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Old May 25, 2009, 07:43 PM   #1
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USPSA/IDPA. Training?

First: I think this would be the spot for this topic. If not, feel free to move it where ever

I was slightly thinking of getting into something like this and I had a few questions.

#1. Which of the two may be best for me? My uncle was in it back when it more resembled what the IDPA is now. I am sorta wanting to do it for fun If I lose, I don't care. I just feel like being around other like-minded people...sorta like gunshows.

That being said, I'd rather be able to participate with my stock Sig 226, or 1911. I will not spend the money to get specialized rigs. Even if I was so slow as to be last, I'd like to use my standard style holsters, mag carriers,etc.

#2. What would be a good representation of a match? I skimmed youtube and found these
Probably more geared to IDPA than the other?

My uncle recomended some stuff that is easy, would be setting up standard paper plates at varying distances, and maybe a few skinny junk boards,etc.

Any recomendations on what to use as far as training materials?

I live in Montana, and the nearest events seem to be about 150 miles off, so I would like to practice in the meantime, not to mention that this is a busy time of year, and I won't be able to travel anyway, and would like to practice before then.

Thanks for any help and suggestions. I sorta thought of getting into it after my uncle has been chatting it up. I don't know how much it's changed since then though. He was in it in the EARLY 80's, when the most customized thing he used was a .38 super 1911....period...
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Old May 25, 2009, 09:04 PM   #2
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You can buy timers and IPSC targets, and stage designs are available online, so there's no reason why you can't set up and run yourself through stages. That being said- get out there and compete with an organized league. You'll have an incredible amount of fun, and learn a LOT in a very short period of time.
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Old May 25, 2009, 09:48 PM   #3
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This was more IPSC/USPSA like than IDPA. There was a serious lack of cover, the positioning/number of mag holders, and some procedural stuff that is not permitted in IDPA (reloading on the move, dropping mags with ammo still in them on first glance).

IDPA is generally not as mobile or active as those matches. Don't get me wrong, there is movement but it's generally not running side to side in the wide open like those videos.

I wouldn't call either sport tactical training, I would call it good training as far as drawing, shooting, reloading, and clearing malfunctions under a timer. It's a lot harder than it looks and there are a lot of things re: competition shooting that are not intuitive.

The best training I think you can do is practice drawing from a holster, double taps, and reloading. You can draw and work on reloads at home. Double taps come after you have good basic control over your gun.

You can buy a decent shot timer and set up targets in different arrangements for "practice" but the best practice you'll get is to go shoot a match. Shooting while on the move and using cover appropriately are keys to IDPA.

Both sports are a lot of fun and develop different skills. With IDPA you can use any stock handgun or revolver, a lot of customizations are not legal. In IPSC/USPSA you can also use stock handguns in Production or a couple of other classes and still be competitive. Space guns are not necessary, but they are awesome...if only I didn't have more important stuff to spend my money on at the moment.

Look at both organization's websites, find out where your local matches are, bring 100-200 rounds of ammo along with all necessary gear and go for your first "practice" match. Be careful though, this is a lot of fun and very addicting.
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Old May 26, 2009, 12:09 AM   #4
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What part of MT. Im also in MT, and just started the USPSA stuff this year. What a fun time, i really wasnt heavy into shooting my hanguns much till this year, so i wasnt really great. As far as practice, set up 4 or 5 paper plates on boxes, about 4-5 feet off the ground, and have at it. A few things i would like to point out as im still kinda a newb is go to a match asap, this will by far be the best thing, as the RO will point out things to help you, and also the guys with experiance will also give you hints on how to shoot the stages. Watch and learn, all the listed practice above will help. Its alot better to learn the right way to do things, their are alot of safty rules to learn and follow. If you do this on your own, you may pick up some bad habits that will become hard to break, And also any thing with the safty is a must follow issue during a match, a few big ones are moving with finger on the trigger and the 180 rule, The one that got me was the way i draw, i would grab gun with right hand and place left hand on holster for support while ripping gun out for a fast draw, why im not sure, but as i would draw the gun, i was sweeping my fingers on my left hand as it came out of the holster, ummm thats a rule violation, and i never even realized i was doing it, small things like this will will END your day of shooting. Billings and Bozeman have clubs and have shoots often, Billings has a club called magic city action shooters, search that and you can look at the stages that we shoot, this will give you a good idea of what to expect, their are also links for other clubs in MT and all the other areas in surounding states that host USPSA shoots, and USPSA itself, can look at the rules, and do some reading up I think the website is Hope this helps and have fun!!
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Old May 26, 2009, 12:54 AM   #5
Frank Ettin
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Either one or both IDPA and IPSC/USPSA is a great idea. Both give you a lot of very good practice handling a gun safely under stress and while moving. Both sports have a full range of safety and safe gun handling rules, and range officers looking over your shoulder every step of the way to make sure that you abide by them. If you don't, you go home right then.

So you really get the chance to get used to things like always being aware of where your muzzle is, and keeping your finger out of the trigger guard and indexed along the frame except when you're actually shooting, and using the safety, etc. -- all while doing other things like moving around the course, sometimes opening doors or moving obstacles, identifying targets and reloading. You get practice shooting fast and accurately and shooting from unconventional postures. And you're doing all this under stress -- because its competition and because you're on the clock.

 It’s a great way to refine your gun handling.

Neither is really a good way to learn self defense and tactics. But both give you good practice in the basic skills. And there's no reason you can't enjoy IPSC using your stock gun and "carry" type gear.
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Old May 26, 2009, 01:10 AM   #6
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I can't be picky......

If you're lucky enough to have BOTH an ACTIVE IDPA AND USPSA consider yourself LUCKY. There is no choice for a lot of us on the local level.......
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Old May 26, 2009, 07:12 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies!

Lol, Both are around, but none close

I live way on the far northeast part of the state, about 20 miles from the Canadian Border.

Closest events are in Great Falls about 160? miles away. They are IDPA, while the nearest USPSA I have seen is Missoula/Bozeman/Billings.

I figure if I do anything before fall (When time clears up), I may ask around and see. I never was into it, so there might be a informal match or two around.

And it ain't so much for practice I just figured it may be fun, regardless of how I do. Maybe get a bit better on gun safety, I think I am pretty good now, but there may be stuf I never realize I am doing.

One last question, what type of ammo is required? I saw a place that said no HP's, but is FMJ ammo allowed? or is it supposed to be cast lead? I was wondering because there's a fair bit of steel targets, and I was just wondering.

Thanks for the great replies! If I can't find nothing sooner, I'll try and carve out a afternoon for Great Falls.
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Old May 26, 2009, 08:24 AM   #8
Jim Watson
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I pretty much stick to IDPA these days and can recommend:

You don't have to set up elaborate way kewl match stages to practice. If you want to shoot and not be entertained like a video game, the IDPA classifier is something to work with.
People whine that it is long, it is boring, it is not the same stuff as fun and entertaining match stages, but it will make you work on a lot of what you need to know.

You can work on a lot of stuff dryfire, the draw (from concealment for IDPA), acquiring the first target, reloading, moving, shooting on the move, shooting from cover positions for IDPA, shooting from assorted awkward positions for either.

There is no general limitation on ammunition other than a ban on armor piercing or tracer. Some places restrict bullet type based on misunderstanding of what goes on when a bullet hits a target or trap, but most ranges let the shooter use what he likes.

As to the training side, competitive action shooting does not teach solo and team tactics, but it will give you the incentive and opportunity to learn shooting, gun handling, movement and positions. I have seen cops learn stuff that their training and qualification do not teach them.
One guy here shoots matches in his vest to know how it limits his flexibility. Another found out that his off duty holster did not work like his uniform rig, which cost him time and points in the match but could have cost him blood for real. An entire department shift joined a match and learned how slow it is to reload from those horizontal magazine pouches.

Last edited by Jim Watson; May 26, 2009 at 08:29 AM.
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Old May 26, 2009, 10:04 AM   #9
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I think I'll send this down to the competition forum, where it fits a little better.

Competition is not training -- it is practice. The practice you get in competition is good and absolutely necessary, but it's not the same thing as training for self-defense.

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Old May 26, 2009, 01:08 PM   #10
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No prob I wasn't sure.

Thanks for the reply.

I think I'll email the closest heads of the shooting matches and find out when the next IDPA and USPSA matches are. Maybe I can find time to travel somewhere.

If Billings is the closest USPSA, It'll be an overnighter as I am guessing it will be too late to travel back. But, hey I should be able to get off sometime.
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Old May 26, 2009, 01:57 PM   #11
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Those videos don't appear to represent either USPSA or IDPA courses of fire, but they're closer to the former in that they're "search and destroy" rather than "defensive" in nature. Neither sport offers instruction in anything other than how to score well in the sport; no tactics.
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Old May 26, 2009, 06:00 PM   #12
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Nope, more geared to fun. IE: Shooting alot.
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Old June 4, 2009, 08:33 PM   #13
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Which one is best for you?

Try both.

Only you can know which is best for you.

Both are a "game" competition for handgun. One focuses more on self defense (IDPA) the other run and gun (ISPC/USPSA).

Holster is concealed (some type of cover is used)
Scenarios are more self defense oriented
Strings of shots are less
No gaming before - you just shoot the scenario
No special equipment other than concealed focused gear (no lasers, etc)

Fancy holsters - quick draw
Scenarios are open - runs the gamit
Lots of shooting
You can "game" it to shoot faster
You can dress up your gun and gear to what your wallet will allow

Both: FUN!
Focus on "score" which is derived from how fast you shot and how accurately. You can shoot fast but if you can't hit squat - your score is still not good. But same for you can shoot accurately but shoot slow - your score is still not good.

For you just getting into the shooting sports - try them out and just have fun. You'll figure what works for you and why.

Good shooting!
"Shoot Safetly, Shoot Often and Share Your Sport." Jim Scoutten, Shooting USA

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Old June 5, 2009, 07:45 AM   #14
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Fancy holsters - quick draw
USPSA Production and Single Stack Divisions do not allow "fancy" holsters. Unless you choose to go against the race guns, you are scored against those with like equipment.

IDPA is 18 rounds max per stage, and you wear a cover garment. Scenarios are more scripted.

USPSA averages about 20-25 rounds per stage, but could be 32, and shooters usually carry 40+ rounds. That is, carry at least 1 full mag beyond what you need for the stage in case there is a malfunction and you need to change mags. Stages are less scripted; officially, stages are free-style ("shoot 'em as you see 'em").

I shoot USPSA, but there is IDPA around here, and I would shoot that if that was all there was.

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Old June 6, 2009, 12:17 AM   #15
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You can go to IDPA's website and find a local club near you. That being said, my local club holds IDPA practice every Wednesday night from May till October. Then regular matches are the first Sunday of every month. But you can practice at home with your equipment (drawing and reloads). Live fire practice on the range, and you can get IDPA scenarios off the web to set up your COF at the range.
Be aware of yourself and everything around you.
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Old June 7, 2009, 10:47 PM   #16
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I contacted our closest range (IDPA) and I am busy this next month, but plan on showing up in July. (Although i gotta email him tonight as I forgot to...).

Thanks for all the info! Great to hear about it.

I think IDPA is about all I can get into for awhile. As far as I could tell the nearest USPSA is about 2X as far Although who knows for once a month I should be able to take off.
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Old June 7, 2009, 11:35 PM   #17
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The gang over at the ProArms podcast (gun rights radio network) produced a nice podcast for those interested in shooting IDPA. I listened to it a few times then got the bug and have been shooting in local IDPA matches since Feb.

Give it a listen and see what you think.
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