Just got back from the USPSA Area 6 Championship match at the Universal Shooting Academy in Frostproof, Florida. This awesome venue has grown and improved steadily over the years, and is now the host to a variety of tactical training courses, state/section matches, as well as the prestigious Steel Challenge and IDPA World Shoot. It has over 30 different bays on the expansive property, and is a great venue for hosting big matches. Universal Shooting Academy is also the home school of USPSA champions Frank Garcia and Manny Bragg. I have been to private training several times at this school, and highly recommend it if you wish to set up something for you or your group. The program can be fine tuned to work on any type of technical schools that you wish to train, and you will get individualized attention.
The Area 6 match was comprised of 12 stages, with 4 being standing speed shoots while the remaining 8 were elaborately built long courses involving a lot of neat props, walls, and movement. I love the long courses, as they present a fun challenge for each shooter to come up with their own strategy based on their individual skill level as well as pistol capability. All shooters regardless of skill and pistol division shoot the same courses. If you want to take a look at the stages, check them out HERE. Mom always said not to run around with scissors, but we all got to run around all weekend with guns instead!
I shot one of my S&W M&P 9mm full sized guns set up as follows:
- 10-8 rear sight
- 10-8 fiber optic front sight with red insert
- 10-8 M&P aluminum base pads
- Apex Tactical Hard Sear and Ultimate Striker Block kit, set to 4.0 lbs pull
This setup worked very well and provided me with a stress free training and match experience where I did not spend any time worrying if the gun was going to run.
My rig consisted of my usual daily wear Wilderness 5 Stitch Titanium Instructor Belt with holster and mag pouches from Blade Tech.
The match itself proved to be very challenging for shooters of all skill levels, as would be expected from a large area championship. I really enjoyed the run and gun stages, and those are pretty much what drew me back into USPSA after a rather long absence. This was my first area match since the 1992 Area 8 Championships, and it felt good to come back.
My match preparation, which unfortunately consisted only of about 5 range sessions, was not quite what I wanted, as there were some tough problems presented in some stages that I was not sufficiently prepared to solve. There were a lot of really tough targets - 15-20 yard no-shoot obscured targets and mini-poppers or plates were common, as well as some fast moving swingers. I had some solid stages, but also a bunch where all the above targets bit me hard. I ended up 24th overall in Production Division, 3rd A class (there were a lot of Master and Grand Master shooters in Production). I finished better than I thought, but not the way I wanted to. I already have a brutal training regimen planned to address my deficiencies from this match.
I was also pleased to spend the weekend shooting with Cliff Walsh from Top Shot Season 3 and Gabby Franco from Top Shot Season 4 (also a member of my home club). Both are wonderful people, and were lots of fun to have on the squad.
Special thanks to the following sponsors and industry friends who helped make my Area 6 experience successful:
Oakley - superior eyewear
Blade Tech Industries - Kydex holsters and mag pouches
The Wilderness - Titanium buckle instructor belt
Apex Tactical - M&P upgrade components
Atlanta Arms & Ammo - 9mm 147 grain JHP match ammunition
Next Level Training - SIRT dry fire training pistol
Check out the highlight reel and all the fun stages.
Do you shoot competition? Tell us your thoughts about competition shooting in the comments!