Last year I had the good fortune to compete in 2014 Sniper’s Hide Cup and had a fantastic experience. As a female shooting athlete in my second full year of competition, I looked at the Snipers Hide Cup match as moving to the next level. Looking back it was a great learning experience that I am looking forward to yet again this year!
I thought it might be fun and helpful to blog a bit about my training regime for this year’s event. Hopefully, I can encourage a few more ladies to “take the plunge” and get involved in practical/tactical long range shooting, because I am having a blast!
Over the next few weeks leading up to the SH Cup, I’m going to share some tips on what I’m doing to get prepared for this match. My hope is that any new shooters (especially ladies) that are signed up to shoot this year might be able to improve their performance.
Before I climb into my “gym rat” routine, I think it’s important to prepare for the environmentals of the match location because for many shooters it’s really different! The range has rolling hills, with a ridge surrounding the fields of fire and small wash / valley down the center. This area can be hit or miss on rain but expect it as it is the rainy time of year. Interestingly, Colorado only gets about 10 days of rain a year, but in May we could get dumped on.
Coming from South GA at near sea level, the biggest difference is altitude. The match will be shot at 4,500ft ASL with temps ranging from 45° to 85° Fs so getting acclimatized is going to be an issue so work on your endurance. The sun is intense so sunblock and lip balm are essential! Humidity is low around 25% and on the external ballistics side of things the Density Altitude is around 6500ft and the wind average around 8-12mph. This I got from the man himself Frank Galli!
Generally speaking, or at least in my limited experience tactical precision rifle matches aren’t just “belly” matches. For those not familiar with the long range lingo, I’m referring to all stages are not shot prone. There is some running involved that requires you to carry your rifle and sometimes your gear too. One great way to get conditioned for these type matches is to do some cardio and weight training.
During my train-up phase, I try to walk/jog 4-5 days a week for 1 to 2 miles, sometimes further depending on the weather outside (or how bored I get on the treadmill). For weights, don’t laugh, I carry my competition rifle Jake (custom built Ashbury Precision Ordnance 6.5CM SuperSport with Bushnell Elite XRS 4.5-30) around. I do overhead presses and run around holding him jumping down in prone and back up again. Sounds crazy but you should try it with your rifle. I also do Kettle Bells to try and build my upper body strength. Another great weight/cardio routine is to get your range bag or rucksack, with your shooting gear load out and walk a few miles or more. This is great conditioning and comes in handy when you are walking from stage to stage at 4,500ft above sea level.
If you are one of the lucky shooters to have snagged a spot in 2015 Snipers Hide Cup congrats! Get ready for it and you’ll enjoy the “Hide” experience a lot more. It will definitely be a match you will talk about all year long and one that you’ll want to shoot again next year. See you on the range and more next week!
Melissa Gilliland is a well known competitive shooter in tactical long range matches, She is sponsored by Ashbury Precision Ordnance Mfg, Bushnell Tactical Optics, Armageddon Gear, Wiebad bags, Spuhr mounts, Gungoddess.com and FrogLube. She can been seen online with her husband Jim Gilliland at Trigger Time TV and at her featured blog. For more information follow the links below