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Old December 12, 2013, 09:00 AM   #1
hilblly
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IDPA/USPSA Question

Hi All
I am seeking the opinions of those that have gone before me
I want to begin shooting defensive pistol competition and wondered
If you were going to only have 1 pistol to shoot competition with would it be a .40 or a 9mm
I realize this may bring alot of varied responses. I now own a FNX 40 and was possibly going to get one more gun. What should it be? I have been looking at the XDM Comp. Seems like a nice gun
Thanks in advance for any feedback
Mike
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Old December 12, 2013, 10:46 AM   #2
Jim Watson
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IDPA sets power floor by division. There is no place that a standard .40 has an advantage. You can handload it to minor power factor level and shoot as well as a 9mm.

USPSA counts everything in Production as Minor, no advantage to a .40 there unless loaded down as for IDPA SSP.
BUT, they require .40 or larger to shoot Limited, L10, and Open at Major.

So it depends on which division you want to shoot USPSA.
If you will be happy in Production, get the 9mm; if you want to shoot Limited, get the .40.
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Old December 12, 2013, 11:08 AM   #3
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I'll agree with Jim. I'll emphasize that .40S&W is fine for IDPA or USPSA Production so long as you reload your own ammo: Downloaded to minor PF, .40S&W is pretty soft shooting (and makes a bigger hole than 9mm ).

My 1-gun choices would come down to:

- Striker-fired 9mm or .40S&W for IDPA SSP and ESP and USPSA Production

- Double stack 1911 (e.g. STI Eagle) in .40S&W for IDPA ESP (minor loads) and USPSA Limited (major loads).

- Regular ol' .45acp 1911 for IDPA CDP and USPSA Single Stack.
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Old December 12, 2013, 11:32 AM   #4
g.willikers
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Another vote for the 9mm, especially in a lightweight gun, like a polymer framed striker fired one.
Speed and scores should be better than with a .40.
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Old December 12, 2013, 12:26 PM   #5
RickB
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The gun/caliber you select should be determined by what you are trying to accomplish? Are you looking for shooting competition as a means to an end, or and end in itself?
I started shooting with the gear I already had, even though it wasn't really suitable, because I wanted to become more proficient with my gun. After a while, I wanted a gun and gear that took maximum advantage of the rules, so my gear wasn't "holding me back".
I'd suggest that you shoot your FNX for a while, look around at what the experienced shooters are shooting, and make an informed decision in a year or two.
Most "top shooters" (pros) are shooting the gun that their sponsor provides for them, so I would generally ignore what they shoot, and look at what the top locals are shooting.
Mr Borland has it about right.
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Old December 12, 2013, 06:48 PM   #6
hilblly
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I will most likely shoot my FNX. I was perhaps looking for an excuse to buy another gun. The FNX is my carry gun. It makes sense to wait and buy with an informed decision.
Is there info on the downloading PF in the rules or do people just back off the load to a suitable PF.
How is that determined?
I sense a new shooting addiction on the way
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Old December 12, 2013, 07:03 PM   #7
MarkCO
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I will spare you the gory details in favor of the readers digest version...

The .40 caliber is a bit of a benefit for USPSA Limited class and a few of the unique targets in 3Gun. There is not really any benefit over the 9mm anywhere else.

I started with .357 Mag, then a .40 Glock 22 followed by 35s and shot IDPA, USPSA Limited, SC and 3Gun. About 2 years ago I switched to 9mm and shoot that in USPSA Production, SC and 3Gun. I wish I had done it sooner.
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Old December 13, 2013, 09:27 AM   #8
g.willikers
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There is a distinct power factor at matches.
It's arrived at by the formula of bullet weight X Velocity / 1000.
The rule books have the minimum for each equipment category.
Some matches, especially the higher level ones, actually check with a chrono.
Loads under expected major are scored as minor.
Loads under minor are not scored.
Some places will still allow participation without score, others won't.
It will be up to you to load properly, there's no load data in the match info.
You will definitely need a chrono to be sure, as the manuals and charts can be way off depending on the gun, the weather conditions and such.
Nothing worse than spending time and money to go to a match and finding your loads don't qualify.
One of the games has reduced their power factor because some factory ammo didn't make it.
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Last edited by g.willikers; December 13, 2013 at 09:32 AM.
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Old December 13, 2013, 10:16 AM   #9
MrBorland
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Quote:
One of the games has reduced their power factor because some factory ammo didn't make it.
That would be IDPA, and only for the Stock Service Revolver division. The SSR PF was lowered to 105k because most factory .38spl doesn't make 125. Most of us SSR shooters immediately started playing with light "gamer" loads but quickly discovered there's no free lunch - the loads are dirtier, and one has less room for error on steel. Most SSR shooters I know (myself included) still use their tried-and-true pre-105 load.

FWIW, when it came time to pick up an SSP gun for a little off-season SSR R&R, I chose an M&P in .40S&W, but that's only because I'm reloading for it, and finding ample free range brass isn't a problem. The round just seems easier to reload than those itty bitty 9mm cases, and, with flat point bullets, they make nice big defined holes in the target. Sometimes those defined edges show the round hit a perforation, in which case you get the better score (though the logic works against you when the defined edge shows you hit a non-threat ). The gun is bone stock and my ammo reliably runs @ 133k pf. The little extra oompf gives me a little extra latitude on steel.
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Old December 13, 2013, 11:34 AM   #10
hilblly
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Power Factor

I did a little research on the net for the power factor for each class.
JBM ballistics has a calculator and the results of the load are displayed below with the various associations and what class the qualifies for and what it doesn't. That makes it pretty straight forward. I have a chrono so I'm set for using the .40
I am going to use 165's for the limited and minor and 180's if I want to shoot major.
Now I just have to wait for good weather(spring time here in Montana)
That'll leave a lot of time for practice!!
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Old December 13, 2013, 03:14 PM   #11
Jim Watson
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Some years ago USPSA reduced Major from 175 to 165 power factor.
The main result of this was to admit 9mm P Major (Open only) which can now be done without exceeding maximum spec chamber pressure. Or not by much.

IPSC has or had multiple Major power factor values for different divisions.
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Old December 13, 2013, 03:49 PM   #12
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made of money?

I most highly recommend you start with what you have, and develop your own opinion on what your next gun might be.



If you buy ammo get a 9x19; if you load your own get whatever you want.


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Old December 15, 2013, 11:00 PM   #13
JimM
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Start with what you have. My experience has been that most other shooters are more than willing to help a new shooter. I had the chance to shoot other competitors guns and try out some of their equipment which helped me narrow those choices when I was looking for gear. You might even find a source for some used equipment when they upgrade their gear.
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Old January 28, 2014, 11:23 AM   #14
Team 57
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"I started shooting with the gear I already had, even though it wasn't really suitable, because I wanted to become more proficient with my gun."

That is exactly why I started USPSA. So much fun (even during the winter months where is it close to freezing outside when you are shooting )!!! Steel sights, no red dots, really got to slow down and concentrate...
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Old January 30, 2014, 11:58 AM   #15
uofudavid
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I am returning to competitive pistol shooting after taking a break to focus on longer distance shooting. I will be using my EDC XDm 3.8 comp 9mm, as it works nearly as well as my 4.5". I want to use what I carry to test myself in a close to real world environment as possible.
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