I've been a little frustrated with my performance at the IDPA action pistol matches that I attend when compared to my performance at USPSA matches. Early on, I decided I would compete in the IDPA matches using my true-to-life everyday concealed carry style gear (a .45 ACP 1911 in an IWB holster and an un-tucked T-shirt for a concealment garment), but I recently realized that I am hindering myself too much by doing this. Afterall, IDPA is a game, and you've got to have the right gear if you want to perform well. So, I made some changes. :-) I'm now using my EAA/Tanfoglio Witness Elite Limited Pro in 9mm (in ESP Division) with a Blade-Tech kydex OWB holster, a 5.11 Tactical concealment vest, and a pair of Salomon Speedcross3 trail running shoes.
The Limited Pro in 9mm gives me several advantages over a .45 ACP 1911. The 9mm has much less recoil than .45 ACP, which allows for faster follow up shots. The Limited Pro is a double-stack platform, so the magazine well is wider for faster reloads and the use of an extended magwell is also allowed in the ESP Division. ESP also allows you to load your magazines to 10 rounds each versus only 8 rounds each for a .45 ACP 1911. Another advantage of this gun is when it goes to slide lock from an empty magazine, the slide goes forward automatically about 98% of the time when you slam in a new loaded magazine. I don't think the gun is specifically designed to do this, but it sure is a nice inadvertent side effect when tenths of a second make a difference in this game.
The Blade-Tech OWB holster combined with the 5.11 Tactical vest (seemingly purpose built for IDPA) allows for a much quicker draw once the timer beeps as well as faster access to the extra magazines during reloads, and the Salomon shoes give me maximum traction on the dirt/gravel surfaces at outdoor matches.
The video below is from Saturday's IDPA action pistol match at the ShooterReady.biz outdoor action pistol range in Canyon, TX. Unfortunately, I had a brain fart on the 5th stage and lost count of my shots on the first target (it required 6), and forgot that the following three targets required 3 shots each instead of the standard 2 shots. I realized this and made up the shots, but still got two procedural penalties (one for the incorrect shot counts and one for not using cover properly when making up the shots). This hurt my overall placement for the day (placed 4th out of 8 total), but I was extremely happy with my performance with the new gear. Unfortunately, the best gear in the world won't prevent brain farts! :-)