|The IDPA Classifier, from www.IDPA.com|
After a 9 year layoff from shooting IDPA, I got the wild notion to try it again when a classifier match came up in January. To get classified in IDPA, you shoot a 90 round course of fire which ranks you based on your cumulative time (including time penalties for point deductions on your target score). It is quick and easy to do, and you can get classified in one range session. The classifier is detailed at IDPA.com, and is a good all around skill test for a shooter of any skill level.
I went into the January classifier pretty much cold, and was pleased to be able to shoot Master in Stock Service Pistol with my 9mm M&P. In looking at my scores and times, I was a bit disappointed at my performance on Stage 3 of the classifier. This stage is shot from 20 and 15 yards, from behind cover. After analyzing it a bit and working through some drills, I was able to come back in March and shoot a better score and achieve Master classification in Enhanced Service Pistol, once again with a 9mm M&P. Fans on our Facebook page asked me to share the drills, so we'll start with the drills for Stage 3.
If you are unable to set this up to shoot at your local range, you can also set it up with reduced sized targets to dry fire at home. You will need some type of prop to simulate the barricade and barrel, as they make a big difference in your performance. Another important part of the equation is to have the 3 targets set at different heights, just like the official course of fire. This also makes a bit of difference for target to target transitions. If you haven't figured it out, I like to use my Next Level Training SIRT pistol to perform these dry fire drills, as the trigger manipulation is a HUGE part of success at 20 yards. Stage 3 is all about accuracy.
This first set of drills starts at 20 yds, behind the barricade:
- Draw & fire 1 round, left side of barricade at T1 or right side of barricade at T3.
- This drill teaches you how to set up efficiently for your first shot on either side of the barricade. It IS different on your strong side vs. your support side.
- Draw & fire 2 ea, left side of barricade at T1 or right side of barricade at T3.
- Like the above drill, but now time to start working on shot to shot recovery.
- Draw & fire 2 on each target, shooting T1-T3 (L-R) on the left side of cover, or T3-T1 (R-L) on the right side of cover.
- The targets will get a little harder as you get to the target most distant from the side of cover from which you are firing. Keep your upper body position solid and lean from the waist/legs.
- Draw & fire 1, tac reload, 1 on other side of barricade
- The reload is a big part of the time on this stage, get this clean!
- Starting aimed in at your last target from around the barricade, perform your tactical reload, then move to the 15 yard barrel and fire 2 shots.
This last drill set starts at 15 yards, behind the barrel. You only need to fire from one side of the barrel, so it is recommended to shoot from your strong side. Traditional kneeling position will have you put your shooting side knee down. Instead, try putting your support side knee down and lean into your strong side knee (which is UP). You will find that this reverse kneel will give you more balance and control as you lean out around cover.
- Drop down to kneeling, fire 1 round.
- Drop down to kneeling, fire 2 rounds.
- Drop down to kneeling, fire 2 on each.
Stage 3 is also very movement and position intensive, all skills which can be ironed out in dry practice. Lots of folks overlook the benefits of dry practice, but it is truly the place where great shooters are made. Now get to it! Let us know your training questions for Stage 3 in the Comments!