I was asked recently why I shoot the IDPA qualifier in practice so often. The biggest reason is that it gives me a objective means to measure performance gains. Here’s a breakdown of classifier scores that I’ve shot and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
- 09/06/08 – first classifier I ever shot, and I shot it with a Para P16-40. I feel like that was a decade ago I’ve learned so much about shooting since then! My classifier time was 132.05, good enough for Sharpshooter in Enhanced Service Pistol.
- 03/28/2009 – next classifier I shot was in Custom Defensive Pistol, using my ParaUSA 7.45 LDA. That classifier was also a million years ago, and I shot it in 125.44, good enough for Sharpshooter in CDP.
Aside: right now Sharpshooter in both ESP and CDP is my classification of record with IDPA for those two divisions, because I’m a sandbaggin’ SOB and haven’t bothered to reclassify in those divisions.
- 05/09/09 – My first Stock Service Pistol Classifier, shot using a Glock 35 in .40 S&W. I shot this one in 115.87, which was good enough for Expert in SSP. But it’s not significantly better than my other two classifiers.
- 08/07/09 – Shot the classifier again, this time with a Springfield XD(m) which is an Enhanced Service Pistol gun. This one I got done in 110.58, almost cracking into Expert in ESP but not quite.
- 09/16/09 – My first wheelgun classifier, which I did for the Indiana State IDPA match. I shot this in 116.34, good enough for Expert in Enhanced Service Revolver. While almost six seconds slower than my previous “best”, I felt pretty good about getting Expert on my first run with a revolver.
- 02/28/10 – My second “official” classifier with my 625. I shot this one in 97.61, good enough to earn my IDPA Master class rating.
- 3/7/10 – My only classifier with my S&W 686SSR. Total time was 114.22, which I wasn’t happy with. I spent a lot of time fumbling with the HKS speedloaders I had, and I (somehow) managed to miss a headshot. On the flip side, I had never shot the gun before that day, but still – not a good performance. The time was good enough for Expert class in Stock Service Revolver.
The reason I log all of this stuff is so that I can know where my weak spots and areas of improvement are. For example, my worst stage on the classifier and what truly cost me Master class with the 686SSR was the 20 yard stage. I had about a jillion points down, and it was truly ugly. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time working on 20+ yard shots. My favorite drill is to draw and fire one shot from the holster as fast as possible…and still hit the -0 part of the target. Yesterday at practice I was consistently around 2.2 seconds for that shot, which I can deal with.
Ultimately, my goal for IDPA is to get a 5-Gun Master card. I also need to re-shoot the classifier in ESP and CDP just to see how my scores have improved since 2008. I would estimate that I could probably shave some 20-30 seconds off those old times. I’d like to see all my classifiers under 100 seconds across the board.