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!





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!





Even the best of us needs some support…

I recall the moment as if it were yesterday. My brother, 6 at the time, and I was 4 years old. We grew up in the country and for some reason there was an abundance of left over wood from restoration projects. The benefits of growing up in a house that was always under construction. My ingenious brother always had some great ideas, at least to the 4 year old me. When he presented me with his greatest idea ever, I was all in. He said that we needed to create a fort made out of some left over lumber and doors. We were far from structural engineers, but we did not let this slow us down! Still, not sure where to this day, we scrounged up a hammer and some nails. I can still feel the first hit of the hammer on my left thumb. We assembled a cool looking structure, it was our first fort! The structure was very simplistic in design, it looked like a cuboid but without the two ends because we needed a way to get in and out of the fort. Our test of the structural rigidity was a gentle push with two hands as we have seen in movies, think Top Gun and bathroom scene. OK, now that we ‘proved’ the fort was solid, time to enjoy.


There was a light rain outside so I decided to take advantage of our new proud accomplishment and took a seat inside. I called for my brother and he said that he was going to stand on top of it. Even at a young age I had an astuteness for the obvious. When I heard those words I ran out of the fort to see what was happening. As soon as I exited our structural feat there was a loud bang and my brother was on top of what used to be our fort. Now, it was a pile of rubble made up of doors and spare lumber. If I did not get out as swiftly as I did, my brother would have become an only child!


It is interesting how life lessons have a way of applying to the fundamentals of shooting. I was out on the range a couple of weeks ago and I remembered the concept of the fort and why it met its demise, there was not lateral support. As a right handed shooter, below is my form from three different vantage points.


One of the things I noticed shooting Five to Go is I was waiting on the gun to settle a little on plate #3 and plate #4. When you are trying to shoot sub 2 seconds with a rifle, every tenth of a second counts. I modified my form to the below.

What I quickly found is the gun was far more stable at speed with a little bit more lateral support. Give it a shot the next time out on the range!

See you out on the range soon!


Here goes everything…

Have you ever had that moment in life where you push all of your chips in, you gamble on it all and hope it pays off?  Well, it is tempting to do in the shooting world.  This past weekend, I reached a milestone in my shooting career winning my 60thcareer major win at the 2019 Georgia State Steel Championship.  There were competitors from all over the US from at least 10 states.  At 321 entries, it will undoubtedly be one of the largest, if not the largest, level II Steel Challenge match in the country this year.  It was not long ago shooting below a 70 second time in any division was rare and a feat to be seen.  At this match, there were 7 entries shot under this watermark.  


As we entered the final day, a 66.25 was posted in the Rimfire Rifle Open division.  We have seen some times such as this in the past, but for a level II match it has been scarce to see this low of a time.  This time put me immediately into a defensive position, and I started questioning how I was ever going to shoot anything close to this time. I have never shot below a 67 at a major match and how could I possibly make a run at it?  I just put in a new trigger, from Powder River Precision, in my Tactical Solutions Xring and did some light testing the week before.  I had to come up with a game plan.


I could not remember where I squadded to start the last session of the match, and when I found out it was Smoke and Hope I was concerned.  I was concerned that I was either going to have a shot at a great match or I was going to throw caution to the wind and let it all hang out.  After all, I felt more prepared this match than any other in the past by shooting six of the last seven days.  As I arrived to the shooters box, I had a level of uneasiness I have not felt in a while.  Then suddenly a calming sensation came over me as the ‘Make Ready’ command was given. I took my dry sight picture going through the stage fast but yet controlled.  I saw my Vortex Razor on every plate with a slight jerking motion of the optic as I often do when I push my limits of how fast I can shoot.  I vaguely remember the buzzer going off and the final shot went off, and it was quiet.  I then heard the time: 1.22.  I then realized I was in the zone, and my subconscious took over.  I can’t even recall seeing the dot on any one of the plates, but I did see a shot in the middle of the stop plate.


I proceeded to change mags and prepare for my next string of fire.  The buzzer went off again, but I forced the stop plate. I cannot recall if there was one or two make-up shots on the stop plate and a 1.64 was called out. I could hear some chatter from the gallery.  I quickly blocked out the background noise and prepared for my third string.  As I did, I reminded myself to let my training set in and to let it go—here goes everything.  As I pulled the last shot, my audible senses erupted and I heard a 1.20 and people talking in the background again.  A small adrenaline rush came over me, and I allowed it to subside and told myself.  I needed to do this one more time to have the fastest stage time I have ever shot.  Everything became very quiet… a familiar RO voice said ‘are you ready’ and then ‘standby’.  At this moment it felt as though everything around me disappeared, and the only thing I could hear was in my own mind. I heard the ‘b’ in beep of the timer, and I was on the first plate.  It was over. The sound rushed back and a 1.19 was called out.  I was confident I did not stop on any plate. I don’t recall seeing the stop plate, but I did see a 4thmark on the plate at 2 O’Clock where half of the .22 ELEY bullet had made a distinct impact.  I had done it, I shot 5.25 on Smoke and Hope!


As a good friend once told me, in order to achieve results you have never seen, you have to do things you have never have done.  I have never taken this type of risk before at a major match.  Not sure I will again, but sometimes you have to get outside your comfort zone and say ‘Here goes everything..’  This time it resulted in a personal best and one of the fastest times ever shot in the Rimfire Rifle Open division of a major match 65.69.


See you out on the range soon



Sponsorship to Brand Ambassador; insight from both sides of the fence.

As a shooter, sponsorship is one of the most sought after accomplishments in the shooting sports.  There is a sense of pride, legitimacy, and, if you are fortunate, a close-knit shooting family.  Some people look for sponsorship from companies for ‘free stuff’.  This is the complete wrong approach to working with a company.  Product and goods and services are a business cost to an organization.  Marketing personnel look to sponsor matches and people to increase awareness of their product offering and increase sales.  Occasionally, there are sponsorship decisions made to enhance company image or because they want to give back to the community so future generations can share and love our second amendment rights.

Where do these relationships go wrong?  There are no real surprises here:  just like any relationship, unmet expectations and lack of follow-through are usually at the core of the root cause.  This is why you see more and more contracts in the shooting industry between companies and shooters.  Unfortunately, these individuals make it more challenging for shooters who do fulfill commitment to obtain additional sponsorship.  Once bitten twice shy.  In my opinion, this is why we have seen the jargon change from sponsorship – implying a one way street to Brand Ambassador – implying you are a reflection of the company and ‘work’  for them in exchange for discounted product, free product, and possibly include other forms of compensation.

Let’s first look at Brand Ambassadors from a company perspective.  The reality is the majority of well known Brand Ambassadors in the sport are the best shooters in the world.  If you look at the top athletes in USPSA, most are company employees.  If you attend a level II match, you will see 75-85% of the competitors with a jersey on with logos from many companies.  The majority of these companies are providing discounts or free product to these shooters.  Some will say that discounts are not really giving money to a shooter, but they certainly are.  The shooter would have purchased the equipment anyway the majority of the time. At a minimum, the discount erodes margin from the bottom line of the organization.

Selecting these athletes is a carefully managed task.  One wrong move can have an adverse impact on the organization and lost sales.  As a Team Captain, I look for the following:

What market is the person in and do I have representation there already?
Are they established in the sport?
Are they on the podium?  (Not essential but a team needs a variety of talent.)
How many matches do they shoot, both local and major matches?
What is their reputation in the sport?
What is their social media presence?  What platforms?  Followers? Engagement? Reach?
What have they done for other companies? How do they give back?
And most importantly, are they approachable, relatable, and able to talk about the product?

The last three are the most important in the industry today.

As a company, you have to have a person who manages the team.  This person needs to help set expectations, offer direction, and help answer questions.  If you do not have expectations for your Brand Ambassadors, how do you ever expect them to meet them?  If you need content, ask!  We are in a digital age and everyone has a phone with a camera. This is the content your customers want to see.  It is one thing to hear the ‘corporate’ opinion, but customers want to hear from people who are actually applying your product or service.

The sport is filled with people from all different types of careers and employment.  Never assume your Ambassadors know what to do or how to handle questions about your product. This is your responsibility to train them. As with any company, the people are the greatest asset!  Train them to be the best!  If you have a great product, you need people to talk about it with people at the range, trade shows, etc.  People in sales have been using the next technique for years… let people try it!

The last point I would like to make, based on my experience, is streamline your method of communication.  The best resource I have found is to create a “group” on social media for your team and share important updates, product launches, recognition.  This helps create community, and it can help leverage your message.  Recently, I created a video which would have netted 250-500 views, but leveraging the team brought in over 4k views through sharing on their page(s)!

Now, let’s talk a bit about the shooter.
Just don’t take any sponsorship, if you don’t believe in the product, you will never be able to share it’s benefits to others. If you don’t believe in the product, how will you be able to develop a relationship with the company?  Don’t try to make it work for the sake of wearing a logo; those relationships don’t seem to work out in the long run.

The company you are working with has laid out some expectations. Your goal as a shooter is not to do just the minimum, it’s to bring value! If you are doing something with another company which yields results, try it! Mention it! Do it!  Outside of portraying a message to the fellow shooters, tell the company what people are saying. You owe it to the organization to give your all and help it grow.

Winning by itself is not enough anymore.  You need to stand out.  I met with a company at Shot Show, and we talked about how ineffective it is to wear a logo on a jersey.  They find zero value in it.  They have a product which is crossing many disciplines. Wearing a logo at a local match is not going to drive sales: social media is.  There is not a playbook for social media.  What I will offer is even though you don’t have all the answers, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Sometime you just have to kick the ball down the field.  See what your peers are doing and see what works.  You will find your way.  If you are not out on Facebook or Instagram, I would certainly start there.

As a company, what are you going to do different?  As a Brand Ambassador, what are you going to do different?  If you don’t change anything, nothing will change.


My intent over the past several minutes was to spur thought and initiate dialogue which will  hopefully lead to action.
See you out on the range soon!


Only 3 shots…

When I was five years old we went over to a friend’s house who had this cool and amazing gaming system, it was an Atari 2600!  I still remember playing Frogger and Pitfall!  I did not know it would be a classic, but Pac-Man was a personal favorite.  The challenge of the game was stopping, going, and changing direction quickly.  It seemed simple in nature, but it was very difficult to get more than a couple levels deep!


For the sake of this discussion, there are really only 3 different shots in Steel Challenge; “Burn it Down”, “Easy Now”, and “Focus Shot”.  The Burn it Down targets are the four 18X24″ plates on Smoke and Hope, the front targets on Roundabout, the second plate on Accelerator, etc.  The “Easy Now” shots are are the fourth plate on Speed Option, fourth plate on Accelerator, the back plates on Showdown, etc.  And finally the “Focus Shots” are plates such as the 12″ plates on Outer Limits, plate #3 on Accelerator, plate #4 on Five To Go, etc.


As a shooter, it is important to understand the sight picture required to get your hits on all there different shot types.  Each shot needs something just a little bit different.  Refresh yourself on previous blog posts where I discuss Rubin’s Vase, Shooting on the Edge, and Speed vs. Accuracy.  With this being said lets talk about one of the least talked about elements of our action shooting, motion in between shots.  


While training a shooter this week I did not do nearly as good of a job as I could have articulating the importance of the motion in between shots.  We were practicing Speed Option. This stage has all three types of shots and they are slightly exaggerated with plate #2 really being a “Focus Shot”.  Despite being a “Focus Shot” many of us want to shoot it as a “Take it Easy” shot and it is not.  While participating at many matches around the country, this is probably the number 1 plate missed in all of Steel Challenge.  There are some top contenders!


Real speed on the Steel Challenge stage Speed Option comes from starting the gun fast, transitioning the gun fast, and stopping the gun fast.  If you are able to shoot all three types of shots equally, you have to work on moving the gun real fast!  The other key to a stage such as Speed Option is not to let panic set in when you approach the stage because of the largest transitions.


The next time you are out on the range, think about your stage breakdown with the three shot types in mind and then how you are going to transition the gun in the more expeditious manner possible… just like playing Pac-Man…


See you out on the range soon!




When Panic Sets In…

When Panic Sets In…

It was eleven short years ago when my wife was pregnant with our first daughter.  This was one of the happiest and yet anxious times of my life. I remember looking in the mirror at the hospital as my wife’s contractions were getting closer and closer together and I said to myself, “don’t panic and it will be OK!”  It was not long after, I met my amazing daughter for the first time.  The experience was crystal clear and time did not quite stand still, but it was very clear and all of my senses were accentuated.

As I fast forward to last weekend, I was training a shooter and we discussed the ‘Panic’ that can occur when shooting.  There is an insatiable need to feel like you need to shoot faster.  When this happens, you are shooting past your EDGE and the fundamentals break down.  What often times happens is you start to miss your shots and your string of fire ends up being a lot slower than you would like it to be and far short of your potential.

For me, the way I battle this phenomenon is to start off with a string of fire well within my Edge and then I dial it up from there.  All matches are not the same.  Your level of comfort is not the same.  The conditions are not the same.  This means should not necessarily be able to shoot your 100% times all of the time.  Evaluate what level you are shooting at and dial it in so the panic never sets in. You will always shoot better and faster when you are executing the fundamentals well!

See you out on the range soon!


Focus.. Focus..

I remember the first time I saw the Rubin Vase in Psychology class. If you are not familiar with Edgar Rubin, the Danish psychologist, and what is commonly called the Rubin Vase or Rubin Face, below is a picture you have probably seen before.

Two Faces


At first glance, do you see the vase or do you see the two faces? For me, I see the black vase first and then I adjust my focus to the side of the object and then I can clearly see the two white faces almost simultaneously.  What I find interesting is I can only maintain one of these visual images at one time.  Meaning, I cannot see both the faces and the vase at the same time. Despite my best efforts, I can’t focus on them at the same time.


I was thinking about Rubin’s Vase two weeks ago while training a fellow competitor and we were discussing Smoke and Hope. What I have been doing is maintaining a target focus prior to the first shot, and as the buzzer went off my mind would switch to a sight focus whereas when I saw the sight on the white background I would pull the trigger.  I would then revert back to a target focus for the next three shots until I arrived at the stop plate.  As similar to the first shot, I would see the target, see the sight and as the sight landed on the white background I would pull the trigger.  When I would miss the stop plate, I would forget to change my focus back to the sight in hopes the gun would be there.  In the example of Rubin’s Vase I would see the faces, then the timer would go off, I would see the vase appear with the white faces in the background, pull the trigger, look at the white faces three more times while pulling the trigger, and then finally see the final white face and when the Vase arrived I would pull the trigger.


What I decided to do is to look at the white faces, look at the vase, pull the trigger and then for the rest of the shots focus on the vase and when there was a white face background pull the trigger for the remaining targets. I saw the sights on every single shot of every single string of fire. This sight focus made a marked improvement in my time.  I was able to shoot my fastest stage time ever in Steel Challenge after hitting a plateau on the fast stages.

Two Faces Time


The next time you are out on the range, remember Rubin’s Vase and make sure you are focusing on the ‘Right’ thing at the ‘Right’ time and watch your times drop!


See you out on the range soon!



You want to be a Shot Caller do ya?

Being able to be a Shot Caller or able to call your shot is critical to any action or speed shooting discipline.  We have discussed in the past your need to be accurate in order to go fast.  You also need to be able to self-diagnose where you are shooting and if you miss, why.  One of these ways is to call your shot or determine where your shot is going.  The way to do this is to see your sights when the trigger breaks.  There are a lot of reasons why this is tough to do.  For me, I still have a tendency to blink my eyes when the firing pin hits the case/primer.  I have noticed this lately as I have been experimenting with shooting my centerfire open gun.


One of my biggest challenges as a student was always “When am I going to use this in the real world?”. So, let me share with you a practical application of Shot Calling.  I was recently working with a student on this exact topic with their Rimfire Rifle Open gun and they were blazing the Steel Challenge Stage Showdown.  We then transitioned to their Rimfire Pistol Open gun.  They immediately were having a tough time on the back two 18”x24” plates out at 25 yards.  I asked them where they were calling their shot and they stated the middle of the plate but in the top third.  The tough part was they were missing the plate.  As a coach I was not sure if they truly were not calling the shots correctly or if there was an equipment issue.  This happened for several strings of fire intermittently hitting the back plates.  I told them to stop and ‘bullseye’ two shots on the back left plate, plate #1 in the center of the plate.  Both shots were hits, but they were 1” from the top.  I then asked to shoot the gun with similar results.  They sighted their gun in at 10 yards to be just above the middle of the plate.  We made some adjustments with his pistol and shots were in the center of the back plate and .5” low on the 10” plate.  If they were not able to call their shot, they may have thought it was them and not their equipment.


The other issue I have as a shooter is I tend to be more target focused instead of sight focused when the buzzer goes off. I know, we should start a support group because I don’t think I am alone.  Remember, every shot needs something different.  A close shot, say 12” plate at 10 yards you can be more target focused and speed onto the next shot.  A 10” plate at 18 yards requires a sight focus shot.  By working on calling your shot you will do better at hitting ‘tougher’ targets at distance.  Not sure who said it, but you need to be able to shoot accurately to shoot fast.  This is very true in speed shooting!  One other insight I have to share.. I find my ability to call my shots degrades over time when I don’t shoot or practice.  This is why I recommend, even if you are on a tight budget, to shoot at least once a week or twice a week.  It keeps your skills you have worked so hard on, sharp!


See you out on the range soon!


What a difference .27 seconds can make…

We all have our predisposition when it comes to shooting. Mine is one of the worst ones to have as a speed shooter, I always try to go too fast!  In a previous post I have discussed the topic of the “EDGE”.  In lieu of rehashing the details of this concept I will share the basics.  The EDGE is the point where your basic fundamentals of shooting breakdown IE you move your eyes to the next target prior to fully depressing the trigger and firing the gun.  Everyone’s EDGE is very different, but with some experience it is easy to find.


I started shooting my Carolina Arms Group Trenton Pro 9MM this year in Single Stack and I have struggled getting consistent times. While doing some trouble shooting I discovered the accuracy out of a plated bullet is not what I needed and therefore sought out a Full Metal Jacket Bullet and discovered Precision Brass and Bullet 115grain FMJ with the help of my friend Steve Cole.  After doing some testing the true potential of my 1911 was unleashed.  MD Ammunitions does amazing work and found that 3.7 grains of Western Powders Competition was delivering reliable results at 1050 FPS.


As I started analyzing my times, I was absolutely struggling coming out of the holster. The beep went off and I thought I was going to yank my belt off with my gun.  I realized this had to do in part with my poor technique, but then I ordered a Red Hill Tactical Holster.  The fit and finish is top notch and now I know why so many people were running their holsters.  I still was not at the level of drawing my gun in as smooth of a fashion as I should be, so after some discussions with Tom Naelon, I purchased the Safariland USPSA kit.  This allowed me to make a couple of small tweaks to the draw angle and I was more confident then I have ever been!


Despite steady progress in Single Stack and my first major win in the division, I have a long way to go. One of the stages I feel can help my overall Steel Challenge game is Five to Go.  Last night I setup the stage and began to run some strings.  I knew in the back of my head that the peak time for Five to Go for Single Stack is 13.50 (four strings) or 3.375 seconds a string.  In order to be classified as a GM I would need to shoot 95% of this time and each string would have to be (3.375 secs * 1+.05%) 3.54 seconds.  The very first string I shot at my predisposition pace was 3.27 seconds with a 1.33 draw.  As I have seen in the past, I had a miss on one plate that I did not make-up.  I tried to shoot a couple more strings at this pace and then realized I was shooting past my EDGE and my fundamentals were breaking down on plate #3.  It was interesting, I tell people with this stage the transition from plate #1 to plate #2 should be the fastest transition and then plate #4 to the stop plate, but my times were showing me something else.  I was accelerating from plate to plate which can be okay, but I needed to be careful.


What I did next was tough and a step I have taken with every division I shoot; see the plate, have proper sight alignment on the target and squeezed the trigger. My draw was deliberate at 1.41 seconds, 2nd shot was deliberate at .59, 3rd shot about the same at .57, the 4th shot at .52 (a little bit fast, but connected) and my hard transition to the stop plate was .45 for a GM time of 3.54 seconds.  I decided to try to do the same exact thing as I just did and here are the splits;

Draw – 1.44

2nd shot – .60

3rd shot – .52

4th shot – .56

5th shot to the stop plate – .44 seconds

The total time was 3.56. Albeit this is just over the GM time, I would take it.  My third string I was focused on doing this one more time and my total time was 3.57 seconds.


What does this all mean? My true EDGE for Five to Go is close to the 3.50 second mark.  When I was having faster times I would sometimes connect, but then I was missing the 3rd plate and sometimes the 4th plate.  My focus is to shoot at my current level of ability, this is tough, but something I am working on.  My other area of focus is and has been to work on my draw.  I am confident I am leaving between .2-.3 seconds out on the table on this stage.  This adds up to 1 second a stage and close to 8 seconds for a match in this division.


I hope the training insight I had out on the range helps you and offers a little insight on how I work on a division and a stage to get better.


See you out on the range soon!