One of my favorite posts to write last year – even if no one read it – was the 2018 in Review post. This was a review of the year, followed by some plans and goals for the next year. My shooting year is basically complete at this point, barring a couple of matches, so I think it’s time to start looking back so I can move forward.
A spot opened up in the IDPA low light match on Tuesday, and I decided I’d take it (after begging the wife for permission). I’m kinda moving away from IDPA, but a chance to shoot in the dark is an opportunity worth taking.
I love competition. I have been slacking with doing it due to family commitments and taking up BJJ, but I’m hoping to do a bit more USPSA in July-September. Competition really drives the standard for speed, accuracy, and efficient movement, so I want to lead off the post by saying this isn’t some sort of variation on “competition gets you killed in the streets” or other nonsense. However, I just want to talk about how competition has had something of a negative effect on firearms development in a couple areas, because I think that has been inadequately explored.
First and foremost, I think factory compensated pistols have not been nearly as developed as they could be due to the fact that they dump you straight into USPSA Open division. Contrary to nonsense opinions on the Internet, good compensators make a noticeable difference with 9mm ammo, and I really think their downsides (cycling problems) could be greatly reduced if manufacturers spent some R&D time on resolving them.
Second, detachable-mag shotguns. As I think I’ve noted previously, Swearengen’s well-written 1970s-era book “The World’s Fighting Shotguns” extols the virtues of detachable-mag shotguns. He felt that if you were going into trouble, they were a superb weapon in almost any close-in environment (note that the book was written before the proliferation of effective body armor, though). While I readily acknowledge that they have logistical issues in a home defense situation, they put far more firepower on target in a sustained fire engagement (like 15+ rounds), can be changed from breaching to buckshot ammunition much more quickly, and provide certain benefits in gun handling and administration.
Unfortunately, that detachable magazine dumps your shotgun into 3 Gun Open (and maybe USPSA Open), which is a huge disincentive to their use in more casual competition settings (and makes pump guns with them completely unusable). Courses of fire and training classes are designed around the limitations (and sometime strengths!) of tube-fed guns. This leads people to downplay the advantages they bring, because they are never put into a situation where they need to use them. (I would suggest that shoot-load drills with more than three rounds are where detachable mag shotguns start looking substantially better.)
Honorable mention: IDPA is doing no one any favors by banning weapon lights. I don’t think this has significantly harmed the development of weapon lights, but it’s contrary to the IDPA “run what you brung” mindset.
Those are the two that come to mind. I’d love to hear if my readers can think of others.
Another week, another match. I actually shot two other matches this month before this one, but this IDPA match is the one I got on video (3/4 stages).
Analysis after the break.
Shot an IDPA match at the NRA Range last night. Video below, comments after the break. Forgot to video the last stage.
I was reading the Civilian Gunfighter blog recently – it’s fantastic – and they had a really great series of posts up on there looking back at 2018 and discussing their plans for 2019. Unlike them, I don’t have a lot of really cool stuff to talk about or have much wisdom to share, but I think it might be informative – and hopefully inspirational – for people to understand what happened with me starting in April.