"Do Not Toss the Baby!"
Woohoo! The Cactus League used my input for the stage designs this month! I could have sworn I'd made at least one stage "revolver friendly," but even the Classifier was two eight-round strings with a mandatory reload between them. Oh well. The Course of Fire committee really juiced up my designs; I was figuring it'd be deep summer by the time they used them, so I tried to keep the round count down. The stage I heard the most feedback about was "Get me a Doctor," seen above. Start position was seated in the club's plywood "car" with hands and forehead on steering wheel, at signal, retrieve handgun from glove compartment (or carbine from prestaged area), extract the "baby" from the car and engage appropriate targets as they become visible. The baby must be placed in the destination box at the "doctor's" location before the final shot. There were many ideas on how to carry the baby through the stage...most of the handgunners just bit the dolls clothing and carried it in their teeth so they could run with a two-handed grip.
My favorite was the committee's combination of two of my designs. "Say Cheese" (all steel poppers) required the shooter to hold his camera to his face, then draw his handgun (or pick up staged riotgun) and engage targets as they became visible. It transitioned to "Careful with those IEDs, Eugene*," which featured cardboard IPSC targets with a twist. Somewhere on their "bodies" was stapled a white economy paper plate which counted as a no-shoot target. The evil Cactus jokers made two of them swinging targets activated by a popper from the first set. Delicious! We made this our last stage of the day and saw lots of tape on the plates...not from us, though! The third part of this stage was the Texas Star and an optional peek-a-boo target activated by a popper. I hadn't designed this part, because I hate that freakin' star, and didn't know the club had that other gizmo. All-in-all, it was a fun day, aside from the riotgun going tango unform on me.
Update: James Rummel at Hell in a Handbasket must be one of those IDPA guys. He linked to this post, but seems to pooh-pooh the game aspect of the IPSC format. Whatever. I disagree with his contention that IPSC is "an organization that tries to test defensive combat skills by using real-world scenarios." A word search of IPSC's Principles/Objects does not find the word "defensive" anywhere. Go ahead and look. The document describes "practical" shooting as "a test of expertise in the use of practical firearms and equipment," is conducted "using practical targets, which reflect the general size and shape of such objects as the firearm used may reasonably be called upon to hit in their primary intended use." "Courses of fire must follow a practical rationale, and simulate sensible hypothetical situations in which firearms might reasonably be used." "Practical competition is diverse"..."and free-style."
In other words, practical shooting is not standing at a table, exercising proper breath control, and precisely firing into a bulleye target under a time limit. The IPSC format should not be construed to be realistic training for gunfighting in the real world. It's a Gun Game (or Sport, if you will) that is a lot of fun. I never leave a match saying, "Boy, do I feel prepared to defend myself against two dozen bad guys swarming my house." IPSC does not emphasize shooting from cover, tactical engagement (shoot everybody once before shooting them again), tactical reloads, or a fighting retreat (like IDPA does). In fact, IPSC doesn't let you move backwards (IIRC, a safety issue). The fact that you actually advance forward into superior numbers without back-up and a freaking long gun is proof that the game has no basis in reality.
I live my life by Col. Cooper's Four Color Codes and privately practice drawing from concealed carry. I do get some training out of IPSC competition: I can clear malfunctions under pressure and shoot almost fast enough almost accurately enough...and that's about it. When I leave the match, I usually think, "Holy Cow, that was a lot of fun," even though I may have been penalized for misses or no-shoots. Then I load up the truck, don my carry piece, and prepare myself to avoid trouble.
This is my submission for this week's Carnival of Cordite.
* IED = Improvised Explosive Device; the stage title was in homage to Pink Floyd.