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A disappointing IDPA classifier

Posted by Lissa on January 30, 2012

It was not a skillful outing for Lissa.

I went out to the IDPA classifier and came out as a Novice. It wasn’t close, either; it wasn’t borderline Marksman.

It was frustrating as all get-out. I’d been to the range the day before and, while it wasn’t perfect, I was certainly hitting what I aimed at.

So why did I suddenly start jerking the trigger like it would earn me points? Why was it so hard to find a sight picture? Something about the competition nature of the thing sent my heart trip-hammering and blew my Good Gun Habits all to hell. I even had trouble sighting down the barrel; somehow I’d point too high or too low and it would take me a good second or two to get the front sight framed between the back sights. Why?

I didn’t do too badly at seven yards, but I did poorly at ten yards and just plain crappy at twenty yards. The shorter barrel and front-heavy muzzle of Siguette doesn’t help matters, but it was my poor demonstration of skills that sealed the Novice deal.

Oh well. The next classifier is in April. Lots of time to dry-fire between then and now!

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7 Responses to “A disappointing IDPA classifier”

  1. Jeff said

    The external pressure is one of the best values of competition. If a little bit of competetive pressure makes one’s skills go to hell, imagine what the stress of a defensive encounter would do.

    Match stress goes down pretty steeply as you get more experience. Of course, it eventually starts rising again once you get good at it and put pressure on yourself to win.

  2. What Jeff said. You compete to learn to overcome stress. That way, should you ever actually need to use your firearm, you will be able to use it successfully. You just learned that your skills suffer under stress. That’s a valuable lesson. Next lesson: you can overcome this handicap.

  3. Lissa said

    Thanks, Jeff and Kevin. I knew from the IDPA match I shot that my skills suffer under stress and that longer distances show this more than shorter distances. I was surprised and disappointed because I really have improved at the range since that match; I thought it would be reflected in my score, and it wasn’t.

    I think I have to incorporate more mental stress into my time at the range . . . instead of just trying to make good shots, start imagining that I’m on a timer, or that the target is coming towards me with a weaspon. Something like that.

  4. Contrats!! for shooting a Classifier! The last stage is the killer. Those 15 & 20 yard shots mess up almost everyone.

    If this was your first Classifier, it’s always worse. For some reason it’s hard to think of it as ‘just another IDPA match’. Shooting from cover also kinda messes up your sight picture if you’re used to just shooting static standing straight. Being bent sideways affects your sight picture.

    Many women also don’t have as much body between their hips and their shoulders as guys do so it’s more difficult for us to lean out from cover (keeping 100% of your lower body behind cover) effectively. We tend to have to adjust our feet placement as we lean farther out to get the close in threat targets. And low cover is even worse.

    When I do dry-fire at home, I practice around doorways. If your range will allow it, use the edge of your stall as tall cover, keeping 100% of your lower body in the next stall and lean out into your stall.

    Practice standing back, at least an arm’s length from cover (tall and low) so you have room to work your reloads, too.

    Keep workin’ it.

  5. wrm said

    Yup. Trying to beat the timer makes one do bad bad things. I start flinching. Not because I’m afraid of the recoil, but because I’m trying to bring the gun down for the next shot before shooting the current shot.

    So now my tactic is to go deliberately slow. Because you can’t miss them fast enough to win.

  6. Jeff/zeeke42 said

    There are some shot timer apps for the iPhone. While not as good as a dedicated timer, they’re probably pretty valuable for practice. I’d suggest looking in to those so you can get used to shooting on the clock.

  7. Wally said

    Lissa, Good on you for getting into IDPA. The classifiers are humbling, and the 20yard work is quite challenging with a compact sidearm.

    My first two seasons were discouraging, but on the third I focused on slow and accurate, and scores are ticking up. You have to be accurate to score well, and speed will follow.

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