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Get The Most From IDPA - or any shooting sport!

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James Yeager:
Get The Most From IDPA
By: James Yeager

There are two groups of people who shoot IDPA and I have no problem with either. One group are the “Gamers” who are constantly trying new guns, gear and techniques to make them faster and more likely to win. They are in it purely to win, and they do win, so they are accomplishing their goal. The other group is the “Martial Artists” who are there purely to prepare for violent confrontations. They have no need “win” the match. They feel no sense of failure after they loose because they knew they were going to loose before they got to the range.

This article is aimed (no pun intended) at the beginning Martial Artists or the new guys who don’t know which group they are in, let alone know the difference. If you are trying to “walk the path” I will give you a few tips.

First off shoot the match tactically. You can still move relatively fast but do it in a matter that is tactically sound. You will never win by doing this, because you must move slower, but we are not here for trophies. We are here to be better prepared to use Lethal Force in a confrontation. Use cover as it should be used. Don’t stick your whole body out in the open. Use cover even if it is not required but available.

Most people shoot two shots per target and blaze away at the next one. Mix it up a little by shooting three shots on every target at a match, four at the next, and all headshots at another. On the last target empty your magazine into it. Strive for 100% accuracy going at your personal fastest speed.

Shoot from concealment. Yes the same concealment you actually carry your gun. Yes even if it is hot. The funniest thing I see at matches is a guy with a full size pistol doing really well at the match and take it off and put a .32 Kel-Tec in his pocket because his 1911 (or other full size pistol) is too hard to conceal. This is the same guy who is making fun of my Glock 9mm that I actually carry all of the time. Compete with the gun you carry, and carry a gun you can fight with in a manner that makes it easy to access.

After you shoot the last target the timer is stopped. There is no need to “speed reholster”. That is a terrible thing to teach yourself. After that last round is fired pause and scan your targets. Make up any hits outside the “A” zone.

I hope these tips have shed some light on how to get the most out of an IDPA match. Who knows you might even win one sometime. If you get bored buy a weakhand holster and really freak the gamers out! Good luck!

Great article the closest IDPA match to me is a 1.5 hour drive away and now that gas has dropped I am considering giving it a try, but I was up in the air if I was going to go to train or to "compete". I think you're right it's best to go and shoot how you carry.

+1 great article.

-- Jeremy

James Yeager:
Get out there ands shoot!

I have a group near me that shoots IDPA practices at least once a week. Are there any other helpful tips you have prior to my joining their events? I COMPLETELY agree with you on treating this as a martial art. I have been heavily involved in martial arts since 1982 and I even got to step foot in the octagon of the UFC (as a training partner of one of the early tourney. winners). I want to shift my efforts from hand-to-hand more towards glockfu :)

It looks like most of the guys at the IDPA practices wear photographers vests to game the system. I would much rather carry as I normally do, will that be an issue for them if I don't "dress" like them?

James Yeager:

 It is my opinion that firearms are the only true American martial art.

 I wouldn't say you need to shift your focus but instead integrate the disciplines.

 Don't worry about what anyone else says, does, or wears at a match. I shoot with a t-shirt over my gun and a spare mag in a pocket mag pouch. You will be one of a small percentage of shooters there for the "right" reason. You will hear gamers talking about rules, guns and gear; stay away from those guys. Hang out with the like minded folks.

 This is the hard part - don't worry about your "score". Don't look at your ranking when it is mailed out. Just go and use it as a formal practice session and do your own thing. Think of it as a range workout where you barely follow the directions they have set in place in order to accomplish the things that are relevent to you.

...oh yeah - HAVE FUN!


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