Texas SOT

What do I need to practice?

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  • 1Shot

    New Member
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    Mar 9, 2008
    North Texas
    New or prospective IDPA shooters often ask: What do I need to practice before shooting a match?

    The short answer to that is: Everything!

    But that answer is a little broad so I will touch on some of the high points.

    First and always foremost is SAFETY! Always, always, always keep your muzzle downrange. This includes during reloads, malfunction clearing and of course while shooting. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you are going to shoot.

    The next thing I tell new shooters to practice is accuracy. I don't care how fast you can make noise if you don't hit the target you won't have a good score. Practice shooting out to at least 20 yards being able to hit an 8 inch circle. Burn most of your ammo at 15 yards or less with a huge emphasis on 7 to 10 yards.

    Then practice a smooth and safe draw. By safe I mean don't put your finger on the trigger till you (and I will say it again!) have sights on target. Don't sweep the off hand with the muzzle when the hands are coming together.

    Next I would say practice shooting while moving. Do this out to around 10 yards or so. Practice shooting forward, backward, left, right and any combination you can think up.

    Now I will touch on reloads. If you don't know how to do them, get some instruction. I will not begin to get into the finer points of reloading a firearm here. There are 3 reloads allowed in IDPA for a semiautomatic pistol. Slidelock, tac (tactical) and reload with retention. There is NO provision in IDPA for a "speed" reload, meaning any type of reload where there is a round in the chamber and the magazine can be dropped on the ground. Only an empty magazine may be dropped on the ground when the chamber is empty.

    Then practice plenty of strong hand only and weak hand only shooting.

    Practice shooting from akward and unfamiliar positions. Kneeling, prone, from behind barricades. Nearly every match will have a 55 gallon barrel to be used as cover. This will always reqire at least one knee on the ground and shooting around the side of the barrel, not over it.

    Do all that and you will be ready to go to your first match!
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