Training at an IDPA Match

Published July 16, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Competition, IDPA, Self Defense, Training

Let’s talk more about how competition, practice, training and concealed carry all fit together. JaciJ and myself shot an International Defensive Pistol Association match at Phoenix Rod and Gun Club last week at Phoenix Rod and Gun Club. Jaci shot it using her 9mm 1911-style pistol she uses for such matches, and I shot it with the 9mm Smith and Wesson Shield I carry with me on a regular basis. Jaci was shooting the match to get a good score, I was shooting it to practice my reactions if, God forbid, I need to use my pistol for defensive purposes. The difference is, unlike a lot of other competitors at that match who were shooting for a high score, I kept my (empty) gun on my hip after I was done shooting, then drove off and loaded it up with my 9mm defensive ammo of choice when it was safe to do so, because I shot with the gun I carry as a defensive firearm. 

Let’s look at two stages in the match that were, as they say, ripped from the headlines’s of today’s news and how Jaci’s approach and my approach to each was different because of our different goals for the match. 

Stage 4
Scenario: You are downtown when the Zimmerman trial verdict is announced. A group upset by the verdict begins to riot. At the buzzer, engage closest targets with two rounds each in tactical sequence while retreating to cover, then engage remaining targets with two rounds each in tactical priority. 

Here’s Jaci shooting this stage by the IDPA rules and as quickly as her shooting skills allow. 

I shot this stage slightly differently. I did a “tactical reload” in-between the two groups of targets, reasoning that I’d want to top up my gun if I had a break in the action, and swapped out the half-empty magazine in my gun with a full one from the mag pouch on my belt. This is perfectly legal by IDPA rules, but it won’t win you any matches because it’s slower than going to a “slide lock” reload. 

Stage 2
You come across a mob upset with the Zimmerman trial verdict attacking an innocent bystander. Engage all threat targets in tactical priority with two rounds each. 

Here’s Jaci shooting this stage so she gets a good score in the match. 

And here’s me shooting it, trying to approach it as I would in real life. I made sure I told the range officer running the stage beforehand that I was going to issue verbal commands to the targets before I engaged them, so as not to freak him out TOO much when I started yelling.

Another thing I learned on that stage? My Shield doesn’t lock back on an empty magazine, and needs to head to the gunsmith.

So which is better, shooting an IDPA match for good score, or shooting it for good practice for concealed carry? Well, that depends on what your shooting goals are. I look at IDPA as defensive pistol practice first, and a competition second (USPSA is where my competition freak flag flies). Jaci (and a whole buch of other people) see IDPA as a competition first and concealed carry practice second. Those two goals are both valid, and both can be accomplished in the context of an IDPA match with equal vigor. 

Update: Hey, if you’re reading this via the IDPA’s Facebook page or other points on teh interwebz, thanks for stopping by, and feel free to stick around!


4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Elke Speliopoulos // Jul 16, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    The “ripped from the headlines of today’s news” reference is incredibly poorly chosen. I would hope for a little bit more sensitivity around a topic that has caused a lot of introspection in a lot of people.

  • 2 Vconnor // Jul 16, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    First the Zimmerman trial is EXACTLY why we need training, so its not in bad thing. Second, had Treyvon done the same thing Zimmerman did, that is to call the police if he thought someone was stalking him, he would be alive today. Instead he sucked punched in the face a man who he did not know was armed, and he suffered the consequences.

  • 3 Otto Glenewinkel // Jul 16, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    I shoot defensively before competitively, however I am a police officer and I have to train to account for every bullet I let fly. That being said My biggest issue is with reloads, administrative vs. tactical vs. slide lock. If I have one round in my mag I am dropping it like its hot.

  • 4 Match Report: IDPA at Phoenix Rod and Gun Club - Misfires And Light Strikes // Jul 17, 2013 at 7:01 AM

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