Keeping it safe…

I remember the discussion like it was yesterday, my wife said “shooting is dangerous isn’t it?!”.  This was part of a discussion we had when I told her that I wanted to take my shooting to the next level.  As with everything, she is right.  Shooting can be a dangerous sport if safety measures are not taken seriously and by everyone.

 

During the first Pro Am I shot, I remember shooting open centerfire on a 30 target array.  There was a target which was approximately 5-7 yards away from the shooter and it was an 18”x24” plate with an exposed hook style hanger.  The hook is the hanging mechanism to support the target.  In order to make this design work there is a hole drilled/cut into the face of the target.  It seemed instantaneous, when I touched the trigger I was hit in the forehead with a fragment of a bullet.  I was fortunate, I was wearing a hat which absorbed the majority of the blow but left me with a reminder of the experience.

 

A couple of months ago I was shooting a major Steel Challenge match with targets that had an exposed hook.  In the morning session I had at least two shots where I called a ‘hit’ on the target but I did not hear a ring or I could not see the ‘hit’.  When we went out to look at the first target, sure enough, there was a hit right at the top of the hanger.  The second target was tougher to see, but the bullet impact was on the edge of the hole of the plate where the hanger protrudes.  It was during the second session when matters took a turn for the worst.  On the first stage, the first string of fire, the competitor took their first shot.  A fragment of the bullet hit the top of my Hunters HD Glasses and I felt like I was hit with a pellet from a pellet gun.  On the third string of fire, on the third target the RO screamed and threw down the timer.  Blood was rushing from his arm.  The paramedics were called and after a short trip to the hospital they stitched him up.  When looking at the target, the bullet impact was on the bottom of the hanger and the best we can surmise, it was a bullet fragment from the target.

 

Fast forward to a match I recently attended.  The same style of hook/hanger steel plates were being used at another major match.  It was on the first day, we had just broke for lunch with one squad finishing up their last stage.  We were approximately 100 yards behind the squad with their backs to us.  You heard a gunshot at a target and immediately you heard a bullet tumbling past us.  This was one of the scariest sounds I have ever heard.  Thankfully no one was hit.

 

One of the large shooting organizations has incorporated into their rules to prohibit targets which do not have a flat face.  A flat target face has a consistent splatter pattern at bullet impact.  As described above, an irregular face, bolts, hooks, etc cause erratic and unpredictable splatter patterns.  Targets should also have a slight angle as illustrated in the picture below.  When a bullet impacts a target with a ~10-15 degree angle the majority of the splatter is directed safely to the ground below the target.  We hear AR500 or AR550 steel types a lot when discussing targets.  So why is this important?  The lower the steel rating IE AR350 the softer the steel is and easier for it to pit, crater, and deform.  As with the situation with the hooks, these irregularities can cause and erratic splatter pattern from the bullets.  Please do your research on your style of shooting to determine which hardness is right for your application before you buy.

 

If you have a range, looking to purchase a set of steel to practice, or you manage a club I highly recommend GT Targets.  They are targets for shooters made by shooters.  They have a flat front design with a desirable angle of defection.  Afterall, shooting can be dangerous enough, why not remove one variable from the equation?  Karl and GT Targets is who I have trusted for the past ten years and these are the only targets I shoot on my range.  Karl’s contact information is below.

 

https://www.gttargets.com/

sales@gttargets.com

GT TARGETS LLC
Karl McKeever
816 Limerick Road
Collegeville, PA 19473

Office phone:  610 287 5868
Cell phone:      610 247 0633

 

See you out on the range soon!
Steve

Not always as good as it seems…

Recently, I posted a video shooting my JP rifles GMR 15 with the Lightweight sleeved barrel, Vortex Razor 6MOA, with MD Ammunitions 115gr 950FPS fueled by Western Powders Competition Powder on the Steel Challenge Stage Speed Option.  My total time was 7.91 (the aggregate of the four fastest times).  This video sparked some discussion on the shooting order for the first two shots.  I will breakdown my thoughts, analysis, and summary with some data.

 

In order to do some analysis we have to make some assumptions.  The assumptions I am making are as follows;

  • Let’s assume the club where you are shooting has the start position to the maximum allowable distance per rule; 5.2.3 and for the sake of this discussion will be 12 total feet (10 feet out and 2 feet up).
    • In the Rimfire pistol, Rimfire rifle, and pistol caliber carbine matches, there will be an aiming point (marker, cone,flag,or sign) centered downrange directly in front of each shooting box 10’ away and a maximum of 2’ high.’
  • The next assumption is the stage is setup level to the shooter’s eye and the gun moves laterally from target to target.

 

With these assumptions in place, below is a diagram of the stage with the plates named in order from left to right without counting the stop plate.

Speed Option Dia.png

The question attempted to be answered; Is it faster to shoot plate #3 first or plate #4 first?  Let’s apply some mathematics to the scenarios in hopes of answering this question. I have applied the Pythagorean Theorem to find the hypotenuse or distance from the start position to either of the first plate options.  The table below for option #1 is to engage target 3 first and then target 4.  The calculated distance from the start position to the 3rd target at 13.6 feet, the distance from the 3rd to 4th Plate at 14.5’ and then back from the 4th to 3rd plate.  The total gun movement in this shooting order is 42.6 feet.

 

OP1

The table below for option #2 is to engage target 4 first and then target 3.  The calculated distance from the start position to the 4th  target at 39.1 feet, the distance from the 4th  to 3rd  Plate at 14.5’. The total gun movement in this shooting order is 53.6 feet.

 

OP2

 

So, what does this tell us?  Option #1 has less gun movement by 11 total feet and in theory could be quicker.  Let’s apply some more math to calculate a theoretical time savings based on distance and speed.  After 20 samples, shooting my PCCO, the mean or average transitions from Target 4 to Target 3 is .25seconds.  I calculated this to be 58 feet per second and then converted to Miles Per Hour.  The result is I am moving the gun at 39.5MPH between the time the gun is shot between these two plates.  If we applied the extra 11 feet it should equate to roughly .189 seconds saved as outlined in the table below.

 

ana

 

After conducting the analysis above I tried to replicate the results.  My average string time with option #2 with my PCCO was 1.98 seconds.  When trying option #1 my average string time after 20 runs was 2.08 seconds. Why was my time slower if the total distance traveled is less?  Here are my theories;

  1. I have shot the plate order of option #2 countless times over the years and through repetition it is faster.
  2. The assumption of the speed of my gun moving at 39.5MPH is over-inflated due to the start and stop nature of option #1.
    1. Option #2 is a brief pause on Target 3 seems more of a calculated change of directions in option #1 and is taking more time for me.

In summary, what I have taught over the years remains true.  If a particular stage order feels more comfortable, you will shoot it better.  Practice the order you have determined is best for you.  There are some stages in Steel Challenge where the order ‘makes sense’ and this one appears to be in the personal preference category.  With some practice

 

See you out on the range soon!

Steve

Light vs HEAVY…

The debate; is light better or heavy better?, started off early in my childhood.  As a fanatic lacrosse player it was important to have a lighter stick to be able to throw the ball harder.  As I progressed in my skill level I had the opportunity to play on the Onondaga Native American Reservation where lacrosse is a way of life.  This was a faster game than I was used to, it was my introduction to box lacrosse.  Sparing the intimate details, box lacrosse has smaller goals, smaller fields and typically is played in a dried up hockey rink.  The other distinguishing feature of this style of lacrosse is you can cross-check your opponent.  This is where you place two hands on your stick, with your hands spread apart and hit your opponent with the shaft of the stick.  If done right, this makes the contact of football look like the contact in playing checkers.

 

I learned a lot about a lot of things while spending time on the reservation, the life lessons could be another blog series by itself.  Sticking with equipment, as I would cross check my opponents I would bend the shaft of my stick and it seemed as though I was replacing one every practice or game.  A lot of people were using hickory wooden shafts which were noticeable heavier, but they were unforgiving when firmly pressed against an opponent.  After a few weeks, I saw an older leader of the tribe using a metal shaft and it never seemed to bend.  I asked him about the shaft of his stick and asked why it did not bend.  He laughed and told me he told the kids it was magic and guarded by the sacred ancestors.  I then raised an eyebrow and asked him again why it did not bend.  He shared his secret with me.  It was a cut down defensive shaft to 40” (for regulation).  I asked him why it mattered and he took the butt of the shaft of the stick off and I was mesmerized.   The thickness of the wall of the shaft of the stick was two to three times the thickness.  So, on the outside it looked like a normal aluminum shaft of the stick and in actuality it was a heavier duty version.  It was lighter than the wooden option, but a little bit heavier than the traditional aluminum and still maintaining good ball speed when thrown and could take the abuse of cross checking opponents.  Pretty innovative.

 

There has been a lot of debate in the competitive shooting world surrounding the weight of guns.  At the 2017 Alabama State Steel Challenge Championship I shot the fastest time ever shot at a major match with a 7+ pound gun in PCC.  This record stood for over 18 months.  At this time people asked me what I was shooting and I told them a JP Rifles GMR13 with a 16” steel barrel and compensator.  The consensus in the community was this was too heavy for the general population to shoot fast.  As a brand ambassador I shared this feedback with JP and in a couple of years a light weight barrel was developed.  Earlier this year I was afforded an opportunity to shoot this lighter setup and the difference was amazing.  I estimate this setup to be 1-1.5lbs lighter than my previous setup.  In the first two matches I of shooting the gun I set personal bests on every stage.  It is not only the weight, but where the weight was trimmed.  The weight was removed from the end of the gun therefore lowering the Moment of Inertia.  (If you have trouble sleeping, read the Wikipedia page on Moment of Inertia).
The Moment of Inertia, in layman’s terms, is the force or torque required to start or stop an object.  In this case, the gun as you transition from target to target.  The value of having a higher Moment of Inertia is on stages such as Steel Challenge’s ‘Five to Go’ Stage where you are moving the gun quickly, a heavier gun appears more stable and the sights bounce less because the gun or specifically the end of the gun is heavier. On a stage such as ‘Smoke and Hope’ a heavier gun is slower because of the wide and fast transitions if you exerted the same exact force on the gun.

 

So, what is the right option for you?  Regardless of the details above, a gun has to be ‘shootable’.  For younger shooters who have not developed their mature muscles, a lighter gun is going to be easier to shoot and more fun.  As you get older you want to balance the pros and cons of each setup.  Based on my testing and results with my JP Rifles PCC, I am lightening the front of my rimfire rifles to test how fast I can really go!  In this case, will my setup enable me to shoot all 8 stages in Steel Challenge Faster?  We will soon see.

 

See you out on the range soon!

Steve

What is there to be nervous about?

Recently, I was asked about major matches and how to control nerves. Jeff and I had a guest on the Steel Target Paint podcast where we touched on this very subject. Shannon Smith is an accomplished shooter and has made shooting his career through teaching and running some of the best matches in the country. When asking Shannon about this topic he calls it the “juice”. When you are in a situation you have never been in before or you have not performed at the level you would like to, the “juice” gets flowing. He then talks about a USPSA World Shoot performance where the “juice” was flowing with him. He did not shoot his best performance, thought he ‘blew’ two stages, and the “juice” stopped. So what did he do? He just shot and had fun. You know what happened? He shot some of the best stages of the match.

 

I had a similar conversation with an amazing competitor at the 2019 World Speed Shooting Championships this year. They asked why I was having fun and shooting well. For me, the “juice” got me several times on the first stage at way too many level III matches and I am out to spend time with my shooting family and have fun. What taught me this? Well, this was my 5th WSSC and never did I realize close to my truest potential. Undoubtedly, I would blow a stage and then all I could think about the next seven stages was how I just blew up a stage.

 

These major matches do cost a lot of money to compete in. They do attract the top talent in the shooting community and you have to be spot on or someone else will. There is a lot of prestige in being on the podium or even in the top 5. This is undue pressure we put on ourselves and we can control it. What I have found is the more matches you shoot, especially these level III matches the pressure will subside over time. There is not a magic pill to take and there is not a secret I can share. It’s tough trying not to think about who is there at the match competing against you. It’s tough to not think about the scores already posted the day before you are scheduled to shoot. It’s tough to not think about the weather. I always tell myself the same thing I told my wife four years ago. When this stops being fun, I am done.

 

Once last piece of insight. Whenever I am consciously thinking about something while I am shooting, this prevents my subconscious from taking over. The subconscious is where the countless hours and tens of thousands of rounds I have engaged in practice all live. When you get to the line, take in the moment and focus on the sound of the “B” in the beep. Just remember to be safe and have fun!

 

See you out on the range soon!

Steve

The best of times…

I am on the way home from the 2019 Area 2 Steel Challenge Championship match at the legendary Hogue Action Range in San Luis Obispo, California.  As I am sitting in the Phoenix airport awaiting my early morning connection, a feeling filled my conscious thought: gratitude.  This was sharply followed by several thoughts.  Over the past few years, it has been amazing to have the love of support from people I have yet to meet and those who have been by my side for as long as I can remember.  It is always a humbling experience when I meet in person someone who has been following me and my shooting career on social media.  This is an uplifting experience, and I will never lose my appreciation for the positive support. 

 

Things are great when they are great and somehow they are still okay through the down times on the range.  When times are tough, I always reach inside and think about why I am here competing.  I spend countless hours a week at the range to what amounts to just over (1) minute of shooting on game day.  It may be incomprehensible to some, but to those who are likely reading this will have a smile on their face when they think about that split second where they just crushed a stage for the first time, or received their first plaque, or achieved an unlikely goal when others didn’t see it coming.  This is why we do it.  Discipline.  Goal Setting. Achievement. Giving back. Being a part of something.  Whatever your reason, be safe and have fun while you are doing it!

 

This weekend was filled with a lot of each of these reasons stated above.  Was I successful? I was able to shoot the two fastest times of the entire match.  The real success and the reason why I took time off of work and to be away from my family is to spend time with my Steel Target Paint family and to support my good friend who put on an amazing competition, Kurt Grimes.  I cannot find the words to express my love for my team and the fun we had both on and off the range.  Being able to be a part of an amazing group of people is something I wish for everyone to experience.

 

 

I could not help but to appreciate every moment during my 4 day trip.  It was the first time in a long time I just stopped and truly absorbed what was going on around me.  The weather reminded me of the first real day of spring growing up in upstate New York.  You know the day, when you are free of the oppression of winter and the summer car surfaces from the long hibernation.  If you are a car person, your hair on your arms is sticking up like mine is right now. The comradery liken the times when I played lacrosse in school, everyone was leaning on each other for emotional support and got it when needed.  It was just old fashion FUN!


Thank you to everyone who put on a memorable match from Kurt and his amazing wife Maria (we really know who did all the work).  Thank you to the ROs for donating their time to make a seamless and safe match possible.  Thank you for the fellow squad mates who took care of all the shared duties as a team.  Thank you to all of the sponsors who sponsored the match; it was the right investment in the right match!

 

Thank you to all of my sponsors who make access to this journey and enabling me to perform with the best equipment available.  Truly without these companies, I would not be able to have these experiences.  Thank you to Larry Joe Steeley Jr for your friendship and partnership over the years; it means more than you know.  Thank you to my supportive family lead by my amazing wife Teresa Foster who has provided me with unwavering support on this journey.  Love you!

 

These are the best of times I am living right now.  Now, time to hold on to them as hard and as long as I can!

 

See you out on the range soon,


Steve

 

Get a Grip…

There are so many ‘fundamentals’, as the experts say, to shooting well. I have discussed some of the 101s, 201s, and Grand Master level theories. In a lot of my writings I discuss the mental side of the sport because it is often times overlooked. Today, I want share a technical tip, for some reason, I seem to relearn every time I shoot a handgun.
As a predominately rifle shooter, I love shooting my rifles!, picking up a handgun is fun with a lot of transferable techniques; IE eye movement, stage plan, etc. There is always one thing I continue to forget, GRIP THE GUN! This was a great reminder as I was working with a shooter on Steel Challenge stage Pendulum shooting Rimfire Pistol Open. As we have discussed in the past, your hits on the targets can tell you a story. In this session, the hits were all over the plate and some did not grace the plate with their presence. I then asked them how hard they were gripping the gun and they said loosely. With a handgun it is imperative to grip the gun hard. You don’t want to grip the gun too hard to the point you are shaking, but I would say around 80% of this pressure.

 

Then what happened next is what every coach or mentor would like to see, immediate improvement. They started to go ‘one-for-one’ on each shot making the wonderful sound of ringing steel! The next topic we discussed is hand placement. I try to grip the gun as high as I can and put about 60% of the pressure on the gun with my left hand(non-dominate hand). I want to only have 40% of the pressure from my right hand because I want to make sure my trigger finger moves freely and does not disrupt the front end of the gun. I also make sure my left hand is locked forward. This helps with controlling recoil and keeping my sight(s) on target. One other technique I use when shooting is to push slightly with my left thumb on the frame of the gun and it also helps stabilize the gun, thank you Dave Sevigny for this tip!. Make sure the palm of your support hand is pressing on the grip of the gun and cover as much surface area as possible.

 

Below is a picture of a left handed shooter with her natural grip she had been working on.

Before

 

 

This picture is of the same person with some of the grip enhancements I discussed above. With making these minor changes they were able to improve their Rimfire Pistol Open times by 11%. The change and results were immediate.

After.jpg

 

Something to think about the next time you are at the range.

 

See you out on the range soon!

Steve

It can’t be me… well, probably is…

There were times growing up in upstate New York where the winter months were nothing buy pure fun!  I remember times where we would get 2-3 feet of snow overnight and schools would close down.  There was nothing better than building snow forts for fun and shoveling driveways for money to purchase .22 Rimfire Ammunition.  Somehow my shooting habits even back then could not keep up with my wallet!

 

The best part was making snow forts. had a 6 foot snow bank at the front of our driveway. What else is better for making a snow fortress you ask?  My brother spent a full day making the nicest enclosure out of snow and ice – we used a little water to reinforce the walls.  We were proud of ourselves as we stood on top of the fort as if we just landed on the moon.  We jumped lightly to make sure it could take our weight and to our surprise it did.  After being so tired from our days adventure and work I went below grade to lay down in the fort.  My brother jumped up and down in amazement, still on top of the fort, and then it happened.  Everything what was once white was now black.  I felt a foot by the side of my face and it was my brother digging me out.  Maybe it was me and I should not have been down there, or maybe our design was faulty or maybe it was plain old poor craftsmanship?  I think this one was on my brother!  He drug me from the pile of snow.  As we were standing 10 feet back from the road in the driveway we saw an orange flashing light.  We heard a rumble and the ground shook with snow falling off the tree next to the collapsed fortress.  It was a snow plow!  As it raced past our house, the extended blade was out and took out half of what remained to our fort.  My brother and I looked at each other and our jaws dropped…  What if we were in there?…

 

Somehow things work out for a reason, whether it is our fault or not.

 

It was not too long ago I took possession of one of the most expensive guns I own.  I can’t even tell you how great of a feeling it was.  Taking it to the range for the first time was a little disappointing.  My win column is full of long gun accolades and a lesser amount of handguns, but still I thought I was a decent handgun shooter.  After input from the manufacturer and consultation and countless trials of projectiles I was stuck in a situation.  I had the gun of my dreams, but I could not get the accuracy out of it one would expect.  At 20 yards, some shots were dead on and others looked amateur at best.
An inordinate amount of time went by and passively the gun sat in the safe.  Every time the safe door cracked open I would at least look at it or frequently rack the slide.   Then finally, I shared the story of my gun after I found out the manufacture of the gun went out of business, doing so otherwise would be unprofessional as a Brand Ambassador.  One person lead to another and finally to the right person.  I was contacted by a long-term company I had done business with who specializes in barrels, KKM Precision.  After one short call with Luke McIntire my pistol was on its way to Nevada.

 

Last night, I anxiously opened the package from Fedex and pulled out my cherished 1911.  The gun felt slick and tighter than the day I originally took possession.  I could not help but admire the fit and finish of the barrel, there was absolutely no play in the lock up of the gun.  I took it out to the range and put one shot on the 15 yard stop plate for Accelerator.  I made sure there was documentation of this event.  The first shot was dead center as if I was a professional bullseye shooter.  The rush of emotion overcame me.  150 rounds later my wife called me back to the house for dinner.  This was now the most accurate and reliable centerfire handgun I have ever laid hands on.  A sincere thank you goes out to Luke and the KKM Precision team for giving me my confidence and investment back.

 

 

I share this story with you to never accept if you don’t think something is quite right, don’t let the snowplow take you down.  I had doubt based on what I heard from others and lack of confidence in my pistol shooting ability.  This time, it wasn’t me. There are professionals in industry who are here to help.  If you are reading this and you have a similar situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to me and I can point you in the right direction for speed guns commonly used in Steel Challenge and Rimfire multi-gun events.

 

See you out on the range soon.
Steve

I’m just getting started…

I have been going through a lot of mental “ups and downs” with my shooting the last twelve months. There was a constant tug of my shooting life and my personal life. The nearest range was only 20 minutes away, but by the time I packed up my targets, drove there, setup the stage I wanted to practice, I would only shoot for an hour and then I would break down the stage, drive home, and put everything away. This 20 minute trip each way for an hour practice session would somehow turn into a three to four hour excursion. Instead of making these trips to the range I would go to matches to ‘practice’. I would be gone for 2-3 weekend days a month and when going to a match I could rarely go, shoot, and be home in 5 hours. Some ‘local’ matches were upwards of 2 hours away. Outside of the expense of shooting, the time was becoming more important of a commodity as my wife and I are raising two amazing young women.

 

It was just over a year ago my wife and I decided to move to the ‘country’ so my wife could have her dream of a small farm. Coincidentally, this would mean I could have a shooting range and what would take an ‘hour’ of practice would now really be an hour with a short walk to the range. This has changed a lot for me. The biggest thing that has changed is the time I am now able to spend with my family instead of being ‘gone’ so much shooting. Biding for my time was really turning into an issue for my family because when I do something I am passionate about, I am ‘all in’. I have already far surpassed my goals as a legitimate shooter in Rimfire Challenge and Steel Challenge. Unfortunately, unknowingly this was taking away from me being a legitimate father and husband. Even the best of us need to refocus on what truly is the ‘main thing’ in our lives.

 

Now, I am training with a sole purpose in mind and exploiting my weaknesses to be a better shooter. We all have them, we just need to identify them, work on them, and become better. What a lot of people don’t understand, it is truly work. Just because you get a ‘lucky’ 1.8 second string in Rimfire Rifle Open on 5 to Go does not mean when its match day you will be met with similar results. Now, if you can shoot 9 out of 10 strings at 1.80 in practice your likelihood of shooting a sub-8 second stage at the next match is going to go up.

 

If you put in the work you will see results you may not have expected. Working with top shooters in my sport has made me realize my conservative approach to shooting is not enough, although it was for a long time. I made a plan and shared it with a fellow shooter in how we are going to get to a sub 60. Within 6 weeks he almost did it. One of the stages on my plan to work on is Roundabout, something I have not felt comfortable in a while. I set it up and shot is as fast as I could. I started out hitting 3 out of 5 targets… then 4 out of 5 targets.. and then at my match this weekend I set a personal best of 5.49 seconds in Rimfire Rifle Open. I exceeded my goal on this stage and just like the last stage I practiced in this manner, Smoke and Hope, I will shoot it better going forward. I’m just getting started…

 

My message today is about hope and inspiration. In the game I shoot, Steel Challenge, if I can shoot a sub 65 major match time, you can too. Is it going to come without work? Heck no. You would not appreciate it if it was easy anyway. Make a realistic plan on how you are going to get there and put in the time and effort. From my personal experience, set a realistic timeline on when you want to accomplish your next goal and go after it. If you shoot a sub 65 second time at a match and this is your sole focus, you may not be fulfilled when you get to the finish line. You may have the accolades of your peers at your local club, but in most situations they are not the one you share your other good and bad times with.

 

See you out on the range soon!

Steve

A plaque can mean so much..

I have been truly fortunate in my life to have a lot to celebrate. I grew up in a time where people worked hard for their accomplishments and were rewarded. One of the most memorable experiences I had with putting in work and achieving something was when I was playing CYO basketball in upstate New York. We were an average bunch of kids ranging from 10-11 years old. There was absolutely nothing special about any of us. All were average height, average jump shots, but we all had one thing in common; we all worked very hard. Our season seemed to be the only single thing that was important to us. We practiced six days a week and for 2 hours a day. I remember these practices fondly or at least the leg cramps and feeling like reverse peristalsis was going to happen!

 

Despite the intense work outs we quickly realized an average group of young men were in better shape and more disciplined than any other team we faced. Some of the teams we faced could dunk and I am confident some went on to play Division One NCAA basketball. This mediocre team went out to win our first game by a seemingly small margin. Then the next. Then the next. At the end of the season we went 22-0, undefeated! Whatever words I write next will not do this experience in my life the justice it truly deserves. It was a moment in time that would help shape the rest of my life. It taught me if I put in the work, which others did not want to, I could reach goals others thought would be impossible to reach. That $10 plaque meant so much to me, more than those presenting it to me could comprehend.

 

The 2019 World Speed Shooting Championships was hosted in Talladega Alabama. Brian with Hunters HD Gold decided to host an appreciation dinner for some of his brand ambassadors. It was an amazing venue and he definitely went above and beyond! Brian stood up in the front of the room after dinner and mingling. He told his story in words of sincerity and appreciation. I was surprised when Brian presented me with the Hunters HD Gold Founder’s Award for being pivotal to the brand’s success as his first Brand Ambassador he sponsored. This was affirmation of all the one-on-one discussions and efforts to promote a brand I truly trust my performance to was recognized.

IMG_1029.jpg

I have been fortunate to be introduced to Brian through Larry Steeley Jr. Both of these men work extremely hard and give back to the sport more than many will ever know. They are both a case study of working hard and what materializes from it, just like my early basketball days. I am honored to work with both of them through this amazing journey. Remember, if you want something bad enough, make a plan and execute it. Your hard work will pay off!

See you out on the range soon!

Steve

Tendency…

When I was growing up my parents would insist for my brother and I to spend time with our Grandmother on my mother’s side of the family. She was an amazing woman, but we did not see her as much because she lived 4 hours away from us. For as long as I can remember growing up we would spend 1-2 weeks with her during summer vacation. My brother and I saw it for what it was, my parents really needed a break from us kids during the summer!

 

My cousin lived with my grandparents most of his life as a child, at least, he was more in their life than my brother and I. So, when ‘Huey’, ‘Dewey’, and ‘ Louie’, as my uncle called us, got together you knew there was mischief right around the corner! My grandmother had a way of keeping us in check, somehow the sturdy wooden spoon would make an appearance and all the ‘good’ ideas we had turned ‘bad’. My grandmother had a tendency, whenever something broke or bad happened, she would always blame our cousin. It was awesome, my brother and I could do whatever we wanted and he would take the heat for it. Somehow we would smooth it over, but there was a life lesson in all of this somewhere.

 

As I purposefully omit any confessions, this topic came up recently in a training session. One of the people I was training with would shoot approximately 6 shots on every string of fire on a 5 target array, they were missing one of the shots and having to ‘make one up’. As I watched him shoot, it was uncanny, he would miss every single shot within a 1” variation just high of the target at 12 O’Clock on the plate. As you are training and you are not getting the times you feel you deserve, you have to first identify what your ‘Shooting Tendency’ is. You cannot fix something until you understand what it is that needs to be fixed or re-calibrated. As with my grandmother and her tendency to blame our cousin, the student was doing the same thing by shooting high.

 

The root cause is not as important as understanding we all have tendency when we shoot. Some are good, some are bad, but we all have them. The next time you go to range, think about what you are doing. What is your tendency? Do you shoot high? Do you shoot left? Do you take too long on the first target? Do you not have the same routine from string to string? Are you missing the same plate on every stage? Or when you miss, is it a certain plate?

 

For those who know me, I have to fight my ‘Shooting Tendency’ every time I get to the firing line. When I shoot fast, my fundamentals break down and I swing the gun away from my body with my arms instead of locking my upper torso as ‘one’. This is one of the main things I work every range session on to be a better pistol shooter. Once my upper body gets out of alignment, the gun is not where I expect it to be when I pull the trigger on fast targets.

 

See you out on the range soon!

Steve