Knowing the Limits of Your Training

When you take a training class, or go out and practice shooting skills on a USPSA or IDPA stage, do you know the limits of those experiences? Do you know where the “real world, applicable to a deadly force situation” skills you’re drilling end?

I’ve commented before on the issue of “IDPA as training” vs. “IDPA as a game”. But I wanted to riff on this in another direction, because of a post Kathy at Cornered Cat made a couple of days ago. She titled the post “Wait for backup“, and talked about two situations where armed citizens entered their homes looking for bad guys. One ended well, thank god, but the other much less so. Kathy pointed out that:

If you are concerned enough to pull your gun out of its holster, you should be concerned enough to pull your phone out of your pocket and call for backup. Except in cases of extreme and immediate need, law enforcement officers won’t try to clear a house by themselves, without backup. Why should you?

I wanted to underline her point because one of the perennial debates in our community seems to be about whether competition shooting sports like IDPA “will get you killed”. I think this is one area where, if you don’t know your limits, they just might.

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IDPA: Gaming vs. Training

As I mentioned yesterday, I noticed some definite differences at my first IDPA match between those people who were shooting it as a sport/competition vs. those who were shooting primarily for defensive firearms practice/training. I’ve been thinking about this topic anyway since Bob Mayne‘s excellent Handgun World podcast recently in which he and Ben Branam discussed this issue in the context of the Aurora shooting.

In my view, IDPA can be just a fun game you get to play out on the range, or it can be a supplement (though not a replacement; more on that in a moment) to your defensive firearms training regimen. If you’re going to treat IDPA as training, though, you’re going to make some different decisions than if you’re playing as a game. Here are some of the things I think make IDPA better training:
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