The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 16, 2015, 11:10 PM   #1
db4570
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2013
Posts: 166
Combat pistol competition is an eye opener

Last week I did my first practical/combat/defensive competition. I think it may have been most similar to IDPA, but it wasn't as structured. What a humbling experience!

I've been shooting guns for 30 years, and handguns for 25. I'm a pretty decent pistol shot. But you do one of these competitions, and you realize there's a LOT more to CC defense than being able to shoot.

It was at a club with a big indoor range that one evening a week they do this defensive pistol event. I would guess close to 100 guys (and a few gals) went through it that evening. Here are some observations:

For me, I have spent my entire gun-owning life guarding against discharging a firearm indoors, like in my house. So the whole indoor range thing was a bit against my instincts.

No matter how much I went through things in my head in advance, I did the opposite. For instance, I had planned on taking only center-of-mass shots to keep things simple, except for one target where the body was blocked by a "hostage". So I was a bit stunned to see, when reviewing the targets after I shot, that they were ALL headshots.

I also knew that I had a total of 20 rounds in 2 mags, and that there were seven targets, so I knew I could put 3 in all of them except one, which I would have to hold back and only put two in. Again, when reviewing my targets: only two shots in each, and rounds left in my mag.

Since my only pistol that would hold 10 rounds was a gun that I never carry due to its size, I was using a holster I was unfamiliar with. This was a bit embarrassing when I couldn't get the darned thing holstered after I shot.

I forgot a few other smaller things, too. But I shot accurately, but I'm sure my time was very slow. I haven't seen the score sheet yet.

Most importantly, I shot safe, and learned a lot.

Seeing all the other guys there who did this a lot, and well, was a bit humbling, and really made it sink in that there are a lot of very well-armed and capable people out there on the street. It was a nice bunch, though. No macho BS, just a bunch of gun guys. And they were all really cool to the beginner.

So if you think your a real bad-tushy with your pistol, try one of these types of things sometime. You'll realize there's a lot more to it than calmly shooting at a target. Adrenaline is odd stuff.

I am eager to go back.

David

Last edited by Glenn E. Meyer; March 19, 2015 at 09:44 AM. Reason: Not worth infracting, just changed
db4570 is offline  
Old March 16, 2015, 11:45 PM   #2
Limnophile
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2015
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Posts: 976
Interesting report. Sounds like an unfamiliar setting, procedures, and the clock all added stress to make the experience more realistic. It will be interesting to hear how quickly you improve.

Not ever participated in such an event, I don't know the rules or scoring, but if you are getting double head shots on all targets and ending with ammo to spare, I'd be willing to award you bonus points.
Limnophile is offline  
Old March 17, 2015, 04:38 AM   #3
NoSecondBest
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 7, 2009
Location: Western New York
Posts: 2,328
It is humbling to go to a match and get an adrenalin dump while trying to shoot. I shot major competitions for years and I've seen lots, and lots of guys show up expecting to really do well and get a rude awakening. Even the smallest amount of adrenalin will send your fine motor skills right out the window. As soon as that happens your "skill" level that day goes with it. Don't get too upset about it, it will get better the more you do it. As your confidence increases the adrenalin decreases. I've seen lots of guys just totally spaz out trying to shoot and do really terrible. I mean really bad. It happens. Some people have a physiology that lessens this effect.....the "natural born shooter". Some people never get rid of all of it due to the same reason....they're genetically engineered to produce a lot of adrenalin during stress. Hard to believe something as fun as shooting can cause a stress reaction but it does. Stick with it and just try to have fun. Most of the guys you're shooting against really want you to do well too.
NoSecondBest is offline  
Old March 17, 2015, 06:02 AM   #4
MrBorland
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2007
Location: NC
Posts: 2,599
Quote:
Originally Posted by db4570
No matter how much I went through things in my head in advance, I did the opposite.
It's called "buzzer brain". Newer shooters tend to be most afflicted, but even experienced shooters get tripped up occasionally.

Things will seem less chaotic as you participate more, so you'll be able to relax and visualize yourself running the stage beforehand. It can take a while to get to that point, though. Be patient. In the meantime, dry fire. Regular dry fire drills help ingrain gun handling skills, so draws and reloads etc become one less thing to think about during the match.

As you've discovered, this type of shooting, especially with a little pressure, is far different from most typical range outings. Those who can leave their ego in the car become much better shooters, though.

Glad you had a good time.
MrBorland is offline  
Old March 18, 2015, 08:20 AM   #5
Louca
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 22, 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 229
If you are like me, my advice would be to SLOW DOWN. Don't let the clock mess you up. When the stress increases, all of us will tend to (most of the time) shoot the way we trained. So the point there is to train well. The same applies to safety disciplines. That's why you have difficulty firing indoors - you were trained not to.

When we instructed martial arts, we would always teach that to go faster, you needed to force yourself to go slower. One of the great dichotomies of all time. Trying to go fast can cause overly tense muscles which will slow you down.

Smoothness is also key. Target acquisition, trigger pull, mag release and replacement, ... everything can be smoothed during practice. Which is why, as Mr Borland mentioned, dry firing is a great discipline. Others might disagree with me here, but as a beginner in something like IDPA, I would not recommend learning about it by shooting matches.

As others have said, stick with it. Don't beat yourself up. Be humble. Grow and learn. Make it fun. Making it fun can pull you through a lot of those frustrating times.

Lou
Louca is offline  
Old March 18, 2015, 08:31 AM   #6
SgtGunner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 20, 2000
Location: SW Florida.....land of the snowbirds!
Posts: 279
I was heavy into competing for years. PPC, IPSC USMC team matches etc. I loved shooting IDPA (got really tired of the equipment races in most of the others) The pressure you put on yourself to do well and not humiliate yourself can be insane (ego I guess)

You did what I always hoped to do in a match, shoot well, shoot safely and learn something.

Next time have a cup of coffee before the match.... its interesting to see how diminished your skills become with the addition of a little caffeine. These days I shoot 2, maybe 3 matches a year just to hang out with like minded individuals.
__________________
Compromise is not an option

"Semper Fidelis"



"Life is too short to carry a little pop gun...Make mine .45ACP"
SgtGunner is offline  
Old March 18, 2015, 07:15 PM   #7
Powdersmoke
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Park Rapids, Minnesota
Posts: 109
I spent a couple years shooting some local matches that seemed like a hybrid between IDPA and steel challenge. We went by IDPA rules and scoring even though they weren't officially sanctioned. It was fun and yes an eye opener. I took the NY1 trigger out of my Glock and put it back to factory stock after exactly one match! There was only one person who could consistently beat me. He'd shot alot more competition than I had so it was an affirmation that all the work I'd put in had paid off and at the same time something to push me to try and do better. I learned what the limits of my abilities were i.e how fast I could shoot and still expect to be effective at different ranges too which is always good to know. I miss the competition but my work schedule changed and I haven't been able to do it since. Some day........
Powdersmoke is offline  
Old March 18, 2015, 10:09 PM   #8
Valerko
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2012
Location: NY
Posts: 184
I shoot "practical shooting league" at local club every week . It loosly follows IDPA rules . I usually shoot my IDPA or USPSA competition guns , but once in a while I throw a curve ball to myself . I used my Walther PPQ and carry holster few weeks ago .Ended up with 3 perfect stages (down zero ) , little slower time , but overall satisfied .
Valerko is offline  
Old March 18, 2015, 10:49 PM   #9
db4570
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2013
Posts: 166
Thanks for the responses.

I can't wait to give it a try again. I'm not yet interested in being able to shoot at a competitive level, but instead be able to simply improve some of my skills I didn't know I was lacking.

In fact, I find that about 97% of the time when I carry, I carry my "pocket" .380 (although usually in my holster). After doing this competition a couple more times with a 9, I am thinking about trying it with the .380. It makes sense that I should practice most with the gun I carry most. I am reasonably certain I would be the only guy there with such a tiny gun, but so what? Let 'em snicker.

David
db4570 is offline  
Old March 19, 2015, 08:08 AM   #10
Son of Liberty
Member
 
Join Date: February 26, 2015
Location: Ohayou, less the Gozaimasu
Posts: 27
I started shooting USPSA when I lived in NM and Whittington Center was literally my back yard. Best advice I can give you is to try to approach it as training, rather than as competition. Use your normal gear, ammo that approximates the energy of your carry ammo, and approach each stage tactically as if those targets and poppers could shoot back. Train how you fight (or want to fight) and leave the competitive shortcuts (and ego) for the gamers.
__________________
"Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." -- Jeff Cooper
Son of Liberty is offline  
Old March 19, 2015, 10:08 AM   #11
g.willikers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2008
Posts: 10,447
Good for you.
Many people will come to a match, after reading about it or seeing a video.
Too many either leave without even trying, or doing poorly, never return.
Missing the point entirely.
__________________
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
g.willikers is offline  
Old March 19, 2015, 11:10 AM   #12
serf 'rett
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 25, 2009
Location: Stuttgart, AR
Posts: 1,569
Different game altogether from target shooting. I thought my past experience with slow, timed and rapid fire small bore would somehow give me an edge when I started IDPA; however, the addition of time pressure, movement, drawing from concealment, course parameters, various distances and targets, etc., etc., was a wholly new world.

I hovered at or around the bottom of the score list for about a year, but continued to participate. Tried to get a buddy to come out and shoot the matches and he kept saying he wanted to, but he gave all kinds of excuses to not show up. Finally he let slip that he would be embarrassed if "he didn't do well" at a match. It appears his ego was so fragile, he couldn't stomach not being a top shooter, so he avoided any feelings of insufficiency by not doing anything at all. Moral of the story is simple: Even though my scores stunk for a year, I continued to shot and learn and improve. My friend is still stuck in the same condition as he was five years ago.

Go back and learn. What you learn may influence you to change what, where and how you carry concealed. For example, my primary carry mode changed from the convenience of pocket carry to IWB.
__________________
A lack of planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.
serf 'rett is offline  
Old March 19, 2015, 11:18 AM   #13
1-DAB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 5, 2010
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Posts: 473
similar story here serf'rett.

looked interesting last year, signed up, came in dead last several months in a row.

practiced some more, shot the qualifier, goal being to qualify above novice. shot Marksman. more improvement to come.

you can't shoot fast enough to win if you miss the target.
1-DAB is offline  
Old March 19, 2015, 11:46 AM   #14
Son of Liberty
Member
 
Join Date: February 26, 2015
Location: Ohayou, less the Gozaimasu
Posts: 27
Quote:
Finally he let slip that he would be embarrassed if "he didn't do well" at a match. It appears his ego was so fragile, he couldn't stomach not being a top shooter, so he avoided any feelings of insufficiency by not doing anything at all.
This is why I always prefer to teach women to shoot, rather than men. Our male egos just won't allow any perception by others that we are not Audie Murphy, John Wayne and Chuck Norris all rolled into one fine package and just here to humor the mundanes.
__________________
"Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." -- Jeff Cooper
Son of Liberty is offline  
Old March 19, 2015, 11:49 AM   #15
serf 'rett
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 25, 2009
Location: Stuttgart, AR
Posts: 1,569
Quote:
It makes sense that I should practice most with the gun I carry most. I am reasonably certain I would be the only guy there with such a tiny gun, but so what? Let 'em snicker.
Never had anyone snicker when I shot an IDPA match with my Kahr P9 in a Crossbreed holster with spare magazines coming from a pants pocket for reloads. It’s a learning experience for me and the other folks understand that I’m training in my normal carry mode. The most often heard comments are along the lines of “I should be shooting that way myself.”
__________________
A lack of planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.
serf 'rett is offline  
Old March 19, 2015, 12:05 PM   #16
Son of Liberty
Member
 
Join Date: February 26, 2015
Location: Ohayou, less the Gozaimasu
Posts: 27
Quote:
Never had anyone snicker when I shot an IDPA match with my Kahr P9 in a Crossbreed holster with spare magazines coming from a pants pocket for reloads. It’s a learning experience for me and the other folks understand that I’m training in my normal carry mode. The most often heard comments are along the lines of “I should be shooting that way myself.”
IDPA was designed for normal people with normal equipment in normal carry mode.

The only thing I dislike about IDPA is its overly-strict ROE. USPSA gives you more freedom in how to engage.
__________________
"Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." -- Jeff Cooper
Son of Liberty is offline  
Old March 19, 2015, 12:07 PM   #17
1stmar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2012
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 2,361
I attended a match like this in pa multiple decades ago. It was excellent, much better the idpa or uspsa. One stage the gave you a gun filled with blanks, you then entered an enclosed room simulating a dark alley. BGs would pop out behind trash cans or other obstacles, screaming at you (from a distance) and you had to dispatch them. It was excellent and very awakening. The whole match was fantastic but I haven't seen one since.
1stmar is offline  
Old March 20, 2015, 06:34 PM   #18
Rattlehead
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 22, 2009
Location: NC
Posts: 244
I got nothing but respect the last time I shot a match with a carry pistol. I participate to become comfortable with my equipment. Winning and losing are secondary considerations. It also helps with the fact that I'm position serf was describing - I pretty much show up to get my butt whupped. But I get better because of it, and that's far more important than my ego.
Rattlehead is offline  
Old March 21, 2015, 11:50 PM   #19
Deaf Smith
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 31, 2000
Location: Texican!
Posts: 4,453
Been in IPSC, IDPA, IHMSA, and others for many years (and lots of trophies) and I can tell you it will make you 10x better than you were.

The stress helps but the biggest help is forcing you to practice. See its not the actual matches that helps so much but practicing for the match. The stress of the match is just icing on the cake.

And if you use your carry gun that just makes it even better.

Deaf
__________________
“To you who call yourselves ‘men of peace,’ I say, you are not safe without men of action by your side” Thucydides
Deaf Smith is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:33 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.23782 seconds with 10 queries