Well, my kid told me that since my significant other’s birthday was coming up, I should take her somewhere special.

So, I took her to Paris on her birthday.

Paris, Tennessee, that is, where Terry Riley and his crew at the Henry County Gun Club in neighboring Puryear were running the Kentucky/Tennessee Regional IDPA Championships. For a self-described “shooter-chick,” it was the right birthday present.

We got to meet a great bunch of folks. That’s par for the course at shooting matches. The range officers were safe and fair, always giving the contestant the benefit of the doubt on scoring. The format was “shotgun start,” which means that instead of being assigned to squads, the shooters fan out and shoot at whatever firing bay they want, the most logical way to herd cats. There were twelve stages of six to eighteen rounds, and starting at 8 AM, we were done by a quarter to noon…the fastest either of us can remember getting that much shooting done at a major match. There was plenty of time to chat with new friends and old, and even cruise into town to enjoy some classic old-time, small-town Southern architecture and visit a couple of antique shops, before the hog roast that accompanied the relaxed awards ceremony.

Neither of us won anything, but these days, we go to matches more for the camaraderie than for the trophies. We had driven there from Tulsa and gotten in too late for a good night’s sleep, and the Evil Princess was a little off her game; on my end, I was third most accurate shooter (congrats to Bob Briggs, THE most accurate shooter!), but I was still too slow by far. (Yes, as a matter of fact, I DID have some Starbucks at the match, but it just kept me awake enough to realize how slow I have become.)

We had caught the match on the fly, only realizing two days before it that it was there and  our route. (Evil Princess found it on the net: I think her motto is becoming, “iPhone, iPod, iPad, therefore I am.”) The cool thing about IDPA shooting (www.idpa.com) is that you don’t have to bring special competition gear: it’s designed to shoot with the guns and garb and holsters those of us who carry are already wearing. There are some shooting disciplines in which the event is something of a costume party; IDPA, on the other hand, is a “come as you are party.”

As we drove away from the serendipitous meeting with lots of good people on our way home from a seven-week working tour on the road, I was grumbling about my performance. The Evil Princess patted me on the arm.  “Don’t worry, dear,” she said…

“’We’ll always have Paris.’”

Our hosts made the shooting stages challenging.  The two close cardboard silhouettes having been dispatched, shooter swings onto the steel Pepper Popper…

Clamshell Sequence 1

…and knocks it down with a 9mm bullet from her Springfield Armory XD(m).  This trips the wire that causes third cardboard target to spring up (center)…

Clamshell Sequence 2

…and she’s able to nail it (see dust puffs still in air behind target) in the instant before no-shoot target (note stenciled empty hands) springs up in front of it.

Clamshell Sequence 3

Scorekeepers work diligently behind the scenes to tabulate several hundred scoresheets. Thank you, Ladies!!

IDPA Scorekeepers

Whole roast hog was a welcome guest at the awards ceremony.


Terry Riley and his team put on a wonderful, efficient match. Here Terry, left, presents awards to Bob Briggs, right, champion of the Enhanced Service Revolver division and overall most accurate shooter.

IDPA Bob Briggs


  1. An area sportman’s club has IDPA-style shoot(*) first Saturday of the month during warmish weather, and the last three were my first IDPA-style shoots ever. This last Saturday, my first round was awful: I never felt like I had my “legs” under me. The second round wasn’t bad, but the third and fourth were the first time I felt like I’d entered a zone. My accuracy was good (not perfect; I’m just never going to be that shooter), and my time was OK (30s versus the lightning crew of 15s and 16s), but I _did_ walk away feeling like I would have survived the last two incidents in real life. I didn’t remember drawing, clicking off the safety, and point-sighting, I just did it.

    IDPA isn’t real life, and it shouldn’t substitute for a good real-life training program. That said, it certainly has taught me a lot about pressure shooting that I wouldn’t have understood before.

    My next project is to get Milady and the kids through at least 1 round. Number 1 Son’s been playing too many video games lately; it’d help him to see how he’d do in the room with the big yellow light… 🙂

    (*) He sticks to the competition rules, but doesn’t get as strict about wearing jackets or having concealment holsters.

  2. Belated Happy B’day to your as we say better half. I feel for you on the slowing down for the caliber shooter you are. I do not have nor will I ever obtain the speed you have or have lost at my age of 57. I, as you stated particapate in IDPA and USPSA for the fun and camaraderie generally scoring near the lower end of the score sheet. Fun is what I go for, and fun I do have in abundance.

  3. Very interesting as always, Mas.

    Mas or someone else, couldn’t Ms. Mas have put a legal round through the head of the person (? kidnapper)behind the “no shoot person” after the no-shoot popped up? I’ve never been to an IDPA shoot.


  4. Steve, on this particular scenario, as soon as the no-shoot target had snapped upright, it completely blocked the head of the shoot target. The photo that ran here was taken in action, and the pop-up hostage was not yet fully upright.


  5. Hi Mas,

    Fun read as usual. When I saw Paris, I was wondering to myself if France has any provisions for foreign LEOs to carry, then I scrolled down a bit and LOLed.

    Quick question regarding shooting IDPA, I know you seem to favor electronic ear muffs (Wolf Ears I believe?), do you (and other shooters) usually wear ear plugs under ear muffs? It seems ear plugs are generally rated for higher noise reduction (mine are 33dB compared to ~20 dB for my muffs). I’m not even 100% sure if wearing the two are additive but it’s always seemed like a good idea to me.

    Thanks in advance, and congrats to you and yours in the matches.


  6. Tim, you’re right, it’s a good idea to wear both plugs and muffs. Plugs seem to be giving you good sound attenuation, but they do nothing to stop sound vibrations passing through the mastoid bone, which the audiologists tell me is a major contributor to the cumulative nerve deafness known colloquially as “shooter’s ear.” While the muffs do a much better job of protecting you there, the stems of your shooting glasses will break their seal to some degree, so plugs underneath still make sense.


  7. Hello Mas,

    I’m glad you enjoyed your stop at HCGC on Saturday. I was planning to shoot but my granddaughter’s birthday was on that same day. I sure would have liked to meet you. I hope you come come again next year.

    Best regards,

  8. Hi Mas,

    I hate to use your blog to contact you but I don’t have any other way.
    I was just at a museum close to where I grew up. They have a S&W model 1905 serial number 479960 .38 sp. That puts it into the 4th gen. They claim it was owned by Martin Zarkovich, who was with the East Chicago PD. Further that he was present when Dillinger was killed and that autopsy records show that this gun probably did the job. As always you have to take anything these places say with a grain of salt. I was struck by how great the condition of the piece was. I am sure you know how much holster wear a cop’s sidearm aquires. They have a web site but donot say anything about the firearm. Historic Auto Attractions in Roscoe, IL. Just in case you are interested, I know that you did your research on Dillinger yourself.
    As always,

  9. Thanks, Randy. I’ll try to check it out when I get out that way.

    Although historians tell us all Zarkovich had to do with Dillinger (that night, anyway) was to loot his corpse in the ambulance…


  10. Damn, that pig looks good. Pig roast is one of the finer things in life to wind up another of the finer things in life.

  11. Trust me, Marc…not only did that pig look good, it WAS good! Not a scrap leftover by the time all the ‘buzzards’ got thru picking on it.

    Good day with a lot of old and new friends. We’re happy Mas and the (not so) Evil Princess came out to shoot with us.