Kind of amazing that it took me until July to shoot my first match this year, but that’s the way it works sometimes. My schedule of classes, awful late spring weather, family obligations, and some construction at the club where I typically shoot matches really limited me to this point. So it goes.
Readers who read my article last week about my injured shoulder will be happy to hear that I made it to the match and performed about as well as I typically do. There was only one moment during my fourth stage of the day when I felt a twinge in my shoulder, but other than registering the twinge mentally, it did not affect me in any discernable way. I had two PT sessions last week and will have two more each of the next several weeks. So far, so good.
I should note that I continue to approach IDPA not as “training”, but as a form of practice. My goal is not necessarily to “win” a match, but to use these matches as an opportunity to do things I cannot do at most ranges (moving, drawing, etc.) under time constraints and with a little peer pressure. Plus, it is just fun to participate in these matches, and each match only costs me $20.
As this was my first match of the year, I decided to go with known quantities here. I would use my OD Glock 19 equipped with Ameriglo I Dot Pro sights, my F3 Holsters Slide Modular Holster, no-name (but Raven Concealment copy) kydex double magazine carrier (slightly modified), and my Ares Gear Enhanced Aegis Belt. I brought my black Glock 19 as a backup, just in case something happened to my primary. I used Blazer Brass 124 grain FMJ ammunition. Prior to this match, I had not fired live ammunition from any firearm since mid-June.
One of the Safety Officers was kind enough to provide me with the set-up and shooting instructions for the match, so I have (somewhat poorly, unfortunately) photographed them for your viewing. This will make for a longer article, but I want to give those readers who have not yet tried IDPA an idea of what the matches “look” like. I cannot guarantee that I will be able to do this for future matches, but why not use what I have?:
Shooting the Match
My squad started in Bay Three shooting Stage 5 and then Stage 6. What a joy starting with what was probably the toughest stage of the match! This was the only stage with any moving targets. I should also note that those setting up the stage found it impossible to squeeze everything into the distances outlined in the diagrams, so with the permission of the match director, we set up the barrels at T3 and T4 at 12 YARDS instead of 12 FEET! So that made all of the distances of the shots on T1-T2 and T6-T8 much greater, around 20 yards. This was the stage where I got, what I am happy to say, was my only “procedural” error, a hit on the non-threat in front of T1. It was actually a shoot-through on one of the swinging targets, so I don’t feel too bad about that. My ranking on this stage out of 27 overall participants was 16th.
Stage 6 was basically three FAST drills. Readers of my article here should already be familiar with what the FAST drill encompasses. I shot all three FAST drills in under 7 seconds (19.30 seconds combined for all three), dropping two shots on the first FAST into the Down One zone. The other two FASTs were shot clean. These were only the second, third, and fourth times I had ever shot the FAST, so I was pleased. One note: my times for these iterations of the FAST cannot be considered legit, because the FAST is supposed to be shot from concealment. Though IDPA matches typically require concealment garments, the Match Director felt that the heat/humidity/strong sun warranted the waiving of this requirement. Of course, because IDPA still does not allow appendix carry, I was drawing what, for me, is an unusual position (3 o’clock), so to me it should be a wash! My rank in this stage among the 27 overall participants was 4th.
My squad moved on to Bay One to shoot Stages 1 and 2. The distances of the shots involved in Stage 1 were quite short, and I dropped no shots. I was a little slow in my movement, trying to be more “tactically sound” coming around the corners rather than “gaming it”. My rank on this stage was 12th overall.
Stage 2 had an odd setup, basically a mocked up hallway. There were a lot of options the shooters had for how best to tackle this particular setup. My accuracy on this stage was a little off, with 8 points down among the 8 targets. I ranked 13th overall on this stage.
On to Bay Two to shoot Stages 3 and 4, and these were challenging due to the distances and angles involved in Stage 3 and the speed one had to shoot and move in Stage 4. The overall difficulty of Stage 3 would best be indicated by these numbers: among the five targets I ended up 18 points down, but still ranked 9th overall! I finished the day on Stage 4, which was the stage that had the shooters choosing to shoot in the widest variety of sequences. Here, my speed was obviously not up to par, as despite hitting only once outside the Down Zero zone (a Down One), I was still only 16th overall on this stage.
I shot a total of 109 rounds during the match. The match minimum was 96, so I definitely took a few makeup shots along the way, as only Stage 6 was “Limited Scoring” (meaning no makeup shots were permitted).
Among the 27 shooters, I placed 9th overall. I was shooting in the SSP division, of which there were 10 participants. Of those 10, I ranked 4th. Overall, I was pretty pleased with my performance:
· I had not shot a match in about 9 months
· I had not shot any live ammunition in close to one month
· My shoulder injury was a concern
· This was my first match under the new IDPA rules, where each point down counts as a full second off your time (it used to be a half second).
Given these “handicaps”, I guess it is hard to argue with finishing in the top third overall. Indeed, after looking at my prior IDPA club matches (not counting the Classifier), this was actually my best performance. So perhaps this bodes well for future matches as well as whenever I get around to shooting my next Classifier.
It is possible that I will shoot another match in a few weeks, and then I hope to shoot another match or two in August/September.
Have any of our readers recently started shooting in competitions? If so, what type and what has your experience been? If not, why not? Feel free to share below or on our Facebook page. As always, thanks for reading.