Skip to main content

Life-Survival Training vs. IDPA

Life-Survival Training vs. IDPA

SWAT team training is difficult, and the conditions must be tightly controlled for safety.

My opinion is that debating the topic of "life-survival training versus IDPA" is meaningless. Training to survive armed confrontations is not--and certainly should not be done as--a game or a contest. In life-survival training, each student should be taught at his own pace so that he can absorb, digest and analyze the instruction and apply this during practical applications throughout the training cycle.

Often, for advanced students, force-on-force exercises are run where the students are engaged by role players, with both students and role players armed with safely modified nonlethal-firing arms in scripted scenarios. There is just no debate as to the practicality of action competition when compared to this intensity of training. Paper and steel targets don't shoot back.


However, there are some practical, usable, real-world skills that can be developed by participating in IDPA and rising through the ranks. A shooter ranked Master in any IDPA division has developed great skill at handgun manipulation, including target acquisition and recoil control, and he understands trigger control and sight alignment. He is also well able to "think on his feet," as it were, for in IDPA events, you are not allowed to repeatedly "walk through" courses to figure out the best way to shoot the stage.


In both training and sport shooting, the individual is stressed, but fighting for your life is not replicated in IDPA. In real-world applications, avoidance by awareness is normally the first and best choice. You "win" the fight by not being there. Next, most personal, life-threatening encounters, barring mass terrorist attacks, can be solved by either not firing a single shot or with less than a full magazine or cylinder of ammunition. Although any such stage in IDPA would be very realistic, not many would want to engage that kind of problem on a regular basis in a contest. And certainly, if force need be used, firing one shot in one problem and two or three shots in another just wouldn't cut it with most IDPA shooters. A match that consumes fewer than 18 rounds is very real but will be under-attended by all but the most die-hard realists.

Sport shooting should be taken for what it offers--an opportunity to develop great gun-handling and shooting skills. If street survival is the goal, IDPA does contribute part of the necessary skills but not nearly all of them.


Working a corner under time constraints is a game, although good habits can be developed if the competitor so chooses.

(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. HG, P.O. Box 639, Berryville, AR 72616-0639; (870) 545-3886; fax: (870) 545-3894; 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

KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot

KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot

If you're in the market for a 17-round, compact .22LR pistol that's feature packed, then the P17 is definitely an option for you. At less than 14 ounces fully loaded, and barely longer than a dollar bill, the P17 is concealable for pretty much anyone. The threaded barrel, Picatinny-style accessory rail, ambidextrous safety, ambidextrous magazine release and three (3) 16rd magazines come standard. That's a lot of value added in such a small package.

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.

KelTec CMR30 22WMR Review - Compact, Versatile & Fun to Shoot

KelTec CMR30 22WMR Review - Compact, Versatile & Fun to Shoot

Designed for lightweight, low recoil accuracy, the CMR30 .22 WMR features a nice, single-action trigger, ambidextrous dual non-reciprocating operating handles, ambidextrous safety and heel catch magazine release. The KelTec CMR30 is a .22 Magnum carbine that holds 30 rounds in each of its two flush-fit magazines. That's a lot of firepower for a 3.8-pound, semi-auto, collapsible truck gun. It comes out of the box as you see it, including Magpul sights and ambidextrous, non-reciprocating dual operating handles. She's a straight blow-back tack driver that delivers a ton of fun.

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

Speer's Jared Hinton shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun load.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit againstJudge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law 2nd Amendment

Judge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law

Handguns Online Staff - May 07, 2014

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit...

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a terrific balance of weight, power and shootability.Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander 9mm Review 1911

Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander 9mm Review

J. Scott Rupp - May 08, 2019

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a...

The defensive handgun market is ripe with affordable, accurate and dependable choices, but these six compact high-capacity 9mm pistols stand out from the rest of the field.6 Best Compact High-Capacity 9mm Handguns Compact

6 Best Compact High-Capacity 9mm Handguns

Jeff John - July 08, 2020

The defensive handgun market is ripe with affordable, accurate and dependable choices, but...

The new Ruger-57 looks to put a charge into the 5.7x28mm pistol market—and you know you want one.Ruger 57 Pistol Review Reviews

Ruger 57 Pistol Review

James Tarr - June 05, 2020

The new Ruger-57 looks to put a charge into the 5.7x28mm pistol market—and you know you want...

See More Trending Articles

More Training

While there's no absolute correct way to manipulate a pistol, your technique of choice should be based on careful consideration and practice.Discovering What Pistol Manipulation Techniques Work for You Training

Discovering What Pistol Manipulation Techniques Work for You

Richard Nance - May 15, 2019

While there's no absolute correct way to manipulate a pistol, your technique of choice should...

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...

Defensive pistol experts constantly preach “getting off the X,” and what they mean is you don't want to just stand in one spot when engaging a threat. This simple drill teaches you to get off that X, and the more you do it, the more instinctive and easy the actions become.Shooting Drills – Getting off the X Training

Shooting Drills – Getting off the X

J. Scott Rupp - April 01, 2020

Defensive pistol experts constantly preach “getting off the X,” and what they mean is you...

Dry fire training is a great way to keep your skills sharp.Dry Fire Training Training

Dry Fire Training

Richard Nance - September 18, 2019

Dry fire training is a great way to keep your skills sharp.

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