I recently found my old IDPA notebook that used to use to log my training back before I went to the all digital format that I currently use.  I thought it would be interesting to share some of the data I’ve collected over almost 3 years of competition.  It’s interesting to me because it shows the actual value of training and practice in terms of demonstrable improvement.  It’s easy to say “if you get training and practice you’ll get better” but it’s another thing entirely to be able to point to numbers and say “see, I told you so”.  Here’s a brief trip, first by division then in chronological order:

Custom Defensive Pistol

  • Official Classification: 3/28/2009 – 125.38, Sharpshooter
  • No Practice runs (I just haven’t shot enough CDP to make it worth my time, although that may change soon)

Enhanced Service Pistol

  • Official Classification: 9/6/2008 – 126.46, Sharpshooter
  • Best Practice Run: 7/11/2010 – 84.66, Master

Stock Service Pistol

  • Official Classification: 8/22/2010 – 104.27, Expert
  • Best Practice Run: 7/11/2010 – 87.41, Master

Enhanced Service Revolver

  • Official Classification: 6/29/2010 – 97.61, Master
  • Previous Classification: 9/16/2009 – 116.34, Expert
  • Best Practice Run: 9/2/2010 – 90.22, Master

Stock Service Revolver

  • No official classification
  • Best Practice Run: 3/7/2010 – 114.22, Expert

Now, if you look at those as just a scattering of data points it doesn’t necessarily make sense until you look at all the data that I’ve accumulated.  For example, I’ve only shot the classifier in CDP 1 time, and that was fairly new in my shooting career.  On the flip side, I have a ton of data from when I was trying to make Master in ESR and my current Quest for Master Class.  So now let’s take a look at that data chronologically, and also include the numbers from my practice sessions with the guns.  We’ll primarily look at Enhanced Service Pistol – It’s the division I’ve spent the most time competing in with various guns, from my Springfield XD(m), various 1911s, and finally up to and including the Ruger SR9c.  Remember, all classifiers here are fired strictly for Enhanced Service Pistol.  My official classification of record will be in bold, everything else is practice and strictly unofficial.

9/6/2008 – 126.46
4/16/2009 – 122.87
6/14/2009 – 124.12
8/3/2009 – 121.63
8/7/2009 – 110.58

After August of ’09, I switched to revolvers exclusively until I started the Quest for Master Class in July of 2010.  If you track the data from shooting revolvers, my classifier scores start with the mid 110s and continue to track downward.  After shooting revolvers for a year, the Quest for Master Class began and I once again started shooting a semi-auto that was eligible for Enhanced Service Pistol.

7/2/2010 – 99.81
7/11/2010 – 84.66
8/11/2010 – 87.12
9/1/2010 – 90.70

I’ve not fired the classifier since then; however you can actually see a true downward trend in my scores over time. What’s happened since that very first classifier? I’ve had training, and practice time. A class with Todd Jarrett, a class at Gunsite, shooting major matches and picking the brains of the GMs there, and lots and lots of practice. Right now I’m hovering around low master scores for Enhanced Service Pistol, and I truly believe that a little bit more practice and range time will have me shrinking those times down to the mid to high 70-second range.

Like I said, you don’t have have to get training.  But if you want to do more than shoot mediocre groups at 25 feet and want to be able to point to actual data points and say “I am objectively better as a shooter than I was 3 years ago” then training is for you!