IDPA Tactical Journal (19.4)…

So, I read the latest Tactical Journal this morning (yes, I know it has been out awhile, I don’t want to hear it) and I thought I’d comment on something I read in it.

For those who don’t know, the “Tactical Journal” is the “whenever we feel like it” publication of the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) containing supposedly excellent articles about the sport, self-defense, and so on.

[cough, cough]

Anyway:  I’ll ignore the fact that Robert Ray’s article* about the 2015 World Championship (by the way, Robert is the editor of the Tactical Journal, and one of the major rule-arbiters in IDPA) completely got wrong the first, second and third place finishers in CCP division.  Not only was he wrong, but he wrote about a third of a page about the supposed winner being the first time someone from outside the US has won, etc, etc—-too bad that guy wasn’t the winner.  His article didn’t even MENTION the guy that actually won the division at the 2015 IDPA World Championship.

But we’ll ignore that.

We’ll also ignore Joyce Wilson’s comment about how the points down penalty will be doubled because two MAs and one EX think we should do it, and how all the feedback that she’s gotten has been positive (all evidence, discussion, commentary, and quotes to the contrary), and how there is no actual timetable for this because they don’t know what they are doing and how it will affect classifications.

We’ll ignore that too.

No, my ACTUAL comment is on the article where they asked a number of female MM shooters what they wanted for Christmas—and one said that she wanted a class from Front Sight, “to improve [their] accuracy and timing.”   Another was getting her husband “something special” — a course at Front Sight.

Front Sight.

Seriously?  Was the point of this article to show that even in the shooting sports, people make stupid choices about where to train, and who to train with?

I wish I could find Tamara Keel‘s comment about training with people or groups like Front Sight, Suarez, and Yeager—it was a great quote, but I think it was in the comments on one of her posts and I can’t find it.

Front Sight. Seriously. Sheesh.



*I note that I met Robert Ray when I went down and shot the Arkansas State IDPA match this past year.  He was polite, seemed like a nice guy, and I saw him make a number of rules decisions that seemed logical, pragmatic, and sensible.  So this comment about his article is not about him as a person, but it certainly is about how the overall editor of the whole magazine shouldn’t be making this kind of egregiously awful mistake in something as easily factually checked as this.

IDPA is a game. Deal with it.

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:

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.”