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Things learned from concealed carry matches.

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by couldbeanyone, May 10, 2021.

  1. couldbeanyone

    couldbeanyone Member

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    After observing people carrying small guns, and never seeming to practice with them, I decided to create concealed carry matches at our local range in an effort to get people to actually shoot what they carry. Really inspired by a young man who has since become a cop. He was always practicing with a 1911. I asked him what he carried. He pulled out a Springfield xds in 45 ACP. I asked him if he had ever tried shooting it fast. He said no. I suggested he give it a try. The results, at 7 yards, uspsa target, 6 rounds, 1 D zone hit, 5 misses.
    The match was scored using uspsa scoring (hit factor) and was basically uspsa format, with the following changes: you must draw from concealment, your gun had to fit in a box sized to accept nothing larger than a Colt officer's model, no power factor, you could use anything from a 22 to a 45, and all stages were designed to be 5 shot friendly (5 shots and move, so people shooting 5 shot guns weren't forced to make standing reloads).
    The turnout initially was very good. Had a lot of people show up with guns they had never considered shooting in a match including several 5 shot 38 specials, lcp, Smith bodyguard, etc. Most of the participants were people who were already at least casual competitive shooters. So these are people who generally shoot better than your average concealed carrier.
    Lessons learned:
    People don't like performing badly. All of the guys shooting 5 shot 38 specials performed VERY poorly. Their response to shooting poorly and fumbled reloads? "I ain't shooting that in the match again." later matches they shot with compact polymer autos. Glock 43 etc. They did better but still not great. You would think it would be motivation to practice and get better but, no... yet you see them several times later and they're still carrying the 5 shot snubbies.
    No one came close to winning with a 45acp. Take that for what it's worth....
    On average people shooting physically larger compact guns or smaller small caliber guns (22 lr, 32 ACP) performed better.
    If you are truly a good shooter, you will probably do well with whatever....young man (single stack grand master and very high finisher at Nationals) shot a Kahr cm-9 and was always a top finisher. Another guy, ( limited master) shot a shield and always finished well. I shot a Airlite 8 shot revolver in 22lr and did well. Yes I carry it.
    People hate to suck. Over the course of the year, general participation fell to the point that I quit having the matches. The guys who quit coming kept shooting their full size guns in other matches.
    I will never understand the mindset of people that will continue to carry a gun that they have demonstrated that they can't perform with. You would think it would inspire them to either practice with the gun and continue to compete until they could perform, or switch to carrying a gun they could perform better with. But no......I just don't get it.
     
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  2. The Glockodile

    The Glockodile Member

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    One of the many undercurrents present in the "Gun Culture."

    I dare to say that these were mostly boys, ehrm, men.

    That's why I've always felt that women RSOs and Instructors were always better - but they're also few and far between.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2021
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  3. patmccoy

    patmccoy Member

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    First quote is human nature, and few folks have the desire to continue to perform badly long enough to improve their performance. Too hard on their self image.

    Second quote is the usual result, due to the few who do learn to perform well becoming more of a drag on the self image of the others.

    The few survivors are the thick skinned who see life as a comedy, rather than a serious drama.
     
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  4. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    I'm a big advocate of shooting those types of matches with the gear you actually carry.

    I shoot a lot of IDPA and we have a lot of crossovers from USPSA that treat it like USPSA as far as gear and tactics.

    I always shoot with the same gear I EDC.

    I honestly wish IDPA would let BUG guys pocket holster so that real world let down could sink in for a lot of folks.
     
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  5. jag1954

    jag1954 Member

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    That's why I'm fortunate in that the local gun club is a short drive away and I can get range time whenever I want which means a lot of practice-practice practice and more of the same. The other day I had the .642 out and couldn't hit water if I'd fallen out of a boat. So, back to the range the next day and the day after that. No ego for this old geezer, when I suck I'll readily admit it and carry on from there.
     
  6. couldbeanyone

    couldbeanyone Member

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    "I honestly wish IDPA would let BUG guys pocket holster so that real world let down could sink in for a lot of folks"


    Yeah, it turns out pocket carry is not a winner. Some of the participants were really surprised how slow their draw was.
     
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  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    My main game is IDPA or USPSA with the usual full size ESP - Limited guns.
    But I do get out every once in a while.

    Local club has the occasional BUG shoot, sometime a revolver match.

    A regional club has an annual hideout gun affair, I shot my LC9s, friend borrowed my G43. There was a special division "Glock 19 If You Must," not eligible for prizes.

    There was a (mostly) police league nearby. I commonly shot a Commander or Plastic Smith.

    GSSF has a lively Pocket division for G42-43.

    I don't know anybody around here allowing pocket draws.
    There is enough whining about IDPA not allowing belly button carry.
    I practice it dryfire, and it is slow.
     
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  8. JJFitch

    JJFitch Member

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    Our indoor range has been closed (COVID rules!) for a year!

    I used to run a concealed carry style match. Yes it was USPSA (lite) but with simple scoring, time plus points down. I ran two 24 round stages. (the 5 round shooters started with -5 points). Usually 3 target arrays 3, 5,7 and 10 yards! The first stage was regular lighting stage two was low light.

    We had a regular crowd but only about half shot EDC's!

    Smiles,
     
  9. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I believe many competitors tend to associate their score with their sense of self, and as a measure of their value. Some, if they are not beating others, then they are not happy. Once their skills fade, they quit. They never really enjoyed shooting, what they enjoyed was winning and being respected for their skills.

    I don’t know how you get past that. The human mind is capable of infinite self deceit. People only see what they want to see, and their self image is one of perfection. It is easier to restore a self image of perfection by quitting, than by failing enough repetitions until you finally reach a level of competence.
     
  10. mokin

    mokin Member

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    The local club used to have a monthly event along similar lines. It was lots of fun! Only concealed carry guns. I remember one scenario that started with the shooter seated, throwing a weighted plastic bottle at a knockdown target.

    Not a lot of guys showed up. There was a nice atmosphere of fun. I think we all figured that the most likely case we'd have to shoot would be the most unlikely (unexpected?) and appreciated the variety.
     
  11. couldbeanyone

    couldbeanyone Member

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    Another thing I learned: I shot a Beretta bobcat in a couple of the matches. Due to the hand filling grip diameter, the low bore axis, and the 22 lr chambering, it was surprisingly easy to shoot well in spite of the tiny sights. However, it never made it through a 4 stage match without multiple malfunctions. The bobcat and I soon parted ways....
     
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  12. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    I have two possible explanations for why they continue to carry a gun they don't shoot well.
    1. Its the best the can do - for example, the gun is carried at work because they can't conceal a gun they shoot better.

    2. Its the best they are willing to do - they could conceal a gun they shoot better but are unwilling to.
    Rationalizations for 2: "quick trip to the store", "walking the dogs", "good area" "better than nothing" and likely even "summer carry"
    Indicative of #2: carries gun that is convenient in "good areas" but carries a gun they shoot better elsewhere where there is "greater perceived threat"
     
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  13. couldbeanyone

    couldbeanyone Member

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    I would say you are likely correct in your assessment of their thought processes (or lack thereof). But, just because you don't shoot a gun well, doesn't mean you can't practice and learn to shoot it well. Or you could go to a gun that is just as compact in a smaller caliber. People shooting smaller caliber light recoiling guns did mostly better than people with smaller heavier recoiling guns. To my way of thinking, 4 alphas and a charlie with a 22 or 32 is way better than, 2 deltas and 3 Mike's with a 45, if for no other reason than you don't have 3 rounds unaccounted for, possibly in your neighbors bedroom. I have yet to find a gun that I couldn't put in (if not really good) at least a passable performance with, with a little practice, short of big boomers like 44 magnum or full house 357 in a j frame (my smaller aging frame and less than large hands don't like that level of recoil, so I avoid them.)
     
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  14. couldbeanyone

    couldbeanyone Member

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    I think some people find it easier to just look at a gun as a magic talisman. They may not be able to hit anything with it, but they do have a gun, and it is in at least X caliber. So in their mind, they are good to go.....
     
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  15. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    I didn't mention caliber in my reply; I addressed your question about carrying (or not) a gun they shoot well versus one they don't.
    If/when not limited by work clothes willingness, or lack of it, to carry the (a) handgun they shoot best is likely a factor.
    For example, they don't want to wear a belt to walk the dog so they stick "better than nothing" in a pocket.

    Thankfully, I'm no longer limited by work clothing which allows me to always carry a gun I shoot well.
    IME a Kahr PM9 is easier to shoot quick & accurate versus a LCP 380 (which is easier to conceal).
    IME a Glock 19 is easier to shoot quick & accurate versus a Kahr PM9 (which is easier to conceal).
    I have no trouble concealing a Glock 19 size pistol in summer clothes and I don't carry smaller than that, anywhere*.
    Full disclosure: once this year push mowing the yard and again jogging with my wife I opted for the PM9. :(
     
  16. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    It is a great idea to compete with the smaller guns. I used to take part in a short range gun match designed for such and shot quite a few IDPA matches with J frames. Here's a good report on small gun performance by Karl Rehn, one of our most respected and technically skilled at data analysis.

    https://blog.krtraining.com/small-gun-class-data-2019-2020/

    Taking a small gun class is also a good thing. Several are offered nowadays. Claude Werner, Darryl Bolke, Rehn among others.

    They are not so easy to shoot well, so the folks who drop a Taurus 85 in their pockets because it served them well (never testes except at the square range) might be surprised as this thread indicates.
     
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  17. alfsauve

    alfsauve Member

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    Interesting to see how the SIG EDC competition fairs. Granted they're promoting the P365, but the idea is similar. Will it be well attended? Will people want to do it again? How practiced will people be? Will the guns hold up? Granted it probably won't be your casual shooter who attends, but it could open up a new version of IDPA that only shoots sub-compact EDC guns. Something between bug and full size CCP. OR it could be a one-match wonder.

    I'm going because I like putting rounds downrange and this'll be something I can be in on the first ever. (I was "this" close to going to the first ever 2nd Chance shoot in the '70's. Hate myself for not doing it.)

    I'm also putting a 1,000 rounds through my gun and competing in at least 6 IDPA matches before then. It is the gun I currently carry (P365), though I'll switch from IWB to OWB for the competition.
     
  18. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I hadn't heard of that. A one marque, one model competition seems like they are starting in a hole.

    GSSF Pocket does well, but in conjunction with Divisions devoted to everything else they make. One enthusiast here said he shot the Nationals in seven divisions. Not necessarily seven guns, there is some overlap, but still...
     
  19. JJFitch

    JJFitch Member

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    See Post #8:

    As a POST Certified Firearms Instructor I started out teaching similar drills I used at our LEO range. IE. two center mass, assess the immediate threat scan for additional threats and similar drills. The USPSA types were too hyper for slowing down to assess and scan so that didn't last long before I started USPSA/IDPA scenarios!

    So I think for true "concealed carry" specific course/training it has to be something someone is willing to pay for and listen to the instructors.

    Smiles,
     
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  20. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    I had to answer this question for myself several years ago. At the time, I carried a G36 and shot it a lot in idpa and polite society. I wondered how much better I was with my Kimber government-sized 1911 than the diminuitive single-stack.

    The test I chose was the old, "long" idpa classifier. Turns out I was just a tiny bit faster and a tiny bit more accurate with the 1911, but not enough to matter. I've recorded the scores somewhere.

    It was good to know that I wasn't giving up much at all with the G36.

    Kudos for helping your club members accomplish this.
     
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  21. GJeffB

    GJeffB Member

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    Good Ol Boy:
    Love it, especially coming with the avatar of the Colonel :)
    IPSC, carry with what you train, train with what you carry. A lost competition art IMNSHO :D

    -jb, beating the IPSC horse yet again, just for fun
     
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  22. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    Doing real-world drills from concealment years ago taught me two other lessons, this time about an air-weight J-frame 442 I used to feel comfortable carrying in a pocket holster.

    First, pocket carry is SLOW, and pocket draws are really inconsistent, even if you start with your hand on the grip. Especially from different pocket configurations.

    Second, I found that I had to rotate my grip to get my trigger finger from the reference position on the frame into the trigger guard (I have big hands). No wonder I couldn't hit consistently or quickly with that gun in realistic drills!

    My square range practice with the J-frame could never teach me those lessons.

    I could never feel comfortable carrying a J-frame as a primary after those experiences. I occasionally carry it as a backup now, but only very infrequently.
     
  23. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm a-feared that there is a lot of that going around.
     
  24. Phaedrus/69

    Phaedrus/69 Member

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    I fear that another reason is a special subset of magical thinking that you could call the "Rise To The Occasion Fallacy." Despite much evidence that we'll instead sink to the level of our training a lot of folks seem to believe that the stress of the situation will allow them to attain focus and reach a higher level of performance. Many times over the years (and so far it has always been older folks) I've seen shooters choke shooting at paper or steel but claim they shoot much better at actual game. Some people handle stress better than others but I've yet to see someone spontaneously develop a previously-unknown skill under pressure on the spur of the moment.
     
  25. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Unfortunately too many shooters suffer from what I named American Male Syndrome many years ago. This is an ego based illness that makes many American men believe that they left the womb knowing everything there is to know about shooting, fighting, driving and lovemaking”. If placed in a position where they might be forced to face up to reality they will do whatever they can to avoid it lest they be embarrassed.

    This is why we don’t see a lot of shooters in class and why some quit when they don’t automatically perform to the level they think they are capable of.

    I worked with an officer who was a natural athlete, high school and college star, got looked at by pro scouts and coached at the high school. But he could barely shoot well enough to qualify. It was a skill that didn’t come natural to him and he was too proud to to learn.

    You see it in people who go to the range and only practice the drill they have mastered and won’t even try anything else because they might be embarrassed.

    I’ve seen guys who were masters on the square range refuse another run in FoF training because their performance wasn’t what they thought it would be.

    I don’t know what it is in our culture that causes this but I’ve seen it too much in both the Army and in LE.
     
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