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Old May 25, 2010, 03:37 PM   #1
Join Date: February 22, 2009
Posts: 42
Competitions for Beginer to Intermediate Shooter? Holster requirements?

I have two questions for you competition shooters. I shot pistols for a few years 20 years ago and have gotten back into it for almost two years now and am interested in entering some competitions and there seems to be so many I don't know where to start. IDPA/USPSA etc. Where would be a good place for a novice to start?

Also, I thought I read somewhere that for IDPA or USPSA you had to have a holster with the thumb break. Is this a requirement for any of the competitions? If so, which one(s)? I hope to be ordering a couple of holsters soon and don't want to waste $75 on the wrong - unusable leather.

Thanks for any feedback.
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Old May 25, 2010, 04:52 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 14,155
The first thing to do is to check the club finders at
and see what is being done in your area.

You do NOT have to have a holster with thumb break. But if your holster has one, you must use it.
USPSA shooters have skeletonized holsters with retainers that are unlocked before the start signal.
IDPA shooters mostly use open topped Kydex like Blade Tech.
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Old May 25, 2010, 07:21 PM   #3
Join Date: July 8, 2004
Location: Gonzales, LA
Posts: 26
Jim is right in that if your holster has a snap retention, you have to use it.

However, holster restrictions for USPSA are division dependent. Single Stack (1911) and Production (Basically stock, double or da/sa) divisions require open top holsters just like you would find in any store. Those two divisions cannot use race holsters. However, Limited, Limited-10, Revolver and Open can use race type holsters that basically hold the gun by the trigger guard and/or muzzle and are locked in place.
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Old May 30, 2010, 11:11 PM   #4
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There are several versions of practical pistol out there. Of main two, IDPA and USPSA, I think that IDPA is the easier of the two to start in. The courses of fire are generally easier, and there is normally less movement.

In USPSA, there are several divisions. Some use race holsters that are more just frames that barely hold the gun on your belt and others use standard belt holsters.

There are a couple of other flavors of practical pistol: ICORE (revolvers only), Steel Challenge (steel targets only, very little movement), and GSSF (Glocks only, no movement, not drawing from the holster) are some.

A primer on IDA is available here:
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