Originally Posted by Packard
Although I'd like to think it would work, history indicates otherwise. Both IPSC/USPSA and IDPA were started with the concept of competing with realistic defensive weapons. After a true "arms race" developed in IPSC/USPSA (you couldn't really be competitive unless you were using the latest/greatest and most expensive custom guns and gear), some of the early organizers who warned about this outcome, broke off and started IDPA. Despite a very concerted attempt to limit it to true defensive weapons, gear, and course design (even using somewhat subjective rules like "failure to do right"), it has still devolved for many folks into a "game" that can only be played with special tuned guns and higher-cost gear.
Originally Posted by Packard
In my opinion, IDPA shooters basically fall into two groups; I call them Realists and Gamers. The Realists use Inside Waist Band (IWB) or other true concealment holsters and unmodified or lightly (carry modified) guns, and use the matches as a way to practice with their carry guns/gear. The Gamers are generally out to win matches, and will use any advantage they can to gain a higher score. After a few close losses to a Gamer, or their third consecutive 5th place finish to folks not using "real" concealment gear, sometimes a Realist will start to make noises about "If I'd only shaved a few seconds off each stage, I could have won; maybe I'll try that new holster...", and after traveling a little further down that road, a new Gamer is born. Some Realists hold true, but many do not. Realists can morph into Gamers, but the opposite is rarely seen (only one I can think of is the guy who lost almost all of his guns in a divorce settlement). Eventually, the Gamers take over and the Realists stop showing up (they usually find a nearby private range and try to stage their own "more realistic" matches, and the cycle repeats all over again).
Course design can accelerate this morphing, if the courses slide into unrealistic (usually called "more interesting" or "more action-oriented") stages.
If you haven't ever read the IDPA rule book, take a few minutes to browse through it (it can be found online). You'll be shocked at the amount of rules and the detailed minutiae required to keep the playing field relatively level. It would be worse for a "Small CCW' category. What's "Small" to you, might not be to me. SigZagger (above) said he'd never carry his 5" XD because of it's size, but I know many folks who carry full-size 1911s, and I've carried my Glock 34 (shorter and less tall than a 5" 1911, despite it having a 5.3" barrel) in an IWB holster many times, especially in cold weather. The proposed overall length restriction listed in the opening post of this thread would keep out the Glock 19/23/32 size guns, some of the most popular CCW weapons around.
I will agree with the folks who have said, best thing to do is just shoot IDPA with your carry gun. If you set your goal to get some safe higher-speed/draw-from-a-holster/multiple-target expereince with your carry gun/gear in unknown-in-advance scenarios (and have fun while you're doing it), not to win at all costs, you'll be way ahead of the game (or Gamers).
"Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
(RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)