New Year, New Match

I missed the IDPA matches nearest where I live in November and December due to family holiday obligations. I am also getting used to the 1911 I bought and was finally able to shoot in mid-November (after getting the grips downsized). I’m not used to a gun with a thumb safety and I can’t say I’m a big fan at this point. However, I bought the gun, I paid a twice what I’ve paid for any other gun and I want to spend the time to give it a fair assessment.

So after 7 trips to the range to practice things that are new with this gun like the grip and draw with a thumb safety, I decided to shoot an outdoor match at The Range in Oxford today. This was my first outdoor match and the first match I’ve decided to shoot and not arranged to meet a friend there. I did email Frank to ask about the calendar and confirm what time the match started. I told him I’d be there as I wanted to make a commitment to someone. I’ve found that knowing I’m accountable to my word is a strong motivator for me and I was very nervous about this due to the new gun, new range, and no friends for moral support.

This morning it was raining as I left my house but was clear as I arrived at The Range. The first lesson of the day is that registration starts at 11am but the match doesn’t start until 1pm. I’ll be targeting a 12:30 arrival in the future.

I wasn’t sure what to wear as it was just over freezing when I left my house. Ideally I wanted to tuck in everything but my concealment garment. By 1pm it was warm enough to easily do that but I might consider a larger pair of jeans to be able to manage that with thicker layers on colder days. I used a fleece vest as a concealment garment today and that worked well.

I brought no food or water. I did eat a substantial breakfast and they sell bottled water at a bargain (50 cents), but I should be more self sufficient. Beef jerky, granola bars, or something portable would be a good idea.

My range bag is heavy. At an indoor match I’d park it in the room where we wait for an open stage and come back to it between stages. At an outdoor match you haul it around. The only thing I really needed was ammo and my UpLULA (for me an absolute necessity). In the future, I think I’ll leave the range bag in the car and bring a smaller bag from stage to stage with just food, water and ammo.

I attended a safety briefing for “new shooters” and was reminded to put on the gun & holster at the car then DO NOT take the gun out of the holster until I get up to the line to shoot. It stays in the holster until I put it back in the car at the end of the match.

They split us into 6 squads and started us in one of 6 bays. Our squad started in Bay 2. We proceeded to 3,4,5,6, and 1. It went fairly quickly. There were about 10 shooters per squad so about 60 folks competing.

Here’s how it went for me:

  • The thumb safety caused me all kinds of issues. I had not practiced loading a barney round then doing a chamber check. I loaded the first round. The RSO says, “put on your safety”. I pulled the empty mag out and put in the full mag. I went to do a chamber check and it turns out you can’t if the safety is on. I worked this all out but it flustered me enough I didn’t check that the mag was seated and…. of course…. it wasn’t.
  • I ran into multiple issues on the 2nd stage I shot. At one point I did a tactical reload and popped the partially full magazine in the waist band of my jeans. I must I pushed a bit harder than usual as the next thing I felt was the magazine snaking down my leg until it hit the ground. Another first!
  • I was more accurate than previous matches, at the cost of speed. But for now I’m happy with that trade-off.
  • I had a few conversations with other shooters and felt that the Range Safety Officers were supportive.

It was a good day!