This year’s adventure with the Pro-Am was “most excellent”. There was the uncertainty about whether I would have a slot, as I was on the waiting list for an extended period but, it all worked out in the end. I have to offer up a hearty thank you to the Babes with Bullets organization, and the work that Dianna Liedorff and Kay Miculek put forth to pull together a sub-event for women. Without that I know that my wife would most likely not have attended the event, and it is always a joy to spend some time with that organization, and the folks that they attract. For this year not only were my wife and I able to attend but, we were squadded with folks that we have become friends with and enjoy being around. In addition we made some new friends and learned a lot from the experience.
My personal thanks to everyone that we crossed paths with. The list would be very long, and distinguished. You know who you are, thank you for making this match a special event.
There are always lessons to be learned from every match and this is no different. With the sport of 3 Gun there are a lot of variables and a lot of tricks and techniques that are critical to being safe, competitive, and having fun. Throwing them all together, things do, and will fall apart when you least expect it. Here are some of my lessons learned.
- Remember that this sport is a race. You need to turn it up a little bit. Operating in your comfort zone is ok but you will not improve, or have the results that you want.
- Remember that this sport is a race but, if your front sight is not on the target your shot is likely not either (see and call your shot).
- Practice techniques, particularly shotgun reloads.
- Hot days….HYDRATE, early and often.
- Aggressiveness relates to number 1 above but your body reacts to the stance that you take. There were stages where my body positioning was lackadaisical, this effected by transition speeds and my readiness to move aggressively between shooting positions.
- I love my rifle but, it may be time to step up a notch.
- If you are given good advice, think about it before you change your stage plan. Is this good advice for you.
- Improve your physical fitness. Cardio recovery, and quick explosive movements are keys to being fast in this sport. Get some.
- Travel. It was great having my wife along to help move gear and remember the things that I would forget like snacks, and so on. But, it’s tough work to compete and live out of a hotel room. I live out of a hotel room a lot and I am accustomed to it but, adding a match to that is hard.
- Food. Figure out how to eat your regular diet during the event. I did not eat well and I was feeling the effects of that.
- Drop barrels for weapons. Practice dumping and picking up guns at speed, don’t be shy about it.
What Went Right
The event was great. Registration ran smoothly, the staff at Rockcastle Shooting Center were always there to answer questions and bust their tails to make sure that things went as well as they possibly can. When you are catering for close to 1000 people, things do become a bit frenetic.
The equipment all ran pretty much as expected. Laura had a couple of minor issues with her shotgun, and the illuminated portion of my VX-R scope has been malfunctioning for a while now.
I had switched my belt connections over to the TMSS system from Blade-Tech. I cannot say enough good things about this system. It plain works. I had tried the Safariland ELS system but could not make the transition to that fixed location system with the holes in the belt. Blade-Tech, Tek-loc, and TMSS is the way to go.
Stage 6, and Stage 2… those ran the best for me. The keys to those, I ran the long distance rifle before I got my heart rate up and there were no shotgun reloads. There were still opportunities where I left time on the table but, I was pleased with them.
Stage 1 and Stage 5 — I was not terribly happy with and I learned from them. The mistakes I made were basic and fixable
Stage 4 — If I had made those two shots I would have been very very happy with that run. The time was perfect (for me) but that one rifle and one pistol target with only one hit in each cost me 10 additional seconds. No excuse for that, make the hits.
Stage 3 — Shotgun reloads, and better absorption and execution of the plan.
Stage 7 — Terrible results. Stick to the original plan and focus on the task at hand.
Revisiting my goals for the match this year:
- Finish in the top half of my division (last year’s goal) — Made it 112th out of 250
- DO NOT hit the par time on any stage — Made it, although it was close on stage 7
- Stretch goal: Finish in the top 50 — FAIL While I failed on this I did prove to myself that this was very achievable.
- Super Stretch: Break the top 25 on a single stage — Fail but… I am pretty certain that this is achievable and will be a goal for next year.
Best Moments of the Match
- Having my wife shoot it with me (or did I shoot it with her?)
- Shooting the match with friends.
- Having Kay Miculek tell me just before Stage 2, make the hits but just open the throttle and go for it.
- All the Babes with Bullets staff
- All the Rockcastle shooting staff, and the match staff
- Cave, Suppressed .45, Nightvision….. AWESOME.