If you are new to shooting pistol and you have decided you like IPSC and you want to improve and grade up there are a few things you can do, now I am not a coach but I can share some of the things that helped me.
Buy a variety of dry fire training books, I bought one of Ben Stoeger’s and one of Steve Anderson’s, Bens book suited me better so I use that and also listen to as many podcasts as you can!
Be 100% honest with your quality of dry fire (sight pictures/ transitions) as you are only cheating yourself so video your dry fire every now and again to make sure you are not being sloppy.
You don’t need the top of the line gear to start, buy a good quality belt as you will go thru multiple brands of holsters and pouches thru your shooting life, I can recommend Ghost 360 pouches as a good start for pouches and either the Ghost Stinger or Double Alpha PDR Pro2 holsters for production, and I like the Viper Holster from Auz, DAA Alpha-X, or Guga Ribas speed holster for standard/open.
Whatever gear you choose, practice and get comfortable with it, practice all drills and gun handling in uncomfortable positions and places .e.g. holding a rope or handle to shoot strong or weak hand and having to swap hands on the gun, or a weak hand stage and you have to do a reload then practicing a weak hand reload is a good idea.
The drills you practice in live fire should be done in a structured way and recorded so you can see improvement and when you move on you can go back to them later and monitor improvement or loss.
Pairing up with a fellow shooter from your club will help you improve because of the personal competition factor and being able to film and critique each other, and when you travel away to competitions sharing costs makes your shooting money go farther.
The really good part of being a new shooter is everything is new and exciting even the travel; you will see faster improvement in your skill level and you don’t have the level of self imposed expectation.
So I am going to run thru what I do just so you can get an idea of what it’s like, Dry fire a minimum of 20min a night 4nights a week , Live fire drills at least once a week for 250-500rnds, and on average there is four level 3 events a year and another 5-6 level 2 matches, sometimes more with a average round count of 200 (not counting any club matches) so costs can rack up quickly (13,500-27,000rnds a year*)or ($4,500-$9,180 40S&W**) ($3,315-$6,885 9mm**)not including match entry fee or travel costs.
I would invest in a reloading setup if you get serious; Dillon being one of the best brands, Winchester Primers are generally cheapest, Personal preference for powder I use AP70 and Titegroup , I use either Delta Mike or Rusa Reloading for my projectiles, Brass wise hopefully you have bought ammo and have brass already or range pick up brass to start with.
There are 2 types of tumblers, Dry Vibration Tumbler
Pros. Dry tumblers are cheaper, and you can tumble tarnished loaded ammo.
Cons. doesn’t clean inside the cases, media blocks flash holes so don’t de-prime before tumbling, dusty.
Wet Rotary Tumbler
Pros. Larger amount of cases fit in tumbler, Cleans inside cases and primer pockets.
Cons. More expensive, Noisier, you have to dry your cases, if you use the pins they can get stuck in the cases.
* Round count based on doing 10 matches a year, as well as doing live fire once a week for 10 months which wouldn’t be likely with weather and day to day life
**Pricing is reloads and not counting bulk buying deals of supplies
15th Of March changed New Zealand forever and in many ways, we all sat and watched in horror and disbelief. Our thoughts and prayers went to victims and families. For myself, being part of the competition shooting community and a avid history buff, I had a feeling how it was going to go with a labor government in charge and the percentage of English police in our police HQ.
Here in the shop, I returned all my stock of semi’s and started getting my competition gear together for a predictable anti gun backlash and ban on firearms - the only one of my predictions that hasn’t come true yet…YET, is a complete ban on firearms, though I think it will come if labor stays in power at the next elections.
A couple of things that really stung, one being predictable, was general A class holders throwing those of us who enjoy competition shooting sports, under the bus (we had a good chuckle then the extent of the bans spread to their .22 and shotguns ) and they had to try and back pedal (#federatedfarmers).
But the one that stung the most was the media and public perception, that shooting sports are not legitimate sports and that New Zealand doesn’t compete on the world stage nor compete at a high level.
For me personally, coming from a sporting family, watching my brother play Cricket for New Zealand I wanted to represent NZ in my own chosen sport.
When I finally made selection for the New Zealand team and heading to the Australasian Handgun Championships in the Philippines, the local media who were going to run articles on it (to try and raise the profile of the sport) changed direction and wouldn’t touch it, and in their words it didn’t fit their policy and direction. While we understand the need for sensitivity, it is obvious that a 180 wasn’t necessary and perhaps more care to how it was to be framed, could be applied.
So I spent the whole of last year trying to focus on work, dry fire, trying to reload enough ammo to keep up with my live fire training, the media were vilifying us as “gun toting red necks”, “Right wing gun nuts” “Racist” etc. The police started taking our firearms off us, being as vague as possible with rulings, taking forever to release price lists, raiding houses (with excessive use of force in some cases) and making multiple phone calls to myself and my wife about guns that were already handed in. The Government seemed to be taking away our rights, avoiding due process, and doing their best to portray us as the reason it happened all while covering up the police’s licensing mistakes that caused this to happen.
Finally November arrived and we packaged all our gear and headed to the airport. The flight was uneventful and once we landed we were greeted by a welcoming party handing out lanyards, and then went through a very strict security process before heading to our hotel. It was so refreshing to be treated with such respect and excitement by the people of the Philippines, as shooting sports are huge there and the event meant a lot to them.
We were awarded a massive honor as being the last team into the stadium at the opening ceremony (normally reserved for the home country) because they asked us to perform the Haka, to give you an idea of the scale of the magnitude of the event, there were over 1100 competitors attending from over 42 countries for the handgun championships, by comparison, the 2019 Oceania athletics championships had 700 athletes from 22 countries.
Our total team was comprised of 42 people, 20 people made up of the official team the rest people wanting to experience the event with the possibility of more bans on the horizon, with a total medal count of 14. It’s the best result to date for a New Zealand team! Not that you will hear about it in any New Zealand News Media (to put that in context the Australian News Media covered their team’s results) then it was a 36 hour marathon home to more law changes.
The last year has been very hectic so I forgot to do a roar trip report , so seeing as we are coming up to this roar I thought I would give you guys a recap of a rather uneventful return to one of my favorite places.
This hut holds some of my fondest memories as it one of the first places I was taken for the roar, so, as I quite often organize the roar trip, I thought I would return the favor and take someone new .
If you follow us you would have seen Rachael from Ridgeline as part of our pig hunting and fishing team, she was keen to come with us so that made our team of 6.
The first day of the roar trip is always full of excitement and memories of trips past, the drive down to the heli pad and then flight into the hut was uneventful and as soon we landed I got Rachael ready and we headed up river to check out the river slips and clearings .
The lack of sign on the river flats was a bad omen and sure enough we didn’t see any sign of deer on the way down, so we sat and watched a slip for awhile, then climbed 100m up on the hut side and stalked back with no fresh sign or roaring to be seen or heard .
I decided to head over into the next catchment to scout a ridge that I shot a stag on once before. We dropped off the main track and down to the river, took some pics, rehydrated, and headed off up the ridge and again we were stunned by the amount of foliage and feed available but no deer sign.
So after having a snack up on top of the ridge in my spot, we headed over to the next ridge. Then, as we were dropping into the next ridge, a hind came walking along a game trail below us, after waiting a second to see if Rachael was going to take the shot, I dropped it (Later, I found out that she had been given a bollocking by someone for taking a shot early. So I told her that as long as I was not in the firing line, to take the shot!!
We cut the deer up, put most of the hind in my Vorn 42l pack, and started the long slog home. By the time we got to the main track, my quads were cramping up. By the time we reached the hut river my hamstrings were cramping as well (I now take a supplement called Huntsmart or take magnesium pills).
Was rather uneventful, we went up and along the hut river to check out some slips with still very little sign, then headed back as Rachael had a sore knee from the previous day and sorted camp life, fortunately Les and Kev spooked a spiker and Les managed to pull off a Texas heart shot , so we had 2 in the tree and we set up the shower for those that were keen.
The fourth day saw us heading up to the “hanging forest” (one of my favorite places) but this meant a climb to 3937ft, as we climbed we started to see a bit of sign and Rachael spooked a big animal on the way up however no chance of a shot. We hunted the top for a bit with it providing the most sign seen so far, but headed back as Rachael’s knee was still bothering her.
Day 5 Final Day Hunting
Two pairs of us heading up 'heartbreak' with us bringing up the rear as we were a bit buggered from the last 4 days. As were having a breather, 2 deer that Rich and Les had spooked came running past us .
Rachael had a shot at the hind but after an extensive search no blood was found, so we continued up past where Rich and Les had turned off the track for about 600m then dropped off into a gut out of the wind and that had lots of sun and sat and watched for awhile.
Rachael’s knee was starting to play up again, so we decided to head back. We climbed out of the gut to the knife edge ridge and headed for the track, we were just talking normally and as I rounded a tree there was a yearling standing in the sun so I put my fingers in my ears and froze. Rachael noticed my body language and popped around the tree and one shot dropped the yearling!
After the customary congratulations and pictures, we took all the meat and the skin, as it was the last day and headed back to camp heavy and happy, I felt the pressure her getting a deer lift and Rachael was stoked with her deer.
Once back at camp it didn’t take much convincing to get Kevy to put the cast-iron oven on the fire to roast a deer leg for Dinner. Gradually everyone else returned to camp and as it turned out, Rach and I were the only ones to get anything that day. However, one of the reasons why deer numbers were low became apparent!
When Richard came back to camp he told us that they had found a poisoned stag that wasn’t long dead , they had stalked in on it thinking it was asleep but when he got closer he gave a yell to get it to stand and nothing happened so they walked over and saw the neck twisted around and the bloody foam around the mouth.
Had the deer moved it would have been shot and we would have eaten 1080 poisoned meat so we were very lucky!
Hot Barrels! Keep Safe! And introduce someone new to our beautiful country!