Sucking at IDPA: Love Thy Cover!

Beside starting way too old in this shooting sport thing, I treat every cardboard target as a real bad guy which much better marksmanship than me. This leads me to use cover as tight as damned possible and wasting “precious” time in the game. Call me coward.

According to IDPA rules: “More than 50% of the shooter’s upper torso must be behind cover while engaging threat targets and/or reloading… and for vertical cover such as a wall/barricade, 100% of the shooter’s legs and feet must be behind cover.”

And that would translate to:

And if shooting from the side of a barricade we have:

As you can see, still there is what I consider a lot of of places where a bullet can make cute holes and create a lot of injury. We have the head, spine, lungs, Aorta artery, Carotid artery, both Subclavian artery and vein, Brachial artery and both pulmonary artery and vein. Also remember that even if the bullet misses a one of those blood vessels but happens to hit bone, fragments of such bone can easily damage arteries or veins with pretty much the same result as a direct hit.

Here are some examples:

While this is IDPA legal, the area exposed is too big for my taste but works from the game’s point of view.

This one offers more protection but makes for lousy stage times unless you are damn good which most shooters are and I ain’t.

Barrels are great to demonstrate both low cover and side cover. This pic shows a barely legal and maybe illegal cover position in IDPA. Safety Officer’s choice.

This is a much tighter and better use of cover from a defensive standpoint since it minimizes exposure of the shooter’s major blood vessels and other anatomically sensitive areas.

And a good IDPA Shooter will use cover sensibly and still kick butt. Notice his gun aiming at the target behind the No-Shoot (second from the left) and still maintaining an excellent cover exposing very little of his body.

And for those who will think I am engaged in an IDPA-Bashing trip, be advised it is not the intention here, just the opposite. No other shooting sport makes it a point to use of cover religiously and this is a great skill to have for real life situations. You can approach an IDPA match the gaming way or the tactical way, shooter’s choice. In any case you are imprinting on your brain that cover is not an option to easily discard but a must when the S hits the F.What I am talking here are degrees of cover, nothing else.

If the First Rule of a Gunfight is to have a Gun, the Second is Not To Get Shot. That is where the use of cover comes to play. It is nice to go home at the end of the day without any other holes that those God designed your body to have or as a result of voluntary piercing.

PS: Shooters in the images are from members of Tropical Sport Shooting Association and taken from the Club’s New Shooter Safety Refresher Course by Rick L.

2 Replies to “Sucking at IDPA: Love Thy Cover!”

  1. I agree, though I find it hard to do. I probably need to practice shooting from cover as much as I do drawing from concealment when I dry practice.

    Your approach is even closer to real life than the rules require. IDPA is more real than other games. Where is the IDPA stage that has us turn and run like heck with those we love? Now that would be real life.


  2. You haven’t met Fred. Fred is our VERY HEAVY dummy that is always injured and we must take to safety.

    Our Evil CoF designer even had us shooting from under Fred once as if he had fallen on top of the shooter.

    Needless to say we don’t like Fred very much 🙂



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