Here’s my second update for the 2014 Challenge:
Pistol Competition Challenge
As you may recall, I missed the first pistol competition due to a sinus infection. Now the first competition was an informal one. These take place one time a month and are run by a guy who does formal competition weekly. I figured this would be a good place to start and it was the only one I was aware of.
But then I learned about the formal competitions that are run weekly at the outdoor shooting range. These take place every Thursday evening. One of my shooting friends mentioned it and encouraged me to go.
Now I was nervous, because these are formal and you’ve got folks out there who have been shooting for years and years. Newbies get a meeting to familiarize them with how the competition works. Then we tag along with a mentor and they show us the ropes. The guy who runs the informal competition played mentor for us.
The most nerve-wracking part for me was learning the commands and process for them. No one is allowed a loaded firearm so when you step into the firing box, you have an unloaded pistol in your holster. When the “Ready” command is given, you pull your pistol, load a magazine, rack the slide, and re-holster. Then you are ready to start. The Range Officer then asks if you are ready and when you are given the “Start” command, you go.
When you start, you pull your pistol, and proceed to fire at targets. There are rules for each target and there are sometimes rules for the order you shoot the targets. All of those rules are posted so that you know what you are supposed to do.
There are 5 different shooting scenarios all running simultaneously. That means that each shooter must also help set up each stage, pick up shell casings, help keep score, run the timer, etc. It is a very busy scene so safety rules are extremely important.
Next time I’ll talk more about scoring and how that works as I am just getting the hang of it.
Here are the Pistol Competition Challenge notes and takeaways:
1. As a newbie you are put in a class with all the other newbies. There were 8 of us. I was the only female. I came in 4th place. My friend came in 1st… he’s really good!
2. There were about 60 shooters and only 4 of them were women.
3. Focus, focus, focus. I failed in the focus department. I was so concerned about the ready process and the closing process that I spent very little time thinking about how I would tackle each target. I made a few mistakes that affected my score as a result. As the start and closing process become second nature, I’ll be much better at focusing on the timed shooting part.
4. My holster belt is too big. I’ve lost 15 lbs since I purchased the belt and it’s now too loose. As a result I ended up with my holster in the wrong position, this had an effect on how easily and quickly I was able to pull my pistol from the holster… I can save time in this area by getting a new belt.
5. I lost a lot of time due to firearm recoil. I did get some advice however, which was awesome, so I will have some time to work on grip for the next match. I was glad to have feedback. One of the guys seemed to roll their eyes when I mentioned getting some advice but the reality is that I’ve had no formal training. I’ve learned stance, grip, aim, etc. by asking questions and getting some tidbits of info along the way. As a ‘learner’ I am always open to advice and feedback. If I want to improve I must always seek the information to effectuate the improvement. Shooting requires a whole lot of tacit learning that you cannot get on your own.
All in all, it was a totally fun experience and I’m looking forward to doing it again!
Acrylic Painting Challenge
I spent the weekend working on a painting project. I started out with an abstract idea in mind but wasn’t sure how it would go so… I just started. I did several layers which means drying time is required.
Here’s what I realized… drying time is solution time.
As I waited for the piece to dry I looked at one I’d done last weekend. I kind of made a mess of it… or so I thought. But after looking at it all week a solution hit me! Every time I checked on my current project to test for dryness, I’d look at that mess. And suddenly it just came to me what I could do.
Working on multiple pieces at the same time seems to help my brain discover new ideas and solutions for where the painting is at that point.
I was struggling with instruction in the class I’m taking. The instructor hasn’t actually done any presentation or demonstration. So I’m sort of on my own to learn as I make mistakes I guess. This is not my favorite kind of instruction. So I started doing some online research. I found some great videos on youTube along with some great artist sites with how-to videos and information. The additional information has been very helpful.
I’m trying out ideas and suggestions based on what I’ve learned on my own. It will be interesting to see how it translates to the work I’m doing in the class which is much more realistic painting.
That’s all folks!
So that’s my update for the week. Next week we jump into February which means I will take on a couple of new challenges. So far I like the pistol challenge and the painting challenge. Both continue into next month so we’ll see how it goes!
What new things are you learning?