One of the many casualties of the pandemic, at least for me, has been competitive shooting. State rules against gatherings of more than ten people put a hold on most matches in these parts. A shame too, as I had shot my first match in January, setting me up to potentially shoot more matches this year than any other year in my past. As it happens, however, by mid-June the Governor’s edicts changed, and so here I was shooting in my second match. So it goes.
This would be the first time I ever shot a match at this particular club. They only started hosting matches last year, and though in some ways I was eager to shoot at this new venue (30 minutes closer to my house than the club at which I usually shoot matches), I did not have enough “Lewis and Clark” in me to be a trailblazer there. I figured if organizational or safety issues might arise, they would likely rear their ugly heads in the first year of matches, so waiting seemed prudent.
Besides its proximity to my home, another “plus” about this club is that it currently boasts 7 separate pistol bays. The range where I usually shoot matches only has 3, which means that in a match with 6 or 7 stages, there are at least two stages/setups squeezed into each bay. At this match, we used 6 of the 7 bays and so had plenty of room to move about.
Another advantage of this venue is that the matches start at 0900. At the other club, matches cannot start until 1000 due to local noise ordinances. I like getting an early start and also favor ending early.
Nothing unusual for me here. I chose to shoot in the Compact Carry Pistol (CCP) division, using my usual Generation 3 OD Glock 19, modified as per this article. I used a Bravo Concealment outside the waistband holster, my no-name kydex dual magazine carrier, and used Blazer Aluminum 124 grain ammunition.
The match consisted of 6 total stages, ALL of which were unlimited (meaning that there was no limit to the number of rounds that would be fired). There was some movement involved in most of the stages, and all stages required the competitor to begin with the pistol holstered (no “pistol in briefcase” or “pistol in box” scenarios). Regarding the other shooters, though I recognized a small handful from the other club at which I shoot matches, most of the people here were unknown quantities. I could see from my registration on Practiscore, however, that there were many unclassified shooters and only a few who were classified as Expert (I was the only “Expert” in my squad, for example), and only one Master class shooter. Pistols used in my squad included several Glocks (including at least two Glock 34s, my 19, and a 48), Smith and Wesson M&Ps, a Springfield XD of some compact sort (I’m not overly familiar with the XDs), and some Sigs. A few shooters in my squad were using red dots on their pistols.
Stage One was relatively easy in terms of setup. We would begin behind the green barricade, in the middle. At the buzzer, we would have to engage targets from around one side of the barricade. However, not all of the targets were visible from that side, so then we would have to transition to the opposite side. There were a total of 7 targets plus two non-threat targets, and each “threat” target had to be hit with two rounds each. I started out shooting around the right side of the barricade (having to reload halfway through one target since I was shooting CCP), and then moved to the other side of the barricade to shoot the remainder. Because we were shooting from around simulated cover, we would have to engage from the outside to the inside (“slicing the pie”). I had too many misses on these targets (I think I completely missed one of the longer shots), ending up 7 points down. I finished this stage 9th out of 32 overall.
Stage Two was complicated in that it involved shooting through a window and then running around an L-shaped wall and engaging the rest of the targets that could not be seen from the window. Here, I did everything right. I fired my 9 loaded rounds from the window, got my reload in on the run, and then when I came around the wall and could now see 6 of the 8 total targets, I could not figure out which ones I had already engaged. Though I ended up engaging them all, I did so out of order and also wasted time trying to figure it all out. A better walk-through on my part would have help immeasurably here. I finished this stage 11th out of 32 overall. Clearly I was a bit rusty!
Stage Three was shot entirely from the sitting position behind a small table. At the buzzer, we had to pull a rope to activate the non-threat swinger, and then engage all the targets near to far. There were 8 “threat” targets, several of which were partially masked with “hard cover”. I finished this stage 4th out of 32 overall.
Stage Four involved the most movement. Here we had to start on the left side of the bay engaging three targets, then run backwards to the right, and forward again to the second shooting position, where we would have to engage three more targets. Each target would get three rounds. I did well here, ensuring my hits on the first three, reloading on the run, and then finishing off the last three (which for me, because I was shooting in CCP, required one more reload than those shooting SSP). I finished this stage 4th out of 32 overall.
Stage Five was probably the most fun. It was a “zombie stage”. We had to run forward, activate a non-threat swinger, then stab a 3D target with a wooden stake. We then had to engage the 8 targets with headshots (they were zombies, after all!) twice each. Some were pretty far away (farther than technically allowed in IDPA, but at a Tier One match no one really cares). I finished this stage 3rd out of 32 overall.
Stage Six was another fun stage (failed to get a photo of this one) which involved shooting three targets from one position, sprinting to the side and shooting around cover at some obscured targets further downrange, and then finally coming around the other side of cover to shoot a reduced B/C sized steel target. All targets had to be hit three times. I did well in getting my hits on the first three targets and so was able to reload on the run. Unfortunately I missed one shot here into “hard cover”, costing me some time, and then also threw my first round on the steel before connecting with my next three. I finished this stage 7th out of 32 overall.
I finished the match 3rd out of 32 overall. Along the way I finished the highest of all the Experts and higher than the one Master level shooter in the match. Also of note is that, of the top six in this match, three were shooting in the Carry Optics division (in all, ten competitors in this match were using optics, the highest scoring of whom finished one spot head of me). The top scorer of the entire match was in my squad and could really blaze; he shot in the Enhanced Service Pistol category using a modified Glock 34. I will also note that I fired a total of 110 rounds during the match.
Overall, this was a fun match. I had my issues, especially early on, and my distance shooting left something to be desired. Mostly, I liked this match because it gave me the chance to check out a new venue, and overall I am pleased with this venue in terms of its features as well as its relative proximity to my home. I have already signed up for another match there in a few weeks.
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