Now it happens that our elected government, after a fifteen year hiatus, has resumed the destruction of 1911 45s, M1 Garands, 03s, and Springfield 22 Trainers. Note that this has nothing whatever to do with crime. This is aimed directly at obviating the armed citizenry which is historically the only guarantee ohorf human liberty. Act on this at once. If you have not got a 1911, get one. If you have not got an 03, get one. If you have not got an M1, get one. (If you can possibly afford it, get two.)
Spending a dreary Friday morning surfing the nooks and crannies of the Internet, including the corpses of lapsed blogspots, I happened upon a link to Col. Jeff Cooper's "Commentaries".
(The opening exemplar quote was taken from his May 1994, edition.)
Senior members of the IPSC/USPSA addiction (speaking of seniority in terms of longevity rather than skill, and using the term 'addiction' for the same sake of accuracy) are almost invariably familiar with The Colonel. However, during my recent experiences introducing new initiates I have become aware that most of the 'not-senior' people are ignorant of the origins and history of this addiction we share.
Thus a short historical note on the origin of the sport, and the significance of both The Colonel and his Commentaries seems both timely and appropriate.
Jeff Cooper has had experience in the Military, and did come by the nomenclature with some justification. He founded and ran "The Gunsite Academy" for some significant decades where he, with a staff of experienced instructers, provided training in both handgun and long gun handling. His emphasis has ever been on military and law enforcement, but his own extensive hunting experience rounded out his qualification to instruct in civilian hunting-related application of these techniques. (Which is not to suggested that he taught tracking and stalking skills.)
As a consequence of his association with men who went armed daily, mostly on a professional basis, he became interested in what was at the time termed "Combat Shooting". Generally speaking, marksmanship and gun handling skills are "degradable". If not practiced regularly, ones proficiency deteriorates. Standing on a firing line and shooting at bullseye targets is only "better than nothing". It certainly isn't "sufficient" and in a sense probably isn't as appropriate as plinking at tin cans. At least the shooter has a variety in target range and attitude when it bounces around every time you hit it,
So a more realistic target was designed which, yes, DOES share a general size and shape of the human body, The scoring zones of this cardboard target were scaled on the relative lethality of a shot in the corresponding 'vital;' areas.
This stadardization of targets made it simple to form a competition based on shooting which was obviously more "practical" than bullseye shooting. (Hence the expression "Practical" pistol shooting.)
Originally, the folks who gathered together to challenge each other were assumed, even expected, to be armed when they arrived at the range, Anecdote suggest that at one match, when a shooter signed in he was asked where his pistol was. Why? Because the procedure for the first stage of the match specified that the gun stayed where-ever it was when the shooter signed in, and if he had it locked in the trunk of the car he had to go get his pistol after the signal to begin shooting. Well, if he was a deputy sheriff and needed his pistol while he was "on the job", it wouldn't have been very 'practical' to keep his gun in the car until he really needed it, now would it?
Most of the basics for IPSC competition are directly based on the imperatives that these pistoleros had learned on the job ,,,. often, the hard way,
SPEED? When you really have to shoot, you really have to be the first one to shoot,
ACCURACY? It's not going to help to shoot first if you can't hit what you aim at.
POWER? Everybody knows that a bigger or faster bullet is more effective ... and shooting follow-up shots quickly and accurately is more difficult if the shooter has to deal with heavy recoil, so the effectiveness of the more powerful pistol in "marginal" hits is reflected by a higher hit. Thus, Major power scores higher than Minor power in the B, C and D zones of the IPSC target. Of course, in Combat Shooting, Jame's Bond's pocket .380 would be right out!
Also, note that these pistoleers liked the idea of several targets, often of several types, at ranges which were not always the same. They didn't have "standard" stage designs ... they made it up as they went along and each stage had some application to a "real life" combat situation.
For example, for the Classifier stage "El Presidente", the scenario depicted was being attacked from the rear by the Presidente of an imaginary South American junta along with his two bodyguards.
(I have included this stage as the "final exam" of the Live Fire exercise in my "Introduction to USPSA" class. It's fast and exciting, it's a change of pace from the rest of the period in which I have been encouraging the participants to take their time and always aim carefully at the A-zone. We actually record their score and time, and an the conclusion of the exercise we use those statistics to calculate Hit Factor. Then we declare the stage winner based on highest HF, and show how their stage points can vary dramatically based on each shooter's percentage of the stage winner's HF. This is a graphic representation of the importance of shooting accurately quickly.)
So much for The Colonel's contribution to the beginning of the sport, except to say that a disgusted Cooper eventually divorced himself from IPSC after the "competition" became so emphasized that "practicality" had, in his opinion, completely obviated the purpose of the exercise!