The IDPA Nationals: By the Numbers…

Among the quotes by Massad Ayoob that stick with me the most “A pistol competition isn’t a gun fight, but a gun fight is definitely a pistol competition” rings the loudest.

It is true that no practical pistol competition will prepare you completely for the stresses of a self-defense situation. It is also true that competition shooters train to go fast and that you should proceed with more caution when the targets are shooting back, but… competition is the crucible that forges progress.

IDPA, unlike any other shooting sport, has a rule set designed to ensure that the pistols and gear used will work in the real world…  Gear that Just Works! (Even to the exclusion of other viable technologies like weapon lights, laser grips, slide mounted optics or appendix carry.)

I started carrying a Kimber 1911 as a full-sized gun and moved to Glock 19. When I decided I need a sub-compact I got a Kahr PM9 and have moved to the Smith & Wesson Shield. To me it surprising that 90+% of the shooters have concealed carry permits, or that Glock and Smith & Wesson are used the most, or that they are carried the most, but the numbers are interesting and mirror my experience.

Do you agree IDPA is a good testing ground for concealed carry or do you think it is just a game and these numbers should be viewed more skeptically? Post a comment below, Tweet me @BalloonGoesUp or message me on Facebook and let me know what you think!


  1. RobertB says

    IDPA could be a testing ground for a subset of concealed carry scenarios and equipment types, but the specific rules and limitations that cover equipment and define tactics show that it’s a game that pretends it isn’t. Scoring makes it a game. Scoring means that rules trump “reality”. No scoring, of course, yields something you can’t measure any improvement in. It’s an imperfect world.

    It’s fun though, and certainly makes a good tool to improve your shooting if you want to.

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