Sunday I shot in a steel plate match as a novice. I shot a Ruger Mark II .22, and I think I did alright. The Ruger belonged to one of the match officials, and I'd never shot it before, but it was a really fun plinky gun to shoot, and quite like its sister I shot a few weeks back.
There were five groups shooting and I got cobbled onto one group which apparently had room for one more person. The person organizing the match said "now don't let these guys intimidate you. Just take your time and I know you'll do well. These guys are known as the God Squad."
In truth, I didn't even have a flutter of nerves or anything. I went in expecting to likely finish last out of the scores of humanity present, and I forgave myself in advance. I was very pleased when I shot my 5 sets in the first bay clean with no misses. I was slow on the first set, and then I found my legs and the next 4 sets were at least 3 seconds faster than the initial set. I missed a couple smaller targets on the second bay, but shot the third bay cleanly again. *FUN* The fourth was a longer range than ever I had shot, and it was more of a hash for me, but I'm still okay with it. I had to leave a little early to attend an emergency back at my property, and I was just going to withdraw, and officials very graciously offered to let me shoot through on the final bay. This final set wasn't my best, either, but at that point, I was so hot that focus was becoming an issue for me. I know a lot of things I'll do differently next time.
As reportingly, the God Squad were colossal badasses on the range, some moreso than others. One guy shot revolvers and he had a belt with a row of spindles sticking out for his autoloader thingies and it turned out I was shooting just after him. I kept thinking at least I'm not following an animal or kid act. Well, revolver guy was a beast, let me tell you--his accuracy was impressive to say the least, and he was fast. So much for not following an animal act
One cool thing about this match is that I didn't have an inkling I'd compete that day until just the day before, so I didn't have weeks or months to wrap around my own axle over the whole thing. I'm looking forward to shooting again. I got steady support throughout the process, and I hope it didn't seem too much like hand-holding. No one had to babysit me, and I don't think I took dramatically longer to shoot my turn than other folks.
Oh, in the first round and before my turn, I was sitting on a bench watching the shooting when I suddenly felt a searing pain on my sternum. I was wearing a v-neck top and this was my first experience with a fiery bit of brass. I didn't jump out of my skin or think I'd been shot, but it certainly surprised me how something several millimeters wide could hurt so badly. Today it's a grayish sort of welt. So, one of the things I'll be doing differently is I'll be the chick at the matches in a turtleneck in July. I'll try to get a pic of the brass bit up later today so you can see what a wimpy tender vittle I really am.