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Old November 16, 2010, 06:37 AM   #1
911JB
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First IDPA

Last Sunday I attended my first IDPA match. While it was a load of fun it was also rather frustrating and confusing for me.
Trying to make the transition from a rimfire range shooter to centerfire combat shooter takes a lot of thinking/habit breaking. Here are a few things that I had a hard time with. Dropping the hammer on a empty chamber. the speed/pace of the shots, no bulseye, that damn buzzer going off, weak hand shooting, holstering a cocked and loaded firearm [ I used my 1911 so it was hammer back and safety on ] and shooting from behind cover.
As a rimfire target shooter I just cant get it in my head that it is OK to drop that hammer on a empty chamber. Everything in my being is saying DONT DO IT you will damage the handgun!
The fast pace is also something that is hard to get use to. As a range shooter I have allllllllllll dayyyyyyyyy to make my shot. But as you know in IDPA it is multiple shots in just a few seconds.
The missing bullseye makes it rather difficult for me to find my aiming point. At the range I can locate my aiming point and slowly move my point of aim as needed.
That [censored] Buzzer, enough said there.
Weak hand shooting is something that I can see as useful however it is something that in 40 years of shooting, I have never actually tried.
Holstering a cocked loaded handgun is something that I just cant get use to. After the load and make ready command comes the holster your weapon command. Every time I heard holster your weapon I would instinctively reach up and grab the hammer and let it down easy. They had to tell me many times to just holster the weapon, safety on with hammer back.
Shooting from behind cover while very important in a gun fight, just does not happen when I am at the range, as I take on any number of bullseyes or animal targets. However this is the item that will be easiest for me to get use to.

The one thing that came easy to me , that I have never done before was the shooting on the move. For some reason I was able to walk and shoot with no problems.

Am I the only one that has had difficulties with these items? Or do all rimfire paper punchers have these difficulties?

All in all it was a fun day. Even if it was so confusing I had a hard time remembering my own name, hahaha.

Joe
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Old November 16, 2010, 05:52 PM   #2
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Holster your weapon command? There's no such command in IDPA, but I might mention it if I saw you trying to lower the hammer rather than holster the cocked 'n' locked weapon!
It can be difficult to find a means of "easing into" practical shooting, as a lot of the techniques cannot be readily practiced in live fire at the shooting facilities typically available to the public. And without competent instruction, you can practice a lot of bad habits before you know the right way to do it. A couple of buddies and I conduct an "intro to IPSC" class, three or four times a year, that consists of a day of instruction and practice on the range, followed by a coach-through of the first match. It's been pretty successful, and any range that has an IDPA or USPSA club should consider offering something similar, for liability reasons, if nothing else. We get the occasional "squirrel", and it's good to have some time to evaluate and work with someone who's enthusiastic, but whose gunhandling isn't up to snuff (yet).
Dry-fire practice is especially worthwhile, as it's free, and you can do it when and where it's convenient. I can usually get to the range no more than once a week, so virtually all of my practice is dry-fire and has been for a few years.
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Old November 16, 2010, 06:07 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response Rick. I don't know about the NO holster your weapon command. I know for sure I was told , after each make ready, holster your weapon. So I am not sure what was happening there. I guess it could have ben because I was looking kinda lost at that point. I do know that this is the first or second year that this particular club has ben doing the IDPA thing. So maybe they are doing it a bit different , like I said I was so confused that I am not sure what was hapening , lol.
I do wish I had a day of practice and instruction before I had my first shoot.
I do know I will try it again. I will also be using a different handgun. The sights on my 1911 were VERY difficult to see .
I did spend some time last evening, in my gun room, dry firing a couple other handguns that I am considering using next time. But it is still hard for me to drop the hammer on a empty chamber. As a rimfire guy it is difficult for me to do.
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Old November 16, 2010, 06:25 PM   #4
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While there is no OFFICIAL "holster" command, the Safety Officer may well have been telling you because not everybody knows that when told to "load and make ready" that "ready" is with the gun holstered unless otherwise specified.

You can read the official rules on the site
www.idpa.com
but I think the introduction at places like
http://www.gadpa.com/index.php/ipda/...oter-briefing/
is more helpful.

You are just going to have to get used to dryfiring the hammer down at the conclusion of each stage. It is part of the safety procedures set up to keep somebody from drifting around the range with a gun loaded and not knowing it.
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Old November 16, 2010, 06:49 PM   #5
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Thanks Jim, I will give those links a look.
I know I can and I will get it through my thick skull that it is ok to dry fire the weapon. It is just going to take me a bit. I have always reached up with my weak hand and grabbed the hammer and let it down easy, when I was shooting a centerfire hammered handgun like the 1911.
Now if I use my ruger P97dc it has a decocker as does my beretta 96. So that may make it easier for me. I may using one of those.
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Old November 16, 2010, 06:58 PM   #6
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You can't decock or restrain the hammer. The whole point of the exercise is to absolutely ensure that there is not a round in the chamber, so even after you and the SO agree that there is not, you pull the trigger as one final test that you both got it right. Of course, if you use a gun with a magazine disconnector, you not only have to drop the hammer, but you first have to insert an empty mag in order to do so. I'm always a lot more leery of the gun that requires pulling the trigger to lower the hammer on a loaded chamber. Sure, there are just a couple of easy steps in getting it done, but do them just a little out of order, and it's an early trip home.
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Old November 16, 2010, 11:39 PM   #7
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I like our local pseudo IDPA club. It's very noob friendly and they're all patient with the people wanting to join the sport. My GF loves it. We have one more match and then able to use the range any time we want as members.
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Old November 17, 2010, 06:40 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info Rick. I guess using the decocker is out of the question then. Maybe I should change directions and use my GP100 and be one of the few revolver shooters. There was only 1 revolver at that match so I guess at worst I would be in second place at the end of the day. That better than the 3rd place showing I made with my 1911 [there were only 3 of us with 1911's haha] .
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Old November 17, 2010, 07:03 AM   #9
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Jim, I just wanted to thank you again for those links. I spent the better part of last evening reading and rereading them. There is a lot of great info in them! And you are correct, the second link http://www.gadpa.com/index.php/ipda/...oter-briefing/] was much more helpfull.
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Old November 17, 2010, 08:53 AM   #10
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Thats because that thing that goes BEEP is a mind eraser and as all of us have done and will do is to learn the rule book 3 seconds at a time.
Glad to hear you enjoyed your first match. Stay with it the first one is always the toughest. Have fun with it, shoot straight and fast, and ALWAYS BE SAFE.

Quote:
Holster your weapon command? There's no such command in IDPA,
Not in so many words, page 11 of the IDPA official rule book states after "hammer down, holster, and range is safe".
As the glossary states," HOLSTER:Command given to the shooter to put the weapon back in the holster"
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Old November 17, 2010, 12:23 PM   #11
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The initial discussion concerned this:

"Holstering a cocked loaded handgun is something that I just cant get use to."

The gun would be holstered as part of the Load And Make Ready command, without specific instruction to holster.
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Old November 17, 2010, 05:50 PM   #12
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Actually, you both may be correct. I was told to holster it so often it may well have be before and after.
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Old November 17, 2010, 05:57 PM   #13
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I had such a hard time seeing my front sight on my 1911 that I feel a change is in order. So, what is everyone's opinion of the use of a beretta 96 40 S&W ? What class would that weapon be placed in?
Or just a sight opinion in general. What is useful and what is not, Night sights, white dots, etc?
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Old November 17, 2010, 06:16 PM   #14
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.40 S&W is sort of an orphan in IDPA, as you don't get a scoring benefit from the additional "power" compared to 9mm, but you still have to contend with the additional recoil. Beretta 96 would be legal for use in Stock Service Pistol or Enhanced Service Pistol divisions. Myself, and most people that I know who change their sights from whatever is offered by the factory, are using plain black notch rears, and narrow fiber-optic fronts. Multiple dots, squares, colors, etc. are the worst, and factory front sights are almost always too wide.
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Old November 18, 2010, 05:29 AM   #15
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Thanks Rick. I was surprised to read that a thin front site is preferred. That is actually the problem I had with my 1911, the front site was to thin. I had a real hard time finding that thin little sight. Part of the problem I had may have came from the small thin cut in the rear sight making it hard to see the front sight through. I thought a wider, taller front sight, as well as a wider rear sight may have ben the answer.
I was also surprised that dots, squares, colors etc are the worst. I would have thought that a few well placed hi vision dots would have helped. That just goes to show how much I have to learn.
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Old November 18, 2010, 11:49 AM   #16
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While IDPA is mostly a close-range game, you still have to shoot with some precision. A wide front sight fills the rear notch, and obscures the target area, which makes quick and accurate shooting more difficult. Someone must like dots and squares, since almost all guns today seem to be equipped with them! You'll also find that a wide front sight is wider than what you're trying to hit - the center of the down-zero zone - and that can't help!
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Old November 19, 2010, 12:49 AM   #17
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beginning in IDPA

Did you shoot the classifier or was it a regular club match?
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Old November 19, 2010, 05:12 AM   #18
911JB
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That makes sense Rick. Maybe I was looking at it wrong. Maybe its not a problem with the front sight at all. Maybe it was a case of the rear sight having to narrow a cut in it. While the front sight is thin and short and hard for my aging eyes to see, it still fills the thin cut rear sight. So I guess the problem could be corrected with a new rear sight with a wider cut in it.
Has anyone opened up the stock rear sight on a 1911 by cutting it wider?



Jeff, I shot the classifier. I was so frustrated I didn't even stick around for the regular club match. Although I probably should have just to see what was going on.
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Old November 19, 2010, 07:37 AM   #19
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the IDPA classifier

The IDPA Classifier is a splendid and challenging course of fire. It can be frustrating as well!

Suggestions on shooting the IDPA Classifier from Tim Bacus.
Originally posted on www.1911forum.com on 04-04-2001

Here's a few things that should help you shoot your best score.

Stage One

Strings 1, 2 & 3
Make sure you stop the gun for the head shots. Stopping the gun when you raise it to fire the head shot will take maybe .25 extra seconds, one head miss will add 2.5 seconds, don't miss.

String 4
Don't rush this string. Sight alignment is marginally important but trigger control is a must. Really concentrate on the trigger control.

String 5
Again, concentrate on trigger control and be sure to stop the gun on the center target. I see a lot of shooters get good hits on the first and last target but hit the -3 on the center target, not good.

String 6
The shooting is pretty basic, just see the front sight on the center of the target for each shot. Drop your slide with the slide release after the reload, do not slingshot it! Depending on skill level slingshoting takes anywhere from 1 - 3 seconds longer to do.

String 7
Same as string 5, stop the gun on the middle target. Also since you are firing 2 shots per target don't double tap. Get a sight picture for each shot. Trying to save .1 on a split makes no sense if you drop a shot into the -1 zone doing it.

Stage One Notes

The goal for stage one should be to drop no more than 2 - 4 points. The shooting is easy, just avoid the desire to go faster than you can.

Stage Two

String 1

Take slow baby steps. There is no requirement to take large steps or to move quickly. Some shooters will take several large steps before shooting to try and get closer to the target, don't, it's slower.

String 2

Same as string one, slow baby steps wile retreating. String two should be faster than string one. For both strings, sight alignment and trigger control!

String 3

The first big string, 12 shots total. Don't be in a rush to be done. Shoot for the -0 zone, not the whole target. Same comments about the slide lock reload from Stage One, String 6. And remember, your not trying to hit the target, your trying to hit the -0 zone.

String 4

Six shots strong hand at 10 yards, have I mentioned trigger control? The sight alignment needed to hit an 8" circle at 10 yards is not that precise, the trigger control is. Concentrate on a smooth press to the rear, don't slap the trigger. Again, a quarter second taken to insure a good shot can save you 1.5 seconds by avoiding the -3 zone on the target.

Stage Two Notes

Stage two is 30 shots, shoot to fast and you'll drop a lot of points. Concentrate on trigger control and you'll do fine.Try not to drop more than 6 - 8 points.

Stage Three

Stage Notes first this Time

Stage Three is the classifier. Many shooters will end up with a longer time for stage three than for stages one and two combined. Stage Three is a test of pure shooting ability, sight alignment and trigger control. It's hard to give advice to new shooters for stage three because many simply don't have the skills yet to do well on it. Hell, I see it kick ass on experienced A and B Class IPSC shooters.

Accuracy is paramount on stage three. Shots that would be a -1 on Stages One and Two will miss the target on stage three. Shooting wise, really focus on the front sight and do perfect trigger pulls, straight to the rear and don't slap it. You must shoot to hit the -0 zone, simply aiming at the 'target' will not cut it. Do not look at the targets wile shooting, this causes your shots to go low, concentrate on the front sight!

String 1

Do a retention reload, it's faster on this string, don't go for speed, try to be smooth and in control.

String 2

A tac load will be slightly faster if you move as soon as you insert the new mag and stow the used mag wile moving forward. If you are more likely to do the complete reload behind cover then it will be faster to do a retention reload. Run to the barrel, you get no style points for crouching or moving 'tactically'. Don't rush the barrel shots; you're still 15 yards back. front sight, press.

String 3

Almost done! Don't rush the last six shots because you're in a hurry to be done. Draw and go kneeling, get that good first sight picture and fire accurate shots.
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Old November 19, 2010, 08:16 AM   #20
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yes

I use front blades that vary from .110" up to .135". Some carry fiber-optic rods, some wear bright paint, some have bright dots.

On the back I use ghost rings or notches widened from .125" up to .150".

I wear my regular 'street' glasses when shooting; progressive trifocals......
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Old November 19, 2010, 12:04 PM   #21
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Thanks for posting that Jeff. After reading it I can see one thing I was doing wrong. I was trying to shoot way WAY to fast. Between that buzzer and my being nervous, I was not taking the time to aim properly.
As ashamed as I am of my scores from that day , I will still post them in hopes that others may learn from my mistakes as well.

[ Picture of JB hanging his head in shame as he pastes these scores ]
Total, 198.64 (112) , stage 1 62.54 (30) , stage 2 51.48 (24) , stage 3 84.62 (58)
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Old November 21, 2010, 12:39 AM   #22
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IDPA classifier

The great thing about shooting classifier matches, in both IDPA and USPSA/IPSC is, if you pay attention as you go along, you can learn what particular skills you need more practice on!

I will go out of my way to shoot classifier matches in either discipline. Regular club matches are not as much of a priority.

I usually do really well on Stage I & II and then sometimes "crash & burn" on Stage III. I have identified my problems there as (1.) shooting too fast and (2.) crowding cover, particularly when shooting from behind that barrel at the 15 yard line. Getting too close to your cover means that you have to contort to engage some of the targets, and having an unstable shooting platform leads to lots of misses . . .

I'm not particularly fast in any event, but if I'm on my game, I'm smooth and accurate.
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Old November 22, 2010, 01:13 PM   #23
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Yes Jeff22, thanks from me too for posting those tips on how to shoot the classifier. I'll be shooting my first match in December, or the classifier if it's offered, and I copied those tips to study a bit and get my mind in the right place.

Yes, I do find that I am competitive by nature, though golf taught me to focus on having fun first and the scores will come.

I'm looking forward to it!
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