is a guest post from one of our fellow competitors Glenn M., who shared his
thoughts on shooting several different guns over several months at the Short
Range Match. Very insightful. Glenn kindly gave me permission to use his article as a blog post.
endless debate is whether competition (usually IDPA or USPSA will hurt you on
the street). The matches supposedly lack realism as compared to actual critical
incidents and/or training motor memories in ways that are not useful in such.
One other solution is a more ‘realistic’ match – if a match can be realistic.
In the San Antonio/Austin area, Eric Lamberson’s Short Range match is oriented
to your carry gun and scenarios based on real critical incidents. I’ve shot it
a few times and used my actual carry guns: a S&W 642 revolver, Glock 42,
and a Glock 19. Here are comments on three different matches with all my faults
42: I bought it has pocket gun for those dress circumstances that
warrant it and as a back up gun (BUG). Out of the box it was a horror during a KR Training
pocket gun class. It jammed almost on every round. At an indoor range, it fired
out of battery, with fire, sparks and smoke coming out of the ejector port –
which scared the crap out of me. It went back to Glock as the 42’s had lots of
trouble at first. It seems fixed now and it ran at the match.
Match: This was a fun match.
emphasis was close up and difficult target configurations. My frustration was
with me. I decided to shoot my new G42. It’s the third match for the gun. After
going back to Glock, it now runs well. No problems with it. However, on the
first two stages, I stunk. I couldn’t hit a whale. The smaller grip, etc. led
me to default to the classic left hander’s problem of hits going down to the
right very badly. The last three stages, I managed to get back into decent but
not great shooting. I was truly annoyed with myself. (as Glenn indicates, he’s
a left-handed shooter. The most common shooting error for a left-handed shooter
is hits going low right, the mirror image of the low left hits the typical
trigger-yanking right hander produces.)
G42 mags do not drop free easily. You have to extract the empty mag most of the
time. Thus, carrying a bigger higher capacity gun is a plus for the more
complex stage or problem. But this is a pocket gun. I’ve conquered the “low
right” hit problem with my full-sized guns. But this little guy just brought it
up again. I had shot it in an IDPA match before and it wasn’t that bad. More
practice is needed. I think I shot a J frame a touch better. Might try that.
the stages were based on real problems with multiple attackers – the guy who
says you only need two shots on the average – BAH! Reloading the little guys is
slow, especially if you pocket carried the gun and extra mags.
is a very soft gun to shoot. Not like a Ruger LCP which I found really was
sharp in my palm. Winchester White Box, Herter’s, and Blazer Brass – no problem
my best day. Lots of reloads and screwing up at first with the G42. However, it
was a good match and a learning experience. Takeaway points.
Scenarios can be more complex than those written within IDPA standards
2. Small capacity guns and lots of targets are challenging
3. Need to practice with new small guns. Can’t assume you will be on target
4. G42 – after its trip to Glock – ran perfectly and recoil is trivial.
5. Used a DeSantis belt holster for the G42 – it’s very small. It’s the
only left handed holster I found when I last looked. For a mag pouch, I found
that a Galco leather 1911 one would take the G42 mags with some screwing around
with the screws. However, carrying it on the belt seems silly. If it’s a belt
gun – then the G19 or 26 is the gun for me. The 42 is clearly a pocket gun.
Range Match with the Glock 19
19 – This is a 2nd generation gun I’ve had for years. It usually
runs well (until it doesn’t). It is my most common EDC, alternating with a G26.
Holster was a Galco Matrix.
Match: Shot the match again today but with my G19 which is a carry
gun. So, I didn’t suck. I hit most targets quite well. The scenarios were taken
from real life and some were quite interesting. A multiple attack Mumbai run
does make the pocket gun less attractive as a primary and more of a BUG.
However, sometimes clothing issues intervene.
an Internet forum, a poster claims never to see a semi jam. Well, in my squad –
I saw a CZ fizzle out once. A new SIG was repeatedly problematic. My Glock did
one stove pipe and another Glock malfunctioned twice. I guess semi’s do jam.
Lots of folks were hitting three targets twice each in 3 to 4 seconds from the
incident used for scenario set up is relevant as compared to the artificiality
of some matches. Of course, all such matches are somewhat artificial.
results: Good news – points down out of 30 shooters, I’m 5th. Time – I am an
old fat sloth who rambles around. Towards the bottom. I might say that I’m
deliberate – yeah that works. I’ve always been slow in IDPA. Accuracy – always
Range Match with the J frame – 642.
carried the 642 quite a bit. I’ve shot it in IDPA. Since I carried it – I
took a class in snubby usage from Claude Werner’s at KR Training. Very
useful. Folks who just recommend them and don’t shoot them – they need to
rethink that recommendation for a beginner.
decided to shoot my S&W 642 that has a Crimson Trace laser grip. I wore a
holster as you can’t draw from the pocket per match rules. I had two speed
loaders (HKS speed loaders) on the other side. So, gun on the left side and the
ammo on the right.
match is designed to simulate real and close up encounters that he draws from
life and videos of such. Thus, the targets can be complex. There can be no easy
cover and clear shot paths. This is unlike IDPA where the design usually gives
you cover and the path to shoot fairly easily from cover with a small number of
stage had six targets mixed in with overlapping and close to equal numbers of
no-shoots. Another had three close in opponents with t-shirts to obscure the
obvious IDPA centers. Third, a drill: three targets, hit the first with two
rounds, the second with three rounds, reload and the last with 4 rounds.
Repeat. Fourth – barricades, no shoots and lots of targets – the kicker – the
last target is at 10 yards (the farthest distance) and it is a picture of a
terrorist. You have to fire one shot at the head – if you miss – it is
considered that he was a bomber and he blows up and you lose 10 seconds (as you
are blown up). Last, a series of close targets with a kneeling component. So,
how did it go?
Accuracy – pretty decent – on the first stage before my grip and trigger
settled in – I missed two head shots between some no shoots but got the body
On the others, usually no -3s (targets were 2 shots, except for some mandated 2
body and 1 head and the bomb dude warranted just one head shot. So at these
distances I was in the range of most of the semi shooters and better than some.
I got the head shot on bomb dude – by that stage my muscle memory of the J had
returned. Most people in my squad got the bomber but some were blown up. The
other squad blew up quite a bit or so I am told.
The laser – at the real close – I could see the dot and used it for a fast
sequence close up. However, in the Texas sun, it was not visible beyond really
close and looking for it, is stupid – thus -the old iron fixed sights.
The tee shirts – lots of folks shot low. Below the bottom of the 0 circle. Hmm?
I dealt with those by remembering what I was taught and shot between the
The no – shoots. In the very crowded stage, about 5 out of 8 people hit a no
shoot. The shots were usually on their edges; I don’t recall a center mass
shoot through but there could have been one. Something to think about for the
Internet dude who will not shoot an innocent in an Orlando scenario because he
is soooo good.
away about the J as a gun. Well, I could use it. With multiple targets – oh, are
those reloads slow – no I’m not Jerry Miculek and I run out three times in a
it is a nice in the pocket, one or two muggers at the gas pump gun--let’s hope
they flee in terror. In some horror show – I would prefer my Glock. I shot that
the match before and it was much, much easier.
J is uncomfortable to shoot after 90 rounds – ouch. UMC 130 gr loads. Started
to feel it. These weren’t +Ps, my normal carry. Usually never feel my 9mm, 45
ACP, or 380.
not a gun for the non-gunner if you take it seriously as compared to pulling it
out and scaring the bad guy away. Yes, folks do use these successfully and
shoot them better than me.
Conclusion--it’s a BUG or mowing the lawn gun. Taking Claude’s class was a
big help. Today’s world, I want better for the extreme case. Laser –
maybe at night or from a weird angle with no time for a sight picture but I
like the sights better. The match is a good one as it moves away from some of
the artificiality of the big games.
1. Practice with a real carry gun when you can. Of course,
competition with a specialized gun is fun but one needs some experiences
with the EDC.
2. If you carry a little gun, that needs practice. I note
that the first shots with both little guys were off until my grip settled.
3. In my mind, there is a distribution of critical
incident intensity. It’s multimodal. The first peak is no shots fired as
the gun is a deterrent. Don’t need to carry ammo.
The second is the one or
two muggers with economic motivation. They generate the arithmetic mean we
hear of 2 to 3 shots fired. Those shots, usually stop or shoo away the
Then, there is the rarer high intensity incident like an
Orlando, Mumbai, or San Bernardino – multiple attackers and shots. Sure,
you should flee but if you had to fight – a low capacity J frame or
semi-auto is not optimal. Shooting a match like Eric’s points out all
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