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Back to Basics Part 2 (a typical course of fire.)

Posted by George on

Consider the following as a typical course of fire.

The course of fire consists of 6 close paper targets and 5 steel plates.  The plates are in the middle of the paper, there is slight movement between the 3 areas and you are shooting an 8 shot revolver.  You complete the course hitting all targets (2 on paper and knocking down the steel) in 32 seconds (with perhaps a couple of misses).  That breaks down to 1 draw, 2 shots on paper1, 2 shots on paper2, 2 shots on paper3, move and reload, 5 shots on steel, move and reload, 2 shots on paper4, 2 shots on paper5 and finally 2 shots on paper6.  Let's assume all A hits (!!!!) and using USPSA scoring you get 17*5= 85 points in 32 seconds for a hit factor of 2.66.  Probably you're a solid C shooter.

You get the picture and if you've shot competitively before this should sound familiar.  Each organization has different scoring but let's stick with this to make a point.

An A shooter might run this course half the time and thus would get twice the hit factor (85/16).  So how do you get from where you are to a better score.  Let's look at this course grouped differently.

  1. Hear the buzzer, react, draw, find the target and take the shot.  P1
  2. Wait for recoil see the target take the second paper shot.
  3. Find next target take the shot. P2
  4. Wait for recoil see the target take the second paper shot.
  5. Find next target take the shot. P3
  6. Wait for recoil see the target take the second paper shot.
  7. Reload 1
  8. Find next target take the shot. S1
  9. Find next target take the shot. S2
  10. Find next target take the shot. S3
  11. Find next target take the shot. S4
  12. Find next target take the shot. S5
  13. Reload 2
  14. Find next target take the shot. P4
  15. Wait for recoil see the target take the second paper shot.
  16. Find next target take the shot. P5
  17. Wait for recoil see the target take the second paper shot.
  18. Find next target take the shot. P5
  19. Wait for recoil see the target take the second paper shot.

Some quick notes.  You can not miss fast enough to win.  There is only 1 draw.  There are only 2 reloads.  Most of your shots are taken after another shot.  Only 3 shots come with out recoil being involved.  And you can not miss fast enough to win.

For much or this course of fire you are waiting for the sights to get on target, taking a shot and then getting the gun back on target.

What do you need to have this work for you?

Reasonable/Reliable ammunition. Reasonable accuracy. Great eyesight or Great sights. Concentration (clear your head).

What should you do got get there?

Practice.  Dry fire if you can not make it to the range.  The great ones dry fire every day.

Get confident in your ammunition and your ability to shoot that ammunition with no time limits (slow fire all A's).  A 22 revolver even is great to practice with (used to be less expensive but perhaps not so much now).

Great eyesight or Great sights.  Age is the enemy here.  You could add optics but that puts you into an even more competitive class.  You will shoot better but so will everyone in that class.

Get a trigger job.  Yes, somewhere after you've shot in your first match (even a local club match) and before you get to a state  championship you need to spend $50 - $250 to get you revolver tuned up buy a gunsmith.  Factory revolvers come with a 12 pound trigger pull.  Some come smooth but most come like they are filled with sand.  You don;t need the state of the art 4 pound job but a smooth 6 to 8 pound trigger job that reliably fires every round is necessary to improve your score.  And it's money well spent.

Practice shooting 2 shots on paper and moving from paper to paper.  Practice shooting steel like a plate rack (your club should have one).  Make each shot an A shot.  Don't practice shooting B's or C's or even misses.  See every shot.  Call every shot.  You MUST know where the gun is pointing when the shot breaks.

You now have covered 16 of the 19 steps from our course of fire.  Let's say you can save 0.2 seconds on every shot.  THat's 3.6 seconds on this course.  85 points / (32-3.6) = 85/28.4 = 2.99+ say 3.0...Your moving into B class shooting.

All this speed up without working on draws or reloads.  They are important but you'll make more progress working on everything.  With a timer measure you time between reloads and time to first shot.  Keep track of it to make sure it's coming down.

Shoot as much as you can, dry fire even more.  At home with dummy rounds practice draws and reloads.  Costs nothing and will eventually show up in the results.

Next installment let's talk about equipment.

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