What is USPSA?
USPSA stands for United States Practical Shooting Association. It is a member of IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation). There are more than 30,000 active members and over 400 active clubs across the country. USPSA focuses on Accuracy, Power, and Speed (“Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas” or DVC). We test those skills by presenting targets at different distances, arrangements, and requiring movement to complete a course of fire. The focus of USPSA competition has always been to push the envelope of shooting techniques and technologies.
USPSA currently recognizes eight divisions that encompasses virtually any pistol, and there is even a division for pistol caliber carbines (PCC). Competitors are divided into division by the firearm and other related equipment they use, so that everyone can compete on an even field. We further divide competitors into classifications, designed to approximate skill or experience level, to help you better understand your own performance.
Courses of Fire (stages)
What does a typical USPSA stage look like? Usually there will be walls to create vision barriers, fault lines (made of wood) on the ground to define the shooting area, and of course the targets. USPSA uses cardboard targets that are marked with different scoring zones as well as steel targets that must be knocked down to score.
Stages can vary in size and round count from short courses that require only 8 shots to large field courses with 20 yard long shots, and up to 32 total rounds required. Additionally, most stages are free style. That means that competitors are free to shoot the stage however they want, within the confines of the shooting area and safe angles of fire.
Drew Coleman (match director) shooting Production division with a Glock 17
Jeff Cross, shooting limited division
Jeff Cross shooting a CZ Tactical Sport, in limited division
What do I need to get started?
To get started, you just need a pistol caliber firearm chambered in 9mm or larger that you are comfortable with shooting all day. For handguns, you'll also need a holster that holds the gun safely and covers the trigger guard, if shooting a pistol. For PCC's, you'll need a case that encloses it and a chamber flag. You'll also need ammo for your firearm. You should not bring any kind of armor piercing or indendiary ammunition.
We recommend bringing enough magazines to have around 40 rounds on your person (so for example, three 15 round magazines). If you don't have pouches for them, don't worry! Usually someone will have gear you can borrow or you can use your pockets.
Next, you'll need eye and ear protection, because they will be required at all times on the range. And lastly, be ready to have a good time!
USPSA has strict rules in place in order to ensure the safety of competitors and spectactors. There are rules regarding when and where firearms can be handled, when and where ammunition can be handled, and on safe handling of firearms. Safe handling of firearms required that they are only loaded when necessary and that we respect the basic rules of gun safety including trigger discipline and pointing them in a safe direction at all times. Violating one of these rules is typically grounds for an immediate disqualification from competition.