My IDPA Journey Continues: Match Two

This weekend I shot in my second IDPA club match (see article on my first match here).  This was a two-day match, but each of the two days featured the same six stages.  Some shooters shot both days (a few shot in one division one day and a second division on day two, others shot in the same division on both days, trying to better their scores from the day before), while others, like me, shot only one day.  Like my first match, I shot in the Stock Service Pistol (SSP) division.

Match Preparation

I arrived over an hour before match time and immediately asked the match director what help he needed in setting up.  As more competitors trickled in, we were able to set up the six stages fairly quickly.  One difference from the first match I shot was that, due to some construction on Bay 3, we chose to squeeze three stages into each of the remaining two bays.  With just two bays active, we were divided into two squads of about 7-8 shooters each.


All of my equipment was the same as for my first match.  For me, that meant my third generation Glock 19 with Ameriglo I Dot Pro sights, and my F3 OWB holster and no-name double magazine carrier, both mounted on my Ares Enhanced Aegis belt.  The one difference from my first match was that, due to a more reasonable temperature and a mostly cloudy day, we would be shooting from concealment.  Accordingly, I utilized an Eddie Bauer camera vest that I have owned for at least 7 years as my cover garment.


Once again, it would be impossible (or at least tedious for the reader) for me to describe in detail all six of the stages.  What follows will be some basic highlights.

Stage one was virtually identical to one of the stages from my first match, shooting one-handed from retention at two targets while retreating (and holding a briefcase in the other hand).  Each target was to get three rounds.  This stage involved a second string shooting at the same two targets, this time from about 5-7 yards after turning 180 degrees and “protecting” a loved one with the shooter’s body. 

Stage two involved the most running.  Starting in a hallway, the shooter had to engage two targets with three shots each while retreating, shoot a third target in a doorway to the right with two shots, round a corner and engage a total of three more targets with two shots each (all of these were partially obscured with “no-shoot” targets in front of them), then run the other way into another “room” and engage two more targets with two shots each.

Stage three involved shooting at two targets from about 5-7 yards with two shots each, then running into two rooms shooting six more targets, again with some “no-shoot” targets mixed in.  One of the targets that had to be shot was actually prone on the ground, which was something a bit different.

Stage four featured three targets that each had to be shot while on the move and in tactical sequence (closest first, etc.), then a move to a barrel where the shooter had to take a knee and shoot three more targets partially obscured by “hard cover”.

Stage five was the toughest by far, and featured three strings of fire (12 rounds each).  Starting from about 4 yards away, the shooter would have to engage three targets all in a line (think of the target array from an El Presidente drill).  They had to be shot in tactical sequence, meaning each target had to have at least one hit before any got more.  And they had to be shot while the shooter was retreating.  Once all had been engaged with chest shots, then each had to be engaged from standing cover (from about 8 yards) with one headshot each.  The three strings consisted of doing this once with both hands, once strong-hand only, and once weak-hand only. 

The final drill consisted of running up to a kneeling position behind cover and engaging each of four targets (two low, two high) with three rounds each.  Each of the targets was partially obscured by either hard cover or a no-shoot target.


After all of the results of the two days were combined, I finished 21st out of 37 overall, and finished 10th of 22 in the SSP division.  I fired a total of 112 rounds.  Although my ranking in this match was not as high as last time, I was also surrounded by many more experienced shooters as compared with the last match (I am confident that I was one of the two least experienced IDPA shooters at this match, as compared with last time when there were at least four other shooters from my safety class competing).  Indeed, I performed better in this match, with only two procedural penalties (one for not shooting while moving when I was attempting a make-up shot on Stage 4, and the other for a hit on a “no-shoot” target….good thing about the latter one was the hit on the “no-shoot” was a nice A zone hit on the bad guy behind!).

Learning Moments

  • A few times I could have had a better shooting plan in place.  For example, on Stage two, after I had engaged all but the last two targets, I should have been flat out sprinting to a position to take these final shots, but instead I did more of a jog, worried about failing to see a target along the way (there were none to worry about). 
  • Moving while shooting.  This is one of my “gripes” already about IDPA, because “moving while shooting” can literally (per IDPA rules) consist of shuffling your feet forward six inches at a time while shooting.  Of what practical application this would be in a real-world gunfight I have NO idea!  If I was going to move that slow, I may as well post-up and shoot from a solid, still position.  In the future, if I want to shoot for a score, I’ll do the goofy shuffle.  If I want to treat IDPA as a decent practice opportunity, then I’ll move in a more “normal” way. 
  • An issue of mine I have always known about, but IDPA is simply exposing a bit more, is my tendency to not tailor the cadence of my shots to the distance/target size I need to engage.  In other words, I tend to shoot at the same speed no matter the target.  I need to get into the habit of increasing my shooting speed/reducing my split times considerably at closer/larger targets.
  • Stage five revealed a few of my weaknesses.  One was weak-hand-only shooting, where I had some unfortunate misses on a few of my shots.  Also, the many aspects of that particular stage played havoc with my brain.  Retreating, tactical sequence, then shooting from cover, with a reload in there as well….the result was that, on one of the strings, after engaging the torsos while retreating with one, one, three, two, and then two, I then got behind cover and shot the first target in the torso again instead of in the head!  I needed some more focus on my shooting plan.
  • Finally, I need to work on my reload speed, both slide-lock and “tactical” reloads.  A few times I really fumbled getting to the spare magazines, particularly in awkward positions like kneeling.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I had a good time.  With some better shooters around me this time I learned a bit more about how to “game” the system, so to speak.  I am also starting to learn more names of the directors and safety officers as well as some of the regular competitors.  As outlined above, I had some learning moments as well, both for how to do better in matches as well as some things that could be applicable in a real-world scenario.

I will probably shoot another match in a few weeks, which will either be a regular club match or possibly an IDPA classifier.  As always, I will keep our readers abreast of these happenings.  Thanks for reading.  If you would like to share your own IDPA or other competitive shooting experience, please share in the comments below. 

6 thoughts on “My IDPA Journey Continues: Match Two

  1. Robert, as I’m learning about you, another great article. As a 20 year IDPA member myself, I actually gravitated away from IDPA because of the training scars that come from gaming (the same way I did with IPSC and USPSA before IDPA was created). Only recently have I re-entered IDPA and that’s only because I found a club that runs “coached” matches whereby gaming and scoring are secondary, and training, learning, and correct sustainment practice are primary. Be careful not to screw up the great training and skills sets you bring to the table my friend.


  2. Karim,

    Thanks for the advice. Two matches in (and a classifier coming up this weekend…stay tuned for an article), and I have no plans to make IDPA a major “thing” in my life. That could be good or bad. Since, at this point, I have no will to win a match, the lack of pressure placed on myself may not be enough of a stressor to make it worthwhile. On the other hand, as long as I recognize those aspects that are potentially applicable in a real-world scenario, I should be good. And I don’t ever plan to shoot beyond the club level; you won’t see me wearing a jersey adorned with the names of my sponsors, that’s for sure! Thanks again! Stay safe.



  3. I started shooting IDPA in June because it’s a great place to practice many of the skills you are exposed to during training but not allowed to use at most ranges like drawing from a holster, drawing from concealment , shooting while moving, shooting moving targets, use of cover, target ID/discrimination. You get to practice marksmanship, gun handling skills, test your carry gear while under the pressure of a timer, trying not to get penalties or DQed and being watched by the other shooters. It’s not the kind of pressure experienced during a gun fight but it is certainly more than what you get shooting slow fire while stationary on a square range.


    1. Robert,

      Looks like we reached the same decision for the same reasons at around the same point in time! Good luck and keep at it!


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