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USPSA, IPSC, IDPA, GSSF & More Explained

           Shooter Ready? IPSC, USPSAIDPA & More Explained

There is no better way to improve your practical marksmanship than attending a shooting sports match. Most weekends across the country there are various types of handgun, shotgun and rifle competitions for all types of competitors. If you Google handgun competition you will get over 888,000 hits. So where does the new shooter begin? Which match is for you and your new firearm?

People have engaged in the art of shooting since the Middle Ages but it wasn’t until the 19th century that shooting developed into a sport. People gather together in a variety of organizations to practice and perfect the shooting sports. Got a gun? Need to improve your skills? Check out the information regarding these organizations and hit the range. With a basic knowledge of the division you will be able to pick the right type of firearm and grab your gear. Friendly, knowledgeable members will help you master your skill. Shooter ready?

IPSC – International Practical Shooting Confederation

www.ipsc.org

IPSC is an international shooting sport discipline that includes handgun, rifle, shotgun and even action air. IPSC was established to promote, maintain, and advance practical marksmanship. From the IPSC website, “Competitive IPSC-style shooting developed in southern California in the late 1950's and quickly spread throughout the shooting world to Australia, Central and South America, Europe, and Southern Africa. As the sport attracted greater interest, the participants sought a more structured competition environment. As a result, in May of 1976, the International Pistol Conference was held in Colombia, Missouri where sportsmen from around the world participated in determining the structure, organization, and future of IPSC marksmanship. A constitution was established and the Confederation was born.”

IPSC has a motto based in Latin of Dillgentia, Vis, Celeritas (DVC) that translates to Accuracy, Power and Speed. IPSC demands safe gun handling practices and adherence to match rules and regulations. What may seem complicated is actually quiet fun for both shooters and spectators. No match will ever be the same as the course of fire is different for each one. The match is scored on both time and accuracy. IPSC utilizes a target with a center “A” zone or “bullseye.” There are five handgun divisions as well as matches for shotgun and rifle divisions. The best marksman in the world will meet in Rhodes, Greece this October for an eight day match called the World Shoot. Here the best of the best will compete for top honors.



USPSA – United States Practical Shooting Association

www.uspsa.org

Here in the United States we have the United States Practical Shooting Association which is a division of IPSC. There are over 20,000 members in the oldest, largest action pistol organization. USPSA matches allow shooters to blend accuracy, power and speed into a winning combination. Matches are held on local, state, regional and national platforms. USPSA is organized into eight geographical “areas.” A shooter will find a match with challenging stages that include multiple targets, moving targets, movement, tactical strategies, partially covered targets and even “poppers” – targets that react when hit. Targets can be made of paper or steel. These scenario based matches help shooters improve the effectiveness of their own techniques and equipment. “Run and Gun” is a phrase often associated with USPSA matches. The type of firearm you use places you in a competitive division:

Here in the United States we have the United States Practical Shooting Association which is a division of IPSC. There are over 20,000 members in the oldest, largest action pistol organization. USPSA matches allow shooters to blend accuracy, power and speed into a winning combination. Matches are held on local, state, regional and national platforms. USPSA is organized into eight geographical “areas.” A shooter will find a match with challenging stages that include multiple targets, moving targets, movement, tactical strategies, partially covered targets and even “poppers” – targets that react when hit. Targets can be made of paper or steel. These scenario based matches help shooters improve the effectiveness of their own techniques and equipment. “Run and Gun” is a phrase often associated with USPSA matches. The type of firearm you use places you in a competitive division:


Production division
: Production handguns or “duty” guns that are usually in the 9mm caliber. These are available from nearly every pistol manufacturer in a wide variety of models. Since capacity is not uniform across the field, USPSA limits shooters in this division to just 10 rounds per magazine.

Revolver Division: Stock Revolvers restricted to only six rounds between reloads. Modifications are limited. .45 ACP is the most popular caliber.

Single Stack Division: For traditional 1911 fans. Only single-stack model 1911 pattern pistols are allowed with either 8 or 10 rounds per magazine.

Limited Division: Modifications are allowed to guns in this division. You can shoot double stack, 1911 single stack and non 1911 pistols. A shooter may use high capacity magazines in this division.

Limited-10 Division: This division features the same pistols as the limited division with a limit of 10 rounds per magazine. This capacity limitation eliminates any capacity advantage one gun may have over another.

Open Division: The race guns. These are custom built guns specifically for competition. Most notable modifications are the use of recoil compensators and red dot optical sights.

In addition to the scenario based handgun matches, USPSA holds 3-Gun matches as well as Steel Challenge matches. (More on Steel Challenge below). 3-Gun matches have experienced explosive growth in the past few years. These are multi gun competitions with stages that incorporate rifle, shotgun and pistols. The AR-15 is a common rifle used at matches and just about any type of shotgun may show up.

Steel Challenge Shooting Association or Steel Challenge

www.steelchallenge.com

Steel Challenge may be the easiest type of match to understand. Steel Challenge is all about the speed. This is a great starting point for young or new shooters. The SCSA was founded in 1981. Stages are made up steel plates in various distances and angles to create a variety of challenges. Each shooter shoots the stage five times with the slowest time dropped. The remaining 4 run times are combined to the times of the other stages for a final match score. The lowest time wins. There are eight courses of fire or stages in Steel Challenge. Open guns are allowed but your .22 iron sight gun will work just fine. There are divisions for production as well as limited and revolvers. No holster is needed for the .22 iron or optic divisions as you fire from the “low ready” position. With the low cost of .22 ammo and no need for a holster, a Steel Challenge match is an economical first step into the world of action pistol shooting.


 

IDPA – International Defense Pistol Association

www.idpa.com 

Founded in 1996, IDPA boasts over 17,000 members and was founded to simulate self-defense scenarios and real life encounters. From the IDPA website, “One of the unique facets of this sport is that it is geared toward the new or average shooter, yet is fun, challenging and rewarding for the experienced shooter.” It was founded with the principal of practical gear and practical guns used competitively with the main goal to test the skill and the ability of the individual not the gun. The very first match I attended was a local IDPA weekly match at my range. Since “competition only” equipment is not allowed it opened the door for me into the world of competitive shooting. I was able to use my entry level holster and belt and have a great time while improving my marksmanship.

Founded in 1996, IDPA boasts over 17,000 members and was founded to simulate self-defense scenarios and real life encounters. From the IDPA website, “One of the unique facets of this sport is that it is geared toward the new or average shooter, yet is fun, challenging and rewarding for the experienced shooter.” It was founded with the principal of practical gear and practical guns used competitively with the main goal to test the skill and the ability of the individual not the gun. The very first match I attended was a local IDPA weekly match at my range. Since “competition only” equipment is not allowed it opened the door for me into the world of competitive shooting. I was able to use my entry level holster and belt and have a great time while improving my marksmanship. Founded in 1996, IDPA boasts over 17,000 members and was founded to simulate self-defense scenarios and real life encounters. From the IDPA website, “One of the unique facets of this sport is that it is geared toward the new or average shooter, yet is fun, challenging and rewarding for the experienced shooter.” It was founded with the principal of practical gear and practical guns used competitively with the main goal to test the skill and the ability of the individual not the gun. The very first match I attended was a local IDPA weekly match at my range. Since “competition only” equipment is not allowed it opened the door for me into the world of competitive shooting. I was able to use my entry level holster and belt and have a great time while improving my marksmanship.

 

There are five divisions in IDPA:

Custom Defensive Pistol - .45 ACP semi-automatics only

Enhanced Service Pistol - .9mm or larger caliber with slight modifications

Stock Service Pistol – Most common is 9mm caliber

Enhanced Service Revolver - .38 caliber or larger double action revolvers

Stock Service Revolver – Revolvers with no modifications.

You can progress through the five skill levels from Novice to eventually Master class. Like the USPSA 3-Gun matches, IDPA holds Multi Gun matches that incorporate rifles and shotguns with handguns. At IDPA matches shooters solve simulated “real world” self-defense scenarios by engaging targets in a tactical sequence and priority using cover whenever possible. Common guns at an IDPA match are 9mm GLOCK, Beretta’s or even Sigs. The IDPA matches offer diverse stages of fire to test both accuracy and speed combined with gun handling skills.



GSSF – Glock Shooting Sports Foundation

http://www.gssfonline.com/ 

Got a GLOCK? If you have a GLOCK you can find GSSF matches all across the country. This is a sport for people to shoot various GLOCK pistols within all skill levels. Courses of fire include paper and steel targets. Matches are more relaxed than other shooting sports divisions. Rules and courses of fire can be found online at www.gssfonline.com At a GSSF match you will find the emphasis on accuracy and not speed but with that said, it is the fastest time that wins. As a new shooter a GSSF match allows you ease into competition since you do not have to draw from a holster but can begin from the “low ready” position. GSSF matches are known for their prizes as guns are even awarded randomly among competitors. Another important benefit of GSSF membership is a once a year discount program that allows you to purchase a new GLOCK at a highly discounted rate.

NRA Action Pistol Shooting & Bianchi Cup

http://www.nrahq.org/compete/actionpistol.asp

NRA Action Pistol Shooting is open to all individuals and like the other divisions offer courses of fire which combine speed and accuracy. The NRA can help you find a local club that offers a league which is an excellent entry point. As you progress you may find yourself at the Bianchi Cup competing against the top shooters of the world The Bianchi Cup is the NRA National Action Pistol Championship. It is held every May in Columbia, Missouri. The Bianchi Cup is the only major shooting tournament that has retained its original course of fire since its inception. There are four “shooting events” that make up the match including the Practical event, the barricade event, the falling plate event and the moving target event. Bianchi tests not only standing and prone shooting positions but strong and weak hand skills as well.

NRA Action Pistol Shooting is open to all individuals and like the other divisions offer courses of fire which combine speed and accuracy. The NRA can help you find a local club that offers a league which is an excellent entry point. As you progress you may find yourself at the Bianchi Cup competing against the top shooters of the world The Bianchi Cup is the NRA National Action Pistol Championship. It is held every May in Columbia, Missouri. The Bianchi Cup is the only major shooting tournament that has retained its original course of fire since its inception. There are four “shooting events” that make up the match including the Practical event, the barricade event, the falling plate event and the moving target event. Bianchi tests not only standing and prone shooting positions but strong and weak hand skills as well.


ICore – International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts

www.icore.org

Love your wheel gun? The International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts promotes action shooting matches for revolvers only. ICORE was founded in 1991 and combines elements of Bianchi Cup, IPSC and the Steel Challenge. In addition to paper targets, falling and stationary steel targets are used in ICORE Events. If you love your revolver, check out a local ICORE match.

Mastering a handgun is difficult but competing in a local match can make the experience fun as well as rewarding. With scenario based stages of fire a novice marksman can work on accuracy and speed even while utilizing entry level equipment. Try out several types of matches and find an event you enjoy. There’s nothing like a day of friendly competition at the range. Make 2011 the year you get on target and improve your self-defense skills.

If you have any questions regarding gear needed for a local match, how to find local a local match or what to expect, please email
danny@carduccitactical.com . We look forward to seeing you on the range.