Since my family, friends, and coworkers might be visiting this blog, I thought I’d briefly explain what practical pistol is all about.
The sport known as practical shooting encompasses several different styles and competitions throughout the world. It includes activities such as practical pistol, 3-Gun (pistol, rifle, shotgun), MOR (manually operated rifles), speed steel, and airsoft. There are several affiliated organizations that govern the competitions, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC), United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA), and the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA). Here in the states, the USPSA and IDPA are most popular.
The USPSA holds several national championships, including the Handgun Nationals, 3-Gun Nationals, and Single Stack Nationals. This year, the Handgun Nationals are in September in Las Vegas.
Practical pistol competitions usually consist of a combination of targets that must be hit as quickly as possible. Both speed and accuracy are critical skills, and often shooting the fastest does not make you the winner. A match consists of several individual stages where the competitor is scored and timed, each stage having a different design and target layout. Performance is judged by a ratio of score divided by time.
Usually, a variety of tasks may be necessary to complete a stage, including running, shooting around barriers and walls, and shooting through windows, doors, and under barricades. Targets can be cardboard cutouts with scoring zones or rings, or steel of various shapes made to fall when hit.
This year, the 2009 Nationals in Las Vegas will consist of 18 stages shot over 4 days, and will likely require over 350 rounds of ammunition.
If you’ve never seen a USPSA match check out the videos of Todd Jarrett (a professional).