The folks over at GunFreeZone post about cops who don’t take well when losing IDPA matches. Let me add my own stories to that.

About 20 years ago, I was competing in IDPA matches. I went on a vacation to Mexico, and it just happened that an employee of the Public Works Department and the head of the police Department’s SWAT team in the city where I was employed as a firefighter were on the same trip. Some smack talking ensued, and the cops decided to set up a pistol competition. The police, fire, and public works departments would all compete, and any revenue would go to charity. It was billed as the First Annual City Pistol Competition.

The cops really screwed the pooch when they didn’t do their homework. The deputy fire chief was a Master level IDPA shooter and placed in a couple of state level matches, and the director of Public Works was the President of the Florida Cowboy Pistol Shooter’s Association. I was a decent shooter as a Sharpshooter that had one a couple of local matches, and I barely made the team for the FD. There were some really good shooters on the Public Works and Fire Department teams. I felt outclassed.

The results of the match were embarrassing for the cops. Public works walked away with it, the fire department came in second, and the cops were a distant last.

The rules were modified by the cops to heavily favor their elite SWAT skills. For example, the cops didn’t have to conceal, but everyone else did. A reflection of Florida law, they claimed. Also, there was no ten round magazine restriction. One stage in particular was tough because it required multiple reloads, even with the larger magazines.

There was one stage that was setup to look like the inside of a church with about 40 IDPA targets inside. I think 8 were painted blue, 8 painted red, and the remainder not painted at all. At the beginning of the stage as you entered the church, the RSO would hold up a paper plate that was either red or blue. The color of the plate was the one you weren’t supposed to shoot. It was a mess of a stage, because there were so many non-threats in there. It was way easy to plug a hole in one by accident.

When I did that stage, I shot it clean. As the RSO held up a red plate, I yelled out “RED IS MY FRIEND” over and over again, so I wouldn’t screw it up. I managed to engage every blue target while missing every red and unpainted one. As I remember, I got a decent score. Not the best, but not bad.

The SWAT team’s sniper (we will call him Darryl) was next. As he entered, the RSO held up a blue plate. That dumb sonofabitch went in there and drilled every single blue target. Twice. It took them forever to calculate all of the penalties for engaging all of those non-threats, and probably involved some calculus. I even saw one of the cops take off his shoes so he could count higher. Darryl wound up finishing dead last in the entire match. Since we were friends, I gave him no mercy at all for months about that one. Holy hell, it was hilarious.

Darryl still doesn’t find it funny. I do. It turned out that the First Annual City Pistol Competition was also the Last.

Categories: Guns


Gerry · February 28, 2023 at 9:30 am

Cops tend to be either real good or surprisingly bad. At our IDPA 3 Gun or Steel plate matches they get embarrassed when they get beat by 12 year old girls or 60 year olds men who have been shooting the games for years and never come back. The three who are serious about competing are always in the top 10% at any match they compete in.

The guys from 5th Group were just OK but they don’t like to get beat. They practice and practice and ask for advice on how to improve. They have a completely different attitude

Don W Curton · February 28, 2023 at 1:00 pm

I don’t comment over at GFZ since I’m not paying for a subscription, especially after Miguel sorta retired (he’s the only one I wanted to read anyway). In any event, several decades back the whole topic of cops and guns was circulating around the gun community and the general consensus then was the same as now, don’t expect cops to be any good. They might carry a gun daily, but generally only hit the range once or twice a year, usually right before annual requalification time.

Same with military. Had a friend who was a basic grunt and then had some “sniper” training. Reading between the lines, I think the sniper school set up a 1 or 2 day course to instill some better shooting skills to regular grunts. It certainly wasn’t the real sniper school type training. When he bought a deer rifle and we went to the range, he basically shot thru an entire box of rounds, no hits. I had to re-mount his scope and sight it in for him. If that’s the example of army guys who’ve had extra rifle training, don’t expect them to hit very much either.

Elrod · February 28, 2023 at 4:55 pm

Holy crap. You don’t have enough pixels to handle my experiences in this.

Short story long, when I was with *Agency X* I convinced my club’s IPSC Discipline Director to create an LEO class, with sign-up fees reduced to “club member” fees so *LEOs* could participate, running their duty rigs, shooting against only other LEOs.

I talked it up, and got *LEOs* to show up. Disaster ensued. I arranged for them to be squaded together and assigned myself to their squad to help coach, and comments among themselves were expressed about A Young Girl Shooter – who happened to be the Discipline Director’s 15-year-old daughter – who very handily shot circles around them.
None – zero – showed up the next month to shoot. They were embarassed about being severely outshot by old, fat guys and young girls.

I can tell you a lot more, especially about a *certain agency’s *ABC* Team* from when I lived in *State Z* but not in a public forum.

I will not go into details, but I’m convinced if a cop ever draws his or her pistol, the safest place to stand is directly in front of them, and they seem to have absolutely no interest in ever improving.

If cops ever show up anywhere near you, Run. Away. Fast. They pose a lethal hazard.

James · February 28, 2023 at 7:32 pm

I’m just coming off of 10yrs of IDPA, 3Gun/multigun where i also ROed/SOed. Occasional visits by police and FFL SOT holders and .mil homies were ALWAYS unimpressive, sometimes embarrassing, regardless of their credentials. Only the regular shooters of matches could perform reasonably.

The hubris of some was remarkable.

Tom from East Tennessee · February 28, 2023 at 9:03 pm

An anecdote from Shannon Smith, who you IPSC/IDPA types in FL may know. I heard this when I took a class from Shannon (he teaches in Frostproof, FL the last I heard)
Shannon was in the Ranger Regiment back in the day and went to try an IPSC match with his Ranger buddies. In his words, they got wasted by “a bunch of women and fat 70 year olds”. None of his Ranger buddies went back but Shannon was intrigued and kept coming back to learn, eventually becoming at least a state-level if not higher Master and Champion shooter.
I’ve gotten into “biathalons” also known as “run ‘n guns”, kind of like the winter olympics biatholon but on foot instead of on cross-country skis. At one match I ran into some Army guys, some of whom had been through Ranger school and I was curious how the match stacked up to them. They pretty uniformly said the Run N Gun was much easier physically than what they did, but the marksmanship and shooting skills required in the match were more difficult than what was expected of the Army, even door-kicker guys.
The lesson was lost on me when I was young and immature, but you really have to be willing to be the vessel to be filled if you want to get better.

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