Psyched Myself Out Trying to Game a Stage

Another IDPA match with interesting results. By interesting, I mean I royally screwed up one stage while managing do pretty well on other stages. The difference in this match compared to the last one, is that I can’t blame my screw up on my arthritis. The screw up was all me.

DateJuly 27, 2019
Match TypeLocal IDPA Match
Class / DivisionStandard Service Pistol (SSP) / Unclassified (UN)
RangeAustin Rifle Club
HostTexas Tactical
GunSig Sauer P229 Legion
Ammo9mm 115 Grain FMJ Federal American Eagle
Score150.16
Standing7 out of 9

The squad I was on started on stage 5 and it almost ended up being a very short match for me. That’s because I came very close to breaking the 180 degree rule during a reload which would have resulted in an immediate disqualification. The 180 degree rule basically states that your muzzle must always remain pointed down range from where you are currently standing. This rule is for everyone’s safety and reenforces one of the cardinal tenants of gun safety – always point the muzzle in a safe direction. The range safety officer was kind enough to yell “Muzzle! Muzzle!” at me to make me aware I was about to break the rule which allowed me to recover. The most common time this rule is broken, so I’m told as I’ve never broke it or seen anyone break it, happens when a right handed shooter is facing towards the left and begins a reload as the right wrist tends to bend further left. Reloads while facing towards the right puts left handed shooters at risk of breaking this rule.

I shot stage 1 clean and completed it in what I would consider a respectable time! I’m pretty proud of this as it’s only the second time I’ve shot a stage clean.

Stage 2 was another story all together. After some decent performances, I decided to attempt to “game” stage 2. By game, I mean really plan what order I was going to shoot each target with a specific number of rounds, while minimizing my movement, and knowing when to expect the reload. I figured this planning would pay off in a really low time. Most of those details left my head as soon as the start buzzer beeped. I ended up forgetting the first two targets required three (3) shots each. So when I expected my reload I got confused as I started why my magazine hadn’t run dry. So all the planning and strategizing resulted in shooting slower, transitioning terribly between targets, and racking up a plethora of point deductions. This is a clear sign that I’m not ready to keep up with some of the more advanced IDPA shooters who were on my squad. And that’s okay.

The rest of match went as expected. Overall, I shot well and I can probably attempt pick up the pace as look as I keep my approach simple and not try to game the competition. In terms of improvement, this match resulted in my best score to date and was well above my average score even with my screw up.

The most important thing I took away from this match is that’s it’s okay to push yourself, but not so hard that you compromise the rules of gun safety. I almost did and that could have resulted in something far worse than a disqualification.

I’m also starting to think about participating in the outlaw division during some of the future matches. The standard service pistol (SSP) division that I typically compete under limits how many rounds can be loaded in each magazine to 11 in the first magazine and 10 the second and third magazines. I’ve started to notice that I’m getting into the habit of counting and instinctively starting to reload on that 10th shot (or 11th for the first magazine). I don’t do this all the time as I lose count sometimes. However, I’m starting to wonder since my primary goal of participating in IDPA is to become more proficient with my every day carry pistol, if I would benefit more by participating with my gun loaded to capacity as I would outside of IDPA. I’m not sure yet, but maybe I’ll try the outlaw division in the next match.

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Author: Uncle Zo

Just an average Joe who loves to geek out on firearm mechanics and ballistics.

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