IPSC Style Airsoft Pistol Shooting
Helen Brown-Lee tries her hand at IPSC style airsoft pistol shooting at Xsite
One uneventful Monday whilst sitting in my office wondering just how long it would be before I could get back out on the Skirmish field, and suddenly I get a telephone call that turned my day around.
The only game in town
“Fancy trying your hand at IPSC?” I was asked. After my confused answer of “What the hell is that?”, I finally figure out that this is Target Pistol Shooting with a huge emphasis on speed that is now being adopted by Skirmish sites around the country.
Being of course far too young (I wish) to remember the Pre VCR golden years, I have never shot a real steel pistol and reasoned that the Airsoft equivalent is probably the closest thing that I am ever going to get to try, so on that note Hell yeah, bring it on!
I travelled up to Xsite Airsoft in High Wycombe where they are trialling Airsoft IPSC and have a chat to Tim Wyborn the MD who says that there has been a huge amount of interest in this sport, both from normal skirmishers and former pistol owners who thought that they would never hold a gun again. With the Airsoft pistols looking identical to their real steel counterparts and having gas blowback, they can even feel similar when shot. This seems like a fantastic opportunity for everyone who used to compete to get those skills back up to par.
Real steel rules
Airsoft IPSC is played to real steel rules and as I saw straight away, 90% of the Airsofters having a go would have been disqualified from a proper competition due to aiming their pistol at a range officer, crossing lines of fire, not making their gun safe or having a magazine still in their gun inside the safe zone. All of these errors are perfectly normal and natural to airsofters – our entire sport is
based around pointing guns at people and it is extremely difficult to break that mind set, as I found out to my cost having my first run disqualified after failing to make my gun safe at the end of the round – dammit! To make matters worse I was being beaten in both speed and accuracy by my non- shooting best friend, as you can imagine I was not a happy bunny and the competitive side started to come out.
After watching several more people make the exact same mistake as me, Tim realised that some training was in order and after a quick lecture about real steel rules and the damage that guns can do, we were back in business and this time there was a 100% improvement. I also realised that there is a large bias on speed over accuracy in this sport as .3 of a second quicker but less accurate by 1 hit still ended up on the top of the leader board (not bitter about that at all by the way). Speaking as someone whose accuracy most definitely decreases the faster I go, this was a bit of a result but unfortunately not enough to save me from the far faster young guns.
IPSC is limited only by the course builders imaginations, the training course that I took part in was fairly straightforward but others include compulsory magazine changes, moving targets, partially blocked targets and pretty much anything else that you can imagine! I have been told about a defensive IPSC course coming soon from Xsite that sounds pretty fabulous – more details here as soon as I get them.
Running for real
Back to the action, the practice runs were over and it was time to do the real thing. With my range officer waiting next to me, I step up to the bench and placing my hands on the marks wait patiently with the gun made safe on a 3rd strip for the beep. Of course modesty (or embarrassment) prevents me from revealing my exact score but I can say that I had an absolutely brilliant time trying this and will most definitely be trying again after some intensive practice sessions in the back garden – oh and my best friend? She kicked me big time and ended up finishing 4th in the competition and is now starting to skirmish so she can purchase her own pistol to continue beating me – something tells me I am going to have to seriously up my game!
There are a few places in the UK where you can currently participate in Airsoft IPSC, The Range in London, The Shop at the Grange in Birmingham, The Elite Shooting Centre in East Sussex and Xsite Airsoft in High Wycombe with hopefully many more places across the UK following suit soon. There will be an opportunity to try your hand at IPSC at the Airsoft Arms Fair which will be taking place on the 19th May 2012 and the new course at Xsite will open on the 14th April at The Outpost in High Wycombe – fingers crossed I do better there.
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