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G-ManBart

Tips for Newbies

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Great Idea Bart:

Some of these are pet peeves....

How about pay attention to walkthru instructions. (And ask questions if you do not understand)

Be prepared to shoot when you are called to the line. (Have all you gear, mags loaded, have a plan)

Do not get caught up in the pace of the more experienced shooters on your squad, they got fast like that by shooting & practicing a whole lot.

Learn how to keep score.

Learn the rules.

Learn to be safe, all the time.

I like loading my mags right after I have signed my scoresheet after a shooting a stage, take a moment reload all your mags, NO EMPTY MAGS in your BELT. (How many of us have learned that lesson)

Have fun....take this seriously but it is not life & death, we do this for fun... it is a game it has a scorecard, enjoy yourself & the friends you make while at the range.

I probably have more but this was the easy stuff.

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Just thanking everyone who has posted in this thread. It is full of excellent information. I really like that people keep coming back and adding something new each time they think of something, or see something else. Thanks for the effort I know I'm taking what I read here to heart.

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One thing I think worth mentioning is this: When you have completed the course of fire, the first thing you need to do is take care of securing your gun (unload, show clear, slide, hammer, holster). Do not look for bullet holes, pick up your magazines or have a conversation with anyone about the stage before your gun is safe. Everyone will appreciate your effort. I am new to this sport, and I love it!

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I started shooting about 8 months ago so this post was very helpful! Thanks!!! My tips are as follows...

1. Pack a small cooler of water or Gatorade. Most ranges don't have vending machines.

2. Pack some snack bars or a sandwich.

3. Get some mag holders. The cheap one work fine but if you plan to get serious get some good ones. I like the Bladetech, cr speed, or ky-tac.

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I pinned this great thread. Thanks for the opening post G-man!

be

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Those small packages of Wet Ones wipes are really handy to have in your range bag as well.

Mag cleaning brushes to clean your mags. Especially if your range has mostly dirt in the pistol bays.

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I am new to this sport this thread has been very helpful in what to expect at my first match. I will be going to my first match this up coming weekend. Thanks again for all the tips.

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I am new to this sport this thread has been very helpful in what to expect at my first match. I will be going to my first match this up coming weekend. Thanks again for all the tips.

:cheers:

BK

Edited by bkeeler

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My first input to this thread....

When loading NEW brass for a match, be sure to chamber check the new rounds. Even though your rounds may pass the trusty case gage check it does not mean it will function in your gun...at a local match....that you drove 2 hours for......and 4 hours home in the 4th of July traffic..... while your wife had a blast shooting...while you carried her bags....in the rain....and pasted targets all day. Ask me how I know! :D

(The difference was .001 - .002, and it locked the ol trusty gun up like a drum.)

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I just shot my first match in the rain this weekend and was not prepared for it. A buddy of mine had some thin plastic shower caps for covering up his gun and mags. He also had a big umbrella to keep dry while pasting targets and helping score. A garbage bag or two would also be handy to keep the range bag dry.

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Hello G-man, a question and a "+1" for ya;

I'm wondering about this part of your post:

" Keep the ammo you've set aside to chrono after the match in something totally different from where you keep your match ammo. Personally, I keep chrono ammo in plastic baggies with a data sheet so I can't possibly confuse them with anythng else."

I've only been to one match where our ammo was chrono'd (Area 6 3-Gun 2008) and they had a stage in there for it, and they had us just randomly pick from our ammo and give to the RO to hold until we reached the chrono stage. My questions are, isn't after the match too late and what's the difference between match ammo and chrono ammo?

+1's : I LOVED this part and applied it! (and the parts about squadding and asking questions too...) THANK YOU.

"- Big match fears: When starting out some folks don't want to go to "big" matches until they have more experience. If you're safe and competent to shoot a local match, you're safe and competent to shoot the Nationals! If you can get to a state, sectional, area, etc match do it sooner rather than later. You'll be exposed to things you haven't seen before, shoot with people you don't know and almost certainly learn more than you ever will at small matches. Some of the best learning I've had has been at a big match where I didn't know a single person on the squad. It does add a little pressure because you're not with your buddies, but it actually helps teach you to perform under pressure even better. Also, every club tends to have stages of a certain "flavor" and you get used to them without realizing it. Some clubs don't have deep bays so they don't have long shots while some clubs don't have as much money to spend on expensive swingers, bobbers, stars etc, so you don't get to practice on them. Sometimes it's just that one or two people do all the stage designs so you see a lot of the same things over and over...it's not bad, but it's reality. Get to a big match, meet the folks on your squad, watch and learn....you'll develop quicker than waiting to be "ready" for the big time. "

I had read a similar post and heard something similar from good shooters, and would not have gone to Fort Benning or the Area 6 or Blue Ridge Mtn matches because of my low time and skill in the sport. Which would have been a mistake because I really did learn a ton at those matches.

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Hello G-man, a question and a "+1" for ya;

I'm wondering about this part of your post:

" Keep the ammo you've set aside to chrono after the match in something totally different from where you keep your match ammo. Personally, I keep chrono ammo in plastic baggies with a data sheet so I can't possibly confuse them with anythng else."

I've only been to one match where our ammo was chrono'd (Area 6 3-Gun 2008) and they had a stage in there for it, and they had us just randomly pick from our ammo and give to the RO to hold until we reached the chrono stage. My questions are, isn't after the match too late and what's the difference between match ammo and chrono ammo?

+1's : I LOVED this part and applied it! (and the parts about squadding and asking questions too...) THANK YOU.

"- Big match fears: When starting out some folks don't want to go to "big" matches until they have more experience. If you're safe and competent to shoot a local match, you're safe and competent to shoot the Nationals! If you can get to a state, sectional, area, etc match do it sooner rather than later. You'll be exposed to things you haven't seen before, shoot with people you don't know and almost certainly learn more than you ever will at small matches. Some of the best learning I've had has been at a big match where I didn't know a single person on the squad. It does add a little pressure because you're not with your buddies, but it actually helps teach you to perform under pressure even better. Also, every club tends to have stages of a certain "flavor" and you get used to them without realizing it. Some clubs don't have deep bays so they don't have long shots while some clubs don't have as much money to spend on expensive swingers, bobbers, stars etc, so you don't get to practice on them. Sometimes it's just that one or two people do all the stage designs so you see a lot of the same things over and over...it's not bad, but it's reality. Get to a big match, meet the folks on your squad, watch and learn....you'll develop quicker than waiting to be "ready" for the big time. "

I had read a similar post and heard something similar from good shooters, and would not have gone to Fort Benning or the Area 6 or Blue Ridge Mtn matches because of my low time and skill in the sport. Which would have been a mistake because I really did learn a ton at those matches.

Hey C-HE,

You're more than welcom and I'm glad you found it helpful!

You're right, I should have been more specific about the chrono ammo thing. What I was suggesting was if you shoot a match where they chrono, keep some of the leftover ammo from the match, along with the chrono sheet. Write down all the details about that batch of ammo on the back of the chrono sheet or something similar and store it with the ammo. You should know what your ammo normally chrono's at when you're at home and you can compare what you got before the match to what they got at the match...heck, they might even be the same (or close). You now have a stash of controlled ammo that you can use if you suspect gun, load or chrono problems. Say you develop a load and think it should be giving you 1400fps, but it's really only getting to 1325 and you think something might be wrong....run a few rounds from your control batch over the chrono to make sure it's in the ballpark that you know that load should be.

That make sense? R,

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Thanks G-man, another excellent idea, I will do that!

Hello G-man, a question and a "+1" for ya;

I'm wondering about this part of your post:

" Keep the ammo you've set aside to chrono after the match in something totally different from where you keep your match ammo. Personally, I keep chrono ammo in plastic baggies with a data sheet so I can't possibly confuse them with anythng else."

I've only been to one match where our ammo was chrono'd (Area 6 3-Gun 2008) and they had a stage in there for it, and they had us just randomly pick from our ammo and give to the RO to hold until we reached the chrono stage. My questions are, isn't after the match too late and what's the difference between match ammo and chrono ammo?

+1's : I LOVED this part and applied it! (and the parts about squadding and asking questions too...) THANK YOU.

"- Big match fears: When starting out some folks don't want to go to "big" matches until they have more experience. If you're safe and competent to shoot a local match, you're safe and competent to shoot the Nationals! If you can get to a state, sectional, area, etc match do it sooner rather than later. You'll be exposed to things you haven't seen before, shoot with people you don't know and almost certainly learn more than you ever will at small matches. Some of the best learning I've had has been at a big match where I didn't know a single person on the squad. It does add a little pressure because you're not with your buddies, but it actually helps teach you to perform under pressure even better. Also, every club tends to have stages of a certain "flavor" and you get used to them without realizing it. Some clubs don't have deep bays so they don't have long shots while some clubs don't have as much money to spend on expensive swingers, bobbers, stars etc, so you don't get to practice on them. Sometimes it's just that one or two people do all the stage designs so you see a lot of the same things over and over...it's not bad, but it's reality. Get to a big match, meet the folks on your squad, watch and learn....you'll develop quicker than waiting to be "ready" for the big time. "

I had read a similar post and heard something similar from good shooters, and would not have gone to Fort Benning or the Area 6 or Blue Ridge Mtn matches because of my low time and skill in the sport. Which would have been a mistake because I really did learn a ton at those matches.

Hey C-HE,

You're more than welcom and I'm glad you found it helpful!

You're right, I should have been more specific about the chrono ammo thing. What I was suggesting was if you shoot a match where they chrono, keep some of the leftover ammo from the match, along with the chrono sheet. Write down all the details about that batch of ammo on the back of the chrono sheet or something similar and store it with the ammo. You should know what your ammo normally chrono's at when you're at home and you can compare what you got before the match to what they got at the match...heck, they might even be the same (or close). You now have a stash of controlled ammo that you can use if you suspect gun, load or chrono problems. Say you develop a load and think it should be giving you 1400fps, but it's really only getting to 1325 and you think something might be wrong....run a few rounds from your control batch over the chrono to make sure it's in the ballpark that you know that load should be.

That make sense? R,

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Something I ran into this weekend. During the walk thru, stay in line, don't cut in. Let the shooter on deck have the right of way and on the initial walk thru with the whole squad , if you are the first shooter don't just stand in the start box because you are ready to go, let the rest of the squad finish their planning.

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Okay, here's something for the newbie that wants to get better. We've talked about having a mentor and watching great shooters, but what if you could watch yourself shoot? Video is the answer. Get a compact camcorder and ask someone on your squad (someone who's already shot or isn't close to being up) to video your runs at matches. You'll find all kinds of little, simple things that you can fix, adjust, tweak and gain free time. Of course this applies to training as well, but not many of us get to set up complex stages to practice on, or really practice things like moving reloads all that often.

I thought of this today at our local match. I watched one shooter doing a moving reload and after hitting the mag release, twisting the gun probably 30 degrees inboard (top of gun towards the shooter) to, maybe, help flip the mag out or something....not sure. If your mags aren't falling free properly that needs to be fixed....don't develop a bad habit that's going to cost you at least a tenth or two on your reload just to compensate.

Another thing I noticed on a stage with some close targets you could easily shoot on the move (pretty much open targets inside 7yds). The shooter would walk along, rotate their whole body, including hips and feet to squarely face the targets, shoot them, then rotate back in the direction of movement to get to the next set of targets. All that was required was pivoting your shoulders towards the targets as you walk on by. Think how much time each pivot, stop, pivot, move, cost in total time.

Another shooter was dropping the gun down to nearly their belly button when moving from one side of a wall to the other (one or one and a half steps).

Having video evidence of something like that can prove invaluable. Even if someone tells you you're doing something "wrong" it normally doesn't really sink in unless you see it yourself, or happen to catch yourself doing it.

At our last match NM3gnr and I shot video of one another on all the stages (posted on YouTube so you can see he wupped me). While watching the video of my run on 08-03 (classifier) I saw that I literally had no head snap on the turning start. That is the one thing that will really speed up your first shot time and somehow or another I got lazy and stopped doing it. That's a free tenth or two. While I had a solid run just dropping a tenth or two on a hoser stage like that can make a big difference in your percentage.

There's some free time out there....go find it with some video! :cheers:

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Based on some input from another thread, we should really touch on the topic of walk throughs, what they're for, how to get the most out of them, and some ways you can work within your squad to make them go more smoothly.

Everyone probably has a slightly different process on how they do walk throughs and what works for them, so I'll just describe how mine works for me and eventually you'll come up with your own process. Also, this isn't all-inclusive and a GM is going to be considering more things than what I'm describing, but after a while you'll know those extra things without anybody telling you so we'll save space here.

First thing I want to do is find the exact starting position. It might be standing, hands on X's, sitting at a table holding something...whatever. I'll see if there's anything I need to be concerned about like how much room there is under the table for your knees or whether the chair will easily fall away as you stand up, or if my gun hand will be coming from a weird angle to the gun. Next I'll look at the path from the start to the shooting. Sometimes there is none and you'll be shooting immediately. If there's an obstacle or if you need to enter a shooting area before you can shoot, make sure it's crystal clear so you don't wind up with penalties for shooting too soon, say for shooting before you've fully crossed the threshold of a doorway or something similar.

After I've figured that out I'll try to walk the entire course, count the number of shots and try to spot any unusual positions (really low port, extended reach around a wall/barrel etc and just get a general feel for what the stage requires.

The second time through I'll be looking for where I'll reload (assuming at least one is necessary) and comparing whether one spot is more advantageous than another. There are times when this can be combines with the first walk through if it's really straight forward or if you're shooting Production or Single Stack where you're going to reload virtually every time you move.

At this point I know where the start it, how many rounds are required, how many targets/shots from each position and where (if any) I will reload. Now it's time to figure out what you're going to do in each shooting position and the order in which you'll take the targets or if you're going to shoot on the move, and the order you'll take them. Are you going to come in on the hard target and leave on the easy target or vice-versa, what if they are all hard shots, all easy shots etc? This is where you'll sort out the order of engagement that makes the most sense for you. You'll also be figuring out if there's a sweet spot in the box/area/port that you want to get to as you're doing this.

So now it comes time to start putting it all together. You know how many, where they are, the order you want to take them and if there are any particular spots you want to make certain you get to. So, you'll go back to the start and try to move briskly to the first shooting position, on to the second, etc while simulating somewhat the pace you'll be moving at during the stage....this is where you can count steps, decide if you need/want to plant a particular foot to pivot off of, leave off of, enter on etc. You'll see folks waiting for the shooter in front of them to clear the position, and maybe the one after that so they can move quickly from position to position and not have to stop. NOTE: when you see this happening, it's bad form to jump in and fill the gap in the line because you're preventing the shooter from testing what they need to test. ;) In the beginning this won't mean as much to you as you're going to be focusing more on the shooting and just getting safely and smoothly from one place to the next. As you learn more you'll spend more time trying to maximize your movement efficiency and this is a big part of how you do it....leaving and entering and hitting the sweet spots absolutely perfectly which requires you to simulate the speed at which it will happen during the stage.

Sometimes you'll be able to combine a number of these tasks into one pass and others will require many more passes to sort out. The more complex the stage is, the more passes it takes and the more each person is going to be fighting to get enough time to really figure things out. Frequently 5min just isn't enough so try to be considerate of each other and apologize when you find yourself blocking things up (we all do it sometimes by accident).

Other times you'll have a stage that has "easy" areas and "hard areas". In that case you don't need to spend much time on four close, fast targets that you're just going to shred as you go by, but you're going to spend most of your time figuring out the order to engage that activator, swinger and drop turner...so you'll find everyone bottlenecked at that point....it happens, just do the best you can and not waste too much time waffling back and forth. Pick a plan and stick to it, or ask a more experienced friend/squad mate if they have a suggestion. Most folks appreciate where you are and will be more than happy to help out.

So, that's sorta the Walk Through 101. I'm sure other folks will add more to this to fill in anything I missed and if there's something I wasn't clear about, fire away with questions. R,

Edited by G-ManBart

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A quick note on walkthrough ettiquette...

If the stage allows it, exit the downrange end after your walkthrough and circle back to the starting point. Try to avoid walking back up-stream against the flow of the competitors behind you.

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I shot my first IDPA match in February and am hooked. For anybody reading this that is interested but scared about their first match, all I can say is go. Find someone from the club that has shot before and they will likely mentor you.

One thing that has not been mentioned here is general safety/range rules about putting the gun on your belt. I shoot at a club where everyone basically puts the holster on their belt at their car and inserts the pistol. I shoot at another club that will throw you out if they catch you handling the gun somewhere other than a safe zone or stage. My best advice is leave the gun in its case and ask someone where the safe zone is to put your gun in the holster.

As far as match supplies, I would add a hand towel or two to the range bag. I shoot in Texas and it is hot. Wiping the sweat off your face and hands prior to a stage can make your life much better.

Also, I cannot emphasize going slow on your first stage. Concentrate on being smooth. I placed 8 out of 36 on my first match, mainly becuase a lot of shooters rush and don't plan their run. I just focused on doing things right rather than quickly.

Edited by The Shooter

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The question of which division to choose comes up very frequently. Often, a related question is “what division does my gun fit in”. A quick side note is that guns are divided into divisions, shooters are separated by classes. We’ll do a breakdown of the divisions and the more common choices in them, but remember that the USPSA Rules section covers this really well….just glance through each Appendix and you’ll probably be able to sort it out pretty easily.

Open: The gun has to be safe, any action type is allowed, minimum bullet diameter of .354”, compensators and scopes are allowed, the magazine can not exceed 171.25mm and there is a minimum bullet weight of 112gr for Major. That’s pretty much it.

The most common guns in Open are STI/SVI high capacity guns (2011 style) with compensators and scopes. The most common cartridge choices are 9mm, .38 Super and .38 Supercomp. Less common, but perfectly suitable are similar high capacity guns based on Caspian double stack frames, Para Ordnance double stacks and EAA Witness/Tanfoglio high capacity frames.

Limited: The gun has to be safe, any action type is allowed, minimum bullet diameter of .354”, with a minimum bullet diameter for Major of .400”, and the magazine can not exceed 141.25mm (171.25mm for single stack guns). Compensators and scopes are not permitted.

The most common guns in Limited are STI/SVI high capacity guns (2011 style). Other brands/models frequently seen are Para Ordnance, EAA Witness and Glocks (typically G35s). There are a few others, but the above probably account for 98% of what you’ll see at matches.

There are several common themes for gun setup and any number of hybrids somewhere in between these more common varieties. The most common seems to be a 5” gun with a heavy/full dust cover and a bull barrel, but that isn’t nearly as prevalent as it once was. A subset of this type would be the “Sight Tracker” (SV’s name for it) style gun which has the front sight mounted on a rib that is part of the barrel. The slide it cut for the rib and in profile the gun looks like a standard 5” gun. A popular trend is a 6” gun with a standard dust cover and bushing barrel. There are also a good number of shooters using a 5” gun with a standard dust cover and a bushing barrel. Imagine any combination (with one exception) of the above and there’s somebody shooting it successfully. The one exception is a 6” gun with a Sight Tracker style barrel/slide, which is not an approved combination, but this may change in the near future.

Limited-10: The rules are the same as Limited, save for one. No more than 10 rounds in the magazine after the start signal.

Very frequently the guns used in L-10 are the very same guns used in Limited and the competitor simply doesn’t fill the mags to capacity. There are also a good number of shooters using single stack 1911’s with 10-round magazines in L-10. The advantage to this is that you can use the same gun for both Single Stack and Limited-10 simply by using different magazines. The disadvantage to this is that the double stack guns are slightly easier to reload because the magwell is larger in relation to the top of the magazine than on a single stack gun.

If a competitor wants to have a single stack (1911) L-10 gun that is also legal for Single Stack it adds a few additional limitations (example, no 6” guns) that you can find in the Single Stack section.

Production: The gun must be double-action, i.e. double-action only, traditional double-action or some other style of double-action that has been approved by USPSA. No single action guns are permitted. Minimum bullet diameter it .354” and all competitors are scored Minor. The gun must be on the approved list, fit into a box (with magazine inserted) and weigh no more than 2 ounces over the listed weight shown on the approved list. Modifications to Production guns are limited and strictly controlled. Sights must be post and notch style, compensators (to include barrel porting) are prohibited and external modifications such as slide lightening are not allowed. Magazine capacity is limited to 10 rounds in the magazine after the start signal.

Think of a stock gun with minor tweaks such as different sights, a trigger job and maybe some grip tape. That’s the intent of Production and USPSA does a great job of keeping it that way. You really can buy a gun off the shelf, get some additional magazines, a belt, holster, mag pouches and have everything you need to win a world championship. The most common gun in Production is almost certainly the Glock Model 34/35 series. Others you’ll commonly see are Springfield XDs, S&W M&Ps, and the CZ-75 series. There are always a few SIGs, Berettas and H&Ks around, they just aren’t quite as popular. The great thing about Production is that it keeps the costs down without limiting the level of competition. In some regions there are more Production shooters at big matches than any other division, so don’t overlook it when trying to decide what to shoot.

Single Stack: It’s the new/old kid on the block. The gun has to be a 1911 pattern based on the original service pistol designed by John M. Browning. Component parts built up to follow this pattern are allowed. Optical sights, compensators, bull barrels (except in 4.20” or shorter barrels), full/heavy dust covers, slide lightening (other than decorative cuts like tri-tops), etc. are all prohibited. The minimum bullet diameter is .354”. To be scored Major requires a minimum bullet diameter of .400”. Magazine capacity is 10 rounds for Minor and 8 rounds for Major. Maximum gun weight of 43 ounces with an empty magazine inserted. The gun must fit “the box” (8 15/16 x 6 x 1 5/8 with a +1/16, -0 tolerance) with a magazine in place (compressing the rear sight to fit the box is allowed). Items such as full length guide rods and magazine wells are allowed so long as the gun still fits the box.

In other words you can use a typical 1911 from a major manufacturer or you can have a custom gun built up from scratch and be within the rules. Things such as aftermarket sights, trigger jobs, checkering, accuracy or reliability work, etc. are all permitted. The most common guns are probably slightly modified factory guns from companies like Springfield Armory and STI, but there are quite a few competitors with full custom guns. In reality, either choice will be fine so long as the gun is reliable and reasonably accurate.

Revolver: This one is pretty simple. It must be a revolver with a minimum bullet diameter of .354”. Optical sights and compensators are prohibited. You can fire no more than 6 rounds before a reload.

The absolute most common gun in Revolver is the S&W model 625 by a huge margin. Most have been modified to fire only in double-action mode and have chamfered cylinder openings to facilitate faster reloads. Add some grips of choice, maybe a different front sight and you’re pretty much set. The reason the 625 is so popular is that the large cylinder holes are easier to hit and full-moon clips are faster to reload than if you were using another cartridge with speed loaders. A few folks are using other guns such as S&W 610s (10mm with full-moon clips) but they are definitely in the minority.

Equipment: There are some associated equipment rules differences and equipment position rules differences between the divisions. The very short version is that for Open, Limited, Limited-10 and Revolver the holster has to be safe and the maximum distance between the gun or magazine/speedloader and the inside of the inner belt cannot exceed 2”. In Production and Single Stack the gun and mags/speedloaders cannot be positioned farther forward than the point of the hip (Iliac crest). For Single Stack the holster must position the gun such that the entire front strap is above the top of the belt.

That isn’t really an exhaustive list, but it should cover the basics. Go to www.uspsa.org and check out the Rules section for the other details and use the search function here if you’re trying to find something specific. R,

Edit to add some bold/italics for easier reading.

Edited by G-ManBart

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Something about big match prep that I saw bite someone the last two days at Nationals...ammo. A very good Open shooter with a gun that has run very reliably for the last two years suddenly was faced with feed malfunctions almost every couple of shots and several times on each stage....it was hard to watch. He tried a backup gun on the function range and it did the same thing. So, he realized it was an ammo problem. I had an extra 300 rounds that I'd brought along, so he tried my ammo and sure enough, the gun ran 100% after that. He said he hasn't changed his load or anything on his press in a long time, so obviously something must have loosened up on his press (or something along those lines). Needless to say, it was pretty bizare. He said the cases were used, but only probably twice-fired.

For a big match, where you've spent a lot of time and money, it's a good idea to test some of your match ammo (and chrono it as well) enough that there aren't any surprises when you get to the match. I'm guessing that the above might have been caused by the resizing die backing out a little as the rounds were partially chambering and sometimes he could push the slide forward into battery. For my Nationals ammo I loaded up a hundred, chrono'd and confirmed zero with those, then loaded up the rest and function checked with the last 100 so I knew nothing changed in the press.

That brings up another thought about ammo for big matches. If you really want to do well, using used brass can be false economy. Think about the actual numbers for a minute. For Nationals you're likely going to spend $1k by the time you pay the entry fee, buy plane tickets (or gas to drive), hotel rooms, food, rental car etc. A thousand cases cost around $125 for "expensive" rounds like .38 Super etc. You're going to leave something like 3-400 on the ground at the match. So, using new brass costs you maybe $50 and that's not even counting the fact that used brass would have a value to it, so the difference is even less...say $30 or. Is $30 worth trashing your match? The shooter above lost so much time on the first 6 or so stages there's no way he can ever catch up even though he shot really, really well once he switched ammo.

Why is new really "better"? Well, in the case above, it's unlikely a sizing die problem on the press would have caused a problem because the brass is pretty close to spec as it comes out of the box....it doesn't really need to be resized. Yeah, we've heard about someone getting a new case without a flash hole in it, but that was from factory manufactured ammo and they don't use a resizing die with a decapping pin in the first station. So, if you load your own, that case will cause a problem before you get to load it. Anyway, it's just something to think of. R,

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i am also new to this game. i have been at it since april and it seems to to get into ur blood and consumes u. this has been a great post with some very good information. i did take the advice about the atlanta arms ammo and ordered some to try in my 34 since i am trying to find a good round. i also have had the good fortune of being able to shoot with a GM and he has been nothing but wonderful. these guys will pick u up after u have had a bad stage and help you get ur confidence back, since i am my worst critic. find an experienced shooter and LISTEN to what they have to say.

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Production: The gun must be double-action, i.e. double-action only, traditional double-action or some other style of double-action that has been approved by USPSA.

Not exactly true. The first shot must be double-action or from a "safe-action" type gun. The second shot can be single-action. Consequently a double/single, such as a SIG 226 is legal.

Also, magazine capacity can exceed 10 rounds; however, you may only have 10 round in a magazine at the beginning of the course of fire.

These are very minor things, but might clarify what is permitted in Production.

Edited by IL-SIG

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Thanks G-Man! Very helpful especially since I now CLEARLY know which division I can shoot in! Next 3G match, I will walk confidently to the sign in station and, without hesitation, check the "Limited" box......or maybe L10? :unsure:

Z

The question of which division to choose comes up very frequently. Often, a related question is “what division does my gun fit in”. A quick side note is that guns are divided into divisions, shooters are separated by classes. We’ll do a breakdown of the divisions and the more common choices in them, but remember that the USPSA Rules section covers this really well….just glance through each Appendix and you’ll probably be able to sort it out pretty easily.

Open: The gun has to be safe, any action type is allowed, minimum bullet diameter of .354”, compensators and scopes are allowed, the magazine can not exceed 171.25mm and there is a minimum bullet weight of 112gr for Major. That’s pretty much it.

The most common guns in Open are STI/SVI high capacity guns (2011 style) with compensators and scopes. The most common cartridge choices are 9mm, .38 Super and .38 Supercomp. Less common, but perfectly suitable are similar high capacity guns based on Caspian double stack frames, Para Ordnance double stacks and EAA Witness/Tanfoglio high capacity frames.

Limited: The gun has to be safe, any action type is allowed, minimum bullet diameter of .354”, with a minimum bullet diameter for Major of .400”, and the magazine can not exceed 141.25mm (171.25mm for single stack guns). Compensators and scopes are not permitted.

The most common guns in Limited are STI/SVI high capacity guns (2011 style). Other brands/models frequently seen are Para Ordnance, EAA Witness and Glocks (typically G35s). There are a few others, but the above probably account for 98% of what you’ll see at matches.

There are several common themes for gun setup and any number of hybrids somewhere in between these more common varieties. The most common seems to be a 5” gun with a heavy/full dust cover and a bull barrel, but that isn’t nearly as prevalent as it once was. A subset of this type would be the “Sight Tracker” (SV’s name for it) style gun which has the front sight mounted on a rib that is part of the barrel. The slide it cut for the rib and in profile the gun looks like a standard 5” gun. A popular trend is a 6” gun with a standard dust cover and bushing barrel. There are also a good number of shooters using a 5” gun with a standard dust cover and a bushing barrel. Imagine any combination (with one exception) of the above and there’s somebody shooting it successfully. The one exception is a 6” gun with a Sight Tracker style barrel/slide, which is not an approved combination, but this may change in the near future.

Limited-10: The rules are the same as Limited, save for one. No more than 10 rounds in the magazine after the start signal.

Very frequently the guns used in L-10 are the very same guns used in Limited and the competitor simply doesn’t fill the mags to capacity. There are also a good number of shooters using single stack 1911’s with 10-round magazines in L-10. The advantage to this is that you can use the same gun for both Single Stack and Limited-10 simply by using different magazines. The disadvantage to this is that the double stack guns are slightly easier to reload because the magwell is larger in relation to the top of the magazine than on a single stack gun.

If a competitor wants to have a single stack (1911) L-10 gun that is also legal for Single Stack it adds a few additional limitations (example, no 6” guns) that you can find in the Single Stack section.

Production: The gun must be double-action, i.e. double-action only, traditional double-action or some other style of double-action that has been approved by USPSA. No single action guns are permitted. Minimum bullet diameter it .354” and all competitors are scored Minor. The gun must be on the approved list, fit into a box (with magazine inserted) and weigh no more than 2 ounces over the listed weight shown on the approved list. Modifications to Production guns are limited and strictly controlled. Sights must be post and notch style, compensators (to include barrel porting) are prohibited and external modifications such as slide lightening are not allowed. Magazine capacity is limited to 10 rounds in the magazine after the start signal.

Think of a stock gun with minor tweaks such as different sights, a trigger job and maybe some grip tape. That’s the intent of Production and USPSA does a great job of keeping it that way. You really can buy a gun off the shelf, get some additional magazines, a belt, holster, mag pouches and have everything you need to win a world championship. The most common gun in Production is almost certainly the Glock Model 34/35 series. Others you’ll commonly see are Springfield XDs, S&W M&Ps, and the CZ-75 series. There are always a few SIGs, Berettas and H&Ks around, they just aren’t quite as popular. The great thing about Production is that it keeps the costs down without limiting the level of competition. In some regions there are more Production shooters at big matches than any other division, so don’t overlook it when trying to decide what to shoot.

Single Stack: It’s the new/old kid on the block. The gun has to be a 1911 pattern based on the original service pistol designed by John M. Browning. Component parts built up to follow this pattern are allowed. Optical sights, compensators, bull barrels (except in 4.20” or shorter barrels), full/heavy dust covers, slide lightening (other than decorative cuts like tri-tops), etc. are all prohibited. The minimum bullet diameter is .354”. To be scored Major requires a minimum bullet diameter of .400”. Magazine capacity is 10 rounds for Minor and 8 rounds for Major. Maximum gun weight of 43 ounces with an empty magazine inserted. The gun must fit “the box” (8 15/16 x 6 x 1 5/8 with a +1/16, -0 tolerance) with a magazine in place (compressing the rear sight to fit the box is allowed). Items such as full length guide rods and magazine wells are allowed so long as the gun still fits the box.

In other words you can use a typical 1911 from a major manufacturer or you can have a custom gun built up from scratch and be within the rules. Things such as aftermarket sights, trigger jobs, checkering, accuracy or reliability work, etc. are all permitted. The most common guns are probably slightly modified factory guns from companies like Springfield Armory and STI, but there are quite a few competitors with full custom guns. In reality, either choice will be fine so long as the gun is reliable and reasonably accurate.

Revolver: This one is pretty simple. It must be a revolver with a minimum bullet diameter of .354”. Optical sights and compensators are prohibited. You can fire no more than 6 rounds before a reload.

The absolute most common gun in Revolver is the S&W model 625 by a huge margin. Most have been modified to fire only in double-action mode and have chamfered cylinder openings to facilitate faster reloads. Add some grips of choice, maybe a different front sight and you’re pretty much set. The reason the 625 is so popular is that the large cylinder holes are easier to hit and full-moon clips are faster to reload than if you were using another cartridge with speed loaders. A few folks are using other guns such as S&W 610s (10mm with full-moon clips) but they are definitely in the minority.

Equipment: There are some associated equipment rules differences and equipment position rules differences between the divisions. The very short version is that for Open, Limited, Limited-10 and Revolver the holster has to be safe and the maximum distance between the gun or magazine/speedloader and the inside of the inner belt cannot exceed 2”. In Production and Single Stack the gun and mags/speedloaders cannot be positioned farther forward than the point of the hip (Iliac crest). For Single Stack the holster must position the gun such that the entire front strap is above the top of the belt.

That isn’t really an exhaustive list, but it should cover the basics. Go to www.uspsa.org and check out the Rules section for the other details and use the search function here if you’re trying to find something specific. R,

Edit to add some bold/italics for easier reading.

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