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Thread: Matt O's Training Journal

  1. #11
    Site Supporter Matt O's Avatar
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    Quick range session this evening to make up for the fact that I haven't been able to shoot in weeks.

    Some updates:

    Several days ago, I switched my Trijicon HD's out for the CAP/Pro Operator combo, so this was the first time I got to try that sight set-up out with live fire. It may very well be honeymoon syndrome, but these sights are fantastic. Recently I've been leaning more and more towards wanting to try a slightly shorter or more low-profile set up than the HD's on my main G17 or the Heinie's I have on my back-up pistol, and so far it seems I've made the right choice. After nudging the rear sight over a bit to put me in the black at 25 (now that I've finally purchased a sight pusher), I had probably one of the most successful runs on B8's at 25 that I ever have. I also changed out the trigger spring for an NY1 spring a couple weeks back, mainly to work myself a bit harder in dry fire, but I'm liking it more and more as I use it. It certainly makes SHO and OSHO shots, as well as precision shots in general that much more difficult, but it feels better during the press-out (or at least the incorrect version of the press-out I perform) than the regular trigger spring does. I'm not sold on it yet, but I'm also not itching to go back to the stock trigger spring, so only time will tell.

    The lack of live fire definitely reared it's ugly head during more rapid fire, as my recoil control has diminished somewhat. My splits were not terribly fast and I didn't feel as in control - it was more me reacting to the gun than driving it. Definitely need to work on that. That said, a huge part of my practice over the last several months and in dry fire has been focused on accuracy, so I suppose it makes sense that my more speed-focused shooting abilities have taken a bit of a hit. I'll have to work on striving for more of a balance between the two.

    B8 Bulls @ 25 yds: 92, 94, 95, 97
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    Dot Torture @ 4 yds: 48/50
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    FAST: 5.75 (1.82, .65, 2.2, .4, .37, .31) I feel lucky rather than proud of this one - definitely didn't feel I was in control of the outcome so, though I'm recording it, I'm not counting it as something I can achieve consistently, yet.
    Last edited by Matt O; 06-08-2012 at 12:50 PM. Reason: Lazy typing results in incorrect scoring, wrote 98 and meant 97.

  2. #12
    Site Supporter Matt O's Avatar
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    I've only made it to the range once in the last month and as a result, I really sucked it up at the KSTG match. I think I dropped at least 6 points or so and then, to really drive the point home, I completely forgot about the staying behind cover rule and rocked out 4 procedurals on a single stage, which rather put a damper on an otherwise impressive (for me) array of SHO shooting. Needless to say, I am not particularly pleased with my performance, but it certainly was a learning experience.
    Last edited by Matt O; 07-03-2012 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Misc edits

  3. #13
    Site Supporter Matt O's Avatar
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    This evening was the first time I've been able to make it back to the range for an actual practice session in quite some time. I spent the vast majority of the time working on accuracy drills, along with some draw stroke practice to an A zone at 7 and 10 yards, as well as some recoil and sight tracking drills.

    It became particular apparent to me during my last KSTG match in July that I had gotten incredibly lazy about front sight focus and I was having difficulty calling my shots. So I've been forcing myself to really hone in on my front sight focus, even if it slows me down some at the moment. It's a work in progress, but I have faith my eyes will get used to it and it will pay dividends in the long run.

    Overall, I had a great night as far as accuracy goes. I'm still chasing the elusive perfect score at 25, but I'm inching my way there. I'm quite impressed with the accuracy of my FDE gen 4 G17 so far.

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  4. #14
    Leopard Printer Mr_White's Avatar
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    Dang, nice shooting!

  5. #15
    Site Supporter Matt O's Avatar
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    So...8 months without an update.

    The Good: General business and ammo shortages have had me doing lots of dry fire.
    The Bad: As a result, I've only been to the NRA range about 5 times since Christmas.
    The Ugly: The lack of live fire has been taking a serious toll on my recoil management and accuracy (i.e. my dry fire grip was slacking and I was developing some bad habits).

    Then last month I got a chance to attend Frank Proctor's Pistol/Carbine class, which did wonders for whipping me back into shape and giving me some specific things to work on in increasing recoil management, sight acquisition and eye speed. Running the recoil management diagnostic at the beginning of the second day of the class was an eye opener as to how much I had been slacking in terms of support hand grip strength. That combined with a grip that had started migrating its way south, thereby losing leverage, left me with plenty to work on. Focusing on grip strength and grip positioning during the class (and since then thanks to some Captains of Crush grippers) seems to have been paying dividends though, and I'm being very careful to not let up on my grip at all during dry fire.

    5/23
    Not wanting to undo any of my hard work from the class, I went to the range today to work on recoil management (pistol & carbine) and some slow fire accuracy (pistol).

    • Slow Fire B8's: My slow fire accuracy seems to have somewhat recovered. I'm still hovering around a 95 average on a B8, limited usually by one frustrating flyer per group that screws everything up. I'm still chasing the elusive perfect score, though I've come close with a couple 99's.
    • Drill of the week: Shot the 3-2-1 drill, but didn't time it. I also just used the 3x5 to do some draw to 2 or 3 shots and had a bit of a breakthrough in sight tracking. I found that my eyes are usually pretty tense (for lack of a better term) as I'm straining to pick up the front sight, but it seems that tenseness was actually making it more difficult for me to track the sight. One my second string through this drill, I was more relaxed for some reason and all of the sudden, the front sight was jumping up in recoil and coming back down, but crystal crystal clear, technicolor clear. It's not that I haven't been able to track the front sight or call shots, but this was definitely a new level of visual clarity. I wasn't able to reproduce this phenomenon at will throughout the night (probably in part because I was tensing up in concentration to try to make it happen), but this is something I'm eager to explore more of.
    • FAST Drill: I shot one FAST drill with my G17 and randomly shot a (personal best, I think?) 5.23. It wasn't a cold drill as I'd already shot some B8's, but I hadn't shot a FAST in months, so I was curious (read=worried) as to how I would do. There's a lot of work to be done in shaving down my reload and I was actually pretty cautious with my 3 post-reload splits, but given how rocky my shooting has been over the past half year and the fact that I was just focusing on shooting it clean, I'll take it.
    • P226: I picked up a P226 about 2 months ago and I have been dry firing the snot out of it. While I actually like the DA pull, I can't seem to settle on a good grip that works for me and with an SRT kit installed, the SA pull is actually so short that I find myself anticipating it. In terms of the grip, I had a couple issues with my support hand pushing down on the decocker and I'm generally just not jiving with it as well as I had hoped. I'm not ready to give it up though, because I find DA/SA pistols rather intriguing and I can't see how working on this skill won't pay dividends for my glock shooting.


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  6. #16
    Site Supporter CCT125US's Avatar
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    A 5.23 FAST is great. The 226 is a good shooter, it started me down the road toward the P30 V3. I would be interested in hearing details on Frank's eye speed technique and any tips he shared.
    But hey, the country is going to hell and we will all be in re-education camps in a year. So what the hell do I have to lose? - Sensei

  7. #17
    Site Supporter Matt O's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCT125US View Post
    A 5.23 FAST is great. The 226 is a good shooter, it started me down the road toward the P30 V3. I would be interested in hearing details on Frank's eye speed technique and any tips he shared.
    I would say, the P226 is a gun I really want to like, I'm just not quite there yet. It has a lot of great attributes, so if I could just find a way to get my damn support hand where it needs to be and not be pressing down on the decocker, I should be good to go. This is what I get for having larger hands.

    Frank spent a lot of time talking about visual awareness in the class, both for carbines and for pistols. It would be hard to try to encapsulate a lot of what he was talking about in just a few sentences, but suffice it to say, he kept stressing the fact that the human eye is capable of processing information up to 60fps or so, and that the processing of visual information was key to being able to react and shoot quickly, as well as giving you feedback about what you're doing (or not doing).

    For pistols, Frank is a fan of the index draw and of breaking the shot as close to when your sights settle on the target as possible and thereby minimizing what he termed as the "delay." In order to accomplish this, it's critical that you become aware of the front sight as soon as it enters your field of view (which was far lower than I originally thought - more like at waist level). So we spent a while breaking down the draw (dry fire and live) and becoming aware of the front sight as it entered the bottom of the field of view, driving it to the POA and breaking the shot right as the sights settled. Now obviously the index draw is nothing new and it's favored by competition shooters and the .mil guys I've trained with so far (Northern Red & Frank respectively). What I found interesting about it though, was the focus on field of view and becoming aware of the sights, though not focusing on them initially. My index draws had always been about target, gun comes up, sights are on target, switch vision to sights (or at least as much as possible), shot breaks - so this was a bit different for me in how I was prioritizing my visual focus so to speak.

    In addition, we did a lot of reps of 5 round strings (again both on pistol and carbine) to watch the sights lift, paying attention to exactly how high the front sight goes in its arc and how it settles back in to your POA. Then we used that info to tweak our grips a bit, generally trying to get the support hand up as high as humanly possible to try to maximize leverage, and then test it by seeing if the arc of the front sight had been reduced or not. This was where I was trying to un-learn the poor grip strength habits I had been allowing myself to develop through excessive dry fire and not staying vigilant with myself about how much pressure I was applying. And to be entirely honest, the problem lies much more with the latter than the former as lots of dry fire should only ever be a benefit, not a detriment.

    Much of the rest of the class was about applying those basic principles to lots of competition drills with movement and target transitions, where the need for visual processing is that much greater than static shooting practice (which sadly encompasses the majority of my practice since I shoot at an indoor range). Needless to say we shot a lot of team and thunderdome-style (as Frank rightly pointed out, thunderdome is a far better term than man-on-man) competitions, so, as always, it was interesting to watch how things came together or fell apart under a little friendly pressure.

    Anyway, I wanted to respond to your question, but I wasn't quite prepared to write an AAR, so sadly you'll have to settle for my pre-coffee stream of conciosness ramble above. Cgcorrea was with me in the class and shot like a boss throughout the whole weekend, so maybe he'll have something else to add if he sees this post.

  8. #18
    Site Supporter Matt O's Avatar
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    As per usual, I never update this. I've been doing a bunch of dry fire and it has been paying dividends in live fire as well. I've really been trying to work on increasing the grip strength/tension of my support hand which has helped with sight tracking and reducing splits.

    As a general update:

    • B8's @ 25 - I'm averaging about 95-97. My trigger control in slow fire is starting to plateau, though the perfect 100 score continues to elude me.
    • Target transitions - Been working a lot on transitions and trying to increase my eye speed/visual acuity.
    • Recoil control - As mentioned above, I'm starting to see some real evidence of improvement here in terms of reduced splits.
    • Shot calling - I'm much more consistently tracking the front sight which has been, for me, the holy grail of shooting. There's still work to be done here but I'm very happy with my progress so far.


    I have been doing almost all of my practice from an open rig as I'd like to get started with USPSA. I ran 3 FAST's today, all of which felt a bit dis-jointed as I don't think I've practiced drawing from an appendix holster in several months. The first two runs both had a body shot out and were between 5:00 - 5:20. I could feel that that my draw and reloads from concealment were slow so for the third run I just tried to up the speed and keep everything as smooth as possible. This is the first time I've had a sub-5 second clean run: 1.59, 0.53, 1.95, 0.25, 0.26, 0.24



    The draw and splits aren't particularly awe inspiring, so I imagine with some deliberate practice on AIWB draws and reloads from concealment, I can knock this time down by a bit more.

    I also happened to pick up a CZ SP-01 so I'm looking forward to giving that a spin.

  9. #19
    Site Supporter Matt O's Avatar
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    The Good: I finally made it to the range last week after 6-8 months of no practice and very intermittent range trips for the year prior to that. Work/school/family commitments are eating up virtually all of my free time. That said, however, I did notice that after a certain interval of not going to the range, it became easier to come up with an excuse not to practice than to set up a range trip even when I had a sliver of time to do so. Part of this likely has to do with a conscious or subconscious acknowledgement of how far my skills have atrophied.

    So I have officially ripped off the band-aid. I have but a slim margin of the free time I had before to dedicate to practice and as such, my practice will likely be weighted more towards dry fire than live fire, but I felt it was important to try and re-instate this journal in an attempt to hold myself accountable and maintain motivation.

    The Bad: My skills have indeed atrophied rather drastically. I accidentally left my timer at home so this range session became more about re-familiarizing myself than specifically benchmarking where my skills are (I will have to save that likely disappointing experience for the next range session ). Despite not having a timer, I noticed I was blinking and not calling shots, as well as suffering from poor recoil management. Slow fire was surprisingly decent, but more rapid fire drills, such as my attempt at the Garcia dot drill...left much room for improvement.

    The Ugly: I have developed an occasional trigger snatching tendency. This combined with the blinking caused me to pull shots low while not noticing it at the time, and then engage in eye sprinting for subsequent shots.

    Going Forward: When I was practicing more regularly a year or so ago, I was tracking my times on various drills and had achieved several personal bests. I am going to start putting some of these personal bests up as an initial set of goals in that they represent where I want to be in terms of on-demand skill. I am not yet sure if this is doable given my reduced practice time, but there's no sense in aiming too low.

    Goals:
    B8: 99
    Bill drill: 2.17 (from concealment)
    FAST: 4.82

    Current Scores:
    B8: 95
    Bill drill: N/A
    FAST: N/A

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    Last edited by Matt O; 04-24-2015 at 09:18 AM. Reason: Added picture.

  10. #20
    Site Supporter Matt O's Avatar
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    May Update

    I was only able to get one live fire range trip in this month. I was also not able to dry fire as much as I had wanted and had also been cheating my support hand grip a bit in dry fire which manifested itself during the live fire practice session.

    FAST: I shot 3 FAST tests with my 92A1 and 3 also with the 1911 (for the first time). All runs with the 92 were 6.xx-7.xx seconds once penalties were factored in - none were clean. The lack of live/dry fire was resulting in slower draws which was causing me to rush the body shots and this combined with a weaker SH grip resulted in 1-2 body shots out on each run. The first run with the 1911 was epic-levels of suck at something like 10 seconds (with penalties included), with a fouled draw and reload, a missed head shot and 2 body shots out. The second run I still managed to catch my shirt with the draw and pulled off a 7.43 clean. The last run I had a body shot out, again due to a weak grip and rushed shots, for a 6.91 with penalty included.

    Bill Drill: I shot 3 bill drills with the Beretta from concealment @ 2.49 clean, 2.38 (w/ 2 out) and 2.51 (w/ 1 out).

    I definitely need to up the dry fire and really focus on my draw speed and maintaining maximum SH grip pressure. Going to try to get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to make this a daily routine.

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