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