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While not strictly "AK" as we do have a lot of AR shooters, first place and third place (me) were both shooting AKs, as well as at least 3 other shooters.

Pictures and video will follow in the next few days on my site

The Tropical Sport Shooting Association held another South Florida Defensive Carbine match on 22 July 2007 from ~18:30 to 21:00 at the Markham Park Target Range in western Broward County Florida. The match consisted of two stages and we had 15 shooters in attendance. No pistol was required for this match, and rifles used included a Beretta Storm, a suppressed Uzi, and various AK and AR variants.

Stage one consisted of shooting from an angled wood platform at targets from 10-50 yards. Two cardboard IDPA targets were placed to the left at 10 yards, a steel silhouette target with a swinging 6" circle (similar to the MGM Targets IPSC Hostage Target)was in the middle at 50 yards, and two more IDPA targets were to the right. Shooters were required to begin by engaging the silhouette with two rounds, then shooting the swinger, then neutralizing one IDPA target, then continuing on with the same alternating pattern, ending back on the steel targets. Shooters were limited to two, 30-round magazines. Shooters were not required to utilize cover for this stage, but they were required to shoot from a position on the angled wood platform such that the weight of their upper body was supported by the platform (i.e. chest, elbows, or other upper-body part must be in contact with the wood).

Raw times on stage 1 ranged from 42 to 118 seconds and the average number of failures to neutralize (FTNs) was 1. Ten Shooters shot the whole stage "clean" with no penalties.

Stage two consisted of shooting from prone at targets from 7 to 120+/- yards. A steel MGM Lolli-Popper target was placed at 120+/- yards and 4 IDPA targets, ranging in distance from 7 to 10 yards from the shooting position, were also placed in front of the shooter with non-threat targets partially obscuring portions of the threat targets. Shooters were required to begin by shooting each 8" popper on the MGM target, then neutralize the closest IDPA target, then continuing on with the same alternating pattern, this time ending on the last cardboard target. Shooters were limited to two, 20-round magazines. Shooters were not required to utilize cover for this stage.

Raw times on stage 2 ranged from 60 to 152 seconds and the average number of failures to neutralize (FTNs) was 4, with an average of 1 hits on the non-threats. Seven Shooters shot the whole stage "clean" with no penalties.

Overall the majority of shooters, at least on my squad, did very well. I think that a few even surprised themselves, especially those that were using iron sights. The Uzi shooter had problems, obviously, with the long-range targets on stage 2 and had all FTNs on those targets. The Storm shooter did surprisingly well given the distance to the targets. The main difference between the two was the the Uzi shooter had iron sights and the Storm shooter had an Aimpoint.

I shot with my AK equipped with an Aimpoint H-1 optic. I shot Stage 2 first and had some trouble finding my hits at first, but once I did I averaged approximately 2 hits for every three shots fired at the steel. Since each stage only required one reload I did not run any load carriage and just kept the spare magazine in the front flap pocket of my Woolrich Elite pants.

Scores can be viewed on the TSSA Scores page.

Personal Lessons
1. Taking two months off from a platform that is relatively new to me to begin with requires a re-familiarization. When doing a speed reload on Stage one I did not follow my usual TTP of bashing the empty magazine out with the fresh one and then running the bolt from underneath with the support hand. Instead I did a convoluted dance that cost me time. If you're going to choose to run an inefficient platform like the AK, you have to find a way to cut as much time as you can from the reloads. Keeping familiar with the platform is key to ensuring that you stick with your gameplan.

2. I need to slow down on long-range targets and get more dryfire practice with the AK. Coming from an AR to an AK is already a transition to a longer, heavier, trigger pull. Rush the shot and that trigger will make you pay. When I took my time, found my dot, and slowly squeezed the trigger the hits came with ease on the 120+/- target and on the 50 yard swinger.

Gear Lessons
1. Stick with the chest rig. I hadn't counted on reloading form prone, and getting that spare magazine out of the pants pocket was not efficient at all. If I had gone to the chest rig it would have been faster and more efficient.

2. The mag release paddle on the AK is not a rest. I induced a malfunction on Stage 1 when I rested the triggerguard on top of the wood platform. It worked for a while, but then the paddle got caught, the magazine came slightly loose, and I got a "click" instead of a "bang". I did not react the way I would want to either and pulled the mag, looked at it, and then stuck it back in and kept going. The right thing to do was to speed load since the symptoms should have told my brain that the gun was empty.

Match Lessons
1. People don't come out in the heat. We generally get pretty reduced attendance n the summers due both to the heat and the threat of SE Florida afternoon storms. The 15 people we had at this match kept the match short and the wait times low, but it would have been nice to have at least another 5 people.

2. People like shooting the steel. While I suspect that knowing we were doing longer-range shooting kept some of the less adept away, the guys that did show up really enjoyed the added dimension that the steel provides. From a stage reset point of view it's also nice not to have to paste it, although some people seem to think we should re-paint the steel before every shooter. Since that negates the point of the steel, we won't be doing that.

3. Have spare parts for the Lolli-Popper. The targets and supports survived the match just fine. Unfortunately, after the match was over and we were all plinking a bit, a small number of shooters were blasting away at the target system, and eventually shot through one of the fiberglass sticks that supports the steel plates. In the future we will need a way to address/prevent this, and the obvious solution is to limit shooting at this target system to the controlled environment of the match itself. Full-atuo fire at 120+ yards is not effective and really will have to be eliminated if this target system is going to be viable for us. I am also going to order two replacement sticks from MGM to keep on hand.
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