Photos and Video From My First IDPA Shooting Match

Posted: Feb 21, 2014 2:51 PM

In case you missed it, earlier this week I competed in my first International Defensive Pistol Association [IDPA] Indoor Nationals at the Smith & Wesson Shooting Sports Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. I was invited by world shooting champion Julie Golob to participate and she helped coach me through all 13 stages of the match. IDPA competition matches are set up in ways that allow people to practice their self-defense skills in real life situations while also providing a safe and fun atmosphere for participants.

Some things to keep in mind when watching the video:

-This is my first match, ever.

-Notice how I take cover and keep my body behind doors, walls, counters, etc.

-On the targets, blacked out areas are no-shoot areas. Targets with hands are also no-shoots because they are either hostages or innocent people.

-Not all 13 stages are shown in the videos and not in the same order as I shot them. The descriptions I give below are not the exact descriptions of the stages IDPA gave me, but are what I can remember.


1. Gun store stage: You're working at a gun store when a group of robbers try to obtain firearms through illegal means. Your handgun is in the drawer to your left along with loaded magazines. When the robbers come through the door, you are standing in the middle of the counter, dropping behind it for cover and moving toward to drawer for your firearm.

2. Cabin: You're relaxing in a chair inside your log cabin when you hear an intruder. Your gun and ammunition are in the top drawer of the dresser.

3. Warehouse: You are in a wheelchair and open the door of your warehouse to find a group of armed robbers. All shooting is done from the chair. Notice the different types of targets: moving, no shoots and blacked out areas.

4. Warehouse: You're working late at your warehouse. While you are carrying a heavy bag full of tools, you encounter armed intruders. You drop the bag on the floor and pull out your firearm. While shooting, you also retreat.

5. House drug bust: You're a federal agent doing a drug bust on a house at night time (less likely in the real world for most of us, but still fun). There is enough light to see the targets so a flashlight is not required. Notice how I use cover.

6. Photoshoot: You've just been signed by a big company as a sponsored shooter. During your photoshoot as the next big star, armed robbers try to take your new stash of ammo. This was my best stage.

7. Duck blind: You're in your duck blind hunting when a boat of armed robbers comes by. This was my worst stage. After I fired my first shot, my magazine fell out. Make sure your magazine is properly seated!

8. Nail salon, warehouse storing copper, church: Nail salons (pay attention ladies) and churches are robbery magnets due to the amount of cash on hand. Plumbing companies that store copper are also regular targets for robbery due to the value of copper being so high. For the nail salon stage, you are carrying a basket when armed robbers enter the store. Drop the basket and draw your firearm. For the church, you are praying when armed robbers enter. You can't tell in the video, but before the timer starts my hands were clasped in prayer. For the plumbing warehouse, my hands start over my mouth.

Photos from the event courtesy of IDPA's Paul Erhardt and Julie Golob. Julie not only volunteered her time to coach me all day, but took a ton of video and photos for me too. You can check out her work at and you can buy her book on Amazon. If you're interested in competing in an IDPA match (which I highly recommend, but as IDPA Executive Director Joyce Wilson said, "It's like a Lay's potato chip, you can't just compete in one"), you can find a local club here.

RELATED: My First IDPA Match: Training For Self Defense Through Competition

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