Economy of motion is a mantra for International Practical Shooting Confederation competitors.
It stresses the importance of uniting minimal movement with proficiency. Shooters need to be quick with the gun but accurate as well in IPSC, which measures speed, power and accuracy as competitors move through an obstacle course.
“I am learning that, it’s putting me quite high up in stages,” said Whitehorse handgun shooter John Simmons. “My ranking is going up because I am learning this, but I could always learn more.”
Simmons put economy of motion into motion at the 2013 IPSC B.C. Provincial Championships last weekend in Pitt Meadows, outside of Vancouver.
He placed seventh in the open division, up from 13th at last year’s provincials, for his strongest result to date.
“I can’t complain, it’s a pretty big increase,” said Simmons. “I definitely wanted to be top-10 – I’d like to be in the top-five. Apparently I have to wait to next year to do that.”
Simmons, who was the only Yukoner at the championship, finished with an 88.45 per cent accuracy rate. That’s a big jump up from the 73.02 he finished with last year.
He was just 1.25 per cent out of reaching the top-five.
“It was a tight race,” said Simmons. “It was just a matter of who made one less mistake or one less good hit. It was really close.”
Simmons, who is now ranked sixth in IPSC B.C. standings, placed first in two of the 15 stages. He also produced a second and two thirds in three other stages.
“I was faster and more accurate than everyone else, is what it means,” said Simmons. “But overall, over the two days, I had some bad ones too. I need to learn to be more consistent. I’ve proven to myself that I can place right at the very top – 100 per cent. I did it at nationals as well on one stage. It tells me that my ability to shoot is quite high, but now I need to get the mental aspect … to stay focused through the entire gamut of stages.”
Simmons also produced a career high at the IPSC Canadian Nationals last month in New Brunswick. He cracked the top-20 with a 17th place finish, up from 22nd last year and 25th in 2011.
The Thompson Mountain Sportsmen’s Association, the host of the provincials in Pitt Meadows, will also be the site of the nationals next summer.
“There were some tough stages, complex stages, some really long shots,” said Simmons. “They had stuff set out at 30 metres. That’s a pretty good distance for a handgun when you’re trying to shoot fast. I had a couple mistakes, I had a penalty, but almost everyone did.
“When you’re trying to be quick, slowing down to aim precisely is tough for a lot of people because you’re under pressure to be quick.”
Simmons has consistently been getting better and better results at major IPSC competitions over the last few years. Obviously, countless hours of practice at the Whitehorse Rifle and Pistol Club help. But getting to compete with some of the best in the country, such as B.C.‘s “Gold Team” at the nationals last month, is very beneficial, said Simmons.
“I’ve been lucky too, I’ve been squadded with some really top shooters. When I go down to southern B.C. they put me with top shooters, a couple of them are from the Gold Team.
“So I get to ask questions, watch them shoot, and it helps. Whatever information I get, I bring it back to practise.
“They’ll see me walking the stage before and ask, ‘Why are you going this way or that way? Why would you do that? You should do this.’ And I’d think about it and think, they’re right, I’m wrong.”
The six-time Yukon steel-shooting champion placed fourth in the open handgun division and fifth overall at the Alaska Speed Shooting Championships near Fairbanks in June.
He placed first one day and second the next at an IPSC double-qualifier at the end of April in Terrace, B.C. He then came third and sixth at a bigger double-qualifier in the middle of May in Pitt Meadows.
Simmons also competed in his first United States Practical Shooting Association competition – the FAST and the Furious – in Fairbanks in early July. Despite some differences from IPSC, such as larger magazine capacities and different timing procedures, he still snagged third in the open division.
Contact Tom Patrick at