Lessons learned if they are smart.

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.

6 Replies to “Lessons learned if they are smart.”

  1. Miguel,

    Found you blog from walt in pa. I live in miami and plan on trying IDPA. Was wondering if you could answer a couple questions.

    I carry a kahr cw9 in a cheap nylon holster. I own a glock, 1911, and berretta 92. Can I shoot with my carry cw9 to test my system?

    Was planning on attending the following Tropical Sport Shooting Association have you heard anything about them?




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  2. First, get rid of the cheap nylon holster and get yourself a good one πŸ™‚
    Yes you can shoot the CW9, it is an awesome little gun.
    And I know about the scallywags of TSSA. They are a bunch of loud mouths, generally crazy SOBs that will make you sweat and suffer and cuss. And that is when WE are being nice to new shooters πŸ˜‰
    We’ll make an exception in your case and not be nice…LOL
    Check us out at http://www.tssaidpa.us, Our next match will be Nov 26 at Markham Park if you can make it (I know, Thanksgivings and all) if not we will be in Trail Glades Range Dec 10.




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  3. I definitely want to try IDPA in the next few months. The problem up to this point has been that my carry gun is a Makarov and isn’t powerful enough under the rules, if I understand them correctly.

    Yesterday the wife and I got early Christmas presents of a Springfield XDm 9mm and a Rock Island Tactical 1911 though, so I should be set to get some good practice, once I get the 1911’s feed issues worked out (it’s used).




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  4. The Mak IRRC is under the .355 caliber (.38) so yes, it is out. IDPA starts with .38 and 9mm.
    The XD is a great gun according to the owners I talked to. About your 1911, 95% of all feeding problems (according to the JMB Acolytes) can be solved by the use of good magazines. There is a brisk business of range bags not because an average shooter needs them but because 1911 shooters need a sturdy contraption to carry their usual compliment of 30 magazines as the run of the mill mags crap out without warning and need to be discarded.. πŸ™‚
    Wilson Combat or Chip McCormick produce great and reliable mags, lots of experienced shooters swear by them. And they must be good since I seen them carry only 10 in their bags.




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    1. I am definitely blaming the magazines so far. It came with what appears to be a fake Colt magazine and an ACT-MAG…the Colt mag doesn’t even fit into the gun without forcing, and forget dropping free.

      I have a feeling that someone traded up to a better 1911 and threw a couple crappy mags in the case at the gun shop.

      I’ll probably pick up about 3 different kinds at a gun show this weekend and maybe a recoil spring too.




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