Andy has asked me to provide contributions to his blog without using any soldier words. I will try.
Long ago and far away, I thought I knew everything about shooting handguns. After all I had been trained by the military in combat pistol, law enforcement in police pistol competition and had also competed in the forerunner of IDPA before it became the equipment driven and stylized event of the present. I thought had a nice collection of handguns and adequate holsters.
First, my guns did not always work! My ancient Colts M1911 had a collection of bad magazines. One good thing about IDPA is the opportunity to test your firearms. I think you may be surprised that a lot of your guns may not work well. To shoot IDPA you need a gun that will work every time or you will get lots of practice clearing malfunctions.
Have decent magazines! Buying the latest hot gun and then using cheap magazines is a false economy. And, never ever show up for a match without at least three, preferably six magazines. If I was starting out today, I would buy a S&W M&P 9mm as my first gun. It falls between the Glock and the XDM in price. It works well and is accurate enough right out of the box. But there are no correct guns! You need one you like and can operate. You can shoot a revolver too...
Second, you need a good holster, magazine carrier and gun belt. The belt has to be sturdy enough to carry the weight of the loaded gun. The holster and carrier have to fit the belt correctly so that they are retained in the same position at all times. BladeTech and other kydex are nice but pricey. I don't care for Fobus but the BlackHawk appears to be ok. But for carry purposes, the leather set sold by Wild Bill's is a great bargain at $130!
Also, in case you did not notice those Women shooters are shaped differently and require different holsters. Don't make your Lady bang her ribs up drawing from a man's holster. Spend the money and get her something that fits.
And, you need quality ammo. You can reload or use gun show reloads from GA Arms if you want to but I don't care for reloads in my plastic guns. Wallyworld has bulk WIN when you can find the guy with the key at a good price. I used to buy REM at Dick's but they have gotten outrageous recently and mainly they are out of it. Buy in bulk when you can find it at a good price. Don't buy premium JHP ammo for range use!
On the topic of ammo, I have seen lots of problems caused at pricey matches by poorly made reloaded ammo. And, your ammo should make the power factor prescribed by the rules. Most factory ammo will make weight but not all. The 130 grain WIN 38 SPL is a tad light in my experience.
Nongun gear includes your safety stuff (hearing & eye protection) and concealment garment. The use of high speed operator gear is not required. It is common but not mandatory.
IDPA…This Wed.,Afternoon 03-29-17 - NO gun play of any kind in the parking lot!!!!!!!! Do NOT handle any firearms in the parking lot!!!!! If you are carrying a concealed loaded firearm…Please...
5 hours ago