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Offline baldrage

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baldrage's shooting log
« on: May 01, 2016, 08:58:26 PM »
Getting back into shooting after after a two-year hiatus ... inspired by forum user SlvrDragon50's training log (http://www.czfirearms.us/index.php?topic=78916.0) and the training logs written by many folks over at pistol-forum.com (https://pistol-forum.com/forumdisplay.php?48-Training-Journals).  Thought I would document my training in order to keep a record and hold myself to some level of public accountability, such as it is.  I welcome any comments, advice, feedback....

My goals are to improve fundamentals (grip, draw, reload), and improve accuracy and speed.  Basically to move from a novice shooter to an intermediate level shooter over the next 6 months to a year.  Would like to shoot some steel challenge matches by the end of the summer and try IDPA and/or USPSA this fall.

Handgun: CZ SP01 Shadow, purchased from CZ Custom in 2012. Have around 2,000 rounds through the shadow to date, but mostly "plinking" at bullseye and silhouette targets, without much dryfire and no focused drills.  Gratuitous/obligatory gun pron:

Shadow w/Kadet Kit by baldrage, on Flickr
« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 09:46:20 PM by baldrage »

Offline baldrage

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2016, 09:00:21 PM »
First dry-fire session (April 15)

I'm taking a CCW course in June with John Murphy of FPF Training and have never drawn from a holster before, so this session was primarily about getting my new holster set up (I got the bladetech IDPA starter kit from Optics Planet), and doing the initial steps to start building muscle memory for a safe, smooth draw -- I will worry about speed later.  I read several articles and watched a lot of youtube videos to learn the basics of a four step draw previous to this dryfire session.  Did about 50-100 slow, deliberate draws, focusing on keeping trigger figure indexed, and not hitting the safety until weapon was up and presented at target.

Also did some wall drills, to work on trigger control and see if I am flinching.  Flinching has not been a problem for me in the past, but since I have not shot much in the last two years, figured it wouldn't hurt to cover this as well.  Tried the empty casing on the slide trick, and was able to fire repeatedly, even in DA, without causing the shell to fall off.

Offline baldrage

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2016, 09:03:11 PM »
First live fire (April 22)

Tried the new "guntry club" range in my area (Elite Shooting Sports in Manassas, VA).  Great place, not as over-the-top in luxury as some people had described it, but far nicer than my old, dingy range.  Bright, open, clean -- kind of like the Wegman's of shooting ranges.

Purpose of this trip was to establish a baseline I could use to measure progress, and try out a couple of different drills to determine which ones I want to make part of my routine.

Started with the Rangemaster Bullseye Course drill (http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/shooting-drill-rangemaster-bullseye-course) and some of the drills mentioned in this entry from Lucky Gunner's blog (http://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/concealed-carry-tips-three-essential-shooting-drills/).

Using the rangemaster, walk-back, and 5X5 drill, I created a scoring approach for 100 rounds that offers a perfect score of 496 points (300 for rangemaster, 100 for 5X5, and 96 for walk-back).  I thought keeping an overall score would help with providing an initial benchmark and means of measuring any improvement over time.

Results:

Bulleseye was rough, as was to be expected (first live fire since last fall, new range, etc.).  Got 192 out of possible 300, so lots of room for improvement.  Tried to really concentrate on focusing on front sight, and not flinching or jerking the trigger.  Target seemed like just a little black blur at 25 yards, and I'm sure that's where several of the high-flyers resulted from.  Results improved as I walked the target back in.
04222016_Bullseye by baldrage, on Flickr

Walk-back drill:  my methodology was to do 2 shoots to the 3X5 on the body, and one shot to the head, fired at about one shot/second, from 3, 5, 10, 15 yards, repeating twice at each distance (so, six rounds at each distance, for total of 24 shots).  Scoring metrics, I used 3 points for each successful shot on the 3x5 on the body (16 rounds X 3 points each = maximum of 48), and 6 points for each head shot (8 rounds x 6 = maximum of 48).  Really focused on front sight and smooth trigger pull.  Got a 72 out of possible 96, so did OK.  Hitting 5 of 6 head shots helped the score.
04222016_walkback by baldrage, on Flickr

5X5 drill (5 shots in 5 seconds at 5 yards):  methodology was to award 2 points for each round in the circle, 50 rounds, so 100 possible points.  Lost track of how many rounds I fired as I had only printed out one target.  Note to self -- bring a multiple copies of this one next time so it is easier to keep track.  Even though I couldn't calculate a score, I thought I did OK, firing at about a 2 rounds/second pace.  Seemed to rise up a bit, and all of my misses were high, so I'm guessing this is a problem with grip and recoil management.
04222016_5X5 by baldrage, on Flickr

Last drill I tried was the Triggerstripe drill.  Started off OK, but only got partway through this one, when I experienced first malfunction I've ever had with the shadow. 04222016_triggerstripe by baldrage, on Flickr

Trigger would not reset and hammer was locked back, rendering the firearm unable to shoot.  I field stripped and inspected, but nothing obviously wrong.  Frustrated, I unloaded, packed up and came home.  Some research here on the CZ form led me to discover the problem was that the overtravel screw on the trigger had worked itself loose (further documented in this post: (http://www.czfirearms.us/index.php?topic=79241.0).

Overall, I got an estimated 334 out of 496 on my little scale, 67% or D+/C-.  Probably to be expected since this was the first time I had fired my Shadow since last fall, was at a new range, trying new drills, etc.  Leaves me lots of room for improvement.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 09:10:58 PM by baldrage »

Offline baldrage

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2016, 09:04:05 PM »
Second dry fire session (April 24)

Did a lot of research on grip and recoil management this week.  Led me to this excellent thread containing a ton of good info -- http://www.czfirearms.us/index.php?topic=74212.0 I particularly found the video by Mike Seelander on grip to be very helpful.

Spent about 30 minutes working on grip.  Focused on really indexing my trigger finger high on the slide in order to keep it far away from the trigger and to grip up on the frame.  I found the button on the reverse side of the slide stop made a good reference point.  I also tried to find the correct way to situate my support hand so I could really "crack the walnut" or "squeeze the lemon" and grip really hard.  However, my fingers are so long that when I grip with my trigger hand, my fingers wrap almost all the way round and there is not a lot of surface left on the pistol grip for my support hand.  Still need to play with it some more to find something that really works for me. Maybe a hogue slide-on rubber grip would help by making the grip surface bigger ...

Also spent about 15 minutes working on draw stroke.  Focused again on keeping trigger finger indexed, and building muscle memory for a safe draw.

Offline baldrage

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2016, 09:13:55 PM »
Third dry-fire session (April 26)

Spent about 20 minutes focusing on grip.  Still can't find a way to get much of the palm of my support hand on the grip, without forcing my strong hand off the grip.  For now, I've resolved to try really getting my support thumb way forward and indexed on the slide, which allows me to get the heel of thumb/palm up on the slide as well.

Did some wall drills -- did not notice any flinching.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 08:29:49 AM by baldrage »

Offline baldrage

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2016, 09:45:27 PM »
Second live fire practice (April 29)

Second trip to Elite Shooting Sports in Manassas, VA.  Fired about 350 rounds total -- 150 9mm and 100 .22 LR with my Kadet kit.  Did not use my holster, although the range allows it, but I did use my mag pouch so I could practice reloads.  For most of the drills, I loaded the mags with only 5, 6, or 9 rounds, depending on the drill, to allow for more reload work.

Started with the triggerstripe drill that I had to abort last time out due to loose overtravel screw.  Working left to right, started with five slow shots (1/second), then 2 shots/second, then did five-shot string of 3 shots/second.  Did OK, all of the shots were on the paper, most were in the stripe, but not very good grouping at just 5 yards.
04282016_vert_triggerstripe by baldrage, on Flickr

Repeated with a horizontal triggerstripe drill, pretty much same results:

04282016_Horiz_trifferstripe by baldrage, on Flickr

Ran the 5X5 drill again, learned my lesson from last time and spread the shots around two targets, so I could better judge my performance.  Did OK, missed cleaning the target by one flyer, with two rounds just touching the outside edge of the target circles.  Think I will keep this at 5 yards, but work on increasing my shot tempo the next time out.
04282016_5X5_1 by baldrage, on Flickr

04282016_5X5_2 by baldrage, on Flickr

Next I moved on to a drill I made up that I call "around the clock."  Target at 7 yards.  Starting from upper left, fired one shot at each target, working my way around clockwise, then ended by double-tapping the target in the center.  Thought this would be a good way to practice transitioning from target to target.  Firing at about one round/second, including transition time.  Did OK for my first attempt at this drill, most shots were within the squares, with only a few flyers. 

04282016_aroundtheclock_2 by baldrage, on Flickr

At this point, I had burned through all of my 9mm ammo, so put on the Kadet and switched over to .22.  I know this is not a good way to practice recoil management, but it allows me to work on sight, grip, weapon handling, etc, while saving some cash on ammo.

I stayed with the "around the clock drill" at 7 yds. Since it was only .22 with no recoil from the Shadow, I picked up the pace, 2 shots/second, and all targets were double taps.  Pretty good accuracy and grouping.  Interesting that lower left target showed the most spread, guessing that since I am a righty, it threw off my site alignment when I transitioned to a target on the lower left. 
04282016_aroundtheclock_1 by baldrage, on Flickr

Last drill, and most fun, was a failure or "mozambique" drill at 7 yards with the Kadet.  I read a lot of Todd Green's advice on the pistol-training.com forums, and following his advice to "aim small, miss small," I thought I would make this a bit harder by putting a 3x5 sticky on the chest, and a 2X2 sticky on the head.  The pink and yellow really stood out on the black silhouette and made it very easy to focus on the sights, not the target.  All shots taken from a low ready.  After a couple of mags, this was getting too easy, so I thought I would test out the range's automated target functions, and did my first ever edge/face drill.  Kept the target at 7 yards, had a 5 second delay, then target facing for 3 seconds, while I tried to hit the 2 body/1 head trifecta from low ready position.  This was a lot of fun!  Did pretty well too, even starting from low ready, although I have to keep my ego in check so this was .22 and no recoil. 
04282016_mozambique by baldrage, on Flickr
 
Closing thoughts:

1) Edge/facing mozambique drill was fun -- I definitely plan to incorporate the edge/face timing into some other drills.  Will try it with 9mm next time out.

2) Going to the range by yourself and focusing intently on drills really eats through the ammo quickly!  On most of my previous "plinking" trips, I would split the range lane with a buddy, and 100 rounds was more than adequate for an hour.  I just bought 1,000 rounds of Blazer Brass from SG Ammo, but at this rate, that's not going to last me long.  I will have to get some cheap russian steel-cased ammo and see how it runs through my Shadow so I can save some money on ammo.

3) Did a good job focusing on having a consistent grip, but I did not "squeeze the oil out of the gun" the way I should in order to shoot faster than 2 rounds/second.  Have to really work on this during my next couple of dry-fire drills.

4) Have to invest in getting one of the uplula .22 mag loaders modified for the Kadet.  After going through 100 rounds of .22 in about 15 minutes, my thumbs are aching!  Could also use an additional magazine for the Kadet.

5) Now that I've tried out various drills, need to settle into a detailed plan for the next trip to the range, with number of shots for each drill planned out and written down in advance, so I can benchmark and track progress.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 08:40:11 AM by baldrage »

Offline baldrage

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2016, 08:50:16 AM »
Dry-fire practice (May 1)

Spent 30 minutes working on grip, draw, and getting sights on target from low ready.  I noticed during my last trip to the range that when I was working the timed Mozambique drills, hardest part was getting sights on target quickly from low ready.  I was definitely raising, aiming, then firing, rather than aiming as I presented, so I wanted to practice the "elevator" approach to draw and low ready, getting the gun up to eye level quickly, then getting eyes on sights as I punch out toward target.

I put a 3X5 sticky on a door, and used that as target for dry fire from about 4 yds.  Focused on "aiming while presenting" and "squeezing the lemon" on the grip.  Grip felt better today, was able to engage pecs while squeezing.  I think elevating the gun, close to chest, then pressing out is what allowed me to get the chest muscles into play -- much easier to squeeze an object closer to your body and push out, than to push out to arms length before squeezing.

I already do chin-ups, farmer carries, and finger tip pushups as part of my normal workout routine, so my hands should be strong enough to provide a steady grip without getting too fatigued.  However, I did work up a little sweat while dry-firing due to squeezing the hell out of the gun.  I have added a kettlebell crush curl to my kettlebell workout to get some additional hand grip and forearm work.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 01:25:53 PM by baldrage »

Offline OlegG

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2016, 08:56:31 AM »
Good start. Definitely try different kinds of drills and then move to creating a specific training plan for each session. That's the right way to train, just like you would do for your workouts. Also, try the Dot Torture Drill from Todd Green's site - it's a great 50-round fundamentals drill and with 2-inch dots, will challenge you even at 3 yards.

Offline SlvrDragon50

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2016, 05:56:42 PM »
Those are some cool drills!

Wish my range would allow for rapid fire though..

Offline baldrage

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2016, 01:29:56 PM »
OlegG -- Thanks for the suggestion! Yep, definitely plan to incorporate Dot Torture Drill in the future.  Need to do some dryfire work on strong-hand only and weak-hand only first, though.

SlverDragon -- Thanks for popping in to comment!  As I mentioned in my first post above, your training log was what inspired me to start a similar one here on the CZ forum!  Stinks that you can't do rapid-fire at your range, but you could do a version of my "around the clock" drill (minus the double-tap at the end, I guess) to at least work on transitioning between targets.  If you have to shoot slower due to range rules, maybe you could criss-cross targets in an "X" pattern to make it a little more difficult, rather than going clockwise...

Offline SlvrDragon50

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2016, 02:30:05 PM »
Yes, I was definitely thinking about doing that, but I am not satisfied enough with my ability to consistently shoot a single target haha.

Maybe in a couple months!

Offline OlegG

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2016, 04:33:22 PM »
SlvrDragon,

You should definitely try shooting multiple targets. Having to transition from target to target will challenge you to keep your sight alignment an will help with improving it for single targets as well.

For my wife, I always include into her training plans either a Mozambique Drill (two to the body and one to the head) or an iHack drill (3 2-inch circles) or a Dot Torture drill which has 3 scenarios for multiple targets. She is a beginner (even more than me) but always enjoys these drills - they help her focus and break up the tedium of single target drills. Additionally, even for single targets, I vary the distances and set different goals for different targets.

This is very similar to physical workouts: you exercise different muscle groups at different days and to achieve maximum effect don't stay with the same routine for very long. Even subtle variations in exercises provide additional stimulation.

Offline baldrage

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2016, 10:57:54 AM »
Dryfire Practice (May 3)

Spent 15-20 minutes on the following:

- 25 wall fires

- 25 low ready, elevate, and press outs (slow), focused on strong grip (engaging pecs) and tracking sights as pressing out.

- 25 low ready, elevate, and press outs (half-speed) – as above, but added trigger pull, focusing on starting the trigger pull as I pressed out, and breaking the shot as I hit full extension.

- 30 strong-hand only wall fire

- 30 weak-hand only wall fire

- 10 fast transitions between two targets, from low ready, about 3 yards

Changed up my grip a bit.  I found that if wrapped/locked the thumb of my strong hand around the back of my support thumb, it opened up some space on the frame for the palm of my support hand.  Not technically a true “thumbs forward” grip, so perhaps bad from a technique perspective, but it did feel significantly stronger in dry fire.  Will test this out with live fire at next outing to the range.

Offline baldrage

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2016, 09:45:01 AM »
Planned to go to the range tonight, but kids were driving Mrs. Baldrage crazy, so I stayed home to give her some relief.  Got some dry fire practice done after kids put to bed:

- 10 wall fire (two hands)
- 20 strong hand only wall fires
- 20 weak hand only wall fires
- 50 slow draw-and-press, focused on squeezing close to chest, elevating to eye level, then punching out while focusing on sights
- 50 fast draw-and-press
- 20 dry fires transitioning between a couple of 3X5 sticky notes (about one foot apart horizontally, and two feet apart vertically) at 3 yards

Feel like my grip is coming together nicely, but hard to get it in place consistently when doing a fast draw.  Have to use my strong thumb to flip off safety during the draw, and I end up in a two-thumbs-forward grip, with strong thumb on top of weak thumb, rather than wrapped behind it.

Offline Lemming

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Re: baldrage's shooting log
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2016, 03:14:17 PM »
Just an idea to think about....

Modern sports shooting practice seems to involve moving the gun in a straight line from just after it's cleared the holster until it's fully extended. The L-shaped draw (up then out) is slower.

Once you've practiced enough the gun will arrive in front of your eyes with the sights in alignment. There's no need to try and acquire them during a press-out move (i could never succeed with that anyway).

It may be worth trying....


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