… the tough, so the saying goes, go cyclic.
At last night’s KSTG match at the NRA, we saw this happen frequently on two stages: 3 and 4.
Stage 3 was unusual in that we utilized the NRA Range’s outstanding programmable target system. You had a regular KSTG target (IDPA target with a 3×5 card in the head box) at seven yards and needed to draw from concealment, fire five to the body and one to the head. Instead of doing it on the clock like most stages, it was run as a PAR. And you got to choose your PAR. The target would turn and face for as long as you wanted, but that was your time on the stage. So if you gave yourself 10 seconds, it didn’t matter if you were done shooting in two; you chose ten seconds as your PAR and that was your time for the stage. The concept clearly stressed some people out because many folks emptied their guns (eleven rounds in most cases, per the rules) in the time they allotted and still had plenty of time left over… usually without getting all their hits. It was very reminiscent of how some shooters approach the Rogers Shooting School challenge at first. Since they are no longer just shooting at their own pace but instead are forced to perform within a time limit, they blow the doors off and hope the bullets will fly where they want. The median time selected was 6 seconds (with a range of 3.0 to 25.0). Thirty two shooters dropped a total of 52 points; only thirteen shot it clean.
Stage 4 was far more straightforward. You shot a couple of targets around the left side of cover, a couple of targets around the right side of cover, and then three more targets on the move. All of the targets were wide open (unobscured, not moving, at shoulder height). Shooters began about 10yd from the on the move targets but were allowed to get as close as 7yd. After carefully engaging the targets from cover, almost a dozen people literally went cyclic and emptied multiple magazines of unaimed fire into those three pieces of cardboard on the move. Many of them still managed to avoid getting any A-zone hits on one or more, resulting in additional penalties. It was a simple matter of being a little out of their comfort zone at the end of the match and, essentially, abandoning technique in favor of frustration and hope. Most of them got more frustration than hope out of the deal.
We all make mistakes. We all find ourselves up against problems that are outside our comfort zone. Competition — and shooting in general — wouldn’t be a lot of fun otherwise. But as I tell students all the time, once you make your first mistake it’s time to slow down and pay more attention, rather than the more instinctive approach to throw caution to the wind and go nitrous. Odds are you made that first mistake because you were going faster than you could do things right. Speeding up probably isn’t the solution.
Train hard & stay safe! ToddG