Shooting

Area 5 Steel Challenge Championship

Thanks to John Holbrook for the awesome picture! His site is ThruMyLens.org.

Earlier this year, we went to the Georgia state match as our “ice breaker” match of the year. The pandemic either canceled or postponed matches, so now we have our second ice breaker match! Area 5 was not only extremely fun, but I shot a few personal bests too! Before the match, I was already in good spirits because I found out some good news: I had an honorable mention for a high school writing contest I participated in. This is exciting to me because I took the chance of submitting my favorite short story to see what it could do.

For my first time in Indiana, I had a great time! Not going to lie, on the way to Indiana, I felt like I was in an extended version of North Texas going by all the fields. We made it to the match area early Friday morning. Friday afternoon, I shot PCCO and PCCI. That was my second time shooting our JP at a major match, so I was trying to see how many seconds I could take off of my total time. In the end, I took 5.54 seconds off PCCO and 8.11 seconds off PCCI! Couldn’t have gone better! Another thing that made me happy during this match was I shot stages I haven’t seen since March.

Saturday morning, I shot RFPO and RFPI. I tried not to push too much, but I only managed that in a few stages. Still, I ended up taking 0.16 seconds off my best time in RFPO and 5.56 seconds off my best time in RFPI! Although I wish I would have shot better on a few stages, I am happy with how I ended.

Saturday afternoon, I shot Production! Phew! Same as my PCC, this was my second time shooting Production at a major match. I shot a 193.65 in Production at the Georgia state match. At this match, I shot a 164.66; I lost 28.99 seconds! I am proud of myself for how I could regain composure during most of the times I started getting too fast for myself. Overall, I figured a lot out during this match! One of these lessons is that at the next match, I need to do what I wanted to do at this match: one for one while being sure to squeeze the trigger. Getting excited definitely hurt me while shooting my Glock, but it happens!

Now to Sunday! I shot my two favorite divisions: RFRO and RFRI. Before I get into that, I will say that I am starting to love shooting Production more than or equal to my Rimfire Rifles. I may still have some trouble with Production, but I love it nonetheless. With my rifles, I shot around my best times on most of the stages, but I now know which stages fell behind during the time of no matches. Also, I shot better with Open Rifle than I did Iron Rifle! That hasn’t happened since Alabama State last year and the difference was .3 seconds. I still had a great time shooting my rifles, so it wasn’t a loss!

Next, I will talk about my prematch/match thoughts. Before this match, I was worried. It had been a while since I shot several of the stages or I shot them once since Georgia. I tried not to let it bother me too much. When I made it to the shooting box, my stomach was twisted and I felt nauseous. After taking a deep breath, I usually felt better. For some stages, I had more confidence than others. For other stages, I didn’t push enough in an attempt to not push too hard, so I didn’t do as good as I wanted. The one thing this match break didn’t falter in me was my excitement to see friends! It seems that I forgot how much I loved matches during the break, but I had a full reminder right before and during the match. I still feel the excitement of the match!

At this match, I shot 30 personal bests out of the 7 divisions I shot. For the Steel Challenge Top 20 lists, this match allowed me to be in 8th for GM PCCI, 2nd for Master PCCO, 13th for Master RFPO, and 8th for GM RFRI!

Finishing times and places:

RFRO overall time and finish: 13th with 70.23
RFRO Division: 7th out of 79
RFRO Lady Category: 2nd out of 15
RFRO Junior Category: 3rd out of 10

RFRI overall time and finish: 14th with 71.34
RFRI Division: 3rd out of 38
RFRI Lady Category: 1st out of 8
RFRI Junior Category: 1st out of 7

RFPO overall time and finish: 52nd and 83.05
RFPO Division: 9th out of 64
RFPO Lady Category: 3rd out of 13
RFPO Junior Category: 4th out of 10

RFPI overall time and finish: 70th and 86.06
RFPI Division: 2nd out of 32
RFPI Lady Category: 1st out of 4
RFPI Junior Category: 1st out of 4

PCCO overall time and finish: 31st and 76.08
PCCO Division: 8th out of 57
PCCO Lady Category: 2nd out of 11
PCCO Junior Category: 3rd out of 9

PCCI overall time and finish: 30th and 75.96
PCCI Division: 2nd out of 15
PCCI Lady Category: 1st out of 4
PCCI Junior Category: 1st out of 3

PROD overall time and finish: 327th and 164.66

This match was very well ran. Alongside the hospitality of the range, the ROs were enjoyable! They knew what they were doing and they did their job well. Steve Wright was the Match Director who put on this great match!

We also went to a restaurant for the first time since Georgia! Since everything has been going on, I have wanted to see what restaurants looked like with my own eyes. It was very interesting to see all the spaced tape, blocked tables, and employees with masks.

I had a great time seeing friends for the first time in months too! Honestly, I was kind of worried that I would be nervous to talk to everyone after not seeing them for so long, but I actually did pretty good. There were some moments where I was surprisingly talkative! I can’t wait to see everyone soon!

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Sponsors:

Rangestore.net
Steel Target Paint
Hunters HD Gold
Vortex Optics
JP Enterprises
GT Targets

Shooting

2020 Georgia State Steel Match

My first major match of the year is complete! I’m sure the weather reflected some people’s feelings about this match: uncertainty. This was the match that allowed people to know where their times changed since their last match. Like I said in my last post, some people changed setups and tried different tactics on the stages. During the first match of the season, shooters can determine how helpful their changes were. Plus, we are able to see friends for the first time in months! Some shooters may not have the opportunity to shoot all eight stages during the off-season; the first match of the season shows the shooter where/if they gained time. All in all, the first match of a new season is important and fun for everyone!

At this match, several exciting things happened: I received my Team Steel Target Paint jersey, met up with friends, made new friends, set personal bests, shot all eight stages in three centerfire divisions for the first time, and became the first lady to shoot all eight  stages with an iron-sighted rifle in under 70 seconds. This match was a blast!

On Thursday, I shot my first major match with PCCO, PCCI, and Production. My JP Enterprise PCC was shot a lot throughout the weekend and there were no problems! With Georgia being my first match with the Glock, I wasn’t too sure how it was going to turn out. In the end, I didn’t win anything, nor did I expect to, but I did gain confidence in my ability to shoot Production. Learning the ropes of centerfire pistol has been a learning experience for me. I’ve had literal blood, sweat, and tears at practice but it was well worth it!

On Friday, the weather was much better than on Thursday. I shot both rimfire rifles in the morning and both rimfire pistols in the afternoon. My squads were extremely enjoyable. Last year is a bit of a blur to me now (so much has happened), but I do remember the great food at this match! Before I even thought about packing for the trip, my dad was making remarks about the awesome peach cobbler. We were sure to grab a bowl before it was all gone!

My goal was to shoot in the sixties with my rimfire rifles. I made that goal with my iron-sighted rimfire rifle. My final time was 69.68 seconds! Now that I shot in the sixties once, I gained confidence in my ability to do it again and with both rifles. I am starting to realize that this match was a confidence boost for me. Not because I won a plaque or anything, but because I shot a fairly decent first match of the season. With my Glock and PCC, I shot my first full match. With my iron-sighted rimfire rifle, I shot in the sixties for the first time. Also, I shot my first full match with our new Volquartsen Scorpions. When I was preparing to start this season, I forgot to consider match anxiety. Now that I shot my first match for 2020, match anxiety can be conquered!

On Saturday, my sister, our dad, and I all RO’d on different squads. This meant that I had to rely on my own judgement for calls as an RO. Although nerve wracking at first, I got the hang of it and started to become more confident in my ability. Thanks to two awesome squads, I had several opportunities to learn more about prompt decision making.

I conclude my blog with this: thank you to everyone involved in the match. Many work hard in organizing the matches we all love and they need acknowledgement. However, the competitors are also important for Steel Challenge. Without competitors, there would be no reason for matches to happen.

Thank you for reading my blog!

This wouldn’t have been possible without my sponsors:

  • Rangestore.net
  • Steel Target Paint
  • Hunters HD Gold
  • Vortex Optics
  • JP Enterprises
  • GT Targets
Shooting

Starting Fresh

During the off-season, some competitive shooters try new equipment, new bullets, new setups, and some even use the whole off-season as a break. This last off-season, we tried several new things; we received our first PCC, started reloading, tried a different stock, and worked on our centerfire handguns. With trying new things, comes change. Some people may not like change, and that’s fine, but change is what makes us grow. It is essential to try new things and get out of our comfort zone. I know I did that several times during this last off-season! It is hard starting fresh with something new, but sometimes starting fresh is what we need.

At my first local match with Production, I was first and last place; first with Rimfire Rifle Irons and last with Production. This is what I mean by change can be hard. Sometimes I forget how difficult it was for me to get where I am with my Rimfires, but I was reminded at that match. Starting fresh with the Glocks has already helped me grow so much! Plus, trying new things can be beneficial for things you already do. Here’s an example: my Glock taught me to grip the gun. This has helped me with my Rimfire Pistols. In an effort to quit anticipating the recoil of the Glock, my trigger pulling has gotten better with the Rimfires too.

Here’s another idea with this topic: don’t focus on big goals when you first start something new. Focus on the small goals you meet. This is possible to do while maintaining high standards of yourself! If you go to practice and try to quicken transitions, be happy if you meet that goal even if you don’t do so great at something else. It is good to notice when you mess up so you can fix it, but don’t dwell on the mistakes. This can cause you to become discouraged and lose confidence in your abilities.

With this in mind, some people are going to be more naturally talented than you at some things. If you start a new hobby or division with someone, your friend may excel at a quicker rate than you. This is why it’s important to not focus on other people’s time, but on yours alone. I tell myself this with my Rimfires also. It isn’t about how much faster someone is than you, but its about how much you progressed since the last time you shot.

Shooting

Florida State Steel Challenge Championship

We drove all the way from East Texas to Okeechobee, Florida for the State Championship! I used to think our Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee trips were far, but after this trip, nothing compares.

There is one thing about this match that I love: they had a practice tier 1 match on Friday. This allows competitors to shoot the whole match a day before the state match begins. Since we aren’t able to regularly practice all the stages, I was happy to warm-up before I shot two stages, in particular, for the first time in a while. The warm-up day is not only a good idea for preparation, but it leaves competitors feeling confident. At the warm-up match, I shot a 78.73 with my RFRO and a 74.85 with my RFRI.

My dad, sister, and I were ROs for the whole match. I shot in a separate squad from them, so the experience was different. During the first stage or two, I was nervous but then I settled. I had a great RO partner both days so that helped also.

I also witnessed my very first squib. Of course, I had no idea that it was a squib but I knew something was up. One of our shooters was about to shoot the stop plate in his first string when his gun made a popping sound. That is literally the best way to describe it. Pop. He shot again and both bullets came out! When he was getting ready to shoot his second string, I noticed the two hits on the stop plate. When he finished the stage, the other shooters said it was a squib. He checked to make sure his pistol was fine, and he finished the match. From stories I have heard, squibs seem dangerous and I am glad nothing bad happened.

I finished the match with a 76.72 in RFRO and a 74.90 in RFRI. I shot several personal bests at this match, and they will be included below:

RFRO-

  • Pendulum- 8.88
  • 5 To Go- 8.93

RFRI-

  • Pendulum- 9.51
  • Outer Limits- 11.92
  • Smoke & Hope- 7.21

I am glad we were finally able to travel to Florida. I had a great time talking to our Florida friends and seeing what the Sunshine State is all about! Considering how sunburnt I am after matches, one would think I could remember to bring sunscreen… Nope!

See y’all next time!

Sponsors:

Allchin Gun Parts

Hunters HD Gold

Vortex Optics