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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the things I enjoy most about being a Safety Officer at the Nationals is watching many different shooters and their habits. A few items were very noticeable to me.

1) Instructing shooters during the stage briefing to immediately reload at the end of the stage threw almost all shooters for a loop. When we asked shooters to reload and reholster after DEA #11 so the squad could then shoot the mailbox stage, almost no one did a decent tac load or mag change. Most ended up with two mags side by side in one hand or some other funky thing and had to think about how to reload the pistol at that point. At least one shooter, who was obviously very capable, was so flustered that he required step by step instructions in order to get his pistol reloaded and holstered. From a tactician's point of view, unloading at the end of stage should be a conscious deliberate act, not an automatic and unconscious response to firing the last shot.

2) About 90% of shooters completely defocus when reholstering. They don't look at the target and they don't look at their holster. Their eyes go to what I call the "eye magnet" which is on the ground two feet in front of and 45 degrees out from the dominant foot. In some cases, the shooter would look at the eye magnet and actually close his eyes while reholstering. Personally, I prefer to look at the target while reholstering. In a confrontation, it is not unusual for the adversary to get up after falling down due to loss of blood pressure. I don't care to be focused on the eye magnet if and when my opponent gets up.

3) Almost everyone crowded the cover. Perhaps six shooters in the entire group had enough space between the barricade and their bodies to move the gun from left to right without raising it or lowering the gun; Hackathorn being one of the few who did it right. Trigger finger discipline during that movement was generally poor, perhaps 25% removed their fingers from the trigger guard while moving.

Claude
 

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As a trainer for both citizens and law enforcement, what new? As one who often serves as range officer or match director, Whats new?

I'll ask you a question, how many of the competitors carry every day?

In my experience, few who compete, carry and most who carry do not compete. Sad isn't it?

GLV
 
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Well is it the shooters or a result of what they have been exposed to?. I think it is partially to blame on the IDPA methods. In all local events I have shot in, it is standard course of business to unload, show empty and holster (a cold range). Not exactly what I would call a good habit. From a safety stand point I completely understand, but isn't the IDPA supposed to simulate the real world? Don't get me wrong I can't think of anything more fun then shooting an IDPA event (well at least nothing more fun with a firearm)
I do think that some of the practices they employ for safety induces bad tactical habits.

Now given that most folks who attend the national events are those that compete heavily it stands to reason that they have an untold number of times repeatedly over and over, unloaded, show empty and reholster.

Other clubs may do it differently. Some run hot ranges while others run cold ranges. I prefer the hot range myself.

My suggestion would be that each stage employ a tactical reload or reload from slide lock after the last shot and then holster (oh yea don't forget to scan, never know when someone is going to show up late). Same IDPA rules would apply for failure to do right. This would enforce good habits and parallel what I think the IDPA stands for. Just my 2 cents.
 

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What scares me the most is that most IDPA shooters don't practice. I guess that's why IDPA stands for I Don't Practice Anymore (or Anyways). I always get really nervous ROing when asking a shooter to load and make ready. Once in a while you'll get the person that apparently has never reholster his/her gun before. They won't look down at the holster and just keep jabbing away for it. It's an accident waiting to happen.

GLV has it right, most who compete don't carry and most who carry don't compete.

The biggest problem I see with IDPA in general is a misconception that IDPA will teach you good tactics, which it doesn't. Many new shooters believe that they can learn the skills necessary for survival in IDPA. But IDPA doesn't teach anything. That's why you see many shooters getting too close to cover. You also see a lot of people using a barricade as support when shooting. When will people realize that you learn tactics from instructed training, not from competition.

I do have one pet-peeve about shooters and the process of unloading and reholstering. Some shooters will watch where the live round falls to and sometimes forgets to reholster and tries to pick up that round. It's really okay for that round to hit the ground, it won't hurt it. I also don't advocate cupping the ejection port to catch the spent round because we had a shooter at the range that had a round go off in his hand.
 

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If it's got a timer involved, it's a game. People just need to understand that IDPA is good for getting some trigger time & skill development but it's NOT training.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't think IDPA teaches anything, good or bad. What it does is to provide an experiential learning environment for shooters to use as they see fit.

For instance, Mr. Field and I always tac load at the end of a stage; no SO at any match has ever objected. Of course, we are usually done with it before the SO realizes what happened. We have trained ourselves to do it (and a visual 360 check) automatically at the end of a stage. After that, when we get the UASC, unloading is a conscious decision.

I don't like it when the shooter tries to pick up the ejected round before reholstering either. In our New Shooter Orientation, I instruct the shooters to get the gun holstered first and then pick up the round. At the Nationals, I had shooters who more concerned with picking up that round than seeing how they had hit their targets.

Claude
 

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Personally, I started shooting IDPA a few years ago to get some 'practical range time' after buying my first pistol in several years.

The first year I shot out in NC with a group of very talented people at a range where anything safe was possible.

I was a Security Policeman in the AF for 13 years, and never even had a chance to try some of the things a experienced there.

Heck, we shot on the move, from cars, through cars, had multiple targets, and even had a couple of night shoots (Kinda sorta by IDPA rules). Great learning, and I'd have to say very worthwhile.

Yea, some scenarios are unrealistic, and some rules will lead to bad habits. But over all it does give a shooter the ability to measure their progress and recognize where they need to improve.

And yes, one should practice. Not that practice makes perfect, but perfect practice (using the correct techniques) prevents bad performance (both in real life and in matches).

I am very thankful for all the people that had 'coached' me at these matches. Their experence and willingness to teach has definately made a difference in my shooting skills.

Maybe each IDPA region or club should consider 'range training days' where these skills can be taught, practiced, and critiqued. Conducting these classes locally should help keep the costs down, thus encouraging people to attend.

Just my .02
 
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Agreed that IDPA is not training or at least isn't meant to be. But sadly enough if that is all the shooting experience a person has or is exposed to, then in effect it is what they are learning. If it is all they are exposed to the repetive motions are what they are ingraining, simple fact.
 

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Hey Dagwood, where were you shooting in NC? Was it Franks place in Oxford? If so, then that was one of the few places where the set-ups were realistic enough to provide good training, provided you don't race the clock. My IDPA times went to hell once I started really using cover and tac reloading when -I- thought it was necessary, not when the COF calls for it. Racking up the Failure to do Rights as well, but I justify it by saying that I"m just borrowing their set-up, not really running their COF. The IPSC guys HATED it when I did the same thing with them
LAter.
 

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IDPA isn't perfect, but it is the best type of competition/skill testing forum we have right now. I believe if we had more competent people running the IDPA matches, we be a lot better off. Unfortunately (this is my opinion only) we have too many people from IPSC involved in the administration of IDPA matches. This is the cause of some of the poor course design and ROing. On a good note about IPSC, I will say that most of the cross overs to IDPA are your most competent administrative gun handlers (loading, unloading, drawing and reholstering).
 

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Jason10mm,
Yep, Franks range up in Oxford. Frank and the crew came up with some really good scenarios. All of his scenarios were from concealment. Since NC was a Shall Issue state, and there was a significant military/LEO presence it was easy for them to come up with situations which were realistic, safe, and for the most part promoted good habits.

I've only shot one IPSC match. It wasn't even close to being tactical. IPSC seems to be the way to go if you want to shoot a lot of rounds real fast. Again, I only shot one match so I could be wrong. Then again I've seen some IDPA COF's that were a bit bizare.

Both are a game, or sport. Fun, competative, and spending time with people that have the same interests.

Maybe we should come up with another shooting sport, Highspeed Hollywood Scenario Shooting Society (HHSSS). You can only use guns movie stars have used in the last 10 years, carry as much ammo as they do, make impossible shots, and walk away like it happens every day. Good tactics, reloads, and equipment optional.

We shoot for fun, lets enjoy it.

Dagwood
 

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Remember IDPA was started by IPSC shooters who felt that IPSC was too expensive to be competitive (race guns) and the scenarios were not "practical" (engaging multiple targets in the open), just to name a few. Obviously, some of the rules and procedures bled off into IDPA. I believe operating "cold range" promotes safety for all! I remember my feelings when I participated at my first USPSA match. My brain was flooded with more things not to do than what I should be doing. You tend to get nervous waiting your turn and hoping when you shoot you don't look too much like an ass. Fortunately for me, a guy by the name of Henry Chrabacz saw me sweating bullets and took me to the side. Henry had seen this before, many times! He went over my concerns and told me he would walk me through a couple of stages. He then notified the CRO that I was a new shooter and I enjoyed the match much more relaxed. Unfortunately, its the new shooters who unaware or to nervous to remember the basic safety rules have the problems at the matches. This is why the cold range and safety areas are so important at these types of matches. It's usually not to difficult to "spot" the new shooter. It's important to assist the new shooter so that he or she feels more comfortable participating in their first match and has the opportunity to have someone walk them through a couple of stages. There is an interesting article at www.sightm1911.com that details a shooter having multiple AD's at one stage at an IDPA match. When you reach the page click on "News" and scroll down to "Holding The Trigger Back While Loading...."

"Safety First"
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I conduct a 3 hour New Shooters Orientation every other month at our club. The Orientation is now a requirement to shoot IDPA with us for anyone who has not shot IDPA before, even those from other shooting disciplines.

If anyone would like a copy of the course outline and 50 round Course Of Fire Practical Exercise, I would be glad to email them to you.

------------------
Claude
Shooterscoach.com
 

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Dagwood, nice to hear everything is going well in NC. Sorry to hear about Bear, he will be missed. We got some guys down here that are really good. Our RO volunteers use of his truck as an obsticle. You have to respect a man who will let 20 almost strangers shoot around, under, and through his truck
LAter.
 

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Jason10mm,
Actually I live out in CO now. But I have fond memories of NC.

Dagwood

[This message has been edited by dagwood (edited 11-03-2001).]
 
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