What do YOU feel is needed to be competitive...

Outlaw1

Trigger Yanker
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- if youre consistently seeing something off down range...can you evaluate and make adjustments on the fly to get things back on track? <-- other than a mechanical failure, this is a skill that can be the difference between salvaging a match, and bombing a match
At the club match finale in Cawthon I bombed our first stage, Stage 10 @ 750 and 850 yards. I busted out a mulligan and bombed it again. The day before I had no problem hitting a 5" x-ring at 1,000, so wtf?! The weather sucked, I was already hopelessly losing to my shooting buddy for the season overall points and after all of my practicing it was going to sting even more if he gave me a good beat down at the final match of the year. I was so discouraged I almost packed up and left instead of continuing the match. A year prior I wouldn't have been able to diagnose a mechanical issue, clear my mind and get back into the game. Of course I didn't finish the match as well as I wanted, but I didn't finish anywhere near last place.

There is something to be said for being stubborn and just pushing through.
 

superde

Gunny Sergeant
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"Skill limit - As Morgan described above, no amount of practice and gear will elevate the typical mortal to "best of the best" levels. If that were the case, anyone with time and money could be "professional" at whatever sport they want. There's just something "extra" in the true champions of any sport that practice cannot put in them."

Big Mo, I'm going to debate this, kinda. This sport is still small enough where most can be competitive at the top if your willing to put in the effort (whatever that level is for you depending on talent). We are moving away from that as the sport continues to grow. Matt is a good example of what may be a standard shooter in 10 years - it's a numbers game and we are still a small pond.
 

rgv

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Lots of great posts everybody.

I’d like to pose a question here;

Has anyone shot a limited gear match and NOT seen the same finishing order that they’d have expected in a “any gear” match?
 
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ThePretzel

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Lots of great posts everybody.

I’d like to pose a question here;

Has anyone shot a limited gear match and NOT seen the same finishing order that they’d have expected in a “any gear” match?
The Gunwerks PRS Match last year up in Cody had tripod restrictions in that all tripod deployments had to be on the clock. You had to start any stage where you used a tripod with the tripod collapsed, folded up, and in hand.

Jon Pynch still won without issues, followed by Mike Anderson and Scott Satterlee. The best shooters are still the best shooters.
 

Sheldon N

Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut
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Totally true. Just compare hit percentage of a shooter running a bag on a barricade alone vs tripod rear support.

A new shooter might average 90% hit ratio with a tripod rear with just a tiny bit of practice, but would be 50-60% with a bag alone. The better a shooter you are the smaller that gap gets, to the point where a seasoned pro usually doesn't bother running tripod rear unless the targets are really small or the barricade/front rest is unstable.
 

anotherwannabe

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Nov 16, 2018
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Yes, as mentioned above...everyone finishes similar

There’s a weird misconception that if u handicap everyone on gear, the lower finishing shooters will close the gap...it’s usually the opposite, the gap gets bigger
I don’t see how your situation could ever happen.

If I upgrade everything to tip top kit, I can imagine I’d pick up a couple shots here or there that I currently miss and -might- be able to blame on the gun/scope/whatever. Nicer equip won’t take me to the top of the leaderboard, but it’s also not going to make my scores worse than they already are.

Conversely - if you (top shooters) suddenly decide to go with crappier gear, best case your scores stay the same. They clearly won’t get better ... or you’d already be shooting a saweet factory savage.

Equalizing gear in some hypothetical match can only close the gap from top to bottom, or leave it unchanged. If it’s only a couple of points separating you from #1, chasing a couple extra in best gear probably matters - but until you’re near the top there is lower hanging fruit.

Morgan shot with me at the finale - how many extra points do you think I’d have picked up if I had unlimited gear budget? (i’ll be shocked if he thinks it’s even double digits)
 
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Sheldon N

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I don’t see how your situation could ever happen.

If I upgrade everything to tip top kit, I can imagine I’d pick up a couple shots here or there that I currently miss and -might- be able to blame on the gun/scope/whatever. Nicer equip won’t take me to the top of the leaderboard, but it’s also not going to make my scores worse than they already are.
I think Morgan is talking about matches where they limit gear usage. For example one bag no tripod matches, matches where the rules make it harder to use things like barricade blocks, tactical tables, and all the other little tools.

Guys come with the mindset that if you take away the "toys" then the playing field would be leveled. But instead what happens is you take away some of the tools that lifted the scores of the mid-pack shooter, increasing the margin of victory for the best shooters.
 

highhope

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Dec 15, 2018
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Rifle ; Accurate, Ruger American Predator, Tikka CTR or Bergara HMR Pro different price points but if its accurate (sub MOA) does not matter
Ammo; Factory or handholds that run sub MOA in your rifle
Muzzle break; Very helpful staying on & getting back on target for follow up shots
DBM; Several 10 round DBMags
Bipod; Get the hang of using a bipod
Scope; Repeatable dialing up and down and a quick power turn lever
Ballistic app;
Density Alt app; or some way to load elevation, temp and barometric pressure into ballistic app
Bag; A bag or two or maybe three that you like using
Range Finder; one that gets you out to 1400 and gives range corrected for angle (nice to have item)
Range card; Some method to write your dope for the stages with multiple varied distant targets requiring dial up
Pack; or some way to carry all your gear
Notebook; record matches, stages, keep notes on stages you approached successfully or what you might want to do differently & DOPE
Form; Good shooting form behind the rifle, good trigger squeeze and follow through after shot
Thanks a lot, learned
 

ThePretzel

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Ah - I can see that if it’s the ancillary gear type items. You ever see a new shooter try and manage a tripod on the clock though? Saying it “helped them” might be overly generous - i’m lucky i didn’t put my eye out 😂
I've seen beginners manage tripods on the clock, and I did it myself a few times as a beginner. I can say with certainty that even though it was incredibly awkward and undoubtedly slowed me (and others) down, it also allowed me to hit target I wouldn't have come close to using just a barricade bag with the level of practice that I had at the time.
 

Hollywood 6mm

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I've seen beginners manage tripods on the clock, and I did it myself a few times as a beginner. I can say with certainty that even though it was incredibly awkward and undoubtedly slowed me (and others) down, it also allowed me to hit target I wouldn't have come close to using just a barricade bag with the level of practice that I had at the time.
The flip side to that is this - how many points did you lose by not engaging targets due to running out of time screwing with the tripod?

Some stages, that answer could very well be none, as you wouldn't have hit anything without it. I'd say those stages are pretty rare, though. In my opinion, if the new-to-mid-pack shooter spent that time working on effective use of a Gamechanger (or similar) bag instead of a tripod, they'd not only have made the hits they made with the tripod, but also had additional time to get more rounds off, thereby having a better scoring potential overall.
 
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Sheldon N

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The flip side to that is this - how many points did you lose by not engaging targets due to running out of time screwing with the tripod?

Some stages, that answer could very well be none, as you wouldn't have hit anything without it. I'd say those stages are pretty rare, though. In my opinion, if the new-to-mid-pack shooter spent that time working on effective use of a Gamechanger (or similar) bag instead of a tripod, they'd not only have made the hits they made with the tripod, but also had additional time to get more rounds off, thereby having a better scoring potential overall.
Agree with that as a goal for training and ultimately for match shooting. The reality is that a couple hours of practice with a tripod will get you familiar with it to the point you can be very effective. It takes many many more hours of practice with a bag to get to the same level. That’s why you see so many shooters using them as a crutch.

Just looking at my own experience I’d say that the first year of competition I was probably 20% better hit percentage from a barricade with a tripod rear support. That gap has mostly been eliminated, but it took a solid year of practice... where I only practiced with a bag and never with a tripod.
 
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LH_Gina

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Agree with that as a goal for training and ultimately for match shooting. The reality is that a couple hours of practice with a tripod will get you familiar with it to the point you can be very effective. It takes many many more hours of practice with a bag to get to the same level. That’s why you see so many shooters using them as a crutch.

Just looking at my own experience I’d say that the first year of competition I was probably 20% better hit percentage from a barricade with a tripod rear support. That gap has mostly been eliminated, but it took a solid year of practice... where I only practiced with a bag and never with a tripod.
I tried and tried with bags on barricades. I spent a couple of practice sessions with a sling and no bags and found that to be more stable and quicker for me. I probably should try a tripod sometime outside of a competition because the only time I seem to try it is at a match.
 

Sheldon N

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I tried and tried with bags on barricades. I spent a couple of practice sessions with a sling and no bags and found that to be more stable and quicker for me. I probably should try a tripod sometime outside of a competition because the only time I seem to try it is at a match.
Ah the siren song of trying something new at a match. I’ve train wrecked so many times . 😀

Great point about practicing something to find what gives the best hit percentage for you. You don’t really know until you test and compare.
 

davere

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I can't add anything super useful about rifle shooting - I'm still new to this whole game, myself, and there's a lot of good stuff here. Thank you for starting the thread, @morganlamprecht - it's so easy to get locked up in the gear that you miss the point.

One thing I'll add that I still haven't done myself (because of a move, etc), but that seems pretty critical for dry fire and range practice, is a simple, small practice barricade. I have a device I built from @Diver160651 post here that attaches to my tripod. I use that consistently, but I can see where it would help to have a real barricade, too.

Pressure/nerves... I spent 20+ years shooting USPSA/IPSC at a reasonably high level, and learned a few things there about dealing with match pressure and jitters.

#1 is this... those jitters are a result of adrenaline, and you get adrenaline in this case because your mind and body are anticipating action. You can look at that as a bad thing - I prefer to think of it as my mind is telling my body that we're about to do something really cool. I can take that energy, and sink it into worrying about the nerves, or other negative ends, but those things just make the situation worse. Instead... I use the energy toward positive ends - I double down on my efforts for stage prep (visualization, double checking gear), and then I simply breathe. Forcing yourself to breathe slowly and deeply will help in two ways - it takes oxygen to metabolize adrenaline, and it helps with a sympathetic nervous system response to settle things down neurologically. To summarize, you're about to do cool shit - that should make you smile - just breathe deep and slow, and recheck that you've done the work you need to do to be ready for the stage.

#2 - practice with pressure. @LH_Gina - your trick of having a training partner design a stage and surprise you with it is really good, and great for practicing shooting a full stage at a match. Another way to add pressure in practice is to dry fire and live fire practice with a timer using par times. Pick any drill - let's say start standing, and at the beep go prone and fire two shots at a 2 MOA target. Do that drill focusing on 100% correct execution and avoiding rushing, and figure out a rough time. Now, set your timer to that time plus, say, 5 seconds and set that as a par time on your timer. Now you'll get a second beep at that time. You will likely feel a little adrenaline, but if you established a reasonable par time, you should make it, no problem. Shoot it a couple times that way. Now knock a second or two off your par, and repeat. Continue that way until you start rushing to make the par and the wheels fall off, then back off a bit and shoot it once more at the fastest par you can manage and still shoot correctly. Write that time down, and make that your initial time for the next practice session (you add some interval to that new time to start the drill).

#3 - use the local matches to get used to big match pressure. Pick a buddy, and place a bet on the match. Say, loser buys lunch. If you're equal skill level and shooting the same division, shoot heads-up. If not - let's say I were to play this game with Morgan or Gina - establish a handicap that seems appropriate (so, maybe I get 30% or 40% of match points available or of their score, or whatever). The first couple of times, the handicap might be inappropriate, but you'll figure out what works pretty quickly. Just that little bit of awareness of your competition will provide a different kind of pressure, and it's something I used to feel at big matches. Playing this "side bet" game made a big difference for me in taking pressure off at big matches. You could also play for "fewest fired misses" (timed out shots don't count for the game), or whatever part of the game you want to highlight that way. We used to play it at national level matches for fewest misses, no-shoots, and D-zone hits and we'd establish a buy-in and pot - and it applied equally that way to all shooter skill levels. It was a lot of fun, and provided a really nice learning tool for mental toughness.

Honestly, at this point, I get worried if I don't feel the jitters before a match - usually I have a flat, dull performance.