View Full Version : IDPA/IPSC - Begginer Seeking Advice

December 9, 2012, 01:33 PM
Hello & thanks for taking time to review. I am planning to buy a S&W M&P 9mm. I would like to compete in either IDPA/IPSC (working on locating groups in Tulsa) at some point. Which models/barrel lengths of the M&P play well with the sport? I'd like to have as many options (as to what events I can do) as is reasonable from one pistol. Any advice you might have for a beginner would be appreciated.

December 9, 2012, 02:45 PM
Are you just going to "play the game" , or use the sports as training and practice for the real thing ? I always used it for training and practice so the only thing I did was some trigger work .I used the same gun and holster I carried.
For playing the game start with trigger work like Apex .Then as you learn and get used to things add those things that you think might be useful. I hope you're not a gadget person !!:rolleyes:

Jim Watson
December 9, 2012, 02:55 PM
Trivia, there is almost no true IPSC shot in the USA. For whatever reason, USPSA that started out as the US Region of IPSC has gone its own way with its own rules.

There are club locators in www.uspsa.org and www.idpa.com

For the sport, I recommend a Plastic M&P Pro 5" 9mm. That will get you into USPSA Production and IDPA Stock Service Pistol. It can be refined with Apex parts or gunsmithing by Burwell, Bowie, and probably others; but will be satisfactory out of the box.

I have a Burwell tuned M&P Standard which is ok but a little more sight radius wouldn't hurt.

December 9, 2012, 03:21 PM
In USPSA if you get a 9mm that will lock you into the Production divison. You can venture out into Limited/Limited 10 if you want but it will be at a disadvantage. There is nothing wrong with Production though. It is a budget division not a beginner division. The 5" barrel will give the maximum size gun the rules allow, and I highly recommend going the APEX route too.

I will say that having a 4.25" barrel won't hold you back, but there is a small advantage to the .75" longer barrel.

Jesse Tischauser
December 10, 2012, 09:37 AM
The M&P 9 Pro or 9L is the model you want. It's 5" barrel with a longer site radius makes it very popular.

Being in Oklahoma you have access to a lot of shooting close by in Tulsa, OKC, Ft. Smith and Joplin.

Here is a list of all the matches in and around Oklahoma. If you ever need any help getting started don't hesitate to give me a shout.


December 11, 2012, 03:15 PM
I have the m&p9 FS.. when I started I wasnt thinking so much to go deep into the game.. now it is another story. but I have been doing quite well with my Full size...

if it is to play you can go with the m&p9 PRO (5") or the glock34... both are very good for idpa/uspsa... try to rent both and see which one you like/shoot better. if you go with m&p, replace the usb and hard sear but just after you get around 1000 rounds with it and learn the basic...

December 13, 2012, 12:07 PM
Thanks for the advice! I went and registered at the Boomer forums as well.

chris in va
December 13, 2012, 10:25 PM
Our top IPSC club shooter uses a full size M&P in 40, if that means anything.

December 15, 2012, 09:47 AM
If you're getting a gun specifically for IDPA, a full-size gun that allows you to get a lot of your hands on it will be your best bet. Also, I would avoid DAO or LEM guns. You want a DA/SA trigger or a Single action only if you're going 1911.

Personally I prefer a heavier metal-framed platform. The more recoil my pistol can soak-up, the faster and more accurate follow-up shots can be, also the more stable the weight of the weapon as you empty your magazine. If your pistol starts at say 2 pound fully loaded and when you're empty it looses 25% of it's weight, this will play into how much you have to adjust to handle the weapon both in recoil control and just holding it.

For this reason, I shoot a Sig P226 e2 with the SRT trigger setup. Being a "stock service pistol" it also doubles as a nightstand gun in the house.

On the other hand, I also have been known to shoot my HK-P30 which is my daily carry gun. It's the opposite of the advice I just gave, but I helps me to maintain a decent level of confidence with either platform.

December 21, 2012, 08:12 PM
I am in the same boat, looking to compete for fun and to hone my skills that have become rusty since exiting the Corps 15 years ago. I have been carrying smaller framed concealed semis, G27 and Kahr PM9 which serve their purpose but decided that I need a full size in the collection and to practice overall marksmanship etc.

I read this thread and others to get ideas and then went to a well stocked local gun shop to handle the options every day over the past 3 days.

In the end after all of my research I impulsively purchased a used HK P30 due to the "deal". It was kind of foolish but I was not ready to commit to $1000+ right now and I have orientation at the closest (2 hours away) outdoor gun club here in S. FL.

I really love the feel and setup of the P30, but I know that it is not the best choice for competing. I tried to love the USP Tactical although it was out of my budget, but the grip was a little large for me where the P30 feels like it was molded for my hand! Anyway, I own the P30 now and will enjoy it to the fullest! If I really get into competing I can upgrade at a later date.

I need suggestions on sights since it has the basic Night Sights for the HKs.

Also, what is a good tactical range holster for this gun. I think I prefer something other than leather, but am open to suggestions from those who know better. I will be attaching to a contractor belt from usgruntgear.com/belts unless once again someone has a better suggestion for a range belt I can use for this purpose and AR tactical firing. I was looking at the Blackhawk Serpa Tactical holsters at the shop but they did not have any for the P30, any good or is the lock a bad idea?

Many thanks in advance for your wisdom and guidance!

Jim Watson
December 21, 2012, 11:31 PM
I think your P30 will carry you a long way. No need to plan on replacing it already. The night sights will not be of value for most IDPA but they won't get in your way, either. I have one night sight with the whole front blade painted orange around the tritium lamp and it works just fine in any lighting conditions.

For a "tactical range holster" I recommend any of several brands of open top Kydex (synthetic) holsters with retention by friction and molding instead of a mechanical latch. The Blackhawk CQB rather than the SERPA.
Blade Tech, Comp Tac, Ready Tac, several others will be recommended but the type is well known.

December 22, 2012, 08:15 AM
Thanks Jim, that makes me feel better about my purchase!

Since I am clueless as to preferences I think the Comp Tac International looks like a good option due to it's versatility. I am also assuming I want the straight drop/speed on whatever I get?

Off to the range to test her out....

Jim Watson
December 22, 2012, 09:01 AM
I am sure the Comp Tac will serve you well.
Note that you cannot wear the International with the drop loop for IDPA, it must be in belt or paddle high ride configuration.

I wonder why their Belt Holster is more expensive than the Paddle or even the International with all its extra attachments.

December 22, 2012, 04:56 PM
Actually, once you start to select options on the item page you have to select from Drop, Paddle or Belt config. I guess the International can be configured in all of those ways with additional parts but only comes with one setup? I am not sure if paddle or belt would be best, I will look for info in other posts.

I just got back from shooting the P30 and I must say that I could not be happier. I did not get to shoot paper today, but steel was plinging shot after shot. :D

Jim Watson
December 22, 2012, 10:51 PM
WWW catalog says of the CT International:

"Every holster is configured to the customer’s specification at time of order and the additional mounting components are shipped with the order."

I am in the process of shifting from paddle to belt loop. It takes a couple of minutes to thread the belt loop but it is more stable and positively located.

December 23, 2012, 07:51 AM
The way the CT website words their descriptions is not totally clear but after further exam I think you are correct. Also, I wanted adjustable cants and based on their statement
"The International is available with three different cant options, the speed draw (straight drop), the FBI cant (grip angle forward), and the reverse/cross draw (grip angle rearward)."
I am thinking it only comes as ordered but maybe it is adjustable by the user?

I actually ended up ordering the Blade Tech SRB since IDPA approved http://www.blade-tech.com/SRB-Sting-Ray-Belt-Holster-IDPA-Approved-pr-939.html

I thought the Speed Rig D/OS would be better, but not IDPA compliant due to the drop?

Jim Watson
December 23, 2012, 10:53 AM
I quoted the appropriate line from CT, nuff said.

The Blade Tech Sting Ray will be fine, the Speed Rig would not have been accepted in IDPA, drop and offset holsters are specifically not allowed... except for females.

Consider that in a typical IDPA club match (in my area) you will draw your gun perhaps 6-8 times. You will do many more repeat shots (reacquiring the sight picture), shoot many more individual targets (transitioning from one to the next), shoot from several different locations and in different positions (moving around the field) and reloading (manipulating the gun.)

Speed of draw is a pretty minor factor in your overall time/score for the match. It might begin to matter when you have reached Expert and are doing all those other things very well.

January 31, 2013, 08:14 PM
Which models/barrel lengths of the M&P play well with the sport?

Both the full-size 4" and competition-size 5" are fine for USPSA and IDPA. None of the engagement distances are far enough that you need the 5", and some people like the lesser mass of the 4" for a (theoretical) faster transition between targets.

My personal preference is the 5" because I like the added muzzle weight and longer sight radius, but others aren't wrong for liking the 4" better.