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I’m considering competitive shooting but don’t know where to start

9245

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I’m considering getting in to competitive shooting, initially I considered cowboy action shooting, and I would still like to do that someday, but SASS has ridiculous unrealistic rules that anger me (can’t load more than 5 rounds even if there is not a safety issue, no reloading on the clock, can’t load more than 2 rounds in a shotgun, and no double action revolvers, even if they are period correct) and NCOWS is too far away (about 2 states away) so I have shifted my focus to modern shooting competitions however I seem to be having issues finding one that ”fits.”

I want a competition where I can get practice with my everyday carry pistol and use realistic scenarios, not gaming against race guns. However my EDC is/will be a (semi) “Gucci Glock,“ a Polymer 80 build I am working on, when I realized that the pistol I was building wouldn’t be bad in competition as well I started looking for one to compete in, that way I can get some practical trigger time and practice in with the new pistol while simultaneously having fun. Unfortunately though that build, like many modern carry guns, will include a red dot which makes finding a competitiin a challenge.

I was drawn to IDPA, which seemed like a perfect fit given what I want to achieve however a glance at their rules seems to indicate that they are iron sights only and still consider optics black magic, despite their popularity in everyday carry. Sure I could dismount the optic but then I would have to rezero, also since the optic would be on the pistol outside of competition it would make it less effective as a training tool. Also, for some strange reason IDPA seems to believe that everyone lives in California and can only have neutered 10 round magazines, I know why they did that, so people in communist states could compete, but it makes it less realistic for everyone else. Also I’m not sure if they allow Polymer 80s.

Was my interpretation of IDPA rules correct? If so, why don’t they create an optics division and a limited 10 division like USPSA to allow modern optics to be used without getting an advantage over the iron sight shooters and allow the people in communist states to compete against each other rather than limiting everyone else to 10 rounds?

Then there is USPSA, I would be able to compete there, however I would have to compete against race guns and it’s run more like a game than actual practical shooting.

So I’m not sure where to compete, nothing seems like a good fit, IDPA would be perfect but has to update their rules, and USPSA is unrealistic and too gamey.

Any suggestions?

The pistol I would be using is not a race gun, just an enhanced carry gun, compact frame, Trijicon suppressor height night sights, only light milling to the slide (it’s the Trybe slide that Optics Planet sells), a threaded flame fluted match barrel from Faxon in black nitride, an RMR cut, and it will eventually have an extended magazine release and an extended slide stop and a match trigger about 4.5 pounds (I don’t know which one yet, it will have a stock trigger at first, but flat), and a Holosun 507C or 509T (not sure which yet) red dot. I’m also considering a low profile magazine well, but I can remove that for competition. Other than that it will be fairly standard, just a Polymer 80 frame. I would like to use Magpul 21 round magazines for reloading, and a Magpul 15 round magazine in the pistol. (Or a 17 round magazine with an X Grip). Basically just a Glock 19 with a reshaped grip, forward and top serations and a few subtle window cuts with a trigger job and after market threaded barrel and night sights. Tuned, but not built specifically for competition.
 
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Invictus77

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I want a competition where I can get practice with my everyday carry pistol .......

........I’m not sure where to compete, nothing seems like a good fit
I would suggest first you really have to decide if you want to compete (as in be competitive with winning as a goal) or if you just want to improve your everyday carry gun skills.

For me, I shoot occasional two gun matches locally, but I only compete with myself with the goal of improving my own skills. I don't care if I am in the bottom 10% of the competition. The fact that I get out there and do it, regardless of how "gamey" a particular match is set-up, still makes me better than 90% of the Fudds or criminals who maybe shot a piece of paper or a beer can at 10 yards once upon a time. YMMV.
 

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IDPA does have an optic class and it is just below the open class. Every shooting sport out there has " ridiculous unrealistic rules " that are there for a purpose. Since these are competitions, the rules are meant to enhance safety (shooters, crew and spectators), make things competitive among the shooters, and to reduce the gaming factor.

SASS events are not close to being realistic or real life, just fun shooting old weapons and looking a what others brung. IDPA is based on expected performance during a real life scenario, but dictates your clothing (concealment garment), weapon, when and how to reload, procedures on engaging multiple targets, etc. It is no longer "real life" but a competition. For example, shoot a No Shoot target and you get a 5 second penalty. In real life you would be lucky to get a 5 year penalty. IPSC/USPSA is a highly mobile sport dominated by young, fast shooters and high dollar pistols that would never be considered a carry gun. It started off as Practical Shooting and is now a highly specialized form of shooting.

Just frequenting a range monthly and working on the proper technical aspects of shooting will benefit you. Blasting away at a target or seeing how fast you can shoot will only reinforce your bad habits and make it harder for you to correct them in order to shoot well. And you can do this with a .22. Technique is not controlled by caliber. By using a less expensive pistol/rifle and ammo you are able to shoot more each session and maybe even more often without breaking the bank.

So it all boils down to what you want. If you just want to improve your shooting skills, then sign up for a training class that covers what you want. Then you can move on to more advanced training once you have mastered the basic skills. If you want to compete, then figure out what shooting sport appeals to you and go to the matches.

FYI, Universal Shooting Academy in Florida is a top notch facility and curriculum. Here is a link to the courses they offer: https://universalshootingacademy.com/courses/. This is just one of many around the country

You can search around for training as well as the clubs/matches in your area. Go, observe, and then make your choice.
 

Tak

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^ what he said.

As soon as it's a competition with rules, it fills with 'gamers' who seek to push every rule to the limit to gain the ultimate advantage. It's like that in every sport or competition just about, be it shooting, tennis, or video games.

Pick something you like, then compete against yourself, using gear you would use for real-world carry. Make it your goal not to compete against the gamers but to improve your performance each time you go out. You don't have to be the best, just work to be a better you.

good luck :)
 

9245

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IDPA does have an optic class and it is just below the open class. Every shooting sport out there has " ridiculous unrealistic rules " that are there for a purpose. Since these are competitions, the rules are meant to enhance safety (shooters, crew and spectators), make things competitive among the shooters, and to reduce the gaming factor.

SASS events are not close to being realistic or real life, just fun shooting old weapons and looking a what others brung. IDPA is based on expected performance during a real life scenario, but dictates your clothing (concealment garment), weapon, when and how to reload, procedures on engaging multiple targets, etc. It is no longer "real life" but a competition. For example, shoot a No Shoot target and you get a 5 second penalty. In real life you would be lucky to get a 5 year penalty. IPSC/USPSA is a highly mobile sport dominated by young, fast shooters and high dollar pistols that would never be considered a carry gun. It started off as Practical Shooting and is now a highly specialized form of shooting.

Just frequenting a range monthly and working on the proper technical aspects of shooting will benefit you. Blasting away at a target or seeing how fast you can shoot will only reinforce your bad habits and make it harder for you to correct them in order to shoot well. And you can do this with a .22. Technique is not controlled by caliber. By using a less expensive pistol/rifle and ammo you are able to shoot more each session and maybe even more often without breaking the bank.

So it all boils down to what you want. If you just want to improve your shooting skills, then sign up for a training class that covers what you want. Then you can move on to more advanced training once you have mastered the basic skills. If you want to compete, then figure out what shooting sport appeals to you and go to the matches.

FYI, Universal Shooting Academy in Florida is a top notch facility and curriculum. Here is a link to the courses they offer: https://universalshootingacademy.com/courses/. This is just one of many around the country

You can search around for training as well as the clubs/matches in your area. Go, observe, and then make your choice.
I was unaware they had an optics class, I looked at the rules last night and didn’t see it, I was unaware it was a separate document, I found that on the IDPA site after you mentioned it, why it is not incorporated in to the rules document is beyond me. That solves most of my criticism as reading that (basically optics is ESP with optics) I think I’m good as long as Polymer 80s are allowed, are they?

I still don’t like the 10 round thing though and really think that should have it’s own division instead of dumbing it down for everyone else.
 

9245

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^ what he said.

As soon as it's a competition with rules, it fills with 'gamers' who seek to push every rule to the limit to gain the ultimate advantage. It's like that in every sport or competition just about, be it shooting, tennis, or video games.

Pick something you like, then compete against yourself, using gear you would use for real-world carry. Make it your goal not to compete against the gamers but to improve your performance each time you go out. You don't have to be the best, just work to be a better you.

good luck :)
That is pretty much my goal, I will attempt to win but don’t expect to, I’m mostly interested in having fun and enhancing my skills. The idea of competing against the IPSC/USPCA style gamers just kills it though because it’s not a fair competition, it’s like playing with that person you know cheats. That is one of the reasons, besides realism, why I am more attracted to IDPA, I don’t want to compete against gamers with $5,000 race guns and competition gear.
 

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That is pretty much my goal, I will attempt to win but don’t expect to, I’m mostly interested in having fun and enhancing my skills. The idea of competing against the IPSC/USPCA style gamers just kills it though because it’s not a fair competition, it’s like playing with that person you know cheats. That is one of the reasons, besides realism, why I am more attracted to IDPA, I don’t want to compete against gamers with $5,000 race guns and competition gear.
The last USPSA match I shot, I used a 4 inch MagnaPorted Model 29 Smith.
Sportcoat, tie, speedloaders in the pockets.
It was quite enjoyable.
:cool:
 

Yard Sale

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You want to compete, but not in an organization that has competition rules.

You want to compete against production based guns with your custom race gun, but you don't want to compete against good custom race guns with your crappy custom race gun.

You could make a production-based version of your carry gun that meets the rules of USPSA's Carry Optics division and compete there. Or you could keep making excuses about gamers and realism and race guns.
 

9245

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You want to compete, but not in an organization that has competition rules.

You want to compete against production based guns with your custom race gun, but you don't want to compete against good custom race guns with your crappy custom race gun.

You could make a production-based version of your carry gun that meets the rules of USPSA's Carry Optics division and compete there. Or you could keep making excuses about gamers and realism and race guns.
You are grossly mischaracterizing what I said.

I do not have a race gun, I have a custom carry pistol that would be decent competitively, none of the features on it are geared specifically for competition, match barrels and match triggers enhance accuracy, which is important, the Polymer 80 frame is standard, the slide milling is irrelevant, the slide was mostly selected based on price, though the forward and top serrations are nice as are the vent holes, but I mostly was just looking for the RMR cut, the night sights are just a good idea for a carry pistol and they are suppressor height to cowitness with the optic, and incase I want to use a suppressor in the future, the barrel is threaded also incase I want to run a suppressor or compensator in the future, it also gives me more length for velocity, and the low profile magazine well makes it simpler to reload under stress, all thungs designed for carry, could they also be used for competition, yes, but they are designed for carry. A race gun has features designed specifically for competition and is generally not well suited for carry.

My approach is to treat the competitions like partial training, I’ll build my skills as I have fun. I cannot do that with a gun that I do not carry or rules that impose unrealistic conditions. Nor would I have fun if I had to compete against gamers with race guns. I am not opposed to rules, there has to be some, I’m just opposed to rules that are artificially restrictive and impose unrealistic scenarios and rules that are so open they invite gamers with race guns. I want a balance. I think the IDPA Carry Optics division, which I did not know about before, might be what I am looking for. Though the artificial 10 round limit still makes no sense. The people in commiefornia and new york etc. should have their own division so the rest can use full magazines. I will have at a minimum a 15 round magazine and will routinely carry a 17 round and my reloads will be 21 round magazines, limiting me to 10 is unrealistic, why would I go out with a partially empty gun? And why would I have my spare magazines partially unloaded? I don’t live behind communist lines and I do not travel behind the iron curtain or through enemy occupied territory, nor do I have Stasi steaking out my range ready to inform on me to der kommissar so I have no use for 10 round magazines and do not own any.
 

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I think YS is indicating that you have missed the point of all the previous posts. You have a gun that is modified by you and depending on the organization you want to compete in, those mods could change the category/class in which you will have to compete. A bone stock pistol is the base line for competitions. Same for the 10 round limits. that equalizes the matches so those in the restrictive States don't lose out to those in the free States that care less how large your mag capacity is. And the pistol must be able to fit inside a box gauge. If it don't fit, you can't use it.

And now the point that most of us here have been trying to make. Go to any match and compete against yourself. Forget about the other competitors and focus on your performance and how you might improve it. Run what you brung and intend to carry with your CWP if you want. For example, I often go to a range and shoot the Appleseed AQT target with my .22LR AR at 25 meters.


This practice has improved my rifle shooting basics, capabilities and accuracy so much that other shooters have commented on my abilities in taking those off hand shots instead of proning out. In other words, I competed against myself to better my rifle skills.

So whether or not you like the gamers, the sport or the rules, live with what you have, learn to use it properly, and practice with it. If you want to compete in the shooting sports, you will have to follow all of their rules or become one of those gamers you appear to detest.
 

9245

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I think YS is indicating that you have missed the point of all the previous posts. You have a gun that is modified by you and depending on the organization you want to compete in, those mods could change the category/class in which you will have to compete. A bone stock pistol is the base line for competitions. Same for the 10 round limits. that equalizes the matches so those in the restrictive States don't lose out to those in the free States that care less how large your mag capacity is. And the pistol must be able to fit inside a box gauge. If it don't fit, you can't use it.

And now the point that most of us here have been trying to make. Go to any match and compete against yourself. Forget about the other competitors and focus on your performance and how you might improve it. Run what you brung and intend to carry with your CWP if you want. For example, I often go to a range and shoot the Appleseed AQT target with my .22LR AR at 25 meters.


This practice has improved my rifle shooting basics, capabilities and accuracy so much that other shooters have commented on my abilities in taking those off hand shots instead of proning out. In other words, I competed against myself to better my rifle skills.

So whether or not you like the gamers, the sport or the rules, live with what you have, learn to use it properly, and practice with it. If you want to compete in the shooting sports, you will have to follow all of their rules or become one of those gamers you appear to detest.
I get what your saying and that’s pretty much what I have in mind, it’s just that the presence of cheaters (which is how I perceive the gamers) just ruins it for me, I don’t expect to win, I‘d be happy to just not finish last, but that’s if I am beaten fairly, it’s why I rage quit all online multiplayer games in the late 90s or early 2000s, too many cheaters just spoiled it and I have not played a match since for the most part, it’s just no fun when some loud mouth Dutch kid using no clip, God mode, and an aim bot hip shoots you from across the map and through 5 buildings or someone decides to just spam the entire map with grenades, off topic but I see the guys exploiting every rule and showing up with $5,000 race guns to be the equivalent, it just ruins the game for everyone else and makes it uncompetitive. I would be fine finishing last against honest players but would be pissed if I finished second and lost out to some clown using a 10 inch ported barrel with a giant compensator, pop gun ammo, tuned internals, $1,000 optic, and mag well double the with of the gun, magazine speed rig and 20 mags. I don’t care where I finish just that it was fair.

As far as my pistol, I read the rules and as I understand it IDPA Carry Optics use the same rules as ESP except can have optics, and reading those rules it looks like I am good, I just won’t be able to use a mag well. Is my interpretation correct?

The only thing I’m still not clear on is if Polymer 80s are allowed.

I stand by what I said about magazines though, I think they should make a separate division for people in communist states that way they can just compete against eachother, I think that’s why USPSA created the limited 10 division. Then everyone else can use full magazines. It’s not a deal breaker, just stupid. What happens when commie land decrees only 5 rounds are allowed? Or 2? Are we all to limit ourselves the same way? What about 1? I can see it now, IDPA with flint locks. I see why they did it, it’s just the wrong way to go about it, most of us don’t live in communist states so why should we be subject to communist rules? Separate them in to their own division and the issue is solved.
 

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I stand by what I said about magazines though
I don't know the current details of USPSA or IDPA rules, or why they have a 10 round limit, or if a second mag is allowed or relevant there, but I will give you my perspective on mag limits for competition.

I put on an annual FAL shoot which is a rifle centric match, but with a pistol stage also. The pistol stage is always 8-12 steel plates, shot in a specific order, for the fastest time. The shooter is limited to 7 rounds in the first mag.

The 7 round limit in the first mag does two things. First it allows the 1911 guys to compete on an even playing field with the Glock crowd, but also it ensures a mag change to hit all the 8-12 targets for everyone. The ability to do a quick and efficient mag change while under pressure (in this case just the pressure of the clock running) is an important skill for all shooters. Even if your Glock or whatever holds 37 rounds, there could be 38 zombies that day, or you could miss one zombie 37 times due to stress. An efficient mag change is an important skill for self defense.
 

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These competitions will get you killed on the streets. I recommend taking a class with James Yeager.
These competitions are just that, games. They are not intended to train the shooter for real life situations and one would be foolish to think so. IDPA (I Don't Practice Anymore) was originally intended to be suited to give the shooter a more realistic experience as compared to self defense situations, as I understand it. What it's become, I have no idea, I never shot or cared about IDPA as I was more interested in the game, not any theoretical practical shooting situations.
 

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I’m considering getting in to competitive shooting, initially I considered cowboy action shooting, and I would still like to do that someday, but SASS has ridiculous unrealistic rules that anger me (can’t load more than 5 rounds even if there is not a safety issue, no reloading on the clock, can’t load more than 2 rounds in a shotgun, and no double action revolvers, even if they are period correct) and NCOWS is too far away (about 2 states away) so I have shifted my focus to modern shooting competitions however I seem to be having issues finding one that ”fits.”

I want a competition where I can get practice with my everyday carry pistol and use realistic scenarios, not gaming against race guns. However my EDC is/will be a (semi) “Gucci Glock,“ a Polymer 80 build I am working on, when I realized that the pistol I was building wouldn’t be bad in competition as well I started looking for one to compete in, that way I can get some practical trigger time and practice in with the new pistol while simultaneously having fun. Unfortunately though that build, like many modern carry guns, will include a red dot which makes finding a competitiin a challenge.

I was drawn to IDPA, which seemed like a perfect fit given what I want to achieve however a glance at their rules seems to indicate that they are iron sights only and still consider optics black magic, despite their popularity in everyday carry. Sure I could dismount the optic but then I would have to rezero, also since the optic would be on the pistol outside of competition it would make it less effective as a training tool. Also, for some strange reason IDPA seems to believe that everyone lives in California and can only have neutered 10 round magazines, I know why they did that, so people in communist states could compete, but it makes it less realistic for everyone else. Also I’m not sure if they allow Polymer 80s.

Was my interpretation of IDPA rules correct? If so, why don’t they create an optics division and a limited 10 division like USPSA to allow modern optics to be used without getting an advantage over the iron sight shooters and allow the people in communist states to compete against each other rather than limiting everyone else to 10 rounds?

Then there is USPSA, I would be able to compete there, however I would have to compete against race guns and it’s run more like a game than actual practical shooting.

So I’m not sure where to compete, nothing seems like a good fit, IDPA would be perfect but has to update their rules, and USPSA is unrealistic and too gamey.

Any suggestions?

The pistol I would be using is not a race gun, just an enhanced carry gun, compact frame, Trijicon suppressor height night sights, only light milling to the slide (it’s the Trybe slide that Optics Planet sells), a threaded flame fluted match barrel from Faxon in black nitride, an RMR cut, and it will eventually have an extended magazine release and an extended slide stop and a match trigger about 4.5 pounds (I don’t know which one yet, it will have a stock trigger at first, but flat), and a Holosun 507C or 509T (not sure which yet) red dot. I’m also considering a low profile magazine well, but I can remove that for competition. Other than that it will be fairly standard, just a Polymer 80 frame. I would like to use Magpul 21 round magazines for reloading, and a Magpul 15 round magazine in the pistol. (Or a 17 round magazine with an X Grip). Basically just a Glock 19 with a reshaped grip, forward and top serations and a few subtle window cuts with a trigger job and after market threaded barrel and night sights. Tuned, but not built specifically for competition.
You're mad sass has rules built around the SAA? Well I stopped reading
 

tac-40

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These competitions will get you killed on the streets. I recommend taking a class with James Yeager.
I agree and disagree with RJ. If you think that by competing, you will gain insight on handling real life scenarios, you would be mistaken. There were several reported instances, back in the day, that experienced competitive LEO's actually raised their hands in the surrender position before drawing their pistols and engaging the bad guys. That was the normal start position in many of the competitions. But, anything that has you practice operating your weapon, concentrating on accuracy, safety, operation (FTE, FTE, mag change, etc.) will make you a better marksman in the long run. So don't discount any sort of competition, sanctioned or otherwise. I also feel that attending any training courses from recognized instructors will be a benefit in your shooting skills along with situational awareness and what to do. Basic factor is the OODA Loop

Just remember this, gamers are not cheaters. They are the ones that know the rules and get the most out of them. Rules violations are always penalized and gamers make sure they don't violate any. You may not like them, but there is always somebody that does something outrageous or out of the norm just because the rules didn't say don't do it.
 

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You're mad sass has rules built around the SAA? Well I stopped reading
Yes, the Single Action Army was not the only handgun in the old west and was not even the most common, it was very popular, especially later in the era, but everything else together still outnumbered it. Hollywood has made it seem like it was more common than it was.

What about the Smith and Wesson Schofield or Number 3?

The Remington 1875?

The cartridge conversions?

The cap and balls?

The Webleys?

The Forhand and Wadsworths?

The Merwin and Hulbert?

Etc.

Many of those are allowed but the rules are centered on the Single Action Army.

For example, if I have an 1858 Remington cartridge conversion I can safely carry with all chambers loaded, but I am still limited to 5, why? Even if I used a non converted 1858 and competed against other cap and balls I am still limited to 5 even though it can safely load all chambers and was designed to be carried that way, why? Because the Single Action Army can only load 5 safely. How about reloading? Designs like the Smith and Wesson Schofield or Number 3, or the Merwin and Hulbert would have a clear advantage here. No reloading on most stages, why? Because the Single Action Army has a ridiculously time consuming reload and would be wiped out in competition against the better designed handguns that it actually had to compete with in real life in the actual old west. It just was not that good of a design, that’s why it was not as popular as hollywood shows, yet the rules are written around it.
 
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Let me make sure I understand this correctly.

It is not "fair" you have to compete against full custom race guns, because your semi-custom gun does not have that much capability.

And it is not "fair" to limit you to only 5 or 10 rounds, because your guns have more than that capability.

And it is not "fair" to follow "ridiculous unrealistic rules that anger me" (which ALL shooters must comply with), because you just want to "treat the competitions like partial training, I’ll build my skills as I have fun".

Seriously?
 

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......................


Just remember this, gamers are not cheaters. They are the ones that know the rules and get the most out of them. Rules violations are always penalized and gamers make sure they don't violate any. You may not like them, but there is always somebody that does something outrageous or out of the norm just because the rules didn't say don't do it.
Doing certain things correctly will gain penalties in USPSA..................makes it interesting, though.

................
 

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I think the OP is way over thinking this. It reminds me of paralysis through analysis of men who want to "game" women, but overanalyze everything and never really take action or make a move.

Get out there and compete, you really are worried about totally irrelevant and stupid stuff. Only through competing do you learn and evolve. Forget all this bullshit about Joe blow having a race gun or some guy that knows the rules better than you and so on. Compete with what you really carry and shoot in the real world. These competitions are training as they force you to think on your feet under the pressure of time and shoot and make quality shots.

At the club I usually shoot at, the guys that run the matches have the best guns, they also design the stages and set them up, know all the rules because they are also the safety officers and well, guess who wins the matches? They do! And guess what? Good for them. When I shoot I don't worry about time but making good hits and moving through the stage as fast as is tactically sound. As a result my accuracy is usually some of the best of the match but my slower times put me in the bottom half and that is fine by me.

I think you have to assess what you really want out of it. I have a NRA national championship from smallbore rifle. It required that I dedicate 3 years of my life to it, shoot five days a week, several hours a day and compete in two dozen plus matches a year. I could have continued into college and had some good offers on the table but looking back I burned myself out. Now I do matches for fun and enjoy it. If you want to be the IDPA or USPSA bad ass champion then you will have to put the long hours into it and the money and energy. You have to assess how committed you are and to what level you want to be. Even if I wanted to be champion of my club I'd have to put the hours in and get heavily involved. Not interested, been there done it.

IDPA is more about fairness and is more rules based and focused on concealed carry. I did it for a number of years, no big interest in it anymore.

USPSA is more open but has funky scoring and stuff and honestly when I compete in matches about all I know is the basic safety stuff and that's it. All this stuff about major or minor factor or this class or that class, I have no idea. I turn up, pay my money, they tell me what class my gun is in and OK.

Steel Challenge I think is fun, just straight up shooting and hitting stuff.

I looked into 3 Gun but personally it's just too much shit to carry around. If my club goes 2 Gun I might consider it. I'm like the Forgotten Weapons guy, I'd use the 2 Gun match to compete with interesting gun combos.

Pick something, start competing, you will learn from there what works or what does not.
 
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