In the darkest depths of hell the Texas Star was born. With its tentacles of death, it holds five steel plates. The mere sight of this metal beast is enough to make competitors weak in the knees. Of all the common USPSA props, this is the one that defeats shooters before they ever set foot on the line.
The key to slaying the beast is to stay confident, even if you have to lie to yourself. The Texas Star is your Bitch! Live it. Breath it. Believe it.
Now that I’ve over-dramatized this simple prop and given you a little confidence boost, lets take a more realistic approach.
Understanding The Texas Star
First and foremost, let me be clear that I am no super-shooter or whiz-bang instructor. I am a B Class Production Division Shooter that learned an important lesson early on. If you want to do well on a stage that contains a Texas Star, you can’t be afraid of it.
There is nothing to be intimidated by, the prop is predictable and manageable. Basically, you have a wheel with five arms. On the ends of each of those arms you will find a steel plate. When a plate is struck it falls from the arm and the prop becomes unbalanced. When the prop is unbalanced, it turns.
When you shoot off a plate, the now heavier side of the star will be pulled down by gravity. If you shoot the plate that mirrors the one you knocked off, the Star becomes balanced again and begins to slow down. The more momentum you allow the prop to gain, the faster and longer it spins
Shooting The Texas Star
When you step up to shoot a Texas Star it will be oriented on one of two ways. Imagine it as heaving a head, two arms, and two legs. The Star will either be oriented with the head in the 12 o’clock position or with the head in the 6 o’clock position.
The idea is to disrupt the balance as little as possible. To do this you are going to shoot the head first, in either position. If the head is in the 12 o’clock position you should see virtually no movement when the plate falls off. If the head is in the 12 o’clock position, you shouldn’t see any movement but in some rare cases it may invert.
Once the first plate is down, I like to shoot it as outline in the image below. Some people prefer to shoot the arms and legs in a different order, your milage may vary. Whatever you decide, just remember to try and keep the star balanced so that movement is minimized.
Shoot To Your Strengths
One of the reasons shooters get intimidated by the star is that they allow panic to set in. Imagine stepping up to the line, shooting a plate or two off, then missing a shot. Suddenly this thing has so much momentum that it is spinning full rotations. Panic sets in and shooters beging slinging lead down range in hopes of getting lucky.
It is important that you know your skill set and keep calm. For instance, I know that I struggle with chasing targets. I do much better if I just take a little time and setup an ambush. If I get caught up in the moment and start chasing targets round and round, I’m going to be in trouble. The Star is predictable, setup where the plate will slow down and change directions, then wait for it to come to you.
Las year I shot a stage at Lower Providence Rod and Gun Club that had walls setup like a “V”. We started at the base of the V where there was a break in the wall. Downrange was a Texas Star and you could either engage it first or run down one of the lengths of walls to engage another set of targets.
The stage boiled down to either shooting the Texas Star from the first or second position. There were a couple of shooters who were afraid of it and shot it last. This meant running down one leg of the V, coming back up range to go down the opposite leg, then coming back up range one last time to engage the Star.
The most common reason for this was “I didn’t want to run out of ammo shooting at the Texas Star”. Even if they cleaned the Star in 5 Shots thier time still wouldn’t have been good enough to beat someone that didn’t backtrack for insurance.
These types of shooters need to stop, take a breath, and make each shot count. Even if you clean the Star in twice the amount of time as the average shooter, you’ll give yourself a confidence boost and the target will be easier the next time around.
The key to the Texas Star is to be confident, even if you have to lie to yourself.
The Texas Star is your Bitch!
Live it. Breath it. Believe it.