I had figured that my third match of 2019 would be my last, but as it happened all of the holiday “life events” my kids were involved in were stacked upon each other two weekends ago. Thus, I was happy when a friend of mine asked me if I was free to shoot in an IDPA match this weekend. “Why yes, yes I am free!” I am glad I went.
The match was labeled a BUG match, and I must confess that, despite my participating in IDPA matches over the last few years, I had no idea what that actually meant. I mean, I knew what the BUG division is (like SSP, CCP, ESP, etc.), but was not sure what a BUG Match was. As I was able to register in any division I wanted for this match, it did not seem that I would have to shoot a firearm that would qualify for the BUG category. In short, I was confused. I must further confess that, even after shooting in this match, I am still not quite sure what it is! That is because we ended up doing it as more of a modified BUG match.
Nothing new here. I brought my OD Gen 3 Glock 19 and would shoot in the Concealed Carry Pistol (CCP) division. The pistol is set up as per this article and is equipped with Ameriglo I Dot Pro sights. I used factory 10 and 15 round magazines, though shooting in CCP (in a regular match….more on this below) would require that they be loaded with no more than 8 rounds each. I used a Bravo Concealment outside the waistband holster, my no-name two magazine kydex magazine carrier, Wilderness Instructor belt, and used Blazer Aluminum 115 grain ammunition.
Due to the fact that this was to be a BUG match and that plenty of rain was in the forecast, the match director chose to turn this into a sort of modified BUG/Steel match. There would be no real movement on the part of the shooters (a bit of movement to shoot around two different sides of a piece of cover being about it….the match director also had Easy-Up tents placed at each firing position, making our lives a bit drier, though the rain never got TOO bad), all the targets would be steel, and though we could shoot in any division we might choose (ESP, SSP, etc.), we would be limited to BUG rules: 4 total magazines instead of the usual three, but all mags could be loaded with a maximum of six rounds each (and no “plus one” for the magazine already in the pistol). There would be six total stages in the match, two of which were limited (meaning you could only shoot the prescribed number of rounds…..no make-up shots). I will note here that a number of people chose to shoot in the BUG division, and even in my squad I had at least one Smith and Wesson Shield, a Kahr PM9, and a Sig P365. Other squad members chose pistols like the Glock 19 and 17 and some version of Springfield XD. I saw other match participants using CZ Shadows, 1911s, and Sig 320s, among other models.
Shooting the Match
I got to go first in my squad in Stage One. As you can see in the photo, the target array consisted of large and small silhouette-style steel targets. After this photo was taken, it was decided to move the smaller ones a few yards closer than the larger ones. The larger ones were about 15 yards away and the smaller 12-13 yards away. On the beep, the shooter would have to engage each of the larger pieces of steel with three shots each, then each of the smaller pieces of steel with three shots each, for a total of 18 hits. This was an unlimited stage, so make-up shots were allowed. I finished this stage in 18.26 with no misses (did not need any make-up shots), which was 1st overall and 1st in CCP! I think this is the first time I ever won a stage.
The second stage was shot on the same target array and was simply the reverse of the first stage. So the shooter would have to engage the smaller targets with three rounds each, then the larger ones with three rounds each. Here, I dropped a round on the first of the larger targets. This then meant that I had to do a third reload with my make-up shot. Lacking a third magazine pouch, I had to dig in my pocket for this last magazine. Damn. I finished this stage in 27.49, 6th overall and 3rd in CCP.
The third stage would be shot through the USPSA windowed barricade at 8 inch circular steel targets about 12-15 yards away. On the beep, the shooter would shoot each target with two shots each two handed, then each with two shots each strong-hand only, then two shots each weak-hand only. I had to take a few make-up shots when shooting weak-hand only, but overall fared well, finishing in 52.88 seconds, 2nd overall and 1st in CCP.
The fourth stage would be shot on the same target array. This time, the shooter would be going for two hits on each target from one side of the barricade, then two on each from the other side of the barricade, and then finally two each from the window. This time around I did not require any make-up shots and completed it in 32.79, 2nd overall and 1st in CCP.
This stage was shot in two strings on a standard six plate rack from about 10 yards away. The first would require drawing and shooting two-handed through the gap between the barrels. This string was limited to just six rounds. I think I missed the final plate on this string. The second string required drawing and shooting from between the barrels and from both sides of the barrels, changing shooting position between each shot (hit or miss). Again, we were limited to just six total rounds. I shot this second string clean, finishing this stage in a combined time (after penalties) of 29.38, 5th overall and 3rd in my division.
The final stage was shot on the same array and again consisted of two strings. For string one, on the beep, we would draw and shoot, strong-hand only, through the gap between the barrels at the plate rack. We were again limited to six rounds on String One, so there would be no make-up shots. On String Two, we would do the same but start from a low-ready, weak-hand only. I missed a couple of shots here (I think two of the strong-hand only shots and three of the weak-hand only shots). I finished this stage in a sad overall score (after 5 seconds per miss penalties were factored in) in 44.83 seconds, 9th overall and 3rd in CCP.
As one can probably deduce, I did well in this match, finishing an all-time best 3rd (of 25) overall, 2nd (of eight) in CCP. I only missed second place overall by .58 seconds. I felt pretty good leaving the match, but my squad was pretty much a combination of the geriatric or “new guy” squad, so while I was easily the best shooter in my squad, I was not sure how the shooters in the other squads were doing. (Note: though 3rd overall is my all-time best, I finished 4th out of 39 shooters at my last match, so percentage-wise did better in that match.)
One thing that I never considered in this match was that a miss of a target was more than just a one second penalty like a miss outside the Down Zero zone of a standard IDPA target. A miss would be scored just like a complete miss on an IDPA target, so a 5 second penalty. Had I really stopped to think about this, I would have taken a little more time with that plate rack during the last two stages, as each miss there was quite costly. Oh well.
Overall, of course, I am quite pleased with how I shot on this day. I also thought the match was pretty challenging with lots of weak-hand shooting, with which many shooters struggled mightily. The match called for a total of 96 rounds, and I fired 101, so I did not take many make-up shots (many of my squad mates exhausted the 24 rounds on their bodies well before completing the target arrays!). I took one make-up on Stage Two, and the rest were probably taken during my weak-hand only shots on Stage Three.
As noted earlier in this article, a number of (perhaps most) shooters were shooting guns that were outside the normal BUG requirements, which was perfectly legal in this match. Nevertheless, a few people in my squad shooting true BUG division guns made some “comments” about the barrel length of my Glock 19 as well as a few other pistols used by members of my squad. This annoyed me just a tad, as I do not think their ~3 inch barrels were so much of a handicap compared with the 4 inch of my Glock 19. Next time, however, I will bring my Glock 26 (which regular readers know I shoot at least as well as my 19), and then maybe they will all shut up. I shot my 26 in one match in 2017, using it in SSP Division (even though it qualifies for BUG), and finished 4th out of 23 shooters in my division, 12th out of 47 overall. Indian and arrow and all of that.
One final note: with no targets to paste or reset (other than the plate rack, which is quite easy to reset from under cover of a tent)–other than the occasional re-paint of the steel targets–this was the easiest match to set up and take down in which I have ever participated. Sometimes it’s the little things in life!
This will presumably be my last shooting competition of 2019. Considering the summer ended with me having shot in only one match, I am pleased that I was able to squeeze three in this Fall. And, of course, it is good to end on a high note.
As always, thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below or on our Facebook page. We always welcome civil discourse.