My range, the Southern Utah Practical Shooters, hold what they call Tuesday Night Steel. It's really a blast and an excellent way to get introduced to the game. It's also a regular part of USPSA and affects your overall rating in the organization. I'm still unrated but I'm confident I can shoot Class C. Maybe B but then again......
The Range Officer announces the lineup to shoot. I'm second for the first stage. I'm a little nervous shooting competition in front of so many good shooters but I'm also beginning to find my groove and my confidence. This is the third steel shoot I've attended. Time to see if I've learned anything.
The steel rings and disappears with gratifying regularity. I shot that stage pretty well. I'm not exactly feeling cocky....maybe a bit overconfident. That's foreshadowing right there.
Stage 2 is just as satisfying. I'm not missing. My times are off the top shooters but hey, they've been doing this for years, they're supposed to be beating me badly.
Stage 3. Um. I'm still holding my own but that wasn't the best I've shot or know that I can shoot. I missed only a few but I had to make them up but that costs time. I gotta do better on this last stage. I'm feeling good. The targets are going down, my time is respectable and I'm feeling almost like I belong.
Stage 4. Near disaster. I was simply going too fast, trying to make up for the slow time on Stage 3 and it jumped up and bit me on the butt whilst simultaneously laughing in my ear. Mister Murphy is a cruel fellow. I got to one of the mini poppers and it just stubbornly refused to go down. I think someone was holding it up with a line or something because I just could not drop it. I must have shot 12 round at that little @#$%^&ing target before it fell with a soul crushing clang. 63 seconds. Dropped me from an easy 5th to a close 6th (Yep, they spelled my name wrong. Since I still pretty much suck I think I'll just let it go). Not bad for only my third ever steel competition but 5th would have been better.
It's an interesting discipline this USPSA. I'm enjoying it. Trying hard to listen, learn and absorb. Watching the better shooters and asking questions. So far I've learned a new stance, new grip and new sight picture for at least some of the targets. The learning curve is steep for a 54 year old who has it learned one way and then practiced that for 33 years. I am learning and improving. From 11th to 8th to 6th (should have been 5th dagnab it!!)
Luckily this range is run by a guy who believes in community outreach and bringing in new shooters. They run regular steel shoots, Friday night USPSA classes and every Wednesday night they invite the ladies who don't want to shoot USPSA (yet anyway) to come out and have some fun. One of the better shooters in the club, Glen Wong, has been kindly giving me the benefit of his knowledge and skills. All of it without cost. Yes, I said that. I've been getting instruction worth hundreds of dollars on a weekly basis gratis. Lu too. She's been going to the Wednesday night shoots and her Mom has been going with her. Good stuff right there.
There's more to come. I'll shoot my first qualifier sometime this Fall. Hopefully before it gets too cold. From there we'll see. It takes time and ammunition to get better. Time I got, ammo is another thing. I guess it's time to crank up the reloader.