The USPSA Championship Matches are the premiere practical shooting events in the world. 3-Gun competition in particular has experienced explosive growth in recent years, evolving into "multi-gun" competitions where shooters use two or three firearm types within a single stage.
USPSA remains committed to the continued growth of the Nationals as quality, fun, safe events that define excellence for all shooting sports. Join in the fun. Work for a slot (invitation) and experience the best shooting event in the world.
Practical Shooting IS competition. Competition necessarily requires that there be more than one person taking part, so the first step is to locate someone near you with whom to compete. Fortunately, USPSA has nearly 400 affiliated clubs located in or near most communities in the United States so it shouldn't be difficult. Click on the "Match Schedule & Results" button on the left to find a club near you, then contact the local people and make arrangements to visit the club during a match or practice session.
The local club leaders will be excited to see you and eager to answer your questions, but here are a few pointers to make that first visit a pleasant experience for all concerned.
* Do take and wear eye and ear protection. Your normal corrective lens or sunglasses will serve for your first visit. Inexpensive foam earplugs available at most sporting goods or hardware stores will suffice for hearing protection. Most clubs will have such items available for visitors, but having your own will simplify the process and ensure that you will be able to watch the match.
* Don't assume you know more than you do. Use your first visit to concentrate on watching, listening, and learning.
* Don't assume that you will be allowed to shoot the first time you go to the club. Many USPSA affiliated clubs require that new competitors complete a "safety check" before shooting an actual match. Some clubs will be willing to administer the check on the day you visit while others will require a stand-alone session at another time.
It may be that the firearm you already own will be just what you need to get started in practical shooting, but you may learn of other competitive opportunities that will give you that excuse you've been looking for to buy a new toy! USPSA has five competitive divisions, delineated by equipment rules. Unless you are blessed with more money than you need, we recommend that you don't rush out and spend until you've had the opportunity to learn enough about the sport to make an informed decision.
Holsters must retain the firearm during any required movement, must cover the trigger of a holstered gun, must point to the ground when the firearm is holstered, and must be carried at belt level; shoulder holsters, fanny packs, et al, are not permissible at USPSA events. Further, Production Division has additional holster restrictions. Go to our Rulebook, page 91, for more information about the equipment requirements of each division.
Other necessary equipment includes spare magazines or speed loaders and belt mounted carriers. In most cases at least one magazine will be included with the firearm when you bought it, but having at least five magazines is desirable to be sure to get you through the various stages in a match. Magazines should be available from the gun manufacturer or from a variety of after market sources.
We recommend three to four belt mounted magazine/speed loader carriers, depending on the divisions in which you choose to compete.
Most USPSA members reload their own ammunition, although some use factory loads. Reloading is common for reasons of both economy and performance. The desirability of reloading depends on the divisions in which you choose to compete and the caliber you select. The division choice frequently influences the caliber choice. The issues involved in caliber choice include magazine capacity, recoil, and the division rules.
For example, most Open Division competitors use .38 Super or one of its variants. Most firearms built to compete in Open Division require specific bullet weights and velocities to reach full potential so most Open competitors choose to reload.
Limited Division is dominated by the .40S&W cartridge fired in highly tuned firearms similar those found in Open Division, although they are less complex. Most Limited competitors also opt to reload.
Many who compete in Limited 10 (L10) Division use the same guns they use in Limited Division, but the division rules allow no more than 10 rounds in the magazine. However, a growing number of people compete in L10 with single stack 1911-pattern firearms in 40S&W or .45ACP. While most L10 competitors reload, it is more feasible to use factory ammunition here than in either Open or Limited.
Production Division provides a competitive venue for the box-stock firearms people typically purchase for self-defense. Most Production competitors use 9MM or 40S&W calibers. Because the power requirements in Production are less than those in the other divisions, factory ammunition is common.
The most commonly used calibers in Revolver Division are .45ACP and .357 Magnum. The recoil dished up by factory ammunition can be significant in a revolver, and most competitors find that there are combinations of bullet and powder that can be hand loaded to provide the necessary accuracy and velocities without the recoil (and cost!) of most factory ammunition.