Yesterday, Lower Providence Rod & Gun Club hosted their October USPSA Match. A few weeks prior, I got to talking to Huskyoverlord from the PAFOA Forum about shooting a local match together. We made arrangements and met up at Lower Providence.
This was my second match and my first time at Lower Providence Rod & Gun Club. I didn’t know what to expect from the club itself (I’ve read some not-so-great things about it) but wound up having an absolute blast. Every person that I spoke to at the match was willing to answer questions and offer advice on addressing a stage.
Before I arrived at the club, I assumed that the match at Lower Providence would be more or less the same as my first match at Topton Fish & Game. That, as it turs out, was an incorrect assumption. While shooting at Topton, I experienced a lot of small steel targets and a variety of distance shots (30+ yards). Mixed in with the distance shots were a variety of targets, both paper and steel, that you could while engage from a variety of positions in the shooting lane.
Lower Providence, on the other hand, was more about making you shoot targets at varying angles. The stages weren’t very large and it forced you to really pay attention, otherwise a target could be easily missed. I found myself doing a lot of leaning to get a peek at targets hidden beyond a barricade.
To be honest, I think both clubs put on a great match. I really enjoyed the precision distance shots at Topton and the sneaky target placement at Lower Providence. It was an eye opener as to how versatile the sport of USPSA is and makes me eager to shoot again.
A Few Notes:
While shooting the match, I decided to take along my Contour HD Body Mounted Camera. Down below you can find the video from the match. My squad started on Stage 3, which is why the stages appear to start out of order.
I wish I were better with names. While my entire squad was made up of a great group of guys, there were a few that went above and beyond with advice and encouragement.
If you were to take an aerial view of this stage, it would sort of resemble an hourglass. At the buzzer, I began the stage by moving to the left and right extremes of the hourglass shape. By standing on the very edge of the boundary line, I could lean out and around the barricades, which hid a total of four targets.
After engaging the first four targets, I moved down into the thinnest part of the hourglass. Leaning out around the barricade, I engaged two steel poppers and a paper target. Getting back inside, I engaged four more paper targets through a port. Two of those targets were short range and the other two flanked a non-threat target at about ten yards. Leaning out and to the right, I engaged three more paper targets.
In terms of accuracy, this was my best stage. I ‘cleared it’ by shooting all ‘A Zone’ shots with no extra rounds fired. While my score was perfect, this is a game of speed and accuracy. My speed on this stage was very slow as I took my sweet ol’ time.
This stage was made up of eight total targets and two shooting boxes. The objective was to start in one box and engage four targets (of similar type, steel or paper), then move to the second box and engage the remaining targets.
Like everyone else on my squad, I opted to engage the steel targets from the furthest box. My thought process was that any hit on target is good, unlike the paper. With this mindset, I would shoot faster and anything on the steel would be considered an ‘A Zone’ shot.
I shot the first two pieces of steel relatively quickly (for my ability) and had trouble with the third piece, taking three shots to hit it. The forth piece went down easily and I moved to the second shooting box. From the closer box I engaged four paper targets that were painted with portions of hard cover (doesn’t count it you hit it in these areas).
I don’t recall how I did on this stage overall and the scores have not been posted yet. I think I did okay, but I can’t be sure until I get a look at the scores.
This stage was a classifier stage (actually, I think Stage 4 was also), meaning that it is the same across all USPSA Matches and is used to rank shooters across the sport. At the buzzer, the shooter turns 180 degrees to face the targets, draws their weapon, and fires two rounds at three targets. The shooter must then reload and fire two additional rounds at the same three targets.
Because this stage was a classifier, I tried to shoot as fast as I could. While my time was decent, my shots weren’t placed very well. I should have went into this stage with the midset that Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast.
Of all of the stages at the match, this stage was the one I was most concerned about. We stated in a shooting box with an empty gun, facing up range. At the buzzer, were were to turn and run to a larger boundary area. I chose to load my gun on the move and engage targets on the left first.
Leaning against a wall, I could see around a fence blocking three targets. The first was half-covered by hard cover (doesn’t count if you land a shot in the black) and two additional targets on either side of a non-threat.
Moving down the line I engaged the next group of three targets. Like the first set, there were two paper targets on either side of a non-threat and one steel popper. The next series of targets included a steel popper which I almost ran past, and a Texas Star. Moving away from these targets, there was one more steel popper tucked behind a fence.
The next shooting area contained a steel popper and two targets on either side of a non-threat. I began shooting faster at this point to try and make up time lost on the Texas Star. This is where my shots started spreading apart and going where they weren’t supposed to (into the non-threat for a penalty).
The last series of targets were made up of a partially covered target (hard cover) and two targets on either side of a non-threat. Still trying to make up time, I shot too fast and paid for it by hitting another non-threat.
If I could re-shoot any stage from the match, it would have been this one as I tanked it. I didn’t pay close enough attention on my walk-through due to all of the close range shots and completely underestimated how difficult it was.
At the buzzer, I engaged two targets directly in front of me, then turned and engaged two more targets. All four paper targets were about 15-20 yards out. I then ran from the shooting box into a much larger boundary, engaging two more targets from a break in the fence.
Hustling, I engaged three paper targets by point shooting as fast as I could. I then moved into a clearing and began engaging targets tucked behind barrels. I engaged one, pointed an empty gun at the second (slide-lock) and moved away from it as I reloaded. I turned and engaged a target on my left, then moved to the right, picking up another target behind a barrel. I moved to the end of the boundary engaging another target behind some barrels and began looking around to see what I missed (I knew it would require four magazines and I only used three). To my left I spotted another target, which I engaged. At this point I wasn’t sure if missed anything, but I went ahead, unloading my gun and ending the stage.
As it turns out, I missed two targets completely (missed, as in, I didn’t see them and failed to engage). I was very disappointed in my performance and learned a valuable lesson in creating a plan and sticking to it, regardless of how easy the stage appears.
Fresh off of one very disappointing stage, I was determined to do well on this one. It was explained to me that this particular stage was what is referred to as a memory stage. Certain targets can be seen from a variety of angles. This means that the shooter has to create a plan that does not engage the same targets multiple times.
To make things even more interesting, the stage begins with the shooter placing an unloaded gun and all magazines onto a table. At the buzzer, the shooter is to load his gun and begin engaging targets. After so many shots, the shooter must leave the table to be able to engage other targets. A choice has to be made, either spend time picking up magazines and loading them into your mag pouches, or leave the magazines on the table.
I opted to pick up my gun, engage four targets, and dump the last two rounds in my magazine. I loaded a fresh magazine and ran to my left, engaging three more targets. I then ran back to the table, dumped my magazine with four more rounds in it, and loaded a fresh magazine. Before running to my right, I picked up another magazine and pushed it into my mag pouch while moving. I engaged the remaining five targets and ended the stage.
While my shots could have been better, I executed my plan perfectly. In fact, I executed it so well that a few of the more experienced shooters gave me a pat on the pack when I was done. Of all the stages at the match, this was the one I was most proud of.
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