MORE GSSF Tips 2003

Discussion in 'GSSF' started by BCarver, Mar 31, 2003.

  1. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I'm proud and excited to announce that the FIRST of 35 threads that will be reported each week will begin tonight. The MORE GSSF Tips 2003 threads will run through November 22, 2003.

    The Master Class shooters that have volunteered their time and efforts to share with you their winning "tips" will be:
    Dale Rhea: West
    Tony Clemens: Midwest
    Jerry Worsham: South
    Stuart McDaniel: East
    Debbie Nosse: East
    Millard Ellingsworth: West
    Matt Kartozian: Midwest
    Dan Johnson: South
    Mike Finch: Midwest
    Bruce Warren: North
    Bobby Carver: Midwest

    The topic of each thread, reported weekly, arrived from the questions surveyed on Glocktalk a few weeks ago. Each New Thread will begin on Sundays and this will allow each GSSF'er the opportunity to read and ask the Host of the topic questions during the upcoming week.

    I encourage each and everyone of you to print these topics weekly and share them with friends that are interested in GSSF shooting and current GSSF competitors that do not have access to Glocktalk. If you know newcomers to GSSF, inform them about Glocktalk and the MORE GSSF Tips 2003.

    These tips will introduce you to the "winning methods" that have proven successful to the winners hosting each topic.
  2. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Host of Topic Question: Bobby Carver

    Question: What is the single most important thing to being a successful GSSF shooter?"

    Response by Bobby:

    Being successful in any sport activity or career involves many elements including:

    1. Dedication
    2. An understanding of the fundamentals
    3. Good equipment
    4. The ability to focus
    5. Practice time

    Most amateur shooters believe that you must have the best equipment to allow you to be successful. That may appear to be the most important "thing" but it's not. Since we are all using the same equipment, a Glock, in GSSF competitions, the playing fields are level and we all have "great equipment"!

    "The single most important thing to being a successful GSSF shooter is PRACTICE"

    Practice will allow you the time to improve your weaknesses and to identify your strengths. Do you think that a runner would enter a race without practicing his running and testing their running shoes before the day of the race? Of course not!! The same principle applies to your GSSF competions. In order to become successful in GSSF matches, it's imperative that you practice "some" before the day of the match.

    Here's my recommendations for practice sessions:

    a. Identify how much time you have available from your home and work life to devote to practice before competing in a match.

    b. Once you have identified how much time you can devote to practice, establish how much ammunition you will need or can afford for your practice session.

    c. The amount of time and ammunition that you will have available will determine how you will organize your practice sessions. Detail the objectives of the practice sessions. List what your weaknesses are, if you have competed before. Plan to spend as much time as possible on the weaknesses.

    d. Run through a GSSF match, at the practice range, the same way that you will compete in the GSSF match. This will strengthen your subconcious mind and will allow you to respond instinctively the day of the match.

    e. Record the progress of your practices, including run times and scores for each stage. Set realistic goals and work to achieve them.

    Through the course of the next 34 weeks, you will receive many tips that will allow you to build on your "practice methods" and techniques. The most important rule to remember, when practicing is, "utilize practice sessions for learning new techniques, avoiding the reinforcement of bad habits."

    If you have any questions regarding this response, please feel free to "reply to this thread"

  3. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    The second topic that will be discussed in the More GSSF Tips 2003 will be the question asked about "zeroing" your sights. The question was:
    How about commenting on "zeroing" your sights for those who use either adjustable open sights or Red Dots. For instance; GSSF targets are set from 5 to 25 yards, do you zero your sights at a 25 yard target or use some intermediate distance? Do you adjust your sights from a free hand stance or do you use a rest of some sort? I have tried both ways and everytime I set my sights or Dot using a rest when I shoot free hand as in a match my point of impact is off. If I set them from a free hand stance such as in as in a match then they give me better hit. Is this caused by me and something I am doing improperly or is this common?

    Dale Rhea will be hosting this question this week.
  4. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Host of Topic Question: Dale Rhea

    How do you sight in or “zero” your pistols for GSSF?

    Make safety your first concern every time you use your pistol.

    Before you can sight in your pistol you must select the ammo you are going to use for the match. Test several different kinds of ammo on a 25-yard target. You can begin the process using a rest, which allows you to check the accuracy of the ammunition without the variables of stance and balance. The initial requirement is that the ammunition is consistent. Every round must fire and you must be able to shoot a tight group with it.

    The next step is to test the ammunition using the techniques you will use in the match. Be as serious about testing as you are about shooting a match. Remember the importance of grip, stance, and balance. There are a number of factors to consider when testing. You need ammunition that gives you a tight group at 25 yards. Your ammunition should have enough power to make your pistol eject and feed properly, with as light a recoil as possible. A lighter recoil allows you to quickly come back onto the target after each shot. The same ammunition does not work for everyone because of differences in upper body mass, arm and hand strength, grip, and stance, so what works well for one of your buddies may not work at all for you, and what works perfectly for you may not work well for a female friend.

    When you have settled on the perfect ammunition, sight in the pistol at 25 yards. Do not try to sight in your pistol from a rest. The groups shot from a rest will be slightly different from your freehand groups, so sight in your pistol the same way you are going to shoot it at the match. Each shot should be carefully and thoughtfully squeezed off, being aware of you grip, stance and balance for each shot. Make sure that you are pressing the trigger straight back, that you are keeping the sights aligned perfectly and that you are pulling through smoothly.

    On my Stockmiester pistol I use fixed sights. Once the sights are set they almost never need to be changed.

    On my Unlimited pistol I zero the scope at 25 yards and check it before each match.

    Post by Bobby Carver for Dale Rhea
  5. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    The host of this week's topic will be Tony Clemens.

    Topic #3: Where do you focus your eyes when shooting the plates using

    When shooting plates using iron sights, my focus is on the front sight. A clear focus on the front sight results in a slightly blurry target and rear sight, but when trying to precisely align three items, focusing on the middle one results in the best compromise. Some say they are able to change their focus from target to front sight to rear sight, but that takes too much time.

    Maintaining a clear focus on the front sight during
    a run (whether on steel or paper) is very difficult, since it's a
    natural tendency to want to watch the targets fall. Well, when I start watching the plates, they stop falling! My most consistent, quickest runs with iron sights come when I remember a distinct, clear focus on the front sight for EACH shot.

    When you see someone hit the first 4 or 5 plates in quick succession, then miss the last 1 or 2, their focus has
    shifted from their front sight to the plates. Practice resisting the
    temptation to shift focus during a run. Practice seeing a clear, precise sight picture on each plate (or D1 or popper).

    Refer to Bobby's 1st post concerning practice habits. Sight in your gun so you have confidence in knowing the shot will go exactly where the sights are aligned. Refer to Dale's 2nd post. I use a piece of "scotch tape" on the left lens of my glasses when shooting with iron sights. This gives me one clear sight picture, and can help people with opposite eye dominance problems.

    Another tip I can give is somewhat hard to explain, but it works for me. Before the buzzer goes, I cross my eyes slightly so when I raise the gun to my line of sight, I have a clear focus on the front sight. I don't have to wait for my eye focus to switch from the target to the front sight, resulting in a quicker first shot. To help determine how much you need to intentionally cross your eyes, raise your EMPTY gun and aim at a target. Focus on your front sight, then slowly lower your gun while noticing how much your target is blurred. Practice this until you know how much to blur your target so that when your gun is raised, the front sight is in clear focus IMMEDIATELY.

    Speed comes from decreasing the time from buzzer to first shot and the time between subsequent shots. Don't "try" to shoot fast. Speed will come with practice. Shoot smooth.

    Bottom line - regardless of whether you're shooting plates or paper, let your sights dictate your shooting pace. Don't break the shot until your sights are aligned sufficiently for the shot required.
  6. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    The host of this week's question is: Jerry Worsham

    Question (Topic):The other issue and a larger issue for me is getting a proper sight picture at long distances. Using my sights, targets at 25 yards are so small I don’t feel I can consistently keep accurately aligned with the 10 ring. At these large distances my front site is about the width of the target so how do you get tight groups at farther targets? Also with focus if I keep my focus on the front site the target at 25 yards is very blurry and I can’t be sure if I am perfectly aligned. Now I do have bad vision at distances (not horrible but a little blurry) but I still have this problem with my glasses.


    A clear sight picture is important to accurate shooting. Unfortunately as we get older one of the first things we lose is the ability to have a deep focal range, i.e. the ability to focus on two objects separated by some distance. I have read that our eyes start losing this ability when we reach 19. I don’t know, 19 was a long time ago. What I do know is there are several things we can do to help improve our ability to shoot targets at distance with iron sights. I’ll mention the ones that I have used for GSSF shooting that have helped me.

    Distance targets are the hard part, particularly the 25 yard D-1. You basically have a choice, focus on the target or focus on the sights. Focus on the sights, if your sights are clear you can make sure you have them cleanly aligned. If you have vision problems the first step is to decide if you’re near sighted, far sighted, and/or Presbyopic. Anyone in their mid to late forties and later will start having trouble focusing up close, that’s Presbyopia. If you’re near sighted and this starts happening iron sight shooting can get real tough. The solution I found to be best for me was to get glasses with my dominate eye lens set to focus on my front sight blade, my off eye lens set for distance. This is typically referred to as mono-vision. I trimmed 30 seconds off my stock gun times the first time I used glasses set up like this. And that was the first time I had shot with the new glasses. To avoid having to close your non-dominate eye you can apply a short piece of Scotch tape right at the line of the target. This allows you to keep both eyes open without having your weak eye distract your focus when shooting. By keeping the tape horizontally right at your focus line you can still see down when walking between stages. Note: If you’re over 40 don’t wear sunglasses when shooting, the sunglasses cause your pupils to dilate and so reduces your depth of focus, this is not what you want! Smaller pupil openings increase your depth of focus.

    The factory Glock sights are great for what they are designed for, combat and self defense shooting. Unfortunately I find them to be extremely limiting when trying to shoot quickly and accurately, especially at 20 and 25 yards. The best solution is to find a good pair of black iron sights. I prefer the drop-in adjustable Bo-mars. Black sights limit the distractions you have to deal with when getting a fast, accurate sight picture. Additionally by choosing a sight with a thinner front sight blade and/or wider rear notch you make it easier for your eyes to pick up the sight picture and to get back on target, this is especially important on your second shot at each target. Thinner front blades hide less of the target and make it easier to find the center of the target. A less expensive but less efficient method is to improve your stock sights by applying sight black to them, eliminating the white outline and dot. Additionally you can carefully widen the stock rear sight notch with a Xacto knife and give yourself a little more light on each side of the front sight.

    Aiming is the last part of this equation. With a clear front sight picture your target will be slightly out of focus. At 5, 10 and 15 yards you’ll find you can still see the rings in good light, at 20 and 25 you will need to rely on aiming center mass on the target. I aim for where I know the center of the target to be. I know that my aiming point needs to be centered side to side and mid point top to bottom. Even with my glasses focused for the front sight blade I can still see the outline of the D-1 and pick out my aiming point. This is where practice starts paying off. Set up with a D-1 and try sighting first at 5 yards, check your overall sight picture. Now move to 10 and again check your sight picture. Do this all the way out to 25. This way you can establish exactly what your sight picture should be on your targets, especially the 20 and 25-yard targets. Shoot a few rounds and then bring it in and check. Repeat this drill until you’re comfortable with your aiming point and can find it automatically. There is no substitute for practice.

    Response/Answer posted by Bobby Carver for Jerry Worsham
  7. DannyR

    DannyR Moderator Millennium Member

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    Dec 17, 1998
    Stuarts Draft, Virginia
    Reprinted with written permission from Matt Burkett. I have Matt's new DVD and feel it should be a part of everyone's collection. Thanks, Matt.

    The concept of a continuous sight picture. Nearly everything you hear in
    training or at a match is see your front sight. I don¹t think that is the
    correct way to approach a major problem with peoples shooting. The main
    issue they have is that they don¹t see the sights when they need to, which
    is during the entire firing sequence and return to the targets. Most of my
    students would be familiar with the timing drills. One of the biggest
    benefits of a timing drill is that it would develop the ability to see the
    sight all the way through the recoil. That is how you shoot fast and
    accurate splits on target.


    Understand that the GRIP of the pistol is different than getting a GRIP on a
    pistol. This is a difficulty in common language usage especially when
    describing both.
    Recoil control or timing:
    The Issue
    Most shooters have a significant issue with recoil control. Well okay
    they don¹t have any recoil control would be a better way to put it. We have
    worked on flinch. If you can see your sight lift and return, your most
    likely not flinching.
    Poor recoil control covers a spectrum of problems. From not having a
    consistent return of the gun to the same spot you just shot to the hand or
    hands breaking and losing grip on the pistol. Generally I see either a hand
    readjustment right after a shot or I see the weak hand actually lose its
    grip on the pistol.
    Now lets define the issue. The concept of recoil control or timing the gun
    (from the shooters perspective) is to subconsciously return the sights to
    the same spot. This is a neuromuscular firing of fast twitch muscles that
    occurs .04-.07 of a second after the shot is fired. Notice is said
    subconscious. You have to set everything up right for and then let it
    happen. The top shooters don¹t look like their working hard when their
    shooting do they? That¹s a big hint. Their not!

    Common problems to address:
    Does the gun fit your hand? Can you actually hold the pistol in a good
    firing grip and actuate all safeties along with get a proper finger position
    on the trigger? If the gun doesn¹t fit you, how do you think you will shoot
    it fast and accurate? You will be able to shoot it accurate regardless of
    grip, but, not fast. Accuracy is purely sight alignment and trigger control.
    Another issue that comes up when people are shooting a gun that doesn¹t fit
    is that they can¹t index the gun consistently. Fixes for improper gun fit
    include modifications to the grip, trigger length, or maybe a different gun
    entirely. <A sponsor prompt here> If your using a 1911 or Wide Body gun, SVI
    has an insert trigger system (ITS) that allows you to change the trigger
    length, style, and even color without taking your gun apart.
    Is it slippery? I once had a student that had a full custom .45 and his
    issue was that the gun was just plain slippery. There really was no way to
    get a good purchase on it, especially with hard ball loads. I know this
    sounds like common sense, but, you have to be able to ³stick² to the gun. It
    didn¹t help that he also liked to silicone his gun. THE WHOLE THING. Grip
    and all! That¹s like greasing a ball bearing then trying to hold on it when
    it gets 150 g¹s of force applied. Good luck! Skate board tape, checkering,
    different grips they will all contribute to a better grip. If your sweaty
    hands aren¹t helping the issue any, get some Pro-grip from Krunch Products.
    Do you have a crappy grip that doesn¹t lend itself to holding the gun
    properly? Is there a gap between your hands? Is your weak hand thumb not
    pointing at the target? Is your weak hand actually getting on the grip
    itself or just kind of riding your strong hand? If you have seen Practical
    Shooting V 4, we mark the hands on Kevin to see if he is getting a
    consistent grip on the pistol. Have a training partner do the same for you.
    Then do 25 draws and see what happens.
    The weak hand needs to be an integral part of the two handed grip. For me
    that is where most of the recoil control happens. Trigger control occurs
    with my strong hand. Most shooters try to do too much with their strong side
    of their body. This is a natural thing that we need to overcome for really
    fast shooting. Fast shooting doesn¹t happen when the strong side is tensed
    up. This is when you will see shooters have trigger freezes, and horrible
    follow up shots. Sometimes it doesn¹t even look like they were shooting at
    the same target! A drill to work on that will help you bring your weak side
    more into your shooting is when the hands hit the reception position (about
    where you clap), the weak hand ³brings² the gun to the sight plane. This can
    help take the focus off the dominance of the strong side and help balance us
    out a bit. (Wouldn¹t it be a better world all around if more people were
    well balanced? I am talking mentally here though. J
    Pushing and pulling on the gun like the old style weaver technique. Alright,
    so this one never made sense to me. The gun is recoiling rearwards, why in
    the hell do you want to help it? Dynamic tension is a bunch of BS. When you
    have an adrenaline rush, what happens? You get stronger right? Use more
    gross motor skills right? Well here is a hint, what side is stronger? Your
    strong side, umm duh. That¹s why you will see a lot of shooters that use the
    weaver push their second shot low left. Their first one may be fine, but,
    after that when the pressure is on, it can have a tendency to go to hell
    really quick. If your pushing forward, using a positive pressure with both
    arms and get an adrenaline rush, what happens? Your just putting more energy
    into the gun in the exact opposite direction of the recoil. Not a bad thing
    Make sure your stance is solid. Have someone push on your hands in your
    shooting stance. (solid constant pressure) If you can¹t hold the same
    position, guess what the gun is doing.
    Make sure your relaxed and in a positive position. Tension kills fast
    shooting. Tension is different than strength. (That¹s a fun on to explain
    that I am not even going to touch here. If you don¹t get it, call me.) Can
    you wiggle your toes in the shooting box before the timer goes off? Bet you
    can¹t the first time you try. The nerve going to the big toe is the longest
    nerve in the human body. Guess what, if your toes are tense, everything else
    is tense in between. Take a lower abdominal breath and relax your abs. Focus
    on your stress and get rid of it.
    Okay so now you have a solid stance, your relaxed, have a good grip on the
    gun, and your can reach the trigger. Do you have sights you can see
    effectively? Can you make out the front sight clearly? Time to see the eye
    doctor? BTW if your over 40 and suffering the standard far sighted issue (ie
    need reading glasses) ask your doctor about a new procedure called CK.

    Drills to develop recoil control:
    Dryfire won¹t cure a recoil control problem. That is the one thing you
    can¹t do in dryfire. What it will develop is proper stance, grip, etc..

    The first thing I want you to do is to aim at a berm that isn¹t to far away.
    Say 10 yards. Make sure that it is a good backstop and your not going to get
    any ricochets. Load and make ready and get everything behind the gun right
    _ grip, stance, relaxed etc. Aim the gun at a target and just burn off the
    whole magazine as fast as you can. What did you feel and learn? Where you
    able to shoot all the way through the magazine without stopping and was your
    trigger speed consistent? Were you able to keep a grip through the whole
    magazine? If so, great, skip to doing my timing drills. (tip is on my
    website or in PSV4) If not, figure out where the problem is. Is it your weak
    hand? Did your tension build as you shot? What¹s going on? Have a practice
    partner help you diagnose the issue if necessary by having them watch you
    shoot. What is your body language? Can they see you tighten up? Side note:
    what is your trigger finger doing? Is it leaving the face of the trigger or
    bouncing on and off it?
    Once you can get that down, which may take a lot of ammo see if you can get
    a continuous sight picture during the whole magazine.

    An interesting note: A lot of students have found that when they were able
    to get their gun under control, they generally cured most of their flinching

    Take care and good luck with your shooting! Please email this article to
    your friends that it could help out.

    © 2003 reproduction allowed must include link to

    Matt Burkett
    7040 East Wilshire Drive
    Scottsdale Arizona 85257
    602-790-8838 cell
    480-947-2773 fax
  8. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

    Likes Received:
    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Host of Topic Question #5: Debbie Nosse

    Topic:&#9633;_____ At major match's my adreniline pump kicks in and my fine motor control is gone. I have tried deep breathing, trying to get into the zone, tricking my mind that it's practice, ask Matt Burkett, read Brian's book, monoter my pulse which hops ten when I hear the first shot go off, etc. I am amazed how hard it is to hit the center circles at twentyfive yards after hearing the buzzer goes off so I practiced just that, even. Some call it match jitters, some hyped, excited, but we all get it.

    Debbie's Response:

    Match jitters are part of every athlete’s performance. To enjoy an optimal performance, you need to have the proper equipment, the proper technique, and the proper mental focus. The purpose of this tip is to help explore the various techniques used to develop a good mental focus.

    In any performance-based sport, the participants eventually engage in exploring their mental game. In researching this tip, I found references to vision and focus in newsgroups for billiards, weightlifting, golf, tennis, and archery as well as firearms of every genre. The martial arts newsgroups offer particularly interesting information. I myself have practiced Tai Chi as an adjunct to shooting. A friend practices Tae Kwon Do to build strength. Both provide an opportunity to work on the mental game. I offer these avenues so you can do further research on your own. Just like in practicing firearm fundamentals, you’re only limited by the amount of practice time you spend on improving yourself.

    One beginning exercise for focus I use is to face the berm without a target in place and without ammunition. Force yourself to watch the front sight as you hold it in perfect alignment and pull the trigger. This is commonly known as dry firing and without variations or a bigger plan in mind, can quickly turn into a dull boring affair. Your task is to challenge yourself so this doesn’t happen. The way you accomplish this is to concentrate on only the sight and only the sensation of holding the gun and feeling the smooth trigger squeeze. You are trying to clear your mind of all conscious thoughts while you are shooting. This is more an internalization rather than a mechanical exercise. Repeat this a few times. If you feel yourself losing your focus, stop for a brief time to gather your thoughts and start again.

    The next thing to add to the exercise is distractions. I have seen and used everything from loud music, others shooting on the line, as well as shouting and/or quietly speaking to the shooter. Your shooting buddies can probably dream up more variations on this theme. You can add live fire when you can master your focus as well as quiet your mind regardless of what is going on around you. When you do go to live fire, aim and focus on the front sight. Forget about recoil. Forget about the berm. (Remember we are doing this without a target.) Focus on the front sight and watch it rise through the recoil of the shot. Remember to clear your mind of all conscious thoughts while you are shooting.

    Remember these exercises and strive to use them when you add the target to your practice routine. If you are timer-shy, practice while using a timer or some other start signal, preferably a loud one! Practice using both your shooting fundamentals and your mental exercises together, but don’t hesitate to go back to dry firing.

    These exercises are work for your conscious focus. Believe it or not, your mind’s subconscious needs some work, too. If you visualize a stressful incident, your body will react physically to the incident just as if it were real. For some people, the match in itself can be very stressful. How many times have you driven to the match, worried about how you will do, if your buddies will do better, or how many plates you will leave standing? I’m here to tell you that if you spend your idle time visualizing doing well, your performance will follow. Visualize yourself shooting a perfect match, walking to the 25 yard target and having all of the holes inside the X ring. Imagine yourself being congratulated by the RO and your fellow shooters for such an awesome performance. You should learn to expect an exemplary performance, and that you can and will achieve the same.

    I had someone on the line behind me once ask how I could shoot while someone was taking my picture. When I am totally focused I don’t even know the range officer is there, much less the spectators. I practice using the same routine I use in the match. I quiet my mind, get my focus and inner calm, give a nod if required. After the beep my focus is on a perfect sight picture and a straight-back trigger pull. For plates, this is especially important. Seeing that half-moon of white plate above the perfect sight picture, practicing just like shooting at the berm. You’ll get them all in record time, and have a great time driving home with your memories of the match.

    Posted by Bobby Carver for Debbie Nosse
  9. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

    Likes Received:
    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Topic #6-35
    Hosted by Bobby Carver

    Question: When running the plates does one stay focused on the front sight and transition across the rack or does one focus on the next plate in line and bring the front sight to that picture?

    Response by BCarver:
    I have been asked this question at the range and at a match more than any other question asked. I’m going to reply to this question the same way I may have told some of you in the past:

    Shooting Plates 1, 2, 3:
    I am right eye dominant and shoot with both eyes open. I shoot left to right and when I am shooting, “I stay focused on the front sight and transition across the rack”, aiming at each plate, getting a clear sight picture before I break the trigger and shoot the plate. In fact, when I focus upon the sight 100%. I do not know if a plate does not fall from the hit until I shoot plate #6 and rescan my rack with my left eye.

    When I’m shooting “focused”, I know that I hit each plate and don’t worry, when I go to the next plate. I don’t wonder if I hit the plates because when I have my sight picture and break the trigger, I know that I hit the plate whether I hear it or not. How do I know this? Here’s how:

    1. I DO NOT take my eye off the front sight, even when it rises upon recoil
    2. I break my trigger, releasing the striker “WHEN” the front sight is on the target
    3. After each shot breaks, THEN, I pivot to the right with the muzzle, with my eyes on the front sight until I see the next plate and apply 1 & 2 again.

    NEVER, EVER look at the plate and move the muzzle and front sight to the plate. Once you begin this habit, you will struggle to overcome it. NEVER, EVER try to watch the plates fall. “I know they look neat when you do 1-3 correctly, but watch them fall on film not at the time you are shooting them.

    Now, let’s be realistic, if you think that you will be able to shoot a 2.25 to 2.65 plate run the first time you try this technique, you will be fooled. This technique requires practice to development your confidence and accuracy. Here’s a training tip that I want each of you to try:

    Plate Training

    Prepare your training plates by using plates, (paper plates) for targets. Go out and buy a 100 at the discount or grocery store for about $1.50. These plates will be about 8” in diameter. Cut the centers of the plates from the plate. These will be about 6” in diameter. Staple these centers on a 7.5” 2” x 4” or equivalent in length. Staple your first plate 6” from the edge of the 2” x 4” and then staple the remaining 5 plates 15” from center to center. Place the 2” x 4” rack onto a saw horse that is about 48” in height from the ground. Now step back 11 yards and perform the following drills, focusing upon shooting 1 shot each plate:
    1. Using a start signal, simulating the commands and cadence at a GSSF match, shoot 25 starts, shooting only the first plate, recording or being aware of your first shot. Replace the plate with a new plate. (Note: reducing your first shot .25 of a second will save you 1.0 second in a match)
    2. Now that you have completed the first shot drill, perform 10 runs, shooting ONLY plate 1 and 2. Replace the plates that have been shot with new plates.
    3. Now, using the same start method, shoot another 10 runs, shooting ONLY plates 1, 2 and 3. Replace the plates that have been shot with new plates
    4. Now, using the same start method, shoot another 10 runs, shooting ONLY plates 1, 2, 3 and 4. Replace the plates that have been shot with new plates
    5. Now, using the same start method, shoot another 10 runs, shooting ONLY plates 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Replace the plates that have been shot with new plates
    6. Now, using the same start method, shoot another 10 runs, shooting ONLY plates 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Replace the plates that have been shot with new plates

    After each step, review your hits, focusing upon what you need to do to correct the next set of runs.

    NOW, place full size 8” plates over the 6” plates that you have been shooting and run through a full 4 run plate match, recording your times. Be sure and use the methods you practiced, not shooting too fast but one shot for each plate.

    After each of you attempt this training method, please let me know the results and how much time you were able to shave off of your normal plate runs. Email me at www.
  10. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Tip #7-35 Hosted by Millard Ellingsworth (editor of

    I just started shooting GSSF last Sept. and have been watching the masters who have been shooting all for many years. They all appear to recover faster from shot to shot. What type of hold and stance works best for faster recovery?

    Response to Question:
    I’m glad you mentioned both hold and stance in your question because the place to start this discussion is an understanding the “shooting platform”, which involves everything you do to support the gun. While your hold or grip is important, proper positioning of your arms, elbows, shoulders and upper body all contribute to a consistent reaction of the gun to firing which is the key to having it return to the proper place for a quick next shot.

    It’s hard to accept at first, but the less you try to do, the better things will go. “Old school” thought around the Weaver stance and grip had you in a tense “bladed” stance with your dominant arm locked out at the elbow and your non-dominant arm bent downward and pulling backward. The idea was to resist the recoil and muscle the gun into not moving at all (or at least to resist it as much as possible).

    The problem with any tense or “muscle-bound” approach is that without ever firing a shot, you can get very tired just maintaining it. As soon as your muscles start to fatigue, any chance you had at consistency is gone -- tired body parts don’t react the same way every time. The key is to understand and use the gun’s recoil energy, not to fight against it.

    A fast follow-up shot is completely about consistency. The top shooters get fast second shots mostly because they eliminate shot setup time. Their gun recoils just like yours does, but because of how they manage (as opposed to resist) the recoil energy, it tracks right back down on target ready for another shot. Yes, they have to aim for the second shot, but instead of finding the front sight and moving it back to the middle of the target, they just need to fine-tune the location while they are starting their trigger press. And they can do it over and over again all day long because they’ve learned how to let the gun do most of the work for them so that they don’t get tired. The approach many top shooters use is some variant of the modern isosceles.

    Sometimes it's even harder to tell where an idea really came from. This image is from the Airborne & Special Operations Museum archives showing pistol training for WWII. Sure looks like these guys are using many elements of the "modern" isosceles.
    Before I describe this more, it is important to give credit where it is due. I learned this from others who wrote about it and probably learned it from others still. It is frequently difficult in this field to really give credit to the progenitor of an idea or approach, so I’ll point to a couple of resources I’ve used as additional sources of information for you. Then I’ll describe what I learned from them.

    I’m a huge fan of Brian Enos’s book Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals. It blends real instruction with valuable exercises as well as some of the psychology of performance that is useful for any sport. You can buy his book, read additional material of his and interact with him at his web site, J. Michael Plaxco’s book Shooting from Within is also an excellent resource. With all the money you’ll spend on match fees and ammo, consider buying them both and spending the time to understand them. Ron Avery is a regular columnist for the United States Practical Shooting Association’s (USPSA) Front Sight magazine and a strong proponent of the modern isosceles platform. In this article at his web site he discusses his experiences learning and using the modern isosceles platform. His web site is at

    Enough preamble. The elements of the modern isosceles platform (quoted from the Avery article mentioned above) are:

    1. Muscles and tendons of both forearms, the elbow joints, wrists and hands are set in a medium to firm static contraction, depending on amount of recoil. The rest of the body is more or less relaxed, based on individual preference.

    2. Both arms are braced behind the handgun with the elbows at natural extension. This allows two pivot points at both shoulders. Shoulders are relaxed and down.

    3. Gun is centered close to midline of body.

    4. Recoil is absorbed passively by the body through both arms. The axis of recoil is roughly through the centerline of the body. The upper body is generally more squared to the target, though the spacing of the feet is a matter of shooter preference. Stability is achieved by shifting the center of gravity forward and keeping the hands close to the same height as the shoulders in order to keep the arms from pivoting up in recoil.

    5. The shooting grip places the heel of the support hand very close to boreline which decreases the leverage the gun has in recoil .as well as putting the tendons of the support hand and wrist in a straight line, resulting in a biomechanically stronger grip. Both wrists are set.

    The major difference between the Weaver and the Modern Isosceles is the active use of isometric (push/pull) tension in the former to control recoil vs. a static contraction of the hands, arms and wrists, passively absorbing recoil with the body.”

    Without some more descriptive text and a picture or two, that might be hard to get your head around, regardless of how accurate it is. Let’s walk through it in order.

    What you need to do is hold the gun firmly so that it operates properly and stays still while you are pressing the trigger. You can pretty much accomplish that with the muscles from your elbows forward. Tension in any other part of your body just tires you out and contributes to unrepeatable reaction to recoil. The proper grip creates some tension between the hands, wrists and forearms which provides the gun a stable location. Everything else is loose, allowing the recoil energy to dissipate rapidly.

    I frequently see the question “what do I do with my thumbs?” My advice is to keep them out of the way so they don’t get hurt. An important part of the grip is to cant the supporting wrist forward. Try this: Hold both arms straight out, pointing your thumbs at something directly in front of you, fingertips touching. Rotate your support wrist forward so that its fingertips naturally move down “one and half” fingers, aligning your support index finger with the groove between your dominant hand’s middle and ring finger. Keeping your trigger finger pointed outward, wrap your support hand fingers around your dominant hand’s finger. Notice how the gap that used to form between the heels of your hands (when the meaty portion of the pads were opposing each other), closes up naturally.

    Now do this with an unloaded gun a notice how much more of your left hand is pressed up against the grip and how your support hand grip helps keep your dominant hand pressed up under the trigger guard for as high a grip as possible. More skin on the gun means more control with less effort. With your hands positioned properly, you need only apply enough pressure to keep the gun in place. Also, notice that there is nothing for your thumbs to do. Allow them to chill out and point naturally in the direction of the target.

    The best description I’ve heard of how to grip the gun is that your dominant hand mostly grips front-to-back and your support hand mostly grips side-do-side. Because you want to have your trigger finger hand relatively loose (a tense hand means a less than smooth trigger press), most of your grip strength comes from your support hand. A 60%/40% split is the conventional wisdom. The point is to make sure that your trigger finger is free of hand-induced tension.

    The equal sides of the isosceles triangle formed by your arms place the gun in the middle with both arms providing equal support and paths for the recoil energy. This places the gun at the midline of your body. Holding the gun with a natural extension of your arms means it is also near eye level, so don’t droop your head (it will just make your neck sore).

    When the gun recoils after a shot, the path for it to follow is defined by your grip and stance. With a grip that is holding the gun at the centerline of your body, the gun will push back on each arm the same. Movement of the slide and the body’s inability to absorb all of the energy directly will cause the muzzle to flip up some. But the centered position it started from is the natural place for it to return to. The little bit of twist energy from the rifling will be counteracted by the tension in your grip (allowing the gun to return to a position where the sights are easy to find). Your elbows, upper arms, and shoulders will eat most of the recoil energy and your hands will drop back to where they started. The gun will be on target, ready to go again.

    Now, the other part of a quick follow-up shot is sight awareness and visual ability. It has been said that “shooting is seeing”, an aspect that Enos certainly discusses and that may be covered in a future installment of GSSF Tips from the Pros.

    To view demonstrative pictures of Millards response, click on the following URL:

    This topic and response was posted by Bobby Carver for Millard Ellingsworth.
  11. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    This week's tip #8-35 is being hosted by Tony Clemens.

    TOPIC: What order do you shoot the targets on Five-To-Glock?

    Tony's response to this topic is:
    Personally, I’ve always shot the targets on Five-To-Glock from left-to-right. We read and write that way, so it always seemed more natural. As with the plates, I tried right-to-left, but it didn’t result in better, or even equal, times, so I stuck with left-to-right. Everyone is different, though, so I suggest you try both directions and stick with whatever direction feels more natural and results in the best times.

    One thing I sometimes see competitors do, that I do not recommend, is shooting from near-to-far or far-to-near. If this is done, the shooter sweeps the same “dead space” between the targets several times during each run, wasting valuable time. Also, the distance between the targets is greater when they are engaged in this order. Whether you decide to shoot left-to-right or right-to-left, shoot the targets in the order that your muzzle covers them. Less gun movement is required to engage the targets as you come to them, resulting in less time elapsed.

    Shoot at a pace that your sights dictate. As in every shooting sport, do not break the shot until your sights are adequately aligned to achieve the desired result. A typical Five-To-Glock run will start off with fairly quick shots at the beginning, slower precise shots in the middle, and fairly quick shots to complete it. Shots at the 20 and 25 yard targets will take a more precise sight alignment than the 5 yard target. Take whatever time is necessary to get the required sight picture that will result in an accurate shot. An accurate 15-second run with no time added is better than a 5-second run with 15 seconds (or more) added for points down resulting from a lack of adequate sight alignment and careful trigger control.

    The Five-To-Glock stage contains the only shots in a GSSF match that are 25 yards away – make sure they are accurate shots!

    Posted by Bobby Carver for Tony Clemens.
  12. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    This week's topic is hosted by Dale Rhea.

    The topic was:

    &#9633;_____ Pointers on "How to tailor your loads for GSSF type shooting". Not necessarily looking for specific receipes but general steps the pro's use when developing their perfect load. Distinguish the difference in approach, if any, for developing your load for an Unlimited gun verses a stock gun. I know some may not currently reload but a high percentage do and more probably will in the future. Comments on powders, bullet weights/styles and general process. I am guessing that the most common calibre in GSSF in order would be: 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, 10mm and .357 Sig.

    Dale's Response is:
    Tailoring your loads for GSSF

    GSSF recommends that you use factory ammo. So unless you have a special reason or can make more accurate and reliable ammo than a factory I urge you to use factory ammo. You will have to shoot a lot to offset the cost of reloading equipment. If you shoot in two or more matches a month and practice enough to become proficient in our sport you will reload enough to defer the cost.

    Some reasons to reload are
    1. To save money, see above.
    2. Taylor the loads to the minimum power of the sport.
    3. Make more accurate ammo.
    4. Taylor the loads to your pistol.
    5. Solve a special problem.

    1. If you are really into this sport you will not save money by reloading, but you will get to shoot more. You will spend all you can on ammo either way.
    2. GSSF is easy to reload for. There is no specified minimum power factor. The minimum power you need is any thing that will knock down a pepper popper, perforate paper and last but not least made the pistol operate reliably.
    3. With GSSF you need ammo that can hold the “A” ring at 25 yards.
    4. You need ammo that will operate your pistol reliably. The Glock pistol was made to operate with full power ammo. If you are feeding it low power target ammo you may be below the lower limit for reliable operation.
    5. Small shooters may not have enough upper body mass to give the pistol enough to recoil against. The pistol may fail to feed or eject properly. This is sometime misdiagnosed as limp wrist or weak grip, the result is the same.
    I only use 9MM for GSSF so I will not be of any help on other calibers.

    I have been reloading for a long time but until my wife started to shoot GSSF I had not really learned to reload for the Glock. Rather than go trough all the trials and tests that led up to the final load that works I’ll just tell you where you need to be.

    My wife and I shoot the same ammo. There is no way I could keep different ammo separate at a match. Also maybe someone could explain to me how I could convince my wife that while her ammo is different it is somehow just as good.

    We use 124 Gr JHP Montana Gold bullets ( Starline brass (

    It is very important to use a fast progressive burning powder that will make the pistol operate fast enough to smartly eject the spent case and pick up the next round even while operating against a weaker shooter.
    Shooters with a strong grip and enough body mass will be able to use slower powder and may achieve better accuracy.

    Dale Rhea's response to topic was posted by Bobby Carver for Dale Rhea.
  13. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    This week's topic was hosted by Jerry Worsham:

    Question: How much do you care about sun angles, shadows cast over the targets, target condition, plate rack condition, activity on adjacent bay, who the RO is, etc, etc, etc....

    Answer: I think observing conditions is one of the most overlooked areas of shooting a GSSF match. I am much more interested in having optimum conditions than in shooting through the match quickly. In other words, I’d rather wait and shoot at the pit/setup that I feel offers the best opportunity for shooting a good match than move through another pit/setup with no wait. These are some things that can save you seconds on your score and they cost you nothing but a little attention to detail.

    As soon I get my sheets I walk the entire range and observe how the sun hits the targets, where the shadows are, the physical condition of the layout and certainly how the ROs are running the stage. After I’ve made my observation I then drop off my sheets where I think I’ll end up with the best conditions. Some of the factors I look for are: I look to keep the sun behind me whenever possible, bright targets make it easier to pick out the rings for your aiming. Even more important than that is making sure all the targets are in the sun or in the shade. When shooting from the sun into the shadows you’ll find your shots move, either higher or lower, even with a consistent aiming point. I check to see if the targets are all at the same height, no up and down movement as I run the D-1s. I like pits that don’t have hard walls on both sides like the one at Jax’s Gateway Rifle and Pistol Club, I find the echoes to be distracting. Same if you’re too close to another pit shooting at the same time, it can be distracting plus there’s always the off-chance of your timer picking up another shooters firing. How a plate rack works can make a significant difference in your score, a plate rack in good condition will go down quickly. I have actually made a second shot on the last plate of a run because the plate was falling so slow, it was falling but I reacted so quickly that I had the second shot off before I realized it was falling. Instant .5 second unnecessarily added to my time! Are the plates relatively clean, how long has it been since they were painted? You can always ask for touch up before you run your strings. And possibly the most important, I look for level shooting positions. Good footing is essential to a good stance. Your stance is the foundation of your stance, uneven footing can throw your shooting off enough to “blow a stage”, something you can’t afford in today’s GSSF.

    I also study the cadence of the ROs. Do they rush through the “Shooter ready, Standby, Beep”, do they leave you hanging waiting for the beep? Do they treat the match like an IDPA or USPSA match? I look for smooth, pleasant ROs, I don’t need any distractions while my shooting my match. We’re shooting a GSSF match and those are the rules I want used. 95% of the volunteer ROs are great folks and will do their level best to make your experience a pleasant and fun, the other 5% can really ruin your day.

    I usually shoot the 5 to G first, the M second and the plates last but if conditions are right for the M or plates at a given time I’ll shoot out of sequence to take advantage of the conditions i.e. Conyers 2002, the morning sun made shooting the M first the best opportunity.

    Sometimes you can’t find the ultimate setup, you just have to find the setup that comes closest to your needs. These things all add up and by making careful choices you can make your shooting more fun, efficient and your scores lower.

    Response to topic question posted by Bobby Carver for Jerry Worsham
  14. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Host of topic Question #11: Bobby Carver

    Topic Question #11: Red Dot Control you know follow the bouncing the dot. got the grip got the gun now what ?

    Controlling the red dot’s jump or bounce is dependent upon 8 factors:

    1. The scope mount used
    2. The positioning of the sight
    3. The weight of the sight and the mount
    4. The power factor of your load versus the recoil spring
    5. The grip
    6. The stance
    7. The vision of the shooter
    8. The transition distance from target to target

    Since this topic is related to GSSF shooting, I will respond to the topic with details related to, but conclusively, to GSSF shooting.

    The scope mount used:

    No matter what model or brand of scope mount that you use, the mount must hold the sight steady as a rock. The mount should be very rigid on the frame of the gun or slide if you are using a sight mounted on the slide. Without being bias, since I manufacture scope mounts, I will leave my comments as stated regarding the mount.

    The positioning of the sight:

    Controlling the “bouncing ball” or red dot requires many factors tuned to reduce the red dot’s bounce upward when the firearm fires and the muzzle rises. One of the most important is balance. If you are shooting a light weight mount and a light weight sight, you will get less balance control to counter the muzzle’s rise. On the other hand, if you position your sight forward, it’s weight will counter “some of” the recoil’s muzzle flip, thus allowing the dot to come back to it’s original position faster.

    The weight of the sight and the mount:

    The weight of the sight and the mount can serve as a buffer the same as the positioning of the sight. The more weight, the more mass to be used for balancing the firearm’s muzzle rise. Keep in mind, though, too much weight will cause the muzzle to DIVE, thus requiring the shooter to raise the muzzle after each shot. The goal is for the muzzle to come to rest in the same position after each shot is fired.

    The power factor of your load versus the recoil spring:

    The strength or power factor of your load will determine the amount of jump by the red dot, too. If your load and recoil spring are “tuned”, the muzzle should not jump much, thus the red dot will not move much and the muzzle will come to rest in its original position, allowing the second shot to be fired with the red dot on target. Whenever I find the correct load that shoots accurately and functions my Glock without any problems, I then “tune” my recoil spring on my U/L gun. I will use a lighter spring as needed or clip coils to get the right balance so that the red dot does not bounce too high and comes to rest without requiring my to raise the muzzle. If you have a stiff load and a strong spring to counter your recoil, the muzzle will flip from the spring’s tension, slamming the slide forward. A “tuned” recoil spring will reduce the amount of dot jump.

    The grip:

    Of course we all know the importance of the grip but let’s not fool ourselves; none of us are strong enough to hold your Glock tight enough to keep the dot from jumping. I recommend that you hold your U/L Glock with the same tension and strength as you hold your stock Glock. Develop a consistent grip for all models. If you grip either model too tight, you will decrease the effectiveness of your trigger control rather than improve the jump of the dot.

    I try to hold the U/L Glock so that my trigger finger is relaxed and my right hand (I’m right handed) is relaxed and just riding the grip. Using my left hand, I wrap my fingers around the grip, overlapping the fingers of my right hand and lay my thumbs along the side of the frame, pointing in the direction of the targets. I sometimes lay my thumb against the dust cover, in front of the trigger guard. I try to keep all of my fingers and arms pointing toward the target with the Glock as my pointer.

    The stance:

    A balanced stance using a wide base is important to all types of shooting. It contributes to the control of the dot, too. When you take a wide stance, with shoulders square and either the left foot or right slightly to the rear of the other, your pivot and your transitions will be smoother. One advantage to a wide stance, slightly leaning forward, is that your body absorbs the recoil better.

    I use a modified isosceles stance. I have my shoulders square and my feet are shoulder width apart with one foot about a half foot to the rear of the other. My knees are relaxed, not locked, and I push the Glock out, turning my elbows in. The reason that I turn my elbows in is because it the rotation of your triceps will stiffen your wrists avoiding jams from a weak wrist.

    The vision of the shooter:

    If you are near sighted, you may be able to see the dot easier than if you are farsighted. I recommend that you shoot with both eyes open, using the right eye, if you are right handed, to look at the dot and “never take your eye off of it”. Use your left eye to look at the target. If you have “tuned your Glock”, taken the right stance and have the right grip, you will never lose that dot. Remember, only pull that trigger when the dot is where you want the bullet to hit.

    The transition distance from target to target:

    If you are shooting targets 1to 2 feet apart with double taps, the distance is more critical and the dot has different characteristics versus shooting plates that are 18inches apart with one shot. In order to train your eye and hand to react accordingly, you should practice different transition distances from target to target.

    I watch the dot different when I’m shooting plates versus shooting Glock M or 5 to Glock.

    Managing the dot requires mechanical, physical and mental preparation. We can only minimize the dot’s jump with our mechanical and physical steps described, we must know where the dot is going to go and where it is going to stop requiring the mental preparation and subconscious trained reactions.

    I hope that this brief response to your topic question has answered some of your questions. Be safe, have fun and “keep your eye on the red dot”.

    Bobby Carver
  15. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    This week's topic is hosted by Millard Ellingsworth.
    The topic is:
    How about any specific suggestions for those of us (who aren't yet and probably never will be pro's) who are trying to help / encourage junior shooters? or trying to help / encourage our spouses or other novices? In addition to trying to help us become better shooter...maybe you can help us become better coaches? How do we keep from teaching our sons, daughters, and spouses our bad habits, too?

    Millard's response to the topic:
    First and foremost, coach safety. Be very particular about muzzle direction and when the finger can be near the trigger. When I work with my son, I verbally coach him about muzzle direction if comes more than 45 degrees from the target. Most sports will allow 90 degrees from downrange, but there is no reason, typically, to get anywhere near the “180”. Since behaviors deteriorate under match conditions, coach maximum safety, not tolerable safety. Nothing will end a new shooter’s interest faster than hurting or scaring themselves or someone else.

    Coaching is very different than shooting, just like coaching basketball is very different than playing it. Your first assignment is to make sure that you know what you are talking about. If you fear you have bad habits, make sure you understand the proper technique and can communicate it. If you can’t stop doing it the “wrong” way, make a point of not shooting when you coach. If your student sees you hunching up your shoulders and craning your neck forward, this behavior is likely to transfer regardless of what you say. If they see you milking the grip between every shot or holding the gun with cross-over thumbs, they may just think you haven’t explained that to them yet and they will emulate it on their own.
    Besides, watching you shoot won’t really help them just like watching someone else tossing up free throws in basketball won’t help them learn how to do it.

    Explain the basics, let them dry fire and watch them. Correct the things you didn’t communicate effectively. Then let them shoot while you continue to watch them. Do more correction. Always be gentle and encouraging -- nothing will transfer more quickly than your disappointment. Always take responsibility for their results. If they aren’t doing something correctly, consider that you haven’t communicated it properly or have tried to give them more than they could handle in one lesson.

    Another way, if you are serious about teaching them to shoot well, is for you to be the facilitator more that the teacher. Use a decent book on basic shooting skills and work through the book with your student, letting the author be the teacher and you the interpreter. This can eliminate some friction in the relationship as well. The NRA Marksmanship Qualification program provides a series of drills and levels of achievement that can be fun for a new shooter to earn (and there are even patches and pins that can be awarded).

    The hardest part of coaching is getting outside of your own head and body and observing the student, not the student’s shooting. Look at the hands, the head position the feet and body, watch the trigger finger and support hand. Is the student sweating or biting his/her lip? Do they have trouble reloading or working the slide? Don’t jump past the simple things that don’t seem important to you any more. It is harder to rack the slide or to lock open a gun than you recall. Teach them how to turn their body (and not the gun) and place their hands and arms for better leverage.

    What is most important is that they do things properly. Better scores will come from better practice. The best way to handle that is to make the early challenges very easy so that they get “good” results while they work on technique. If you use GSSF (NRA D-1) targets, start with them at 5 yards and keep them there until they can easily get all B hits or better. Score the targets only as a way of emphasizing improvement.

    It might be obvious, but go slow and watch your student’s comfort level. Their anxiety level will sap their strength quickly. If the range is a long way from home, take snacks and regular breaks, maybe even a book (or a GameBoy). Focusing the eyes correctly on the front sight, holding up the firearm, handling the recoil, and dealing with the anxiety (both theirs and yours) will wear a new shooter out quickly. If they are taking their time with the fundamentals of operating the gun and carefully aiming and releasing one shot at a time, don’t be surprised if they only get through a few magazines before they need a break. Conversely, force a break if the student (or the teacher) seems to be losing focus and just shooting because there is still ammo left.

    What to teach is relatively simple: safety and fundamentals. Until they can completely handle and operate an unloaded gun (or Airsoft replica) safely, no need to go to the range at all. Dry fire practice is probably the most valuable practice anyway. Because it can seem boring to the new shooter, consider an Airsoft replica gun (available at most gun shows or on the Internet) that can give much of the feel of operating the real thing without the same level of danger.

    When they start shooting, start close and coach the fundamentals until they can shoot groups of a certain size. In order to provide some incentive, agree with them about what that size is ahead of time. Once the goal is reached, move the target out and work back towards the same goal again. For an NRA D-1 target, this might be all “Bs”.

    Have lots of target tape on hand and tape after every magazine full. Once they start to hone the fundamentals, feedback is very important. After the first ten holes, it is hard to tell where the next ten went.

    If you can take it, have the student “teach” you. Make them free to comment on your hand placement or head alignment or trigger control. Teaching helps them better internalize the material. They will learn from your mistakes and you just might improve as well.

    The response to this topic is posted by Bobby Carver for Millard Ellingsworth
  16. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    This week's topic is hosted by Tony Clemens.

    Topic: What order do you shoot the stages?

    Topic Response:
    The order that we shoot the stages can be influenced by several factors:

    1. The size of the crowd at a particular stage can result in a long wait and tend to make me look for a different stage.

    2. The range layout can also affect which stages to shoot at a particular time of day, due to lighting, shadows, etc.

    If all factors are equal, I prefer to shoot the Five-To-Glock stage first (slower & more accuracy-based), then the Glock’M (a little closer, a little faster & some steel involved) and finish with the Glock the Plates stage (hopefully the quickest stage of the three).

    This preferred order can and will change due to the above mentioned conditions. If you have a particular stage that you always do well on, definitely shoot it first. It will build confidence, settle your nerves & lay the groundwork to shoot a solid, consistent match. If your early stages go well, you’ll tend to shoot a strong overall match. If not, it can affect the other stages, even though you’ll try to forget about it & shoot each stage separately.

    Resist the urge to add your scores, even mentally, during the match. Verify the times & scoring of your targets, but try hard not to add up your scores before you’ve completed the match. There’s plenty of time to add the scores together after finishing up. If you add during a match & go into a stage thinking, “if I can only shoot a ____ second total on this stage, I’ll set a personal best!,” you’ve almost guaranteed that you will not shoot to your potential or to your average times/scores.

    Shoot the stages in the order that you find most comfortable & that you do the best in, do your best in each stage, wait until finishing up to figure your match total and you will shoot your best match possible.

    Topic response posted by Bobby Carver for Tony Clemens.
  17. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    This week's tip is being hosted by Bobby Carver.

    Question: I've never had the pleasure of shooting in the rain. Are there any special considerations? I've heard red-dots look like starbursts...

    Bobby's Response:

    Shooting in the rain definitely challenges the shooter and their equipment. The most important approach to such "undesirable" conditions is to use logic and be safe. Here's the considerations that you should keep in mind:

    1. If you are shooting targets that have been covered by plastic to protect the paper target from the rain, "Focus" upon the center of the target as your aiming point. Since you will not be able to see the target rings, you will need to aim for the center of the target. Remember, the X ring is the center of the target horizontally and vertically.

    2. To avoid your grip from slipping, you will want to keep the grip of your Glock as dry as possible. If you are carrying your Glock in a holster, lay a piece of clothing or a plastic bag over the grips to keep them as dry as possible. (I carry a large plastic ZipLoc bag in my shooting bag for instances like this) If you are carrying your Glock in a bag or gun rug, use the plastic bag or rainwear to cover your Glock while it is in the safe position and not handled, laying on a table.

    3. Keep your hands as dry as possible.

    4. Try to keep your shooting glasses from fogging up or from rain drops. Use a handkerchief or a tissue to keep them dry. REMEMBER SAFETY: Don't remove your shooting glasses while the range is hot or someone is shooting. Get an okay from the Range Officer if you are on the line and need to wipe clean your glasses.

    5. If the ground is muddy from the rain, your stance "could" be effected. Take extra caution to maintain a steady stance. You may find that it is easier to "widen" your stance to get a stable stance.

    6. If you are shooting a red dot sight, you may be forced to use "both eyes open" for sighting and shooting if your lens are wet. You will be able to see the target with your nondominant eye and the red dot with your dominant eye. Reduce the brightness of the dot as low as possible to reduce the "starburst" effect.

    Even though the weather will cause you some interruptions during your match, it's been proven that once you hear the sound of the start signal, your subconcious mind will take over, doing what it is accustomed to, focusing on the red dot or front sight and directing your trigger control, etc.

    Unfortunately, we don't always have the best conditions when we shoot in competition. I use to get real nervous if the light was not "just right" so that I could see the scoring rings on the 20' and 25' targets so I began training on targets that had NO scoring rings. Now I don't care about the light, I'm shooting for the center of the target and not at an aiming point.

    Due to the durability of the Glock, rain and other weather conditions will not compromise the performance of the handgun, only the shooter, if they allow it.
  18. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

    Likes Received:
    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    This week's question is hosted by Jerry Worsham.

    Question: How about talking about which particular setup (if there are more than one at the match) of any given stage you want to shoot? Besides the number of people in the stack of names, what are the reasons (if any) why you might pick one setup over the other one???

    Answer: As I mentioned in Tip #10 when I get my sheets I walk the entire range and observe how the sun hits the targets, where the shadows are, the physical condition of the layout and certainly how the ROs are running the stage. After I’ve made my observation I then drop off my sheets where I think I’ll end up with the best conditions. If you review Tip #10, I think you will find all that material is germane here. In addition to the items I mentioned in Tip #10:

    I look for background and wind direction, especially when the layouts are set in various directions. A contrasting background is helpful when shooting especially at 25 yards. A brown background with the brown D-1s can really make sighting an adventure! I look for a level shooting position, level targets and constant light on the targets. If there are three setups and two are closely spaced I’ll take the third one with all other features being equal. Places like Statesville having 6 - 5 to Glock setups all identical with the morning sun at your back are great. They shoot one position at a time so you’re not dealing with another shooter’s muzzle blast distracting you. Another tip, if you move to electronic muffs use them several times before you shoot a match using them. You’ll find you hear things you never heard before, like echoes of the report through the trees! Actually turning them down to the bare minimum is a good idea.

    I avoid shooting from under a roofed area if I can, it adds to the muzzle blast and provides another distraction. Even the covers that GSSF uses can bring a definite increase in sound, especially with a compensated gun.

    These are things that can improve your scores, are easy to take advantage of, and cost you nothing but some time and attention to detail.

    Posted for Jerry Worsham by Bobby Carver.
  19. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

    Likes Received:
    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    This week's question is being hosted by Matt Kartozian.

    Question: What work do you do to your stock gun, beyond perfect sight-in? Like trigger work . . . polishing . . . sight choice . . . etc?

    Response to Question:
    First you have to pick a gun. For Am-Civ, Am-LE and Stockmaster my preferred pistol is the 17C with a solid barrel as it gives you the most options and a few advantages.

    An amateur shooter can shoot their 17C with a solid barrel in the stock classes and use the ported barrel for Competition class. You customize one gun and still have the ideal setup for two classes with just a barrel swap. The other advantage of the 17C is that the slide is slightly lighter which will give you faster slide speed and less muzzle flip.

    The first and most important thing to change on your GSSF gun is the sights. The factory sights do not offer enough light around the sides of the front when they are aligned and they are not very durable.

    The best sights are Bomars and Heinies. I prefer Bomars as they are precision click adjustable and you can match your sights to your load and hold preference. For people that prefer fixed sights Heinie makes the SlantPro in both plain black and tritium night sights. Heinies are also an excellent choice for those that want to compete with their carry/defense gun, as they are best combat sights as well.

    With either brand I prefer a modified version of the sights. With the Heinies I use the CGR Race Cut version. The rear notch is re-cut to allow more light around the sides of the front sight for better accuracy and faster sight acquisition.

    For Bomars I also prefer the CGR version. The standard rear blade with the large diagonally cut corners is replaced with a full rectangular target blade. The rear notch is wider and the front sight is thinner. Standard Glock Bomars are .115 rear/.135 front. CGR Bomars are .125 rear/.118 front. The full rear blade allows for a cleaner more precise sight picture and the wider rear/thinner front allow for faster sight acquisition and more precision.

    The next thing to work on is the trigger system. I remove all of the trigger components from the gun so they individually fit to the gun. All surfaces are smoothed, deburred and reshaped for optimal fit. After all fitting is complete I then polish all of the components with Simichrome and a high-speed buffing wheel until the parts have a mirror finish. The connector-triggerbar interface is lubed with a generous glob of Slide Glide #1. I have tried hundreds of lubes over the years and have found Slide Glide to be the best for this area. When complete the gun will have a 3.25—3.5 pound break weight with a clean crisp trigger. It will also have less stacking a faster reset and reduced overtravel.

    While I am doing the final polish of the trigger components I also clean up the feedramp. It is stripped of the black coating, deburred and smoothed with several grades of rubber and paste abrasives and then given a mirror finish with Simichrome. While this is not always necessary it will not hurt anything and I have found makes feeding a little smoother.

    I then respring the gun. As you are allowed to use Glock factory parts from other guns I use a CGR Speed Spring which is a 19 spring on a 17 rod. The 19 spring has a shorter freelength that allows the slide to cycle faster and reduce muzzle flip.

    Lastly I add grip tape to the frame. There are lots of options with stick on and sock types but I prefer skateboard tape. It has a good adhesive and a very rough and durable surface that works well in all conditions. I clean the frame first with acetone and then with denatured alcohol so the adhesive has a clean surface to stick to. I also spray the back of the skate tape with 3M Super 77 adhesive and once cured it will not move or shift unless you want it to.

    I prefer actual skateboard tape to the precut stuff as the skateboard tape is rougher and has a better adhesive.

    At this point I also cut a thin strip of 60 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper and attach it to the underside of the triggerguard with 3M double-sided adhesive. This allows me to full use the Burkett pinch and roll grip without having to serrate the triggerguard.

    Now go find a load that groups well in your gun and have fun.

    This topic response was posted by Bobby Carver for Matt Kartozian
  20. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

    Likes Received:
    Oct 13, 1999
    Jacksonville, Florida
    This week's question is hosted by Debbie Nosse.

    Question: "When at low ready waiting for the buzzer, does one focus on the intended target and bring the front sight up to the eye/target at the buzzer or does one focus on the front sight and transition this picture to the target at the buzzer?

    Response to Question:

    When waiting for the buzzer, I keep my gaze on the first target I'm going to engage. When the buzzer sounds, raise the gun smoothly but quickly, decelerating at the top so you don't "bounce" the sights. As the sights start to touch the bottom of the target, transition your vision to the front sight. Touch the front sight to the center of the target, put your finger on the trigger, line up the rear sight and pull the trigger.

    In your practice sessions, get into your stance and point the gun straight at the target. Then lower the gun using your shoulder joints only. This keeps your grip, the gun's angle, and position consistent. Look at what the gun's position is, so you can acquire that same start position in the match. If you keep a consistent hold on the gun through the entire vertical movement, you shouldn't have to do too much adjusting of the sights when bringing them onto the target.

    Moving the gun smoothly in a vertical line to the target can be more easily accomplished by lining up your natural point of aim with the first target you will engage. Your natural point of aim is the position where your muscles in a relaxed state allow your body, and thus your gun, to point directly at the target. The key word here is relaxed.

    The best way to check NPA is to assume your stance, close your eyes, take a deep breath, relaxing as you exhale and lower your gun in front of you. Raise your gun to the shooting position and open your eyes. If you are off to the left or right, you need to adjust your NPA by moving one foot slightly forward or backward. Repeat the check. After awhile you will be able to adjust your NPA without a lot of repetitions.

    While waiting at Low Ready for the buzzer, make sure you are pointed at the orange mark on the ground in front of you with your finger off the trigger. You are cheating yourself if you hold lower, and your competitors won’t appreciate it if you hold higher. : )

    One last thing. Move the gun at the first sound of the buzzer -- don't wait for the buzzer to finish. Most timers’ buzzers are .3 seconds in duration, and your reaction time is shorter than that. Practice at the range until you are smooth, and speed will follow.

    This question and response was posted by Bobby Carver for Debbie Nosse.