I participated in my first IDPA match yesterday. I had an awesome time, and met a lot of good people. I thought it would be constructive to write up an After Action Report (AAR) of my experience: it helps me to process and learn from my experience, and it opens the opportunity for others to learn from my mistakes and/or provide advice. The match was a Tier 1 match with 10 stages. The range that hosted the match had 5 outdoor pistol bays. Each bay contained two stages. Only one squad occupied a bay at a time. (There were 5 squads.) The bays were built side-by-side into a hill, with concrete walls separating each bay. This meant that, with the exception of the stages in the bays on the far left and right end, all stages were setup like a scene in a play, with all targets necessarily facing the same direction. This also meant that you really needed to watch your muzzle direction. The 180 rule was really more like a 90 or 45 rule on some stages. The match started a little after 10 am, and finished around 4 pm. The weather was perfect. I competed in the CDP division as an Unclassified shooter. There was only one other Unclassified shooter in CDP. All others were either Sharp Shooter or Marksman class. Out of the 65 participants, CDP only had 9 people (including myself). I was the only person in CDP that was not in the "senior" category. Everyone my age and younger were either shooting CZ's or some kind of plastic fantastic in 9mm. I used my GI No Name (45 ACP) with a Bravo Concealment OWB kydex holster and dual mag carrier and a Wilderness Tactical 5 Stitch Instructor belt. My concealment garment was just a cheap travel/safari style vest I bought off Amazon. The GI No Name performed well, with the exception of two instances where it failed to return to battery. The gun is still rather new. So, I'm going to shrug this off as a break in issue. Everything else worked fine. Overall, ignoring shooter classifications, I came in 6 out of 9 in CDP. My ranking on the individual stages ranged anywhere from 2nd on my best stage to 8th on my worst, with a lot of the stages falling somewhere in between. I shot some of the more complex stages somewhat conservatively because I was worried about doing something that would get me disqualified. And there were a couple of stages that I just plain f'ed up. One of the stages was a simulated armored car scenario. I came in 6th (out of 9) on this one. You really had to use your imagination if you wanted to see the connection with the story that went along with this stage. The armored car was represented by two plywood walls meeting at a 90 deg angle (think the corner of a room), with a small 2'x2' square port hole cut into each wall. A mix of barrels, no shoots, and regular targets were scattered around the "armored car." Over each port hole was a door that you had to manually open. The entire stage was shot from inside the car. The biggest challenge with this scene was making sure that you didn't sweep your support arm when opening the door. It also had some tight constraints on where your muzzle was allowed to point. The safety officer made it clear that anyone who swept themselves or pointed their muzzle past an orange cone (which was right next to one of the targets) would be immediately sent home. I got good hits, but I moved like a snail because I was worried about getting disqualified. I almost got a procedural penalty (on a different stage) because I misunderstood what it meant to be loaded to division capacity. Division capacity for a CDP is 8 rounds in each mag + 1 in the chamber. I misunderstood this to be an upper limit, and that you could start out with less in the gun if you wanted. Downloading the first mag was an advantage on one of the stages because it optimized when you did a reload. To make a long story short, you can't download your mags. You must always run at full division capacity. They let me off with a warning. I screwed up one of stages because I lost track of where I was at. Apparently, doing an emergency reload while under stress can cause my brain to dump it's record of what I was just doing. I ended up being down 6 because I failed to shoot one of the targets. I screwed up another stage because I misunderstood the instructions. There was an orange box that you were to start in. I incorrectly thought that you had to shoot from this box. It turns out, you could move out of the box immediately after the beep. Moving out of the box would have made this stage a lot easier. I'm really slow when engaging swinging targets. I get the idea of how to do it. But it's not something that I've had a chance to practice. There were two stages where I lost a lot of time just waiting for the swinger to cycle back into a position where I could shoot. I definitely have some things to work on. Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun, and I look forward to the next match! If you're not yet involved in some kind of competition, you're really missing out. It's a great way to improve your skills and make new friends. EDIT: Spelling, grammar, and wording/phrasing.