At long last I participated in my first IDPA match yesterday evening. This was it- the checkpoint with the next level to see how my training regimen in over that past year has worked out. How would I perform under pressure- people watching, in a course of fire demanding problem-solving on the run, with time and score (and pride) on the line? There were good moments human moments…which is good because training never stops, right?
The first thing I learned at the IDPA event was that I was not alone- there were about 40 other participants who showed up. The venue was set up pretty well- the range had two bays and a stage was set up in each bay. Two giant squads worked through a stage and then switched off. There was a brief intermission while the organizers set up a stage 3 and a side match – this one focused on using your BUG (yep- Back Up Gun – aka subcompact or as we call my .40 Walther PPS around here, Izzy). Write-ups on the stages and background scenarios are here if you want more context.
The people who ran this match really deserve kudos- running an event like this was a lot of work and they did a great job running a very safe and pretty efficient match. As I made rookie mistakes different people – including the SO for my squad- offered helpful advice on improving my technique. All in all a great value for about 50 rounds and a $20 entry fee.
So what does an IDPA match look like in action? Most of the time it looked like this:
Scoring, resetting and covering up hits on targets and sweeping brass out of the way for the next shooter takes about twice as long as each course of fire. Thats right- add it all up and participants spent about 5 hours standing around to get about 10 minutes of live fire in.
Those were 10 exhilarating minutes though-and 10 minutes that are hard to come by. Between nervous energy and the rush of executing a course of fire I know I won’t miss next month’s match because I have officially been bitten by the bug (not the BUG). I will bring snacks and something to read or blog though for next month though- being last up on the last stage I was definitely tired. Standing around on a concrete slab for 5 hours tends to have that effect. Also outdoor matches begin next month so it will be a little different and won’t be a late evening affair.
Reflecting back on the outing here are a few random thoughts:
- Lots of race guns and 9mm in attendance- the .45 and .40 shots thundered in comparison
- There is a lot to think about while running a CoF (Course of Fire)- even with ample time to plan an approach and watch how others attacked the course it was easy to make mistakes and wonder how on Earth certain fundamentals escape you in the heat of the moment
- Its easy to rush yourself even when you try to go slow
- Lots of learning occurred…In some cases laughable gaffes
- My scorecard results were not too bad- I landed in the middle of the pack in my Classification and Division (Stock Service Pistol Division, Unclassified status)
- Paste an extra round into the next target- scoring for this stage would have allowed me to do so and only the best two hits are scored on a given target and its not considered ’round-dumping’
- Tactical reload: knowing what threats lie ahead in the progression I could have executed a reload ahead of time and retained the ejected mag (pocket, dump pouch, just cant drop it on the deck)
- Improve my double-tap speed to hit the target as prescribed in the CoF
Other thoughts on my performance:
- The reload was fast but I could have executed closer to my field of vision- more “in the workspace“
- Travel was smooth considering this was one of my first live fire ‘off the X’ experiences
- Walking around tooled up for that long makes a warbelt feel pretty natural
- Now I see why people were asking me about my Glock 22C- the fire that blasts out of the compensator ports is distinctive. (Don’t tell Congress- it looks kind of evil – like devil horns – and that’s enough for some
ProgressiveRepressive to want to ban it)
Things I want to improve and focus on as I train for the next 30 days include:
- more work on targets at the 12-15yd distance
- work on transition between close and far targets (instinctive shots vs. sight picture and fire as I work threat progressions)
- grip-sight picture-trigger progression – I had a couple sloppy targets that made me wonder how the sight picture went wonky