Have you ever had to perform an activity cold and thought to yourself “That sucked, I wish I could have warmed up first.” I’ve been struggling with my first USPSA Stage of a given match and that very same line has been crossing my mind a lot lately.
I think I may have stumbled onto something earlier this month, which seems to make my first stage run a little smoother. The day before I match I hit the range to do a review of Magtech First Defense SCHP Ammo from Lucy Gunner. After shooting the review ammo, I got out my Glock and put a couple dozen rounds down range.
This little bit of range time the day before seemed to knock some of the rust off and I seemed to perform a little better. Normally, I don’t practice much. It isn’t that I don’t want to, it is that I shoot factory ammunition at the moment and can’t afford to shoot much more than I already am (2 USPSA Matches per month).
Despite being low on ammo, I decided to gather up a couple of guys from Team Custom Gun Finishes and hit the range the day before our match. I went with a rather structured format and treated our practice session like a mini-match. I selected five stages that would allow us to work on things I find important, and we ran with it.
Stage 1: To, Too, and Two
Download Team Custom Gun Finishes – USPSA Practice Stage 001
This stage isn’t USPSA Legal but it is great reload practice. I force shooters to start with two rounds in the magazine, followed up by their usual capacity. When the stage begins, shooters put two rounds into the first target and run their gun dry. This simulates those stress induced brain-farts we occasionally have and allows for practice on slide-lock reloads. The shooter reloads, puts two rounds on the second target, then just for good measure, performs another reload before putting one more round on each target.
Stage 2: El Presidente
Download El Presidente from USPSA.org
Simply put, I hate the USPSA Classifier – El Presidente. It isn’t a bad stage, actually far from it. My distaste comes from its over-use (at least in my area). In addition, whener you hear a shooter boasting, it usually goes something like “I can shoot El Prez in X.XX seconds!”
So if I hate it, why did I put it in our USPSA Practice Session? This stage is a necessary evil due to the frequency in which it is used. A lot of guys practice this stage and as a result, you need to be fast if you want to rank high when you shoot it on the books. As you’ll see in the video, we don’t shoot it much (My Hit Factor on the Classifier Calculator brings me in at D Class)
Stage 3: Front Sight
Download Front Sight from USPSA.org
There was a very good reason why I selected Front Sight for our USPSA Practice Session. That reason, I only had three target stands and it fit the bill. It is also similar to El Presidente so I thought it would be sort of dual purpose.
Stage 4: Merle’s Standards
Download Merle’s Standards from USPSA.org
Aside from meeting my “Must require eless than 3 target stands” criteria, I thought this stage hit on a lot of things we all need work on. The first is distance shooting, which I don’t do nearly enough since Topton Fish & Game has gone the Multi-Gun route. Next is Strong Hand & Weak Hand Shooting. I’m okay strong hand, but my weak hand needs a lot of work.
Stage 5: Hustle and Boogey
Download Team Custom Gun Finishes – USPSA Practice Stage 002
This was another stage of my design. As you can see, I love me some reload practice! This also gave me an opportunity to work on shooting on the move. It is a new skill that I’ve been trying to develop as of late and I’m pretty happy with my progress so far. I still need work on learning what my limitations are. For instance, between 15 and 30 feet (how this stage was setup) I have pretty good accuracy. When I stretch that distance out to 10 to 15 yards I struggle with accuracy (even when moving slowly)