We define New Shooter as anybody who has not shot a match with us before, which is a polite way to say I don’t care if you say you just finished a tour with Delta, unless you go through our New Shooter Orientation, you ain’t shooting with us.This is done to check the person’s proficiency with a firearm which leads to have safe matches. We have been forced to deny people the opportunity to shoot a match because they have never touched a gun before or their skills are so poor that they were a danger to the rest of the shooters. IDPA is an action sport and you need a modicum of gun training before attempting it.
That being said, we had some 15 New Shooters yesterday. Some were experienced shooters and even a couple of already classified IDPA shooters new to the area who promptly joined squads and the rest were people that knew enough not to be a danger and after a full briefing, they also got to join in the fun.
For several of the new New Shooters, I do hope the experience was eye opening as they found out that the equipment they had, mostly their every day carry gear or some cheap last minute buys to attend the match failed them miserably.
Clint Smith is fond to say “One is none and two is one.” and one particular shooter who attended found out the hard way. He brought two magazines for his Glock instead of the recommended three. Murphy was his SO and one of the magazines promptly went Tango Uniform unable to complete a stage. We wanted to disassemble the mag and see what was going on but we couldn’t even remove the base plate. Fortunately other shooters had spare mags that he borrowed and he was able to finish the match. Funny thing, the mag was one of the two he carried every day, but it was never put under the “stress” of action shooting. Hopefully lesson learned and he will buy a bunch of new ones.
Uncle Mike also had an appearance with a nylon & velcro model who would not stay put. That damn thing would squirm more than my cat trying to avoid a bath. I am sure the New Shooter got an earful of recommendations and we will see him next time with an honest to God good holster.
But, just because you have a holster does not mean you are set. Practicing the draw is important, specially if your holster has a retention device. One New Shooter I SO’ed had a Serpa Holster and went the timer went off and he went for his gun, he forgot to push the darn button to release it. For the next couple of seconds the shooter gave himself several testicular wedgies till his brain caught up and managed to activate the release. I am going to take a chance here and guess that this shooter had not practiced drawing from this particular holster a lot till it became second nature and it showed at the second worst possible moment. I also got some insight on why some clubs and training schools are forbidding the use of Serpas: the possibility of a Negligent Discharge by a less than trained shooter skyrockets when the brain and the hand decide to have a match of their own and you end up with an episode of Benny Hill right in front of you.
I am firmly in the camp that you should shoot IDPA with the equipment that you carry every day. I do wander off the reservation sometimes and shoot revolver and an ESP gun, but mostly is my trusty FNP-9 with two spare mags. I had issues with the equipment and had them solved so I am realistically confident that it will deliver when needed the most.
I do hope that the New Shooters learned the lessons and come back to have more fun with improved confidence on both equipment and gun operations. If crap is supposed to fail, it better be at the range during a match where the cost is measured in points down and catcalls and not in blood.