On April 21, 2012, I had the pleasure of shooting USPSA at Souther Chester Sportsman’s and Farmers’ Association in Kenett Square, PA. Like usual, I left home with a couple of cameras in tow and recorded my progress throughout the day.
Instead of putting together one massive post reaching 3,500 to 4,000 words, I wanted to try something new. This time I will be creating a single blog post per stage to make reading and watching a little more manageable. This particular post documents my shooting for the first stage of the day – Stage 5: Confusion.
After the shooters meeting, squads were called out and I was on my way to Stage 5 to get the day started. This particular stage was setup on the 15 yard range. In my past experience with this range, stages tend to be short and fast. Confusion was just that, short and fast.
I dropped my range bag on one of the concrete tables under the covered portion of the range and listened as the Written Stage Briefing was read aloud. We were facing 12 IPSC Metric Targets worth 120 Stage Points. It looked easy enough but the pressure was put on as my name was called as the first shooter.
I got in line to make a dry run and felt rushed. I didn’t have a lot of time and my fellow squad-mates were also trying to formulate a plan for their run. When the five-minute walkthrough was finished, I switched on my camera and stepped into Box A.
Confusion allowed for one of two start positions. Box A was situated on the left side of the stage, Box B on the right. I opted to start in Box A, behind a Bianchi style barricade. My plan was, at the buzzer, to draw my gun and immediately engage a pair of low targets to my left. These two targets were easily ‘bad breath distance’ and could be engaged by point shooting, even with a penalty target between them.
I would then leave Box A and dash over to Box B, on my right. From Box B I would engage another pair of low targets, to my right. Before leaving this box, I would lift my gun and shoot down range at an angled target about half-way down the 15 yard pit.
Having fired ten rounds, I would reload on the move. Once a fresh magazine was in my Glock 17, I would engage a pair or paper targets on either side of a wall. I would reload one last time and begin firing through a port in the wall. One target would be engage by point shooting at an angled target below the port, and the four remaining targets would be engaged from left to right along the backer board at the rear of the range.
After The Buzzer
When I stepped into Box A, the rushed felling subsided and I knew what I had to do. When the buzzer sounded, I felt slow and clumsy as I drew my gun. I fired two rounds each at the low targets on my left and began to move to Box B. I stopped late and fired my first round with my right foot planted outside of the fault line.
I had a brief ‘I can’t believe I just did that moment’, pulled my foot back into the box, reset, and finished the target array. I lifted my gun and put two rounds on a target further down range. I reloaded on the move, as planned, and engaged the paper target on the left side of the wall.
Trying to pick up the pace from my slow and clumsy start, I ran past the target on the right and began shooting through the port. When my gun went to slide-lock, I knew that something was wrong. Not sure where I made my mistake, I performed a standing reload and engaged the last target in the array.
Stage 5 at the April 2012 Southern Chester USPSA Match
When the range was called safe, I turned around to see the Range Officer walking back to the Scorekeeper so that he could begin calling out my hits. Before he began calling shots, I stopped him and informed him that I earned myself a procedural penalty by firing one round with my foot outside the fault line. To my surprise, I was told that since he didn’t see it, he couldn’t penalize me for it.
The lack of penalty didn’t help and I still wound up dead last on the stage. While my time of 19.16 seconds wasn’t too bad, having missed one target altogether (2 Mikes and Failure to Engage Penalty at -30 in all) was too much to overcome.
Even with 21 A Zone Hits and 1 C, I couldn’t overcome the penalties. Out of possible 120 points, I scored 108 pints before penalties were assessed and only 78 after. I had an abysmal 65% point percentage and 25th place.