Monday, August 23, 2010

Team Glock's Randi Rogers

Randi Rogers is one of the younger pro-shooters on the circuit today, but don't let her age fool you, she's got well over a decade of experience. Randy has been shooting since the young age of 11, and started competing in Cowboy Action Shooting with her grandfather who was well known among CAS shooters. Randi took the time recently to talk to us about her background in the shooting sports and give us some valuable tips for anyone who wants to improve their game.

First of all, congratulations on your recent win in Colorado, you managed to post a personal best on your way to winning High Lady at that match. Thanks!

You do a lot of work with the Junior shooters at these competitions, tell me a bit about how you got started doing that. Well, I actually started shooting as a Junior. I started when I was 11 years old and I've been in competition since then. I guess you could say I have a soft spot for Junior shooters because I've been there. Every time I see one I try to reach out to them and try to make them comfortable and give them any tips. I ask them if they have any questions and just try to keep the fire alive because I think that Junior shooters and female shooters are the future of our sport and we want to keep them around as much as possible.

Wow, 11 years old is pretty young to get started shooting. If I recall it was your grandparents who got you started shooting, is that right? Yeah, my grandfather is the one who taught me how to shoot and I actually started in Cowboy Action Shooting. I started there because he shot that at the time. We went out together and I got to spend a lot of time with my grandparents that I wouldn't have normally. It shaped my life and I think made me a much better person.

The shooting sports provided quality bonding time with the adults in your life? Absolutely.

As you came up through the ranks you probably had some mentors, coaches, or role models you looked up to. I would have to say that the biggest mentor I ever had would be my grandfather. His name was Gene Pearcey, and his alias was "Evil Roy" and he coached every shot I shot for ten years. He made me the shooter I am today. After that I always paid attention to those female shooters, Julie Goloski at the time now Golob, Kay Mikulek. I'd see their pictures in the magazines and I just knew some day that that was what I wanted to do. Since then I've met so many great shooters, Dave Sevigny has been my teammate for several years and he's given me so much help. He's really made my learning process as I transitioned into a different style of shooting much easier and given me a lot. There have been so many people over the years it's hard to name them all...

...but your grandfather stands out as the most infuential. Absolutely.

Did you move straight from Cowboy Action Shooting into Steel Challenge matches? Well, what happened is four years ago Glock was in the market for a new lady shooter. At the time I was the current Cowboy Action Ladies World Champion, and they heard my name from a couple of different sources so they came to me and said "We could use a new lady shooter, would you like the job?"

It was way too good of an opportunity to pass up, so I started shooting with Glock. I probably started most heavily in IDPA, but I now do IDPA, USPSA, Steel Challenge, Pro Am, and I currently also to NRA and Bianchi. I guess I started in IDPA but it was all kind of a whirlwind and there wasn't a big time period between starting to do IDPA and doing other things.

Had you ever shot a Glock before that? I had, my grandfather owned a Glock for self protection among other things. He'd take me out and make sure that I knew how it worked, just in case we ever got in a situation where I might need it. I'd shot a Glock, and I really enjoyed it, but I'd never shot one in competition.

Do you carry one for concealed carry now? I do. I do carry for self defense, and I carry a Glock 19.

That's a good sized gun for concealed carry. It is pretty big for concealed carry, but I just feel it's got the best combination of size versus ammunition and power. I've always felt the most comfortable shooting it. It runs like a little sewing machine, I love it.

Do you shoot a Glock 34 or 35 in competition? I shoot both. I actually shoot a 34, a 35, and occasionally a 17, but I most often shoot the 34. The normal division that I compete in is Production, and for Production I think the G34 is just the perfect way to go.

It's really soft shooting in comparison to the 35. It is very soft shooting, and in Production you aren't penalized for shooting a smaller caliber. If you have a choice, I prefer the 9mm because it's a little bit easier to shoot.

As long as you don't have to worry about making power factor. Exactly.

Are you shooting the Generation 4 Glocks in competition yet? I have actually shot the Gen 4 G17. I shot it at the IDPA nationals where I won High Lady. It's a great gun. I have pretty small hands, and while I've never had a problem with the standard size Glock but the Gen 4 just fits really well in my hands. The biggest thing I noticed when shooting it is that not only does it fit better in your hands but it puts your fingers closer to the controls so that the magazine release button and slide release button are much easier for me to shoot. I don't have to shift my hand as much.

That's pretty important to maintain a good grip. Absolutely, yeah.

Did you use any of the backstraps? I didn't use a backstrap. I used the smallest version which is the frame with no backstrap. It felt fine, but I shot it before I went to the match with both backstraps just to see what it felt like, and I felt comfortable with both but the smallest was obviously best for me.

Let's talk about training for a little bit. I like to get to know how various top level competitors such as yourself train and stay in shape. What does a typical week of training look like? I dry fire every day. I try to dry fire between 15 minutes and an hour, and I do everything dry fire that I would do live fire. I do draws, I do mag changes, and I do movement. Obviously the Glock doesn't reset, but I kinda fake my way through shooting multiple shots.

Then for live fire I try to practice a minimum of twice a week on the range. I usually get out more like four or five [days a week]. Those practices range anywhere from a couple of hours to four hours. I can't usually do more than four hours, especially in the Georgia heat. It's a little bit much for me.

For round count, I practice anywhere from 300 rounds to 600-700. Steel eats up more ammo just because you have to shoot all of those shots. That's just the way it works, you have to shoot more. If I'm practicing for USPSA or IDPA it's usually a lower round count.

I try to do short drills and break things down into the basics because you can set up a stage and shoot it eight times and you'll get better, but you won't know where you're getting better. I like to break things down into small pieces like draws, double taps, and small drills I can look at and see where I'm good and what I need to work on.

I also try to shoot local matches. You can't reproduce match conditions in practice I don't believe. I think local matches are really important so I try to shoot those whenever I'm in town.

Breaking it down into the base components seems like a pretty important principle that allows you to perfect each unique aspect before you string them all together into a complete stage. Yeah, a good analogy I always use is baseball. When you're learning to play baseball, you don't just go out and play baseball games. You practice hitting and pitching. When I practice for shooting, I don't shoot stages, I practice draws and reloads and things like that.

Where do you find yourself spending the most time practicing? What are some areas that you focus on? One of the biggest things I've struggled with for a while is movement. I came from Cowboy Action Shooting where there's not a lot of shooting on the move. That has been a challenge for me over the past years. I try to do drills where you start in one position, shoot a couple of rounds and then run five yards or ten yards and shoot another position. I often work on moving into and out of position, so I'll set up barrels and walls and I'll practice going into position and coming out of it. I'll just try to learn where my limits are and make myself more comfortable with it.

Luckily your teammate Dave Sevigny is one of the best at transitions and movement. Absolutely, Dave is incredible when it comes to moving in and out of position. I watch him whenever I get the chance.

Many top shooters, Dave included, emphasize the importance of having the proper mind set going into a match. I think shooting is much more mental than it is physical. I would say probably 80% is mental preparedness. I think it's very important to visualize the stage prior to shooting it. I think it is important to know what your sight picture is going to look like as well as the target layout, and be prepared so that when you walk up there it's not foreign territory. You need to be as comfortable with it as if you'd already shot it. It's important to look through the positions and visualize your movement so that you're prepared when you get there.

It's so difficult to keep that game plan however. I know I've stepped up to the line before and as soon as the buzzer goes off to signal the start, my mind blanks and the whole plan I had goes right out the window. I would say that, obviously, it starts with experience. The more you practice and the more you shoot the easier that will get. The other thing that I do is I visualize in great detail. I close my eyes and I see the targets, I see the wall, I see the reload going into the gun and so on.

I read something somewhere that if you visualize something in great detail that your mind doesn't know that you haven't done it. If you visualize shooting the stage in detail, you trick yourself into thinking that you've already shot it. That way, when you walk up there if something happens or goes wrong, you know you're comfortable and you feel like you've already done it so it's much easier to bounce back. Other than that, just train to stay calm.

That's pretty important, staying calm. I know it's hard not to panic when you throw a mike or drop a shot and try to rush to catch up. My grandfather nicknamed me "Ice" when I was a kid, because he just couldn't get over how calm I was. If you just try to stay relaxed and remember your sight picture above all else. The more experience you have, the better it will be. That's why I think it's so important to shoot local matches. Even though I've been doing this for years, I still think that there are things I can learn. I know there are things I can learn. You can't give up, you have to shoot all the time.

There are a lot of new shooters out there who read these interviews. What one piece of advice would you give a new shooter? The biggest piece of advice I can give a new shooter is really to just hit your targets. I see a lot of new shooters who go out there and try to push so fast, they want to be Rob Leatham or Todd Jarrett, then they come back with six mikes and they don't understand why their score is so bad.

For all new shooters I would suggest that the most important thing is to get your hits. If you can hit the target, the speed will come as you get more comfortable. You just have to know how to hit the targets and know your limits.

You've even said in the past that while you like to go fast, you prefer to be accurate. I do, yeah. Going fast is fun, but being accurate pays off.

That's a lot of great advice. I want to thank you for taking the time to talk with us, it's been a pleasure. Absolutely! I'd also like to thank you for the interview. I appreciate that, and I'd just like to remind everyone to stay safe and have fun!

Randi lives in Smyrna Georgia where she works for Glock. When she's not at the range, Randi enjoys hiking, biking, rafting, and the outdoors in general.

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