I started this blog with the intent to track my progress in making IDPA Master. Ultimately that is still a goal of mine, but in achieving that goal I have learned a few things I didn’t realize at first.
- The IDPA Classifier is a good means to track improvement.
- The IDPA Classifier has virtually nothing to do with IDPA Match skills.
- Within the ranks of IDPA you will find lots of good people as well as “Tactical Timmy’s” that consider it to be training for the streets.
- IDPA is a game, although a lot of the membership would seem to believe it is not.
- USPSA shooters take themselves less seriously.
- I am a gamer, not a tactical guy. Don’t take that to mean I don’t care about self defense and my personal safety. It just means that I don’t live my life in fear of a ninja attack or zombie apocalypse, or SHTF or TEOTWAWKI.
Now, let me address this one by one.
The IDPA Classifier test multiple skills against a set time. You are only judged against the clock. There is very little movement and the Classifier never changes. This is good for tracking growth and skill development.
Oddly enough, you are not required to use a cover garment and most people seem to despise shooting it. In a match you will have no shoots, hard targets, movement, swingers, ports to shoot through and a vest. Ah, the damn vest. I hate the vest. People have told me at matches that IDPA is proper training while wearing the vest. If there was ever a piece of game equipment required for one sport it is the IDPA vest. The vest is gaming concealed carry.
- Shoot USPSA while wearing Salomon shoes and cargo pants? Sure.
- Wear those same shoes and cargo pants on the street? Sure.
- Wear them while hiking? Sure.
When, oh when, do you wear the IDPA vest out in public? Who’s the gamer?
IDPA is training? Some people have actually told me IDPA is training, too my face, seriously! I responded by asking who the instructor was. That went over well! I was also informed that I was just a gamer and did not appreciate that IDPA helped develop skills need to survive a fight in the streets. WHAT??? I realize I live in Fort Worth, but this is 2015, not 1875. We don’t have shoot-outs at noon. Do I carry? Religiously. Will I every need to use it? I hope not. Do I feel the need to carry extra mags and a back-up gun? Nope. Don’t go looking for trouble…
These same people that say IDPA is training are using a special designed IDPA vest, adorned with patches, concealing a Glock 34, S&W Pro, full size 1911 or some other large gun, with a hair trigger, in an IDPA legal OWB “race” holster. That would all be fine, if that is how they actually carried, but it is not. After the match they put their Ruger LCP back in their pocket, secure in the fact they received training. Ummm, I see holes in this thought process. .. TIMMY!!
Ready to engage in tactical priority. Timmy! (photo from www.feedigitalphotos.net)
USPSA Shooters are gamers. They know it, IDPA knows it, people that don’t even know anything about guns sees a photo of a USPSA shooter in mid stride and knows he is competing – IN A GAME! IDPA shooters are also competing in a game. The rule book even says so on the first page.
So what we have are two pistol shooting competitions that are diametrically opposed on how they view themselves. This is not to say there are not gamers in IDPA, there are. But the real gamers generally migrate to USPSA because running and shooting a pistol is fun and USPSA does running and shooting a pistol better.
By contrast, it seems to me, given my short time shooting competition, that one of the IDPA charter goals is to ensure it is NOT mistaken as USPSA.
Along the same lines USPSA shooters don’t take themselves seriously. Look at what some of them wear. Go to an IDPA match and you’ll see 5.11, Blackhawk!, many things involving Spartans, Trojans, Romans or Molon Labe. Go to a USPSA match and you’ll see cargo shorts, golf shorts, ugly shoes and comical tee shirts. Of course in both competitions you’ll find the person wearing a jersey because of sponsor requirements.
Gamer. It took me less than 3 IDPA matches to determine I am not a Tactical Timmy, which is odd because I do enjoy my AR and self defense classes. But I also realize when to be serious and when to play the game.
What does this mean? I am putting more emphasize on USPSA. I still intend to make Master Class in IDPA, but after seeing the greater shooting challenge that USPSA holds, that is where I would rather play.
I don’t get to shoot much, so it only makes sense to maximize the time available shooting the competition I find the most fun.
Thank God for what you have, work for what you want and make sure you nourish what is important – family and friends.
– C. Daniel