There was a bit of a gap between the second and now my third IDPA match this year, but it finally happened. This was a two-day match that was billed as a “PCC-friendly” match and featured a total of 51 participants. Of those 51, a total of eight chose to compete in the new-to-IDPA Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) category, the most I have so far seen at a match at this venue. One PCC shooter was in my squad (shooting a CZ Scorpion of some type). The match was billed as “PCC-friendly” based on the designs of some of the stages, which featured some longer shots (some out around 20 yards), a lot of partially obscured targets, and even some mandatory headshots beyond what is standard for IDPA matches (15 yards).
I chose to compete in my usual Stock Service Pistol (SSP) division, utilizing a Glock 19. As noted in some previous match descriptions, it is a mostly stock pistol with the exception of a factory Glock 17 smooth-faced trigger and Ameriglo I-Dot Pro sights. It was carried in my F3 Holsters Slide Modular holster which, along with my magazine carrier (no-name kydex), was carried on my Ares Gear Enhanced Aegis belt. For this match, I used Freedom Munitions 124 grain FMJ ammunition.
Some might ask why I keep shooting in SSP with a pistol that would allow me to shoot in the Concealed Carry Pistol (CCP) division. The answer is multi-faceted but makes sense to me. First, in matches I attend, there are always more competitors in SSP than CCP. This gives me a larger pool of competitors to compare myself with. Secondly, SSP allows me to use 10-round magazines, which is closer to the factory capacity of the Glock 19 than the 8 round requirement in CCP. It makes sense to me to keep things as close as possible to how I really carry. Third, I like to challenge myself with a smaller, shorter-sight-radius pistol against people using Glock 34s and longer-barreled CZs and Sigs, which are much more common in the SSP division. At this match, I was one of 20 competing in the SSP division.
Rather than do a terrible job of describing each stage, I thought I would just provide analysis of my own performance at each stage.
I guess it took me a bit to get warmed up, because the first stage was my worst of the day, and it was really one round (I flinched a bit and hit about an inch lower than I would have liked, into “hard cover”) that cost me some time. In this stage I finished 31st overall, 13th in SSP.
Stage two was the only “limited” stage of the match (meaning you had to shoot a specific number of rounds with no “make-up” shots allowed). This stage featured three partially obscured targets (hard cover and some “friendlies”) that required two shots (one to chest, one to the head) each fired from three set locations at 15, 10, and 5 yards. It was a tough task but I did well, finishing this stage 15th overall, 7th in SSP.
The third stage was actually very similar to the first stage, but had two more targets and did not have any “shoot while moving” components. I finished this stage 12th overall, 6th in SSP.
Stage four required all shots (and a reload) to be performed from the sitting position, shooting at 6 targets, all but one of which were partially obscured. The distance to all targets was 15 yards, and each target had to be shot with three rounds. I finished this stage 10th overall, 3rd in SSP.
Stage five included a ridiculous number of no-shoot, “friendly”, targets and featured a few shots at about 20 yards. Unfortunately, one of my rounds hit a bit low and left about one inch onto one of the “non-threat” targets, which cost me a penalty. I also had a stovepipe on this stage (think this was a limp-wrist, as there was true hard cover in front of us for some kneeling shots, and I rested my elbows on the cover which I think got me too relaxed.). Despite these challenges, I completed this stage 12th overall, 3rd in SSP.
The final stage was the only one that had a moving target. It required all shots (prior to activating the moving target) be shot on the move, though the distances were not great (I probably fired every round from 5-7 yards). I finished this stage 19th overall, 6th in SSP. I should also mention that the minimum round count for the match was 94 rounds, but with only one limited stage, some competitors fired quite a few “make-up” shots. I fired a total of 98 rounds in this match.
By the final tally, I finished the match 14th overall, 5th in SSP. Overall, I’m pretty happy with this performance. In only one stage (the first) was I below the median in SSP, and I completed two stages third in my division. I should also note that, of the 20 competitors in SSP, 6 were “sharpshooter” rated (including me). Of those, I finished in second place. There were only about three rounds that I fired that I was really disappointed with; the rest were pretty much where I wanted them to go. Overall, given the distances required for many of the shots, I found myself taking just a touch of extra time in order to try to guarantee my hits.
I must say that I have seen a noticeable improvement in the results of my three matches in 2017 as compared with 2016. A lot of that I attribute to learning how to “game it” a bit: how to move per IDPA rules, how to plan out how to shoot each stage, etc. The rest of it I attribute to improvements in my overall marksmanship, which I think has really improved in the last year. Also, I should note that changes in IDPA scoring rules, which now give more weight to accuracy than speed as compared with previous years, has probably helped me as well. At least at the club where I shoot matches, a lot of competitors seem to be able to shoot quickly but struggle with accuracy beyond about 10 yards.
I need to keep my eye out for a Classifier match. Though IDPA has changed the course of fire a bit as compared with last year, it is the best way to gauge whether or not I have improved. If none appears in my area in the near term, then I might still shoot another “regular” match this year.
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