Road to Nationals- Part 2: Gear Preparation
We're one day closer to Nationals!
Yesterday we went in-depth about what I’m doing to prepare my SKILLS in Part 1: Skillbuilding. (Click here if you missed that!).
Today we’re going over three key steps I take to ensure my GEAR is 100% squared away!
1. Zero: One of the most important aspects of my gear prep is to ensure every optic/sight on every gun is properly zeroed. This is CRUCIAL. Starting with the pistol, I confirm my zero with the ammo that I’m using for the match at 20 yards and confirm my hits at 50+ yards. With shotgun I confirm my slug hits with each choke at 50 yards and confirm at 100. This can be very expensive (if you can even find the slugs) so I don’t check every choke every time, but anytime I switch shotguns I will do that homework. Before the match I’ll always check at 50 and 100. Rifle is definitely incredibly important to ensure your zero is good and data is on point. If you’ve changed anything on your rifle (ammo, optics, mounts, barrels, buffers, etc) you MUST confirm your data. Even if I’m using the same ammo but it’s a different batch, I will confirm velocity, zero, and that the information my Strelok app is putting out is accurate.
2. Maintenance: During my pre-match deep clean I have found broken trigger springs, bolts, extractors, and more so each gun gets a full strip-down and I check for anything that needs to be replaced. You cannot control the stages or the environment, but you CAN control your gear. There is ZERO excuse for having gear issues if you check everything before the match. I will ensure everything is properly lubricated and all of my magazines are clean too.
3. Organize: I remember many years ago arriving at a local USPSA match without a single mag… Guess what, you need mags to shoot! Since then I go through all of my gear the day before I leave (not right before you're trying to get out the door).
I've also created a 3-gun gear checklist (download here) to ensure I haven't left anything behind!
If I'm flying I'll also ensure that my gear is properly packed and my bags make weight before I head out.
While there are the standard things that you will pack for every match I do have a few things that are match specific and will do some research ahead of time to determine whether I need them or not.
- Slings for rifle/shotgun. It's always a good idea to bring one just in case but many matches clearly state that they aren't necessary.
- Slugs and buckshot. There are very few matches that require buckshot, but always check!
- Rain gear/cold-weather gear. Another item that's not a bad thing to bring regardless, but check the weather and see what you're in for.
Once you have your guns zeroed, gear checked, and everything organized and packed, you can be confident in your gear which will free your mental capacity to focus on the match and your performance!
Tomorrow I'll take you through the mental preparation I do leading up to the match as well as some tricks to perform at the highest levels each day of the match.
You don't want to miss out on that so stay tuned!