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Mistakes Experienced Shooters Make

5×5 Classifier

Seems like the 5×5 classifier is causing some issues at IDPA matches.

Something I hadn’t thought of, but each shooter is putting 20 scored holes in the target with that drill, and that is a lot, especially with a bunch of shooters.

Not sure how I feel about this.

In USPSA rule 4.2.3 Paper targets must never be required to receive more than 12 hits before being scored and patched.

I think that’s a decent rule, because we get so used to only scoring 2 hits on the paper. Setting aside the idea of the shooters getting too used to only shooting 2 rounds only at targets, thinking only about scoring.

We get too used to scoring the two best hits on a target. I’ve done it before on a stage that required more than 2 hits where I just went into default mode and scored the two best hits and ignored the others, and thankfully we had Practiscore to tell me that we hadn’t scored enough hits on the target. 

The other issue is that when you’re shooting that many shots at one target, and then trying to score every one of them, it gets crowded. Especially after like 10 other shooters have shot at at and it’s got pasters stuck all over it, pasters starting to peel, etc. 

I can see it becoming a tough thing to score if the target isn’t replaced every so many shooters. Which, since it’s a classifier, maybe that’s the right answer. 

Clarification from Last Week:

Wanted to clarify something I started talking about last week. Video podcasting would be an awesome alternative to YouTube, HOWEVER were not at a place where bandwidth is viable for doing good quality, decent videos just yet.

As I was writing the notes for this, I was downloading a couple audio podcasts on works wifi and it was taking several minutes to get there. Had they been multiple gigabyte video files, my phone would have just died.


The USPSA RO renewal exam used to be 10 questions, but it sounds like they’ve changed it to 20 questions to make each question carry less weight so that hopefully more people will pass the exam.

Personally, I didn’t have any trouble with the renewal last year. Here’s a tip: have the .PDF rulebook pulled up, and use the search function to find what you need.

Then, download the .PDF to your phone so you have it at matches, and you can use the search function right on the range to find the relevant rule quickly. You don’t even really need a paper rulebook anymore.

iTunes Reviews


Gear That Doesn’t Suck:

Bluetooth headphones really changed podcast listening for me. With my job, being wired into my phone isn’t really an option, given all the power tools I’m playing with that could catch the cord, and climbing in and around things where the cord gets unplugged, etc etc.

I had an expensive name brand pair that worked great, but went through the wash last week and killed them.

Picked these up for like $23 on Amazon last week, and they arrived in time for me to use them every day this week at work. My name brand pair would just barely make it a whole day at work, but these easily last through my commute to work, all 8.5hrs at work, and then my commute home, and I’ve actually been using them a bit after work on the same charge. 

On top of that, they synced easily, are loud enough, and I’m thrilled with them, especially for the $23 I spent. So, if you’re looking for a way to up your podcast listening experience, get some bluetooth headphones, and these ones are pretty good.

Mistakes experienced shooters make.

  1. Not putting enough emphasis on live fire practice. I know a bunch of dudes who have been shooting for years who don’t regularly live fire practice, or don’t live fire practice in a place where they can actually get good practice for competitive shooting. For some reason, this has become a thing in the action shooting sports, but if we were to look at some of the other games, let’s say long range PRS type stuff, I don’t think anybody would expect to get good at those sorts of games without having a place to live fire regularly.

2. Sticking it out with junk gear for too long. I’ve been guilty of this a bunch over the years, and I’ve heard a couple friends talk about switching from a plastic fantastic to something that’s more of a gamer gun talk about how they should have made the switch way sooner, and saw big gains from the move. 

3. Not reading the rules. You’d think this was something that would apply to new shooters, but I see so many people who have been shooting for many years who still try to reference rules that haven’t existed for several years, or they have a misunderstanding of basic rules that a simple reading of the rule book would clarify. That’s not to say that I don’t ever reference the rule book, I do it all the time, but reading the rulebook, and gaining an understanding of it will show you where to look when you have a question. I don’t think if you’re new you need to spend a bunch of time reading the rulebook cover to cover because if you’ve never shot a match you won’t have a good understanding of what you’re reading, but once you get serious about things, get a good understanding of things. 



“So I have question in regards to coaching/ training. If there is range locally to you and were just getting going in shooting sports I’ve shot 2 indoor uspsa both 4 stages 1 qualifier each time. Do you think that it would be money a head to get a couple he of training in how to do things properly vs dry fire and live fire. I haven’t had a lot said to me at either match besides I ran my gun dry on 32rd stage the ro came over and asked it it was first time.”

  • I think if you feel like you need some additional training, you should probably get it. Especially in the beginning of your shooting career, there is SO much that you can learn and get a big boost from shooting.



“I’m shooting a little bit left on my new Glock 34. Is it bad gun
handling or is there something about the gun that I’m not used to? And
do you have any trigger upgrade recommendations for it as a production


  • Probably gun handling. It’s pretty normal for someone who is new to shooting Glocks to say that they’re hitting left. I’d play around with your trigger finger either a little more or a little less and see if that doesn’t get you straightened out.

With that said though, my current Glock 34 got kind of messed up where it was legit shooting really far to the left. I was able to take the gun apart and could actually see where the locking block had wear on the left hand side which I suspect was causing the gun to shoot left. I replaced the locking block and slide lock (not the slide release) and it was good to go after that.


“Is shooting 1/2 scale steel targets for practice at 10 yards bad for competition I like the steel b/c I get results hearing it ring faster than walking up and looking at my hits and pasting.

2nd question is what power factor do I need or can have in production is there a minimum? Thanks Jake”Is shooting 1/2 scale steel targets for practice at 10 yards bad for competition I like the steel b/c I get results hearing it ring faster than walking up and looking at my hits and pasting.

2nd question is what power factor do I need or can have in production is there a minimum? Thanks Jake”

  • Shooting steel in practice can absolutely be beneficial, but if you’re only shooting half scale targets at 10y in practice, I think you’re leaving a lot on the table.

Here’s the downsides as I see them:

  • It’s not a target that you’ll ever see in a match.

  • They’re not falling targets like you’ll see in a match.

  • At 10y, static steel that doesn’t fall, if it’s all you shoot at, I think you could get into the habit of waiting to see your hit/hear the hit instead of calling your shot and moving on. If this is the only thin you’re ever shooting at in practice, I think you could pick up some bad habits from it.

With all that said though, I do bring static steel to practice. I’ve got a couple 8″ plates, a 10″ plate, and a MGM auto-popper that falls down and then resets itself that I use for practice instead of falling steel, because resetting falling plates in practice sucks.

There was an episode of the Shoot Fast Podcast where they were talking about practice, and the guys mentioned not pasting between every run on a drill, but rather shooting the drill multiple times and looking for trends on where all the hits are. I haven’t tried that yet, but it’s a thing I want to try in the future.

Power Factor:

Power factor is pretty simple once you know what it is. It’s the speed of your bullet in feet per second multiplied by the weight of the bullet in grains. So, if you’re shooting 125gr bullets, and they’re going 1000 feet per second, they would be 125,000 power factor (or just 125 power factor)

Generally, I think most people load their Production ammo to around 130-135 power factor to account for environmental changes on match day, and to get a little more oomph on poppers which can screw over shooters at times.

Power factor can be impacted by things like temperature and altitude depending on the powder you’re loading with. Some are very sensitive to these things, and others aren’t really all that sensitive at all.

So, what happens is, when you go to a major match that has a Chronograph stage, they’ll take some of your ammo, pull a bullet and weigh it, and shoot a few rounds over a chronograph. Then they’ll do the math and figure out your power factor. If you’re shooting Production you only have to make Minor power factor (because there isn’t any Major power factor in Production).

Plugs of the week:

Latest episode of the Shannon Smith Shooting Show (Episode 35) – I enjoyed his talk with his RM buddy, and I liked hearing Shannon talk about match directing and rules and whatnot and not just shooting. The guy is a professional match director, so hearing him talk about that sort of stuff is great because he’s such a wealth of knowledge on these sorts of topics (not that he’s not good at talking about shooting, he is, but hearing him talk about match directing was really good too.)

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


  1. Can I get a link for the bluetooth headphones you mentioned? It’s not in the show notes.

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