Steel City Match. Reflections and Lessons Learned.
There were some obvious takeaways from the Steel City Precision Rifle Challenge. Mainly, nothing can prepare you for the mental stresses that will test your cognitive abilities from all levels during a PRS match, except shooting matches… A LOT of matches. That was something that I did not do this year. Another big takeaway, and a lesson we’ve all learned but seem to forget is Murphy’s Law is ‘real’, Murphy doesn’t mess around. So if you can bring extra mags, bring ’em. If you can bring spare parts, bring ’em. If you have something that you think might go down, or is on it’s way, it will!
Overall, this was a very fun match and we were squaded with some really fun guys, so the weekend was a great get-away. The first 8 stages went fairly smoothly and had some cleans and some dropped points, nothing out of the usual. Then gear issues. Note to self: “Bring spare parts, specifically if they don’t add too much weight or bulk to your pack. Extra mags, spare parts, cleaning/lube, a few tools and maybe even a spare trigger is advisable.” Now, I can’t say for sure if having a trigger that was actually functioning correctly would have absolutely resulted in a better score, but maybe? Regardless, another valuable lesson is that even though things may go wrong, mental focus and a positive attitude can get you through the rest of the match. Also, regardless of what the score, I have never heard anything but positive reinforcement and encouragement from guys in the squad. Loaning gear, as well as advice, is common place at a PRS match. The top level guys are always more than happy to help out us mere mortals and most won’t laugh even if you zero a stage (unless that person is your boss, then you may get a bit of ribbing)
Things I did get to work on over the past few months were barricades and gathering good dope on my rifle and ammo. That effort really paid off on the longer distances and obvious PRS style barricade stages. Things that I didn’t work on much were unsupported positions with a 20+ pound rifle, and that showed as well. So while my co-workers will be at the PRS Finale, I will be holding down the fort here at OTM this year. The real good news is I still walked away having an absolute blast, in love with the sport, and more motivated than ever. 2017 match schedule is already being worked out and I’ll be ready for my first full season.
One more note to self: If you have to be up at 4:45am, it might not be a good idea to get to bed before 3 am… we’ll file that one away for next year.