South Florida Pistol Club November 2008 USPSA Trophy Match
On Sunday, 2 November 2008 I attended my second ever USPSA (or, IPSC) match with the South Florida Pistol Club at the Markham Park Target Range in
western Broward County Florida. I arrived at 09:00 just in time for
walkthrough, and shots were being fired by 09:30 with the match ending
at 14:00. The match initially was to consist of 4 squads shooting 5
stages, but a catastrophic stage malfunction (read, the wall fell over)
on Stage 1 reduced the match to 4 stages. For whatever reason Stage 5
was located in the center of the range such that the order of the
stages, from left to right facing down range, was 1, 2, 5, 3, 4.
After the walkthrough, I sat through the new shooter briefing. It was short and to the point. I've been shooting IDPA at
the same range for over 5 years and there was nothing new in the
briefing. Another old shooting buddy of mine from IDPA had made it out
the the match as well and also sat through the new shooter briefing.
there I moved out to the range and joined my squad on Stage 3. There
were several shooters here that are regulars at both IDPA, and IPSC as
well as the SFDCC carbine
matches. It was good to be squadded with friends to help me out and to
navigate some of the differences between the two games.
This was the stage that collapsed and was removed from the match.
I think one squad had finished the stage before it failed, and maybe
half of the second squad. it looked like a fun stage with a lot of
"run and gun", and I was looking forward to shooting it. Unfortunately
I wasn't on either of the squads that got to shoot it.
Stage 1 (prior to collapse)
Stage 1 (post-collapse)
This stage was scored with what they called "Virginia", which
appears to be similar to IDPA's "Limited Vickers" in that you are
limited to the prescribed number of rounds, and only that number of
rounds, per target. This was a relatively simple stage with no
movement of the shooter. The intent appeared to be that the targets on
one side of the wall were easier to hit, and therefore could be engaged
more quickly, and the targets on the other side were more difficult and
therefore would take longer.
Stage 2 Course Design
Stage 2 Actual
This stage was shot from prone on your belly, with the pistol and spare
magazines beginning on the deck in front of you. There were two
targets on either side of the barrels, and the course design was to put
two rounds in each target, reload, and do it again. Shooting pistol
from prone like this, even at this short distance, threw off a lot of
shooters. It was compounded by the fact that you had to roll over onto
either side to engage the targets around the barrels. Definitely a
good stage, as measured by the number of shooters that complained about
having to lay on the ground.
This was a "run and gun" type stage that I've always associated with
IPSC/USPSA and it didn't disappoint. It was also the kind of stage
that each shooter wanted to "ghost" to get a feel for where they would
engage each target, and where they would perform a reload. I felt
pretty good about my "ghost" run, except that when I got to the end I
wasted time re-engaging targets from Position 3 that I had already
engaged from Position 1. Oh well, 5 shots are better than 2! There
were also several 8" steel plates at distances that tried the skill of
many shooters, and I saw a lot of rounds hitting the dirt around them.
Fortunately I was shooting the Glock with the Warren fiber optic front
sight, which helped greatly in my attempt to pick up those targets.
This stage consisted of a wall around which the shooter must
engage 8 targets total with three rounds each. I shot this stage last,
and did better than I expected to. This was my second favorite stage
of the match after Stage 4. Simple and to the point without any
trickery that sometimes finds it's way into IDPA stages.
This kind of shooting will definitely help me to rebuild my pistol
skills that have been slipping terribly over the course of the last
year. More rounds fired means more practice time, and more chances to
work on the fundamentals. I just have to remember to take the curve at
the speed my car is capable, and not try to go too fast. The varying
ranges of the targets was a nice variation and required me to work on
several aspects of my pistol shooting.
people were, overall, great. Good attitudes, positive reinforcement,
and willing to share tips and tricks with someone new to the game.
overall match layout and course design was great. A few skill
builders, a few run and gun, a good overall balance. Having all high
round count run and gun stages would be too much, and having all skill
builders would be too boring. This was a good setup with (at least
until it collapsed) Stage 1 on the one end and Stage 4 on the other end.
Almost without fail, there was a negative response whenever I told
anyone I was normally an IDPA shooter. Some were in jest, some really
seemed a bit barbed. I have NEVER understood this pathetic rivalry
between the two disciplines, and I find it distasteful at best. The
people that take these things that seriously must be sorely lacking in
other aspects of their lives. I have run many IPSC/USPSA shooters
through IDPA stages over the years and I have never made a negative
comment about their home sport. I can now say that I enjoy both, take
both for what they are, and will hopefully find the time (and ammo
budget) to participate in both.
The organization, based on this one match, obviously needs help.
As mentioned above, everyone said that this match was
uncharacteristically chaotic, and it wasn't bad enough that I would
never come back. I am, in fact, looking forward to my next match. If,
however, this turns out to be the rule and not the exception it would
start to get tedious. At one point we were waiting on the next squad
to finish a stage and they had eight shooters left to go. That's
right. EIGHT. That is a lot of people to be out of sequence.
There were some serious safety concerns that were aggravated by
the way the stages were laid out relative to one another. I saw
several muzzle issues that were repeated across a wide spectrum of
shooters on Stage 4.
I'm a fan. I really enjoyed the match and (most of) the people.
It was somewhat relieving to shoot with another club and see that all
the drama, organizational issues, personalities, lack of help in
pasting and tear-down, etc. are common denominators among all the
shooting sports. I really liked the shooting format, and the ability
to simply overlay my training TTP over the match format. I think in
the future I'll use my carry holster and shoot from concealment. If
today was any indicator there's no reason I can't also find ways to
slice the pie and make use of cover as well. In other words, I think
this will be a fantastic venue to work on my pistol skills, hang out
with some old friends, and make some new ones.
to the South Florida Pistol Club for organizing these matches, and
special thanks to all the Range Officers that ran me today and took the
time to explain things to a new shooter.