This past weekend I had the chance to compete in a 3 gun match outside of Lexington at Blue Grass Sportsman’s League. It was my first 3 gun match since November of 2012 and it showed. Despite being a pretty competitive in pistol only competitions over the last few years, I was anything but competitive on Saturday. I was so un-competitive that I came in last out of 64 competitors (there were 2 that got DQ’d that I supposed I technically came in ahead of). Last by a reasonably wide margin.
I was under no illusion that I was going to win, but I did feel like I might have come in somewhere in the top part of the lower half. Nope. Last. I’m a competitive person so this really is bothering me – I actually woke up a few times through the night last night reliving mistakes in stages and thinking of things I could have done better.
I’m still going through the scores and watching the video, but there are a few things I need to work on before I head to the next match (which could be as soon as September if I get in and have the time):
- First off, I actually need to work on things before I head to the next match. I can’t just show up and expect to magically do better.
- I need to pick a rifle and ammunition and stick with it – learning what it will do everything from 5 to 200 yards. I decided to use my Tavor for this match since I hadn’t put it to any hard use and wanted to see how well it would run. It ran fine and did everything I asked it to – but I wasn’t familiar enough how it performed at close range so as a result I way underestimated the mechanical offset of the M21 red dot on some close range shots, missing low as a result.
- I need to work on my shotgun – both shooting and reloading. I had to take multiple shots on some plates and missed two of my slug shots. I was also very inefficient and inconsistent with my reloads, which is probably the most time consuming part of shotgun stages. I need to build some more muscle memory here and the only way that’s going to come is with practice. Its not so much a gear issue, but I am going to look into getting a new choke to tighten things up at range a bit and I may also eventually invest in a TWiNs loading (or even a Quad Loading) system.
- The actual shooting is important of course, but perhaps the biggest improvement will come from better stage planning: what order to engage targets, where to start when there is an option, what guns to use when there is an option, when to reload and how much, etc. Some of this will come with just being more comfortable with 3 gun stages. I’m also going to rework my cart to have more space for my gear and add some space for a cooler – staying hydrated is a key part of being able to think straight. Lastly, I’m going to ask for more help – since everyone on a squad is likely better than me, I can learn a lot by asking them how they plan to approach a stage and/or watching them in action.
In my best attempt to turn lemons into lemonade, I am going to use my last place finish as a motivation to get better in a competition that I enjoy. I might still come in last again, but with work I know I can improve.