IPSC or USPSA…Practical Shooting... What’s the difference you ask? The International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) was formed in 1976 with over 90 countries now participating. The United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) is the organization overseeing this country’s program. There are slight differences in rules between IPSC and USPSA, mostly reflecting differences in “laws of the land”, but for all practical purposes it’s the same game. For consistency, we will use USPSA to describe the sport.
New to USPSA? You are in for a great experience. Of all the action shooting sports, there is nothing quite like it. Within the divisions, there is a place for everyone to shoot on a “level playing field” in terms of equipment, shooting ability, and experience. USPSA enjoys an enviable safety record. We enjoy the camaraderie as much as the shooting and always have fun! There are three rules: Be Safe, Be Courteous, Have Fun . . .
Most of us started out by asking some questions, and maybe coming to watch a match. There hasn't been much in the way of “easing into the sport”. Generally, you start by jumping right in. Assuming that you have a serviceable firearm that you are familiar with you don't need much else other than a desire. When you show up for your first match, introduce yourself as a first time USPSA shooter and we'll make sure you get a range briefing covering the basic rules and then make sure you are on a squad with experienced shooters.
USPSA shooting differs from many other shooting sports in its blend of action, speed, and accuracy. Unlike sports such as Bullseye or Silhouette Shooting, USPSA competitor shoots a course of fire called a “Stage,” engaging a wide variety of targets against time. Each stage requires many shots, frequently taken while moving. It is not uncommon to shoot 30 rounds or more on a given Stage in 30 seconds or less. The IPSC motto DVC says it all: Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas - Accuracy, Power, Speed.
Shooters compete with a variety of handguns, 9mm or larger. There are various divisions depending upon the configuration of the firearm used and minimum power factors required. Stages include a wide variety of targets that may include multiple targets in an array, targets that react when hit, targets that move, targets that are partially obscured, no-shoots, steel plates, etc. A course of fire may require the shooter to move, shoot through small ports or barrels, around barricades, etc., and perform rapid reloads. Many Stages involve shooting from seated, prone, or kneeling positions, two handed grip (freestyle), strong-hand only, or weak-hand only shooting. Most well designed Stages allow for individual shooter creativity. There are usually many ways to shoot a course of fire, allowing the competitors to best balance their performance. While competitors of varied skill categories and classifications shoot together, scores are ultimately sorted out by firearm divisions, power factor, and shooter skill level. This allows shooters of all abilities to share experiences, shooting styles, and strategy.
The USPSA website contains an excellent background on the sport, rules, and videos. USPSA website >
For a short overview of a "First Timer's USPSA Match: More >
From time to time, we hold a USPSA Orientation for new shooters. The orientation includes a detailed range briefing, discussion of equipment and scoring, followed by shooting a couple of stages in a non-competitive environment. The Orientation is free, and the only things needed are a serviceable firearm, a simple holster, hearing and eye protection, a couple of magazines, and about 50 rounds of ammunition. Remember: The Orientation is not required before you start shooting; it's just another way to learn about the sport.
All of our matches take a lot of work to set up and run. Help is always appreciated; if you can, arrive a little early and offer to help setup, or stay a little afterward and help break down. During the matches, after the range is declared safe by the RO, help pick up brass, tape targets, reset steel targets, etc. Just a little effort by everyone makes it go much smoother and everyone has a better time.