That Was a BLAST!. (No Pun Intended)

Sunday morning I shot in my first action shooting match, the Steelworker’s match at Pima Pistol Club. Prior to this, my only competition experience had been steel silhouette matches, which are run at a different pace entirely. In this match each shooter shoots five stages, each stage consisting of different quantities of steel targets at various ranges, and from various locations on the range, sometimes with obstacles to shoot around. Each shooter competes against the clock, with unhit targets counting as penalties that are added to your time. This is a “fun” match – it’s not like IPSC or IDPA where there is at least a nod given to “honing your defensive firearms skills,” this is putting lead downrange and smacking steel for the sheer fun of it. To be honest, I think it’s set up mostly for creaky old guys who aren’t too good at kneeling and laying down rapidly, much less getting back up again, so it’s fine by me.

I shot my Kimber Classic using my preferred handload of 200 grain Speer Golds Dot over 7.0 grains of Unique, and I think I did pretty well for a newbie though the scores are not posted yet. About 25 people turned out for the match, and I’m hoping I finished in the middle of the pack for Stock pistol. I only made one really stupid mistake. The fourth stage was “El Presidente” – a fairly common stage at most pistol matches. Three roughly IDPA-shaped targets are set up about 10 yards downrange. Facing downrange, the shooter “makes ready,” by loading and holstering his gun. Then, the shooter faces away from the targets and puts his hands in the air in the universal “surrender” position. At the sound of the buzzer, the shooter turns, draws, engages each target with two rounds, reloads, and again engages each target with two rounds for a total of twelve. If you miss, you may continue to fire until each target has been hit the requisite number of times. This stage is run twice, with the fastest time being the one recorded for score.

My pistol magazines hold eight rounds, so I drew, shot, dropped the magazine, inserted a fresh one, and shot again. At the end of the stage, I took out the second magazine (which now held two rounds) and put it back into a magazine pouch on my belt. A fresh magazine was inserted, and I was ready for round two. After the second run, I cleared my pistol, picked up my dropped magazines, reloaded them, and proceeded on to stage five.

Stage five was four steel targets of various sizes behind a barrier with two windows and a pair of swinging doors. The instructions were to shoot each target twice from the first window, from the swinging doors, and from the second window. Four targets, two shots each, so assuming I didn’t miss that was one magazine per position. Loaded and ready, I awaited the buzzer. At the sound, I proceeded to the window, drew, and put eight rounds on steel. Moving to the doors, I changed magazines and dropped the slide.

Two shots, and I was empty.

I’d drawn the magazine from the end of the first run of “El Presidente” that I’d put back in the mag pouch and hadn’t reloaded. Out of five magazines on my belt, I drew the ONE that had two rounds in it.

Needless to say, my time on the fifth stage was not stellar.

Still, I had a great time, and I’m looking forward to the next match, which will unfortunately be in April, since the fourth Sunday of March will be Easter.

Oh, while I didn’t do a precise round count, I do know that at least 125 rounds of my ammo went down range, and damned near all of them hit what I intended them to.

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