Being told “Good move at the end, though” was the only good thing to come out of my Stage 1 run at yesterdays USPSA Match. Realizing that I was going to get whacked for 2 Mikes at the end of the stage, I made a quick decision to spread them out over two targets to avoid a Faulire to Engage penalty as well.
So, what the hell happened?
The short version is that I ran out of ammunition on a 30 round course of fire. The long version is a complex blend of shooting too fast, poor planning, and excuses. Since this wouldn’t much of a blog post without them, lets get into a step by step breakdown of the situation.
Shooter Ready, Stand By:
With the USPSA Revolver Nationals coming up, Lower Providence decided to put together a match that would be revolver friendly. Being a Production shooter, I tend to see revolver friendly stages as being a bit simpler in terms of creating a stage plan. This leads to a bit of overconfidence that can be especially problematic on my first stage of the day.
Over the last couple of months I have developed a very bad habit of shooting poorly on my first stage of the day. The idea of setting a comfortable pace never crosses my mind. Instead, I try to burn it up and wind up running through the stage frantically and reaping the benefits of rushing everything.
After the stage is complete and reality hits me, I back off the throttle and find my rhythm for the rest of the match.
The plan was very simple. Since each target array was roughly 6 rounds, I would reload between each position. The only tricky part of the stage would be to avoid sweeping my hand when opening props (judging by the video I came damn close at the port).
The buzzer sounds, I move to the left side of the bay and engage three paper targets. I advance to the next position and start reloading. As the magazine comes out of the mag pouch, I can feel the second magazine on my belt get hung up on my wrist. When my reload clears the mag pouch, I’m not sure if the second magazine falls onto the ground or if it settles back into my mag pouch.
I don’t have time to worry about the second magazine, so I push open the port and engage the next array of targets. Once complete, I advance to the next position and perform another reload. As my hand sweeps past where the second magazine should be, I have a fleeting thought that I may run into a problem. No time to worry about that right now, so I get the gun up high and pull open the door to engage the third array of targets.
Moving to the fourth target array, I perform another reload and realize that I just grabbed the last magazine from my belt. I pulled open the port and began engaging another array of targets. I fire my first shot and the magazine falls out of my gun. With no other choice, I pick up the magazine and try to salvage the remainder of the stage.
Trying to save a little time I shoot the remaining shots, trough the port, while retreating to the final position. After I engage the last target, I double check my belt and realize that I just screwed myself.
The stage requires six more rounds and I only have four in the gun. I do the only thing that I can think of and put two rounds on one target and one on each of the remaining two. This allowed me to avoid a costly FTE penalty in addition to my two Mikes.
I could have ran back across the stage to retrieve my dropped magazine but I thought it would probably hurt my Hit Factor more than if I simply ended the stage with the misses.
Range is Safe
You are probably wondering, why didn’t I have another magazine on my belt in case of emergencies? I used to carry a fifth magazine but in all the times I had it on me, I never needed it. Ah yes, the old gun adage of I’d rather have it and not need it. Lesson learned.
If I knew that I was going to run out of ammo before I got to the end of the stage, why didn’t I adjust my plan to maximize the rounds that I had. The honest answer is, I don’t know. I didn’t have the full blown Oh Shit moment until I double checked my belt moving into the last position. By that time it was too late.
One of my squad-mates shooting the stage