Monday, September 07, 2015

Happy Labor Day!

Enjoy the potato salad, baked beans and ribs on the Barbie, as it were.

We have people visiting, so I've been largely absent from the computer. One a little shooting, and all in all it's been a fun break.

Back in the saddle again next week, when me and the Mikes are going to hijack an airplane. Not only darn good fun, but an exercise in reponse to a violent attacks in constrained spaces.

Surprisingly, I got some negative response after mentioning USPSA has added a new provisional division, essentially Production with a red dot optic. I thought this was a great fact, I had sorta lobbied IDPA to do exactly the same thing before they opted for their new Compact Carry Division.

The criticism was that USPSA had too many divisions as it is, and adding a new one further dilutes the competition. A fair point, to be sure, but that has always been a criticism of USPSA. Here's some of the comments on Brian Enos' forums.

Kevin from Misfires and Light Strikes correctly (I think) noted that:
It's interesting, though, that USPSA/IDPA are catching up with the realities of the concealed carry/tactical world, rather than the tactical world taking their cues from the competition world. Which speaks volumes about how practical shooting organizations have kept pace with today's shooting culture.
I think it takes us back to the fact that both USPSA and IDPA are what I think of as mature sports, with very dedicated and vocal "installed bases." I guess the closest analogy I can think of off the top of my head is image the differences between golf and frisbee golf. I suspect (but don't know) that you might have a greater chance of influencing the direction of the sport if you're paling frisbee golf rather than the stick and ball version. Frisbee golf is still an evolving sport, while Big Ball Golf doesn't give a damn what you think about the specifications on club design. Golf is mature; frisbee golf is still getting there.

Maturation tends to bring a calcification to rulesets, which are aimed at retaining and pleasing the status quo. The installed base, after all, has spent a sizable amount of money and time accumulating the gear that has been developed to specifically meet large and small needs of the specified division. Part of the maturation process is a steady refinement of rules, that is, the elimination of questions, uncertainties, ambiguities, etc. As the rules become more specific and fixed,  the gear designed to meet those rules becomes more specific and specialized. The more specialized the equipment becomes, the less suited it is for anything other than the specific niche within the sport. The less suited the gear becomes for activities outside the sport's specific niche and the greater the pressure from the participant to not change the rules.

I think this is neither good nor bad, just the Way of Things. Even in sports where we specifically sought to minimize this evolution — think Rimfire Challenge — we weren't able to stop it. There's a second evolutionary pressure on participant sports, and that is the previously identified tendency of the sport to move in the direction of what the sport's top athletes do best. Sports are also showcases for the participants, and — surprise surprise — the participants want to look good doing it. If you're designing matches, you're competing for a limited leisure time/dollar resource. So how do you choose to design your match? You see the more egregious example of this in Cowboy Action Shooting. where as the sport evolved to pure speed, the targets got bigger and bigger and closer and closer to the point where many shooters complain about "long distance" targets set at 12 yards.

Anyway, just some pondering. I was talking to a top shooter recently who opined that he was at a complete loss to understand the concept of classes and division; rather, the only thing that made sense to him was shooting "straight up," everybody shoots in a single division and there is a single list of scores. The winner is the person whose name appears first on that list.


KMitch200 said...

I was talking to a top shooter recently who opined that he was at a complete loss to understand the concept of classes and division; rather, the only thing that made sense to him was shooting "straight up,"

And this is why that top shooter isn't the president of the "X-X Competition".
(if they are, it won't be around 8 months from now)

He fails to remember that if he were shooting "straight up" against Masters with race guns when he started, his membership wouldn't have been renewed after the first match. What a freaking idiot!
There is absolutely no way a sport can GROW with amateurs getting their asses handed to them EVERY SINGLE TIME by Pros who not only have years of experience but Big Money tuned guns as well.
Yeah, if I was a "top shooter" and only cared about winning, I would want 99% of my competition basically eliminated before the first shot was ever scored.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the bitching at USPSA is because they pandered to the shooter base when creating Carry Optics. If a body is going to commit to the level of carrying a dot gun, are they really going to limit themselves to 35oz, all the odd USPSA Production rules around modifications and 10 round magazines unless mandated by law?

The original point of Cooper's rules was to let everything compete on a level field and see what won. Seemed like a perfect place to try it with just a few stipulations on what is considered 'practical', but no.

Anonymous said...

I only compete in "primitive rifle" shooting matches. There, we usually have just two (2) classes; "trade gun" (no rear sight and a smooth bore) and "rifle". Either class can have either flint or cap ignition. All have to shoot a patched, round-ball as a projectile. These simple restrictions keep the field mostly leveled to a match of skill. These rules have prevailed in these parts for over half a century and keep going.

When the differential becomes "equipment", interest usually falls off and things die. When skill remains the basis for competition, then we find challengers keep coming back. Kids love it!

Just sayin' from here in the woods.

Life Member

Anonymous said...

The game becomes more important than the concept. Even Col. Cooper couldn't stop it.

It is very true for IDPA. The rule changes are meant for the 10% who shoot big sanctioned matches. The 90% of members will never shoot them because they just want to practice concealed carry only find the changes confusing and limiting.

I won't SO sanction matches any more because of all the range lawyering that goes on with some squads over the last couple of years. It's a shame because I met some great people at matches over the years.


Anonymous said...

Then you have "Wild Bunch", an off shoot of CAS. It should be a Frisbee sport, in that it should be evolving, but sadly not (rules committee). While only appealing to a few, it does not draw many shooters from either CAS or IDPA/USPSA/3GUN.

Anonymous said...

Our club has run DP type matches for years; Autoloader and Revolver. A different group of people out having fun. Mostly you just compare yourself to those that are shooting similar equipment; your friends.

I do compare this to 3Gun though. I am not sure what is up with USPSA running the matches, but I will shoot an Outlaw match any day over USPSA. Part of the reason is because I do not have to think much at a USPSA match. Go to an Outlaw and WOW!! I recently got a new woman shooter into the sport; she fell in love. Shot almost all Outlaw matches, and then went to a USPSA one. Even she was like "that is it?". We still have fun anyway.

Carry Optics will be the new shiny thing to do, and in a few years will wear off a bit. Several years ago Production was over 1/2 of the shooters here locally. Now that has switched to Limited, with Production maybe getting 1/4. Biggest reason I heard was they do not want to reload that much, and they can't really modify their gun to be competitive.


KevinC said...

For decades, NASCAR was a mature sport in the South, then it started to take in dump truck loads of cash, and emerged as a totally different sport in the 90's.
In the words of those noted philosophers The Brains, money changes everything. ;)