When talking to people about getting into competitive shooting, a common thing I hear it’s that they need to go buy a new gun before they get started. In a vast majority of cases though, they currently have a gun and gear that’s more than good enough to start.
Case in point: The Wake County Action Pistol Matches
Last Monday we shot the exact same stages that we shot on Wednesday. I shot Monday with my Glock 34, CR Speed belt, and Ghost magazine pouches. Wednesday I shot the match with my Glock 19, IWB holster, and my spare magazine in my back pocket the way I carry it concealed. Surprisingly, the scores between the two pistols were very close.
[table caption=”Stage 1″ colalign=”left|left|left|left”]
Gun, Raw, Penalty, Final
Glock 34, 12.92, 8, 20.92
Glock 19, 16.34, 4, 20.34
On Stage 1, we started the stage on the X, facing the left wall. On the buzzer we had to engage all of the targets as we saw fit. You’ll notice, I actually shot this stage 3.42 seconds slower with the Glock 19, however once I added in the penalties for poor accuracy, I ended up 0.58 seconds faster with the Glock 19 from concealment, and a back pocket reload.
[table caption=”Stage 2″ colalign=”left|left|left|left”] Gun, Raw, Penalty, Final
Glock 34, 15.1, 3, 18.1
Glock 19, 14.01, 11, 25.01
Stage 2 started centered up behind a barricade on the side of our choice. This stage isn’t a great comparison for two reasons: 1. I used a different stage plan the second time I shot the stage. 2. The angles weren’t quite right the second time around, allowing me to take all of the targets from one position.
Anyway, on Monday I shot the classic IPSC targets on the stands from their respective sides, then moved to the center of the fence, and engaged the paper plates from my knees under the fence. Solid plan, and I did it well.
On Wednesday I noticed that the stage angles weren’t quite right, and that I could see, and safely engage all of the targets from under the fence, so I went for it. On the buzzer I moved straight to my knees, and shot all of the targets from under the fence. This didn’t really pay off, and I ended up taking more shots from the awkward position, and my accuracy suffered a bit. You’ll notice I actually shot it more than a second faster, but my accuracy just wasn’t there because of the awkward position.
[table caption=”Stage 3″ colalign=”left|left|left|left”] Gun, Raw, Penalty, Final
Glock 34, 10.2, 3, 13.2
Glock 19, 9.41, 2, 11.41
Ben adapted stage 3 from “Cobra Venom” which was Stage 1 at USPSA Nationals. I had solid runs on this stage both times I shot it, but I ended up edging out the best score with the Glock 19. I was faster and more accurate with it, and I fumbled the reload when shooting with the Glock 19, so I could have probably shaved off another half second or so.
[table caption=”Stage 4″ colalign=”left|left|left|left”] Gun, Raw, Penalty, Final
Glock 34, 11.76, 3, 14.76
Glock 19, 12.27, 1, 13.28
Stage 4 started with our loaded pistol on the table, with the string to activate the swinger in our strong hand. On the buzzer we activated the swinger, and shot the targets strong hand only. This particular swinger tends to lose speed quickly, so my strategy both times was to activate it, then shoot the non-moving targets, and finally get to the swinger after it had slowed down a bit. I was a little faster with the G34, but less accurate, and a little slower with the G19, but the accuracy was enough to give me a final score 1.48 seconds faster than with the Glock 34.
With the Glock 19 (from an IWB holster) I shot the match 2.06 seconds slower (raw time), but actually scored better on 3 of the 4 of the stages.
Accuracy between the two pistols was very close, I only had one more point down with the G19 than with the G34.
In the end I did do a little better with the Glock 34, but it’s really not much. A total of 3.06 seconds difference. Over 4 stages, that averages out to just over a 3/4 of a second per stage. If I had been using the same holster and mag pouches for both matches, I have no doubt the final scores would be even closer.
In the end the lesson is this: You don’t need to go buy a Glock 34, expensive belt, holster, mag pouches, etc. to get started in competitive shooting. If you’ve got a safe pistol, a safe holster, and an open mind, go give it a try.