Hey everyone! I got to shoot an IDPA match this weekend, which was a lot of fun. I also recorded one of my stages with a head-mounted camera and had a buddy record me with my regular camera. I thought it might be interesting for you guys to see a stage from the shooter’s perspective as well as from an outside perspective. Here goes:
Okay, this is the video my friend took (obviously) of me running the stage. I feel pretty good about some of it, but some is bugging me. here’s what i think I did well. My draw looks smooth and quick to me. My first shots are pretty fast, though I remember that i was trying to do something new with them that doesn’t make much sense, on reflection. I saw that the targets were lined up, on above and behind the other, and figured i could just run a string up from the bottom to the top, without specifically aiming to put two rounds into the center of each target. Makes sense, right? Well I ended up slowing myself down to do that, because it’s not what I normally do, so I think it backfired. Not in a big way, but my hits just weren’t good and I think I could’ve gotten better hits in the same timeframe if I’d just aimed for center mass on the targets.
Also, you can see that I moved forward far too quickly, and got out from behind cover in relation to the targets to my right. What I should have done is to move forward slowly while firing, and then leaned out to check around any blind corners, rather than rushing forward. Really, though, given the situation (no area to retreat, no cover between me and target, on a bridge so i can’t move laterally), outside of IDPA, I’d have gone to a knee, I think. Sometimes changing levels in a fight is a good thing, and can slow your opponent down just enough to give you an edge. And really, there’s no good option, here. You can’t move any direction but straight forward, and you can’t move forward fast enough to hope that your advance might have an effect, because you’re exposing yourself almost immediately. Really, your best bet would be to stay put, maybe change levels, clear the visible space and then proceed. Unfortunately, IDPA rules require movement whenever you’re exposed, so you have to move in this situation, even if it’s a tiny shuffle step, or an exaggerated slow-motion move. One example of where the rules make good sense in general, but how they can be silly in a particular situation. Anyway, there’s that. I got a procedural error on that, which I saw coming when it happened, so I wasn’t surprised or upset that they dinged me with it.
So there’s that whole discussion. You might also notice that right before I turn to shoot the targets to my right, it looks like I’m reaching for my gun with my support hand. I don’t know why. I don’t actually do anything to it, so I don’t think it malfunctioned. It definitely looks like I’m reaching up with the intention of racking the slide, but the gun operates just fine without me doing it. I also don’t remember what was going through my head at the moment, so I’m no help at all. In any case, I can see myself looking down at my gun, so I’m trying to diagnose a problem, I’m assuming. That’s not what I want to be doing, so I’m going to spend some time at the range working on that. My gun isn’t trying to kill me, so I don’t need to be looking at it. All the important things I need to do to it are things I can do just fine without looking, even under stress. The biggest thing for me to practice is fixing them on the fly, in real time, while I’m at the range. That’s a takeaway lesson from this weekend, for sure. Some of the response has become automated, but I’m often still looking at what I’m doing, rather than keeping my eyes on the threats.
After dealing with the threats on the right, I move forward to handle the ones on the left. I shoot, but run empty. My slide doesn’t stay back, though, which we’ve discussed in the past. So now I’ve got a gun that isn’t working, and i tap and rack. That rack ends with the slide remaining locked to the rear, which I can feel, so I know I need a reload. I look down at this one, too, even though I don’t need to. Again, I just need to practice running these things without looking while I’m at the range. You can also see that my reload isn’t especially smooth or fast. That’s largely because I don’t practice reloads. I need to start doing that, too. It’s not super slow, but it could definitely be smoother and faster.
Other than that, I feel like my movement isn’t as fast as it could be. We’re simulating a fight, and in a fight you want to be decisive and aggressive, based on my training experiences and everything I’ve read. Slow and cautious might be okay for some situations, but it sounds like people generally do better when they take the fight to their enemy. That’s something else I want to work on. Not reckless, but decisive. Unfortunately it won’t be too easy to work with live fire, but maybe running around my house with a blue gun? I’ll figure something out.
Okay, that’s about all i can get out of this video. Let’s look at the perspective shot and see if anything else becomes apparent.
Okay, back to the beginning. My hat is in the way and the camera is on the side of my head so it looks like I’m leaning out farther than I really am for some shots, but it’s still cool and definitely helpful. Maybe it gives people a better idea of what to expect at an IDPA match, too?
From the perspective shot, you can see just how far out from cover I got on my first move forward. it was pretty far. Again, according to IDPA rules, I should have retreated behind cover and then leaned out to shoot again. I think there’s some merit to that, because shooting from cover is always preferable. However, give the situation, with how narrow my walkway was, and how close to the end I had to get in order to be behind cover, I really think that turning and firing at the threats while retreating to cover might have been a decent option. Some might disagree, but it’s not like I was going to retreat to cover and then they’d have no idea where I was going to pop out from there. Once I was exposed, it made sense to put rounds on the threats while moving to cover. What do you guys think? Am I crazy? Would I be better served, given my environment, by retreating to cover and then leaning out to engage, rather than shooting while moving to cover?
In any case, the perspective shot really shows better how exposed I was and what my movement gained me, cover-wise. Okay, now to the next targets and the reload. Seeing it, it actually looks now like I fumbled it a bit. Went to the slide first, for some reason, then went to tap the mag, then racked. It was far from the clean “Tap-Rack-Reload” I would’ve liked to see, and I don’t think I could have seen what I actually did nearly as well from the other video. So score one for the head-cam! My reloads aren’t as clean as I’d thought, and I didn’t think all that much of them. Definitely going to be working on this.
After that, I think the rest is much the same as the other video. The long-distance target could’ve been faster, for sure. I need to work on my distance splits a bit, maybe work on fast triples? There’s a lot to be said for taking another quarter second to potentially gain a half second or two back, score-wise. it may not seem like much, but it can add up. There’s also a lot to be said for confidence. If you can’t see your hits (and you often can’t) then it’s best to get your hits, know they’re good, and move on. I could keep squinting at the target 10 yards away to see if I got holes in it and where they are, or I can just put three rounds into center mass and trust my shooting enough to know that I won’t have completely whiffed. It’s hard, but over all 4 stages, it’s one of the things I noticed slowing me down. Not just taking unnecessary shots, but taking the time to deliberate about extra shots. Either taking them or not taking them would be faster, but the deliberating is what soaks up seconds without any benefit.
So there you go, that’s what I got out of my last IDPA match, specifically from the video I got of it. I’ve gotten video before, but never perspective shots, and I think the combination of the two was incredibly helpful. I’ll definitely be doing it again. I might even bring the camera to the range and do some turning target drills with it, so I can see my hands in action, maybe from the left side this time so I can see what my support hand is up to? Anyway, if I do it, you’ll see them. Thanks for reading, and we’ll catch you next time.