This years Subgun nations are over and it seems the “Killer Clown” stage designed by Paul Winters was a success. A big congratulations to Chris Hipes for his Top Gun award for pulling off a 105 second win with his Lage Manufacturing Max-31.
Here is a video of the winning run. The complete results are below:
Last Name First Name Gun Caliber Class Score
1 Carrere Joyce Swed K 9mm Open Bolt/Optic Sights 137.09
2 Bryant Robin MP5 9mm Closed Bolt/Optic Sights 197.96
3 Holden Donna MP5 9mm Closed Bolt/Optic Sights 275.18
4 Jordan Deb Uzu 9mm Open Bolt/Optic Sights 277.15
5 Anderson Sandy M16 9mm Closed Bolt/Optic Sights 399.90
Closed Bolt, Iron Sights
Last Name First Name Gun Nomenclature Caliber Score
1 King Chase MP5 9mm 121.65
2 Carpenter Tom MP5 9mm 129.29
3 Hipes Austin Max 31 Lage 9mm 139.79
4 Kummer Mike Reising 9mm 170.56
5 Johnson Wes MP5 9mm 184.57
6 Parker Jeremy MP5 9mm 185.28
7 Baillie Joel MP5 9mm 190.29
8 Bryant Robby MP5 9mm 193.27
9 Myrang Folke MP5 9mm 205.54
10 Holden J.L. MP5 9mm 206.68
11 Norman Dennis M16 9mm 208.69
12 James Tom MP5 9mm 212.81
13 Quinn Richard MP5 9mm 214.54
14 Emery Bruce Max 31 Lage 9mm 217.93
15 Carrere Joe M16 9mm 221.03
16 Hahn Art MP5 9mm 229.07
17 Winthrop Michael AR45 45 ACP 236.77
18 Steedly George M16 9mm 246.83
19 Wiersbitzky Andreas MP5 9mm 249.6
20 Cheng Chris MP5 9mm 257.98
21 Ezendam Thomas Max 31 Lage 9mm 265.95
22 Krasnopolskiy Sergey Max 31 Lage 9mm 298.84
23 Schmidlin David MP5 9mm 308.88
24 Zegar Tim Reising 45 ACP 338.14
25 Dunham Douglas Reising 45 ACP 367.8
26 Griffin Brad M16 9mm 382.51
27 Zegar Terry Reising 45 ACP 429.73
28 Larin Alexey Max 31 Lage 9mm 487.86
29 Hipes Chris Max 31 Lage 9mm 517.86
30 Lage Richard Max 31 Lage 9mm AD
31 Allen Daniel Max 31 Lage 9mm DQ
Closed Bolt, Optics Sights
Last Name First Name Gun Nomenclature Caliber Score
1 King Chase MP5 9mm 135.25
2 Ahola Tom MP5 9mm 135.62
3 Ditullio Dan MP5 9mm 138.96
4 Carpenter Tom MP5 9mm 139.2
5 Emery Bruce Max 31 Lage 9mm 139.32
6 Hipes Austin Max31 Lage 9mm 149.39
7 Quinn Richard MP5 9mm 159.28
8 Winthrop Michael AR45 45 ACP 163.11
9 Johnson Wes MP5 9mm 165.68
10 James Tom MP5 9mm 169.84
11 Baillie Joel MP5 9mm 173.15
12 Carrere Joe M16 9mm 173.2
13 Norman Dennis M16 9mm 174.91
14 Steedly George M16 9mm 179.85
15 Mentzel Frank MP5 9mm 182.42
16 Hipes Chris Max 31 Lage 9mm 183.18
17 Varner Ed MP5 9mm 187.69
18 Schmidlin David MP5 9mm 193.98
19 Essling Bill M16 9mm 206.39
20 Bryant Robby MP5 9mm 227.6
21 Holden J.L. MP5 9mm 229.1
22 Wiersbitzky Andreas MP5 9mm 259.96
23 Kummer Mike M16 9mm 284.7
24 MacFarlane Robert MP5 9mm 384.33
25 Dunham Douglas Reising 45 ACP 783.15
26 Allen Daniel Max 31 Lage 9mm 813.15
27 Griffin Brad M16 9mm 813.15
28 James Joshua KRISS Vector 45 ACP 813.15
29 Krasnopolskiy Sergey Max 31 Lage 9mm 813.15
30 Laub Pete M16 9mm 813.15
31 Parker Jeremy MP5 9mm 813.15
32 Larin Alexey Max 31 Lage 9mm 813.15
33 Sementuh Cory KRISS Vector 45 ACP 813.15
34 Lage Richard Max 31 Lage 9mm AD
Open Bolt, Iron Sights
Last Name First Name Gun Nomenclature Caliber Score
1 Emery Bruce Mac 11 DF 9mm 113.84
2 Lage Richard Max 31 Lage 9mm 133.21
3 Holden J.L. Thompson 45 ACP 133.43
4 Parker Jeremy Sterling Mk IV 9mm 146.7
5 Allen Daniel Max 31 Lage 9mm 150.28
6 James Tom Thompson 1928 45 ACP 152.69
7 Grocox Cain Sterling Mk IV 9mm 154.06
8 Norman Dennis M11 AA 9mm 155.22
9 Montgomery Ron Uzi 9mm 159.68
10 McKown Tony Uzi 9mm 163.77
11 Beck Jeff Beretta 38A 9mm 170.97
12 Hipes Chris Max 31 Lage 9mm 172.75
13 Hll Todd Max 11 K Lage 9mm 185.08
14 Carrere Joe Swed K 9mm 185.52
15 Hipes Austin Max 31 Lage 9mm 186.22
16 Cooper Steve Uzi 9mm 196.14
17 Schillig Ed Max 31 Lage 9mm 206.26
18 Carpenter Tom Uzi 9mm 210.7
19 King Chase Uzi 9mm 211.21
20 Bailey Joel Swed K 9mm 214.46
21 Furcsik Don Uzu 9mm 214.95
22 Russell Jeff Swed K 9mm 220.85
23 Kummer Mike MP40 9mm 251.54
24 Krasnopolskiy Sergey Mac 11 AMP 9mm 256.4
25 Wiersbitzky Andreas Uzi 9mm 267.65
26 Schmidlin David Thompson 45 ACP 273.86
27 Varner Ed MP40 9mm 279.12
28 Anderson John Swed K 9mm 293.69
29 Agee Jason Swed K 9mm 336.95
30 Ezendam Thomas Mac 11 AMP 9mm 338.22
31 Dunham Douglas Max 31 Lage 9mm 342.55
32 Bryant Robby Sterling 9mm 356.93
33 Poole Cameron Uzi 9mm 377.82
34 Church Dan Sten Mk lll 9mm 567.62
35 Biggar Ed M3A1 45 ACP AD
36 Winthrop Mike Spitfire 45 ACP AD
37 Reinhold Jim Uzi 9mm DNF
38 Larin Alexey Mac 11 AMP 9mm DNS
Open Bolt, Optic Sights
Last Name First Name Gun Nomenclature Caliber Score
1 Hipes Chris Max 31 Lage 9mm 105.26 Top Gun
2 Lage Richard Max 31 Lage 9mm 110.39
3 Hipes Austin Max31 Lage 9mm 115.13
4 Emery Bruce Mac 11 DF 9mm 115.28
5 Norman Dennis M11 AA 9mm 122.69
6 Laub Pete S&W76 9mm 136.06
7 Winters Paul Thompson West Hurley 9mm 140.9
8 Carrere Joe Swed K 9mm 147.85
9 Hill Todd Max 11K Lage 9mm 148.7
10 Kummer Mike Uzi 9mm 161.48
11 Montgomery Ron Uzi 9mm 162.79
12 McKown Tony Uzi 9mm 165 visite site.26
13 Cooper Steve Mac 10 45 ACP 170.88
14 Ezendam Thomas Mac 11 AMP 9mm 171.05
15 James Tom Thompson 1928 45 ACP 181.06
16 Crawford Ryan Max 11 Lage 9mm 184.15
17 Schillig Ed Max 31 Lage 9mm 185.36
18 King Chase Uzi 9mm 185.39
19 Keith Davy Max 31 Lage 9mm 187.76
20 Matthews Ronnie Max 11 Lage 9mm 188.81
21 Winthrop Mike Spitfire 45 ACP 199.16
22 Reinhold Jim Uzi 9mm 204.26
23 Russell Jeff Swed K 9mm 231.49
24 Krasnopolskiy Sergey Mac 11 AMP 9mm 247.8
25 Bryant Robby Mac 10 9mm 252.31
26 Grocox Cain Uzi 9mm 253.99
27 Bailey Joel Swed K 9mm 259.46
28 Dunham Douglas Max 31 Lage 9mm 263.34
29 Rumaner Sean Max 11 Lage 9mm 322.23
30 Haynes Ken Max 11 Lage 9mm 331.84
31 Parker Jeremy Sterling Mk IV 9mm 366.22
32 Schillig Max Max 31 Lage 380 Auto 838.76
33 Wiersbitzky Andreas Sterling Mk IV 9mm 868.76
34 Larin Alexey Mac 11 AMP 9mm AD
35 Breneman Andrew Max 11 Lage 9mm AD
Know Your Limits
A few weeks ago I had ordered a scope mount from the good folks over at LaRue Tactical. When the order arrived there was a free DVD of a precision rifle challenge that features some very nice LaRue guns. One of the stages was called “Know Your Limit” where the shooters could engage targets for bonus points. There were three targets, each smaller than the previous. The trick was that the shot difficulty increased as did the possible points you could get. The key to be successful was to quit and take your points before you missed. If you took a shot and missed you lost all of the points accumulated for the entire stage.
This type of concept seems pretty straight forward for single shot rifles but I contemplated for a few days on how too best implement this type of a scenario with submachine guns. What I ended up doing is outlined below. It is by no means perfect but it is a good starting point and a positive proof of concept that this idea works for subguns.
The Course of Fire
The course of fire setup is deceivingly simple. Two pairs of hanging steel plates (approx 18″x24″) and a plate rack. The hanging steel pairs on at the ten and two positions and the plate rack at 12 o’clock. Three no shoots are a few feet in front of the plate rack with holes cut out of them. The left most no-shoot has the entire A zone cut out of a standard IPSC target and through the hole you can see the left most plate (plate #1) . The middle no-shoot has the top half of the center A zone cut out and through it the third plate from the left is visible. The right no-shoot has a small triangle that is centered in what would be one quarter of the A zone . The distance from the shooter to the plate rack is about 10-12 yards and between the no-shoots the other three plates (#2,#4,#6) are visible.
On the buzzer The shooter must engage all 4 hanging steel and targets # 2, 4, 6 on the plate rack (in any order the shooter chooses) and then the last shot(s) must pass through the hole in the no-shoot that corresponds with the “level” they are on. There are three levels, 1, 2 and 3. Once the shooter completes a level successfully they can choose to either stop and take their points or they can continue on to the next level. Each level has a par time that decreases as the levels go up. If the shooters last shot is past the par time or the shooter hits a no-shoot they are done and loose ALL points earned. If you fail on level 3 you loose the 20 seconds you had accumulated until that point. Below are the level breakdowns of points, time and targets.
Level 1 Par time 20 seconds, Final Target = Left target, Bonus time 10 seconds (total 10 seconds earned)
Level 2 Par time 15 seconds, Final Target = Middle target, Bonus time 10 seconds (total 20 seconds earned)
Level 3 Par time 10 seconds, Final Target = Right target, Bonus time 15 seconds (total 35 seconds)
Level 1 was designed so even the most novice of shooters could complete it and get the 10 second bonus. If a shooter were to complete all three levels they could earn 35 seconds in bonus time off their score for the day. Out of 33 shooters for the day only two made it to level three and passed earning the full 35 second bonus. Ten made it to level two and stopped to collect their 20 second bonus and five made it past level one and took 10 seconds to play it safe. That leaves seventeen shooters who pushed their luck and didn’t know their limits and either didn’t beat the par time or shot the no-shoots and failed.
Below is a video of the author shooting this course of fire and as you can tell by the comments from the peanut gallery behind me there was an incredible amount of ego bashing and urging by all parties trying to egg each shooter on past their limits. My limit for that day should have been the first two levels only. I pushed it and I paid the price with a big fat ZERO for my score instead of the 20 seconds I had earned to that point. Out of the seven stages in this match I have to say that this one was one of the most fun. It was a challenge of both skill and discipline. In the video below there is a bit of a break between level two and level three as I shot steel to see where I was hitting. As the coordinator for this match I wasn’t competing for score since I had prior knowledge of the blind stage and I was demonstrating for the squad how to shoot the stage. As you can see it didn’t help me 🙂 Anyway I hope others who view this can see the many possibilities in this concept and I look forward to seeing what others can do with it.
In June 2004 I was introduced to the sport of submachine gun competitions by a friend. I was instantly hooked and I fell in love with the sport that very first day. Since then I have traveled the country attending and shooting in sub-machine gun competitions ranging from small local matches in Florida to multiple day events such as the Indiana State Subgun Championship and the Knob Creek subgun nationals. During these events I have noticed, that like many other sports, there are a handful of competitors who usually dominate the top ranks and that many of those competitors apply similar techniques to help them succeed.
In this article I will discuss a few techniques and fundamental principals that help many of the top competitors shoot smoother and smarter to give them their competitive advantage. These techniques are not hard to learn and anyone can successfully apply these principals with practice and discipline.
A sub-machine gun competitor’s shooting posture seems to be the most important factor in the amount of muzzle rise felt after each shot breaks. With very few exceptions, the majority of sub-machine guns seem to handle best when shot with the shooter “squared to the target” so the chest of the shooter is facing directly at the target. The feet are a shoulders width apart and the dominant foot is moved back slightly. The shooters feet and chest should face toward the target. For pistol shooters, this posture is very similar to a isosceles shooting stance in regards to body position toward the target. The elbows are tucked in by rotating them down so they are not sticking out to the side in what is sometimes referred to as “chicken winging”.
One of the largest benefits of this stance is that when a shooter is squared up and firing, the recoil travels into the arms evenly distributing it across the upper body. The entire body is then able to act as a giant shock absorber dampening the recoil experienced with each shot as the force is more evenly distributed. Muzzle rise can be greatly reduced when shooting with this posture which allows the shooter to get the sights back on subsequent targets faster.
When a shooter stands bladed (support or “weak” shoulder closest to target) while shooting a subgun, recoil often pushes more on the side where the firearm stock is causing rotation of the upper torso. This causes the muzzle to rise up and move over to the right or left and as a result the competitor has to move the gun more to get the sights on to the next target. The competitor then ends up fighting the gun after each shot which in turn causes wasted movement and energy. Over longer courses of fire this extra movement can lead to fatigue as well as time lost. This time lost may not seem like much for engaging one or two targets but it can quickly add when dealing with larger courses of fire or multiple stages. Half a second extra on fifty targets just put you twenty-five seconds in the hole and out of contention.
Another advantage of this shooting posture is the ability of the shooter to move easily in any direction. This stance also allows for a broader field of view on each side of the target as opposed to a bladed stance where the shooter can not see what is beyond their support shoulder which could be their direction of travel.
The few exceptions to shooting squared up are those firearms with long stocks or other design features that make handling them when in a squared position hard to do. Some competitors feel the Swedish K, Thompson, and Beretta 38 fall into this category due to their longer stocks. This is of course dependent on the shooter and how the gun fits them.
Another important part of a proper shooting posture is a good solid “cheek weld”. A cheek weld is where the shooters cheek rests on the stock of the firearm when shooting. A good cheek weld is when the stock and cheek come together at the same place each and every time giving you a clear view of the sights. A good cheek weld should feel natural and unforced.
When at the range ask a friend to watch your cheek weld when you are firing a three to five round burst. Your cheek should not come off the stock while shooting. A common problem is that competitors will mount an optic or modify their firearm in a way which causes them to put their cheek and head in an unnatural position to be able to view their sights. This is fine for plinking in the back yard with friends but due to the unnatural position the head has to be in to get a sight picture, it is very hard to consistently sustain this posture in competition, especially on longer courses of fire or when having to shoot bursts.
tick… tock… tick… tock… Merriam Webster dictionary defines cadence as “the beat, time, or measure of rhythmical motion or activity” . When shooting multiple targets lined up together it helps to find your rhythm through the targets and to keep with it. For example if you had a plate rack with 6 plates on it once you start shooting them your cadence should be unbroken. If you hit the first target and miss the second, don’t re-shoot the one you missed, keep the rhythm and continue on to the third target and others until you get to the end… only pick up your missed shots after you finished the rest in that array.
Going hand in hand with your cadence is the notion that you don’t wait for your target to fall before shooting the next one. You should not care if the target falls when shooting it unless the course of fire specifies otherwise. If it did fall, great, if it didn’t you’ll pick it up when you finish the rest of the targets in order as stated in the cadence section. Your focus should be on your sights and the target, the trigger pull and then on to the NEXT target the second the bullet leaves the barrel. Once the shot breaks, get on to the next target as smoothly as possible. It’s just a mental thing so if you fix your mind and your bullets will follow.
It’s a Submachine Gun, Shoot It Like One!
Repeat after me, “It is OK to shoot more than one round on a target”. Your gun is capable of putting multiple rounds down range at a time with ONE trigger pull. Many competitors have gotten used to the old notion that being a good subgun shooter meant they could fire single shots from their gun while it was in full auto mode. Courses of fire seemed to cater to this notion and in the end the winner of the “submachine gun competition” was the person who could shoot their gun like a semi-auto the best. It seems kind of silly in retrospect but that’s how things progressed for a while and they have now come a full 180 degrees back in the other direction. Some event coordinators are now seeking out targets that urge the competitors to use their firearm as intended. We are now back to celebrating the uniqueness of our firearms at each competition in brilliant bursts down range.
Lets suppose you are faced with a hard set target such as a heavy set pepper popper like those seen at the recent Knob Creek competitions. LET IT RIP!!! Some shooters seem to need to be given permission to send a burst of full auto fire down range. Why? I have no idea, but if you need it I give you permission to let loose. Go ahead… SHOOT THE HELL OUT OF IT. If your posture and grip are solid and your sights are on target you can put enough rounds where you need to neutralize any target in one trigger pull.
I sometimes practice shooting a single, double, triple, quadruple and then a 5 round burst one after another. A good drill to hone this skill as well as trigger control is to have a shooting buddy yell out the number of shots you need to put on the target so it’s a surprise. “Four!” … “two!”… “three”. This drill is a lot of fun on a steel plate or three at 10 or 15 yards. To mix it up a bit, paint a few targets different colors and have your buddy say a color and a number of rounds, “Yellow three, blue two!”. This drill is both fun and it will help sharpen your skill set.
One example I can find that demonstrates a decent cadence, not waiting for targets to fall and shooting doubles and triples when needed is from the 2007 Indiana State Subgun match. This video is of the author and to date this is one of my better performances on any single stage. It’s not perfect but it worked out for me on this day. It ended up being the fastest time on this stage for the match.
Is That The Dalai Llama Meditating Over There?
It’s the big day of the competition and you’ve paid your match entry fee, you’ve practiced your skills and put together a game plan for success . You have a lot invested in this opportunity and you can feel the pre-run anxiety and it’s almost getting the better of you. Part of you just wants it to all be over and as you’re at the starting position and the range officer says “is the shooter ready?” you start to say YES…..
STOP RIGHT THERE!!! Your answer should be “No, please give me a moment” but too often the shooter says “Yes, shooter is ready”. Why? Nerves, anxiety and stress. This is one of those few times in life you are absolutely entitled and encouraged to be selfish. This is YOUR run. You paid to shoot this match and within reason you are allowed as much time as you need to focus yourself and to push the nerves down and get your mind in the game. I’ve never seen or heard of a range officer telling a competitor to “hurry up and shoot” before a run.
This moment is your time so find your “happy place” and do what you have to do to calm down and focus. Only tell the range officer you are ready when you are truly ready. Once that buzzer goes beep there is no turning back so don’t sabotage yourself by rushing and ruining your best chance for success. I often tell the range officer to hold on for a moment while I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I then open my eyes and go over the course of fire target by target right then and there in my head. It usually takes only a few seconds and then I give the nod… *BEEP* Game on… You have to find what works best for you but the top competitors in all sports are able to either subdue or harness their pre-run anxiety into focus. Find what works for you and stick with it!
Focus Young Jedi
As stated earlier we all get nervous and a bit of pre-run anxiety, it’s only natural. Murphy’s law says at the least opportune time things can, and will, go wrong. I suspect Murphy was one of the first subgun competitors. The simple fact is that chances are you will run into something unexpected after the timer goes *BEEP*. You drop a magazine, your gun goes click when it should go bang, double feed, fail to extract, fail to eject, smoke in the eyes, malfunctions, malfunctions, malfunctions…. The difference between the top competitors and the rest of the pack is that when something bad happens, they focus on the fastest solution to the problem and move on.
Some people talk to themselves or the range officer when things go wrong. Some people swear and elongate curses at the gun or magazine in question. “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn it” or “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee hell!” seem to pop up a lot along with one I still spit out in cases of frustration “you’ve gotta beeee KIDDING ME”. Guess what your brain isn’t doing when you are talking? It isn’t focused on the problem at hand. It is however giving the range officer and score keeper some free entertainment as the clock ticks along. Clear the problem , safely and quickly and do it right the first time. Too often competitors watch their entire game plan go down in flames because they allowed a minor issue such as a dropped magazine or failure to eject turn into a long drawn out series of mistakes. Sometimes the winner is the person who cleared a malfunction the fastest and got back on track and often the losers are the people who gave up or were overcome by frustration.
To this day I still stand in awe of competitor CJ Roberts who, at the 2008 Indiana State Subgun Championship, had a very odd malfunction with his full size Uzi. He tried all of the usual techniques for clearing the malfunction to no avail. So what did he do? He showed the gun clear to the range officer and disassembled the gun right then and there looking for the problem. He popped off the top cover, pulled the bolt and found and removed a mutilated piece of brass that was causing the issue, and he then reassembled and finished his run. CJ didn’t win a trophy for that run but he did manage to finish in the middle of the pack and taught those in attendance a valuable lesson. Keep your eye on the prize and never give up.
Where In The Hell Am I Hitting?
Everything else means nothing if you can’t hit what you are aiming at. Although subguns come with varying zeros from the factory many top competitors zero their firearms at 25 yards. The reason for this is that the change in point of aim and point of impact is going to be very small between 7yards and 50 yards with a 25 yard zero. At closer distances your point of impact will be lower than your point of aim due the offset of the sights from the barrel. It is your responsibility as a competitor to know how your point of impact will change at different distances. Go to the range, confirm your zero and then shoot at the same spot on a paper target from point blank out to 40 yards in 10 yard increments.
The truth be told where you zero your gun doesn’t matter as long as you can accurately engage all the targets on any given course of fire. As of the time of this article being written the current courses of fire have targets from point blank range to 40 yards out depending on the event. Paul Winters who coordinates the Knob Creek National match has been known from time to time to stick a target out in the 30-40 yard range on occasion to mix things up.
You may want to ask yourself if you can you hit the head of a pepper popper at thirty yards with the first shot and then put two rounds through a three inch circle at two yards? If you can say yes to them both then you should have no problem hitting everything in between.
Open Bolt Guns: Open bolt guns should be zeroed standing using your natural shooting stance. Due to the “bolt lurch” in many open bolt sub guns if you zero them while on a bench or supported the point of aim point of impact will be off when shot from a non supported position. Bolt lurch is the shooter feeling the movement of the bolt traveling the length of the receiver when firing.
Closed bolt guns can be zeroed from a bench or supported position.
Sight in with both open and closed bolt guns should be done in semi-auto mode if available and you should remember to follow through with the trigger (hold the trigger to the rear after each shot, don’t bounce it) if possible. There are a handful of guns that do not have semi-auto mode but their rate of fire is usually slow enough that there really is no need for one.
I hope these observations lend a little insight into some of the techniques and tactics being used by the top competitors in this wonderful sport. The best advice I was ever given about shooting was to “do what works best for you”. We are all different shapes,sizes and shooters. Sometimes old dogs do better with old tricks. Find what works best for you and practice it. Sometimes we need to start all over to break bad habits and sometimes we just need to stick with what’s always worked regardless of the current trends or new innovations. Only you know you. Be honest with yourself in regards to your performance and your ability.
There is much more discuss on this topic but for now this is a good starting point. I look forward to seeing you at one of the many great subgun competitions going on across the country every month. Shoot safe and smooth and share your sport ! -Todd