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

Just One..

There are many times in the course of one’s life where you give it all that you can and it is just not enough. Can you think of one? I have many. When I was younger, my older cousin was taller than the rest of us from an early age. We were at the local park playing basketball and I remember the first time he held up a basketball with one hand and he asked me to try and get it. Despite the nearly 2’ height difference, I could never jump all that high. After 23 attempts of jumping in the air, giving it all that I could, swatting at the ball, I accepted it was not meant to be.

 

The 2019 World Speed Shooting Championship was a very similar experience. I shot a near perfect match in rimfire rifle open. I only had to carry just one single pickup shot in the match. There were stages where I pushed my ‘Edge’ and others where I shot my 90-95% time with one stage being a 85% time (Roundabout). There is a lot that goes into match management. I have been shooting very well going into the match. Let me attempt to share some of my match management that lead to a World Record in Rimfire Rifle Open on Smoke and Hope and a 4th place finish overall; exactly 1 second behind the winner and new World Record total match time.

 

Showdown has been a good stage for me to start on, I have been shooting it well. When I walked up to the stage I knew this was going to set the stage for the match. I thought I needed to get things going with just one run. I then proceeded to do a mag dump after the buzzer went off with a 2.99. Then a shout from the crowd said, “When is Steve Foster going to shoot?”. I turned around and chuckled and then immediately posted a 1.69 and a 1.63. As I walked to the next shooting position I smiled and remembered to have fun and be grateful for the opportunity I have in front of me. I posted a 1.67 and then decided to shoot a quick one to build momentum into the next stage and shot a perfect 1.52.

 

Okay, not the stage where things can’t be won, but a lot can be lost; Smoke and Hope. After shooting a personal best of 5.25 at the 2019 Georgia State Steel Match I wanted to get a sub 6 second stage because this is something I have never done at a World Match before. Similar to Georgia, this just one stage could set the tone for a personal best overall time. Walking up to the line I was so pumped up you can see my legs bouncing ready for the buzzer to go off. When the timer first went off I was too hyped up and I was losing my sight picture so I made a slight adjustment and reacquired it scoring a 1.68. It was then I knew the exact zone I needed to be in. I shot a 1.56 and it felt effortless. It was the point where I was seeing the dot on every shot at an expeditious pace. I then said I have a little bit more. The buzzer went off and I knew it had a chance of being faster and I did not hear my time called out. I then though “oh no, did the timer not pick it up”? I turned around and asked for the time and the RO was staring off at the plates. She said “um, 1.51… she then said she could not believe I hit them all”. With a smile I said, “neither could I and let’s see if we could juice it up a bit”. I then posted a 1.47. An adrenaline rush came over me and I said I was going for it. The timer went off and I swung the gun hard and fast connecting one for one and I heard cheering in the background. I shot the fastest string time for the division of 1.42 and shot what looks to be a new World Record for RFRO at 5.96 seconds.

 

 

As I headed to Roundabout, with this in mind as I stepped up to my 7th stage I knew I had to keep the car between the ditches to score strong. I tried to squeeze in just one last practice session Thursday night prior to leaving for the match. For some reason I have not felt comfortable shooting Roundabout. Well, the truth is I feel that I should be shooting it quicker than I have and I have been innately pushing my past my Edge and panic has been setting in. This practice session was probably the worst practice session I have had in three years. So, I shot a 85% run or so of 1.65 seconds and it felt good! Then, I said I am going to shoot just one run of 100% and see what I could do to push the pace. Needless to say, it was a trainwreck at 3.21 seconds. It was then I knew I had to coast this one in and go one for one then shooting a 1.81. Okay, now we are back to a comfortable highway speed I slowly pressed on the gas and shot a 1.72 and it seemed effortless. Well, just one more string and I can reload and head to the finish line so I opened the throttle and shot a 95% run at 1.62.

 

I did not know exactly where my time was at but suspected it was in the 64-65 range I knew I had to have a decent stage to contend for first place. I walked up to Five to Go with a lot going through my mind. Just one more strategy to determine how things were going to end up for me this year. I decided to push the pace on the first string with the sun cresting between the 4th plate and the stop plate. Well, with three make-up shots and scoring a 2.82 was not what I had seen in my mind’s eye. I then calmly reset and shot a 90% string of 2.08. Now I have my confidence back in what I was seeing I said out loud, now I just have to do that again. Uncanny enough it was another 2.08. I then may a calculated risk to push a 100% sub 2 second run to have a shot at taking the title because I knew it was going to be that close and I had two make-up shots with a miss. For the last string of fire at the match I knew I was not going to go ultra conservative and shot my best time of the stage of 2.06 for a total of 9.04.

 

When everything was tallied I had shot a new personal best time in RFRO of 65.45 seconds. To reach this level of personal accomplishment at the largest Steel Challenge Match ever attended was a very humbling experience. This time ended up earning me a 4th Place finish overall which is something I am very proud of. Admittedly, I have had thoughts about just one less miss, just one less pickup shot, just one better stage management plan… But, my focus has changed to just one plan to be the first to shoot sub 60!

See you out on the range soon!

 

Steve

 

 

It seems too daunting

A couple of weeks ago my wife suggested we should ‘refresh’ the front of our house because some of the shrubs were overgrown.  Without thinking through the endeavor ahead of time, I said ‘yes dear’ and somehow it was at this moment I thought to myself what have I gotten into?!  The very next day, as I was getting ready for work, I found a Bob Ross looking sketch of the front of our house with our new landscaping plan.  I am still not sure how long this took her to draw, but I admit, it looked great.  Shortly after admiring the sketch I asked her who was going to do all of this work, those famous words came out of my wife’s mouth, “Sweat Equity”.  

 

I am not sure if any of you have actually tried to dig out a 15 year old juniper ground cover that has had an abundance of water over the years, but I had finally met my match.  The trunk of each of the shrubs was a full foot in diameter.  After an hour with a shovel and a pick axe and little progress from claiming my first trophy, I decided I had enough.  I grabbed a 30′ chain and my trusty Dodge Ram and decided to justify my manhood.  With two wraps of the steel chain and a slight pressing of the long pedal, the first one popped out.  This process proceeded to go on for anywhere between one to a couple hours a day for three weeks!  I lost count after 40 shrubs were yanked from the Georgia clay.  Somehow we left only four shrubs as a gentle reminder of where we started this mission.  

 

After five weeks from start to finish we put in the work necessary to get the desired results.  Some of the best shooting performances I have had lately have been a direct result from putting in the work, a little bit every day when I can spare a few moments. A year ago, if you would have asked me if I would shoot in the mid 60’s, I would have said it was not possible.  If someone asked me if someone could shoot Rimfire Rifle in the low 60s I would have said highly likely.  Just like the landscaping at the front of my house, what seemed to have been a daunting task took a little bit of work every day.  Before I knew it, I had reached my goal.  At risk of sharing the ‘secret’ to success, you have to get up and work at it a little bit every day.  If you are not, someone else is going to be at the top.

 

As I share this insight with you, keep in mind what your priorities are.  Life is short, keep your goals in sight, and work hard to get to where your potential will take you!

 

See you out on the range soon!

 

Steve