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Old July 2, 1999, 01:21 PM   #1
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I've been mulling this over for more than a year. Perhaps this belongs in the IDPA/CCW ruled thread, but this appears to be a broader inquiry.

Though IPSC has become disgustingly "gamey" and far removed from many truly practical defensive training techniques, it was originally intended to be a test bed for experimentation to find out what really does and does not work. Sort of a crucible of competition idea. (I've read American Handgunner, which often included Jeff Cooper's writings, since its first ever edition--which I've saved...)

Now, we've proven rather conclusively that compensators and longer barrels and optical sights give various levels of a competitive edge.

It appears that magazine capacity gives an edge when many rounds need to be fired.

It also appears that Comstock scoring without requirements to use cover/concealment, especially when combined with multiple shooting position courses of fire (with movement between shooting boxes), tends to reward stand-in-the-open hosing. This, of course, can get you killed**.

Now, IPSC has its limited or whatever categories for those who rebel against the equipment race. IDPA continues this trend, to the point of being like anti-technology Luddites who forbid all compensators and all optical sights. I find their classification system somewhat silly.

So, what do we want our realistic target competitions to accomplish for us? The headless IPSC target, for example, is downright stupid and ignores practical reality. Yet on the other hand, IDPA tends to "realistic" itself right out of testing/developing potentially useful things like laser/iron sight combinations (think low-light realistic scenarios!)

I'm in a quandry here. As Jeff Cooper has hinted, IPSC seems to have established the outer limits of human dexterity in operating a firearm. But they've failed us with silly holsters and big guns with soda-can wide optical sights that will probably never be useful in practical use. Yet opticals like the Optima 2000 _could_ eventually prove themselves (I personally prefer some Steyr AUG-style donut reticle job with NO battery at all!).

Seems like there is a more useful middle ground that neither IPSC nor IDPA is currently offering us. Am I alone, or are there some unmet needs/wants in competition?

**However, since we sorta know the buzzer-to-shot fired times for various types of stimulous/response situations, it seems that there _may_ be some times/scenarios where that could be your only option. Parking lots after everyone else has cleared out for 75 yards around your lonely old car, for example. In this situation, the 7-yard Tueller knife drill on multiple targets could be timed to give survival values for a realistic 3-to-5 assailant scenario.
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Old July 2, 1999, 03:20 PM   #2
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I have not shot any IPSC, only getting competitive shooting in the last year or so. Since I have shot IDPA, I will comment on IDPA.

From what I can see, IDPA is the pendulum swing the opposite direction from IPSC. IDPA made it so I could shoot on an even basis. They set the rules up so structured that it is aesy to think of them as a Bible, not as a guide that it should be. A good example of this is when I put a steel guide rod in my Glock 17 (the plastic one broke, so I put a steel one in) I went from SSP to ESP. The gun did not change any. I went from competing against Beretta 92's to against slicked up 1911 38 Supers. What's even about this?

Thats one reason why I went to 1911's in .45. My box stock Kimber (I changed the rubber grips to wood) has made me even with those same guys with Les Baers and Wilsons. The only time it has failed me, was because of the reloads I was feeding it. I now carry a 1911.

IDPA competition has shown me what bad habits I had. The other people I have met in matches have shown me how to correct those problems and become a better shooter. The main reason I am in IDPA is because now if I ever have to use deadly force in a situation, I have the confidence that I will be ready for that situation a lot more than I would have been without it.
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Old July 2, 1999, 03:22 PM   #3
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Competition should:

- Teach skills: marksmanship, reloading, drawing, malfunction clearance (unless you've an HK ) etc., and all FAST.

- Teach tactics: cover, engagement order, "slicing the pie," etc.

- Teach/test equipment: I'd never seen a Glock jam before IDPA. I've seen all KINDS of problems with all kinds of firearms in just two matches. I've yet to have a malfunction with my USP, but if (when?) it does, I'm ready. I've learned of better holsters, mag carriers, etc.

- Be FUN!!! Comradarie is a great thing, too.
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Old July 2, 1999, 03:34 PM   #4
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I shoot IPSC / USPSA competitions for fun. It's a game. The people are friendly and the clubs (sometimes) allow me to design diabolical stages.

If my name is on the stage design, you better bring lots of ammunition. Here in southeast Michigan, we like to shoot. We like to shoot a lot. 28-32 round stages are the norm, sometimes up to 50. Is it practical / tactical? Nope! But it is the most fun you can have with your gunbelt still buckled!

Did I mention that we like to shoot? Alot?



"...What will you do without freedom? Will you fight?... Fight, and you may die, run and you'll live, at least a while. And dying, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that, for just one chance, one chance, to tell our enemies, that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our FREEDOM!!!"
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Old July 2, 1999, 10:05 PM   #5
Matt K
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I dont want IPSC to be practical and I am happy it is mostly gone from IPSC. IPSC is a game and thats why I like it. It have lots of high tech equipment but that is not what wins, the shooter does. For the most part IPSC gives me what I want from competiton, if the practicality was totally removed it coul dbe ideal.


Matt's Custom Glock Resource - Because Stock is Slow!
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Old July 3, 1999, 01:29 AM   #6
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There are a couple of items in "action shooting" sports which apparently need memory refreshment or a lesson in history. Pull up a seat.

First thing is that one one of the ideals of IPSC was to ENCOURAGE weapons development. "Encourage" is the key word here, since the founder - guru Jeff Cooper discovered during the late 50's that 1911's beat the hell out of SAAs at that time during the "Big Bear Leatherslaps" he hosted way back when.

So, weapons innovation became a 'Good Thing' in the context of "practical shooting", but now it's to the point where you need a $3000 scoped gun to even enter an IPSC match with a prayer of slavering over the prize table.

IPSC has succeeded in it's goal of weapons development. It's just that there is a short set of shooters out there willing to pay out the BIG BUCKS to be able to compete within in it's confines, and the ranks are shrinking.

Enter IDPA. Where the guy with a box-stock Glock can show up and practice his concealed carry skills - with plenty of friendly advice from fellow shooters who are not tempted to be rude by "money on the line".

What more could you honestly ask for?
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Old July 3, 1999, 12:38 PM   #7
Rob Pincus
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My two cents is that IDPA does not go far enough.

I agree that parts of the IDPA rules seem silly, but I think that they are there for the gamers. IF the rule was "stock combat gun" and "practical holster", I think it'd be a lot easier.

Furthermore, I think the engagement rules should be a little stricter, though the little I have seen of IDPA shows that they do encourage the use of cover.

IPSC might as well use paint pellets or simuition, because it has nothing to do with Combat.
IDPA is not the place for "experimenting" or "testing/development" or new gear, technology or sight systems. IDPA shout stick with defensive shooting, it is the best we've got. Do your testing at a range, outside of competition, that is what I say.

To call for a meeting between IDPA and IPSC is like saying "Let's ruin IDPA."

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Old July 5, 1999, 10:41 AM   #8
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All the complaints about gear are relevant only if you want to win. You don't need 'race-crap' to compete in IPSC/USPSA, and you can shoot for fun but not score with your non-legal gear in IDPA.
Neither is realistic. USPSA is now mostly 'run and gun', and IDPA arbitrarily limits truly practical equipment (like ghost ring and fiber-optic sights or hi-cap mags) in the name of "fairness" or "level playing field". If I were to ever get into a real gun battle neither of those terms would enter my mind.
Bottom line -- both are just games.

I go so I don't have to mow the lawn.

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Old July 5, 1999, 06:40 PM   #9
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We held a "Single Stack Classic" match today along side our usual IPSC match. Guess what? The same guys that normally appear at the top of the match results were still there in the "Single Stack" results!

Yes, we used IDPA holster and magazine position rules. Yes the target arrays were eight rounds and then do something.

As stated by Matt, the equipment does not win, the shooter does.

Hey, the match was a lowly 138 rounds on seven stages, but we did have FUN!



"...What will you do without freedom? Will you fight?... Fight, and you may die, run and you'll live, at least a while. And dying, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that, for just one chance, one chance, to tell our enemies, that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our FREEDOM!!!"
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Old July 6, 1999, 12:47 AM   #10
Join Date: March 12, 1999
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I'm not surprised your normal IPSC shooters prevailed in your 'Single Stack' match - even using the retentive IDPA holster & mag positions rules on your 8 round nuetral stages.

See, IDPA is not just a holster position and mag position rule trap. IDPA has four Divisions. Revolvers have to be able to compete fairly in a stage, too, within their division.

IDPA is about providing a place for T. Average Citizen to come out to the range with the inherited revolver/whatever and test/improve one's skills with their weapon of choice amongst shooters using the same kind of equipment.

We win nothing when we shoot IDPA matches, but we most always learn something.

The best lesson I ever learned from running IDPA vs. IPSC matches is that there is a whole bunch of closet gun owners/shooters out there who have been waiting for the opportunnity to come out and just test their skills against others using like equipment.

And often these newbies are VERY good shooters who have never before attracted to a competition shooting forum.

To each his own; and more firepower to all of them!
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Old July 7, 1999, 02:43 PM   #11
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Hey DblTap, did you sweat much Sunday? Did the sand stick to you like glue? Did you have fun?
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Old July 10, 1999, 10:39 AM   #12
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Seems like there are two opposing tracks to take:

1. Re-create realistic/most common scenarios in the name of being truly practical. This tends to result in very short courses of fire, fewer shots fired, and very little opportunity to practice skill-building such as magazine changes (at least without artificial "load X rounds maximum" rules for specific stages).

2. Build skills by including skill-specific drills like having the RO load a dummy round, having more shots fired, including longer-distance shots, and having things like MANY one- and two-shot strings (more repetitions of the specific skill being built). This approach requires mixing 2-shot to slidelock "load X rounds" drills with the dreaded IPSC high round-count strings--strings long enough to require everyone to become experienced in firing THEIR gun empty to slidelock and doing a dry reload.

Personally, I think there should be a mix of perhaps half and half of the two approaches.

Since I've found both approaches to be FUN, it appears that goal can be accomodated either way!

As far as the shoot-the-gun-dry situation goes, long shot strings should be mixed between mandating slidelock reloads, and allowing (mandating?) tactical reloads or reloads with retention or whatever. It's a skill we should train for because so many lose track of their shots, but we should also build the habit of reloading before slidelock.

The "level playing field" ethic just bugs me. I used to shoot a .357 in IPSC, and was happy to beat half the semiauto shooters at every match. Level playing field makes more sense for scoring skills exercises, than it does for scoring realistic scenarios--many of which by stage design SHOULD be shootable in 6 shots or less. Pure Vickers scoring looks like the only way to go there, so hosers who fear misses but have the ammo can put 3-4 shots in every target. THAT, methinks, is realistic.

[This message has been edited by Cheapo (edited July 14, 1999).]
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Old July 13, 1999, 06:29 PM   #13
Eric H
Join Date: July 12, 1999
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To be honest, I've never shot IPSC or in any competition. There aren't any places around me that offer it, but if there were I'd be all over it.

Anyway...doens't IPSC stand for International *Practical* Shooting Competition? So then, wouldn't it make sense that the exercises should be practical shooting and not another NASCAR event where money now rules the game and it isn't open to the average Joe or Jane?

Quite honestly, it's pretty disappointing...
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Old July 13, 1999, 07:20 PM   #14
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Eric H - there are 13 USPSA clubs in Washington. USPSA headquarters is in Sedro-Woolley. Go to and click on Club Finder, you'll find all the contact info there.
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Old July 14, 1999, 12:48 PM   #15
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One of the best aspects of competition is
mental preparation. Competition forces you
to think ahead and prepare and I think this
carrys over well into the real word. And yes
you can get carried away w/ the scenarios
but competition demands constant improvement.
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Old July 15, 1999, 04:55 PM   #16
Art Eatman
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FWIW: This same discussion goes on within IPSC about too much "gamey". Hell, some things haven't changed since I got into Sports Car Club of America racing in 1958. Same sort of arguments there, too...

If you like high-tech and gamey, shoot more IPSC; and who's to stop you from going to an IDPA match?

Overall, the more shooting you do, going against other shooters and the clock, the better off you'll be. Let those who worry about prize money do their own thing. You do yours, get real good with your pistol, make some friends and drink a few beers with the good guys.

Or do you want to cop an attitude of "Oh, well, let Clinton have those IPSC never-miss, deadly combat guns, as long as he leaves my stock gun alone..."? Of course not.

What's more important than improving your shooting skills and partying with shooters?
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