Last weekend I was able to finally get away to what I thought was an IDPA match. I say "I thought" because, despite what the website said, the match turned out to be a Rifle/Pistol match.
The fellas were kind enough to include me anyway (I wasn't the only pistol-only shooter), so I used the opportunity for what it was.
My previous month's shooting was horrible. I showed up with my DAO USP to a single-stack match (with their higher round counts and longer distances). I found myself grouped with guys who were clearly better shooters than I, and rushing my shots, shot very poorly. I was so disgusted that, for the first time ever, I did not turn in a scoresheet. Further, I decided that until I have a single-stack gun and rig, that I won't be returning.
However, at this month's match, I shot better than I had expected. Again, I was out-classed and with the wrong equipment, but I didn't rush my shots this month and did much better. [Tangentially, this match whetted my appetite to get started in 2- or 3-gun. However, this will have to wait at least until the older two kids are out of ASU and Dau#1 is married off.]
But that's not what I've learned from watching others.
One of the guys, looking very much like this guy, was all tricked out. I don't claim to know my bullet-resistant vests, but the one he wore appeared as if it was a Level II vest, with molle attachment points front and back, and he carried a suppressed AR15 with a Red-dot sight enhanced with some sort of flip-away magnifier. It was clear that he had spent lots of time and money on his rig.
Another guy, not quite the gear-do described above, had a 9mm AR15 with a Red-dot sight.
Anyway, it appeared that both these guys put quite a bit of effort into making their guns work for them. They shot well too.
But they both had serious enough failures with these customized and tricked out guns that they were unable to finish a stage. This would not be satisfactory in a gun-fight. There is simply no other option: The gun has to work. First shot to last.
What I've learned here is that there appears to be a breakover point beyond which more customization away from a stock, out-of-the-box guns leads to less reliability, not more.