Monday, June 12, 2017

Fairfax IDPA Match

On Saturday I shot the monthly IDPA match at Fairfax Rod & Gun club. The club had five stages set up this month, with five large squads rotating through each. The event is growing in popularity and there's actually a waiting list for the monthly matches.

Our squad started on the standards stage. When I saw the set up, I thought "I got this." Two close targets weak hand only, two mid-range targets strong hand only, finishing with two head-only targets shot freestyle. Each target required a minimum of three hits. I've been practicing my one-handed shooting, and even working on head shots out to 15 yards. As I shot the final two targets I wasn't seeing the holes appearing in the targets. But the targets were shaded and I typically can't see the holes, even at the 10 yard distance anyway. I called the shots good and felt confident. But then came the scoring. One of the targets had a really nice group of three holes — right in the neck area. 15 points down right there, 20 down for the stage. Sometimes I wish that IDPA had "mulligans."

That wasn't a good start to my day, and I admittedly struggled mentally for a brief time. I was the second shooter on the stage so I had plenty of time to "get over it" while the rest of the squad shot. We had four more stages to shoot and I was there to have fun. Interestingly, for the rest of the day I was rotated to shooting first on every stage. 

The next stage was shot from a seated position. The gun with the mag inserted, but no round in the chamber, was placed in a box on the table. Six targets were set out in pairs to be shot near to far. This was a chance to push the speed a bit, especially on transitions, while still maintaining accuracy. Having to rack the slide before taking the first shot provided a bit of mental complexity, and I saw many shooters pull the trigger on an empty chamber at their first shot.

The scenario for the next stage included a mocked up "car" from behind which we engaged seven targets placed from one to fifteen yards. We started holding a hammer and a yard sale sign in our hands, dropping them at the start. The first target was set right in front of the starting position, but was deceptive in its simplicity. If you shot straight at the target from the start position, the shot would pass through to a non-threat target placed at the back of the bay. The rest of the targets were hidden on either side of barrels, requiring some movement along the "car" to shoot them all.

As we headed for the last two two stages, the match director told us to "go shoot some clowns." And that's what we did. For the first of these, nine targets were decorated with clown noses and wigs. We engaged the targets behind cover from two shooting positions. The last course of fire was shot from a kneeling position. Four shots were required on a close clown target that had the center -0 cut out to save on target replacement. Then, leaning to either side we engaged two falling steel poppers. Even though it was an extremely quick stage, I walked away with a smile from the fast shooting. I did end up with the 3rd fastest time on that stage, 4.97 seconds. That was a great stage on which to finish the match.

Despite some disappointing shooting on my part, it was still a fun match. My overall finish was 13th of 60 overall and just 8th of 9 shooters in SSP SS; the poor shooting on the first stage having a significant negative impact on my score! However, all the stages were interesting, and I saw the benefit of some of my practice sessions, and certainly noted some things that I will focus on in upcoming range trips. Besides, any day shooting...

We finished shooting around 2:00 and I began my nearly 2 hour drive home — twice the time it took to drive TO the match. Despite this match being actually the closest of the local matches, the perils of traffic make it less convenient. The summer time congestion has yet to really build, but it will be a consideration for my match plans in the coming months.

More photos from the match here.


  1. FFRGC is the closest IDPA venue for me. Bummed that I have missed all of the matches so far this year due to family commitments, but I appreciate the opportunity to read about them on your blog! Your entries about some of the matches at Sanner's Lake even have me considering a trip into the Democratic People's Republic of Maryland to try a match there, at Thurmont, or Anne Arundel Fish & Game so that I have more options than just FFRGC.

    1. It's actually the closest me as well, but the drive home is long, and gets worse in the summer months.

      Sanner's Lake puts on excellent matches. I wish I could get to more of them. The DPRM does add a bit of adventure. I've been patted down on the side of 301 by an MD Trooper after he asked if we had guns in the car, and we acknowledged they were legally locked in the trunk. (Driver was stopped for an alleged tail light out. It wasn't.)

    2. Yikes! That's exactly the kind of story that makes me apprehensive about crossing over the Potomac! I've read up on MD laws re:transport of firearms and plan to have pistol unloaded in locked case (with a magazine lock in place), empty magazines, ammo in a separate locked container, all in the trunk. I plan on strictly observing all speed limit signs. Anything else I need to know or do to avoid being marched off to the gulag?

    3. I go redundant too, especially since I have an SUV without a separate trunk. All gear in back compartment. Gun in locked container. Ammo in separate locked container. I also have a print out of "18 U.S. Code § 926A - Interstate transportation of firearms" on the front seat. ( And I try to not make any stops!


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