From my IDPA match. Not too bad…I did middle of the pack. Which was my goal.
I’ve added Miguel at Gun Free Zone to George’s Handy Dandy blogroll.
Wow. What a blast!
I was a little nervous going into the match. Folks who know me might find this surprising, but I really hate doing things by myself. When I travel, I usually opt to skip dinner or get room service rather than go to a restaurant by myself. It’s especially hard for me to go into new situations where I don’t know what to do…like for example my first match. I left the house late, flew up to Meck Wildlife Club, and got signed up for my first match.
The cliche in the gunnieverse is that gun folks are nice folks (they are) and that if you show up and don’t know what you are doing, they will go out of their way to help you. They do. The stories of people who show up at a match not intending to shoot and getting offered equipment are also true. One guy showed up to just watch the match, saying he was going to shoot next time. A bunch of us tried to get him to shoot it. “Here, you can borrow my spare pistol!” “Here, I’ve got a spare holster!”
The Mecklenburg Wildlife Defensive Shooters are the nicest bunch of folks you could ever hope to meet. The day started with an introduction from the match director, Bruce Hurt. Bruce welcomed us all to the match, and moreover to the Mecklenburg Wildlife Defensive Shooters community. There were 8 or so of us newbies, and Bruce invited us to participate as much as we wanted. He even asked if we were interested in helping set up or become safety officers. The SO for the squad that I was in, Ray Oljeski, went out of his way to make sure I knew what I was doing, and took extra time to help me with a few of the courses. The other guys in my squad also offered suggestions and encouragement. It was a great experience, and as a newbie, I felt very welcome.
Sometimes, in a competitive environment, you get a lot of rules and, well, competition. This match was as far as you can get from that. IT felt more like a bunch of folks out having fun shooting. There wasn’t any “letter of the law” enforcement of the rules, save one: safety. Mecklenburg Wildlife Defensive Shooters runs a cold range: no ammo in the guns except when you are on the firing line. The match was very well run from that perspective.
You can read my liveblog on the experience here. On to the full AAR.
The match consisted of six stages. At each stage, there was a specific course of fire. Each stage ranged from five to 8 targets. Some were open, meaning you could engage in any order, some specified “tactical order”, meaning you had to engage in a specific order. Some had cover, some had poppers, and swingers, and…well, more in a bit.
An aside here regarding IDPA. You can read the whole story here, but IDPA is a game designed to be as close to real-world as possible. No trick guns, no optics, use cover when possible, etc. You start at the line with a cover garment, and shoot from the draw. Some of these rules gave me a bit of trouble. More on that later. Scoring is pretty simple: you take the raw time, then start adding penalties. In general, two hits per target are required. There are three zones in an IDPA target, +0, +1, and +3. Hits in the corresponding area add that many seconds to you time. Then there are additional penalties. More on that later.
OK, so I step up to the line for my first stage ever in a match in my first match ever. And I am greeted with this monstrosity:
As an explanation: You start at the top of the course. You drop the popper at the end of the bay. This starts the swingers a-swinging. You engage the two closest targets, then the two swingers, then run down the hall, engage the target on the right (making sure you maintain cover!) then, making sure your slide is locked back and the mag out, put your pistol on the table. Then pick up the revolver that is sitting on that table. There are two rounds in it…somewhere. Put both of those rounds on the target. Simple, no? Err..no!
In no time at all, it was my turn. Ray asked me how I was going to approach the stage, offered some advice, and then it was time for the formal ritual.
“Do you understand the course of fire?”
Gun comes up. Got the popper…good sight picture…*BANG!* Cool, it went down! Neat! Wait…wasn’t I supposed to do something else? CRAP! Target one! *BANG!* *BANG!* Target two! *BANG!* *BANG!* Swingers. Man those things are going fast. How the heck do you…*BANG!* Not gonna…*BANG!* Swinger two. Wait for…*BANG!**BANG!* Down the hallway. Target on the right. Maybe we should check the sights…*BANG!* The revolver…what do I do? Oh right. Huh…the slide is already back. Can I drop the mag? I think so. Maybe I should…no just drop it. Put the gun on the table. Pick up the revolver. WATCH YOUR COVER! OK, it’s a revolver, just keep you sight picture and..*Click* *Click* *Click* *BANG!* *Click* *BANG!*.
Oh man. I’m done. What do I do now? Keep it pointed down range. Open the revolver and put it down.
“Open and show clear.”
….Hmmm…what do I…Oh, right, drop the mag and slide back…
…What?…Oh, drop the slide…
I holster my gun, and….
erupt into uproarious laughter!
Ray asked me “What did you think?” I can only laugh. Yes, that sucked. I didn’t do anything I was supposed to. Brian would have my head for disgracing TigerSwan. But man, that was fun. I couldn’t tell you my score, except that I didn’t do all that great. I didn’t do anything that Brain taught us. I blame myself…clearly I haven’t been practicing enough. But who cares…man that was great!
Before I know it, we are going to stage two. Stage two is much, much simpler than stage one. There are a few barricades, and a few places where we need to watch cover.
“Shooter ready…stand by….”
My shooting was middle of the road. I’m too amped up to watch the sight picture. Slow down, G!
And I caught a procedural on this stage. The rules specify that you need to engage threats in tactical order. That is to say, you slice the pie and engage the targets in the order you see them. Newbie fail.
Fast forward to stage four. Stage four, if anything, is even more complicated than stage one. There are poppers, targets on ramps, swingers…just a whole bunch of things. I mentally force myself to slow down and make sure I have a good sight picture….and shoot it clean. Hmmm….that bump on the end of the slide works!
The final stage, stage six, was pretty simple. It was a variation on the classic “El Presidente”. Six targets, two strings of fire. You start facing uprange. Turn and fire. First string, one hit each, tactical reload (a reload in which you have to “retain” the spent magazine. Which means it needs to go into a pocket or mag pouch.) Then six more shots on the targets. Second string. Six shots strong hand, tac reload, six shots weak hand. Four magazines. I put two mags in my holder, one each on my left and right vest pockets.
I belly up to the line.
“Load and make ready”
I take the mag from my right pocket and load my gun.
“Shooter ready…stand by…”
I turn, *BANG!*…*BANG!*….*BANG!*…*BANG!*…*BANG!*…*BANG!*
reload…I grab from my mag pouch. I see the line on my magwell, just like Brian taught me…
Man, that went well. My reload was perfect. I’m down zero! Good for me.
“Reload and make ready…” I grab the reload from my mag pouch.
“Shooter ready…stand by…” *BEEP*
Man this is going well. I’m clean so far.
I reach for the reload…What the hell?
My mag pouches are empty. What the hell?
I stand there for a second, dumbfounded. I loaded four mags…how can I be out? Two in the mag pouch, two in the….oh, crap. It’s in my vest pouch!
WhatDoIDoWhatDoIDoWhatDoIDo? I’ve got mags in my vest right pocket…shit, four rounds each, not enough to finish. Get the mag out of the left…where is your muzzle? Keep it…ok, mag is out. It’s in the wrong hand! What do I…ok…here we go, switch and..reatain! In the pocket! Where the hell is the…ok, there it is…reload and finish. Take your time! You can’t afford to…*BANG!*…*BANG!*…*BANG!*…*BANG!*…*BANG!*…*BANG!*…
Damn, that sucked.
In the end, I did ok. No DQs, although I totally understand how Robb had his. When that buzzer sounds, all intellect goes out the window. It’s sensory overload. It is like…*BEEP*…GOGOGO!!!!!! I could have shot much better, and I could have shot much faster.
Upside: Man, that was fun! I can’t wait until next month. And at least four of my fellow shooters asked me, quite pointedly, “We’ll see you again, right!!??!!” What’s better than shooting, with nice folks, and having fun? Nothing I can see…
Finished stage one. No extra holes and no DQ yet. My marksmanship sucked.
Finished stage two. Better shooting, but I hit a procedural. Bad tactical order.
Stage three. Ok, that sucked. Mental note: slow down.
Stage four. Slowing down seems to make it easier to hit the targets.
Stage five. Middle of the road. I need to slow down, but the adrenaline is making that tough.
Stage six. I made a stupid mistake that cost me major time.
It’s over, no blood loss and I had lots of fun. Full AAR to follow.
Well, the Plan Of Record is that tomorrow morning, I will join the Mecklenburg Wildlife Defensive Shooters for my first ever IDPA match. I’ve been trying to get out there for a match for a while now, and I’ve decided to make it a priority.
Truth be told, I’m really nervous. I’m a reasonably good shot, and when I want to be I’m pretty fast (I came in second in my Gunsite 350 shoot off), but for some reason getting on the clock scares me.
AAR tomorrow afternoon.
I was just able to fend off a minor Thanksgiving crisis. I didn’t think I had enough pan drippings for gravy. Solution? De-glaze the roasting pan with chicken stock, pour the resulting liquid through a strainer to keep out the chunks, then pour it into a nice light-brown roux. It’s delicious!
Now, back to my ‘taters…
Lets see…the stuffing is made, the turkey is in the oven, I’ve got the cake and the ice cream made. Nothing left to do but the potatoes, the popovers, the squash, the collards…ugh.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. I’m thankful for quite a bit this year. In the gunnie world, I’ve gotten to take some great classes, meet some great people, and on Saturday I get to shoot my first IDPA match. What could be more better then that?
John at NLOG&M has compiled an extensive list of Black Friday deals for gunnies. Go stimulate!
Jennifer posts a story of a a colleague who is confident that her attitude is going be an effective defense.
Here’s the problem with that strategy. A confident look will deter attackers who are deterred by a confident look. It may encourage a goblin into finding a different prey item. But then again, it may not. And then you are left without much place to go.
This is the exact same problem that we face with pepper spray, stun guns, brass knuckles, harsh words, angry gestures, and self-imposed vomiting. They all work…until they don’t. And when they don’t, you are awfully likely to find yourself without a lot of good options.
Folks, I’m going to let you in on a set of uncomfortable realities:
- You may, at some point in your life, be required to defend your life or the life of someone you love.
- There is no way to predict when or where you might need to do this.
- When that moment comes, you will have seconds to take action
Once you come to terms with this uncomfortable reality, why on earth wouldn’t you choose to have the tool that would be best able to do the job? Namely, prevent your death and/or maiming, or to prevent it from happening to someone you love?
Tam says it better than I did as is par for the course.
We may not win this time, but yesterday was a big, big deal.