Posts Tagged ‘IDPA’

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
Animal Control
Search and Seizure
Domestic Violence
Community Services
K9 unit

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

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.

No Match Today

Posted: September 26, 2009 in IDPA

It’s my wife’s birthday today so I won’t be shooting the local match at Big Darby today. It would have been nice because they’re shooting the postal match, which I also missed at Circleville at the beginning of the month. I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to shoot the postal. I think I’ve missed every single postal match for the past 4 years for various reasons.

My parents were over visiting for a couple of weeks and left yesterday. So for the past 2 weeks I also took a mini vacation and didn’t work out or do any dry firing. Tomorrow I’m going to get back into my usual routine again with a morning workout and some dryfiring in the evening once the kids are in bed. At some point I also have to load up some more ammo.

Next week my buddy Jon will be back from the nationals and will hopefully get some video from the OH state match, which I’ll post on YT. I don’t know if all major matches are run this way, but I have a duplicate copy of times and scores from each stage, so I’ll try to superimpose them on the video.

2009 OH State Match Report

Posted: September 20, 2009 in IDPA

I had a great match today at Ashland Lake Gun Club. Big thanks to Tony Lavelle, John Moson, the SOs, match staff and everyone else who helped make it a wonderful day.

I got up at 5am, had a coffee, got my things together and left around 5.30am. I’d packed most of my stuff the night before so I could take my time getting ready. The club is only 1.5hrs drive from my house and at that time of morning I made good time.

After registration and the shooter’s meeting I joined the rest of my squad on stage 1. I had a small snafu on this first stage where midway during the string, the mag fell out of the gun, it was a box start stage, so I either pressed the mag release while grabbing it, or I somehow touched the mag release during recoil.

I could have finished that stage feeling down and perhaps in a time before reading Lanny Bassham’s book, I would have resigned myself to a thought along the lines of “what a way to start off, I guess that’s the way this match is going to be”. But I didn’t do that. I thought about how I had positioned my feet well so I could pivot and that my shots were good. I purposely did not think about that incident again and instead chose to fill my mind with thoughts on how I was going to break down the next stage and how well I was going to do.

I got to the chrono stage and handed the SO my gun. He ran it through the chrono and shook his head. I couldn’t quite understand what he said at first, but then he said “that’s not going to make it, do you want me to shoot another 3?”. He shot another 3 and started tapping away on the calculator. Each time he said I was coming up really short. I had downloaded my ammo but I was fairly certain that I had measured the charge so that I would at least make the 125k ESP powerfactor. Of course since I handed him a 1911 he assumed I was shooting in CDP and so he was looking at a chart of velocities for 165k PF. After recalculating it a couple more times, the verdict was given and the ammo *just* passed: 125,167 PF. Wow that was close! I think the cooler morning temperatures must have affected the velocities. I may have to look into changing powder, because I don’t think clays is not consistent enough at this powerfactor.

Stage 10 was standards with 3 targets. String 1 was 6 shots support hand only at 7 yards. String 2 was 6 shots strong hand only (from draw) at 10 yards. String 3 was 6 shots freestyle at 20 yards. Since the last time I’d shot was beginning of August, I went to the local range Friday and shot 200 rounds, quite a few of which were support and strong hand only type drills. When I got to this stage I knew I was going to do well because I had just practiced something similar the day before.

I shot the rest of the match really well with no major errors. There were little things here and there which I could have done a little smoother, or slightly differently, but I was really happy with my performance overall.

ESP SS First Place
At the end of the day I finished first in ESP SS with a time (including points and PEs) of 171s. Since I beat more than 10 in my classification (and the EX guys) I got bumped up to Expert. I was 3rd overall in ESP and 10th for the entire match. I could not have been happier with my result. ESP division champion was Morgan Allen with a time of 138.29. Match results are posted here: 2009 OH State Match Results.

There were a lot of stages with targets that had to be engaged in tactical sequence, which sometimes caught a few people off guard. Surprisingly I think there was only one partial target and one swinger in all 12 stages. We did have a nice prop stage where the shooter had to stab the first target with a bayonet before moving on, and yes the stab was a scoring hit.

Chef Larry Wenger did a great job with the food. We were also fortunate to have some SO instructors shooting with us, as well as Area Coordinator Joe Buchanan and IDPA Vice President John Sayle.

It was great to see a lot of the central OH crowd, many of whom also did well and received awards.

2 Weeks To Go

Posted: September 4, 2009 in IDPA

Only two weeks to go until the OH state match, so I’m going to be doing dry fire practice and working out on the elliptical machine every day. This is the final push before my first major match.

Although it’s my first major match, I’m going to treat it as just another match. Every match is important and I need to perform at 100%.

I will run through my pre COF routine as I usually do. I’ll do the same things I usually do, like:

  • Having my mcdonalds coffee in the car ride to the match.
  • Taking my bottled water and protein snack bars and taking sips and small bites after each stage.
  • Putting myself in a good mood prior to and right after a stage.
  • I will always focus on what I did really well and forget about any misses, dropped shots or other errors.
  • I will enjoy the shooting challenges presented in the way of hard shots, or shooting positions.
  • I won’t let the little things bother me, such as weather, score, shooting order, etc

This weekend I’m going to file down the Smith and Alexander magwell so that it will fit in the IDPA box, check the tension on my mag pouches, load my match ammo and hit the range to sight in my new load. So by next week my equipment will be perfect and ready for the match.

Sharpshooter in ESP

Posted: August 24, 2009 in IDPA

I ran the classifier twice last weekend. The first run was terrible. My hits were all over the place and by stage 3 I had a ridiculous amount of points down. When I went forward to score the targets and all my hits were along the right side of the targets. I had several misses and a lot of shots scored -3. I couldn’t believe I had done so badly. I still scraped sharpshooter, I think I was perhaps 3 seconds into it from marksman. Certainly not what I had hoped for.

At the end of the day after I’d run everyone else through there were just a couple of SOs left. I decided to put up a target and put 2 sighters on there from 10yds to see what I was doing wrong. Both shots were about 2″ apart about 8″ right of center. I looked at my gun and found the rear sight was way off to the right. It has a grub screw in the rear sight and I guess it had worked its way loose and kept drifting over under recoil.

I got it centered back up and ran through the classifier again. I missed 3 headshots on stage 1 (something you should never do), but the load I was using was impacting a little lower than usual. I decided to continue despite this and ended up at the top end of SS, just 4.5s off getting Expert. I would have gotten EX had I not dropped the headshots. Final scores were:

Stage Score Raw Time Points down
1 37.11 27.61 19
2 28.53 22.53 12
3 47.42 38.42 18
Total 113.06 88.56 49

Classifier tomorrow

Posted: August 21, 2009 in IDPA

Tomorrow I’ll be shooting the IDPA classifier (ESP) in preparation for the OH State match. Considering I had a disastrous last match, I made sure I doublechecked all my equipment and have everything cleaned and ready to go.

I’m even bringing my XD and associated gear so if I really get into a tight spot I can at least shoot that in CDP. If I get the time, I may be able run the classifier in both. I also have separate and clearly identifiable containers of ammo for both guns, since they’re loaded to different specs.

Right off to bed, ready for a good night’s sleep.