Match Report: 2011 Double Tap Championship

Double Tap

One of my favorite matches every year happens in Wichita Falls, TX. Consistently
creative, with solid, well thought out and constructed stages, the Double Tap
always gets my recommendation as a “must shoot” match each year. This
year was no exception. Hit the jump for the match video, and some discussion of what
proved to be an unusual test of my game, and how I dealt with it.

The Double Tap has historically taken place in late March, but a couple of different
factors caused the match director, Robert Porter, to move the match date to early June.
Weather was always dicey, and while the weekends before and after the match always seemed
to be great, somehow match weekend was always nasty, as you can tell from 2010′s match video.
The 2nd was that the US National Steel Championships in Titusville, FL, scheduled their match for the
same weekend, and it prevented a number of shooters from making the Double Tap. The weather
was certainly different this year – 100 degrees, dry, and windy. Perfect shooting weather,
if you’re accustomed to it. It definitely had an effect on focus and stamina throughout
the course of the match.

The stages this year were actually quite technical, and notably absent was the signature
20 hit factor field course we’ve seen the past couple of years. They did include a number of
activated props, however, including a swinging plate rack, a dropping bridge that concealed two
targets, and a number of swingers, drop turners, and bear traps. The wind played havoc on
the turners on one stage, causing delayed activation (you can see this in the video – there’s a
stage with two drop turners up front, where one didn’t get reset the first time… watch it (fail
to) activate promptly the second time). The biggest technical aspect to the match, though, was
position work. Setting up cleanly, and getting back out of position smoothly was an extremely
important skill set to have mastered for this match.

My biggest goal for the match was simply shooting clean – mission accomplished. In fact, I was
very happy, overall, with my performance in the match. I really only made one serious error
in the course of the match (I fumbled the first mag on my reload off the barrel in the last
stage in the video), and managed to keep my head together solidly in the midst of some pretty
serious mental challenges, as you’ll see. I saw some improvement in the big goat I’ve been
working on (extra shots on steel), too – I still need work, there, but it’s getting better.

In terms of shooting performance, I definitely need some improvement in cleaning up the points.
I shot a lot of Ds, and took a number of extra shots making up questionable hits on paper. Every
extra shot costs time – typically .25-.35 seconds each. That adds up in a hurry across the whole
of a match. I’d really made up some ground here in practice, but wasn’t able to nail it down
this time in the match. And, of course, I still need to work steel. Both things come back to
patience behind the gun.

Now, what about things going wrong? I had it in spades. The one that had the worst tangible
effect on my match was that I went minor at the chronograph. I’m not going to cover this issue
fully (going to save that for a full post of it’s own – at least, how to deal with it, if it
happens to you), but I can tell you why it happened. The short of it is, I had a lot of balls
in the air in my life leading up to the match, and was unable to follow my normal processes
for loading and testing match ammo properly
. In fact, I didn’t load my match ammo until the
Thursday before the match. I had to crack into a new box of powder – ostensibly the same lot
number as the previous, but a box from a different order – and had adjusted my bullet seating
die after loading a different bullet for a while. I loaded back to the same OAL as before, but…
Any time you change anything, you shouldn’t assume things are going to be the same as they were.
I knew I was taking a risk, but didn’t have the ability to do things differently without making
a bigger sacrifice in other areas. Totally my choice, and totally my responsibility.

Unfortunately, when you’re shooting minor, points become that much more important, and for a couple
of stages, I let that dictate my pace a bit, causing me to really check up and get careful
(read: slow). That’s just as bad as losing the points. Most folks feel like going minor is
worth about 10% of match points – I’ve run the math before, and that seems to hold true. In this
match, shooting the same scores at major power factor would’ve put me in 2nd place instead
of 6th. That’s a pretty big change in overall placement – not something I recommend for optimal
match results!

I also had some equipment issues. I discovered two broken basepads on my medium stick mags
on the 2nd day, and had to adjust my usual equipment usage to avoid having to use the cracked
pads (for fear that they might come apart catastropically mid-stage). I also managed to
break my holster on the 3rd to the last stage of the match (hear that metallic “clink” as I go
through the door at the front of the stage?). I bent the ball joint rod enough that the holster was
way out of position. I was able to reposition it in the safe area, but as you can see, on the very
next stage, I managed to try shooting in thing air in the last position on the stage, and the
holster go punished a second time, actually bending the rod almost back to normal – but because
of the resulting holster position, I couldn’t re-holster the gun and had to have a gun rug brought
up to me to clear the stage. The last stage was a table start, so I just left it as it was.

Finally, in the second to the last stage, I had an undiagnosed gun failure. It was either an
ammo issue (I believe the hammer fell, but it didn’t go off), but it could’ve been a case of
failure to go fully into battery, due to grit under the extractor, though I doubt that, as the
gun was freshly cleaned before the match. Either way, the gun and the match ammo are still
as they were as I write this, so I can diagnose both as soon as I finish dealing with other areas
of my life and get back into training up for Nationals.

Any of those things could’ve affected my head and spun my match out of control, and in the past
I’ve collapsed under similar challenges. Not so this time. I’ve done a lot of work to adopt a
healthy attitude about match diversity, and developing the mental game to deal with those sorts
of challenges. It’s extremely gratifying to see that work pay off, and be able to shrug those
worries off without even having to make a strong effort around it.

So, there it is. A solid match performance, only really marred by lack of due diligence with my
ammunition. Next time, we come back with the same (or, hopefully, better game), but without
those issues, and we’ll see where the chips fall then, my friends ;-)

About the author


USPSA Grand Master, NRA Instructor, http://re-gun.com/about/

Permanent link to this article: http://re-gun.com/2011/07/match-report-2011-double-tap-championship/

2 pings

  1. DR Performance says:

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  2. xre says:

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