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Old June 12, 2014, 11:26 PM   #1
Join Date: May 21, 2014
Posts: 28
Choosing a Competition Pistol

I'm thinking about checking out the IDPA matches at my local range. I have two revolvers: a Colt MKIII Trooper .357 and a S&W 66-2 .357 both with 4" barrels but am thinking I'd like to try out a pistol for competition use.

I've been comparing the older Colt Government Model MKIV 380s vs Colt Mustang IIs vs the Colt Commander 38 Supers. Would you recommend a new model 1911-like .38 caliber or would it be competitive enough to use an older make? I'm kind of partial to the older models.

I think I need to stay with the lighter loads as I've never shot anything above a .357/.38 load and am not sure I can handle it. Doing some research today I got all confused. Am I understanding right that the .380 in the Gov Model and Mustangs are not the same as the .38 Super? I have a S&W BodyGuard .38/.38+P for CCW and want to be able to use the same ammo in my competition pistol.

Thoughts/suggestions for an accurate, manageable competition pistol for a woman?
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Old June 12, 2014, 11:46 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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.380 is not the same as .38 Super.
.380 is not allowed in an IDPA main match gun.
.38 Super is ballistically and functionally great, but not very common on the retail market. Do you handload or have a large ammo budget?

If you want to be able to use the same ammunition as your Bodyguard revolver, you must shoot one of your other revolvers, there is no regularly available .38 Special autoloader.

A good holster and a number of speedloaders for one of your sixshooters (I would prefer the S&W M66.) would be an economical way to break into IDPA. But fast double action revolver shooting and the speedloader reload are technically demanding.

Far and away the most common IDPA pistol is the 9mm autoloader.
The Glock 17 is very popular, as is the Smith & Wesson M&P.
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Old June 13, 2014, 12:20 AM   #3
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Thank you!
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Old June 13, 2014, 01:14 AM   #4
Join Date: April 9, 2013
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After a 30yr layoff I went back to my trusty Colt 45ACP but a fellow shooter asked me why 45, 9mm is much cheaper. So I heeded his words of wisdom and proceeded to purchase a BHP then a Beretta 92FS then a Sig P226 X5-Match and am presently looking for a CZ Tactical Sport. I am certain that with those four I think I should find one (if not all) that will get the job done!

The Obvious Is Often Over Looked
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Old June 13, 2014, 10:03 AM   #5
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Do you really want to use a pistol that you are not familiar with at a match?
You will be expected to be up to speed with what ever equipment you bring, or risk goofing up and being disqualified.
Very embarrassing and does nothing for the self confidence.
Why not just use your revolvers, at least to start, until you get comfortable with auto loaders.
There's well defined revolver categories in the rule book.
And do read the rule book first, for sure, if you haven't.
And look at the very informative and entertaining powerfactor videos, if you haven't.
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
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Old June 13, 2014, 11:08 AM   #6
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i'm getting involved with IDPA next month. i'm shooting my everyday carry gun. i'm not out to win anything, but to have a little fun and learn something along the way. if your goal is to win something, then by all means keep buying new gear.
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Old June 13, 2014, 12:48 PM   #7
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I'm with g.w. - There will be lots of new information to process, and shooting a familiar gun, at least initially, is a good idea.
We get 6-10 new shooters every month at our club, and having to think about the gun (watching new shooters forget to disengage a manual safety, then trying to figure-out why the gun won't shoot, is very common) just makes it more difficult to be safe, follow the rules, etc.
Get a few cheap HKS speedloaders, and dive in.
I shoot a Colt .38 Super in ESP division, and it's an excellent choice if you have a supply of ammo or handload. Newer guns, newer than early 1980s, have improved sights, and barrels which headspace on the casemouth rather than the case semi-rim, so they're better all the way around.
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Old June 13, 2014, 01:26 PM   #8
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If you want to shoot your .380, call the club and ask them if you can participate with it.

You won't be scored, but they will probably allow you to come out and shoot with it and that will let you try out IDPA with a familiar gun and not have to worry about speedloaders for revlolvers.

IMO, if you aren't familliar with handling speedloaders, a revolver is going to be a pretty big challenge.

If all else fails, just go and hang out and watch. At least you will get a chance to see how the game is played. And if there are any revolver shooters, ask them to talk about how to practice techniques.
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Old June 13, 2014, 10:14 PM   #9
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Shoot Revolver

Why not shoot one of your revolvers?

I've been shooting IDPA for a couple years now - all with revolver.

My first time out, I pulled my Smith 686 4" out of the safe. I have since purchased a Smith M67 4" dedicated for competition use.

Shooting revolver in IDPA is fun and challenging. And a revolver at your side makes for good conversation with the friends you just met.

Grab your favorite of the two, along with a few boxes of 38, and go enjoy a day of fun.
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Last edited by Nick_C_S; June 13, 2014 at 10:14 PM. Reason: Shoot revolver
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Old June 14, 2014, 06:53 AM   #10
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I'm with Nick - your M66 is an ideal SSR gun, so assuming you're as proficient with it as you are with your others, there's no reason not to use it. Besides, as a new shooter, your goal is to be safe, learn the ropes, and have fun, rather than worrying about doing "well".

Also, it's my experience that 1) starting with a revolver is a lot easier than transitioning to it after having started with a semi-auto and 2) the transition to a semi-auto is relatively easy after learning the game with a revolver. Shooting IDPA well with a revolver teaches you a lot about generally shooting well.
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Old June 22, 2014, 02:45 AM   #11
chris in va
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Some of our top shooters use a 'tweaked' M&P, CZ SP01 and barely recognizable Glock long slide with aftermarket frame. Our revolver shooters are in the lower 25%, mainly due to very slow reloads and limited capacity.

Also note that shooting 'major' such as 40 and 45 cuts down on hits necessary, at least how we are scored.
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Old June 22, 2014, 03:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by chris in va
Our revolver shooters are in the lower 25%, mainly due to very slow reloads and limited capacity.
Unfortunately, that's not all that uncommon.

But I can speak with some authority here than IME, it's more a reflection of the revolver shooters' mentality than it is the platform itself. Revolver shooters are often their own worst enemies by giving themselves permission to underperform because of their gun. I call it The Revolver Narrative. Unfortunately, it's infectious.

The top SSR/ESR shooters don't give a rat's patootie how many reloads there are, or how "revolver unfriendly" a stage may be, and it's no coincidence they place near or at the top of the overall rankings at local matches. There's really no reason why a revolver shooter can't hang with others of their class at local matches, despite an extra reload or 2, but you've gotta dump the victim mentality first.

A revolver can teach you a lot about shooting well in general if you ignore The Narrative, but you'll develop & reinforce bad habits if you embrace it. The former's the better way.
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Old June 22, 2014, 04:10 PM   #13
Don P
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Our revolver shooters are in the lower 25%, mainly due to very slow reloads and limited capacity.
They need to practice and start shooting ICORE.
NRA Life Member, NRA Range Safety Officer, NRA Certified Pistol Instructor,, USPSA NROI Range Officer,
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