Top 10 Survival Tips for Your First IDPA Match

#1 - Safety is Always First!
For your first 2-3 matches, your entire focus should be on the fundamentals of safe gun handling. You will see guys who make a Glock sound like a full auto. They have been doing this a long time. Slow down and focus on the basics: Keep the muzzle pointed down range at all times, keep your finger out of the trigger guard while moving and during reloads, and never ever point your gun at something you don't intend to shoot.

#2 - The Range is Cold
CSL runs a Cold Range. This means your gun MUST be unloaded and in your holster until it is your turn to shoot. You will load and unload under the direct supervision of the Safety Officer. NO EXCEPTIONS!

#3 - Know the Range Commands
When it is your turn to shoot you will step up to the starting position and indicate you are ready to shoot. The range commands sound like this:

  1. Does the shooter understand the course of fire? Now is the time to ask any questions about the stage.
  2. If the shooter understands the course of fire, load and make ready. Keeping your muzzle pointed down range, remove your gun from your holster, insert a magazine, and assume the ready position.
  3. Is the shooter ready? Take a deep breath and give a nod when you are ready to begin.
  4. Standby When the timer beeps, draw your gun and start shooting.
Once you have finished the stage - FREEZE. The Safety Officer will use the following commands to make the range safe:
  1. If the shooter is finished, unload and show clear. Drop your magazine and pull your slide fully to the rear to eject the round in the chamber. Keeping your muzzle pointed down range, allow the Safety Officer to confirm the chamber is empty.
  2. Slide Forward, Hammer Down and Holster. Once the Safety Officer confirms the chamber is empty, you will release your slide. Keeping your muzzle pointed down range, dry fire your gun to show it is empty and place it in your holster.
  3. Range is Safe. Now you can take a deep breath, pick up that round you ejected from the chamber, and walk down range to see how well you did.

#4 - Pasting Targets and Policing Brass
If you aren't shooting, grab some pasters and help paste targets (after they have been scored) or pick up spent brass and place it in the marked containers. If you reload, we evenly divide the spent brass at the end of the match.

#5 - Know the Rules
Spend some time reviewing the IDPA Rule Book prior to the match. You will want to understand Procedurals, Hits on a Non Threat, and general scoring before you go.

#6 - Focus on Accuracy
Scoring in IDPA is fairly simple. Most stages will take your raw score and add .50 seconds for each point you lose. Hits on a Non Threat add 5 seconds and a procedural will cost you 3 seconds. Speed will come with time, focus on making each shot count.

#7 - Don't Worry About Your Ranking
We just spent all that time telling you about rules and accuracy, and now we are telling you not to worry about your ranking. Again, the top ranking shooters have been doing this a long time. They didn't start out at the top, they got there by working hard and lot's of practice. Focus on what you want to improve at each match. If you are safe and improving your skills, that's all that matters.

#8 - Don't Give Up
If you ignore #7, you are likely to get frustrated and quit too soon. It takes about 6 months to get really comfortable, and many more to get really competitive. Go back and read #7, it's important.

#9 - Never Stop Learning
Your fellow shooters are the best coaches you will ever have. Ask lots of questions and watch how others shoot each stage. Learn what works and practice it until it becomes second nature.

#10 - Have Fun
Remember to keep everything in perspective. We are all here to practice our gun handling and personal defense skills and to enjoy the great outdoors. We hope you will join us and look forward to seeing you at the next match.