I’m confident I’m a pretty good shot. I’ve taken a few different classes and done well. At the range, I can put up a good group on a target at different ranges. However, after my first and my second hunt and now my first local match, I realize I’ve got a lot to work on and learn about.
In environments where your target is not stationary, distances are not predetermined, and under some pressure, your skills are really put to the test. Every skill – and I mean every skill – like the draw, target acquisition, sight picture, sight alignment, trigger pull, and shot placement is put to the test. All the gear in the world won’t help in these situations… it’s all about the fundamentals.
Full disclosure – I came in dead last in my division. However, it’s yet another thing I will do again (and again) to help sharpen up shooting skills. If you’ve never shot a local match, you owe it to yourself to do it. It’s fun. It’s challenging. It’s an opportunity to find out how good you really are and identify areas to improve. It will make any shooter better. But be warned, it can be a humbling experience.
The people I met were amazing (as expected from other folks I’ve met in shooting sports). They were welcoming. Offered advice when I asked for it. While everyone was competitive, everyone was willing to lift me up and help me improve. Not a single person boasted or tried to inflate their ego at my expense. I like these sorts of folks.
My set up
It doesn’t take a ton of gear to get started, have fun, and start improving. But you do need a couple of things. You will need:
- A handgun,
- three (3) or more magazines,
- a holster – I suggest an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster,
- two mag pouches/holders/holsters,
- a sturdy belt,
- eye and ear protection – I recommend electronic ear protection,
- a garment to conceal the firearm and magazines like a vest or a jacket,
- a good pair of shoes,
- comfortable clothing,
- enough ammunition (I used under 100 rounds) – check the match description to make sure you have enough),
- sun block,
- and a good attitude – probably the most important thing.
Other than some comfortable clothes and shoes, water, and sun block – I used:
- Springfield Armory XD(M) in 9mm,
- the holster that came with the XD(M),
- the mag holster that came with the XD(M),
- a Concealment Solutions Python gun belt,
- prescription glasses with polycarbonate lenses and Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic earmuffs,
- 5.11 Tactical TacLite Pro Vest,
- and some American Eagle 115gr 9mm ammo.
I’m going to use the same gear a few more times before I make any changes.
Anyone who owns or carries a handgun for self defense, should take that gun and participate in a local IDPA match. Chances are you already have the gear. It’s a very inexpensive way to test your skills, learn a few things, and have some fun – maybe even meet some like minded folks and make some new friends. Who knows – one may even find a new hobby in competitive shooting?