Breaking the wall

In the past week (Saturday to Saturday), I shot the IDPA classifier three times for official score.  My times on those three runs were as follows:

  • Run 1, CDP: 89.15 – Master
  • Run 2, SSP: 91.86 – Master
  • Run 3, ESP: 86.08 – Master

So what happened?  The short version is that I broke through a wall, and it certainly wasn’t because I was hypnotized to feel safe with my gun – it’s because of consistent training and practice.  For the last month, all I’ve really worked on in practice is my press-out, and when I’ve shot the classifier I have been extremely focused on the press-out on each presentation.  On my most recent classifier, my times on the first three strings of fire (which are 2 shots to the body and 1 to the head) were all under two seconds, for the first time ever.  I’ll have video of my SSP Master run posted on the Quest For Master Class in a couple of weeks, but I really want to pound on this training issue.

My practice had been very unfocused for a while.  Not having a lot of shooting opportunities had put me in a rut of shooting low round counts and not really using my time to wisely work on fundamentals.  In the last two months, instead of dividing my practice time between several different skill sets, I have religiously worked on the press-out.  On a timer, off a timer, just countless reps over and over and over to drill it home.  Is it perfect?  No.  But I’ve practiced it enough that I had a breakthrough, and was able to get a level of consistency in my performance on the classifier I hadn’t reached previously.

Every shooter has breakthroughs like that.  I’ve had several breakthroughs at several different times as well; the press-out and the consistency developed there is only one of them.  The point though is that it’s important to analyze what you’re doing with your practice time to make sure it’s beneficial.  My practice time was helping me in certain areas, but I was neglecting the area that would produce the most rapid gains in the areas I was concerned about.  With that in mind, what are you practicing for?  More importantly, is your practice time actually helping you reach your goals as a shooter?


  1. So, that might be an interesting training article – what are the individual pieces of fundamentals most likely to improve your times, and what are drills that work just on them and nothing else?

    I mean, if you had to break down IDPA into very basic parts of the skill set that can be trained and measured independently like that, what would they be? Press out, transitioning between targets, reload? I’m just guessing.

    I see on a lot of drills that it will test all of the fundamentals together. Which is great practice and is necessary at some point. But it has always seemed to me in other pursuits that the more you can break things down and quantify changes in technique and improvement the easier it is to start breaking through those kinds of walls.

  2. Awesome, you set a goal and found the means to achieve it. Keep those training insights coming.

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