I recently spent a weekend at the Archangel Tactical anniversary event near Alpharetta, Ga. Nikki Turpeaux, the owner of Archangel Tactical welcomed us to her 2nd anniversary celebration. Nikki started her business with the purpose of providing high quality tactical and defensive training throughout the United States. She also is the founder of a 5-level women’s defensive firearms training program called Get A GRIP Ladies.
The weekend’s events started out with a reception and dinner on Friday evening with Julie Golob as the guest of honor and speaker. In addition to Nikki and Julie, Barbara Baird showed up. Tisma Juett, with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, also attended. Not only did we get to do some shooting and training, but we also spent time with great friends.
Saturday and Sunday found us at the Pickens County Sportsman’s Club Shooting Range, which is near where they shot the movie “Deliverance.” Tisma thought she heard banjo music wafting in occasionally, but the rest of us didn’t believe her. I enjoyed and learned something from each of my classes and instructors. Claude Werner taught my favorite class: an introduction to International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA).
Claude has been an instructor for more than 40 years, and brings a lifetime of experience to all of the classes he instructs. He is a retired US Army officer, served in Airborne, Rangers, Special Forces and Mechanized Infantry units. He also commanded a Special Forces A-Team and Bradley Infantry Company. Claude has been a Chief Instructor at the Rogers Shooting School and is an NRA Certified Instructor in several disciplines. Claude brings experience as a competitor and champion in the IDPA to all of his classes.
Since I’ve returned home, I spoke with Claude to get his recommendations on becoming involved in IDPA shooting.
7 ways to do IDPA, according to a master shooter
1. Have a good time and don’t be worried about your score. That’s the most important thing and something that many people forget.
2. Read and know the rules. You wouldn’t try to participate in any other sport without knowing the rules, why would a sport involving guns be any different?
3. Have serviceable equipment, such as the following item:
- A reliable gun, such as GLOCK, M&P, Sig, H&K, etc., is necessary. Many people take me to task for saying to avoid 1911 style pistols. However, even a major trainer and 1911 pistol smith, Larry Vickers, has said the 1911 pistol is not suitable for a casual shooter. It’s just not reliable enough. Reliability issues detract from a shooter’s enjoyment and can create safety issues.
- A rigid, plastic, outside-the-waistband, strong-side hip holster without a retention device is recommended. Leather holsters, Serpa and Fobus holsters and flimsy nylon holsters are not recommend. If money is an issue, the Uncle Mike’s Kydex holster will serve the purpose just fine. A holster suitable for concealed carry is not necessarily suitable for competition.
- A decent, sturdy belt to wear your holster is a must. It doesn’t have to be expensive. I use a 1.5 inch work belt from WalMart that costs roughly $15. A thin or excessively flexible belt will allow the holster and magazine carriers to flop around and that is a problem.
- At least 2 spare magazines are necessary for IDPA competitions.
4. Learn to draw and place the pistol back in the holster without placing the support hand near the holster. Under the new IDPA rules (effective October 2013,) a shooter will, most likely, be immediately disqualified for putting 2 hands near the holster. It’s a safety violation. That is the main reason to have a rigid holster.
5. Don’t worry about your time – shoot for points. By that, I mean to shoot as accurately as you can without regard to how long it takes you. Speed will come later.
6. Learn to work the trigger smoothly. Whenever people say their guns shoot low, there is a 99 percent chance it’s them and not the guns.
Everyone should incorporate random ball and dummy into every practice session. I have been shooting for 50 years and I still use ball and dummy on a regular basis. The best practice target is a Styrofoam picnic plate. A shooter who can hit that consistently out to 10 yards will do fine.
7. Dry fire at home. It’s the only way the average gun owner will ever get enough practice to be reasonably proficient. Observe all safety protocols and use a barrel insert when dry firing.
I appreciate Claude taking time to share his recommendations with me. I might just find a local IDPA shoot and “give it a shot.”