What I learned this year
By Ken Cobb
Two years ago, I started shooting a sport called IDPA, International Defensive Pistol Association. It is a sport where speed and accuracy with a handgun is the basis for competition. I took to the sport like a kid in a candy store. I was in search of a new hobby as my dirt bike riding days were winding down; something about my bad heart says my doctor. I had always been a casual shooter, target shooting and hunting when possible. A co-worker and I were at the local range one Sunday and saw these guys, who at the time we thought were cops, as they were all dressed in grey and khakis, all had pistols and were shooting very rapidly at moving targets and steel plates. We watched and spoke with a few of these “shooters,” turns out they were businessmen, teachers, computer geeks, and some law enforcement. We were invited to shoot the next weekend providing we acquired the correct gear (holsters and magazine pouches.) We arrived, we shoot and the rest is history.
I am an obsessive person; I want to have the best of everything I can afford. I am single, I make good money and I deny myself nothing. I own a nice little home with all the bachelor amenities; ping pong table, poker table, big screen TV, well stocked bar and of course, a hot tub. I have weekends free and thus free time for a hobby. I became a shooter. I am also a competitive sort, not one for losing, I took classes, studied tapes, and hung out with the best shooters I could. Along the way, I would get the same gear, and load the same ammunition as those who were winning. I started out with a pistol that was more than adequate, a Ruger P94 in 9 mm. an inexpensive pistol that is very reliable and fast. I noticed what the master class shooters had and dreamed of having a custom made $2400 SVI Infinity. But I could not stomach the idea of paying $2400 for a pistol for a hobby. I did work my way up to a Springfield Armory 45 ACP that my Dad had given me, because this was considered a “man gun” not a wimpy pistol caliber like the 9 mm. But I still was not winning; I was good but not good enough. I bought a Glock 17 in 9 mm. a plastic gun that was lightweight, ultra reliable, and very fast. I started winning, trophies and trophies are a great motivator.
I kept buying pistols looking for that perfect match for me, all the while knowing about the Infinity but still could not part with the cash. I bought a Kimber 45 ACP, shot it once and put it away. I bought a Springfield XD tactical in 9 mm, as this is considered a good weapon and rare to boot. I liked being different but still in the group. I shot the pistol for two months, it was not good enough. I bought another Glock, a 22 this time, in .40 cal. That was as sweet a shooter as you could hope for. But still I was not satisfied. At this time a fellow shooter bought infinity, he really started shooting well, winning matches and bigger trophies. He said the pistol did it. I started thinking about infinity. I did some more research about the gun, made in Texas, with a lifetime warranty. The best shooters in the nation shoot this pistol.
Meanwhile I have adapted to the uniform; khakis, and hiking boots, military style pants with large pockets, special sunglasses designed to enhance vision, concealment vests that cost $65.00 and I of course had to have two colors, must stay fashionable yet functional. I also started reloading my own ammunition. I was shooting 1000 rounds a week with practice and competition, ammo cost was hitting my wallet hard. I started cheap, bought an inexpensive loader, had some problems caused by being cheap, bought a medium grade loader, and was able to keep up at that point. I load 2000 rounds a month nowadays, but now I want the super loader, for no other reason than to have it.
This year I have bought 5 pistols looking for the one that will allow me to compete and win. I thought I had it with the new Glock 34 with a competition setup, made real fast, not something you would carry around, the triggers too sensitive. I was fast but not accurate enough. Then my friend bought two more SVI Infinity pistols, he was mad for them and his shooting was fantastic. He won the national championship this past summer on his first attempt. I was jealous, I was mad for that competitive edge. He offered to sell me the pistol he used to win the competition with, a Stainless steel, model 2011 SVI infinity with interchangeable barrels in 45 ACP and .40 Cal. He wanted $2000 (a real bargain) I was orgasmic when he made the offer, I went home and tore through my finances, can I afford to do this? I bit the bullet, wrote the biggest check I had ever written for a toy, a thing with no real value except to me and others like me, I knew I was never going to be able to explain this purchase. I was going into the closet with this one. No one in my family would know about this pistol, only my shooting friends and my competitors will know I have Infinity, the finest custom, hand made pistol ever made.
I wear the pistol in its custom holster, with its custom magazines in their custom pouches. I strut my stuff at the range, I am the proud owner of a Infinity, I see the look in others, I have what they want, I am the object of affection, I have what is desired. What a feeling. But strangely my shooting did not improve. I was not winning; I was shooting the same as I was with the $500 pistol. I was deflated. I sought help, what was I doing wrong? I was trying too hard to be the best. I needed to slow down and make my shots, I might have looked good with the shiny stainless steal custom made pistol, but if you can’t hit your target, you lose. Now I stand quietly watching the better shooters, what they do is what I will do, it turns out it’s not the pistol that makes the shooter, it’s the shooter. Now If I could just get some of that money back I spent on learning this lesson.