IDPA SO Class Experience

Posted: June 15, 2009 in IDPA

The lake at Ashland Lake Gun Club

The lake at Ashland Lake Gun Club


This weekend I attended an IDPA Safety Officer (SO) Class at Ashland Lake Gun Club. It took me just over an hour to get there, which isn’t too bad, it’s about the same as me drive to Circleville. ALGC is also hosting the Ohio State match this year, which I’m hoping to attend.

The class was run by the experienced and very knowledgeable Larry Wenger, with Area Coordinator Jo Buchanan and a couple of SO instructors helping.

They put on a great class and went through the rulebook in great detail, highlighting gray areas and other places which can be interpreted in different ways.

After the classroom session, there was a written test then a practical session. The students would run each other through courses of fire practicing range commands and scenarios. Every now and then an instructor would jump in and inject some deliberate errors, potential safety issues or other things which the students needed to watch for and deal with appropriately. Angry competitors, hecklers, people wandering downrange at inappropriate times, etc.

When it was my turn to shoot a full stage, I was moving from P2 to P3 and slipped on the loose gravel underfoot, sending me flying onto the ground belly down. As my foot gave way and I felt my balance go, I knew I was about to impact the ground, so I thrust my strong hand forward to keep the gun pointed downrange. My finger was already out of the trigger guard, so there was no AD. I just ended up hitting the deck, getting back up and finishing the stage, albeit with a few scrapes and a dusty gun and mags.

Larry commented on my safe gun handling, which was very much appreciated. It highlighted to me that practicing safe gun handling even through dry fire, is extremely important (not that I practice belly flops during dry fire!).

I had a great time and would definitely recommend anyone who’s already run shooters through as an acting SO, take the course. You’ll learn a lot about the rules and the practical side of them. However, I would advise that you be already pretty familiar with the rulebook and have some experience at SOing, because the course is pretty intense and there’s a lot of information that they throw at you.

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