I know this is a little late, but I wanted to cover July’s Practical Rifle match at Tri-County, so better late than never. Per the typical format and location, July’s match was in the TCGC PR pit and only consisted of three stages this month. But don’t let that fool you, it was still an action packed afternoon with lots of shooting from practically point blank to 200+ yards. Our squad started on Stage 2 so I’ll start there, too.
STAGE TWO – KNEEL AND HOPE
The format for this stage started up close with five laid back IPSC style targets from 5 yards to 25 yards which were to be engaged through almost touching barrels. Then you had to run over to a berm and hit two banks of two targets, one at around 100 yards and the other closer to 200 yards. In the second shooting position you are forced to shoot over a berm while not moving beyond the fault lines which forced you to shoot freehand, not my strongest skill set at the moment.
This format of a stage, starting close up in a hoser style, then moving way out for slow precision work really can trip up competitors. You start out, guns a’ blazing and then try to take a slow precise shot which usually results in a couple of misses until you can get control of yourself again and calmly breath and give a good trigger pull and get your hits. Well I fell victim to the “accelerate-decelerate syndrome” on this one and it took a handful of missed shots for the “slow down!” message to emerge, then went down the line without missing anything else. That little error was enough to keep me off the podium for the match. Thank God it wasn’t a Virginia count stage!
STAGE THREE – NINE POSITIONS
Uh, the dreaded Virginia count stage of the match. Stage three required that you put 2 rounds on a IPSC target from nine positions, so you should wind up with 18 rounds on paper without firing any extra makeup shots or penalties will ensue. You start standing at the low ready and engage from standing at the start of the timer. Two shots standing, two shots kneeling, two shots sitting, two shots prone over a railroad tie, then two shots from urban prone to be fired under a railroad tie, then two shots from each of the previous positions in reverse. Pretty easy concept, but I found myself moving in less than optimal transitions and realized midway through I was shooting way too slow. I still managed to do pretty well.
STAGE ONE – TEN&TEN&TEN
Perched on a berm laying waste to the steel below is by far my favorite style of stage. Stage one was a variation on that theme and gave you 120 seconds to hit 5 small tombstones in the typewriter format as many times as you could. The twist was that you could only have 10 rounds per mag, so no advantage to the SureFire peeps. The position also had you somewhat contorted because the uneven ground with several large rocks sticking up forced you into a less than favorable position which not only sucked for shooting, but made it tough for transitioning from targets on the right to tagets on the left. Range wasn’t too bad, the furthest was probably around 200 yards, but the size of the targets and the poor shooting platform still managed to make it challenging. I made some mistakes, but still managed to do pretty well and came out grinning ear to ear. Did I mention these are my favorite style of stage?
On a side note, after much back and forth, I decided to use my DPMS 3G1 which in hindsight was most likely a mistake. Although there were some targets with a little distance, my BCM shorty would have done much better on all of the quick, close work. I’ll have to start bringing both to the matches and decide on the best tool for the job after the walkthrough.