Practice

A short practice session tonight, about an hour and a half, 259 rounds. Started out firing freestyle at 50 feet, working on accuracy and trigger control. I have to restrain myself when doing this, it’s so addictive I could easily spend an entire session doing nothing else. But eventually I managed to stop myself and move on to the FAST drill.

I had done this before on an IDPA target, and never dropped a shot. Pass after pass in the mid-4.8s to low 4.9s so I wasn’t exactly murdering the “Advanced” standard (5.0 seconds) but I was meeting it. I did have one laggardly 5.08 but at least I was stilling hitting with all shots. I was like, “Why do people find this so hard?” I was feeling pretty good about myself. Downright cocky, frankly. So I ran off some offical FAST targets. PROBLEM. With my 53-year-old eyesight, and the fact I have the scrip on my glasses set up for the front sight, I can’t see those thin black lines on a white target sheet clearly at seven yards. Ah well. I guess I’m not going to be a FAST drill kinda guy, at least not on the official target.

Then it was into what I really wanted to work hard during this session, one hand only shooting, both master hand only and support hand only. Started out with a barricade at seven yards, and practiced firing three shots per rep into the A-zone of a USPSA target, moving myself further and further back behind the barricade, so I had to do it more and more off-balance, alternating master hand only then support hand only.

That wasn’t really a challenge, so I decided to move back to 10 yards, no barricade, but do head shots. Master hand only was a gimme, support hand only was less so. But hey, if I could do all this stuff well, right off the bat, there would be no need to practice, right? Eventually I got it sorted out and the tight groups started coming in, support hand only, in the head box.

Most people hate shooting one hand only, because most people suck at it, because they never practice it. Most people start groaning when they see a one hand only stage at a match. But if you’ve put in the time to get good at it, you LOVE one hand only stages. You start wiggling your toes inside your little fuzzy bunny slippers when you see a one hand only stage at a match, because you know you’re going to come out WAY ahead of almost everyone else, if not everyone, period.

I think it’s important to end every practice session doing something you enjoy. One of my favorite things is to move in close to the target, I’m talking like a couple of yards away, and see if I can do ten sub-second draws in a row. I doesn’t count unless all ten shots hit the A-zone. Some nights you feel slow, you’re dying trying to get under a second, some nights you feel fast. Tonight was a fast night. Ten good A-hits in a row with times between .88 to .92 second. Yes, I know there are people in the world who can do it considerably faster than that, and at considerably longer range.

That went well, so I decided to do another of my favorite things, see how fast I can do a close range Mozambique. The fastest I’d ever done this before was 1.36. Like I said, some nights you feel fast. My first rep was 1.30. I said to myself, “I’d like to see that down around 1.25.” Well, I didn’t get that, but my next rep was 1.26. That was a .89 draw, .16 split, then .21 up to the head box for a well-centered, aimed hit.

In all, a good practice session. Sometimes this whole “gun” thing can be frustrating as hell, and sometimes it’s just flat fun. This particular session skewed more to the “fun” side of the equation. Though there is still, and always will be, more work to be done. You should always end every practice session knowing there are still things you need to improve on. God knows there are for me.

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