Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pistol Match AAR

Saturday I shot an IDPA-style pistol match with Johnny and Matt. Because of the Texas heat, the typical cover garment requirement was waived. Wanting to train as we (would) fight, the three of us all used cover garments, anyway.

I work to be honest, but let me be clear: I have fired handguns in the last year only when on my week-long hunting trip in late December. (I do practice presentation/drawing usually a few times a week.) In the previous year, I believe I also only went to the shooting range once. This is not something I suggest to anyone who is serious about his weaponcraft- who uses a firearm- but I want to describe the situation. I told Matt I would probably be the slowest shooter out there, but that I would be safe, and I would be accurate. I succeeded in one of those goals.

My rig for the match was a Glock 19, firing full power handloads with 124-grain Remington hollow points. I had a double magazine pouch on my left side. As the match began, I felt incredibly slow, like I was trapped in molasses. I also found that I was not hitting every target, at least to the standard required in the match (I DID hit every target, except for one "dropper" that briefly swung sideways as it fell). I also found I had an unfortunate tendency, due to the course layout, to slay virtually everything in front of me. Fortunately, in the real world, I'm unlikely to have to engage a line of hostiles evenly spaced with hostages, while shooting one-handed!

Towards the end of the match, one of the other shooters gave me some advice.
"Hey, slow down. You're fast- look at this." He showed me a very respectable time for my first split, or double shots on target. I had drawn and fired two shots onto my first target in 1.3 seconds. "That is FAST. Now, what you need to do, is just take an extra second, and you'll be a lot more accurate."

I thanked him sincerely. I repeated what I'd been told to Matt, and he showed me the video he'd taken of me. Holy cow. I'd had no idea. I'd felt like I was moving in slow motion.

Johnny was the man I wanted to be during the match. Shooting a 3" Model 10, he just...didn't miss.

Matt was extremely accurate and surprisingly fast with a Model 37 at close range, but had slow going reloading his 5 shooter, and had trouble hitting distant targets.

Lessons learned:

o Duty-sized guns are more accurate at distance, faster overall, and quicker to reload than smaller pieces.
o Fast is good, and accurate is better, but fast and accurate beats both.
o Practice, practice, practice.
o Don't be a hostage.

(S&W model number edited.)


  1. Excellent write-up, John. What felt slow to you was the embodiment of the old gunfighter's advice, "Take your time, quickly." Another version: "The absence of wasted motion is smooth, and smooth is fast."

    The only correction I'd make is that Matt used a Model 37, the Airweight Chief's Special, which bounces around a LOT more than the steel-frame version.

  2. Good writeup! And points well taken!

  3. That picture of JPG looks so natural, for a picture of a guy firing one-handed, weak-handed.