Skip to main content

IDPA Report: Reloading Behind Cover

IDPA Report: Reloading Behind Cover

This contestant can easily use multiple barricades for cover while moving and reloading.

IDPA Competition Rule Number 19, Proper Use of Cover, states, "If cover is available, the shooter must use it. . . All reloads must be executed behind cover, if cover is available, and must be completed before leaving cover. . ." My personal view on the term "available" is the "one step rule." That is, if you can take one step and get to cover, you must use it. More than this, it's problematic if you will gain any real benefit as opposed to simply reloading and staying in the fight.

The above rule is simple but...(there's always a "but"). Take this scenario for example: The course designer has put up a wall with two windows 10 feet apart (left to right), with targets to be shot from each window. You shoot the left set of targets first and reload while moving behind cover (the wall between the windows) to the right and have completed the reload before the second window and additional threats. You are in compliance with Rule 19, for you have reloaded behind cover. Well, this is correct, but it is tactically unsound and goes against the intent of IDPA that "all courses of fire must...simulate a possible real-life scenario. . ."


In the real world, you don't know what or where the threats are, nor can you assume the threats are stationary (nor that the threats you have already engaged are all neutralized or that there are not more of them). The reload should be done at the first firing position and before moving. Those interested in winning the event will argue for movement and the specificity of Rule 19, since moving improves their overall score. Those with a more realistic bent will reload before leaving the first window.


A similar problem arises when there are multiple barricades placed near-to-far such that you can be behind the far barricade as you move toward the next set of targets after shooting from behind the first barricade. The contestant reloads while moving and is still behind cover. Sure, in the artificial environment of a shooting event we all know where the targets are, but if the scenario is viewed as a good-faith attempt to simulate a real-life scenario, the reload would be done before you left the first position.

Chris Edwards has reloaded before moving away from the problem. While reloading on the run will increase your overall time, it doesn't always make tactical sense to do so.

How to solve this, assuming we all agree it needs to be solved? If a requirement to reload at a specific location is put into the match description, the "range lawyers" will argue that this is not in the rules. There could be an off-the-clock time put in at each location for reloading, though, and the "gamers" would gain no advantage by reloading on the move. A more draconian solution is simply assessing a "Failure to Do Right" penalty, for the contestant is not following the intent of the stage nor the sport, wherein "all courses of fire...simulate a possible real-life scenario. . ."


(Note: The author's opinions are his own and are not the official views of the Directors or Officers of IDPA.)


For more information or to join IDPA, contact the International Defensive Pistol Association, Dept. GAH, P.O. Box 639, Berryville, AR 72616-0639; telephone 870/545-3886; www.idpa.com; E-mail: IDPA.org@yournet.com.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Dealing with Subcompacts

Dealing with Subcompacts

Jim and Rich cover the benefits and the challenges presented by very small pistols.

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these two models – the KelTec PF9 9mm and the Ruger LCP II .22LR – are no exceptions. They are effective for personal protection but only if you put in the time to practice.

Ruger Security 9 Compact

Ruger Security 9 Compact

This handgun lives up to what Ruger wanted to build: a solid, dependable, easy-racking carry/home defense pistol at a better-than-reasonable price.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these two models – the KelTec PF9 9mm and the Ruger LCP II .22LR – are no exceptions. They are effective for personal protection but only if you put in the time to practice.Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice Training

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Handguns Staff - August 14, 2020

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these...

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol designed for personal defense.Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall Review Compact

Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall Review

Jeff Chudwin - January 29, 2019

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol...

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol.Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

Guns are fun, and cheap guns are even more fun. Spend less on the firearm and more on ammo with these 10 low-priced pistols.10 Cheap Guns Under $250 Compact

10 Cheap Guns Under $250

Evan Brune - September 24, 2015

Guns are fun, and cheap guns are even more fun. Spend less on the firearm and more on ammo...

See More Trending Articles

More Training

Vicker's Leatham Drill is great for good shooters to do after some time away from the range or from a particular gun to reacquaint themselves with the trigger. Handgun Skill Drill: Vicker's Leatham Drill Training

Handgun Skill Drill: Vicker's Leatham Drill

Eve Flanigan - July 19, 2018

Vicker's Leatham Drill is great for good shooters to do after some time away from the range or...

The Hard Swing Drill will help you improve your draw speed and target transitions—along with reloading skills and sight picture and trigger control.Hard Swing Drill Training

Hard Swing Drill

Josh Froelich - September 12, 2019

The Hard Swing Drill will help you improve your draw speed and target transitions—along with...

From arm position to thumb location, there are plenty of methods out there.There's More Than One Way To Shoot A Gun Training

There's More Than One Way To Shoot A Gun

Richard Nance - December 27, 2018

From arm position to thumb location, there are plenty of methods out there.

The Keepers' Test comes to us from Spencer Keepers of Keepers Concealment Holsters, and it's all about draw speed from concealment and pinpoint accuracy.Shooting Drills – Keepers' Test Training

Shooting Drills – Keepers' Test

J. Scott Rupp - January 30, 2020

The Keepers' Test comes to us from Spencer Keepers of Keepers Concealment Holsters, and it's...

See More Training

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now