Archive for October, 2009

IDPA Is Not Tactical Training

Posted: October 29, 2009 in IDPA
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Tonight I completed the last class of an eleven week course called the Civilian Police Academy. Every Thursday night I’d go down to the station around 6pm, eat dinner, then sit through about 3 hours of presentations and demos by seasoned officers and detectives on the various aspects of Police work.

The course covered a kinds of things, some included:
History of Policing
Internet Crimes
Sexual Crimes
OVI
Animal Control
SWAT Team
Drugs
Search and Seizure
Domestic Violence
Community Services
K9 unit
Forensics

The last class tonight was about building searches and as part of it, we did a live demo where we had to clear an office. As I’ve shot IDPA for a few years now, I thought I definitely had an advantage.

They gave us very brief overviews of techniques then basically set us loose to find the bad guy who could be hiding anywhere in a 3000 square foot office. I was in a group of 3 and we all had plastic red guns and flashlights.

Now one of IDPA’s things is to use cover (well ok, concealment in the real world) and to slice the pie. Those are usually things that we do at virtually every match, even in the classifier, so I was comfortable with that. However, it was a completely different experience knowing that there was a bad guy hiding in there who could be hiding motionless, moving around or waiting to jump out. Due to the construction of shooting ranges, your line of sight is pretty limited, however, in an office we had to look up at the ceiling tiles and at one point I had my gun pointed almost vertically. I broke the 180 countless times and probably swept my comrades a few times as we negotiated the tight confines of the cubicles. When clearing a building there’s no one standing there with a timer and in this scenario there was only one target and there was certainly no rush to move from one position to another.

I did eventually find the bad guy (well girl actually), she was hiding behind a box under a desk. At first I just saw a piece of gray cloth, so I kept my flashlight on it, then I saw it move just a tiny bit as she breathed. I shouted something like “Let me see your hands” and at that moment I saw a hand come out holding a red gun. It was moving up towards me so I shouted bang bang and that was that! I was really glad that we managed to get the bad guy and not get shot, but it was quite an experience to say the least.

While I felt like I did have some advantages over people who had never done any IDPA, there’s a whole lot more to the tactics and communications aspects, especially when working with others, which is one thing that you can never get in IDPA.

I know we did a ton of things wrong, but hey, we had absolutely no training, so I think we did ok considering. I’ve always heard people say that IDPA is just a game and I’ve always approached it that way myself. My view has always been that if someone’s timing me and keeping score, then it’s a game, it’s that simple. Now IDPA is good for working on basic gun handling skills, but when it comes to real defensive shooting or room clearing, as many scenarios have us do, IDPA is not and can never be used as training.

Of course now I can’t sleep and am itching to do a class at one of the firearms training centers.

Oct 2009 Big Darby Creek IDPA Match

Posted: October 25, 2009 in IDPA
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I had a great match this weekend at Big Darby Creek. I got all my equipment squared away, got my head sorted out and shot a great match. When I came to the line to shoot, my head was right where it needed to be. I was focussed, ready and knew what I needed to do. It may have helped that I’d already shot a few of the stages in the recent OH state match, but even so, they were different enough that I don’t think that it really made much difference.

It was also really quite interesting to see how a lot of people get put off by the simplest of things. One of the stages had a starting position where both hands were submersed in a bowl of water. With the 50 degree fall weather the first thing people started worrying about was how cold their hands were going to get. This was actually the last thing I was thinking about. The water and temperature is just one of those distractions course designers like to put in the stage. You just have to recognize it as such and decided to think about the more important things. I was more concerned about the transition from the window to the next firing position to make sure I was going to driving the gun out and could slice the pie with minimal footwork.

The last stage of the match was a quick draw – one round stage. While not blazing fast, my draw is quick enough that my time isn’t going to make much difference overall. My time was a 1.71s which was a very comfortable pace. My strategy was to make it quick but controlled to ensure I got my shot in the 0 down. Taking that extra .1 or .2 seconds is worth it to ensure I didn’t get .5s added to my time.

It was also my first time shooting a match with my new Merrell hiking boots and I absolutely love them. They’re waterproof and light with a sturdy sole and ankle support. They feel more like a running shoe than a boot, but footing on gravel or grass was very secure. With my previous footwear I was always slipping around on gravel and actually fell one time during the SO class. If you’re looking for new IDPA shoes, I’d definitely recommend the Merrells, which I bought at my local Dicks Sporting Goods store.