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Old August 25, 2014, 11:11 AM   #1
rdtompki
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IDPA Match Approach - accuracy versus time?

I've started to shoot handguns following retirement and find that I really enjoy local IDPA matches (shooting SSP with my M&P40). While I've been competitive my entire life, I'm more interested in simply improving and enjoying the company of like-minded folks.

I don't have much opportunity other than lessons and matches for rapid fire so I need to get as much out of my match shooting as I possibly can. Here's my quandary as I see it: at the typical target range I could fire pretty rapidly and put all my shots in the A or B zone, probably 1/2 in A (0 down). I'm sure I would achieve a better score doing so, but my thinking is that I shouldn't fire any faster than I can properly manage the trigger. I go into the matches telling myself "trigger control", but in the heat of the moment I loose focus being new to the sport. Any suggestions on an approach? Should I rapid fire and the trigger manipulation will just come with time?

My wife and I are going to also be shooting steel challenge and I'm seriously thinking about doing double taps on at least one string of each stage as a means of practicing for IDPA.
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Old August 25, 2014, 11:29 AM   #2
MrBorland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdtompki
my thinking is that I shouldn't fire any faster than I can properly manage the trigger. I go into the matches telling myself "trigger control", but in the heat of the moment I loose focus being new to the sport. Any suggestions on an approach? Should I rapid fire and the trigger manipulation will just come with time?
To rapid fire without regard to trigger control and/or sight picture is to shoot out of control, aka a hosefest. It's a very bad way to shoot a match and, unfortunately, "control" will never "just come", as it's a very easy habit to adopt, but a very hard one to break.

Your original thinking was spot on. Always shoot within your control. A good rule of thumb is that the time added from points down shouldn't be much more than 10% of your raw time. Much beyond that, you're out of control. Get to this point, and it's a very slippery slope, so your final score very likely suffered as a result, even if it felt otherwise.

Staying within your control can be a very difficult thing to do at first, but as your results improve, the positive feedback will greatly help reinforce your controlled shooting.

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdtompki
I'm seriously thinking about doing double taps on at least one string of each stage as a means of practicing for IDPA.
Normally I'd say it's a bad idea. A 2nd shot should only be taken when you actually know you need a 2nd shot. Planning ahead of time to take a makeup shot trains yourself to unnecessarily waste time and ammo and gives yourself permission to be visually sloppy. And because you've decided ahead of time to rip off 2 quickies, your 1st shot will likely be bad as well because you thought you couldn't miss with 2 shots. The truth is, 2 uncontrolled shots is far worse than a single controlled shot.

In your case, though, I understand this may be one of the few opportunities to practice double taps outside of matches. In this case, I strongly recommend making a commitment to yourself ahead of time that both rounds will hit steel and that you'll 1) only go as fast as you need to to get 2 hits and 2) you actually see both hits in real-time.

Last edited by MrBorland; August 25, 2014 at 01:22 PM.
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Old August 25, 2014, 02:38 PM   #3
1-DAB
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first match, i tried to go fast. too many misses.

second match resolved to shoot accurately, no matter how long it took. recorded one zero down stage, and another was only 3 down.

a bullet fired quickly that misses is worthless. hit what you aim at, speed will come.
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Old August 25, 2014, 03:47 PM   #4
RickB
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The scoring system used in IDPA favors accuracy, so I'd go for more of a one-shot-one kill approach.
You have to adjust for shots on moving targets, partial targets, distant targets, etc., but when you are shooting at full targets out to ten yards, get all the points, and try do so with minimum number of rounds.
I see people shooting twice, stopping to visually evaluate the target, fire one or two more rounds, etc., and you definitely do not want to do that.
It's not only too slow, when you are talking a half-second between a perfect shot and a good shot (-0 vs. -1), but firing extra rounds usually means doing extra reloads, and picking-up a few -1s, and so forcing a five-second reload, is not good strategy.
Try to have no more than 10% of your score in the form of penalties - points down, procedurals, misses, etc.
As a new shooter, that might mean dropping three or five points per stage, maybe a cover call and miss per match, etc., but as you become a better shooter, you will have to reduce the points down, and the penalties, to maintain that 10% as you become more efficient in all aspects of the game. You'll find ways to use dropped points to your advantage, so you're not just throwing them away.
Shameless plug: Check the links to the Powerfactor Show, here in the competition forum. We did a couple of episodes on Vickers scoring, and it should give you insights into how to use the scoring system to your advantage.
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Old August 25, 2014, 04:00 PM   #5
jimbob86
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You can't miss fast enough to do well.

And if you did get lucky and hose down the general area and against all odds, hit everything you were supposed to, and nothing you were not, what did you learn from it? What was gained? Where is the skill in pulling a trigger really fast and hoping for the best?

If "getting lucky" is the goal, there are more rewarding games ...... go play the Lotto or something........
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Old August 25, 2014, 04:06 PM   #6
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You cannot practice rapid fire correct? understand.

1. Practice getting your pistol onto target quickly.
2. Practice doing this to multiple targets.
3. Practice shooting one handed in the same manner.
4. At home pratcice drawing and moving/firing.
5. Others may disagree but I find you can "practice" double and tripple taps at home. TIme your trigger queeze in a practical fast manner. It helps more than you think to train your for thinking about multiple shots.

As you actually compete your speed will improve.
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Old August 25, 2014, 07:07 PM   #7
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I have been down the road you are on and have learned a few things. First,always strive to improve your accuracy because to do that you will have to ingrain good technique. Speed will come. You need control first.If you get a chance to practice outside of a tournament,shoot a smaller target,in other words make the practice harder than the event accuracy-wise. Do not be satisfied with down one shots -intend to hit the center of down zero. That's a pretty big piece of cardboard but you want to hit a small spot on it. I was a real also ran at IDPA until I really got serious about accuracy. My scores got better and better until I plateaued just a bit worse than some really good shooters. At that time I noticed that I was getting beat by shooters with a ton of points down and lightning fast raw times. So I decided to pick up my speed and lo and behold I could be intentionally faster with good control. I find my scores now as good as shooters that I consider very good,which pleases me no end because after all I'm just an old clay target guy who wants to be decent with his EDC.
About the steel challenge thing I found that shooting those big old targets at high speed built in some terrible habits. I get really sloppy because I can use some of my wingshooting talents to go fast which means I forget the front sight focus and the proper trigger control. It's fun to beat the younger guys at that but then I have to burn a ton of ammo at little teeny targets to get back right for anything normal. If you use the steel for practice then only be satisfied with dead center hits which means you will not be the fast guy out there.
I hope you don't have the vision issues that I have but they seem pretty common for us "seasoned"shooters.I have to tilt my head back to find the sweet spot in my bifocals for front sight focus and it's not fun but it's all I can do and I have gotten pretty good at it.It would be nice to be able to lean into the gun,but oh well. I can tell you that they make glasses with the reading prescription on top so that a person could lean forward but for my own reasons I haven't gone that route.
I started IDPA late like you and I'm having a blast.Hope you do too. Safe shooting.
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Old August 25, 2014, 10:00 PM   #8
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Shotgun,
I'm just starting on a similar path. My basic leanings are toward accuracy plus a)don't get DQ'ed and b)don't get any procedurals. I recognize that until I've done IDPA a number of town things won't slow down enough to permit me to pay more attention to some of the details. I'll just have to suppress the urge to speed up my shooting even though in the short term I might score slightly better.

Until I start reloading my wife and I will probably do the steel challenge with our M&P 22's, but there is still a bit of cross over even with the rimfire handgun. We're also going to give falling plates a try with our 9 and 40 and see how that goes. At speed an 8" plate will look a bit small at 25 yards (at speed), but it will definitely require trigger control.

I've also found a relatively local club that shoots IDPA with between 7 and 9 stages which should greatly increase the amount of experience I can gain; the more local club only has room to set up 5 stages.
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Old August 26, 2014, 04:43 AM   #9
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Some venues will let you practice any of the set up stages on your own after the match is over, so bring extra ammo and ask.
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Old August 26, 2014, 07:00 AM   #10
rdtompki
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Quote:
Some venues will let you practice any of the set up stages on your own after the match is over, so bring extra ammo and ask.
My club tears down immediately. There is a club 90 miles away that runs and IPSC practice every Saturday morning. I can probably get up there once/month. The good news is they start at 0900 so I can probably be back home by noon. I taking their "new action pistol shooter" orientation in a few weeks, a requirement for participation in any of their action pistol activities.
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Old August 26, 2014, 05:19 PM   #11
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Your M&P 22s will serve you well for cheap practice.They are excellent pistols and it's great the ergos match your centerfires. Sounds like you're all setup to have lots of fun.When you start to reload you will be surprised how much you can improve the recoil,especially with the .40,plus you will shoot a lot more for less money.Enloy your games and safe shooting.
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