenever possible, bright targets make it easier to pick out the rings for your aiming. Even more important than that is making sure all the targets are in the sun or in the shade. When shooting from the sun into the shadows you’ll find your shots move, either higher or lower, even with a consistent aiming point. I check to see if the targets are all at the same height, no up and down movement as I run the D-1s. I like pits that don’t have hard walls on both sides like the one at Jax’s Gateway Rifle and Pistol Club, I find the echoes to be distracting. Same if you’re too close to another pit shooting at the same time, it can be distracting plus there’s always the off-chance of your timer picking up another shooters firing. How a plate rack works can make a significant difference in your score, a plate rack in good condition will go down quickly. I have actually made a second shot on the last plate of a run because the plate was falling so slow, it was falling but I reacted so quickly that I had the second shot off before I realized it was falling. Instant .5 second unnecessarily added to my time! Are the plates relatively clean, how long has it been since they were painted? You can always ask for touch up before you run your strings. And possibly the most important, I look for level shooting positions. Good footing is essential to a good stance. Your stance is the foundation of your stance, uneven footing can throw your shooting off enough to “blow a stage”, something you can’t afford in today’s GSSF.
I also study the cadence of the ROs. Do they rush through the “Shooter ready, Standby, Beep”, do they leave you hanging waiting for the beep? Do they treat the match like an IDPA or USPSA match? I look for smooth, pleasant ROs, I don’t need any distractions while my shooting my match. We’re shooting a GSSF match and those are the rules I want used. 95% of the volunteer ROs are great folks and will do their level best to make your experience a pleasant and fun, the other 5% can really ruin your day.
I usually shoot the 5 to G first, the M second and the plates last but if conditions are right for the M or plates at a given time I’ll shoot out of sequence to take advantage of the conditions i.e. Conyers 2002, the morning sun made shooting the M first the best opportunity.
Sometimes you can’t find the ultimate setup, you just have to find the setup that comes closest to your needs. These things all add up and by making careful choices you can make your shooting more fun, efficient and your scores lower.
Response to topic question posted by Bobby Carver for Jerry Worsham
Host of topic Question #11: Bobby Carver
Topic Question #11: Red Dot Control you know follow the bouncing the dot. got the grip got the gun now what ?
Controlling the red dot’s jump or bounce is dependent upon 8 factors:
1. The scope mount used
2. The positioning of the sight
3. The weight of the sight and the mount
4. The power factor of your load versus the recoil spring
5. The grip
6. The stance
7. The vision of the shooter
8. The transition distance from target to target
Since this topic is related to GSSF shooting, I will respond to the topic with details related to, but conclusively, to GSSF shooting.
The scope mount used:
No matter what model or brand of scope mount that you use, the mount must hold the sight steady as a rock. The mount should be very rigid on the frame of the gun or slide if you are using a sight mounted on the slide. Without being bias, since I manufacture scope mounts, I will leave my comments as stated regarding the mount.
The positioning of the sight:
Controlling the “bouncing ball” or red dot requires many factors tuned to reduce the red dot’s bounce upward when the firearm fires and the muzzle rises. One of the most important is balance. If you are shooting a light weight mount and a light weight sight, you will get less balance control to counter the muzzle’s rise. On the other hand, if you position your sight forward, it’s weight will counter “some of” the recoil’s muzzle flip, thus allowing the dot to come back to it’s original position faster.
The weight of the sight and the mount:
The weight of the sight and the mount can serve as a buffer the same as the positioning of the sight. The more weight, the more mass to be used for balancing the firearm’s muzzle rise. Keep in mind, though, too much weight will cause the muzzle to DIVE, thus requiring the shooter to raise the muzzle after each shot. The goal is for the muzzle to come to rest in the same position after each shot is fired.
The power factor of your load versus the recoil spring:
The strength or power factor of your load will determine the amount of jump by the red dot, too. If your load and recoil spring are “tuned”, the muzzle should not jump much, thus the red dot will not move much and the muzzle will come to rest in its original position, allowing the second shot to be fired with the red dot on target. Whenever I find the correct load that shoots accurately and functions my Glock without any problems, I then “tune” my recoil spring on my U/L gun. I will use a lighter spring as needed or clip coils to get the right balance so that the red dot does not bounce too high and comes to rest without requiring my to raise the muzzle. If you have a stiff load and a strong spring to counter your recoil, the muzzle will flip from the spring’s tension, slamming the slide forward. A “tuned” recoil spring will reduce the amount of dot jump.
Of course we all know the importance of the grip but let’s not fool ourselves; none of us are strong enough to hold your Glock tight enough to keep the dot from jumping. I recommend that you hold your U/L Glock with the same tension and strength as you hold your stock Glock. Develop a consistent grip for all models. If you grip either model too tight, you will decrease the effectiveness of your trigger control rather than improve the jump of the dot.
I try to hold the U/L Glock so that my trigger finger is relaxed and my right hand (I’m right handed) is relaxed and just riding the grip. Using my left hand, I wrap my fingers around the grip, overlapping the fingers of my right hand and lay my thumbs along the side of the frame, pointing in the direction of the targets. I sometimes lay my thumb against the dust cover, in front of the trigger guard. I try to keep all of my fingers and arms pointing toward the target with the Glock as my pointer.
A balanced stance using a wide base is important to all types of shooting. It contributes to the control of the dot, too. When you take a wide stance, with shoulders square and either the left foot or right slightly to the rear of the other, your pivot and your transitions will be smoother. One advantage to a wide stance, slightly leaning forward, is that your body absorbs the recoil better.
I use a modified isosceles stance. I have my shoulders square and my feet are shoulder width apart with one foot about a half foot to the rear of the other. My knees are relaxed, not locked, and I push the Glock out, turning my elbows in. The reason that I turn my elbows in is because it the rotation of your triceps will stiffen your wrists avoiding jams from a weak wrist.
The vision of the shooter:
If you are near sighted, you may be able to see the dot easier than if you are farsighted. I recommend that you shoot with both eyes open, using the right eye, if you are right handed, to look at the dot and “never take your eye off of it”. Use your left eye to look at the target. If you have “tuned your Glock”, taken the right stance and have the right grip, you will never lose that dot. Remember, only pull that trigger when the dot is where you want the bullet to hit.
The transition distance from target to target:
If you are shooting targets 1to 2 feet apart with double taps, the distance is more critical and the dot has different characteristics versus shooting plates that are 18inches apart with one shot. In order to train your eye and hand to react accordingly, you should practice different transition distances from target to target.
I watch the dot different when I’m shooting plates versus shooting Glock M or 5 to Glock.
Managing the dot requires mechanical, physical and mental preparation. We can only minimize the dot’s jump with our mechanical and physical steps described, we must know where the dot is going to go and where it is going to stop requiring the mental preparation and subconscious trained reactions.
I hope that this brief response to your topic question has answered some of your questions. Be safe, have fun and “keep your eye on the red dot”.
This week's topic is hosted by Millard Ellingsworth.
The topic is:
How about any specific suggestions for those of us (who aren't yet and probably never will be pro's) who are trying to help / encourage junior shooters? or trying to help / encourage our spouses or other novices? In addition to trying to help us become better shooter...maybe you can help us become better coaches? How do we keep from teaching our sons, daughters, and spouses our bad habits, too?
Millard's response to the topic:
First and foremost, coach safety. Be very particular about muzzle direction and when the finger can be near the trigger. When I work with my son, I verbally coach him about muzzle direction if comes more than 45 degrees from the target. Most sports will allow 90 degrees from downrange, but there is no reason, typically, to get anywhere near the “180”. Since behaviors deteriorate under match conditions, coach maximum safety, not tolerable safety. Nothing will end a new shooter’s interest faster than hurting or scaring themselves or someone else.
Coaching is very different than shooting, just like coaching basketball is very different than playing it. Your first assignment is to make sure that you know what you are talking about. If you fear you have bad habits, make sure you understand the proper technique and can communicate it. If you can’t stop doing it the “wrong” way, make a point of not shooting when you coach. If your student sees you hunching up your shoulders and craning your neck forward, this behavior is likely to transfer regardless of what you say. If they see you milking the grip between every shot or holding the gun with cross-over thumbs, they may just think you haven’t explained that to them yet and they will emulate it on their own.
Besides, watching you shoot won’t really help them just like watching someone else tossing up free throws in basketball won’t help them learn how to do it.
Explain the basics, let them dry fire and watch them. Correct the things you didn’t communicate effectively. Then let them shoot while you continue to watch them. Do more correction. Always be gentle and encouraging -- nothing will transfer more quickly than your disappointment. Always take responsibility for their results. If they aren’t doing something correctly, consider that you haven’t communicated it properly or have tried to give them more than they could handle in one lesson.
Another way, if you are serious about teaching them to shoot well, is for you to be the facilitator more that the teacher. Use a decent book on basic shooting skills and work through the book with your student, letting the author be the teacher and you the interpreter. This can eliminate some friction in the relationship as well. The NRA Marksmanship Qualification program provides a series of drills and levels of achievement that can be fun for a new shooter to earn (and there are even patches and pins that can be awarded).
The hardest part of coaching is getting outside of your own head and body and observing the student, not the student’s shooting. Look at the hands, the head position the feet and body, watch the trigger finger and support hand. Is the student sweating or biting his/her lip? Do they have trouble reloading or working the slide? Don’t jump past the simple things that don’t seem important to you any more. It is harder to rack the slide or to lock open a gun than you recall. Teach them how to turn their body (and not the gun) and place their hands and arms for better leverage.
What is most important is that they do things properly. Better scores will come from better practice. The best way to handle that is to make the early challenges very easy so that they get “good” results while they work on technique. If you use GSSF (NRA D-1) targets, start with them at 5 yards and keep them there until they can easily get all B hits or better. Score the targets only as a way of emphasizing improvement.
It might be obvious, but go slow and watch your student’s comfort level. Their anxiety level will sap their strength quickly. If the range is a long way from home, take snacks and regular breaks, maybe even a book (or a GameBoy). Focusing the eyes correctly on the front sight, holding up the firearm, handling the recoil, and dealing with the anxiety (both theirs and yours) will wear a new shooter out quickly. If they are taking their time with the fundamentals of operating the gun and carefully aiming and releasing one shot at a time, don’t be surprised if they only get through a few magazines before they need a break. Conversely, force a break if the student (or the teacher) seems to be losing focus and just shooting because there is still ammo left.
What to teach is relatively simple: safety and fundamentals. Until they can completely handle and operate an unloaded gun (or Airsoft replica) safely, no need to go to the range at all. Dry fire practice is probably the most valuable practice anyway. Because it can seem boring to the new shooter, consider an Airsoft replica gun (available at most gun shows or on the Internet) that can give much of the feel of operating the real thing without the same level of danger.
When they start shooting, start close and coach the fundamentals until they can shoot groups of a certain size. In order to provide some incentive, agree with them about what that size is ahead of time. Once the goal is reached, move the target out and work back towards the same goal again. For an NRA D-1 target, this might be all “Bs”.
Have lots of target tape on hand and tape after every magazine full. Once they start to hone the fundamentals, feedback is very important. After the first ten holes, it is hard to tell where the next ten went.
If you can take it, have the student “teach” you. Make them free to comment on your hand placement or head alignment or trigger control. Teaching helps them better internalize the material. They will learn from your mistakes and you just might improve as well.
The response to this topic is posted by Bobby Carver for Millard Ellingsworth
This week's topic is hosted by Tony Clemens.
Topic: What order do you shoot the stages?
The order that we shoot the stages can be influenced by several factors:
1. The size of the crowd at a particular stage can result in a long wait and tend to make me look for a different stage.
2. The range layout can also affect which stages to shoot at a particular time of day, due to lighting, shadows, etc.
If all factors are equal, I prefer to shoot the Five-To-Glock stage first (slower & more accuracy-based), then the Glock’M (a little closer, a little faster & some steel involved) and finish with the Glock the Plates stage (hopefully the quickest stage of the three).
This preferred order can and will change due to the above mentioned conditions. If you have a particular stage that you always do well on, definitely shoot it first. It will build confidence, settle your nerves & lay the groundwork to shoot a solid, consistent match. If your early stages go well, you’ll tend to shoot a strong overall match. If not, it can affect the other stages, even though you’ll try to forget about it & shoot each stage separately.
Resist the urge to add your scores, even mentally, during the match. Verify the times & scoring of your targets, but try hard not to add up your scores before you’ve completed the match. There’s plenty of time to add the scores together after finishing up. If you add during a match & go into a stage thinking, “if I can only shoot a ____ second total on this stage, I’ll set a personal best!,” you’ve almost guaranteed that you will not shoot to your potential or to your average times/scores.
Shoot the stages in the order that you find most comfortable & that you do the best in, do your best in each stage, wait until finishing up to figure your match total and you will shoot your best match possible.
Topic response posted by Bobby Carver for Tony Clemens.
This week's tip is being hosted by Bobby Carver.
Question: I've never had the pleasure of shooting in the rain. Are there any special considerations? I've heard red-dots look like starbursts...
Shooting in the rain definitely challenges the shooter and their equipment. The most important approach to such "undesirable" conditions is to use logic and be safe. Here's the considerations that you should keep in mind:
1. If you are shooting targets that have been covered by plastic to protect the paper target from the rain, "Focus" upon the center of the target as your aiming point. Since you will not be able to see the target rings, you will need to aim for the center of the target. Remember, the X ring is the center of the target horizontally and vertically.
2. To avoid your grip from slipping, you will want to keep the grip of your Glock as dry as possible. If you are carrying your Glock in a holster, lay a piece of clothing or a plastic bag over the grips to keep them as dry as possible. (I carry a large plastic ZipLoc bag in my shooting bag for instances like this) If you are carrying your Glock in a bag or gun rug, use the plastic bag or rainwear to cover your Glock while it is in the safe position and not handled, laying on a table.
3. Keep your hands as dry as possible.
4. Try to keep your shooting glasses from fogging up or from rain drops. Use a handkerchief or a tissue to keep them dry. REMEMBER SAFETY: Don't remove your shooting glasses while the range is hot or someone is shooting. Get an okay from the Range Officer if you are on the line and need to wipe clean your glasses.
5. If the ground is muddy from the rain, your stance "could" be effected. Take extra caution to maintain a steady stance. You may find that it is easier to "widen" your stance to get a stable stance.
6. If you are shooting a red dot sight, you may be forced to use "both eyes open" for sighting and shooting if your lens are wet. You will be able to see the target with your nondominant eye and the red dot with your dominant eye. Reduce the brightness of the dot as low as possible to reduce the "starburst" effect.
Even though the weather will cause you some interruptions during your match, it's been proven that once you hear the sound of the start signal, your subconcious mind will take over, doing what it is accustomed to, focusing on the red dot or front sight and directing your trigger control, etc.
Unfortunately, we don't always have the best conditions when we shoot in competition. I use to get real nervous if the light was not "just right" so that I could see the scoring rings on the 20' and 25' targets so I began training on targets that had NO scoring rings. Now I don't care about the light, I'm shooting for the center of the target and not at an aiming point.
Due to the durability of the Glock, rain and other weather conditions will not compromise the performance of the handgun, only the shooter, if they allow it.
This week's question is hosted by Jerry Worsham.
Question: How about talking about which particular setup (if there are more than one at the match) of any given stage you want to shoot? Besides the number of people in the stack of names, what are the reasons (if any) why you might pick one setup over the other one???
Answer: As I mentioned in Tip #10 when I get my sheets I walk the entire range and observe how the sun hits the targets, where the shadows are, the physical condition of the layout and certainly how the ROs are running the stage. After I’ve made my observation I then drop off my sheets where I think I’ll end up with the best conditions. If you review Tip #10, I think you will find all that material is germane here. In addition to the items I mentioned in Tip #10:
I look for background and wind direction, especially when the layouts are set in various directions. A contrasting background is helpful when shooting especially at 25 yards. A brown background with the brown D-1s can really make sighting an adventure! I look for a level shooting position, level targets and constant light on the targets. If there are three setups and two are closely spaced I’ll take the third one with all other features being equal. Places like Statesville having 6 - 5 to Glock setups all identical with the morning sun at your back are great. They shoot one position at a time so you’re not dealing with another shooter’s muzzle blast distracting you. Another tip, if you move to electronic muffs use them several times before you shoot a match using them. You’ll find you hear things you never heard before, like echoes of the report through the trees! Actually turning them down to the bare minimum is a good idea.
I avoid shooting from under a roofed area if I can, it adds to the muzzle blast and provides another distraction. Even the covers that GSSF uses can bring a definite increase in sound, especially with a compensated gun.
These are things that can improve your scores, are easy to take advantage of, and cost you nothing but some time and attention to detail.
Posted for Jerry Worsham by Bobby Carver.
This week's question is being hosted by Matt Kartozian.
Question: What work do you do to your stock gun, beyond perfect sight-in? Like trigger work . . . polishing . . . sight choice . . . etc?
Response to Question:
First you have to pick a gun. For Am-Civ, Am-LE and Stockmaster my preferred pistol is the 17C with a solid barrel as it gives you the most options and a few advantages.
An amateur shooter can shoot their 17C with a solid barrel in the stock classes and use the ported barrel for Competition class. You customize one gun and still have the ideal setup for two classes with just a barrel swap. The other advantage of the 17C is that the slide is slightly lighter which will give you faster slide speed and less muzzle flip.
The first and most important thing to change on your GSSF gun is the sights. The factory sights do not offer enough light around the sides of the front when they are aligned and they are not very durable.
The best sights are Bomars and Heinies. I prefer Bomars as they are precision click adjustable and you can match your sights to your load and hold preference. For people that prefer fixed sights Heinie makes the SlantPro in both plain black and tritium night sights. Heinies are also an excellent choice for those that want to compete with their carry/defense gun, as they are best combat sights as well.
With either brand I prefer a modified version of the sights. With the Heinies I use the CGR Race Cut version. The rear notch is re-cut to allow more light around the sides of the front sight for better accuracy and faster sight acquisition.
For Bomars I also prefer the CGR version. The standard rear blade with the large diagonally cut corners is replaced with a full rectangular target blade. The rear notch is wider and the front sight is thinner. Standard Glock Bomars are .115 rear/.135 front. CGR Bomars are .125 rear/.118 front. The full rear blade allows for a cleaner more precise sight picture and the wider rear/thinner front allow for faster sight acquisition and more precision.
The next thing to work on is the trigger system. I remove all of the trigger components from the gun so they individually fit to the gun. All surfaces are smoothed, deburred and reshaped for optimal fit. After all fitting is complete I then polish all of the components with Simichrome and a high-speed buffing wheel until the parts have a mirror finish. The connector-triggerbar interface is lubed with a generous glob of Slide Glide #1. I have tried hundreds of lubes over the years and have found Slide Glide to be the best for this area. When complete the gun will have a 3.25—3.5 pound break weight with a clean crisp trigger. It will also have less stacking a faster reset and reduced overtravel.
While I am doing the final polish of the trigger components I also clean up the feedramp. It is stripped of the black coating, deburred and smoothed with several grades of rubber and paste abrasives and then given a mirror finish with Simichrome. While this is not always necessary it will not hurt anything and I have found makes feeding a little smoother.
I then respring the gun. As you are allowed to use Glock factory parts from other guns I use a CGR Speed Spring which is a 19 spring on a 17 rod. The 19 spring has a shorter freelength that allows the slide to cycle faster and reduce muzzle flip.
Lastly I add grip tape to the frame. There are lots of options with stick on and sock types but I prefer skateboard tape. It has a good adhesive and a very rough and durable surface that works well in all conditions. I clean the frame first with acetone and then with denatured alcohol so the adhesive has a clean surface to stick to. I also spray the back of the skate tape with 3M Super 77 adhesive and once cured it will not move or shift unless you want it to.
I prefer actual skateboard tape to the precut stuff as the skateboard tape is rougher and has a better adhesive.
At this point I also cut a thin strip of 60 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper and attach it to the underside of the triggerguard with 3M double-sided adhesive. This allows me to full use the Burkett pinch and roll grip without having to serrate the triggerguard.
Now go find a load that groups well in your gun and have fun.
This topic response was posted by Bobby Carver for Matt Kartozian
This week's question is hosted by Debbie Nosse.
Question: "When at low ready waiting for the buzzer, does one focus on the intended target and bring the front sight up to the eye/target at the buzzer or does one focus on the front sight and transition this picture to the target at the buzzer?
Response to Question:
When waiting for the buzzer, I keep my gaze on the first target I'm going to engage. When the buzzer sounds, raise the gun smoothly but quickly, decelerating at the top so you don't "bounce" the sights. As the sights start to touch the bottom of the target, transition your vision to the front sight. Touch the front sight to the center of the target, put your finger on the trigger, line up the rear sight and pull the trigger.
In your practice sessions, get into your stance and point the gun straight at the target. Then lower the gun using your shoulder joints only. This keeps your grip, the gun's angle, and position consistent. Look at what the gun's position is, so you can acquire that same start position in the match. If you keep a consistent hold on the gun through the entire vertical movement, you shouldn't have to do too much adjusting of the sights when bringing them onto the target.
Moving the gun smoothly in a vertical line to the target can be more easily accomplished by lining up your natural point of aim with the first target you will engage. Your natural point of aim is the position where your muscles in a relaxed state allow your body, and thus your gun, to point directly at the target. The key word here is relaxed.
The best way to check NPA is to assume your stance, close your eyes, take a deep breath, relaxing as you exhale and lower your gun in front of you. Raise your gun to the shooting position and open your eyes. If you are off to the left or right, you need to adjust your NPA by moving one foot slightly forward or backward. Repeat the check. After awhile you will be able to adjust your NPA without a lot of repetitions.
While waiting at Low Ready for the buzzer, make sure you are pointed at the orange mark on the ground in front of you with your finger off the trigger. You are cheating yourself if you hold lower, and your competitors won’t appreciate it if you hold higher. : )
One last thing. Move the gun at the first sound of the buzzer -- don't wait for the buzzer to finish. Most timers’ buzzers are .3 seconds in duration, and your reaction time is shorter than that. Practice at the range until you are smooth, and speed will follow.
This question and response was posted by Bobby Carver for Debbie Nosse.
This week's Tip is hosted by Dale Rhea.
Question: What is the best way to practice for the plates when you are unable to shoot metal at your range and still build up your speed? For the Unlimited Class, sight picture and trigger control are first so how do you work on the rythm for speed on the plates?
Dale's response to this topic is as follows:
Every time you use your pistol, make sure safety is your first concern.
Plates are incredibly difficult to shoot well. The bright white circle grabs your attention and causes you to lose focus because it makes you look at the plate rather than at your sights. The result is disastrous.
The inability to practice on steel targets actually is a blessing in disguise. When you are learning, the noise and movement of real steel plates will distract you. The best way to learn the techniques for speed on steel is by practicing on paper targets.
First, you need to make a virtual plate rack. Any cardboard will work; just paint a white 8-inch circle in the middle. It is important to have a brown border around the “plate” so you can see where your misses are going. I use NRA D-1 (tombstone) targets and paint the 8-inch center of the target white. Set up 6 of these targets so the “plates” are 12 inches edge-to-edge. Get both brown and white target pasters. Using the correct color pasters will help maintain the visual integrity of the paper “plate rack” and allow it last longer. Pasters and targets are available from www.targetbarn.com
Going fast on the plates requires your very best techniques. Your grip, stance and balance are more important here than on any other stage. When you are practicing, try to simulate the match. Pick out the center of the first plate. At the start signal, raise the pistol and align the sights on that spot. You should see a crisp sight picture with a slightly blurry plate behind it. Hesitate just a little on the first plate. If you miss that first shot the rest of the run is down the tubes. Don’t jerk. Aim, then squeeze the trigger until you feel it break. When the shot breaks, immediately move your eyes to the next plate. Don’t look for your hit; look at the next plate and move the pistol over and align the sights on it as you release the trigger to the reset position. As the pistol comes out of recoil you should be aligning on the next plate, feeling the trigger reset and pulling your focus back to the front sight so you regain that crisp sight picture. Feel the trigger, let it break, then move on to the next plate. Be sure to follow through on the last plate so you will not try to finish too fast and jerk the last shot.
You don’t need a timer to become a good plate shooter, but after you become competent, will need one in order to become a great plate shooter. Using a timer will help you see the time to your first shot and the time between shots. As you make minor adjustments to your shooting, the timer will help you see whether the changes are helping you go faster. When practicing without a timer, start from the low ready, and simulate the range instructions, saying to yourself, “Are you ready? Standby. Beep.”
Using a red dot sight makes shooting plates both easier and faster. Your focus is totally on the plates. When you see the dot coming onto the plate, squeeze until you feel the trigger break, then move on to the next plate. If you missed you either jerked or the pistol needs to be sighted in.
In order to go fast you must be relaxed. At the match, remember to stay within your ability. You cannot shoot the stages faster during the match than you can in your practice sessions. Many good shooters shoot the match a little slower than they shoot in practice in order to handle the adrenalin generated by competition. Stay focused on what you are doing. Don’t let other shooters distract you. If you find yourself thinking about anything other than the plates ask for timeout and refocus.
I have seen great plate runs shot from either right to left or from left to right. Shoot in the direction that feels right for you. If you are going at warp speed with a scoped pistol you may want to go from right to left to avoid the possibility of a jam caused by the gun colliding with the ejected brass.
Dale's response is posted by Bobby Carver for Dale Rhea.
This week's question is hosted by Jerry Worsham.
Question: Is reloading really necessary?
Answer: No, just check out Tony Clemons times! That said I think reloading is beneficial for the serious competitor. With the above mentioned exception, all the top shooters I know reload. It provides the opportunity to shoot more, tailor a load for your gun, and load to a recoil level that enhances your performance.
When reloading there are three rules. 1st load for reliability, you can’t win if you can’t finish the match without malfunctions. 2nd load for accuracy, you have to have groups that are consistent and as small as possible. 3rd and last is load for as low a recoil level as possible without negatively effecting the first two rules. If you follow this formula you’ll have ammo that provides you with the best opportunity to perform well at a match.
Rule 1; no matter what type of shooting you’re doing you need to load for reliable functioning. The most important thing is to have your pistol function every round. At GSSF a jam cost you seconds in a game where every second counts. Aside from the lost opportunity to do your best, you can also be injured. I’ve seen a lot of cut thumbs at GSSF matches when things didn’t go right clearing a malfunction!
Rule 2; we all want an accurate load for our pistols. Hitting what we aim at is the goal of every shooter. When shooting competition we want to eliminate all the variables we can thereby limiting the errors in our match to us. If your gun/ammo combination is good then it’s all you. It’s tough to win when even if you “do it right” if your gun/ammo combination can let you down with those flyers!
Rule 3; having reduced recoil, or with a comped gun controlled recoil, will definitely speed that next shot. By controlling the recoil it allows faster “back on target” times, making your second shot on a target or transition to the next target smoother. Smooth is fast.
If you are a serious GSSF shooter a couple of things are beneficial, shooting 9MM, reloading, lots of practice. Folks can and do win at GSSF with factory ammo, other calibers, but never without practice. Reloading 9MM may not save you tons but with a good accurate load and practicing with that load you gain the benefits of familiarity with your combination. The same applies if you’re shooting 40, 45 or any other caliber.
Since there’s no power factor in GSSF, most competitors work for a soft shooting, accurate load. If that’s what you’re working for and you’re using a progressive press you need to remember there can be some small errors in your powder charge. So living on the edge with a light load and marginal functioning then experiencing a light load can lead to those occasional unexplained malfunctions that just drive you crazy. If you live on the edge, expect to bleed a little from time to time.
If you’re looking for some good load information you can check out this thread:
Jerry Worsham's response is posted by Bobby Carver for Jerry Worsham.
This week's question is hosted by Bobby Carver.
It seems to me that I can shoot faster by fully resetting the trigger (instead of the half reset or whatever you want to call it) because I have a hard time knowing exactly where the shorter reset point is, so how does one use the shorter reset and resulting shorter trigger pull more effectively?
The recommended method for faster repeat shots or "double taps" as they have been tagged in the shooting arena is to use 'the shorter reset' because it requires fewer muscles used by the trigger finger; thus, preventing less shake or movement of the handgun so that your second shot can be done quicker and "on target". Understanding that this method of Mastering the Glock is difficult, to improve the execution of this method, you should consider the following training methods/refinements:
1. Evaluate the position of your trigger finger on the trigger after you have acquired your grip. Too much finger in the trigger guard and using a joint on the trigger can reduce the amount of flexibility with the trigger finger. Try using ONLY the the pad of the trigger finger "before" your first joint.
2. Drill A: Practice dry firing at home, in your backyard or at the range.
(Notice: Never assume your Glock is unloaded. Always check your Glock to make sure it is unloaded before doing this drill)
After dry firing the first shot, HOLD the trigger to the rear with your trigger finger, holding the weapon in your strong hand, use the weak hand to recyle the slide enough to reset the stiker, then release the trigger far enough to "hear" and "feel" the click, then dry fire again, repeating the previous steps.
3. Drill B: Practice shooting a paper plate at 15 yards, by firing the first shot,..........pause long enough to reset the trigger like you practiced when you dry fired...........then......pull the trigger again.............pause long enough to reset the trigger, etc. Practice this drill shooting 10 shot strings at a single paper plate at 15 yards, keeping all shots in the paper plate.
4. Drill C: Repeat #3 above, placing the paper plate at 20 yards.
5. Drill D: Repeat #3 above, placing the paper plate at 25 yards.
6. Prior to any practice or match, spend at least 5 minutes of dry firing, resetting the trigger like we mentioned in #2 above.
Mastering the reset of the trigger will improve your shooting in two ways: 1. Accuracy 2. Speed
When you are giving the trigger a full pull or are sroking the trigger, do you get some shots that are low and to the left? The reason is due to excessive movement of the trigger finger without an index point and when you pull the trigger, you are prone to jerk the trigger at the break where the striker is released. Pulling the trigger with less movement of the trigger finger will allow you to pull straight back, moving your barrel less.
When you are giving the trigger a full pull or are sroking the trigger, do you use more time to shoot that way? You probably do because the time between each "double tap" is greater because it takes longer to release the trigger to its full position than the "shorter" point as you referred to.
I have found that if I'm focused on the front sight and I have a proper stance and grip, controlling my trigger with the use of the 'shorter reset' is easier because I'm utilizing my memory muscles that I have developed from the time I've invested dry firing and practicing trigger control.
I hope that these "tips" will assist you with your trigger control. As I've implied in my response, there is no substitute for dry firing and "mastering" the Glock trigger.
Best regards and "keep Glockin"
This topic is hosted by Bobby Carver.
Topic Question: When at any given stage, do you always shoot the stock gun first, then Unlimited, or vise/versa? How about for Amateurs - any gun order recommendations?
I have found that shooting my stock gun first helps me to focus on watching my red dot on my U/L gun when I shoot it after my Stock gun run. Since the shooting times with my U/L Glock 34 are quicker than with my Stock G17, warming up my concentration and my muscles with a “smooth” run with the Stock gun allows me to shoot my U/L gun the way I’ve practiced, smooth and as fast as I can and maintain the accuracy that I want.
Since shooters classified as GSSF Masters are only allowed to compete in 2 classes, Stockmeister and Unlimited, I have found that shooting both firearms, back to back, helps me to maintain consistency but choosing to shoot more than 2 firearms or classes without a break will depend upon your stamina to remain focused. I strongly recommend that you, “do not rush your shooting”. If you are shooting more than 2 firearms in multiple classes, ask the RO to add at least 2 shooters between your second set of 2 firearms, etc.
You have invested hours of practice and, in some cases, many hours of travel to arrive at a match to maximize your potentials and skills. Please avoid getting in such a hurry that you do not give yourself the “very best” opportunity to do your “very best”.
TIP 1: After shooting a maximum of 2 guns, while waiting to shoot your next match or matches, think about what you did right previously and what pleased you, focusing upon doing the same when you are on the line again.
TIP 2: Evaluate what you want to improve when you shoot your next set and concentrate on “how you want to shoot” the next set and “in your mind” visualize how you WILL shoot the next set.
How about for Amateurs - any gun order recommendations?
The gun order that you may wish to shoot will depend upon the number of guns that you are planning to shoot. If you have registered to shoot in Amateur Civilian, Competition, Subcompact, Stockmeister and Unlimited, you may want to follow these steps to evaluate “which” to shoot in what order:
1. Prioritize which events you have shot the best in the past and rank them in that order. For this example, let’s say you have always performed the best in AmCiv, Subcompact, Competition, Stockmeister and then Unlimited in the order from the best to worst.
2. Since we all perform until our performance peaks, focus upon what event or events you may wish to shoot until you feel you may peak. For example, since you have always performed the best in AmCiv, you may wish to shoot Stockmeister first and then shoot your AmCiv with the same Glock model. Then take a rest.
3. Your second set of Glocks to shoot should be the ones you want to improve upon your last performance. In this case, you may wish to shoot the Competition and then the Subcompact Glocks. Then take a rest
4. Last but not least, shoot your Unlimited gun with no pressure. You have already shot all of your “iron sight” Glocks, now it’s time to shoot your Red Dot Glock and have some fun, implementing all of the basic shooting skills that you have exercised shooting the other 4 events.
Now that I have shared with you my “ideas” and “suggestions” based upon the way I evaluate or approach the challenge of “which event to shoot first”, allow yourself some time to prioritize the events as I’ve discussed and once you’ve established this order………PRACTICE shooting the events in that order EVERYTIME you practice them at the range. Accomplishing this last step will provide you positive results the day of the match.
“Keep shooting and be safe”
When we solicited for inquiries to be covered for "More GSSF Tips", there were many inquiries about how to shoot a match. One of our Master contributors has prepared this tip to contribute to the various inquiries about "pre-shot routines".
Mike Finch has offered the following to be a part of "More GSSF Tips 2003". Thanks, Mike.
DEVELOPING A PRE-SHOT ROUTINE
Previous topics have addressed the key fundamentals of stance, trigger control, grip, sight alignment, etc…. Developing a solid, consistent pre-shot routine can prepare shooters to successfully execute these techniques.
A close parallel to competitive shooting is the PGA Tour. Both sports require the competitor to have a solid stance, proper grip, correct mental approach and the ability to execute upon demand. Note how a golf pro stands behind the ball visualizing the shot, takes his stance and proper grip while preparing to make that perfect shot. Also, when he is distracted or something doesn’t feel right, he backs off and again goes through his pre-shot routine. This preparation is mental as the concentration/focus increases and physical as his body becomes prepped for execution of the shot.
This same type of mental and physical preparation can effectively work for GSSF and other shooting sports by developing a personalized pre-shot routine. Watch the top shooters closely and you will see some routines that appear causal to some that seem complex. None will be exactly the same…but they work for the individuals.
Take into consideration the various steps associated with how you step into the shooting box, take relaxing breaths, move into your stance, index on a particular target, grip the gun, take a sight picture, and load the gun in preparation for the string of fire. Developing a consistent approach to these small, but important activities, will prepare you for success as you shoot the stage. Going through the routine on the shooting line transforms your mind and body from the casual observer mode into the focused competitor mode. It is important that as you develop a pre-shot routine, that it be used during practice and applied consistently as it is a learned skill, just like the other basic fundamentals.
Taking the time to develop and practice a personalized pre-shot routine will help prepare you for success on the shooting line. Good shooting!
Topic hosted by Bobby Carver
When shooting any of the stages (especially the "Five to Glock"), at what point during recoil do you begin to press the trigger again for the next shot? Do you wait until the sight picture is perfect, or do you begin to press when the sight picture is close?
I will address each question separately.
The first part..."at what point during recoil do you begin to press the trigger again for the next shot?
I follow the basic safety rule of shooting....I don't squeeze the trigger until my target is in front of my sights. At the end of the recoil cycle, when the front sight is realligned, I will release the trigger until the striker is reset. I do not release the trigger the full length of the reset, but only until the striker resets. Controlling your trigger, reducing the amount of finger and trigger movement is important to manage your shots in a consistent manner. "I do not release my trigger to reset it until I'm ready to shoot again. I hold the trigger to the rear after each shot, until I'm ready to shoot the next shot. This method may seem awkward at first but if you practice holding the trigger to the rear and then release it when ready to shoot, you will see improved shot placement.
With ample practice, I have learned how to control my trigger pull so that whenever my target is in my sights, I'm ready to break the trigger or release the striker to fire the round aimed at the target.
Consistent dry firing will train you to control your trigger without releasing the trigger to its initial stage.
The second part..."Do you wait until the sight picture is perfect, or do you begin to press when the sight picture is close?"
I wait until the sight picture is perfect. If I can't see the correct target or sight alignment, I hold the trigger until the sights are aligned correctly or I can see my target correctly. Under no circumstances should you "anticipate" your target.....wait until its visible and you feel that you are going to hit your target.
The next time that you practice, hold the trigger to the rear after the first shot, when the sights are realigned and you can see the target and sight picture clearly, release the trigger until it resets, then pull straight back for your second shot, THEN move your shoulders and handgun to the next target, THEN release the trigger to a reset and when the sights are aligned, pull the trigger straight back, etc.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. Remember, "there's no replacement for practice to improve your shooting skills."
Hosted by Bobby Carver
Practice without a purpose is just wasting time and ammo, right? So, what skills/areas do you practice (low-ready to first shot; splits and transitions; precision/Groups) and how (dry, live, and on a 'straight ahead only' indoor range for those who can't set up stages)?
You’re correct, “practice without a purpose IS just wasting time and ammo." It’s important to have an objective to achieve each time that you practice. Your objective maybe as simple as getting use to the “feel” of the recoil if you haven’t shot in a very long time. I’m listing below some primary objectives you may wish to accomplish with some of your practices:
• Sight and alignment
• Trigger control
Now these objectives look familiar don’t they? They are 4 of the most important basic objectives of accurate shooting. Now, some more advanced objectives you may wish to achieve, using all of the above:
• Double tap shots at 5 yards, 10 yards, 15 yards, 20 yards and 25 yards, measuring the accuracy of the “second” shot
• First shot accuracy and speed
• Transitions from target 1 to target 2, measuring the time from the last shot on target 1 to the first shot on target 2.
• Plate shooting, putting emphasis on the 2’nd shot or 3’rd or 4’th or 5’th or 6’th.
• 5 to Glock
• Glock M
It’s important to have an objective whenever you practice with live ammo at a range, indoor or outside, but you can also modify these objectives by developing objectives from “dry firing” indoors or outside. “Dry firing” objectives could be:
• Trigger control by watching the front sight to make sure that it does not move when you squeeze the trigger and the striker falls
• Using the “par time” option on your timer, setting it to 1.0 seconds or less, practice achieving your first shot by dry firing from the low ready position
• Transition practicing by setting your timer on “par time” at ,50 or less. Have two sighting spots on your wall and begin aiming at the first spot, when the first “beep” is heard, transition or swing to the second spot and squeeze the trigger BEFORE the second beep. (Notice what happens to your front sight when you squeeze the trigger) Make adjustments to the par time as required.
So, what skills/areas do you practice (low-ready to first shot; splits and transitions; precision/Groups)
The objective of my practices depends upon the area I need to improve. I believe that you need to analyze your shooting, breaking it down into first shots, splits, transitions and groups. These 4 areas of technique require different practice skills to improve. I will shoot through each match, 5 to Glock, Glock M and the plates a few times, analyzing these 4 segments of my technique. For example, I will shoot the 5 to Glock and will microanalyze each shot on the timer. If you have EXCEL, email me for a worksheet to be used for analyzing your shots.
After you have recorded your times from the timer, calculate your Splits and Transitions, then record the score with a description of the area where your hits were. Once you have developed this chart for each run, then decide what you need to work on. From this example, I would want to focus upon using more time on my second transition and third split to improve my hits on the 3’rd target, so I may choose to focus upon shooting targets at that distance more than trying to shoot all of the targets. I would focus upon improving my groups and accuracy by slowing down. (This is just an example)
Once you have analyzed the results of your shooting, then choose the area or areas that you need to focus upon for that practice session or for the “next” practice session. If you are planning your practice sessions, also plan how much time you plan to practice and how many rounds you will need to achieve your objective. Avoid trying to achieve more objectives than you have ammo and time to complete. This will set you up for failure and will frustrate you when you feel like you need more work and you are either out of time or ammo or both.
…..and how (dry, live, and on a 'straight ahead only' indoor range for those who can't set up stages)?
I suggest that you try to accomplish as many objectives from your analysis from “dry firing” that’s possible. Why? Well, it’s cheap and you can do it at home or at the range, depending upon your time or choice.
If you are practicing at an “indoor range” that has shooting lanes, you will need to be creative to accomplish your objectives. After analyzing the segment of your shooting that needs more work, plan how you can practice that segment at that range. For example:
If you are wanting to practice on transitions when shooting the Glock M and you have found that the targets that you score worse on are the 20 yard targets, position your target “heads on” at 20 yards and practice, at the sound of the beep of your timer, “shadow shooting” the first target the steel and then shoot the paper target at 20 yards with two shots. Then try it from the other direction, left to right or right to left.
I do some practice at an indoor range and the owner will allow me to use multiple shooting lanes, when he is not busy. I will station myself in the center lane and will send a target downrange from two other lanes and practice the 20 yard targets just like I would see them in a full scale setup. This is possible when shooting the 5 to Glock by putting the target “straight ahead” at 25 yards, then the lane to the right of you, position a target at 20 yards and the lane to the left of your lane, position a target at 15 yards. (As we all know, these are the most difficult). You may even ask the range’s owner when his business is the slowest and ask him if you could setup up multiple targets to practice during those times. I have found that most range owners will work with you. Remember, they are in business to sell range time and ammo, etc.
I hope that these “tips” have addressed your inquiries. In summary, analyze the area that you feel that you need to work on and focus upon that using the amount of time, ammo and setup possible. If you have questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are only 10 more tips to complete our GSSF Tips report that remain address. For the course of the next few weeks, these will be completed so that the original 35 questions by GSSF competitors will be responded to.
Topic #25 hosted by Bobby Carver
How do you handle a malfunction? Do you ask for a re-shoot immediately (assuming factory ammo)?
GSSF warranties the dependability of all "stock" Glock handguns by providing a reshoot of any GSSF stage where a jam or failure to fire occurred as long as the competitor is using factory ammunition. The exception to this rule is applied if the competitor is using a modified or customized Glock in the Unlimited Class. Since the handgun has been modified, Glock cannot warranty the functioning of their handgun so the "reshoot" rule does not apply. If you are shooting a Glock with the allowed modifications to maintain the status of a "stock" Glock, according the rule book, in the Unlimited and are using factory ammunition, you would qualify for a reshoot if a jam or failure to fire occurs.
In most cases, you will be allowed to reshoot each string up to and including the string of fire where the jam or FTF (Failure to Fire) occurred. An exception to this statement would be the plates. If you had already shot 3 strings and your jam or FTF occurred on the 4'th string, you would be allowed to refire the 4'th string.
Now that we have cleared the air on what is allowed for a reshoot and why, I'll address the questions:
A. How do you handle a malfunction?
I'm going to address this question in two parts:
A. GSSF Competition
B. NonGSSF Competition
If I'm using factory ammo and a "stock status" Glock:
1. With my Glock pointed downrange, I drop my magazine, clear the jam or unfired round and lock my slide back, laying the Glock on the table or shelf in front of me.
2. With my Glock laying on the shelf or table, I turn to the RO and explain that I am shooting factory ammunition and wait for them to declare my handgun as "safe".
3. I then ask the RO if I can reshoot.
4. If the jam or malfunction appears to be more than "bad ammo", I ask the RO for my score sheet and request for them to sign off that I had a jam, etc. and mark Reshoot on the sheet, signing it.
5. I would then proceed to the Armorer for them to check out my Glock before reshooting.
If I'm using handloaded ammo and/or a "nonstock status" Glock:
1. With my Glock pointed downrange, I drop my magazine, clear the jam or unfired round and reseat the same magazine or a spare loaded magazine.
2. Assume shooting the target or targets that I failed to engage prior to the malfunction.
1. With my Glock pointed downrange, I drop my magazine, clear the jam or unfired round and reseat the same magazine or a spare loaded magazine.
2. Assume shooting the target or targets that I failed to engage prior to the malfunction.
Please note: Since I shoot all handloaded ammunition, I always leave at least one "extra" loaded magazine on the table or shelf in front of me for reloads should I have a malfunction, etc.
B. Do you ask for a re-shoot immediately (assuming factory ammo)?
Yes, if I'm using a "stock status" Glock.
Please remember that most R.O.'s that are serving our needs and pleasures at a GSSF match are volunteers and some have had no prior experience in R.O.'ing and may not remember the part of orientation where Chris, Scott or Dave explained that reshoots are allowed for malfunctions or misfires of "factory ammo". If the R.O. says that that's not allowed, just explain they are or show them your Glock Report or ask for your score sheet and take it to the Match Director (Chris, Scott or Dave) and explain the question. Disputing the R.O.'s declaration will not solve your issue but "raise your blood pressure".
Whenever a malfunction or misfire occurs during any shooting competition, remember the first Priority at hand is keeping your muzzle pointed downrange in a SAFE state and the second thing to remember is handling the handgun SAFELY to avoid any harm to you, your R.O. or other competitors.
Check back soon for more GSSF Tips and "shoot safely" while having fun.
In an effort to complete the GSSF Tips section, a new tip is being provided.
GSSF tip #26 hosted by Bobby Carver
What's the best method to use for the "new" GSSF start position?
I have received many emails from GSSF competitors asking me this question. In an effort to summarize some of the tips that I have shared with others, I'll list what I believe are the some important principles to consider using the new start position.
The new start position is defined as, "firearm held in hands with muzzle pointed into berm, no higher than parallel to the ground or lower with the competitor's elbows touching rib cage."
The former starting position, with firearm lowered at a 45 degree angle, allowed the shooter to lock in their shooting arm and shoulders so that whenever you were given the start signal, you could easily raise the muzzle and you were locked into the your shooting position. The "new" start position may not allow you to lock in until you have extended your arms and locked in your elbow. I recommend the following:
1. When you are given the command to "take a sight picture with an unloaded weapon", take that opportunity to position your feet and using the "new" start position, push the firearm toward the first target that you will shoot and then swing to the last target. If you feel that you are strained, reposition your feet to allow a stable shooting position on the last target.
2. Make sure that your grip is stable and that your trigger finger is outside the trigger bar with easy access to the trigger as soon as you are given the start signal and your firearm is on target.
3. Look at the target, where you want to shoot and remain looking at that spot on the target, while you are resuming your start position.
4. Since you can hold the firearm muzzle parallel to the ground, you may find that position will allow you to smoothly push your elbows from your side forward to the first target.
You may find that the "new" start position is a smoother more consistent start method than previously used. After some practice and "muscle memory", you will successfully execute a quick and accurate first shot.
I'll look forward to seein you on the range,
Updated 10/11/07 to hopefully prevent data loss.
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