View Full Version : Question about IDPA "reloads"

Charlie Golf
December 2, 2004, 08:15 PM
My wife and I are considering checking out IDPA. I received my firearms training at FLETC and interact with a few different local and county LE Agencies. All her training has been thru civilian venues.

Checking out the IDPA site we started to do a lot of "huh?" when we started reading about the different reloads.

Our training, experience and nomenclature concerning defensive reloading has been consistent and standard from the Federal, Muni LE, and civilian shooting that we do:

Emergency Reload -- Minimal time. Magazine Empty, slide locked back. Drop magazine to ground while reloading with fresh mag.

Tactical Reload -- Slighty more than minimal time. Lull in fight, weapon charged and in battery. Drop magazine to ground and reload with fresh mag. Picking up partial mag ONLY if time permits.

Magazine Exchange -- More time than minimal. Lull in fight, weapon charged and in battery. Drop magazine into hand and reload with fresh mag. Pocket partial magazine for future use. OR in lieu...Drop and pocket, then reload (for those with smaller hands.)

It seems that IDPA "Tactical Reload" is similar to the Magazine Exchange FLETC, et. al. teach and the IDPA "Magazine Change w/Retention" is similar to the Magazine Exchange variation.

I figure this is just semantics but what got us going "huh" was that the explanation of a Tac-Load discusses "minimum time."

From a practical defensive shooting standpoint I am trying to see how placing a need to retain the partial magazine "minimizes" time. In a tactical shooting situation I am more concerned with having a fully charged weapon to get back in the fight rather than the location of, and potential need for, the partial mag. If I need it, it is secondary to the primary goal of having a fully loaded weapon.

Not to mention the increased liklihood of getting a "weak seat" on the magazine and creating a malfunction in the midst of a fight.

Also curious b/c most of the shooters we know that shoot IDPA concur that the need to retain on a Tac-Load is one of their biggest "realism" heartburns with IDPA as it places an unnecessary step that they would likely not bother with in a true defensive shoot.

The IDPA site also says to "learn" one of the several methods that a Tac-Load is taught so if FLETC or a (Major) Local LE agency both teach "mag goes to the ground" is it really taking into mind all the different methods?

Finally, while we are always open to new techniques to improve our shooting we also want to avoid anything which "clouds" the fundamentals as we have been taught b/c as you know when the stuff hits the fan we tend to fall back on our training and "unlearning" is one of the more difficult things to do.

So I'm not trying to start a huge debate, rather just trying to understand the thinking behind it.

That being said, what Divisions would we "fit" into...not that it matters, just curious really...

Me = LEM HK USP .40 Compact,
She = Sig P239 9mm?

Navy joe
December 2, 2004, 10:17 PM
Practice the fundamentals on your own, play IDPA to make you think under stress. It's okay for your reloads to be different, just trying to think "now how does IDPA want me to do it" while on the clock adds stress which makes your shooting more challenging.

Whenever possible in IDPA, emergency load. It is consistent with training. Gun empty, fix it. It is as fast to me as a real world tactical load as you describe.

The tactical load you describe in IDPA is known as the "speed load", "gamer load", "IPSC load", or "That reload that gaming IPSC B&^$trd always uses" ;) But wait there's more! If you have done some revolver shooting like me and can count your shots really, really fast it will absolutely flip someone out if you dump an empty mag with one still in the pipe. So no, it is not tactics. The only good part of IDPA loads from a teaching standpoint is forcing them to be from behind cover.

For the "game", emergency load unless the stage description says you can't. It is faster and more idiotproof. If it is so you cannot do that, do a reload with retention, it is faster since the hand only makes one trip from gun to belt. Tactical load only when told to, it is slower and tons of fun watching people juggle a gun and two mags.

Just go shoot and have fun, don't sweat the rules too much.

December 3, 2004, 02:26 PM
CG - Your "tactical load" is not generally used in IDPA.
If the gun is dry, the mag is ejected to the ground and the gun is reloaded ASAP; the "slidelock reload".
If the gun needs to be topped-off for the next array - say, three targets, to be engaged with two-each as you move across open ground, and you currently have only five rounds in the gun - you perform a retention reload; either the "reload with retention" or the "tactical reload".
If the gun is empty, that simulates running the gun dry in a firefight, and you get it reloaded in a hurry. If your gun still has rounds in it, and there are threats yet to be addressed, consider that a simulation of the "lull" when no bullets are flying and you can see no threats. You can therefore take the time to conserve your ammo by performing a retention reload. That's why many clubs do the retention reloads off the clock, as they do not constitute part of the "action", and are therefore not timed. If you want to drop your partial mag on the ground, insert a full mag, then retrieve the partial - as you do in your tactical load - you can, as long as you stow the partial mag before you fire a round.

December 9, 2004, 05:56 PM
A tactical reload is done at the gun, ie. draw a fresh magazine, bring it to the gun, eject partially used mag and retain, insert fresh mag, place partially used mag in pocket/mag holder, etc.

A reload with retention is done (for lack of a better term) on your hip ie. eject partially used mag and place in mag holder/pocket, etc. Grab fresh mag and insert.

I shoot IDPA usually twice a month and see just about everything from slidelock reloads (majority), to tactical reloads to people dumping nearly full mags on the ground while running around histerically. :)

Mainly a lot of semantics as you suggested.