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Old January 10, 2015, 07:30 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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Shooting under stress. What I've learnt.

Firstly I have learnt that it takes very little to "stress" me. IN this case it was merely trying to get a good time and not a DQ. Under those less than demanding conditions, I managed to screw up 2 mag drops and managed to flip the safety whilst running back to another target, the gun over my shoulder, pointing down-range.

Practising draw, load and rack drills in my living room, using my IPSC timer app to record times I managed several where the gun is racked and "on target" in between 1.25 and 1.7 seconds. Not all, but those were my "good" times and there were a number. The same procedure at the firing line in Stage 1 didn't go nearly as well, costing me time!!

So all this tells me that a) I am not yet familiar with my pistol b) that perhaps my training needs to include more drills such as the empty gun manipulations and dry-firing I raised in another thread and c) that when they say practise the way you want to shoot and expect your performance to drop when the pressure rises, they mean it.

Time to re-evaluate my training regimen.
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Old January 10, 2015, 10:21 AM   #2
g.willikers
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Have you read any of Saul Kirch's training books?
http://www.doublealpha.biz/books.htm
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Old January 10, 2015, 10:29 AM   #3
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Nothing will get you past the jitters/stress better than matches. Practice is great for improving skills and making drills like mag reloads and draws second nature, if you are in a match and thinking about drawing and reloading, you adding stress. Make sure you are only thinking about shooting sequences, the actual shot breaks, target acquisition should be instinctive. That only comes with live fire and matches.
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Old January 10, 2015, 11:23 AM   #4
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Stress and nervousness during a match can come about due to the lack of confidence in one's skills.
Being prepared for a match before actually being in one counts for a lot.
And that requires lots of practice.
Unless one is lucky enough to have a range that's always handily available, and an abundance of ammo, most practice will probably have to be done away from a range.
On this subject, Mr. Kirch suggests, (and practices), dry fire and airsoft, along with range time.
Judging from his experience and accomplishments with European IPSC, he can probably be believed.
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Old January 10, 2015, 11:28 AM   #5
JERRYS.
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you'd save considerable time, increase accuracy and confidence by having your gun already "racked" in your holster.
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Old January 10, 2015, 11:45 AM   #6
g.willikers
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He might be referring to his reload with an empty gun practice.
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Old January 10, 2015, 11:51 AM   #7
Pond, James Pond
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you'd save considerable time, increase accuracy and confidence by having your gun already "racked" in your holster.
Some stages require you to start with a completely empty gun and on the start signal, you have to draw both a mag and the gun, slap in the former, rack it and engage your first chosen target. Others the mag is in but the chamber empty, others it is loaded but hammer down. So sometimes there is no choice.

The wider point I was making with my OP, though, was that if one can behave like that in just a match, imagine how messed up one's shooting gets when someone is shooting back!!

As of the practice at home, yes I need more of that. G.Willikers point about time and money for live-fire work is regrettably spot on. My "free" range is some way out of town and of course, ammo is never cheap even if 9mm is the cheapest, so rarely do I have sufficient supply of both money and time!

Must look into those books, though.
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Old January 10, 2015, 01:33 PM   #8
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As you practice remember that practice does not make perfect....practice makes PERMANENT.

only PERFECT practice is worthwhile. So, take your time. Break down the techniques you want to improve on and work on doing them perfectly slowly at first. Build speed as your muscle memory grows.
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Old January 10, 2015, 02:00 PM   #9
Pond, James Pond
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only PERFECT practice is worthwhile. So, take your time. Break down the techniques you want to improve on and work on doing them perfectly slowly at first. Build speed as your muscle memory grows.
A very good point, that.

Indeed the trick is knowing which actions to engrain in the mind. Which will improve my performance. Which could have real world advantages, too etc. Then identifying each move and making it all flow.
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Old January 10, 2015, 02:26 PM   #10
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PJP, just do it. stop worrying about how fast you are and just do it. repetition brings muscle memory, smoothness of action, and in time speed.

God forbid you ever get shot, will that stop you from returning fire because the other guy shot first?
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Old January 10, 2015, 04:20 PM   #11
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will that stop you from returning fire because the other guy shot first?
Apart from getting a ventilated forehead it's hard to say.

I'd like to say "NO!" and that I'd give as good as I got, but I don't think anyone really knows how they'd react until it happens.

In that respect, ignorance is bliss!!

From a purely competition stand point it would be ideal to get certain actions fixed as a near reflex as consistency can only help with shooting and speed. There the dry runs at home are cheap to do.
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Old January 10, 2015, 04:21 PM   #12
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I'd bet JerryS is dead on. Trying to be fast is interfering with being good. Remembering that IPSC is a game and not real life will help too.
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Old January 10, 2015, 04:42 PM   #13
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All my life I was told, that practice makes the master.
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Old January 10, 2015, 04:46 PM   #14
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are you training toward personal [ self defense] or are you training to get good at comp shooting. Those are 2 totally different things
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Old January 10, 2015, 05:01 PM   #15
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I was trained to make critical motions like that as smoothly and bereft of wasted motion as possible. Not necessarily fast, at least not at first, and concentrate on maximizing smoothness (one continuous motion) and minimizing motion loss. As you accomplish these two things, speed will naturally follow. Once "smooth" and "absent motion loss" are well and truly ingrained, THEN concentrate on speed.

I think at least PART of why this seems (seemed) to work for ME is that it instills (instilled) in me the high confidence that I WOULD MOST ASSUREDLY ACCOMPLISH that magazine change, or empty gun drill, in a short time. Once the certainty of doing what I needed to do was present, doing it faster was a less certain, though very probable thing, made more probable by continuous practice.

If all of that sounds a little too "ZEN/BRUCE LEE/KUNG FU", I hope you'll overlook that. For I was trained by a true master of the art.
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Old January 10, 2015, 05:17 PM   #16
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Shooting in competition

" managed to flip the safety whilst running back to another target, the gun over my shoulder, pointing down-range."

Sounds like possibly poor stage design there -- you should never compromise safety in the quest for speed, either in your stage design as a match director or in your performance as a shooter.

And if your primary focus in shooting matches is to develop your own gun handling skills for defensive purposes, you should never (or seldom) compromise proper tactics in search of speed.

Who cares if you were the slowest? If you were tactically correct in your use of cover, got your hits, didn't shoot any "no-shoot" targets, didn't have any misses or procedural penalties, then it was a good day.
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Old January 10, 2015, 05:33 PM   #17
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While nothing beats combat as for experience, the military does not consider practice an unnecessary thing to do.

They practice hard and long, and they use the ancient timer called a stop watch. They believe the better the training the better the results in combat, and it generally has been proven to be correct.

Matches ARE NOT TRAINING. They are a test to see how well you have learned.

When you fumble in a match, that just shows you where you need more training (practice is training, over and over again.)

You can train slow (and do things perfectly as you can) or train for speed (and loose some of that perfection.)

But as the military has found, the more realistically you train, the more often you train, and the harder you train, the better you do when the you-know-what hits the fan.

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Old January 10, 2015, 06:36 PM   #18
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
Sounds like possibly poor stage design there -- you should never compromise safety in the quest for speed, either in your stage design as a match director or in your performance as a shooter.
Safety was not compromised.

The gun was pointed downrange even when I was moving in the opposite direction and so the barrel always remained well within the safety angles.

My times were compromised because when I reached that final comstock and pulled the trigger nothing happened and I only then realised that my thumb knuckle had nudged the safety catch up.

My mistake was that my thumb had not stayed well glued to the grip but had raised to hug the slide. Something to practise avoiding.
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Old January 10, 2015, 10:16 PM   #19
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Matches are good for figuring out whether or not you've done enough practice so the added stress does not degrade your performance.

"Muscle memory" = trained reflexes, actually. Your hands go to the same place, every time. Your eye-hand/finger coordination is always consistent. I've called it, "All married up," with my gun.

I guess the main thing is to work on "smooth". Flowing, constant motion; not jerky.
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Old January 10, 2015, 10:18 PM   #20
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I'm not suggesting that YOU were unsafe -- just that the course design perhaps could've been better thought out.

In matches or in training exercises when I have to retreat, I stay facing down range and back up. I'm more concerned with keeping my eyes down range on the threat and less concerned with my elapsed time.
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Old January 11, 2015, 05:38 AM   #21
Pond, James Pond
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I'm not suggesting that YOU were unsafe -- just that the course design perhaps could've been better thought out.
I realise that wasn't the point being made and am happy for that, but I can't say the course in and of itself was not unsafe or ill-thought, just inconvenient.

Perhaps there is an aspect I am over-looking but that is my take on it having run the course. The RO did make a point of reminding competitors of the need to keep the barrel down range.

Had I kept my thumb down against the grip, the stage would have finished badly better. I did not even consciously move it and that is what will need work.

The safety is also very easy to flip. I don't know if that is a good thing or not on a gun, but I can now see why some people prefer not to have them and consider them a liability.

All the same I'm quite happy with my overall position considering the standard of the other shooters.
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Last edited by Pond, James Pond; January 11, 2015 at 05:45 AM.
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Old January 11, 2015, 09:34 AM   #22
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Competition is competition, whether or not a course of fire is poorly thought out. All competitors are fighting the problem, so poor performance is not the fault of the course. As on a cold and rainy day, both football teams are competing on the same field.
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Old January 11, 2015, 09:38 AM   #23
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I'm having trouble envisioning any stage design requiring such action as you describe.
You were required to move to the rear, your back to down range, with the gun pointed down range, over your shoulder?
Gun arm wrapped around your neck?
Very strange.
Must have looked like a Gene Kelly dance move.
Did you pass up targets and then go back up range to engage them?
Just curious, is all.
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Old January 11, 2015, 12:24 PM   #24
Pond, James Pond
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It was a stage where the competitor had to start with feet touching marks on the boundary line facing a plate, activating a partial comstock (obscured by a no-shoot), two full comstocks and another partial.

At the start the shooter had to draw, load a mag, load the chamber and engage all comstocks twice, with a hit to the plate to access one of them. From there there was a straight path away from those targets that the shooter had to proceed down before engaging a final comstock target tucked behind hard cover.

So for that final target you run to the end of the hard cover lean around it and put two on the target about 3ft away. Some turned to their right to run back, putting the gun over the shoulder, others left with their strong arm pointing straight behind them. In all cases the barrel is down range. The only downside with turning left was that this meant an awkward move to shoot that last target if you didn't want to sweep outside the safety angles and get a DQ.
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Old January 11, 2015, 02:08 PM   #25
g.willikers
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Thanks, got it - maybe.
Sounds like a weird arrangement, though.
By comstock, are you referring to a type of target, or the comstock scoring method (score/time=hit factor) on the IPSC target?
Also known on this side as the Turtle.
We mostly still use the old style, that loosely resembles a humanoid outline.
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