Running Steel

I got invited to participate in doing a steel practice session with my instructor at TFA. I was pretty excited to get out there and try it. I’ve only been shooting mostly indoors at paper targets, with some exception to being outdoors. But I never shot steel! So the thought of doing it is pretty exciting actually because this is probably another way for me to get closer to 3-Guns. And when I say closer, I mean actually learning to be a better shooter. Besides, it’s been quite some time for me to get out on the range.

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As I was getting ready to leave my house, I was debating if I should sport the Springfield. After all, I haven’t really got a chance to test it out in a course. So maybe this is a good reason to do so? But then I decided not to because I just want to stick with a system that I’m currently familiar with.

My instructor told me to bring 150 rounds. I brought 300. Figure just in case…

And “just in case” happened!

I ended up going through 232 rounds to successfully complete the entire course. Obviously, from what I just wrote, I’m clearly a crappy ass shooter. But let me break it down for you…

Sure I was nervous and maybe not so confident with the event. Perhaps it was the mere presence of my instructor hovering over me, holding that damn buzzer, watching my every move… In my head, I’m thinking he’s going to critic me really badly, but I’m thinking maybe in the back of his mind – he’s just hoping I don’t accidentally shoot myself. In a way, I guess it’s a good thing to have your instructor eyeing you that close. I remember in class, it wasn’t that bad. Still, I just have to man up and just go with what I know. Then that’s where it all began to go… ugh!

On the first bay, there are 2 plates stacked on top of each other. One round to each. Simple enough eh? Well, let me say when I heard the buzzer go off, I was already in a panic state.

Shit! I got to shoot fast! Really fast!!!

That translated to me just missing the target really fast as well! Apparently my instructor has this new rule for me. He will count my “post hits” as a miss. For each “miss”, it’s an additional 5 second added. “Post Hits” is when I miss the plate and hit the post holding the plate. You know what we call that? Jerking the trigger. I swear this “trigger jerk” is like a bad case of herpes that just won’t go away!

Well if that wasn’t bad enough, I ended up doing a tactical reload on an empty magazine. Instead of just letting the empty mag hit the deck; I decided to pocket it and just grab a new mag. Yeah I got called out on that bone head move, only because I was thinking about being lazy and not wanting to bend down to pick up my mags. So I got an earful on it. Quite embarrassing really. I knew better and instead, just wanted to take a shortcut.

Throughout the event, my instructor saw my frustration and said: “Relax. It’s just another day at the range.” He was right. But I can’t stop beating myself up. It was really difficult trying to correct my nuisance and lack of skills. Or overcoming the noob experience… There were a few guys that came over and offered some techniques. But honestly, I could care less who these clowns are. Not one of them could shoot any better than me. One of them wanted to use my gun and show me how it’s suppose to be done.

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So here we go again with my HK molestation… it’s really annoying.

And after today, I’m just going to tell that guy and everyone, use your own weapon. It’s just quite funny when you’re the new shooter or just shooting badly, these knuckle heads just feel like it’s their responsibility to fix your problem… and we never even met before. So what gives with these unwanted advices? Is it to make up for your own lack of skills? Especially when they themselves are shooting like shit…!! He might as well throw on a NSW shirt and tell everyone he’s a Team guy.

But I digress…

Anyway, here I am looking at my score sheet. It’s been scribbled all over the place. +1 here, +4 there, +2 over there… I wasn’t sure if I should turn it in or burn it. Curiously enough I turned it in just to see where I would rank among everyone from this event.

Some of the things I observed that morning was that there are a lot of competition shooters here. There were a few dudes that seem “tactical”… and few “Zombie Hunting” squads as well.

Everyone mostly were shooting from the surrender position, except our squad… cause we don’t surrender.

But I guess since this is a speed shooting event, everyone was gunning it and missing as fast as they can. So in a way, I shouldn’t be feeling that bad. But on the flip side, there were some excellent shooters that just rocked that steel. My take away is that I just need to work on my fundamentals. As bad as my time is going to suffer, I think fundamentals are much more important than time – at least for now. I’m sure my speed will improve as I “hammer down” my foundation on fundamentals.

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At the end of the day, my instructor asked me how I thought I did. I replied… “I sucked!”

But I will say this though. Having that buzzer go off and hearing the other shooters in the next bay just rocking their guns fast – makes me want to go fast. Its just so damn tempting and easy to just point and go.

In reality, I need to point and focus on the fundamentals. On top of that, apply it correctly. It’s not about being a speed shooter. It’s really being a much better marksman.

UPDATE: The score was posted the following week and I ranked SECOND… to last place… now that’s sad. Really sad. Cause the last guy on the score sheet was a brand new shooter.