Author Topic: What is USPSA?  (Read 4892 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

What is USPSA?
« on: January 27, 2013, 08:50:47 PM »

Offline EKuo

  • Moderator
  • Shooter!
  • ***
  • Posts: 5660
  • Reputation: 120
  • Airgunner
USPSA stands for United States Practical Shooting Association, which is the U.S. affiliate of the more commonly known International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC).  USPSA is a practical action shooting sport that has evolved from shooting competitions that started in the 1950's.  Though it is a sport with scores, penalties, and rules, it does have at its roots gunhandling skills, marksmanship, safety, and strategy. 

If you've ever wanted to get involved with a sport that involves shooting in a fast-paced, safety conscious, and high adrenaline environment, it is here in Boise and all you have to do is show up! 

This ought to get things started. 

USPSA / IPSC VIDEO
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 11:13:50 PM by ekuo »
Hope is a lousy strategy, but sometimes it is good tactics. 

Plan B should not be Plan A twice as hard.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your... aw hell, never mind...

Re: What is USPSA?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2013, 09:48:35 PM »

Offline EKuo

  • Moderator
  • Shooter!
  • ***
  • Posts: 5660
  • Reputation: 120
  • Airgunner
Hope is a lousy strategy, but sometimes it is good tactics. 

Plan B should not be Plan A twice as hard.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your... aw hell, never mind...

Re: What is USPSA?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2013, 10:09:01 PM »

Offline EKuo

  • Moderator
  • Shooter!
  • ***
  • Posts: 5660
  • Reputation: 120
  • Airgunner
So if this peaked your interest, the next step is on you to grab your gear and give USPSA a try. 

I still remember my first USPSA match:  There I was, walking down the road into the lower pistol pits at Nampa and the first guy I ran into was one of our local patrons, Nick H. 

The conversation went something like this: 
Nick:  "Hello there young fella!"
Me:  "Hello, I saw on the calendar that you guys were having a match today."
Nick:  "Yes we are!"
Me:  "Do you allow observers?"
Nick:  "Did you bring your gun?"

And that is all it took.  I got a first-time shooter's safety briefing, got registered (which mainly involved me telling them what kind of gun I brought and how many magazines and finding out that I was shooting in something called Single Stack division), and was soon talking to Pete and some guy by the name of Dennis who talked almost as fast as he shoots..., then we started shooting.  The kind folks on my squad held my hand during the match, provided quite a bit of advice, and I took it all in as best as I could. 

There are two things I was most proud of from that match:  #1, I didn't get yelled at, and #2 I didn't come in last (2nd or 3rd to last, but NOT LAST!)

Since then, I've witnessed and/or have been a part of the same transformation more times than I can count, and everytime I meet a new shooter I get flashbacks to MY first match and how I had perma-grin for something like the next 4 days straight.  I realized that I had been looking for something like this most of my adult life, and I finally found it! 

What did I gain?
Comradery with a great group of people (to steal a line), a bunch of new friends who don't have anything to do with my day job, and a dedication to improving my gunhandling skills.  I've been part of organizations before, teams, crews, and communities, but there is something intangible about the shooting community that I got exposed to when I first walked into the pistol pits on that memorable day that I've only experienced a few times in my life. 

I will add this:  If you like hanging out with friends and shooting stuff, but to date your experience is primarily shooting pop cans or paper targets on a backer board, you really ought to give practical shooting a try.  There is an incredible amount that can be learned and mastered, and all it takes is the desire to give it a try. 

Stay safe, and good shooting!     
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 11:15:02 PM by ekuo »
Hope is a lousy strategy, but sometimes it is good tactics. 

Plan B should not be Plan A twice as hard.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your... aw hell, never mind...

Re: What is USPSA?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 07:45:48 PM »

Offline EKuo

  • Moderator
  • Shooter!
  • ***
  • Posts: 5660
  • Reputation: 120
  • Airgunner
What to expect at your first match:

First and foremost, USPSA is all about safety first, shooting second.  Despite the fast-pace of the shooting, USPSA is actually very safe for competitors and bystanders, and its stellar safety record is the result of mandatory safety practices and the high standards that everyone is held to. 

A few things you should remember at any USPSA match: 
1.  USPSA matches are run as COLD matches, which means all guns are to be unloaded all the time during the match.  The only time you can load your firearm is when you are the shooter and under orders from the Range Officer (RO).
2.  When on the range, handguns are to be carried UNLOADED with the hammer (or striker) in the down position either in a case or securely in your holster.   
3.  Handguns may be uncased at the Safety Area, but you may NOT handle ammunition at the Safety Area. 
4.  If you need to effect any repairs or cleaning of your firearm, it may only be done at the Safety Area. 
5.  You may load magazines or speed loaders at any time anywhere on the range EXCEPT at the Safety Area.
6.  Wearing of eye and ear protection is mandatory while you are at the range. This applies to competitors as well as observers. 

As a general rule, USPSA matches are very welcoming to new shooters, but we also realize that some of these safety rules may be differen that what you are accustomed to.  As such, if you are new to USPSA, please make that known when you first arrive, and somebody will be assigned to help you with a new shooter's safety briefing and a quick run down on the range rules. 

So now that you are at the match, the first thing would be to register.  At registration you will be required to declare a USPSA division you will be shooting in.  We'll get to divisions later, but the reason is to put you into the most appropriate division based on the handgun and equipment you brought to the match.  Most of our local matches conduct registration at the match approximately 30-45 minutes prior to the commencement of the match.  Larger matches, such as State or Area level matches require pre-registration in advance. 

Prior to shooting we generally do a walk-thru of the stages where the Match Director (or stage designer) will explain the stage procedures for each of the stages, and give everyone a chance to look it over and ask questions.  The goal of the walk-thru is to get everybody on the same page for consistency. 

Following the walk-thru all the competitors are divided up into squads with an assigned Range Officer (RO).  You will remain with your squad for the duration of the match.  At a minimum, each squad will have a RO and a score keeper, and squads usually have 6 to 12 shooters each.  The role of the squad RO is first and foremost safety, but they are also there to assist competitors through understanding the rules, score the targets, assess penalties, and to keep things moving.  Coaching is allowed at Level I (local) matches, and most RO's are pretty good at helping you navigate through your first few matches until you get the hang of things.  But they may not be mind-readers, so ask if you need assistance.

During the match, the squad members take turns shooting with only one person shooting at a time.  While one person is shooting, the rest of the squad is either reloading magazines, studying the stage to decide their strategy, or waiting for the shooter to finish and the RO to call "Range is Clear" so they can reset the targets, pick up brass, and get the stage ready for the next shooter.  Efficient squads work together so that everyone is pitching in, and should be able to move along at a pace of 3-4 minutes per shooter.       

Most matches are comprised of 5 to 6 stages, and generally require a minimum of 125-130 rounds of ammunition (if you don't miss).  Most competitors to a local match will bring more ammunition than they will need for a match just to ensure they don't run out.  This can sometimes lead to a highly innovative system of bartering if you have something somebody might desperately need to finish the match!

Once your squad has shot all the required stages, most people will stick around to help tear down the stages and put the range back to the way it was.  USPSA is a volunteer sport, and even though we live and die off the sweat of volunteers we uderstand if you have to be somewhere at a certain time, so it is OK to leave immediately after the match if you need to -but do try and help out when you can so other people aren't having to do all the heavy lifting so to speak. 

Each competitor's score is entered into a scoring program and we generally post the match results on the USPSA Idaho Section's website located at: www.idahouspsa.com  As most of us are anxious to know how well we did (mainly for bragging rights), we try to get the scores posted within a few hours, or by the next day at the extreme. 

So, clear as mud?  Let's go shoot!
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 09:39:54 AM by J Mack »
Hope is a lousy strategy, but sometimes it is good tactics. 

Plan B should not be Plan A twice as hard.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your... aw hell, never mind...

Re: What is USPSA?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 10:43:31 PM »

Offline EKuo

  • Moderator
  • Shooter!
  • ***
  • Posts: 5660
  • Reputation: 120
  • Airgunner
Gun and Gear!

Before we start talking about guns and gear for USPSA, its important to understand that USPSA competitors are separated into different divisions, and each division has specific requirements for guns and gear as well as certain constraints.  This is intended to put the guns and equipment on an even playing field and made the match results more about individual skill level. 

When USPSA first got started there was just one division and everyone shot heads-up.  As the competition heated up, so did the innovation that people did with their guns to try and find that extra advantage.  The cool part of that equipment race was we ended up with some really awesome development in gun design -some of which remains in existence today such as compensators, electronic dot sights, hi-cap magazines, and enhanced features that we take for granted today.  However the negative side of the equipment race was it created a gulf between the have's and have nots, and it became difficult for the average shooter to keep up with the Jones. 

In an effort to level the playing field but not curtail the incredible R&D that was going on, USPSA created of Limited Division and separated out those that wanted to shoot iron-sighted pistols with no compensators from the anything-goes-guns that was to be called Open Division.  In 1994 the Brady Bill with its 10 rnd magazine restriction led to USPSA creating Limited-10 division (L-10) which essentially was everything that was allowed in Limited Division but with a maximum of 10 rnds in the magazine.  Fast foward a decade and USPSA now had Production division and a few years later Single Stack division to cater to those people that wanted to shoot USPSA but wanted to do so with near-stock guns without extensive customization.

So now USPSA has a total of six divisions:  Open, Limited, Limited-10, Production, Single Stack, and Revolver.  Each division is scored within itself, and major matches now recognize the winners of each division.  This allows the revolver shooter with 6 rnds to compete side by side with an Open shooter that has a 29 rnd magazine and not be going heads up for the same trophy.
   

Hope is a lousy strategy, but sometimes it is good tactics. 

Plan B should not be Plan A twice as hard.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your... aw hell, never mind...

Re: What is USPSA?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 11:01:26 PM »

Offline EKuo

  • Moderator
  • Shooter!
  • ***
  • Posts: 5660
  • Reputation: 120
  • Airgunner
Production Division:

Production Division was born from the desire to allow people to be competitive shooting a more or less stock pistol in USPSA and not have to worry about getting beat by somebody who has a bigger magazine or access to better gunsmithing. Production guns are restricted to striker-fired, DA/SA, or DAO action guns, and single action only guns such as 1911's are not permitted.  Some of the most common guns in Production are Glocks, M&P, XDs or XDMs, CZs, and various models of Sig, Tanfoglio, or H&K as long as they are not SAO.   

This would be a typical set-up of a Glock with the allowed modifications for Production Division using some pretty basic gear:


Of all the divisions, Production is probably the most restrictive on what gun modifications are allowed, gear placement, and the pistol itself must be on USPSA's list of approved Production guns (http://www.uspsa.org/uspsa-NROI-production-gunlist.php).  It is also the only division in which everyone regardless of caliber is scored minor (A zone hit = 5 pts, B&C zone hits = 3 pts, D zone = 1 pt). 

The Appendix that lists the requirements and restrictions for Production Division is acually quite lengthy in the USPSA rulebook (Appendix D4), but here is a quick summary:
Minimum caliber is 9mm
Pistol with mag inserted must be able to fit in the box measuring 8 15/16" x 6" x 1 5/8" (a Glock 34 will fit, as will a XDM 5.25)
Maximum of 10 rnds in the magazine after the start signal
Iron sights only (after market sights are allowed, provided they are notch and post)
No customized milling of the slide other than for sights.  Slots in the slide are allowed only if it came from the factory that way (ie G34 or XMD 5.25)
Holster must cover the slide up to within 1/2" of the ejection port
Holster and mag pouches must be worn behind the hip bones
Internal work to improve accuracy or reliability or function can be done
Cosmetic refinishing is also allowed

What is not allowed:
You cannot rebarrel your gun into a different caliber (ie put a 9mm barrel into a gun that was designed as a .40SW)
You cannot put grip tape on the slide or parts of the frame other than on the sides of the grip, front strap, backstrap)
You cannot disable any safety devices (mag disconnect "safety" has been ruled to be NOT considerd a safety device)
No magwells that externally flare the opening
Cannot add or remove any material which changes the factory profile or add function such as a beavertail or thumb rest (ie adding a GripForce adapter or Glock Tail to a Glock is a no-no). 

Despite all this, Production is one of the fastest growing divisions in USPSA, and is probably currently in second place after Limited Division for being most popular.  Some of this is the result of people wanting to compete with the handguns they use for CCW, duty guns for LEOs, or maybe for the best reason of: that is the gun they have.   

Because Production is a division that restricts you to a maximum of 10 rnds in your magazine, it is generally recommended that you bring at least 4-5 magazines (6 would be better) and have at least four mag pouches that are worn on your belt behind your hip bone.  Extra magazines can be carried in your back pocket, but not in any pockets that are in front of the hip bone. 

Because everyone is scored minor in Production, 9mm is probably the most popular caliber to shoot in this division, with .40SW coming in second.  .45acp is allowed, but because you would be scored heads-up with a person shooting the lighter recoiling 9mm, you would be at a disadvantage. 

However, if you show up to a match with a stock Glock, XDM, or M&P and only have 3 magazines, do not despair because in this case we usually advise people to shoot Limited Division where you can load you magazines to full capacity.   


 
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 10:19:58 PM by ekuo »
Hope is a lousy strategy, but sometimes it is good tactics. 

Plan B should not be Plan A twice as hard.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your... aw hell, never mind...

Re: What is USPSA?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 09:01:26 PM »

Offline EKuo

  • Moderator
  • Shooter!
  • ***
  • Posts: 5660
  • Reputation: 120
  • Airgunner
Limited Division:

As mentioned earlier, Limited Division has been around for a while and was first created to separate out iron sighted guns from Open guns that can have optics and compensators.  The name "Limited" is a historical reference for the "limitations" that USPSA first put on guns,  but in reality if one compares the few number of restrictions in place for the division, in modern day context you might be wondering why it wasn't called the "Unlimited" division.  There isn't any restrictions on the action-type of the handguns, so this is a division where hi-cap 2011 (think of a 1911 with double stack mag capacity) and Para-Ordnance are common, as are many of your common striker fired handguns such as Glocks, XDMs, M&P, CZ's, Tanfoglios, etc... albeit with 140mm max-length high capacity mags.   

Here is a typical "Limited" gun based on a STI 2011 .40SW pistol with belt and mag pouches canted at angles to make it faster to reload:


Another option is a slightly customized Glock 35 (.40SW caliber) with extended magazines to increase the capacity to 20 rnds:


Unlike Production, you can be scored major (A=5 pts, B/C=4 pts, D=2 pts, Steel=5 pts) if you are shooting a .40SW caliber or larger, or you would be scored minor (A=5 pts, B/C=3 pts, D=1 pt, Steel=5 pts) if you were shooting a 9mm.  USPSA does not allow 9mm (or 9x21 or 9x23) or .38SUper to be loaded to major PF level in Limited Division, even though some of these calibers are clearly capable of doing so. 

Here are the highlights of Limited Division:
Minimum caliber for Minor:  .38cal
Minimum caliber for Major:  .40cal
Maximum magazine length:  141.25mm (5.561") for double stack guns or 171.25mm (6.742") for single stack guns
No maximum ammunition capacity
No optical/electronic sights or compensators or barrel ports
Milling of the slide to reduce weight (ports, gills, slots) is permitted
Race holsters are permitted, and magazines can be worn anywhere at waist level

As of Jan 1, 2013, most of the remaining restrictions contained in Appendix D2 of the current rulebook are now allowed by the BoD.  So things like thumb rests, 6" sight-tracker slide/barrels, and extra weights on the end of the slide (as long as they are unported) are now permitted.  As result of this new ruling for 2013, expect to see gunsmiths and competitors start pushing the envelop with some interesting innovations.

However this is not to say that a person who shows up with a stock Glock 34 can't compete and do well in Limited Div.  A $30 magazine extension can add +5 rnds to your 17 rnd 9mm magazine and get you to 22 rnds of 9mm, add a magwell and you are good to go.  You would be somewhat at a disadvantage because the 9mm minor scoring means you're dropping one extra point over Major scoring, but some guys are doing this and are quite competitive at the local level.  It just means they have to shoot mostly A-zone hits and do it quickly.   

The reason why Limited Div may be a good place to start out in with a stock Glock, XDM, or M&P is you can load your magazines to full capacity and concentrate on your shooting instead of having to break the stage down in 10 rnd increments with 2-3 reloads if you were shooting the same set up in Production Division.  You also need less magazines, and 3 is often sufficient for local matches. 
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 10:17:24 PM by ekuo »
Hope is a lousy strategy, but sometimes it is good tactics. 

Plan B should not be Plan A twice as hard.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your... aw hell, never mind...

Re: What is USPSA?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 10:32:53 PM »

Offline EKuo

  • Moderator
  • Shooter!
  • ***
  • Posts: 5660
  • Reputation: 120
  • Airgunner
Open Division:

As mentioned earlier, Open is the Formula 1 of the gun-racing world where just about anything goes.  Over the years, a lot of thought and gunsmithing creativity has gone into Open Division to make the guns and gear state of the art in shootability, speed, and accuracy.  Every year somebody is coming up with something new and better, and the envelop keeps getting pushed. 

Most Open guns are chambered in .38Super or Super Comp, 9x19mm (9mm Luger loaded to very high pressures), and although not as common there is even some Open guns chambered in 9x21 or 9x23.  The heart of the Open gun is probably two things:  the compensator (to help control the recoil and be extremely flat shooting) and an electronic dot sight.  Frame mounted C-More sights are probably the most common, with a raging debate over whether or not a 90 deg offset sight it better than one that is upright.  In addition, as sight makers are making smaller and lighter weight electronic dot sights, shooters are also trending in this direction as well.  Who knows where we will be in 5 years, but it will be fun to watch! 

Here are the highlights of Open Division from Appendix D1 from the USPSA rulebook:
Minimum bullet caliber for major PF:  .38cal or 9x19mm
Maximum magazine length:  171.25mm (or 6.742")
Electronic sights and compensators permitted
No restriction on holster positioning other than it must be 2" from the inside of the belt

Just about everything else is permitted. 


Hope is a lousy strategy, but sometimes it is good tactics. 

Plan B should not be Plan A twice as hard.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your... aw hell, never mind...

Re: What is USPSA?
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 10:50:29 PM »

Offline EKuo

  • Moderator
  • Shooter!
  • ***
  • Posts: 5660
  • Reputation: 120
  • Airgunner
Single Stack Division:

As the name implies, this is a division for single stacks and the rules specifically state "Only 1911 production type pistols.  Must be available to the general public and have their basis in the original 1911 service pistol as designed by John Moses Browning.  Pistols made from components that duplicate the factory originals are acceptable.  Frames must be metal." 

Simply put, this is a division for 1911s!  It is generally recommended you have at least 6 magazines to shoot SS division.  Not neccessarily because you will need 48 rnds to finish a stage, but simply put it sucks to run out and there is a saying in SS Div that "when you move you should be reloading".  It is OK to top off whenever you need to, even if there are rounds remaining in the magazine. 



Here are the highlights of Single Stack Division from Appendix D5 of the USPSA rulebook:
165 PF for major scoring, .40cal is the minimum bullet caliber to make major
125 PF for minor scoring, .38cal is the minimum bullet caliber to make minor
If loading for major, restricted to 8 rnds in the magazine after the start signal
If loading for minor, restricted to 10 rnds in the magazine aftet the start signal
Gun with magazine inserted must be able to fit in a box measuring:  8 15/16" x 6" x 1 5/8"
Gun with empty magazine must weigh less than 43 oz
Holster and mag pouches must be worn at waist level behind the hip bone (female shooters may use a dropped-offset holster)
Holster must cover the front of the slide to within 1/2" of the ejection port
Extra magazines can be carried in pockets, but only in those pockets that are behind the hip bone after the start signal
Iron sights only. 

Prohibited features or modifications:
No optical sights. 
No compensators or ports in barrel allowed. 
No milling of the slide that is intended to significantly reduce the weight for competitive advantage. 
No thumb rests
No coned or bull barrels unless they are shorter than 4.20" (bushing barrels only on 5" 1911s)
No full or extended length dust covers or rails unless they are no longer than 3.25" (measured from rear of slide stop pin to front of the dust cover) 


« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 10:53:00 PM by EKuo »
Hope is a lousy strategy, but sometimes it is good tactics. 

Plan B should not be Plan A twice as hard.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your... aw hell, never mind...