View Full Version : How do I start competing?

February 20, 1999, 07:31 AM
I am in SoSoCal and want to start competing in combat shooting. I want to do something with movement, like a "Hogan's alley" kida thing, not just still-shooting at stationary targets. How do I start? Are there competitions for total beginners? Do I need instruction first or can I just show up?


February 20, 1999, 08:17 AM
Thaddeus, in both IPSC & IDPA there are "swinging" targets in various course of fire.

Practicing at the range - moving from target to target with your finger off the trigger may be beneficial.

Having at least 3 mags is another thing to consider !

Knowing not to break niety degrees is very important !! - Gun must always point downrage, especially when moving diagonally !!!!!

No "beginner" course of fire that I've ever heard of - best thing is to go & watch a match & ask lots of q's !

Other guys here can fill you in on what's in your area better than me (a few 1000mls away !)

BTW.... It's a RUSH !!!

"The Gun from Down Under !"

February 20, 1999, 09:21 AM
Thaddeus- go to http://www.uspsa.org. All the information you're looking for is there.

Michael Carlin
February 20, 1999, 11:44 AM

Thanks for the email on the knife subject!

Here is my advice: Just do it!

You need:

pistol in 9mm or bigger
decent holster
three magazines
four boxes (200 rounds of ammo)
ear protection (preferably both plugs and muffs to wear over them)
eye protection

Go to the first USPSA or IDPA match you can find.

Tell the match director or Chief Range Officer that this is your first match.

They will square you away. Then go slow, take your time, do not concern yourself with your score. Just BE SAFE amd shoot the best you can. It is my opinion that matches are the very best practice anyway!

Everyone in this sport wants it to grow safely, many will offer advice. Take what works, and that which does not was offered in good faith!

Good luck!

Ni ellegimit carborundum esse!

Yours In Marksmanship


[This message has been edited by Michael Carlin (edited February 20, 1999).]

February 20, 1999, 12:11 PM
Back when I did my first match I did what was posted above. I told the Range Officer (RO) at each stage that I was a first time competitor and they slowed everything down for me and explained in detail everything that I needed to know to shoot the stage safely. The other shooters in my squad were just as helpful. There was no grumbling about having a rookie along at all. Everyone was extremely encouraging. I say go for it.

February 20, 1999, 02:53 PM
There are 10 IDPA clubs in California. The website for IDPA is . Check it out. Contact a club near you and go to one of their matches. Explain that you are new (everyone was once) and I'll bet they knock themselves out helping you become a regular.
Every USPSA or IDPA club I've ever shot at was helpful. 99% of the shooters will treat you right. I hate to admit it but sometimes there will be a snob looking down their nose at lesser experienced shooters, but they are really few and far between.
Get going and have a bal!

Jeff Thomas
February 24, 1999, 03:44 AM
I'm in the same situation as thaddeus. The advice above is very helpful. Thanks.

I realize folks can differ on this, but after reading a few of these 'competition' threads, I have the impression IDPA is the most 'realistic' competition. Your opinions?

My goals are to become a safer shooter, and more capable in defending myself and my family. I expect the fun to be a 'by-product'. ;)

Thanks for the advice.

February 24, 1999, 08:39 AM
Jeff, it depends on who designs the match. You can find some relly goofy stages at IPSC matches, you can find some that are based on real situations.I tend to lean toward the latter. You have to understand, though, that if all our stages were 6 rounds or less, pretty soon nobody would come. They've got to be fun, too.

Michael Carlin
February 24, 1999, 08:37 PM
To expand on Motorep's excellent comments:

It really does not matter as both are sports, so accordingly do not really offer the stress of interpersonal gunfighting.

The practicality and tactical soundness of the stages vary more from club to club than one would think. Yes, IDPA should be a little better.

But, let me say it again, just go ahead and do it. Doing it is better than not. It is that simple, try them both, then specialize if you've a mind to. But DO IT AS SOON AS YOU CAN!

Ni ellegimit carborundum esse!

Yours In Marksmanship


February 25, 1999, 05:23 AM
Thanks for the prodding Micheal. I know where you are coming from, I could deliberate about this for years. I AM going to jsut do it...soon. I will be calling the local chapter of the IDPA and do my first competition. I hope to place master class ASAP.


February 25, 1999, 03:40 PM
Hey Thad,

You could join me here in Austin this weekend... :) I'm doing my first IDPA on Sunday. I feel better about this having met a number of the competitors at Jim Crews classes and at my local range. Every one has encouraged me just to get out there and shoot it. So ... wish me luck. grin I'll post on Monday to let you know how it went.


Jeff Thomas
February 27, 1999, 11:25 PM
I'll say thanks as well for the tips. TFL has made it clear to me there are many shooters out there who not only tolerate, but welcome those of us just getting our feet wet. I greatly appreciate the encouragement. Regards from AZ.