IDPA for Everyone

Our Intro IDPA group in Hellertown, PA
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So you have taken a first step or intro to pistol class, you have been shooting at paper at the range for some time and you may be thinking what’s next?  There aren’t many opportunities in this area to practice shooting from a holster or doing much more than standing in a port, but one outlet that is available to shooters of all skill levels, beginner through advanced, are matches run by the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA).
IDPA is a shooting sport that was founded in 1996 and simulates self-defense and real life encounters.  Anyone can get involved in shooting matches as beginners are welcome and the cost of necessary equipment is minimal and limited to practical gear shooters most likely already own.
Recently, the Second Amendment Women Shooting Club/SAW sponsored an all-female introduction to IDPA shooting for our members.  Not everyone can afford to take advanced tactical classes and certainly not on a monthly basis.  IDPA offers an inexpensive opportunity to practice moving and shooting and experience how you will react when shooting under stress.  And our members were ready for the challenge!  Granted, the stress is not induced by your door being forced open at 2am and you having to confront a bad guy in your pajamas, however, there is some stress that comes from competition shooting even if you are only “competing” with yourself.
Monthly “local” matches usually cost between $10 and $ 20 . One even includes a pizza lunch on top of a full day of shooting various scenarios. All you need to bring is your firearm, three magazines, a holster/belt, and enough ammunition for the day.  After your first match a concealment vest or garment will be needed as well , and you will need to join IDPA for a nominal fee.  No special competition gear is allowed in IDPA, this would be the firearm you would use for home defense or plinking at the range.
A typical scenario starts with your gun holstered and Safety Officer pressing the buzzer on the timer.  Targets have an order to be engaged in, some will be moving,  some will be aimed at from behind cover,  sometimes there may even be an “injured” bystander who needs to be retrieved while the shooter continues to engage the targets.  All of the matches are performed in a safe and fun atmosphere which provides a perfect environment to learn about your firearm,  how you handle it under stress and how you respond to pressure while shooting, even if that “pressure” is your time elapsed flashing on the timer when the buzzer goes off and you show all clear with your firearm.
SAW had the pleasure of an introductory class taught by two highly ranked competitors, Ken Ortbach and  Joanna Lenczewska, this past month at the Hellertown Sportsman Center in PA.  Our students ranged from beginner to intermediate/advanced, but none had participated in an IDPA match.  IDPA ranks their participants and offers different stages so that all interested individuals can compete and be challenged.  Several of our members are continuing to participate in local matches.
Another intro class will be scheduled soon in Easton PA.  It is worth checking out, even if you just go to observe or pay your $10 to $20 to hang out with a group of like-minded individuals.