Don’t miss the opportunity to use a competition as a training session.
There are opportunities to try techniques and, more importantly, evaluate equipment and skill sets at every match. One good match to consider is the IDPA Classifier.
I don’t think IDPA is a substitute for actual training or a reflection of an actual confrontation. If you think it is, just remember the targets neither move nor shoot back.
It is a game that lets you compare your constant evolution of skills and equipment against your past performance. It also allows you to examine other solutions to the common problems associated with CCW.
These problems can include: Type of pistol and caliber
Effects of climate and clothing on carry options
Moving, cover and concealment
Operation of the handgun.
Don’t see this as an all inclusive list. It’s just a jumping off point. Look at these images from a late fall IDPA classifier. If you were present, could you answer these questions for yourself?
Note: these shooters aren’t doing anything “wrong.” Any photo is a snapshot of a 1/100 of a second from a much longer time interval and is out of context. The images are just used a starting point to think about training and techniques.
Short fleece concealment vest: Does the gun print on him? Would standing there his best option? Why isn’t his gun on in direct line of vision to the target?
After reloading behind, cover the shooter engages targets on her weak side. Would changing pistol to weak hand with support benefit her? What would that do to her accuracy? Would it have been better to come out low, from a kneeling position?
The shooter is drawing a revolver from right kidney position. Would that gun print during normal activities? Can you sit in a car seat for long with an expectation of comfort? Is a long tail shirt the best concealment option?
Shooter is wearing a heavy canvas shell and gloves. This is a good example of trying out how you would be dressed during inclement weather. How would you solve the bad weather problem? Perhaps a 5-shot revolver in an outer coat pocket would be a better option?
The shooter is using cover and isn’t crowding it. Are there any advantages to crowding cover and using the edge as support? Do you see a problem with that?
This shooter is advancing and his knees are bent to give him a lower center of gravity. Is the step too big? Did he lift his foot too much, or is the uneven nature of the field best handled this way?
Our shooter is moving and shooting. Can you think of when you would advance into returning fire? Would your best strategy be to double tap on each target or boarding house rules? That is, everyone gets one before seconds are handed out.
This shooter has a solution for engaging targets at two distances under different conditions. I think his solution makes sense. From behind big cover, he thumb cocks the revolver and snipes each shot in. He reloads behind cover and advances, as required by IDPA. From the kneeling position behind a barrel he’s significantly closer to the targets so he shoots double action. Can you think of conditions when this tactic wouldn’t work? Does the duel operation mode of a revolver out weight a 7th or 8th round of a semi-auto for the armed civilian?