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Old July 5, 2011, 09:29 AM   #1
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Tips on USPSA practice at ranges where you can't move about?

Hey guys: quick question for the USPSA shooters. I've recently started shooting USPSA and am enjoying it, but my performance is not where I want it to be. The ranges that I typically shoot matches at are great with plenty of separated bays to practice when out shooting, but they are an 1 hr 15 minutes away for one and 2 hours away for the other. It's a bit far to drive except to the monthly matches.

I have a few other closer ranges available to me, but they are either indoor (no one in front of the shooting line - targets are placed out via an electric pulley), or the range is one big live fire field where you only cross the line to change targets, and only when everyone on the line agrees to go range cold (which is typically once every 20-30 minutes). Obviously, there can't be any running around and shooting a simulated field course in such places.

Anybody have any exercises that can be done in such an environment that would help in USPSA?

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Old July 5, 2011, 04:59 PM   #2
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Ouch, 20 to 30 minutes between target changes? I suppose if you're doing precision bench shooting... but for handgun? Obviously patching your targets every 3 minutes or so is completely out of the question then...

If you come at a time where your outdoor range isn't so crowded, there are tons of stationary drills you can do: Bill Drills, El Prez, draw-shoot-shoot from surrender and relaxed positions, prep-aim-reload-shoot-shoot, draw-shoot-shoot-reload-shoot-shoot, etc.

But it depends on what you want to accomplish. You can work on accuracy of course and trigger prep while stationary at any range. Sadly in your case, even simple target transition drills are obviously not in the cards. You'll need another range for that. Plus ideally you want to use a timer, and practice with others while taking turns playing RO. Where do the other folks who do USPSA in your area practice? Since you're American, can't you guys just find the nearest abandoned sand or rock quarry and go wild, or have I watched too many movies?

While you can practice a number of stationary exercises, you can also do tons of movement exercises at home doing dry fire drills, including drills to help with target transition and quick sight acquisition (without even firing!). You can also practice reloading and firing on the move. Get a small length of 2x4 as a fault line, and set it even with outside wall corners or a door opening for barricade practice. Take a bar stool and practice getting in position to shoot under it between the legs at some small dot low on a wall. Use your imagination here... if you do this everyday at home, and combine it with weekly stationary shooting, you'll quickly improve depending on your current shooting level even if you don't have an ideal range to practice at.
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Old July 6, 2011, 01:16 PM   #3
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Ouch, 20 to 30 minutes between target changes? I suppose if you're doing precision bench shooting... but for handgun?
That's part of the problem. The two ranges that are close to me are mixed use. It's just a 100 yard range with several shooting benches. You can shoot handgun if you want, but you're mixed in with the rifle shooters too. Given that its public, its also usually VERY crowded. It's only maybe twice a year that I show up and am the only person there - that's always late evening on a weekday. On a weekend - no chance. It's usually so full that I've had to wait over an hour just for any room to open up so that I could shoot period.

No rock quarrys around here though. I am out in the forest, but shooting on any government owned forest land is a strict no-no, except for the ranges I mentioned. Most of the other USPSA guys seem to live closer to a good range. I just happen to be in the boonies where even the closest USPSA-hosting range around is over an hour away.

I suppose I'll stick to accuracy training at stationary targets. I might buy some steel plate systems with a remote reset so that I can shoot without worrying much about changing targets.

As to field courses - I was looking around and noticed that they made a BB-pistol version of my gun. That I can fire in my back yard. Do you think it would be beneficial to practice target acquisition like that or would I possibly do more harm than good practicing with a slightly different trigger feel?
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Old July 6, 2011, 01:39 PM   #4
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Dry-fire. 90% of my practice, since starting in 1997, has been dry-fire. I use pillars, furniture, doorways, etc. as obstacles, with 1/3-size targets scattered around the garage. Most of my live-fire practice is shooting groups.
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Old July 6, 2011, 02:02 PM   #5
Don P
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As rick stated dry fire the hell out of with plenty of practice drawing your gun and doing magazine changes and yes please do all of the above with a empty gun ( not getting to dry fire by shooting it empty) and empty magazines
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Old July 6, 2011, 05:36 PM   #6
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I wouldn't bother with the BB-pistol version of your gun. Dry-firing your real gun is probably more real than live-firing your BB-pistol. For dry drills, I still suggest a timer and put it on par just to give yourself a goal. If you find you get clumsy with a reload, get a bad grip on your draw, or can't find your front sight on a target transition, increase the par time to the point where you have enough time to execute the movements perfectly. Then slowly reduce the time again. Keep some records during your dry drills, just as you would with live drills. You want to keep track of your progress to see if you're doing things right. It also helps motivation if you actually measure your progress and see it happening.

As Don mentioned, safety is important when doing dry-fire. Double, even triple check your gun and mags before starting your practice, even if your gun never even came close to ammo since your previous practice the day before. You shouldn't even have ammo around in the same room.

Try to do your dry drills every single day, even if you can only get 5 minutes of raising your sights and aligning them at a light switch on the wall over and over. If you miss a day or two it's not a big deal, but doing regular practice is important. It's exactly the same as learning to play a musical instrument like guitar or piano. Little 20 minute sessions everyday are much more effective for teaching your mind and body these sorts of skills than doing a 3 hour marathon once a week.
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Old July 6, 2011, 07:04 PM   #7
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The closest range to me is very much like the one you describe, a wide open field of 50 yds depth with few opportunities to patch or change targets.
But it still provides useful practice.
To simulate multiple targets for transition practice, I use two sets of circles on a single target - 6 inch circles above 8 inch circles.
They will last a long time before the number of holes get confusing.
Shooting at the circles in varying order works pretty good.
You can also practice mag changes, recoil control, shot calling, one hand shooting, either hand, and lots of stuff without moving.
For stage practice, a good quality, blowback, airsoft or pellet gun works, too.
Lots of folks practice with .22s, and airguns work about as well, with one great advantage - you can do it at home, without restrictions.
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Old July 9, 2011, 04:17 PM   #8
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Dry fire is one of the best drills you can do at home with no RO over your back. At my new range the bays are 4.5 feet wide. I take a cardboard backing and put two pie plates one at each end of the backing. I clip that onto the target carrier and run it out to 10 yards. My range does not permit draw and shoot, but I can pick the gun up off the table and then shoot it. With the bay 4.5 feet wide, I can start on one side of it, pick up gun and two rounds on left pie plate, slide my feet to the right side of the bay and repeat with the right pie plate. A little practice with this will improve your picking up targets in your sights and hitting them, moving and repeating the same. Using a timer places some stress on you to perform. In the last couple of weeks I have seen some others doing the same thing. I also offer them praise for doing things differently.
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