Berryville, Arkansas – IDPA has taken the shooting world by storm – the combination of realistic scenarios and real world equipment is exactly what serious minded competitive shooters want. The question is, is it too real? Does competing in these matches cause mental illness? Chronic depression? Withdrawal from society?
The Feed Ramp has writers that compete in all the shooting sports, we asked our resident IDPA expert Buck Jones to share his experience as he is the most prolific IDPA shooter on the staff. Buck had this to say about his experience with IDPA – “I was irritable, didn’t want to leave the house.” “I’d watch the news in dread – often times seeing an innocent victim involved in a crime that I had trained for in a previous training evolution.” Buck went on to say that “I had to stop – too many matches were causing me to withdraw from my family – my only friend was the family pet – a sheep dog ironically enough.”
The staff was intrigued by this – we felt as though we should experience it for ourselves. Many of us have our own niches, I (Robert), am an avid reloader and benchrest shooter, Rballz is the philosopher of the staff, Nom de Plume enjoys USPSA shooting, and Dick Poplawski can be found behind a precision rifle most weekends. None of us had the experience that Buck had and we wanted to see what he saw. It was with that intent that we all decided to meet up at our local IDPA match and see what’s what. We met at the Big Black Bear family diner this past Sunday morning for breakfast before heading out to FRONTSIGHTS monthly IDPA match.
Our first stage was “Change the tire” – a scenario where our vehicle had broken down on the side of the road and we were attacked while trying to change a tire. The challenge here was that for some reason we couldn’t put down the tire iron and had to shoot the entire stage strong hand only. A worthy test to be sure, and a challenge with targets as far away as five yards. Having dispatched the tire change bandits we moved on to the next stage – this time we were attempting to withdraw money from an ATM and were attacked from behind by ne’er do wells. On the signal we had to turn, then draw and engage three targets in a “Mozambique” fashion. Apparently they shoot their targets with two rounds to the body and one to the head in Mozambique – something that none of us other than Buck were aware of. Our third stage had us defending our home from home invaders. This realistic scenario had us sitting at the kitchen table. On the start signal we were to retrieve our firearm from the cigar box we keep our firearm in and engage the home invaders while retreating to P2. At P2 we had more home invaders to deal with. Upon completing this stage we withdrew from the match – the stress of having to deal with all of these scenarios was starting to get to us in a very real way. The three stages that we didn’t complete were called “Food court fiasco”, “Campfire conflict”, and finally “Disco defense”, a scenario shot in low light that is set in a nightclub.
He was right
It turns out that Buck was right – prolonged exposure to IDPA can probably (maybe) have a detrimental effect on an individual’s mental state. Just being exposed to those three stages made an impression on the staff – I think it’s safe to say that none of us will ever feel safe changing a tire along the side of the road, withdrawing money from an ATM, or sitting in our kitchen. While we may not feel safe, we WILL be prepared. We’ve trained for the worst and although we hope for the best we will be ready when that gang attempts for steal our space saver spare or those hoods make off with our ATM card. Eating dinner will never be the same. My wife wants to know why I bring a cigar box to the dinner table since I got home from the match – but she doesn’t push the issue when she sees the thousand yard stare in my eyes – eyes that have seen the worst that society has to offer – eyes of experience that are ready for anything.