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Old December 14, 2011, 07:00 PM   #1
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getting into shooting competitions

Hello everyone. Im looking to get into pistol shooting and competition. However im having a tough time determining which pistols i would be best suited for. Im a very small person stand at merely 5'6 and weighing 140. im looking to go 9mm. At first i have had my eyes on the glocks. mainly because they are so prominent. But honestly i would like to get away from the norm, i enjoy using different guns than everyone else just for the sake of being different. So i was looking at the m&p, then a sig, then a walther. Gosh the room is spinning and my head hurts :P the berreta 9fs was also one that i was looking into. Alot of people were complaining that the berreta was heavy. But doesnt weight help control recoil? Please help. Im confused!z

Also i live in western maryland, i turn 21 in may so all i can do is save money now. Which also brings me to another point, money is sort of a factor. I would like to stay around 600 to 700$ if possible. Thank you for your help.
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Old December 14, 2011, 08:43 PM   #2
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Forgot to also mention. Im lookin for just a general service pistol that can be used for idpa, uspsa, steel shooting. And an all around fun gun.
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Old December 14, 2011, 09:06 PM   #3
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Consider a .22 pistol as a starter. My local Academy Sports store has a basic Buckmark Camper for $299. For $329 you can get a stainless upper or a nicer blued gun with hi-viz sights. A Ruger Mark III can be had at that price range as well.

With that out-of-the-box gun and a couple of extra magazines you can participate in Steel Challenge matches which is a great way to get started in competitive shooting. You don't even need a holster.

I reload which saves money but I can buy .22 ammo for less than the cost of primers to reload centerfire cartridges. You can afford to shoot a .22; a centerfire can be somewhat expensive to feed.

Although a good quality .22 is a great beginner's gun, you will never outgrow it. They are always fun to shoot.

Moving on to 9mm (now or later) for match use. In my opinion you really handicap yourself with a DA/SA gun like the Sig or Beretta. Double action first shot, then you transition to single action fire. Blech. Most people are shooting striker fired guns that give you a consistent trigger shot-to-shot.

"I hear you" on wanting something different from what "everyone" has. No argument that the Glocks are very popular and have a great reputation for reliability.

Personally, I like the M&P the best of the current polymer framed striker fired guns.
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Old December 14, 2011, 09:19 PM   #4
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A .22 would be the best to start, aside from that....

Get whatever fits your hand the best, and look up the rules to whatever competition you want to shoot.

The M&P is not far off from the glock as far as popularity goes. The sig and beretta are both DA/SA which is sub-optimal for competition, but that doesnt mean you cant use it. The sig also has a somewhat high bore-axis for my liking.

Heavier is better for general use. It helps negate recoil like you said, but its bad if you have to carry it a lot, and its bad if it is so heavy that it wont meet the required weight for whatever competition you are shooting.

Your best bet is to handle and preferably shoot a bunch of guns, and simply buy the one that works the best for you.

For example, I like glocks a lot, but I naturally shoot M&P's faster.
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Old December 14, 2011, 10:26 PM   #5
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Thanks alot guys... As for a good reliable 22 what do u recomnend?
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Old December 15, 2011, 01:11 AM   #6
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As far as wanting to be different, tread carefully here, if it's going to be an IDPA, USPSA, SC gun. Do your homework. There's a reason why some guns are popular, and some aren't. I see very few HiPowers at IDPA/USPSA matches, for example. Likely due to the mag disconnect.

A .22 isn't a bad idea, but you can't shoot IDPA or USPSA with a .22LR. You can shoot rimfire steel, of course, and it will teach you a lot about shooting quickly and accurately. Numerous .22 conversion kits are available for some semi autos, so you could, for instance, buy a Glock17 and a conversion kit and have all your bases covered.

Wanna really be different while really mastering the fundamentals? Buy a revolver. A 4" Ruger GP100 or a standard 6-shot 4" K- or L-frame S&W .38 or .357. If it's to be a .22LR, then look for a 10-shot S&W 617. IMO, there's a lot to be said for starting in competition with a revolver.
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Old December 15, 2011, 01:56 AM   #7
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The M&P Pro 9mm would be the best bet for you. Cheap ammo, good length/weight gun. Rails so you can attached a light for home defense. Lots of accessories that you can find as well. so it's a multipurpose good first-gun.

Get a good belt, holster, 5 mag pouches and 6-7 magazines would get your started for both IDPA and USPSA.
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Old December 15, 2011, 02:01 AM   #8
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I see very few HiPowers at IDPA/USPSA matches, for example. Likely due to the mag disconnect.
The mag disconnect can be easily removed. The reason for it being so rare in USPSA is that it's not really competitive in any division. Its best fit is in Limited-10 and even then you're typically not running a mag-well and you're shooting minor. It just doesn't fit any one too good.

Anyways, on to my recommendations:

You really need to figure out what types of pistol games you want to play, because that will determine which pistol would be optimal. I personally shoot USPSA normally. I've shot IDPA and Steel Challenge in fun matches (never an official match) and based on that experience I can tolerate Steel Challenge, but I know IDPA isn't for me. Each person has their preferences though, so you should visit matches of all types (even ICORE if you can find a local club), and see what you like.

Now, on to my USPSA recommendations (Steel Challenge has matching divisions for these so it applies here too):

USPSA has several divisions: Production, Single-stack, Revolver, Limited, Limited-10, and Open.

Production is sometimes called a beginner division, but that's a bit of a misnomer. I'd consider it more of a "budget" division. Your targeted $700 budget can get you setup in production with a pistol that you could win nationals with if you had the personal skills to match. It's mostly stock pistols with some basic modifications allowed (basically internal-only modifications and sight changes). No more than 10-rounds in a magazine. All guns are always scored minor which makes 9mm the most competitive round here (also good for the wallet). Only striker-fired guns or double-actions are allowed here - no single action. The striker-fired guns by far dominate this division due to the consistent trigger pull. Glocks are most common, with M&P's in a somewhat distant 2nd. XD's have been increasing slowly in popularity too. Hammer-fired double action guns are legal, but not really popular here.

FWIW, I shoot a S&W M&P 9L in production.

Single-stack: This is kinda like a special production division specifically set aside for 1911's. Mag capacity is capped at 8 if you're shooting major PF, or 10 if shooting minor.

Revolvers: Self explanitory.

Limited: As odd as it sounds, there's not many limitations here. As long as your gun fits in a given box, has a magazine of restricted length, don't use a compensator and doesn't use any optical sighting (red dots), then it fits limited. This is dominated by really expensive double-stack 1911's in .40S&W. Your $700 can get you a gun to shoot in this division, but it won't be truly competitive.

Limited-10: Same as limited but no more than 10 rounds in a mag.

Open: Except for fitting in a rather generous box and a magazine length limit - pretty much anything goes here. Insanely fast shooting "race guns". Everything - even a "poor man's" open gun built in a converted Glock - is going to run into the thousands.

My advice: it sounds like you're young, probably on a limited budget. Get a Glock 34. It's got a nice long barrel, plenty of aftermarket accessories, and is basically the quintessential USPSA Production gun. With a good .22LR upper, you can also shoot rimfire in Steel Challenge if you wish. Overall I think it'll give you the most bang for your buck.

The M&P is also available and a good gun - like I said its what I shoot. It's subjective, but if find it to have a better grip than the Glock. My only complaint is that the max barrel length on an M&P is 5" compared to 5.3" on the Glock 34. There's also no .22 conversion currently out for it.
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Old December 15, 2011, 07:31 PM   #9
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FWIW I dont believe you are allowed to disable the magazine safety in IDPA, making the BHP pretty unpopular for that specific reason.

MGMorden: How is the accuracy on your 9L? I recently purchased one and am not entirely impressed. Might just be because im used to shooting my 1911's.
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Old December 18, 2011, 07:42 PM   #10
Jesse Tischauser
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The Glock 34 or the M&P 9L are the way to go. The Glock is more popular which means it is more readily available and there are more aftermarket parts and/or used parts available for it.

Sig, beretta and Walter are all great guns but they aren't purpose built for any of the action shooting games.
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Old December 19, 2011, 12:34 AM   #11
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I have a DA/SA Ruger P89 that I love and after one match started shopping for that consistent trigger pull. Landed a Glock 17 and shot IDPA with it for the first time today. A thrill! I shoot my P89 pretty well, but after getting used to the Glock I am better with it. SSP Novice Division.
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Old December 19, 2011, 07:13 PM   #12
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About shooting IDPA with a 22 - you should ask the local match director.

Sanctioned matches are a no-no but for local club matches, we let folks shoot some outlaw guns (out of the rules) if they have a purpose. You are new, have recoil problems, etc.

I shot one with my SW 632 327 mag to get some trigger time beyond the square range. Of course, it didn't count in the match.

See if a friendly club would let you. Of course, we shoot 22s in steel quite a bit.

Normally I shoot a Glock or 1911 but once in awhile it's fun to try something else.
NRA, TSRA, IDPA, NTI, Polite Soc. - Aux Armes, Citoyens
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Old December 19, 2011, 10:01 PM   #13
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You can't really get into too many competitions with a rim fire firearm like a 22. I think, at least all I have seen is rim fire steel challenge. 9mm is usually the lowest calibre permitted. Of course this isn't from personal experience but from reading the rule books as I am in the same boat, just starting out in competitve shooting.
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Old December 21, 2011, 11:59 AM   #14
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MGMorden: How is the accuracy on your 9L? I recently purchased one and am not entirely impressed. Might just be because im used to shooting my 1911's.
It's been ok for me, but I haven't really shot it for groups yet. As far as competition use, I can keep a shot in the A-zone at 25 yards or knock down steel plates as long as I hold the shot steady, so its been good there .

That said, I think I will opt to get the fitted barrel from Apex once they come out with it (which I've heard will be announced at Shot Show 2012). I've heard that the Storm Lake barrels give a minimal improvement for the price.

I will say that I can shoot the M&P a lot better after getting new sights and an Apex trigger kit in it.
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Old December 24, 2011, 11:27 PM   #15
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Before spending any money, attend some matches near you as a spectator. Bring hearing and eye protection. Talk to the competitors and officials and tell them you are interested in getting into the sport. They will be happy to give advice and you can see what equipment they are using. It will help you make a more informed decision on what class or classes you want to compete in and what equipment to get.

If you have a range nearby that rents guns, try some different ones to get a feel for what you like.

I shot my first USPSA match with a ported EAA Witness in 9mm I already owned, a cheap holster and some borrowed mag pouches. The porting put me in Open class and the 9mm made for minor scoring, but nobody had more fun than me and I learned a lot. No, I didn't win the match, but neither was I dead last.
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Old December 26, 2011, 10:02 AM   #16
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Up here in Canada, Glocks and CZ Shadows dominate Production Division and competitors seem pretty evenly divided between the two, with perhaps a slightly greater number of Shadow shooters in the upper ranks. But I see a lot of other guns that people don't talk much about in this sport, like Ruger SR9s and Beretta 92fs being used, and being used well too.

Accuracy isn't much of a factor in practical shooting sports, and just about any properly sighted gun run with decent ammo will shoot better than you when you're under the pressure of a timer. So I'd say just get a gun that is on the Production list, but feels most comfortable shooting for now with sights you can pick up quickly and easily. Go for something cheap enough for now that leaves you enough money for some starter reloading equipment. Believe me, you're going to need it.

Edit: After thinking about this a few minutes, I would avoid trying to be "different" when it comes to equipment, especially your gun. In the course of getting into the sport, you'll meet many people who will undoubtedly help tune your gun, replace parts, and just give you instruction in how best to clean and lubricate it and such that you'll miss out on with an unpopular gun that good shooters don't know much about. You are joining a community when you get into these sports, and you'll find it so much easier if you take advantage of the availability of parts and expertise that such a community presents.

Last edited by Gerry; December 26, 2011 at 10:10 AM.
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Old January 2, 2012, 04:56 AM   #17
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If you have small hands, then look at the CZ75 (very under-rated gun) or XD. An M&P might work, but you would have to see how comfortable it is.

Glock isn't an ideal choice for smaller hands unless you are simply committed to the platform or are willing to compromise to get the benefits.
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Old January 7, 2012, 09:15 PM   #18
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If you are considering a CZ75 you might take a look at the Baby Desert Eagle. It is a knock off of the CZ but with a larger dust cover that makes it slightly muzzle heavy. I have been shooting a CZ 75 for 3 years and recently tried the Baby Eagle. With the heavy muzzle second shots on the same traget are faster. I prefer either of them to the Glocks I have handled. I have only put a few dozen rounds through Glocks but they don't seem to point well for me. Dan
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Old January 8, 2012, 04:16 AM   #19
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If you are considering a CZ75 you might take a look at the Baby Desert Eagle.
Keep in mind that the Baby DE might be illegal for IDPA if that is the game you are going to play. The gun has to be under 39oz. (with empty mag) to be legal.
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Old February 5, 2012, 08:43 AM   #20
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Original poster which .22 question

Ruger's Mark III slab sided target is a great entry level competition gun for the $400-450 range. It will take you a long time to out shoot the gun. It will probably be my next gun. It is a challenge to learn to break down after a few times it is quite easy, just different.

I have not shot as many of the Brownings buck mark so I can't attest to it as well.

I just know all of my research for "cheap comp pistol" always brings me back to the Ruger. I am very pleased with all of my Rugers, well built and accurate.

Good luck
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