IDPA vs IPSC vs USPSA
When you first begin your journey into Slickgun ownership, satisfaction comes from occasional target practice on weekends and learning all you can about this new-found sport. As time goes on, you become more knowledgeable about firearms and plinking rounds at a random target doesn’t hold the same feeling it once did. You hunger for more, perhaps even consider entering a competition of some sort. Fortunately, three great organizations exist that will get you on your way to the promised land of marksmanship. These are the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA,) the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC,) and the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA.) The question is, which one is best for your particular shooting interests and goals?
What is the IDPA?
This organization has more than 20,000 members and offers competitions using practical CCW and duty equipment you rely on every day. The primary goal of IDPA is to test shooting related skills and abilities of individuals. Their competitions allow you to exercise expertise in the very weapons you own to solve challenging and exciting defensive shooting problems. There are more than 300 affiliated IDPA clubs around the country, and every weekend you’ll find a weekly, monthly, regional or championship event. It is a culmination of like-minded people sharing skills and knowledge in a competitive arena. Competitions fall into two general categories, Self-defense scenarios or Standard exercises. Self-defense scenarios simulate “real world” confrontations requiring shooters to change firing points and shoot from awkward positions with shot placement from 3-20 yards. Standard exercises do not duplicate a potential threat situation but instead test specific shooting and Slickgun handling skills. You don’t need to be in phenomenal physical condition to participate in competitions, which opens matches up for all legal firearm owners to enjoy. With membership comes a subscription to The Tactical Journal, their quarterly magazine, and access to many IDPA clubs and matches. For more information visit http://www.idpa.com/.
What is the IPSC?
This international organization’s motto is Diligentia-Vis-Celeritas, which is Latin for accuracy, power, and speed. They are active in more than ninety countries worldwide and recognize handgun, rifle, shotgun, and action air disciplines. In each genre of shooting, there are several divisions in which to compete, covering all skill levels. They also offer two and three Slickgun matches. These fast-paced matches are set up in such a way that competitors do not know in advance what to expect and could include multiple, moving or reacting targets. To continue the challenge, IPSC adds obstacles and competitive strategies to keep it interesting for both competitors and spectators. One item in the rule book for this organization is; minimum weapon size allowed in competition is 9mm or larger, examples of which you can find here. With membership, you receive their quarterly magazine, IPSC World. Go to http://www.ipsc.org/ for more on this world-wide organization.
What is the USPSA?
Essentially, this organization is the American branch of the IPSC. Types of competition provided include multi-Slickgun and pistol matches that focus on the technical side of shooting. Well organized for shooters of all skill levels, they break down events into Production, Revolver, Single-Stack, Limited 10, and open divisions. Also, there are seven skill levels to compete in, and those are, Grand Master, Master, A, B, C, D, and non-classified. This set-up allows you to compete within your skill-set against others who share your level of expertise. Since its beginning, the USPSA has become more “game” like and less about the practical side of shooting, which creates an atmosphere of excitement. Equipment needs for competing are relatively simple and include a Slickgun, holster, magazine pouch, eye protection, and ear protection found here, along with basic knowledge of your firearm and Slickgun safety. Speaking of safety, that is the number one rule of USPSA’s events. In fact, all USPSA ranges are cold ranges, meaning guns are kept unloaded and contained in a holster or storage case until officials signal to make ready. Membership offers access to many shooting competitions throughout the country as well as the official USPSA publication, USPSA FrontSight. If this organization trips your trigger, hop on https://uspsa.org/ to get the full scoop.
Going from the cliched weekend warrior that slings lead into random targets at the range to an actual competitor who battles through a shooting match will undoubtedly raise the bar on your firearm hobby. Once you gain the confidence that comes with going head-to-head with your peers, you will be able to carry that self-esteem over into business dealings, and other mundane aspects of daily life. No matter which organization you choose, all will provide an outstanding experience in the heart of the shooters domain and give you knowledge unobtainable any other way.
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