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More GSSF Tips #18-35

Discussion in 'GSSF' started by BCarver, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    This week's Tip is hosted by Dale Rhea.

    Question: What is the best way to practice for the plates when you are unable to shoot metal at your range and still build up your speed? For the Unlimited Class, sight picture and trigger control are first so how do you work on the rythm for speed on the plates?

    Dale's response to this topic is as follows:

    Every time you use your pistol, make sure safety is your first concern.

    Plates are incredibly difficult to shoot well. The bright white circle grabs your attention and causes you to lose focus because it makes you look at the plate rather than at your sights. The result is disastrous.

    The inability to practice on steel targets actually is a blessing in disguise. When you are learning, the noise and movement of real steel plates will distract you. The best way to learn the techniques for speed on steel is by practicing on paper targets.

    First, you need to make a virtual plate rack. Any cardboard will work; just paint a white 8-inch circle in the middle. It is important to have a brown border around the “plate” so you can see where your misses are going. I use NRA D-1 (tombstone) targets and paint the 8-inch center of the target white. Set up 6 of these targets so the “plates” are 12 inches edge-to-edge. Get both brown and white target pasters. Using the correct color pasters will help maintain the visual integrity of the paper “plate rack” and allow it last longer. Pasters and targets are available from www.targetbarn.com

    Going fast on the plates requires your very best techniques. Your grip, stance and balance are more important here than on any other stage. When you are practicing, try to simulate the match. Pick out the center of the first plate. At the start signal, raise the pistol and align the sights on that spot. You should see a crisp sight picture with a slightly blurry plate behind it. Hesitate just a little on the first plate. If you miss that first shot the rest of the run is down the tubes. Don’t jerk. Aim, then squeeze the trigger until you feel it break. When the shot breaks, immediately move your eyes to the next plate. Don’t look for your hit; look at the next plate and move the pistol over and align the sights on it as you release the trigger to the reset position. As the pistol comes out of recoil you should be aligning on the next plate, feeling the trigger reset and pulling your focus back to the front sight so you regain that crisp sight picture. Feel the trigger, let it break, then move on to the next plate. Be sure to follow through on the last plate so you will not try to finish too fast and jerk the last shot.

    You don’t need a timer to become a good plate shooter, but after you become competent, will need one in order to become a great plate shooter. Using a timer will help you see the time to your first shot and the time between shots. As you make minor adjustments to your shooting, the timer will help you see whether the changes are helping you go faster. When practicing without a timer, start from the low ready, and simulate the range instructions, saying to yourself, “Are you ready? Standby. Beep.”

    Using a red dot sight makes shooting plates both easier and faster. Your focus is totally on the plates. When you see the dot coming onto the plate, squeeze until you feel the trigger break, then move on to the next plate. If you missed you either jerked or the pistol needs to be sighted in.

    In order to go fast you must be relaxed. At the match, remember to stay within your ability. You cannot shoot the stages faster during the match than you can in your practice sessions. Many good shooters shoot the match a little slower than they shoot in practice in order to handle the adrenalin generated by competition. Stay focused on what you are doing. Don’t let other shooters distract you. If you find yourself thinking about anything other than the plates ask for timeout and refocus.

    I have seen great plate runs shot from either right to left or from left to right. Shoot in the direction that feels right for you. If you are going at warp speed with a scoped pistol you may want to go from right to left to avoid the possibility of a jam caused by the gun colliding with the ejected brass.

    Dale's response is posted by Bobby Carver for Dale Rhea.
     
  2. coyote 30

    coyote 30 COYOTE HUNTER!!

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    Thanks Dale for this info. It is something I can work on and get better at. Some matches I can really fly through the plates and then other matches I can't hit a plate to save my life. I think it is all concentration. Some matches I have it and others I lose that focus. I watch you at the matches and I can really see that focus especially on the plates. That is why I have seen some 2 second plate runs out of you.
    A lot of this shooting is in the mind and concentrating on the task at hand. And like you said, go as fast as your ability will allow you to go until you get better and pick up speed.
    Thanks again for the tips and to Bobby Carver for putting them together. They have really helped me and my 14 year old step- son who just finished his first summer of GSSF competition. Bruce Clemans
     

  3. jay.shebuski

    jay.shebuski

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    ...I read your post...and I'm thinking WOW!!..Dale really has fast eyes.

    I can't focus my eyes that fast. Say,..to shoot a 3 second run..that would mean focusing my eyes 12 different times..that's like 4 different focuses a second (from plate to front sight).

    ...when I shoot the plates..I see all of them, that are standing, through the entire run.

    I start by sighting in on the 1st plate, focus my eye on the front sight w/a blurred plate, then go to low ready..still looking @ that 1st plate and retaining the same focus (plate is still blurry).

    ..@ tone.. the front sight comes up, in focus..trigger pressure..front sight up..still focused.down on fuzzy plate.pressure..sight up..you get the idea. But, though I am focusing my eyes on the front sight..I see the fuzzy plate it's on..and all the others as I run the rack.

    ..I also wear "ear plugs" and "muffs" so I don't hear the plates "ding". Something I picked up from one of the female GTers. REALLY helped me!!!

    Pausing doesn't help me. If I see what I need to see, there is no need for a pause.

    ..anyways, just a different technique, that might help someone else.

    Jay
     
  4. Fireglock

    Fireglock Which is worse?

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    Jay, help me out here. You see all the standing plates through the run, but you "see" one plate while focusing on the sights as you shoot. Are you concentrating on one plate? When you say you are seeing the standing plates are we talking peripheral vision? What is the benefit of seeing all the plates at the same time?
     
  5. jay.shebuski

    jay.shebuski

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    .....I think the trick is, to see "everything".

    My eye focus is on the distance the front sight is @.

    The plates are all there. My front sight just does the "bouncing ball" front right to left as I pressure the trigger on each plate.

    ....try looking down range @ the plates from the start table. Blurr your vision and go from plate to plate. You see all the plates as you go from L-R or R-L..now just throw a front sight up there, and do the same thing..that's it.

    ..I think the benefit of seeing all the plates is no hesitation as you run the rack. It allows me to have a "smooth" R-L run. I don't have to find each plate individually. I see it coming all the way from the start tone.

    Jay
     
  6. Fireglock

    Fireglock Which is worse?

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    OK, that's no different than how it appears to me. Your description made it sound like you were doing something strange. With my eyes and my shooting glasses I don't have to fight focusing on the plates, I can't, the lens is set for the front blade.