Blessed by my bosses with the Friday before Christmas off (odd, considering Christmas was on a Tuesday this year), I decided to treat myself to the Friday half of a Friday-Saturday IDPA match. As it happened, heavy rain for more than 24 hours prior, and more predicted rain for the Friday I would be attending, had the match director convert the match to a mostly steel version of an IDPA event.
I experienced my first match of this type here (my other IDPA matches from 2018 are described here, here, and here, along with a carbine match here). For these matches, we follow IDPA rules in terms of cover/fault lines, divisions and their capacity stipulations, the use of cover garments, etc. Due to the slippery conditions, no significant movement was required during any of the six stages. I should also note that shotguns were also permitted for this match!
I chose to shoot in the (stock service pistol) SSP division for this match, a change from my recent preference of shooting in the Compact Carry Pistol (CCP) division. Rationale? None. Well, I wanted to finally shoot a match using the fourth generation Glock 19 I bought earlier this year, and also just felt like loading up my magazines with ten rounds instead of eight. This Glock 19 is set up like my others, with Ameriglo I Dot Pro sights, but lacks any other “custom” features so that it qualifies for the SSP division. I shot the match using a holster I still need to review (outside the waistband kydex), my no-name kydex double magazine carrier, and utilized Blazer Aluminum 115 grain ammunition. As occurred for my last match, I again had the same friend come to observe me shoot, although he was only able to stay for a stage or two.
As it happened, I got to go first in my squad for the very first stage of the match. This is a difficult stage to describe. Targets were set up about 10 yards from the solitary shooting position, which included a Bianchi Barricade that would have to be shot from both sides. The targets consisted of four B/C steel targets, two large and two small reactive targets that fell over when hit, a single steel target painted black with the A zone removed and a 3 inch orange clay inserted inside of it (they called this the “Iron Maiden”, but I’m not sure if that is an official term or something made up at the match). There were also four clay launchers set up behind the reactive targets. Three would have clays in them. If you hit a reactive target and it activated a clay thrower, when you saw the clay you had to engage a standard, cardboard IDPA target located further behind. Since only three of the four throwers were loaded, you had no idea which of the cardboard targets you would engage only once and which to engage twice (until you saw the actual clays launch). I hit all the steels just fine but never saw one of the clays launch, so I just went ahead and shot (at) both of the cardboard targets. I figured I’d give up the time in exchange for the hits. Unfortunately, I failed to hit with one of my shots (!), so it was moot and cost me 5 seconds. I finished this stage 27th out of 49 overall, 9th out of 12 in SSP. Sometimes it sucks to go first. Oh well.
Stage two was a simpler affair. It consisted of a “hostage target” (hit the white swinger next to the black-painted “hostage”), then clean a plate rack, then a Texas star, all from maybe seven though possibly ten yards. I finished this stage 14th out of 49 overall, 5th out of 12 in SSP.
Stage Three was set up similar to Stage One in that targets had to be engaged from both sides of a Bianchi Barricade, but this time it was basically a phalanx of reactive targets that had to be knocked down. As always, IDPA rules applied, so they had to be knocked down “as they were seen”, outside to inside, “slicing the pie”, you know the drill. There were 6 of these poppers on each side. I finished this stage 16th out of 49 overall, 3rd out of 12 in SSP.
Stage Four was a lot of fun. From what I believe was 7 yards, we were presented with a line across out front of 6 large rectangular steel targets. I would estimate that they were at least 12 inches wide by 18 inches high. This would be shot in two strings. The first was to shoot each target once, and then hit each again, for a total of 12 rounds. The second string was to basically double-tap each target, again for a total of 12 rounds. Obviously, even in SSP, a reload would be necessary somewhere along the way (all but one stage was set up this way, requiring at least 12 rounds). I finished this stage 13th out of 49 overall, 4th out of 12 in SSP. I recall on string one shooting one on each and then pausing, inexplicably, before continuing to engage going back the other way. It cost me about a second.
This one was a doozy! The Polish Plate Rack. Last time I shot one of these in a match I did really well, but I struggled more this time (missing my very first shot was no help!). Eight plates on the rack that spins and changes speed as the weights and different plates fall off, shot from what I think was ten yards. I finished this stage 27th out of 49 overall, 7th out of 12 in SSP.
This last stage was set up like the others involving the Bianchi Barricade, with six small (various shapes) targets that had to be engaged from each side of the barricade. There were 5 inch-sided squares, 5 or 6 inch diameter circles, two small poppers, and a couple of small rectangles (maybe 3×7 inches?). I finished this stage 16th out of 49 overall, 5th out of 12 in SSP. This stage more than any other was “the one that got away”. More on that in a moment.
I finished the match 20th out of 49 overall, 7th out of 12 in SSP. Not stellar by any stretch. Of minor note is that three of those shooting Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) finished higher than me, including in the one and two spots. In a match like this that requires virtually no movement and shots that are a little longer than many at a “typical” IDPA match, the PCC folks seemed to have quite an advantage.
As noted above, Stage Six had, for me, the most interest. That is because it was during this stage, as I aimed from around the side of the Bianchi Barricade, that I felt something “switch” in my mind. It’s hard to explain, but I recall making the first two hits and then missing with the first shot on each of the next three pieces of steel. By the third one, I started telling myself that I was not shooting at 6 different targets from each side, but that it was one “person” who was moving, and I needed to settle and GET MY HITS! From then on, I did not miss another shot. I bring this up because it reminds me of some accounts by people (typically in law enforcement) who were involved in shootings and started to get a little wild until they told themselves to find that front sight and get to work. So, while I did not feel good about my misses, I did feel good about how I turned it around and how, in the moment, I was able to relate it to a possible “real-life” situation. In short, this was in keeping with my original “mission” when I started IDPA in 2016, which was to use it for another form of practice and less for “in it to win it” reasons.
For those interested, my Gen 4 Glock 19 had no issues. I fired a total of 110 rounds in the match.
One other note: my squad, which consisted of seven shooters, had at least four who were quite new to IDPA (it was the first time for one of them). I saw ALL kinds of errors, such as mistakes in the “load and make ready” moments (failures to actually chamber a round, failures to seat the magazine), looking down to draw the pistol from the holster, procedural errors (not engaging all targets, having the wrong number of rounds in magazines, failure to “slice the pie” around cover), and some “spraying and praying” on a few targets. Several times, competitors exhausted all three of their magazines and still did not get all of their hits. There was also one participant who was shooting with a red-dot equipped Sig P320 who I could tell kept “losing” his dot (once he even blurted out “where’s my dot?!” I mention all of this because, leaving the match, I was feeling pretty good about my performance. Obviously, the other squads had folks who were a tad more squared away!
As always, thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below or on our Facebook page, as we always welcome civil discourse. Happy Holidays!