SIGHTS SET PROGRESS: IDPA TAIWA
Airsoft Action|December 2020
AFTER A VERY BUSY PERIOD IN TAIWAN, AIRSOFT ACTION “LEGIONNAIRE”, STEWBACCA, GETS BACK INTO THE SWING OF THINGS AS HE REPORTS FROM A RECENT IDPA EVENT - AND IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHAT “IDPA” IS, READ ON TO FIND OUT...

Having been manic busy with my day job as well as moving into a new place and helping prepare the arena for the Speedsoft Taiwan SpeedQB tournament, I had a reasonably quiet August 2020 in terms of heard or dealt gunfire. Having settled into new digs on the West of New Taipei City and finished the work on the competition I finally had some time and energy to get involved once again in the competitive shooting circuit, getting back into regular AIPSC training with SPPT, as well as getting around to attending an IPDA Taiwan event to report on it and the wider Taiwanese and world orientation of yet another subset of shooting.

Thanks to the help of Ray Chang of VegaForce Company I was introduced to Max Chiang - head of the IDPA organisation in Taiwan - during and after the event to talk shop about the presence of the shooting sports division in Taiwan and how the wider community and media have reacted, and their long term plans and operations, as well as what makes them different to other shooting activities I’ve had experience of before.

WHAT IS IDPA?

So. IDPA; what is it? The International Defensive Pistol Association is another of the many US based civilian shooting organisations which also attracts a great deal of international participation on the part of military and law enforcement professionals. Joining the ranks of the older IPSC - International Practical Shooting Confederation, formed in Missouri in 1976 - and USPSA - United States Practical Shooting Association - formed in Washington in 1984, the IDPA is the youngest of the shooting sport siblings, instituted in 1996 in Texas by some of the most recognisable names within the firearms and armed forces community, with a clear intent to maximise the true practicality and applicability of the shooting skills people train in for self defence or for those who have to carry firearms as part of their employment.

The IDPA in the real steel arena emphasises not only shooting speed and accuracy as with IPSC or USPSA, but also instills a truly practical mindset in the practitioner with regards to protecting themselves as much as focusing on eliminating any potential threat. In some divisions, weapons have to be drawn from concealment; even if worn in an open carry style outside the waistband holster, many practitioners make use of standardised shooting jackets that act as a concealment garment anyone performing legal carrying in the likes of the permissive US states would have to wear. Thus not only do they have to draw their pistol, but reveal it and clear their concealment garment prior to doing so, which of course mimics the reality of being a civilian firearms user in a self defence related or active shooter situation.

Furthermore, the shooter’s own safety and awareness of it is emphasised by imparting the concept of using cover realistically, especially while reloading or clearing malfunctions; with an impetus on revealing as little of your own profile from behind obstacles to achieve a suitable firing solution, with Range Officers coaching, recording or critiquing the shooter’s movements and procedural errors as part of their feedback and scoring system, with a view to make people more aware of where they may go wrong and what to consider in order to help improve their own situational awareness and thus improve their survivability and that of anyone they may have to protect if they find themselves fighting their way out of a worst case scenario.

TAIWAN - A NON PERMISSIVE ENVIRONMENT

With Taiwan being somewhat like the UK in terms of its effectively non-permissive civilian firearms ownership and cultural or media perceptions and legal issues I have covered in earlier articles also limiting the availability of live or realistic shooting experiences,the IDPA Taiwan officials have been trying to make inroads with the sport since 2015.

Originally spurred on by a core group of local citizens who have experience of weapons handling and live fire or competition completion either in the US or more local permissive environments such as Thailand or the Philippines, the US based IDPA headquarters and governing body was approached to discuss the viability of bringing the sport - and essentially its brand, or more positive public perception and legitimacy - to Taiwan, adapting it for use with gas powered airsoft replica pistols until such time that the user base grows and hopefully as a result the availability of access to live weapons improves in Taiwan.

As it stands there are no real legal hurdles in Taiwan with regards to civilian ownership of firearms, and in fact many people used to have licenses for real weapons in generations past, however with political forces and public perception shifting the availability of such permits began to dwindle, with many of these people passing away and no opportunity to ‘grandfather’ ownership or licensing of personal firearms to any incumbent heirs.

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