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Tips For Shooting the IDPA Classifier

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Tests always make people nervous. For IDPA shooters it’s the annual Classifier match.

For the young at heart among us, remember back in school when we had to take a standardized test every year to determine how we score out among our peers? Rememeber how we all hated it and dreaded it because we hated tests? Well they never stop. Even as adults there are times we still need to take a test. And in the shooting sports it’s no different.

READ MORE: Shooting the IDPA Classifier [VIDEO]

Something that a lot of IDPA shooters dread is the annual IDPA Classifier. While it is fun, it puts you under some stress because you want to perform well and improve each time. We all want to know how we rank next to our peers, so a standardized test is the best way to see how we do.

The Classifier

The IDPA Classifier is a match that must be shot each year by IDPA members as a way to be ranked so you can shoot against people that are of your skill level. This will allow you to compare yourself throughout the year at various matches. This is also a requirement by IDPA to be able to shoot in higher level sanctioned matches.

The Classifier itself consists of three stages of 90 rounds total, and tests many skills that a shooter should be able to demonstrate from short range, seven yards, all the way out to 20-yard long range shots. It incorporates drills like the Mozambique and the El Presidente in the match.

This is the only standardized match that IDPA sanctions. All other stages come from the minds of the stage creator.

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Tips and Tricks

What to shoot a better test? Here are some tips and tricks that I have picked up from the times I have shot the Classifier.

  • Don’t miss the head shots! If you miss on the head shots, you are looking at 5 points down per head shot missed right off the bat, and the head shots are an all or nothing deal.
  • When moving, glide along, don’t bounce like you would when you normally walk. Keep your knees bent and take small steps and roll heel to toe. When walking backward, roll toe to heel and walk slow.
  • When working with the barricade or barrel, don’t crowd up on the cover. Many shooters get nervous and crowd the cover with their bodies. This makes it tough to lean out and engage the targets. If you stay an arm’s length off the cover, it’s less of a lean and you don’t have to move much when engaging targets.
  • In Stage 3, you have to do a tactical reload, where you retain the empty magazine with one round still in the chamber. Most people will pull a full mag and then swap and stow the empty mag. Do it in reverse. Grab the empty mag from the gun and stow, and then grab the full mag and reload. As soon as the mag snaps in seated, you can move. This will actually save a little time. I drop the empty mag in my pocket and as my hand comes back up I grab the new magazine and slam it home. As soon as it is in, I am around the barricade.
  • Also in Stage 3, slow down. Really slow. Your time may tick away, but the more shots you put accurately into the Zero down circle, the less time added. Don’t miss and take your time.
  • If you have the ability, have nine magazines loaded and ready to go. If you use the following load out, you can zip through all three stages quickly. These load outs do take into account slide lock and tactical reloads.
    • Stage 1: 9, 12, 9
    • Stage 2: 12, 6, 12
    • Stage 3: 7, 12, 11

SEE MORE: Shooting the IDPA Classifier [VIDEO]

The most important tip to remember: HAVE FUN! Don’t get all twisted in your head about trying for Master class. Just sit back, have a great time shooting and spend time talking with friends. This is the one match that year that you are not shooting against anyone else. You are shooting against yourself. With time and patience you will improve your classification.

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Tips For Shooting the IDPA Classifier