IDPA with a subcompact?


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TonyDedo
February 19, 2013, 01:25 AM
I started shooting IDPA because I conceal carry on a regular basis, and the IDPA practices and matches I attend seemed to be a fun yet effective way to train the practical skills I need to be effective with my CCW. We all know the running joke among IDPA shooters is that we're the only true "practical" action shooting discipline, relative to IPSC, USPSA and the others.

However, it dawned on me looking around practice that no one is shooting terribly "practical" guns in IDPA either. Everyone shoots 4" or 5" duty guns, but they carry compacts and subcompacts. They draw from big OWB kydex holsters at 3:00, but carry in IWB holsters at 4:00 or 5:00. They load to division capacity, but carry far less ammo in real life. The only time these truly "practical" guns come out is during BUG matches.

And I'm guilty of all of it myself. But I think that's going to change.

I'm considering eshewing my usual XDm 5.25 from here on out and instead competing with my every day carry, a Springfield XD(S). Furthermore, I would do away with the Blade Tech OWB belt holster and draw from my CompTac IWB. I'd even begin each stage with the 5 round flush mag I carry, and limit the 7 round extended magazines to reloads.

I know magazine capacity alone would put me at a severe disadvantage, but let's be honest, even at full capacity I'm not exactly competitive. I'm a middle of the pack finisher who competes to challenge myself and improve my skills - so why not do so with the gun I might actually have to use one day.

Thoughts? Does anyone else do this, or know someone who does?

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Bobson
February 19, 2013, 01:54 AM
Sounds good to me. If you aren't walking away with a win here and there anyway, and you partake because you want to practice "the skills you need to be effective with your CCW," it only makes sense to actually use the gun you carry.

I don't compete, due to a lack of time and funds. If I did, it would be tempting to use a full-size gun, because I'm an ultra-competitive guy; but I'd try to control myself and still use my carry gun exclusively.

Bovice
February 19, 2013, 02:17 AM
An XDm 5.25? You're one of the worst "offenders"! ;)

I too get a laugh about the difference between competition guns and what's actually carried. If you want a real challenge, use your subcompact or give CDP a try. Full size gun, but 8+1 means you better make shots count. Other ways to keep it "authentic" is to load full power ammo or use factory. It's only going to make you a better shooter without the false sense of well being.

tuj
February 19, 2013, 04:41 AM
Everyone has different things they want from competition, some want to win and like that aspect of the challenge, while others want to train. IDPA is, IMHO, a place where you can choose to do either fairly effectively. You can shoot a subcompact and less than division capacity and yeah, you won't win, but you might be getting better training than the guys who do.

Blackstone
February 19, 2013, 06:18 AM
Really depends on what you're trying to achieve and get out of it

Sam1911
February 19, 2013, 06:22 AM
I know many folks who come to my matches and shoot the same compact guns they carry and they're looking for a great practice opportunity.

I know many folks who carry a compact, but shoot a full-size gun because they enjoy the sport of it and want to win matches.

I know many folks who come out and shoot their full size guns because that IS what they carry. And they want to win matches. (That would be my group.)

We encourage folks to shoot their sub-compact guns as often as possible because it is awfully enlightening for them to discover just how different the challenge is with a tiny gun. That might be good to know, someday.

Resist Evil
February 19, 2013, 06:56 AM
I use IDPA to aid me in my practice. It's not training per se, but practice in being able to draw, shoot, and move. My only concession to the game is using a Garrett Industries Silent Thunder STX holster instead of my regular carry Milt Sparks Axiom in an effort to limit wear and tear. I use the same pistol playing as I do for carry and use full power 230 grain ammo.

GCBurner
February 19, 2013, 10:21 AM
I use a Glock 26 for IDPA competition, as well as carry. The shorter sight radius makes the more distant targets more of a challenge, but it's good practice, and lets me know what the gun I'm carrying is capable of. I do swap out for a longer barreled G17 or PT-99 on occasion, just for variety.

Viper225
February 19, 2013, 01:15 PM
I have a couple Revolvers set up for SSR. An old 4" 64-2, and an almost new 686-5. Both have been Tuned to perfection by the Old Master Ron Power.
I carry the 64 in a Lobo Enhanced Pancake, I have a new Enhanced Avenger on order for the 686-5 that should be here any day. I reload with Safariland Comp III Speed Loaders carried 2 infront of the holster, which I wear at 4 O'Clock.

For concealed carry my most carried handgun is my 3" 66-2 carried in an Enhanced Pancake at 4 O'Clock. With reloads again infront of the holster. Instead of Comp III's, I carry Comp II's in CD-2 Carriers.
Could I compete with the 3" 66???? You Bet, I do shoot it now and again in a Match. Depending on the stages, and number of reloads I am guessing I would be down around 3 - 5 points more than with my SSR guns depending on the number of reloads, and how many long targets in the match. I am guessing I would loose about a Full Second between Comp III's and Comp II's per reload.

In our Club Defensive Pistol Match BUG shoots on the Full Course of Fire, same as every other entry.
I shot my LCR 22 in BUG the last Defensive Pistol Match using Speed Beez Speed Loaders. I was only down a little over 10 points from my top SSR Score in BUG. My 2 SSR Scores were 4th and 5th overall in the Match. First, Second, and Third place were all Tupperware in SSP. This match had no long targets and I did not have any problems with the Speed Beez Reloads. I had a good run with the 2" snub.

I shoot my J Frame 38 some matches also.

You are right we all need to be shooting our Concealed Carry guns more in matches.

Bob

bomberbill357
February 19, 2013, 02:10 PM
I too started out to practice, then I got carried away and competed with a Glock 34. Then I came back to the light and went back to a G17. Funny thing is the last two local matches I won were with a G19 and a BUG with a G26. Seems like its all the same....

Hunter125
February 19, 2013, 02:28 PM
Mass Ayoob suggested exactly what you are talking about in one of his books. He said shoot your carry gun with your carry rig. You should go to the match as if going to the supermarket. Do it for the practice, not the trophy.

CatsEye
February 19, 2013, 07:05 PM
I usually shoot my M&P Pro in IDPA because it is the best tool I have to be competitive. I also want to be proficient with my carry gun, a M&P Compact, so I compete with it every couple of months. Even though I carry the compact IWB I find the transition very easy.

glockgod
February 19, 2013, 07:47 PM
shoot your carry gun with your carry rig. You should go to the match as if going to the supermarket. Do it for the practice, not the trophy.

I shoot my Glock 26 often at my local idpa matches. Got a 30 this fall(thank you GSSF!!) and can't wait to give it a go also!

Ankeny
February 19, 2013, 08:52 PM
I know many folks who come out and shoot their full size guns because that IS what they carry. I know a lot of folks that normally carry "full size" guns, especially in the cool months.

FWIW, IDPA is a game. The division and gear a person uses (within the rules) is a personal choice. I have shot IDPA with a Glock 26 one month, and a Les Baer PII the following month.

9mmepiphany
February 19, 2013, 09:04 PM
While I have recently been competing with my M&P9...which I'd carry if I had a holster I really liked...before that I competed with my by 5" 1911 and SIG 220, which I did carry.

Just to see how I'd do, I've shot matches with my Kahr CW9 and Springfield EMP. The extra mag changes do make a difference in 10 round stages, but not much when everyone has to do a reload...but I was very competitive with the CDP shooters

waktasz
February 19, 2013, 11:42 PM
Shooting a match with my Keltec carry gun made me start carrying something else.

GCBurner
February 20, 2013, 12:29 PM
Shooting a match with my Keltec carry gun made me start carrying something else.
Using a pistol in competition shows up its flaws, as well as its capabilities. I've seen shooters struggle with guns that have heel-release magazine releases, or lack a slide hold-open on an empty magazine, or have a concealment holster that works well. Things come up in competitions that you might not think about when choosing a pistol at a store, or from an article in a gun review.

9mmepiphany
February 20, 2013, 02:07 PM
I've seen shooters struggle with guns that have heel-release magazine releases,
The trick to that is a variation of the Reload with Retention technique...bring the fresh mag up to the gun before releasing the empty mag, just let the empty fall as you insert the new mag

I done a bit of practical shooting with a H&K P7, when I carried it as a duty gun

3GunEric
February 20, 2013, 08:01 PM
Went to my first (and only to date) IDPA match with my Sig P239 single stack carry 9mm.
It was described as "realistic" practice with your "carry" gun. Had fun but noticed everyone else had much larger service guns. Match personnel told me I needed a hi-capacity gun to do it right.

When I want to shoot the big ones I do 3 Gun.

Still love my P239. Have even used it in 3 Gun matches. Capacity slowed me down but that thing is super accurate!

No matter what & how you shoot have fun and become proficient!

btg3
February 20, 2013, 09:13 PM
Some years ago, as a newbie handgunner with a CWP permit, I did nothing more than some infrequent target practice. Then I was introduced to IDPA which quickly brought my defensive shooting skills to a new level. A great group of experienced shooters helped tremendously. It's better to participate in IDPA with any allowable handgun than to totally miss the opportunity to improve.

jim243
February 20, 2013, 10:31 PM
Shooting a match with my Keltec carry gun made me start carrying something else.

Exactly. While many targets are close, many are 30 feet away and no 380's are allowed or cross draw holsters or shoulder holsters. If you have to sweep to draw your gun, that holster will not be allowed as well. No hide outs in the middle of the back, suppertuck holsters, compact pistols put you at a extreem disadvantage with less than 10 rounds and shorter effective ranges. Mag wells on compacts are less than perfect for shooting even good scores when you have to do mag changes 3 or 4 times. Metal popers will be harder to knock down with compacts, sight radus being shorter and most competitors will not make the min power factor with the slower bullets coming out of shorter barrels. It would probably force every one into using a compact Glock, but then everyone would be shooting in the same class SSP (standard service pistol). Me I like ESP with the gun cocked and locked.

Yes, a compact pistol is a disadvantage to shooting IDPA in many ways. That is one of the reasons I no longer own 3 inch pistols any more and the shortest one I will carry is a 3.8 inch CZ 75 P-01, not exactly a compact even though that is what it is called.

Jim

Sheepdog1968
February 20, 2013, 10:54 PM
Sounds reasonable to me. The pistol I take is the one I keep by the bedside. If I can get a ccw (situation has changed and I now stand a better chance) I will compete as well as take classes with what I ccw.

TonyDedo
February 20, 2013, 11:02 PM
Shooting a match with my Keltec carry gun made me start carrying something else.

Makes me wonder if this is a better answer. I recently ordered a XDm 3.8. My plan was to equip it with a red dot like TSD recommends and use it for home defense, but I'm not sure how well it will carry. Several guys who've written reviews on red dot combat pistols claim they carry them, but I'll just have to try it and see. It may be a good compromise between the XD(S) and the 5.25...

9mmepiphany
February 20, 2013, 11:20 PM
It will be slower to get the first shot on target

jim243
February 21, 2013, 12:04 AM
It will be slower to get the first shot on target

The best advice I ever heard at a match was to "shoot fast, slow". The best example of this is the shoot out at the OK Corral. Nine men faced each outher about 6 feet apart and fired 30 rounds in a little over 30 seconds, the results was 3 dead and 3 wounded and 3 unharmed. It is better to be accurate than fast and dead.

Jim

TonyDedo
February 21, 2013, 12:07 AM
The best advice I ever heard at a match was to "shoot fast, slow".

One of my first instructors always said, "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast." Military phrase, I'd imagine. He was also a big fan of "if it ain't raining, we ain't training."

9mmepiphany
February 21, 2013, 02:04 AM
It will be slower to get the first shot on target
It is better to be accurate than fast and dead.
I've bolded the operative terms from my original post. If you are just as accurate, faster is always better.

Unless you have a vision impairment, open sights are almost twice as fast getting the first accurate shot on the target. It is faster to see the aligned sights superimposed over the target than to locate the appearance of the dot on the target

9mmepiphany
February 21, 2013, 02:08 AM
One of my first instructors always said, "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast."
This is one of my training mantras also.

It is one of the reasons a shot timer is so important. When you are executing the technique correctly, it doesn't feel like you are moving very quickly

Blackstone
February 21, 2013, 05:26 AM
I've bolded the operative terms from my original post. If you are just as accurate, faster is always better.

Unless you have a vision impairment, open sights are almost twice as fast getting the first accurate shot on the target. It is faster to see the aligned sights superimposed over the target than to locate the appearance of the dot on the target

Surely with some repetitive training and proper indexing of the body, you can get a consistent draw out and pick up the dot faster? What are the benefits of dot over open sights?

tuj
February 21, 2013, 05:33 AM
Surely with some repetitive training and proper indexing of the body, you can get a consistent draw out and pick up the dot faster? What are the benefits of dot over open sights?

I think 9mmepiphany was talking about picking up the actual white dot on the front sight as opposed to a red-dot electronic sight. Red dots *are* faster, but not by that much. But there is a reason you will see them in the unlimited classes in games where they are allowed. C-more is a popular one to use.

MrBorland
February 21, 2013, 05:56 AM
The best advice I ever heard at a match was to "shoot fast, slow".

Better advice, IMO, is "move fast, shoot slow", particularly important for subcompact shooters.

Move Fast: Movement in a stage is under appreciated. In matches, up to half the time is spent moving, not shooting, so big chunks of time can be made up through efficient movement.

Shoot Slow: Shooting beyond your control costs additional time in the form of PDs, HNT, and FNs. Many shoot too fast to make up for slow/inefficient movement, but it usually results in a counterproductive double whammy.

Sam1911
February 21, 2013, 07:21 AM
Surely with some repetitive training and proper indexing of the body, you can get a consistent draw out and pick up the dot faster? What are the benefits of dot over open sights?Personally, I don't think so. It is awfully hard to do a head-to-head comparison, though, as you'd need one person exactly equally skilled with both types. Or equally practiced at least.

Or you could check scores from a wide set of shooters using both types, but all other aspects of the guns used would have to be exactly equivalent, and as optics are only used in "Open" class, which allows a lot of other modifications like compensators, that's not practical.

Red dots are generally brighter on target, and good ones are parallax free, so there can be a slight benefit in not actually having to align the sights at all. But that's not a great benefit either if your technique is good, as the gun will align anyway as you present.

tuj
February 21, 2013, 08:35 AM
Quote:
Surely with some repetitive training and proper indexing of the body, you can get a consistent draw out and pick up the dot faster? What are the benefits of dot over open sights?
Personally, I don't think so. It is awfully hard to do a head-to-head comparison, though, as you'd need one person exactly equally skilled with both types. Or equally practiced at least.

From what I've seen of some of the masters like Brian Enos, they *do* shoot faster with their open class guns with dots on them, but not by that much. It's mostly their technique. Give them a duty rig and iron sights and they still will draw and shoot faster than us mortals.

But yes, the advantage of the red dot sight is that it is (the good ones anyway) parallax free, so there is nothing to align; put dot on target, pull trigger smoothly. With irons, your eyes must combine 3 distances (rear sight, front sight, and target) to get a sight picture. With a dot, there is only 1 distance (because the dot is projected in the sight at the same distance as the target), so alignment happens faster.

9mmepiphany
February 21, 2013, 12:35 PM
Surely with some repetitive training and proper indexing of the body, you can get a consistent draw out and pick up the dot faster? What are the benefits of dot over open sights?
Sorry for being slow to respond and thanks to the folks who tried to fill in while I was off-line.

Yes, you can train and get a good index coming out of the holster, this is one of the arguments for sticking with one platform, as it does take a different index due to the height of the sight above the bore.

The reddot sight requires a different technique that open sights, as you are looking at focusing on the target and pickup the dots appearance subconsciously to cue the press of the trigger...you don't look at the dot at all.

A highly skilled shooter does the same thing with open sights (no, this isn't point shooting) and for them (who already have great trigger control) the bigger issue is the floating dot...as opposed to the stable slide (which is used as a sighting plane in close engagements)

I was fortunate enough to have trained with a couple of shooters who were highly skilled with both open and red dot sights...they were there at the development...and they really could shoot just as well with either setup

Their take was that compensators and the weight of the total gun made a bigger difference on Open guns than the red dot. What the dot offered was ease of focus. It required a higher skill level to utilize them to their fullest benefit. However the red dot does offer advantages as your vision degrades with age

Blackstone
February 21, 2013, 01:21 PM
Oh I see. I read 9mm's response to TobyDedo's post which mentioned red dot combat pistols

Ankeny
February 22, 2013, 09:04 PM
Personally, I don't think so. It is awfully hard to do a head-to-head comparison, though, as you'd need one person exactly equally skilled with both types. Or equally practiced at least. I have shot both iron sights and a dot quite a lot. I went to the dot because of aging eyeballs, and I really do prefer the dot for all around shooting.

As far as which is quicker to the first shot, it depends on the difficulty level of the shot. When I am shooting at say 7-10 yards, with the goal being a "COM" hit on a metric IPSC target, I have always been marginally faster with open sights because I can read the relationship of the slide/bore to the target face peripherally during the presentation. Move the target back 2-3 times that distance, and I'll get the A box hit faster with a dot.

Mat, not doormat
February 22, 2013, 11:45 PM
Leaving aside the vagaries of dot sights, which I'm not sure are really that relevant to IDPA anyhow, I've got a couple of thoughts on the original subject,

First, I think that unless you're already a highly skilled shooter, it might be better to shoot your matches and do most of your practice with a full size gun. It's easier to learn when you're not having to fight with your equipment. Much of what you learn running a full size gun will transfer to the little one, especially if they're the same platform. I think that shooting and practicing with only the little one will definitely slow, and possible limit your growth as a shooter.

A couple of matches with the little gun may be quite valuable. Matches are fantastic at exposing flaws in equipment, technique, and expectations. I just think that in this case, enough is as good as a feast.

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