Is Shooting IDPA Training or Just Another Action Pistol Game?


PDA






Hangingrock
February 7, 2012, 12:40 PM
Is Shooting IDPA Training or Just Another Action Pistol Game? This is the subject of an article in The Blue Press March 2012 Page Numbers 60&61.

I believe the author makes valid points that IDPA is just a game.

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guyfromohio
February 7, 2012, 12:55 PM
If it's a game that requires honing a skill or even a repetition of an action, it's training in my book. At least that's what I'm going to tell my wife this spring.

esheato
February 7, 2012, 01:04 PM
It can be either...depending on your needs. If you have taken formal training and treat the matches as reinforcement, you'll never place high in the rankings but could call it training.

If you play to win, it is a game.

Sam1911
February 7, 2012, 01:13 PM
Well, this is a hotly contested topic. Mostly hotly contested by guys who don't bother to come out and shoot IDPA -- or by those few who for some reason feel a need to overstate the case from one side or the other.

One major point to start with: "TRAINING" involves being trained. You need an element of instruction going on here. Competition, without instruction, can't begin to be training. So, IDPA might be called "PRACTICE."

I've yet to run accross anyone who competes believing that IDPA IS training.

I've yet to run accross more than a handful who are serious about training who don't see the opportunities presented by IDPA type competition as valuable opportunities to practice certains skills.

I've said a few words on the subject before:

At the risk of starting a flame fest, if the level of "training" you're looking for can be summed up with the following:


1. Work from a holster
2. Shoot while moving
3. Shoot multiple targets (and shoot them while moving)
4. Shoot from concealment
5. Shoot at targets that partially concealed
6. Night shooting
7. Shooting multiple times and shooting rapid fire
8. Reloading
9. Stress Inoculation


That sounds like the very definition of IDPA competition practice. And most of those skills are covered by USPSA/IPSC, too.

Of course, posting this will bring several vehement posts screaming that "IDPA isn't tactical training" -- and they're right, to a degree.

But the list above isn't a complete education in shooting tactics, either. It is, however, a very valuable set of (elementary level) pistolcraft skills, the development of which is sadly lacking for most "square range" shooters.

If you find yourself needing these (basic) skills improved, and there is no official tactical shooting school close by, look for the nearest IDPA or USPSA match club and go practice with them. At the very least, after a season or two of practical shooting competition, you'll be ready to apply the more specailized training that a tactical school can offer, instead of spending that sizable chunk of money and time to attend a school -- just to have them have to teach you how to holster your gun without shooting your foot.


I also said this:

...to look out over hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of average Joes and Janes who; 1) have hunted for years but now think that maybe they want to get their CCW and buy a pistol, or 2) who've lived without exposure to guns and just woke up to the realities of a dangerous world, or 3) who are part of that 99% of both the police and the military that draws a gun about twice a year to qualify on a static range, or 4) is a pretty sold-out "gunny" type who owns a modest, but very clean, collection of firearms and hits the range once a month or so to try as best as he can figure out (probably on his own) how to put 50 holes somewhere in a silhouette target at 20 yds over the course of an hour and a couple of coffee breaks -- I say, to look at these folks and say, "IDPA & USPSA style shooting will get you KILLED!" is just insulting and ludicrous.

[SNIP]

... the practice in gun-handling, worn-in safety procedures, sight alignment and trigger control under stress, unconscious manipulation of the gun's controls and the reload, etc., etc., can ONLY help. And they can make a HUGE difference. And the encouragement and coaching of a group of accomplished shooters (especially those with a "practical" mindset as well as the competitive view) will propel you far further, far faster, than you can ever hope to get on your own.

Most confrontations where a gun is used involve a very few "opponents" and, if shots are fired at all, usually it's less than three or four rounds. For the vast majority of us, having a gun with us, and being generally proficient in its use, and able to make center-of-mass hits almost unconsciously under stress, will increase our "win" rate by 100x. This is where the "gun games" shine as a strong training aid. They get people out shooting -- a lot -- and shooting while moving, trying to find and use cover (sometimes), facing an endless variety of target presentations, etc. For most folks, the alternative is either plinking at bulls-eyes and tin cans or sitting on the couch watching Starsky & Hutch re-runs.

So, competition isn't training, itself. But it can be a good teaching tool, and a great practice aid.

Sam1911
February 7, 2012, 01:22 PM
Having said allllll of that, I'll give what I feel to be the heart of the most legitimate counter-argument.

In THIS THREAD (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=7927834&highlight=flak#post7927834) I shared a few of what I see as the stages of development of an action pistol shooter. One of those stages involves figuring out the choreography and pre-shoot strategizing of the stage, as well as developing the skills to speed up and streamline movement and address shots aggressively. About those skills I said:
Unfortunately a lot of my number 4 sub-points are the kind of things that start to give some (TINY) bit of validity to the "IDPA isn't training" flak.

There are plenty of little motion and time-saving techniques you will learn to do if you want to succeed in competition that are quite unsound in a self-defense scenario (as I'm often advised by the NTI crew who make up the bulk of my shooters).

Maybe that's part of why I put those things 4th. If you're deeply into the game, you should recognize and use these techniques. If you're using IDPA matches as (simply) a great chance to practice practical shooting skills, you might not want to divert your attention into the choreography of running a known COF.

But some of those skills do translate -- like not crowding cover, keeping your gun up in your work space and oriented toward the threat, efficient and opportunistic reloads, etc.

Sheepdog1968
February 7, 2012, 01:42 PM
I would say it all depends on how you treat it. I used to bring my home defense pistol and would use cover where possible and shoot at longer distances even if you were allowed to advance to the target for a shot (distance favors the marksmanship). I learned a lot and got to shoot in some odd positions and got to move and shoot. All of these things I couldn't do on a square range. I'm sure no matter what you will learn something from it. Just try not to develop muscle memory for bad habits that help you to "win the game." and you should be fine.

Hangingrock
February 7, 2012, 01:49 PM
Ok Folks I’m not being argumentative, disruptive, or trolling in regards to IDPA. I believe that the article made valid points. It’s a good read. One may agree or disagree with the author of the article in his conclusions.

Sam1911
February 7, 2012, 01:52 PM
Oh, I didn't think you were trolling. We just do see this conversation come up a lot and some things get said without the context to qualify them. I think I still have that BP magazine around. I'll try to remember to read that article.

What points did you feel he made well?

WilleRupert
February 7, 2012, 02:23 PM
IDPA is definitely training, especially if you're trying to:

"Improve your skills in comprehending and remembering an often needlessly complex set of instructions for a given course of fire."

and

"Develop your ability to tolerate several overweight middle aged men commenting and bickering over every rule, action, and detail of a given course of fire, not to mention second-guessing the SO."

mgmorden
February 7, 2012, 02:59 PM
I'm personally not really an IDPA shooter (but then again, I don't really WANT to train :)), but even I can recognize that half the time the people making those claims about IDPA not being training or pulling that old "competition will get you killed" card will then happily go to the local indoor range and casually bang away at a stationary target at 10 yards for a few hundred rounds before calling it a day.

Realistically, IDPA (and all shooting sports) still get the person engaging multiple target arrays, shooting quickly, and drawing from a holster. No, shooting any type of match isn't going to make you into some grizzled old combat veteran, but it's not like blasting from the line is going to do that either. For anyone who doesn't feel like running to the front lines of whatever war we might be fighting right now, IDPA and the other shooting sports give a lot of good practice.

Think of it a little like Karate Kid. "Wax the car" and "sand the floor" aren't like fighting, but Daniel-San was much better prepared for the situation after having practiced the basic motions over and over ;).

WilleRupert
February 7, 2012, 03:15 PM
/\

Generally I agree. You get a lot of practice drawing and firing from concealment, which is valuable. I just wish there was less talk and more rock. People sure seem to like to bog matches down with discussion. Maybe it's just the clubs I've been to, but it seems like the IDPA could benefit as an organization with a few overarching guidelines / bylaws regarding simplicity.

Hoser
February 7, 2012, 03:31 PM
It is training for gun handling skills and shooting while moving. Just like IPSC/USPSA, ICORE, ect.

Other than that, it is just like any other gun game out there. You get out of it what you put in.

AFDavis11
February 7, 2012, 04:40 PM
It costs me more now-a-days to shoot at a static range than to compete. I think it is great to shoot in competition and to watch others as they shoot.

I think some shooting sports have a few competitive idiosyncracies that take it away from training and make it more practice. The simple fact that none of the targets shoots back much can detract a little from the experience. I only had one steel target shoot back at me. The round bounced back into my chest. At the end of the course of fire I turned around and met with total silence as the other shooters saw blood coming from my chest. :)

waktasz
February 7, 2012, 04:43 PM
It's not training but it is practice.

Jim Watson
February 7, 2012, 05:20 PM
I consider it a skill test.

It isn't training because you are not being instructed and critiqued.
It isn't practice (in my book) because you are not executing specific tasks repeatedly.
But back when I was MD at the local, I would tell shooters, "I didn't set this up because I thought I could do it easily, I set it up like that because that is what I need to work on."

But you get a challenge on relatively short notice and must execute it under a bit of stress... if you care how well you do.

chrome_austex
February 7, 2012, 06:25 PM
Oh, its definitely a game. However, it also does have some good crossover skills, and reinforces 'fewer' bad habits than some other pistol action sports. Its also a decent skills test.

If you're willing to give up some measure of competitiveness, you can get more 'training' in your game if you have the right mindset, but to be competitive, you probably have to treat it like more like a game.

Smokin Gator
February 8, 2012, 02:19 AM
"I'm personally not really an IDPA shooter (but then again, I don't really WANT to train ), but even I can recognize that half the time the people making those claims about IDPA not being training or pulling that old "competition will get you killed" card will then happily go to the local indoor range and casually bang away at a stationary target at 10 yards for a few hundred rounds before calling it a day."

This is very true. And what percentage of those shooters who do go somewhere and get some quality training, actually spend real time every month practicing what they learned at their training. A heck of a lot of shooters that participate in competitions are getting out 2 or 3 times a month shooting matches not including trips to the range on their own.. IDPA by itself is not training, but it certainly is good practice for gun handling skills, shooting on the move, around barriers, kneeling, weekhand, etc. Mark

167
February 8, 2012, 05:08 AM
I have always thought of competition s a test of fundamental skill more than anything else.

I don't consider it training or practice, or a game, but a test of my ability to solve a shooting problem that I had no part in creating.

iblong
February 8, 2012, 07:19 AM
It Is a game and is not trainning persay,but to me it is a practice in that it
helps keep your gun handling skills fresh,shooting from cover,shooting while moving in or out,side ways,avoiding shooting the good guys ect. and a lot more fun than shooting at static targets.Just my 2 cents.

mavracer
February 8, 2012, 07:42 AM
It's not training but it is practice.
I agree. It's a pretty good way to practice important gun handeling skills.

Hk Dan
February 8, 2012, 08:32 AM
IDPA or USPSAare NOT training. Noone is going to correct a bad technique or show you how to fix a problem you're having. It is at best 'good practice'. I love IDPA and I shoot it a lot. The guys who think it's training have not actually taken training (I'm guessing) and don't know the benefit they'd get from a competent instructor.

Not training. I am trained, trust me, IDPA/USPSA ain't it.

jmorris
February 8, 2012, 08:38 AM
Shooting IDPA is really only training for playing IDPA. There are good things a shooter develops in all games though.

BullfrogKen
February 8, 2012, 08:57 AM
I've had my fair share and more of formal classes and realistic training.


I use IDPA to keep gun handling skills current on a clock, in a scenario I didn't design. But I do a lot of things that earn me procedurals. I just show up knowing ahead of time I'm going to place somewhere in the bottom third by doing things my way.

And I'm completely OK with that.


I'll often measure and evaluate things on my own that the score doesn't reflect. Like, did I get off the line of force when I drew? If I was out in the open, did I move during my reload? If I could move somewhere not on the course design to drastically change the dynamics of the encounter in my favor, which way would it be? Even if I can't move there because of the 180 rule, I'll mentally envision which is the best angle to take so I can stack multiple threats. Am I looking beyond the threats to take advantage of any backstops, and make sure they're clear of non-threats? Did I do a 360 check when I was finished, before I unload and show clear?


Fortunately I have a lot of friends here in our local league, and they're as much of a reason to show up as the chance to exercise gun handling skills. And they let me do it my way, for the most part. I just earn procedurals when I chose to deviate from the "IDPA way".

Dr.Rob
February 8, 2012, 01:10 PM
It's a little of both I think.

Mostly (unless your fellow competitors and SO's offer tips) you are practicing your gunhandling and shooting skills, and they will get better the more you shoot. Adding in the element of the 'unknown' tests your perception and ability to problem solve.

However if you're doing something 'wrong' you're training your muscles to keep doing it.

So no, it's not a shooting classroom with a learned instructor, but it's not just target shooting either.

Hk Dan
February 8, 2012, 04:41 PM
You have a good point Rob. It's CERTAINLY better than plinking away at soup cans or trying to shoot tiny lil groups on a Shoot N See target. 1000% improvement there, but it's certainly NOT a Rob Pincus or Mas Ayoob class either! <g>

coolluke01
February 8, 2012, 06:17 PM
If it was really "real world" practice I would bring my G26 instead of my G34. I do plan on shooting a few times with the G26 but I bought the G34 for shooting IDPA. Being that they are both Glocks and operate the same way, I do think I get benefit from my time shooting IDPA with the 34.

Sauer Grapes
February 8, 2012, 07:42 PM
For me, it's just a way to hone my shooting skills as opposed to standing at a shooting bench.
I'm sure if those paper targets were able to return fire, it wouldn't be all that much fun.
I shoot with my carry gun and holster in IDPA. It's made me a much better shooter. I don't care if I win, I just like the practice. {for what it's worth}

Jeff22
February 8, 2012, 10:52 PM
Is Competitive Shooting relevant to self-defense? Is IDPA or IPSC competitive shooting a form of training? This question gets discussed a LOT on various shooting related internet forums.

When I discuss the "training" aspect of such matches, I guess what I really mean is that it's structured practice dealing with a variety of circumstances and challenges and it can make you better in marksmanship and gun handling. Neither discipline is "training" in a tactical sense.

I've been shooting IPSC/USPSA at the local level since 1978 and IDPA since 2001. I find a PPC match to shoot in once or twice a year. IMHO, IPSC and IDPA are best considered skill building exercises that have some training value and can be very entertaining. Any competitive event, of necessity, will not be able to duplicate the dynamics of a real gunfight.

But,depending upon the course of fire, there CAN be training value in the process, if you are shooting the IDPA classifier or an IPSC classifier that measures basic marksmanship and gun-handling skills. Some IPSC assault courses totally lack any connection to reality and are best avoided in my opinion, but classifiers and most IDPA courses of fire are at least semi-realistic in regard to the marksmanship challenges presented.

In such competitions I've usually used whatever my duty gun was at the time. Currently it's a Sig 226R-DAK in .40 cal. I shoot that gun in "production" class in USPSA and "stock service pistol" class in IDPA. Every year I do shoot for classification with a 1911A1 pattern pistol (in "single stack" and "custom defensive pistol" classes and I usually classify in stock service revolver in IDPA with a Smith & Wesson 15 and speedloaders.

I'm more interested in getting trigger time than in shooting the matches as a competitive activity. Of course, I'm not particularly fast, so if I WAS attempting to become the next USPSA champion, I'd be way out of luck . . .

In general I prefer the course design philosophy of IDPA. I shoot USPSA matches as well, depending upon what the courses of fire are for that particular club.

I particularly like the USPSA Classifiers and the IDPA Classifier match as methods to test basic skills. Also, several of the local IPSC clubs have LOTS more steel and movers and bobbers and so forth than what we have available at the police range, so the courses of fire they use on match days are much more innovative that what we can do during in-service training at the PD.

There was a similar discussion on one of the other forums a few years ago, and one poster had an interesting thought that kind of mirrors my philosophy -- he takes IDPA more seriously and competes in IPSC as a sort of structured practice session.

You'll get out of it what you put into it. Be safe and have fun with it. At the very least, shooting in matches can show you which skills to need to practice more . . .

Many clubs are now on the web and some clubs post the course descriptions for upcoming stages on their web site. If clubs near you do this, you'll find this to be very useful. I don't look at the courses of fire in advance to figure out a "game plan" on how to shoot the course, but rather to get an idea of what skills I might need to practice before the match. (practice strong hand only and weak hand only shooting to start with, and engaging multiple targets from behind high & low cover)

Also, some clubs are more practically oriented, and some have more members who shoot purely as a competitive activity (usually the IPSC shooters, BUT NOT ALWAYS) and by looking at posted courses of fire you can determine which orientation the club has and if the matches they run have any value for what you're trying to accomplish. (Sometimes I'll look at the posted courses for one of the local clubs and if three out of five stages are "run & gun" assault courses [which don't fit in with my philosophy very well] I'll just go do something else that day . . . )

waktasz
February 8, 2012, 11:25 PM
What is "training" anyway, in this context? Are we talking about drawing, reloading and shooting accurately and quickly? I know for sure, without a doubt, that my interest in the competition aspect of pistolcraft is the only reason I've put this much time in with a pistol. If there was no such thing as IDPA or USPSA I'd likely have a different hobby, and never have spent so much time practicing at the range because just standing still and shooting paper gets old pretty quick. IDPA and USPSA in and of themselves isn't training, but the amount of practice I put in in order to be good at them is.

IMO, tactics can be learned much faster than can the pistol manipulation skills that you learn via shooting and training for matches.

twofifty
February 9, 2012, 01:11 AM
Not really as it's a game.

But you do learn what a decent enough sight picture is, at various ranges.
You learn to quickly place center of mass shots where they do your score the most good. You learn to reload and carry on.

Imo there is something fundamentally practical to those skills.

Gryff
February 9, 2012, 02:47 AM
Game...wait, let me think about that...yep, it's a game. IT IS NOT TRAINING!

Granted, it is fantastic for honing your mechanics...drawing from a holster, sight acquisition, target transitions, reloads, malfunction clearance. It is also good because it is one of the rare opportunities to handle your weapon while under some sort of pressure (albeit only a timer).

But it also reinforces attitudes that will get you killed in a fight...expectation of knowing where and how many targets there are, targets that don't move and that will only provide a full silhouette to you, rushing through a situation.

IDPA is an attempt to create a game that has defensive principles as a foundation. But it is still a game. That's why it always cracks me when people say "compete with what you carry" and then whine when they don't win. Nothing wrong with using your carry gun, but generally a gun designed with concealed carry is not going to compare with a full-size 1911, 5" XD, or Glock 34, so you have to accept that you are playing the game with a disadvantage from the very start.

It's great shooting experience, but if you rely on it as a method of "gunfight" training, it is going to get you killed.

Sam1911
February 9, 2012, 08:42 AM
...but if you rely on it as a method of "gunfight" training, it is going to get you killed.

I hear that so often, but I still fail to see how practical that sentiment really is. Is anyone going to actually hear that "bump in the night" and think, "I'd better run out and engage a bunch of targets just like I did in the walkthrough?" Or expect to stand there on a dot and shoot mozambiques just like in the Classifier, when a seriously bad dude is presenting a lethal threat?

IF we were mechanical robots responding only to the programming written in during IDPA, USPSA, PPC, or whatever, that would be true. But I don't believe humans really work exactly like that. I don't think IDPA is writing in programming that will get anyone killed.

Rather, I see IDPA as writing in programming that can improve some of the intermediate-level shooting tasks that you might be called on to perform in a defensive situation. There are areas of defensive strategy where there are holes in that programming. Where an "IDPA education" is going to leave the practitioner to fill in the gaps in that programming as best as they can.

By the same token, though, you could look at Gunsite's 150 level or even 250 level defensive pistol classes and say the same thing -- if you address your gunfight through rote manipulation of these processes, it's going to get you killed. The education isn't complete. It may or may not adequately prepare you for the fight you really will have. You're going to have to fill in the holes as best as you can when your threat presents itself in its own unique way.

Whatever level of training and practice you have will prepare you to do things better than you would have otherwise. That may or may not be good "enough." More complete training will prepare you for a higher degree of complexity in engagements.

Fortunately, though, a great many defensive encounters are settled without a shot even being fired. And when a shot IS fired, a great many defensive encounters are positively concluded even though significant tactical mistakes were made by the defender. Each higher level of training (and practice) we avail ourselves of should reduce the number of mistakes we're likely to make in addressing a threat -- and the only reason higher levels of training exist is that some things presented at lower levels of training, if taken as rote, will "get you killed."

BullfrogKen
February 9, 2012, 09:28 AM
The education isn't complete. It may or may not adequately prepare you for the fight you really will have. You're going to have to fill in the holes as best as you can when your threat presents itself in its own unique way.

That's pretty much the limitation of training on any level.

The art of mastering a lethal fighting skill has existing for centuries. And although the weapons have changed, the way we learn them hasn't changed much since then. We can't have practitioners hacking on each other with swords; striking each other with full-power blows; or shooting at each other with live rounds to learn the art. So we do what we've done for centuries.


We break it down into manageable pieces that allow us to practice skills that - by design - don't result in training injuries. We'll practice live fire drills correctly and with precision to master fundamentals. And we'll practice skills quickly, under stress, and in a less structured manner designed to cement performing those fundamental tasks in a dynamic environment. We'll put away all the knives, guns, and baseball bats so we can practice Role Playing/Force on Force exercises, allowing us to see how an encounter evolves and learn to interact within it.



All this results in precisely what Sam said. The individual is going to have pieces of a gunfight that he'll have to put together if someday he finds himself in one. The goal of all that training does not pretend to make us a good gunfighter. What it does do is give us glimpses of the pieces. And just like putting a puzzle together, the physical and mental training hones our minds to recognize certain patterns. In the chaos the ability to recognize something similiar to our training, instantly know the next step, and immediately execute it is a tremendous advantage.


For me, IDPA gives me some of those pieces. While its not complete, nothing is.

jmorris
February 9, 2012, 02:45 PM
Quote:


...but if you rely on it as a method of "gunfight" training, it is going to get you killed.


I hear that so often, but I still fail to see how practical that sentiment really is.

Rule #1 in non lethal gunfights is that no one fires any rounds at all. All of the games require a shooting solution.

Hangingrock
February 9, 2012, 04:17 PM
Let me use this story as an analogy. I use to spar with a boxer when I was in the military. The reason the boxer liked to spar with me because I was left handed.

This boxer was a very good inner military service fighter and went to the Pan American Games and if memory serves me correctly a medalist in the Pan American games.

The boxer got into an altercation with for the lack of a better term a street fighter and the boxer got his bell rung.

The boxer probably thought he was prepared and could handle himself. I wonder if the games we play give us a false sense of security.

None the less with this topic respondentís have made thoughtful replies.

Sam1911
February 9, 2012, 04:26 PM
The boxer probably thought he was prepared and could handle himself.Ah ha, but against some young punk kid, he would have been dominant, using the skills he had honed in the ring. He just happened to meet someone who had BETTER skills.

It would be hard to argue persuasively that he got beaten BECAUSE he was a trained fighter. He just wasn't trained well enough for the challenge he faced that day.

There's many different levels of training, of practice, and of experience, in all martial arts.

Whatever level of training and practice you have will prepare you to do things better than you would have otherwise. That may or may not be good "enough." More complete training will prepare you for a higher degree of complexity in engagements.

mgmorden
February 9, 2012, 04:28 PM
Let me use this story as an analogy. I use to spar with a boxer when I was in the military. The reason the boxer liked to spar with me because I was left handed.

This boxer was a very good inner military service fighter and went to the Pan American Games and if memory serves me correctly a medalist in the Pan American games.

The boxer got into an altercation with for the lack of a better term a street fighter and the boxer got his bell rung.

The boxer probably thought he was prepared and could handle himself. I wonder if the games we play give us a false sense of security.

None the less with this topic respondent’s have made thoughtful replies.

All well and good, but I don't think its an apt comparison to compare the boxer to a "street fighter", but rather: do you think this guy did better than say, the local line cook who doesn't practice fighting at all?

My guess is yes. Sure, the guy with actual raw combat experience prevailed in your story, but realistically with firearms we can't legitimately go out and practice actual combat. As I said earlier in the thread - I don't even shoot IDPA. I'm a USPSA shooter and have no desire to do "combat" training anyways. I just find it find it funny that many people trot out the "competition will get you killed" line when a) as noted by Sam1911, people aren't really like robots that are going to respond to every situation as if they were running a match, and b) most of the people criticizing shoot static targets from a line.

Hangingrock
February 9, 2012, 05:15 PM
All well and good, but I don't think its an apt comparison to compare the boxer to a "street fighter", but rather: do you think this guy did better than say, the local line cook who doesn't practice fighting at all?

The point is the boxer was overconfident in his abilities.

twofifty
February 9, 2012, 07:24 PM
He may well have been overconfident, thinking that a few big wins in the ring meant he would prevail against all comers.

But he ran into the wrong guy, one of maybe a handful in that town who could drop him. That does not negate the fact that through years of training the man knew how to land a devastating punch, better than I ever could. With a boxing mindset, he probably didn't see the street fighter's kick coming at his head.

Sam1911
February 9, 2012, 07:45 PM
If the point is that shooting IDPA -- or taking various levels of training of lesser depth than ... whatever -- will lead you to be complacent and overconfident, well, I guess it could. Heck there's plenty of people who simply OWN a gun and decide then that they have a pretty good defense plan. Complacency is an issue all its own.

Hangingrock
February 9, 2012, 08:05 PM
It’s not my intent to be argumentative with the view point of others. What happened to the boxer was a reality check. We all may not be as good as we think we are.

To be honest the boxer used me as substitute punching bag during our sparing secessions. Thus I learned my limitations. Humility is a great teacher especially if we survive.

GCBurner
February 17, 2012, 11:40 AM
I shoot IDPA with the stock Glock 26 that's my usual carry gun, from my inside the waistband holster that I usually use. That keeps me from getting overconfident in my abilities. :D
As far as practical applications, the main things I get out of IDPA are being able to draw more smoothly from concealment, hit more consistently with my first shot, and reload or switch magazines without dropping or fumbling them too much. Those are the things I practice, and they have indeed improved from when I first started.

Ankeny
February 17, 2012, 01:39 PM
IDPA and USPSA in and of themselves isn't training, but the amount of practice I put in in order to be good at them is. I agree. It seems to me folks can be really quick to offer up criticism of the value of the shooting sports without even understanding what it takes to shoot at the higher level of competition. Some of my favorite remarks include: "IPSC will get you killed". "I can beat (insert favorite world champion here) in a gunfight because I he ain't tacticool". The list goes on and on...

sigpro2022
February 20, 2012, 09:48 AM
That's pretty much the limitation of training on any level.

The art of mastering a lethal fighting skill has existing for centuries. And although the weapons have changed, the way we learn them hasn't changed much since then. We can't have practitioners hacking on each other with swords; striking each other with full-power blows; or shooting at each other with live rounds to learn the art. So we do what we've done for centuries.


We break it down into manageable pieces that allow us to practice skills that - by design - don't result in training injuries. We'll practice live fire drills correctly and with precision to master fundamentals. And we'll practice skills quickly, under stress, and in a less structured manner designed to cement performing those fundamental tasks in a dynamic environment. We'll put away all the knives, guns, and baseball bats so we can practice Role Playing/Force on Force exercises, allowing us to see how an encounter evolves and learn to interact within it.



All this results in precisely what Sam said. The individual is going to have pieces of a gunfight that he'll have to put together if someday he finds himself in one. The goal of all that training does not pretend to make us a good gunfighter. What it does do is give us glimpses of the pieces. And just like putting a puzzle together, the physical and mental training hones our minds to recognize certain patterns. In the chaos the ability to recognize something similiar to our training, instantly know the next step, and immediately execute it is a tremendous advantage.


For me, IDPA gives me some of those pieces. While its not complete, nothing is.
Well said.

I taught myself to weld. How? by reading How-to books on welding. Did I receive any training? NO. I taught myself. Did I become proficient? Well, I began to sell the items that I had made including trailers for hauling 4 wheelers. How did I do this without training? Practice, Practice, Practice.

My father gave me my first handgun, an H&R 929 .22cal revolver when I was 15 years old. He taught me proper and safe gun handling methods. I then taught myself to shoot, without any formal training only by practice, 1000's of rounds. Many things require training some only require that you practice.
IDPA give me that practice. All I want to do after pulling my weapon from my CC holster, is hit what I aim at every time. IDPA has given me that ability. Was it training or practice? I don't care. It gave me what I wanted, the ability to quickly, safely draw my weapon, to be aware of what is behind my target and then hit my target. Practice.
Not to mention is loads of fun.

CatsEye
February 20, 2012, 10:20 PM
There have been a lot of good points made in this discussion. Is IDPA training? Well in a sense it is and then again it's not. Until you get into advance tactical shooting classes, what do they teach you to do? Most I have experience with teach you to draw from concealment and to get good quick hits. They teach you to manipulate your weapon under stress. The shooting sport do the same. I think most of us who shoot competition think that if you truley want to be prepared you should seek more advanced training.

Sam's statement that complacency is an issue all its own reminded me of something a new guy said after his first match one day. He was middle aged and had owned guns his whole life. He went to the range every couple of weeks to shoot. I asked him what he thought after the match that day and what he said made me laugh. He said, I learned that if I actually had to use my gun in self defense I might as well throw it at them because I obviously couldn't hit them any other way. He kept coming back and is becoming a decent shooter. I think he is less "over confident" now than before.

If the "it will get you killed" thing is true then how do race car drivers make it through life having to drive in the real world? For me, I know the difference between the sport of shooting and a real life encounter. I wouldn't dream of clearing my house in the same manner that I run a stage. I do know that if I ever have to use my weapon for self defense it will be with far superior skills than I had before starting IDPA.

Bovice
February 21, 2012, 02:50 AM
For me, I know the difference between the sport of shooting and a real life encounter. I wouldn't dream of clearing my house in the same manner that I run a stage. I do know that if I ever have to use my weapon for self defense it will be with far superior skills than I had before starting IDPA.

This is it. You would never rush a situation in the real world for the sheer sake of faster time. We would all take our time slicing the pie on each corner instead of doing a quick lean outward. We would also make much more effort of not crowding cover or corners. At least I hope so. Maybe my assumptions aren't valid since I do both traditional training and IDPA. Those are the things that really stick out as being different, besides having a possibility of bullets coming back. Somebody once said not to make it a gunfight, make it a shooting, and control the outcome.

easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca
February 21, 2012, 04:18 AM
Back in the early 90s, I knew of a gentleman who was into IPSC. One day when this fellow arrived home from work and was waiting for his gate to open, a kidnap-for-ransom gang tried to kidnap him. He drew his compensated 1911 45acp and was able to extricate himself from a potentially fatal (for him, since kidnap victims were freed as often as they were killed by their captors, regardless of whether ransom was paid or not) hostage situation, in the process wounding or killing at least 3 of his assailants who promptly fled.

So in the case of this gentleman, did his IPSC training help him? Training in the skillful handling and use of firearms, yes for sure. Explicit training in tactics? Perhaps not in the real life sense of say SWAT or Self Defense Training. I would venture to say that the problem solving skills honed in the many IPSC courses of fire and stages probably helped this fellow survive. A gun owner who never participated in these IPSC or IDPA games would probably suffer a tragic ending.

It is up to the individual to use his mental ability to utilize whatever tools he has at his disposal in time of need. A person's mental ability and fortitude is the key here. A smart man with presence of mind and coolness under pressure, like the hero in the above story, will probably acquit himself better than somebody who has undergone training but was not mentally prepared to recognize and deal with a situation that has gone from safe to life-threatening in an instant.

One's best weapon is his mind. The gun is simply a tool.

Longhorn 76
February 21, 2012, 08:16 AM
One really good thing about IDPA is it forces you to evaluate your equipment.
It is one thing to have a failure to feed at the range, where you clear it, think nothing about it, and continue to shoot.

IDPA makes it very obvious that the "special" pistol you carry everyday is completely deficient, the holster is trash, that cheap ammunition really sucks, and you are completely inept at any kind of reload.

CatsEye
February 21, 2012, 09:46 AM
That is a very important point Longhorn. I can't tell you how many times I have seen new shooters show up at a match with their "home defense" gun only to find that it is very unreliable. Many times being under the clock makes people much more aware of these issues than the same thing happing at a normal range.

dsb1829
February 21, 2012, 06:08 PM
It is a game. The premise of IDPA is good, however IME it isn't the guy drawing his EDC from a true CC holster that wins. Heck that guy isn't usually in the top 10. Nope, the top3-5 are guys running full size guns, fast access OWB holsters, and light reloads. If you are not running a similar setup you don't have a chance of winning the game.

That said it is good practice in varied conditions.

Sam1911
February 21, 2012, 06:42 PM
IME it isn't the guy drawing his EDC from a true CC holster that wins. Heck that guy isn't usually in the top 10Well, that sort of depends on what your EDC is. I tend to carry a Gov't Model 1911 a lot and compete with it (or similar-sized guns) regularly. No special holsters needed. I'd agree it is rarely (at big matches anyway) the guy with an IWB holster who wins -- kydex OWBs are just plain faster.

But that's an interesting corollary to the discussion at hand. If it is true that full-size guns in OWB rigs tend to enable faster and more accurate shooting and presentations, it is also true that the competition tends to show very quickly and clearly what WORKS and what doesn't work quite so well.

So, instead of falling into the "I have a gun, therefore I'm defended" mindset, someone who is forced by their wardrobe or situation to use some kind of sub-compact pistol or a J-frame revolver, and/or a pocket carry or deeper concealment rig gets the opportunity to understand exactly what s/he's giving up in terms of performance in order to "buy" that concealability/compactness. "This is slower..." (checks timer)..."five SECONDS slower. Uh oh..."

It is a great testing ground and educational tool.*

What does boggle the mind a little are folks who will use a gun and rig that helps them finish well in competition, but then will willfully daily carry a "defensive" gun that they cannot run nearly as well. It's the "good enough" or "pro'lly won't need it anyway" mindset. As though competition is MORE important/serious than self-defense.

(* -- Further, this is the primary reason I want to see IDPA consider allowing laser sights in competition. I think it would be hugely interesting to see folks begin to compare their scores with the laser and without -- and to track how their opinions and practices change as they move up in ability. The laser sight manufacturers probably will petition IDPA not to allow it, though.)

1911 guy
February 21, 2012, 10:26 PM
I say the same thing as esheato. If you go in running through the stages, nothing counts but good hits and the clock, it's just a game. However, if you approach the stages with an eye toward thinking through an actual scenario depicted by the stage and work it meticulously, disregarding the clock, it can be training. This assumes, of course, that you've had prior training to be able to take advantage of the opportunity for critical thinking and planning presented in the stage.

dashootist
February 22, 2012, 10:26 PM
I shot a few IDPA last year. In my opinion, it's great training. It teaches basic movements that makes it easy and interesting. It's a great way to create muscle memory. I think it was Jerry Miculek who said a person need to do the same movement at least 5000 times before it will feel natural and you no longer have to think about it. By shooting and practicing IDPA regularly, you create muscle memory.

punchdrunk
February 23, 2012, 10:20 AM
Took a good friend to his first IDPA match. He was a long time hunter and owned quite a few pistols and I am sure he felt competent in their use. From the pressure of the match, the pressure of a few guys watching him. Not the pressure of someone shooting at him or having to defend his life. Just the pressure of a weekend match. Here is how it went

first stage he goes to slide lock. Ejects his mag (1911), fumbles around forever trying to get a new one in the gun. brings the gun up to the target with the slide lock still back. Tries to pull the trigger. Nothing goes bang. tries again. nothing. I watch his thumb press down on the thumb safety again. tries to shoot. nothing happens. Thumbs the safety again. Pulls trigger again. Nothing.

Finally brings gun down and looks at it. Realizes slide is still back. Drops slide and continues shooting.

I would say he learned something that day about his own self defense ability. You see the same problem with Martial artist who knife train a lot but never practice from the draw. When they go to practice they get the knife out of the equipment locker. Try putting a dull tactical folder in there pocket, Have one guy in boxing gloves try to beat on them while they get the folder out and open. A little pressure changes everything. Its good for you.

Is Idpa training? Dunno but i think its good for you.

coolluke01
February 23, 2012, 01:38 PM
Training can be broken down in to three areas.

1. Instruction

2. Correction

3. Practice

IDPA is really just 3. Unless of course someone points out deficiencies in the way you operate and you work to apply the changes.
IDPA is less effective if you have bad form and basics. It can be very profitable if you have a good basis.

Sam1911
February 23, 2012, 01:47 PM
IDPA is really just 3. Unless of course someone points out deficiencies in the way you operate and you work to apply the changes.


Or, perhaps to a somewhat lesser degree, you are a good student and very observant and you watch carefully what better shooters are doing and ask questions at opportune moments. You can learn by instruction but also by observation and mimicry of best practices you see others using.

I always prefer to be squadded with the best shooters at the match. I learn a lot that way, and it also pushes me to concentrate and try harder for some reason.

coolluke01
February 23, 2012, 01:55 PM
I will give you that with one caveat. Observation is not always accurate. Further explanation is needed most times. But you did also say to ask questions.

Sam1911
February 23, 2012, 02:00 PM
Oh certainly! It is easy to get the wrong message from what you think you saw. Or to pick up a not-so-great habit that someone who's pretty good is able to get away with, but is going to hurt you.

Structured instruction, with plenty of explanation and direct trial-and-correction give and take is always best.

ADulay
February 25, 2012, 05:46 PM
first stage he goes to slide lock. Ejects his mag (1911), fumbles around forever trying to get a new one in the gun. brings the gun up to the target with the slide lock still back. Tries to pull the trigger. Nothing goes bang. tries again. nothing. I watch his thumb press down on the thumb safety again. tries to shoot. nothing happens. Thumbs the safety again. Pulls trigger again. Nothing.

Finally brings gun down and looks at it. Realizes slide is still back. Drops slide and continues shooting.

Yep, with a few variations, I've seen that (uh, and done that) or several variations of a theme on it, a few times at our local matches.

Every guy that I've dragged out to the range for a sample IDPA session, to see if they like it, has really messed up with their "carry gun" at some point in the session. I've tried to explain that shooting "on the clock" or under any type of pressure is way different that just standing at the square range and blasting away.

As long as we don't spend way too much time just standing around, it's a good experience for anybody who needs to get some good "gun time" in.

I've also found a lot of my friends who say they've been 'into guns' for a very long time have rarely even made it out to a standard range in THE LAST YEAR or so.

The trip to the IDPA match really opens their eyes to what they've been avoiding!

AD

twofifty
February 26, 2012, 12:09 AM
and to what they've been missing out on.

Old Guy
February 27, 2012, 07:14 AM
If you carry every day, well I do, and the Pistol you carry, or a same model, set up the same way, you shoot in IDPA if you have to shoot some one, from the same holster, you will have a good chance at hitting them.

That is a great confidence builder, in having the knowledge, that the pistol on your side, will most likely work, first time all the time.

Glock19, good trigger, Truglo fiber optic sights, extended slide release, the disadvantage in an IDPA match, 11 rounds max! My carry mode, 16 rounds, spare mag, a G17 one.

Working as a Bouncer in Liverpool UK for 5 years, gave me more training in fighting than IDPA has, but the sport of IDPA gives lots of gun handling skills, and the ability to hit a target, in practical distances, multiple times.

Can't be bad, plus your match companions, on average are great people.

Curator
February 27, 2012, 02:30 PM
The local IDPA "guru" was involved in a gunfight at 7 yards with a bad guy robbing his store. 14 rounds were expended with NO hits, then he reloaded and fired a few more shots at the fleeing get-away car on a busy downtown street. Cops didn't arrest him for reckless endangerment. He has become a local hero despite his bad marksmanship and stupid behavior. He now re-tells his experience at his "firearms training acadamy."

Sam1911
February 27, 2012, 02:40 PM
The local IDPA "guru" was involved in a gunfight ...
Was his IDPA experience directly beneficial to what happened in this encounter? Was it clearly harmful to what happened in this encounter?

Do you think he would have done better or done worse without time spent practicing for and shooting IDPA?

What is the take-home message we should learn from his actions?

(Beyond the obvious -- that IDPA doesn't teach the law.)

...He now re-tells his experience at his "firearms training acadamy."
What does he say about it? Does he hold his own actions up as an example of sound tactics? Does he use his failures as a teaching example?

Hangingrock
February 27, 2012, 02:44 PM
He has become a local hero despite his bad marksmanship and stupid behavior. He now re-tells his experience at his "firearms training acadamy."

Perhaps there is nothing more stimulating than the actual event as opposed to training/practice/games. Not to imply that nothing is learned from such an event

Smokin Gator
February 27, 2012, 08:28 PM
"The local IDPA "guru" was involved in a gunfight "

Is he a self described "IDPA guru", or is he actually an expert or master class IDPA shooter since the "guru" title implies that he is a very good competition shooter? Or just a guy who has shot IDPA matches? Mark

deadasslast2004
February 27, 2012, 09:48 PM
since I am no expert.....practice and training are always appreciated in my case.

bbuddtec
February 27, 2012, 11:23 PM
I'm with deadass, practice and experience is more training than no shooting.

BullfrogKen
February 28, 2012, 04:04 PM
Who really cares about winning an IDPA match? I sure as hell don't.

But this right here is a very good point -

So, instead of falling into the "I have a gun, therefore I'm defended" mindset, someone who is forced by their wardrobe or situation to use some kind of sub-compact pistol or a J-frame revolver, and/or a pocket carry or deeper concealment rig gets the opportunity to understand exactly what s/he's giving up in terms of performance in order to "buy" that concealability/compactness.

Take something suitable for a good performance in a match and shoot a few.

Next take that super-small, ultra-light 3" mega-blaster you carry around just because its a gun, and its "better-than-nothing" and see how you do. Compare yourself against yourself.

You might find yourself reconsidering just how well-armed you really are with that Noisy Cricket midget-gun.

MrBorland
February 28, 2012, 05:47 PM
Who really cares about winning an IDPA match? I sure as hell don't.

I, unapologetically, and sure as Hell, do. :scrutiny:

I shot the Indoor Nationals at S&W this past weekend. Between the travel & match expenses, time away from my wife, and the sacrifice & practice I put in to do my best at a National Championship, you betcha I cared how I placed (1st MA, btw). It's a competition, after all. If I didn't want to compete, I wouldn't be participating in matches.

Even at local matches, I'm primarily concerned with shooting to my ability, knowing my placement will take care of itself. But I'd be lying if said I was uninterested in the final tally, and I suspect it's a rare (or mythical) shooter who feels otherwise.

To answer the OP, neither a master classification, nor a good placing at a major match doesn't in and of itself make me feel "trained" in matters of SD, for which I'd seek bona fide training.

BullfrogKen
February 28, 2012, 06:08 PM
It's a competition, after all. If I didn't want to compete, I wouldn't be participating in matches. . . . I suspect it's a rare (or mythical) shooter who feels otherwise.

Ya know, I shoot with a lot of guys at my local chapter who really don't. In fact that's most of 'em.

We run IDPA as an excuse to have a good time and to have a formal program that attracts people to the club. There are only a couple people that I shoot with that I like to place near in a match, only because it gives us an excuse to bust each other's balls until next month.

Winning a match . . . except for a couple people who are nationally competitive, none of us are that serious about it. It would stop being fun.


I take time away from my family and travel from time to time, and I could still care less about winning. As long as I did what I know I ought to, and place somewhere near the friends I shoot with, I'm fine.

Most matches I really don't even look to see my final standings until it's on-line later in the week. I just want to know how far I was from such-and-such.

MrBorland
February 28, 2012, 07:32 PM
Ya know, I shoot with a lot of guys at my local chapter who really don't. In fact that's most of 'em.

To each their own. I likely have as much fun at matches as you, so there's obviously no single correct approach to the sport.

Old Guy
February 28, 2012, 09:30 PM
To each their own. I likely have as much fun at matches as you, so there's obviously no single correct approach to the sport.

OK I don't know you from Adam, but MrBorland, me thinks if you were confronted with an armed criminal, at 7 yds, you could draw and put 3 rounds center mass! No problem at all! A Master class shot can shoot.

Once you trigger the fight or flight syndrome, and pick fight, all other movement is auto pilot.

Now of course there are the the people who say IDPA is not a gun fight, or Gun Fight training! And it is not. But I have drawn a pistol, and pointed it at people, in the US, and many years ago, once in England (the old England) never had to shoot any one, but If I had to, I feel quite sure I could.
Tried pain, and did not like it.

I have put men in Hospital before, the only difference would be the method.

Smokin Gator
February 29, 2012, 04:36 PM
Most people who go shoot in matches are there having fun. Even the match winners are having fun. Sure, you'll see the occasional guy that is very serious, doesn't look like he is having a good time and often is the one guy who will question any call against him. Usually they are good shooters but not the best at the club.

It seems like many shooters who place lower in the match assume that the best shooters aren't having fun. A lot of guys will say that they don't care where they finish, some actually don't, but I guarantee you that most of them would be thrilled to finish up closer to the top. Very few people are going to go to matches regularly if they aren't there having fun and that includes shooters at all skill levels.

Now, I'm sure that sometimes for the absolute top, pro type shooters, the matches can get to be a chore, but that's a handful of people. I don't consider IDPA real training, but all the gun handling practice and non static shooting positions has to put someone in a better position to protect themselves compared to someone standing there shooting slowfire at a target at the typical gun range. Mark

ny32182
February 29, 2012, 04:55 PM
I find that even the low to mid-level/(upper level Marksman to Sharpshooter) type IDPA shooter is typically far more proficient with a pistol than the average once-in-a-while square-range attendee.

taliv
February 29, 2012, 08:22 PM
The local IDPA "guru" was involved in a gunfight at 7 yards with a bad guy robbing his store. 14 rounds were expended with NO hits, then he reloaded and fired a few more shots at the fleeing get-away car on a busy downtown street."

Wow the robber stood there long enough for him to shoot twice, look for holes, shoot twice more, look for holes seven times??

:P

steelhawk
February 29, 2012, 11:49 PM
I've never shot IDPA, but would like to. It's a 120 mile drive to the nearest range where IDPA is held. I have had some realistic training, though.

I did shoot one USPSA match last month with my carry gun. I used it to hone my shooting skills instead of blasting away as fast as possible, so it was some good practice.

Hangingrock
March 4, 2012, 09:12 AM
I believe this topic allowed all respondents and those that simply followed the discussion opportunity to evaluate their thoughts/opinions of IDPA. It was worth while and did not degrade into a watering contest. Thank you one and all.

contenderman
March 4, 2012, 01:11 PM
No flames, no water ... good thread. My 2 cents ...

Competitive shooting is not literally training, matches are more of a venue to put learned (trained) actions into use, and the more you do something your likely to get better at doing it.

Trained (learned) skill(s) deteriorate w/o practice. Shooting matches such as IDPA, USPSA, Pin Shoots, Steel Plate, even ad hoc club matches, etc.; all are forms of practice by putting the learned skills to use.
.

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