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Old August 6, 2002, 08:42 AM   #1
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Which organization to join for a first time competetor?????

I've been shooting for a while now and to be honest I'am starting to get a little bored with standard target practice on the range. I've never thought about participating in competition, until now that is.

I've been going through the web sites and reading a lot of information, but I'm unsure which to join. IDPA, IPSC, USPSA etc etc. I'm not sure if any of them would be geared to a beginner, like I would be.

I live in Massachusetts and would like to compete with a Sig 229, a S&W M15 or a S&W M66.

Any recommendations on what would be the best to join for a newbie competetor, I'd appreciate it.

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Old August 6, 2002, 09:27 AM   #2
Christopher II
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Apart from the NRA, you mean?

Congrats on deciding to compete, it's going to open up a whole new world for you.

If you want to shoot a lot, I'd suggest NRA Conventional Bullseye and Steel Challenge. Both are strict tests of shooting skill. NRA Bullseye is all about methodical accuracy, Steel Challenge is pure speed. To shoot NRA Bullseye, you need a .22 pistol. Steel Challenge can be shot with anything.

Try these websites: and

I also shoot IDPA, which is a lot of fun. Easy for beginners to get into, just go to a local match and give it a try. If you like it, join the national org. Be warned, though, there's not as much shooting as the first two I mentioned. It is very free-form and you'll never shoot an IDPA match the same way twice. has a list of participating clubs.

Good luck, and hit 'em in the center.

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Old August 6, 2002, 11:07 AM   #3
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Troy- I'm in your state too, I'd suggest IPSC/USPSA (of course because its what I shoot)
I'll be honest with you, if you want to shoot a decent number of rounds, around here your only choice is USPSA.

No stage is neccessairly geared towards beginners, but there is nothing that says you have to go as fast as those who have been shooting for years. You can always take your time and walk through shooting the targets. It happens a lot. I think we've gotten around 10 first time competitors this year. There is always a group willing to help you.

If you want to write to me for the action pistol type match schedules, feel free. There are a bunch of very informal ones, not bad for practice at all.
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Old August 6, 2002, 11:48 AM   #4
Jim Watson
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The correct answer is the one closest to you.

Both IDPA and IPSC/USPSA (USPSA is the governing board for IPSC in the USA) are very receptive to new shooters. So is NRA. Everybody has to start somewhere and every organization depends on new memberships to grow.

Many clubs and ranges will have a new shooter orientation program or will assign you to a mentor to explain things to you.

But when the shooting starts, everybody gets the same targets. In an action sport like IPSC or IDPA you will be cautioned to not run before you walk, literally; but the CoF (Course of Fire) requirements are the same for all. I know of no shooting sport with the equivalent of a "bunny slope" for beginners. At most, some IDPA clubs will not require you to wear a concealment garment until you are sure you can make a safe draw from under it. A few ranges will allow (or require) a beginner to start from a ready position with gun in hand until he has demonstrated that he can make a safe draw in the first place.

The best thing to do (short of paid professional training) would be to get acquainted and get a coach or experienced mentor to run you through some exercises. You cannot learn to shoot at a match. And by "shoot" I mean more than just aim and fire the gun. You have to know the range safety reguirements, you must be able to load, holster, draw and fire, move to another firing position, fire on the move, fire from different positions over, under, around and through range props, fire with either or both hands, reload rapidly and safely, shoot some more, then "unload and show clear." IDPA and IPSC match stages are seldom the same from match to match; I have never seen a whole match repeated. So you have to be able to pay attention to instructions and remember what you are to do.

My priorities are:
1. Be safe. Don't hurt anybody, don't scare anybody, don't get disqualified for violating a safety rule.
2. Execute the CoF. Shoot the right targets in the right order, don't get lost on the course and don't get procedural penalties.
3. Hit the targets, hit them in the middle. 'Nuff said.
4. Move right along. Your time is your score (in IDPA, IPSC is more complicated, but it is still a major factor), assuming you make the hits. Don't go faster than you can safely, correctly, and accurately perform, but don't dawdle.

Your guns are suitable for IDPA Stock Service Pistol and Stock Service Revolver; and for IPSC Production and Revolver Divisions. You need a strong side straight draw holster, a magazine/speedloader carrier, several magazines or speedloaders, ammo, eye and ear protection.

For NRA, a good .22 like a Buckmark or Ruger Mk II Target would get you off to a good start in the smallbore portion of the National Match Course (bullseye.) You can shoot smallbore for a long time before getting into centerfire, big bore, and service pistol The CoF is simple and standardized, but if you are determined to do well at it, in no way easy or boring.
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Old August 7, 2002, 04:38 AM   #5
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You got USPSA clubs all around you.

Try Harvard or Westfield or over to Albany, NY (Watervliet), or up to Vermont (
All thjese clubs are new-shooter friendly and IF INFORMED BY YOU will do their best to make you a safe shooter who feels at home.

Ain't that sweet?
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Old August 7, 2002, 03:36 PM   #6
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USPSA's Frontsite Magazine is pretty good reason to join USPSA.
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Old August 8, 2002, 09:18 AM   #7
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Your current handguns will fit right in for IDPA with no modification. Courses of fire for IDPA are probably going to be far more realistic than IPSC courses of fire, at least in terms of representing possible "real life" self defense scenarios.

On the other hand, round counts in IPSC courses of fire allow for more "trigger time" and you'll get a LOT more practice reloading, especially if you shoot a revolver.

There are four categories of handgun in IDPA, and the amount of customization is strictly limited. IPSC has more categories, some of which allow for absurd mods and silly holsters that don't even make a wink at practicality.

IPSC seems to have more really top-notch shooters than IDPA does - even though they tend to use "raceguns" an IPSC Grandmaster is going to be very, very, good.

In terms of rules, our local IDPA club will cut newcommers a lot of slack on things like procedural errors, use of cover, and so forth, and we'll let a newcommer watch a couple of other people run through the course of fire first before putting him on the line. But much as I hate the term, there really is "zero tolerance" for safety violations.
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Old August 13, 2002, 01:05 AM   #8
Guy B. Meredith
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If you like revolver check out ICORE (International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts) at Very lay back in general.

The annual International Revolver Championship (IRC)sponsered by Hogue, S&W and others has almost too many catagories--PPC revolver, IDPA revolver, Open, Stock, snubbie, etc. Had almost 30 guns to give away each year.

I have twice walked away with revolvers at the IRCs--a PC 627 V-comp in a raffle, and this year an M66 off the prize table. Pretty gratifying to this C class shooter.

The matches are a combination of Bianchi Cup style, Steel Challenge, PPC and IPSC style stages. More focus on shooter capability a little less on equipment, though some of the revolvers are pretty trick including one 10 shot .32 magnum.

You get a chance to mix with people like Jerry Miculek (created three world records including 8 shots in nice group on 5yd target in 1 second), Vic Pickett, Rudi Waldinger, Jason Pettit and others.
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Old August 22, 2002, 10:21 PM   #9
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Troy- Action Pistol event at Mansfield this saturday, you should come by and see how it is. Starts at 9
bring a pistol and some ammo!
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Old August 24, 2002, 03:24 PM   #10
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If you want to SEE competition in my oppinion there is only one organization that will show you everything from carry and shoot to full blown balls to the wall race guns doing increadable things.

It's IPSC. Sounds like you have some good clubs close to you. Many of us drive 2 to 5 hours one way just to compete. It can be intimidating at first. But the first time you have a decent run at a stage you will be hooked!!!

Speed and accuracy=extreme rush

If the wastoid drug addicts tried IPSC they would opt for the BETTER high!!!

If you have broadband this is a link to some video clips,

Be careful, just watching IPSC can get you hooked!!!
,,,they'd look alot better as beer cans...

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Old August 24, 2002, 08:46 PM   #11
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Here's a site that compares and contrasts IPSC and IDPA.


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