Starting IDPA

I made it a goal of 2012 to participate in at least one competition match.

I failed to meet that goal. Main reason? Limited time on weekends, and I chose teaching over playing games.

Plus I’ll tell you a secret. Public perception. Yes, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but people expect because you teach that you should be some awesome shooter — and that is not an unreasonable expectation. I know I don’t suck, but I am not at the level I expect of myself. I just haven’t made “becoming a Grandmaster USPSA/IPSC shooter” a top priority. And so I fear, with the “small world” that is the shooting world here in Central Texas, I’d go out to some match, stink up the joint, and how that would reflect on me as a teacher, upon KR Training, and so on. And so it’s kept me away. That’s just unhealthy and wrong, but it’s human of me. I’m getting over it.

I decided that in 2013 I need to shoot more. I need to get my skills up. And with Karl and Tim’s support, I’m backing off teaching and going to shoot local IDPA club matches in 2013. There are a lot of IDPA matches every month if I wanted to drive and be away every weekend, but I’ll start with one match and month and see how it goes. My intention is to shoot one IDPA match a month (with some minor exceptions), and dry practice the needed skills in between matches. If the only live fire I get each month is the match, then so be it — it’s better than I have been doing. I am not planning on shooting more than 1 match a month, but who knows how things might progress.

Interesting thing is the next matches? They’re all running the IDPA Classifier. Heck of a way to start, eh? But why not. In a way, it’d be cool to establish a baseline for myself. Yes, I expect to stink up the joint because I don’t know the rules, I don’t know how to play the game, and I don’t know how to “game” the game either. So I’ll just shoot, be very conservative, and suck. But at least there’s no where to go but up. 🙂

I’m also rusty as hell. *sigh*

That said, today I did go out to the A-Zone range and ran myself through some drills, one of which was the Classifier. At least I won’t be totally cold and unfamiliar with it. Alas, it’s been raining and was raining there this morning, light, but enough that it was muddy and slippery. Still, it doesn’t matter. Shoot, it’s no excuse for performance. The only thing it really prevented me from doing was kneeling — I got “almost down”.

How did I do? I’m solidly a Sharpshooter. That kinda depresses me because it’s not the level of performance I expect from myself — if I had shot Expert, I would have been happier. I had too many points down (especially on stage 3), including some misses that should not have happened. I mean, I expected I might stink up stage 3, but I should have been able to shoot stage 1 clean and I didn’t. *sigh*  I can say this was the first thing I shot, cold from the car, and the last time I did any live fire was a couple of months ago (yes, horrible). In fact, I haven’t done much dry fire either. I am not being a good role model. So really, when I look at it all, my performance is in line with everything. And I’m not happy about that.

I can’t fix it all overnight. Here’s a few things I can do now to start making tangible improvements:

  1. Get the first shot off faster. My time to first shot was in the 1.7 to 1.8 range. I was being slow today, intentionally so, but I can certainly work to improve this down to at least 1.5. A lot of this is just anticipating the buzzer and moving my body quickly to get the gun out of the holster a.s.a.p.. After shooting the Classifier, I spent some time doing one shot draw drills against the timer, trying to push myself. I could push and get to 1.5 without much problem but then #2 would fall apart.
  2. Work on the press-out/presentation. It’s about getting into that eye-target line, so when I do the draw, when I get things out faster. This really dovetails into #1. But while I do want to strive for the ideal sight picture and such, I have to remember the Brian Enos stuff of seeing as much sight picture as is needed, but no more. Allow myself to go faster and have the “good enough” sight picture for 7 yards (which will be different than 20 yards).
  3. Slow down more on the 15+ yard shooting.
  4. Speed up on 1H shooting.

Really, I think if I work on the draw/present, that’ll take me far with everything at this point. The goal then being to be able to shoot stage 1 clean, and I think 30 seconds is reasonable as a starting goal. I found some posts on the forums, for Expert breakdown and Master breakdown. Using those as a guide, I think cleaning stage 1 in 30 seconds is a good starting goal to work towards. Given how I shot today, it’s quite do-able with the above focus of faster draw and speeding up the 1H shooting.

Once I tackle that, I’ll reassess and tackle the next weak point. The larger goal is to classify as Expert (or better). In terms of time frame, I reckon that means “by the next Classifier”, which is probably January 2014. I’ve got a long road ahead of me.

Wish me luck on this new journey.

4 thoughts on “Starting IDPA

  1. When I got into IDPA I was also a solid sharpshooter and I too was expecting better results. It will not take you much time at all to clean up and shoot at an expert level.

    The stage 3 eats everyone’s lunch. I have seen countless classifiers that the SS and EX are on track for master through stage 1 & 2 then collapse on stage 3 so you’re not alone there.

    The main thing that helped me hit Master was the ability to call the shots with some confidence at distance (20 yards) with speed. That IMO is what holds back a lot of the shooters on Stage 3.

    • Cool. Thanx for the words of support. I did figure stage 3 was “the humbler”, but I’ll focus on it later… I think there’s more fundamental things to bring in line first.

  2. I’m right there with you Hsoi. I plan to re-add competition to my practice regiment this year. It sure is fun. Hopefully it has been long enough so that when I go out people will think it is my first time. 🙂

    • Heh. I just have to accept that I will stink up the joint, so just swallow the old pride and move forward. Within the year, if all goes well, all will be better and all will be forgotten.

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