November 19th, 2007 08:16 AM
Rant: It's only a game.
Yes, IDPA, IPSC, 3-gun and the rest are games. And there is nothing better than taking a class with real honest to good instructors that will teach you the stuff the way it is supposed to be. But after you learned all that, how do you practice it? Or if you cannot afford to travel or afford the fees for those classes, where do you learn some basic instruction in defensive shooting?
You average range will only allow static drills and no fast shooting, hardly a way to practice all those defensive skills you paid so dearly to acquire. If your finances can take it, you can retake a class evey month or so to brush up on your knowledge, but average Joe & Jane can's be shelling that kind of money & time.
Some of us have decided that games like IDPA are the best compromise there is out there. Yes, it is not a private class with Clint Smith or Pat Rogers or Randy Cain, but at least I get to practice what I learned even if it costs me time and not ranking among the top (or even the bottom) of the competitors.
So don't put down the "games" in favor of only some special class. The idea is to acquire & retain the best self defense knowldege we can get.
You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
November 19th, 2007 08:20 AM
Knowledge un-applied is knowledge lost.
November 19th, 2007 08:42 AM
I have only very recently participated in any of these "game" style shooting events, and I can only say the following:
The training value is there, it is up to you to take it. If you use your duty weapon and leather gear, carried the way you normally carry it, then it can (almost) only be a good thing. The benefits, as I see them, are: more trigger time(!); more presentations from the holster; more target discrimination practice; more general weapons handling skill practice (load/unload, mag change, malfunction drills [at least I'm told there are such things as malfunctions - I shoot a Sig ], and so on); the ability to move dynamically and engage from non-traditional stances/positions (not allowed on many ranges); the (admittedly fairly artificial) stress of being watched; and others.
The downsides can be: focus on a particular number of rounds per target, rather then shooting until the threat is stopped; focus on time; slightly unrealistic scenarios (one scenario required 5(!) mag changes); and similar things. The biggest threat is also the easiest to avoid - don't buy "race" gear that you don't use on a daily basis, and you'll never be tempted to use it to squeeze that extra half-second off of your times.
In my first outing, I found that I was nearly as accurate - if a bit slower - then most folks sporting the whole comped-ported-weighted-giant mag well-ridiculous "holster"-super kits. Shooting a box stock P228, I had absolutely no trouble hitting the A zone just about every time, and those times that I slipped out of the A zone it was almost always because I tried to rush my shots to keep up with the race gunners. I enjoyed having to shoot from odd angles and positions, having to move to cover, fire from around cover, and the like. I didn't like having to start some stages fully "locked and loaded," some with a full mag and an empty chamber, and some with a totally empty gun (if your gun is on you, it is fully loaded with one in the chamber, [i]right?[/b]), and the fact that each and every target got two rounds and two rounds only. Also, I was reprimanded twice for "sweeping" my feet as I pointed my pistol down and in front of me while moving through the courses - apparently they want you to keep the weapon pointed up and in front of you on the range...seems like a bad idea in real life, and I'm going to keep pointing the weapon down and in front (at least until they kick me out), but not a show-stopper in my book.
All in all, there is good training/practice to be had, as long as you approach it with the right mindset and don't let the "game" aspect of it draw you into bad habits... I equate it to some of the high speed driving coursed I've had, where they teach us how to go as fast as possible on an empty track - it's good to know, and it's good training on how to handle the vehicle at high speeds, but it's obviously impractical in 99.9% of actual street driving. Knowing the difference, and keeping the good while purging (or better yet, ignoring from the outset) the bad, and it seems like a win-win.
A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.
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