Tamara Keel over at View From The Porch said it very well:
I don’t mind being told I can’t use a flashlight lanyard. Tell me “we wanted a level playing field”. Fine. Tell me “we’ve seen safety issues with them.” Fine. Tell me “just because that’s the rules.” Fine.
Just don’t tell me “because our sport is a realistic tactical simulation of real-world street CCW equipment and tactical gunfighting wharrrgarble.”
This is of course not a surprise, as she has an outstanding way with words.
IDPA markets itself:
“The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is the governing body of a shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real life encounters. The founders developed the sport so that practical gear and practical guns may be used competitively.”
Many shooters in the sport deride other sport shooters as “gamers,” claiming that their sport is realistic training for self-defense, that it simulates real life, that they use guns that are REALLY carried concealed for self-defense, along with the equipment that REALLY gets used “on the street.”
Tam’s worth reading on it: http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com/2014/02/that-stuff-will-get-you-killed-on-street.html
Personally, I can’t use my actual carry gear in IDPA. I could use the gun I normally carry–but since I can’t use my holster or mag pouches (which means I can’t use my standard cover garment) and I’m switching out everything else, I might as well use the gun I normally use for competition shooting instead.
I normally carry AIWB—oops, not legal in IDPA. My normal mag pouches are made by Ky-Tac, to IDPA’s old specifications–oops, the new rules say that NOW mag pouches must cover a certain amount of the magazine (instead of it being based on whether or not the mags stay in place) so my mag pouches aren’t legal in IDPA anymore (it apparently doesn’t matter how much retention they have, it just matters if the mag is covered sufficiently). Since I carried AIWB, I used a closed-front polo shirt for concealment–but since I had to switch holsters to an OWB holster on my hip, I decided that I might as well buy a standard-use IDPA vest for concealment, which of course has large front pockets to drop mags into, plus a nice thick heavy seam along the outside for vest stiffness to make draws easier–though of course that isn’t realistic for actual carry in any way. I’d never wear this thing outside of an IDPA match.
When I shoot IDPA it doesn’t resemble in any way how I actually carry, due to their rules. Literally, their rules have forced me to be more “gamer” than I would have been without their rules. I had to buy a whole new set of equipment for “realistic” IDPA because my actual daily carry equipment apparently wasn’t “realistic” enough.
I haven’t shot IDPA for very long, and in addition to a small number of local matches, I’ve only shot 4 major matches (the Kansas state match twice, the Iowa state match once, and the Arkansas state match once). Out of those matches, I’ve won the entire match three times, and placed second overall in the other (that was the Arkansas match, at IDPA club number #001).
Far as I can tell, other than adding stories to their stage descriptions, IDPA is no more realistic or practical than USPSA. (Don’t tell me that “use of cover” makes it more realistic–because how cover is used in IDPA isn’t realistic, plus the fact that cover is rarely actually used in actual citizen self-defense situations so it isn’t exactly a priority.) When I can win a stage in IDPA by quietly stepping backward and calling 911 or by running screaming for help, then I’ll rethink my opinion of IDPA’s “realism.” (Heck, when I can make an intelligent choice about going into a room filled with bad guys by instead quietly bypassing it, I’ll think about it.)
Note: I’ve enjoyed the IDPA I shot. This doesn’t change the fact that it is REALLY annoying to run into someone who insists that IDPA “prepares you for the street,” “is realistic self-defense training,” and that “those other sports are for gamers” when the game itself makes people be less realistic about their equipment, forces people to make dumb choices regarding tactics (no, really, we should ALWAYS attempt to do house-clearing by ourselves!), and doesn’t in any way resemble reality.
They are all games. They all have rules, a winner, and lots of losers after that. They are fun games–and they make you perform with a handgun under stress, which DOES make you more likely to be able to defend yourself. (Not to mention that people who engage in shooting sports tend to end up better shooters because they have a reason to practice and get better.) The gun games are fun. Like I said, I’ve enjoyed the IDPA major matches I’ve shot. (Much of that was due to the good people who were running them, and the other shooters I was squadded with.)
Just stop telling me that IDPA is more “street” than “those other gaming gamer games.”