View Full Version : Improving at the IDPA classifier

June 12, 2002, 09:23 PM
I've never fired it in a match, but I practice a bit now and then. How do us TFL'rs suggest improving the scores?

Here's my situation:

Stage 1: Most 1st shots 1.45 to 1.55 seconds; last run, only 9 points down. Like those center hits, though T-1 has 'em all close and T-2 has barely -0 hits all over. Time is around :32, and most encouraging.

Stage 2: Ahh one or two misses:rolleyes: , but -1s pop up and the occasional -3 hurts bad:( .
Time is not so bad, but the points down are discouraging.

Stage 3: Gotta look at the previous scores, but last time was icky. Four misses and precious few -0s (okay, about half of the hits). Points down are killing me!

End result--barely SS, depending on how we should place the pistol.

The scoring system seems to favor accuracy over speed. I'd be quite happy if I could cut my points down in half, while keeping the same speed. My speed seems appropriate for defensive scenarios (typically splits of .75 or so).

Any suggestions other than experimenting with how slowly I can back off to shoot all -0s?

June 12, 2002, 09:58 PM
Splits of .75 or so, are way too slow. And so are your draws at 1.5 average. Try for 1.2 out of the holster and .20-.25 splits up close, and .4-.5 further back. You should not give up any points on Stage 1 and 2, and be sure to make all your hits on Stage 3.

If you dropped 9 points on the first stage you are going to fast for you. The orginal scoring system used to be only 1/3 of a second for every point down, and favored speed too much. 1/2 second for every point down is about right.

Practice with a goal of no dropped points. When you achieve that, crank up the speed a little until you give up a few -1's, not -3's, just -1's. Then you know what level you, not anyone else, but you are shooting at.

June 13, 2002, 07:54 AM
Keep it coming folks :D, this is good useful information as my wife and I are just getting involved... we'll be running a match second week in July (too busy this month) and should be joining up and taking the qualifier later that month.

It's nice to see some numbers for the various parts (drawing, splits and the like).

Just so I understand correctly, I presume split is the time to acquire the next target?

June 13, 2002, 09:37 AM
Let me preface this by saying it's been a while since I shot the classifier, almost three years; shot it once to qualify as SSP/MM and won my way up from there.

From your overview it looks as if you had 5 or 6 misses, correct!? That in itself is 12.5-15 seconds that you could subtract from your time. The good thing, or bad thing depending on how you look at it, about the classifier is you can easily analyze your performance and try, try again. If you could have shot zeroes instead of 5 misses in 12.5 seconds you would have been at the same level. 12.5 seconds is a lot of time to fire 5 rounds, even at 20-25 yards. And as for the targets 0-15 yards, you should have no misses and maybe one or two -3 hits.

I agree with 9x45 in that your draw time (without cover garment) of 1.5 is a little slow but that can easily be practiced and developed at home. The draw is a technique with many key aspects to it. Efficiency is one of the keys. Keep in mind that the buzzer is usually about .30 seconds long and many people respond after the buzzer has stopped. Try focusing on respoding to the very first moment the buzzer begins. Once again, practice at home with your timer.

Splits refer to time between shots and not necessarily between targets, although there are splits that include a new target acquisition. Depending on the gun, your ability to track the gun straight up and down between shots, shooting position, and distance, splits should be right where 9x45 stated (.20-.50).

Cheapo, with the amount of misses and -3 hits you earned, I would suggest concentrating on accuracy for the time being. Like I said earlier, .5-1.5 seconds is a lot of time to get a -0 hit and there is no reason to have a miss in the classifier. Accuracy depends on a lot of factors and you can practice nearly all of them by dry firing at home (without any live ammo nearby).

In IDPA, I have found one of the best ways to document your performance and progress on a broad scale is to take your total time and divide it by the number of shots required for the match. This also applies to the classifier. At the sharpshooter level, you are probably shooting near 1.5-1.75 seconds per shot. When I started shooting IDPA, I was shooting about 2 seconds per shot. Now I am shooting .9-1.1 seconds per shot at nearly every match.

If you will notice, other than the draw times and a minor reference to splits, I have not given comparable times for many aspects of shooting. I think one should be able to shoot the classifier with less than 20 points down (accuracy) before starting to work on specific fundamentals of the draw, splits, or target transitions.

All of the above is my very humble opinion. I am not an instructor or super shooter, nor do I claim to be. If you are really interested in improving your practical shooting skills, buy Brian Enos's book, "Beyond Fundamentals." It is well worth the money. http://www.brianenos.com

June 13, 2002, 07:12 PM
There are some decent tips here: http://www.ccidpa.org/clastips.html
For sure don't blow the head shots on Stage 1 and slow down as much as it takes to get decent hits on Stage 3.

June 13, 2002, 09:06 PM
Love those head shots. Haven't missed one in a LONG time.:D

BTW, I'm shooting Austrian Tupperware that's probably not legal anyway. Wide-frame mag release and the micro-extended slide _release_. OEM parts. Yes, I disagree w/ 'ol Gaston hissef.

Just read the rules and it looks like my extended but not oversize mag release is out. But I have small hands! Otherwise, I tend to favor box-stock guns generally, with grips, ambi controls and Bo-Mar type sights about the only mods. Still think there's a place for carry type comps maybe 1 inch max long on pistols with barrels no more than 4.5 inches long. IPSC went too far in the "test bed" arena, and IDPA backlashed too far the other way. Then there's the special treatment for Government models...:barf:

Thanks for the tips. In a way, my inquiry is gamey, but part of my interest is comparing how well identical performances would score between the disciplines. Might shoot the classifier someday with an IPSC target in the back, just to calculate Comstock and points-down scores.

June 14, 2002, 07:07 AM
As I read the classifier instructions, there are references to semi-auto specific things. For example: slide lock reload. I presume for SSR this is just a regular reload, or do you need to fire on an empty chamber of something similiar?

Jim Watson
June 14, 2002, 08:12 AM
The large frame magazine catch (= extended on small frame) and factory extended slide stop are IDPA SSP legal because they are now factory options on all models.

Classifier instructions for slide lock reload and tactical reload have no application to SSR. Just shoot your three or six shots and make a speedloader/moonclip reload and fire the next three or six as called for by the CoF.

The BoD did not give revolvers much attention when writing rules and definitions. There are established techniques for a revolver tac load, but the IDPA idea of one is to "stuff the whole mess in your pocket."

You may have to ask for clarification on revolver use in some stages, the designer may not have considered them. But you can have a lot of fun and surprise a lot of auto shooters.

"Gunnery, gunnery, gunnery. HIT THE TARGET! All else is twaddle"
Admiral John Arbuthnot "Jackie" Fisher, Royal Navy

June 14, 2002, 08:35 AM
Yeah, seems SSR gets the short end of it.. :)

I chose to shoot SSR cause I figured it would be more challenging, not to mention easier to retrieve brass!

June 14, 2002, 09:11 AM
BTW: I was looking over the doc at ccidpa and was wondering if anybody could explain this a bit better:

Keep your knees flexed, walk heel-to-toe, and "glide along" - the front sight will not bounce at all if you do this right. You can

My first inclination is to use a fencing advance, but that might not be what works best. Anybody think they can explain this?

I can always ask when we do our first full match next month, just thought I'd like to practice..

June 14, 2002, 11:20 AM
It means to walk like Groucho Marx, ie, the duck walk.

June 14, 2002, 01:21 PM
You must have a different idea of duck walk, or the side to side swaying I'm envisioning doesn't affect POA as much as I think?

June 14, 2002, 02:25 PM
My best times on the classifier came on the advancing and retreating stages.

For practice, hold a mug full of water. Move as fast as you can with out sloshing the water out. Hold the mug up like it is your gun. I found that this helped me a bunch. Everybody walks different, but if you just let your body do its thing it will figure out what works best for you on its own.

My problem is that I got excited, and I dropped far too many points in the first stage. On the 2nd and 3rd stages I actually did really well. Oh well. I'll do better next time.

June 14, 2002, 02:35 PM
I think I'm going to take the advice in the CCIDPA, run through a few matches first. I know when I did my first COF, having the SO with a timer behind you can really pump the adrenelin ;-)

June 20, 2002, 08:34 PM
ACCKK! Looked at some of my old scores, and I dropped 45 POINTS on Stage 3 once (I think--messy notes from a windy day--maybe whole match??). That was with some really bad Ultramax ammo.

Well, I'm going to slow down a whole bunch on stage 3 next time and see what happens.

Does anyone agree with the premise that in a real-stress situation, you will almost always shoot only half as well as you do in practice?

June 20, 2002, 08:56 PM
That is all I needed to say, I love the shooting sports be they try to be so realistic.

June 21, 2002, 12:09 AM
Yeah, it does sound gamey, BUT I will nevernever seriously shoot IDPA stages slowly enough to never drop a point.

Par time = an accuracy test. Bullseye, Bianchi Cup. Measures one skill set, time pressure varies, only accuracy helps scores IF you get all your shots off.

Time is score = a speed test, with a coarse, yes/no accuracy standard. Steel challenge, steel stages in IDPA and IPSC. Measures a slightly different skill set IF you get all your hits.

Comstock, raw points / time = blended accuracy and speed test. Accuracy portion is typically rather coarse, criticized by some for favoring speed too much. Includes Vickers count when number of shots is fixed. A really fast hoser can miss a few and beat a slower person who needs no "make-up" shots.

What do we call IDPA Vickers approach to speed match? As noted above, CAN favor speed to varying degrees, depending on how much time is penalized for each point down. Blended accuracy and speed test, tends to favor accuracy as currently set up.

I believe that if the shooter is to be truly competent, he/she must develop all four skill sets tested these four ways. This is from a pure shooting skill perspective, with tactics inegrated into the mix according to the shooter's wisdom.

June 21, 2002, 12:24 PM
May be gamey, but if I ever get in a gunfight I plan on gameing the badguys to death. :)

July 23, 2002, 02:29 AM
Hey, does a G-22 go in SSP if unmodified, or in ESP because of the caliber?

Looking at the IDPA rules on their web site and it appears that they don't have all the bases covered. "Safe Action" is listed in SSP but not ESP.... Those classes seem a bit silly.

Slowed up less than a second on one string, and cut the points down in half. Still hosing on the slidelock reload stages, but I'll find that front sight someday!

IDPA is truly an accuracy test first. What would happen if they put PPC scoring rings on those targets? That 10 ring looks like the best measure of "practical" accuracy, if it were about 8 inches higher in the silhouette.

Ricky T
July 23, 2002, 07:06 PM
The G22 in its unmodified form would fit in SSP and ESP. If modified, then it would belong only in ESP.
Good luck.

July 28, 2002, 12:38 AM
Which glock do you shoot? i advise a 9mm in any gun if you want to do YOUR best, the 40 is really overpowered for SSP division.

these "1.5 draws stink" guys.. don't listen, yes, you can improve, but that is a perfectly respectable draw time. your splits should be around/under.3 transitions no more than .5

the first thing is to relax as much as possible. be smooth. strings 1-3 are simple, should be about 2.4 seconds or so for a person in lower expert class.

DON'T drop head shots.

you have 2 turns i believe, turn your head first/at the same time, rotate on your strong side heal, put your strong side foot towards target, this makes one foot pivot, and step across with the other. idealy you want to be indexed on the second(middle) target.

Stage one, 1-3 points down, no more if you have more slow down. some stages in IDPA are stages where you can gain a LOT of time, but not close up stages, see, a master can shoot string 1 in about 1.9 seconds but if you try that and drop one point your up to 2.4 ( normal master, not a tip top nationals winning master) so your risk of going fast is much greater than your chance of gaining.

stage 2.. don't run to the targets, its a rookie mistake. be FAST on the draw, hand to gun as your first step comes up. shoot it clean move smooth ( you will get the walk down). don't miss maybe 7-8 points down acceptable if your aiming for lower expert range.

Stage 3... oh ****.... thats what comes to mind, remember this is 20 yards... further than you usually practice, its longer than your entire house in most cases.

1. do NOT crowd the baricade, if you can touch it your too close! no quick shots here, make sure they hit, your -1's are now -3 or near misses half of your -0 hits are -1's now. Trigger control is the hard part here, even more than sight allignment. dont' milk the gun or jerk the trigger.

As for the tac/retention reload. pick ONE and stick with it, of course Tactical is more sound in "real life" when you run to the barrel, give your self plenty of room, same when you drop behing, it, and adjust your position so you don't hav eto move your footing to shoot the far target. (its usually easiest to pie a corner to the strong side. remember its still 15 yards.

overall comments. dont' rush yoru self, but don't dwaddle. i see more people ( myself included) have the last string in equal to strings 1 and 2 combined. Plan your actions, think exactly what you will do before you do it. also called visualizing which helps, visualize yourself doing well, it is bad mojo to visualize gun problems, or points down.! if you tank a string, don't dwell on it, move on.

Yes you can drop your draw times, but i have seen that reload times tend to need moe work, you need good gear, what are you drawing out of, reloading out of.

Happy Shooting

August 6, 2002, 06:10 PM
I asked Ernest Langdon (3x national champ) once what his best overall classifier time was and he told me 68 seconds! beat that.

August 6, 2002, 09:51 PM
I will just give me time and ammo :-)

think he has done better than that since, i spoke with him and scott warren, they said, mid to low 60's happens rather often, mid to high 60's normal days, and low 70's bad days.