I need help going faster.
I started USPSA shooting this year, I shoot single stack... I have to say that I picked this sport up pretty quickly and typically finish in the top 25% of the single stack shooters... Yesterday I placed 4th out of I think 15 or 16 shooters.... The 1st/2nd/3rd place shooters are guys that compete on a national level, I'd like to shoot closer to their scores.... I am hitting the targets and gettting very similar points to what they are, but they are between 4-10 seconds faster than me on a given course.
I have started to learn how to call my shots so I know where I hit w/o thinking... I have been trying to run between shooting arrays more than just a quick walk, and this past match I tried shooting on the move on the closer targets.. My reloads are typically very smooth and I have finally gotten into the habbit of doing it infront of my face instead of down low... while transitioning I have also started to keep the gun tucked in instead of low down like you see in movies(took a while to get out of that) I always analize the course before firing so to plan reloads on the move, minimize movement, always move forward not back to an array twice.
So... where is the most time saved? I understand the the top shooters are just overall faster on everything but out of all the steps involved in completing the course, where is the most time wasted/saved? I forgot to bring my camera this past trip so I don't have film... I'll try to get some next weekend.
getting in and out of boxes setup, and transitions from target to target.
I would also add the draw to first shot.
An over-used but true statement - "Smooth is Fast".
My fastest times and best finishes actually had me 'feeling' like things were moving slowly and I was not rushing/pushing. I 'felt' slow, but very smooth and things went without a hitch and I never felt behind or out of sync. Now I just have to achieve that every run, get more trigger time, and the speed will just happen.
The draw is actually an overrated skill in USPSA shooting due to the number of stages (unless you're REALLY slow). In IPSC the draw is much more critical again because of the shear number of stages.
GregoryK's got your answer. Time is given away by entering and exiting shooting positions and the transitions between targets in an array.
Oh...split times are overrated as well.
If you can get proficient with exiting a position as soon as possible and entering a position and shooting as possible you're going to cut a lot of time. Couple that with spotting the point on target you want to hit and driving the gun faster between targets will shave a tremendous amount of time.
Notice that I said add to the list, not replace it.
If you are wanting to compete with the top shooters in your club, the draw is not something to ignore. And, that half second improvement on a draw is basically free. You can get proficient with your draw in your living room doing dry fire. No driving to the range, no ammo spent, no need for running room. All it takes is a little bit of time and repetition to get the muscle memory set.
Why would you want to start a stage a half second behind the guy who practiced...for free?
edited for grammar
Simply put in the grand scale of priorities, the draw is not very important. You will make much more time on your transitions and movement than you will on the draw.
Typical shooter can rip a .15 to .20 split, but will on average do a .45-.55 transition, even on targets that are close. On an El Prez, e.g. that's 3 splits and 2 transitions, with a total engagement time of 1.6 seconds. If you SLOW the split to say a .25 (to ensure a better hit) and speed the transition to a .25-.35, the same array of 3 targets, 3 splits and 2 transitions will now yield a 1.35. That's a .25 second gain with a 25-67% decrease in split time and...more importantly...you'll have better points because you're taking more time on the shot and paying more attention.
But .50 seconds is greater that .25 seconds? Well given that it's probably fair to say the typical USPSA stage is in the 18-26 round range, we can extrapolate this to yield (using a 24 round stage with 3 simple 8 round arrays): 1 - Draw, 12 - Splits, 9 - Transitions
So...taking our old numbers with a 1.5 second draw, we can estimate your time on stage to be about 8.4 seconds. With our slower split and faster transition times, we get 6.2 seconds with the same slow draw. So...if the stage is a typical "Nationals" stage with a 10 hit factor, the 2.2 second difference is 22 points you just gained. That's basically a miss and a no-shoot for free...on one stage.
Point being, while a 1 second draw is great, it's not critical. At a match like the nationals the .5 second gain in the draw over 16 stages, the 8 seconds gained is only a factor because when we're at matches with >10 stages we start crossing into IPSC style match # of stages where the draw matters. At a typical Area or Sectional (+/-8 stages), and certainly at the club level, the draw is not going to cost you a win if you're slow.
Using the same logic above, if you can initiate getting out of a position say .5 seconds faster and keeping the gun up and engaging at the earliest point .5 earlier, on our 24 round 3 position stage, you just made 2.0 seconds. That's another 20 points.
So...the point is while the draw is a skill that can be easily improved via dry fire, percentage of where you want to spend your focus, the amount of reward is better spent on transitions and movement. BTW...all of these can be practiced at home in dry fire.