I’ve been shooting IDPA for about 3 years now; I’ve really come to love the sport. I feel very strongly about IDPA, and I feel just as strongly about the rules of IDPA, which I think are ridiculous at times but are still the rules. In my still young IDPA career, I’ve been called a “gamer” a lot. In IDPA circles that usually means someone that treats IDPA as a game to be won, and will work within the full extent of the rules to win. For example, a “gamer” will ask the SO during the walk-through very specific questions about where they’re considered behind cover, if they’re allowed to load on the move in certain areas, etc. The reason for this is that a gamer doesn’t want to cheat – but they certainly want to win.
Cheating is an entirely different concept. A cheater is someone who is aware of the rules and simply doesn’t care – whether they’re the rules on reloading or the rules on magazine capacity, this person simply ignores them. In 3 years of shooting IDPA, I had never encountered a true cheater until recently, and it was a completely flabbergasting experience to me. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen someone openly defy IDPA rules, get a procedural and they say that they “don’t care”. I’m not going to lie to you guys, I was pretty angry, and when I think about it, I’m still really angry. Here’s why – yes, IDPA is a game and it’s not “the streets” (whatever that means) but the whole point of playing a game with other people is that you all agree to play by the rules of the game. When you flagrantly flout the rules like that, what I feel like you’re saying is that you don’t care about the other shooters. Even if you’re a Marksman class shooter, you’re saying to the other guys in your skill that “screw you, I don’t want to play your reindeer games”; which to me is incredibly disrespectful.
There isn’t really a point to this rant – obviously most of us know that cheating = wrong and don’t do it. I guess if I had to find a point, it’d be that when you’re shooting a match, even if it’s just a practice match at a local range that you should respect the other shooters you’re there with enough to do them the courtesy of playing by the rules. Plus, attitude has a lot to do with it – if the shooter in question had said “I carry the 10 round magazines and I don’t mind the procedural to practice with my carry gear” I would have said “cool, let’s rock and roll”. Ultimately, I think I’m frustrated because I really like IDPA and I want other people to like it, and more importantly to respect the sport. Sure, the rules are silly sometimes. I don’t like the rules about reloads. But I love the game, so I try to respect the rules and by so doing also show my fellow shooters the respect they deserve.