USPSA Limited gun, what are you using?


August 12, 2005, 10:09 PM
I am using a lightly tuned Para P14 basic gun. Like the gun, shoot it well too, but it is getting tired and when compared to the higher capacity guns with refined sight systems there are some stages where the Para is a real disadvantage. I have an STI custom gun on order from a known smith, but I am just curious what everyone else is using or has used.

Lightened slides? Modifications? Sights? Just looking for a general discussion of likes and dislikes about current or previous blasters to help pass the time waiting for my dream gun to come in.

If you enjoyed reading about "USPSA Limited gun, what are you using?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
August 12, 2005, 11:58 PM
I shot a para 38 super in open and a para p14 Limited in Limited.
In the last year I went to an SVI open, and so I just went to an SVI long dust cover bull barrel 40 for limited. That way the grips are identical and I can just switch from one to the other if I feel like shooting Limited or am shooting in a limited only match with no difference in feel. No big thing on the mods, just their triglide trigger system, short flat trigger, fiber optic front sight. I'd have really liked to get the sight tracker model.
I completely agree with you on the capacity disadvantage of the para vs the SVI and STIs, got something like a max of 16 in the para mags, and can stuff 20 rounds of 40 in an SVI tube with the right basepad, follower, spring combo.
You've just got no margin of error with the p14 if you arent reloading early and often. And the para mags just don't seem to hold up over years of dropping them on all sorts of surfaces.
P14 is a great gun for the money, but the SVI is a huge upgrade.

Chris Rhines
August 13, 2005, 08:20 AM
Mine's a Glock 35.

Mods are Dawson 0.100" fiber-optic sights, Bar-Sto gunsmith fit barrel, 1-3/4# trigger from Charlie Vanek, 15# ISMI recoil spring (2 coils clipped) on a T.H.E. stainless guide rod, T.H.E. aluminum magwell epoxied into the frame, Tru-Grip grip tape, factory extended mag release, factory standard slide latch.

Magazines are factory tubes, factory #5 followers, Dawson +5 floorplates, and ISMI 170mm springs, for a reloadable 20 round capacity.

Ammo is 180grn. Montana Gold TMC bullets, assorted range pickup brass, 4.5 of Titegroup, and Federal small pistol primers. Just makes major from my barrel.


My philosophy on Limited guns is to make them bombproof reliable, as simple as possible, and to take every round of capacity you can get. I like Glocks for the simplicity and reliability aspects, and for the loose tolerances that let them keep running without a lot of mid-match PM.

- Chris

August 13, 2005, 09:35 AM
My son (a Junior shooter) and I both are shooting a P16-40. With the Dawson base pads we get 18 to 20 rounds in each mag, depending on which mag spring is in the tube. I went with the P16 because of cost (2 guns) and have been very happy with them. So far we can't outshoot the firearm (C class). Compared to the STI's there is more muzzel flip but there are some A class guys shooting these guns so we figure untill we get there with the A guys these will do just fine. I paid 1K for each gun but each included a full IPSC safariland rig, 4 mags and tuning/trigger jobs. So...two complete uspsa setups for the cost of one higher end rig. If I had to do it over again...I'd do exactly the same thing!

August 13, 2005, 12:13 PM
I have two almost identical STIs. They were built by a local gunsmith, chromed by Tripp and the grip work is by me. I use SV tubes with grams guts, but STI mags/tubes work just as well.

The slides have been lightened inside to the same weight as a standard "Classic" cut slide. Most of the meat came from behind the breechface and under the rear sight.

I use Krebs/Brazos thumbshields, Baer ambi safetys, Koenig hammer and EGW sears. The grip safety is disabled.

This one has Bo-Mars, the other has Heinie fixed. The Bo-Mars have been welded up and recut to give an identical sight picture to the Heinie. The front sights are .100 wide with no fiber optic.

model 649
August 13, 2005, 04:37 PM
I have two guns that I use (both limited class), an 80 series stainless Commander (that is really tuned in to my hand), and an S&W 745. the Colt is shot with wilson 10 rounders, so I start with 11. That little dog will hunt. I have taken third twice with it (and thats really something for me!). I have found that the Smith does really well shooting one-handed. I don't understand it but, I shot three matches this morning and it was quite a revelation. I dropped it off on the way home for some trigger work as the 6 lb+ pull made my finger sore :( .
lovin' the game in Livonia

August 13, 2005, 04:59 PM
(Master) Matt Joe Esq.,

I can get 18 or 19 40 S&W into my Para P-16 with the Dawson pads.

I noticed that you didn't mention that you shot your SVI into Open Master, so I will!



August 14, 2005, 09:11 AM
Babalouie, that is great that you and your son shoot together. There are a couple father/son teams at my local matches and I am jealous. Hopefully in a few years my son or daughters will want to participate, my son is only 6 so I don't push him too hard to get his draw time down :-)

I thought long and hard about buying a P16 and customizing it but for what I want it wouldn't have saved me much if any money. When you really start looking at the top smiths and all the different guns you can get the decision gets really hard, the selection is mind boggling. I have shot Para guns for 15 years, shoot them well and like the feel but I shot a full custom STI and really like it too so I went that way. Magazines for the STI are better quality too IMO, and that was a factor. My Para is getting tired, so it was time for a new gun anyway.

I just started shooting USPSA back in March, was instantly addicted with no hope of recovery that I can see. I don't know much, but the local gang have been amazing helping me out and dragging me along. I have been shooting high in C to middle of B class overall with the Para in the last couple local matches and feel pretty good about it as a newbie. The gun is capable of taking me further, but I wanted to continue trying to get better with equipment that a world class shooter would use. That should take the equipment out of question, level the playing field as far as sight systems, capacity, accuracy, and put any chance of blame for lack of performance squarely on me. I would also like to start practicing, up till now I have not been able to do any practicing. I am hoping that with some good practice and top notch equipment I can shoot a few good matches and keep having as much fun with a handgun as is humanly possible.

Thanks to all for the posts. Keep them coming!!

August 14, 2005, 07:18 PM
I use a 6" STI Fat Free .40 by Triangle Shooting Sports (bottom row, pimp grip) and my wife uses a 5" STI .40, also by Triangle (bottom row, red grip).


August 14, 2005, 08:51 PM
Aww thanks John
Next stop... GM
may take me a while though.

August 14, 2005, 10:30 PM
Dang, looks like I ordered a girls gun. Doesn't bother me though. I have ordered the same gun Wakal's wife shoots, but in a 'fat free' version. Short frame, classic slide but also lightened slide, trimmed everywhere there is something to trim. Red grip even. I don't mind recoil, hate weight though....

Alex, tell her she has great taste in blasters!!!! How is your fat free 6" working out for you? Was a tough decision for me not to go with the extra sight radius and 5" weight and handling.

EDIT: That is some stable of custom pistols Alex, WOW!!!!!

August 14, 2005, 11:32 PM
When I was shooting Limited, I used one of Benny's Fat Free six inch guns. On the rare occasion when I shoot Limited I use my L10 single stack. There is nothing wrong with going to the line with the best equipment in the world, but the fact is Limited Grand Master is within reach of a pretty much stock Glock G35 (Sevigny) a Para (Todd Jarret), a Springfield (Leatham), etc....

August 15, 2005, 09:06 PM
Ankeny, I agree with you that grand master is possible with less polished equipment. There were a couple things about my Para that are somewhat of a handicap. Capacity is only a factor on some stages, sometimes you get a 'free' reload between positions but on a 16-18 round 'stand and shoot' type of stage it is a big handicap. Accuracy is a big one, my Para is a 3-4" gun at 25 yards these days. On tight targets that just doesn't cut it when I add another 2-3" to that. My Para has the stock fixed 3 dot sights, and is in full hard chrome. On tight targets there have been plenty of times when the front sight completely obscures the target area, not a good situation as you end up in a 'poke and hope' shot. The quotes I have gotten to put a more suitable set of sights on it would buy me a production gun and quite honestly this gun isn't worth it. Durability is another issue, I won't argue with anyone about it but my last couple Para's didn't hold up as well as I think they should. Don't get me wrong, my Para has been a great gun and I have gotten some miles out of it.

So, I cut a check, a LARGE check. All of the things I don't like about my Para should be addressed. By all accounts I have been able to come up with the STI when built by a quality smith is extremely durable too. Some of the round counts I have heard are amazing.

I don't expect a new blaster to work wonders, and I don't expect to see much if any gain by using it. What I expect is to have a really nice, accurate, shootable gun that will take me where my natural ability combined with hard work should take me. I have had a chance to shoot with some really good shooters, one in particular is a Master closing in on GM and shoots a stock G17. I don't care what you hand him and give me the 'best' gun in the world, as long as his gun runs right he would absolutely thrash me. He very much proves the point that equipment is far less of a factor than the guy on the handle. I still can't help but be excited to get the new gun though....

August 15, 2005, 10:43 PM
Good equipment will help a lower-level shooter more than it will help a higher-level shooter...a bit of conventional wisdom that my club tests now and then, running drills with each other's guns. A hot shooter will run just about as well with most anything (a Master class shooter using a Bersa on a run and gun stage two months ago...smoked guys with "real" guns :lol: ), but a average shooter with a good gun usually has slightly better scores.

You can't buy performance, but you can help it a wee bit :)

I won that 6" gun; used to shoot a P14. I didn't much care for it...until I shot it the first time. I switched from the P14 to the 6" STI, and I noticed an immediate 10% increase (from a high C to a low B). I thought it was just me, until our stats guy won a 5" STI and replaced his P14. Same 10% jump; very odd. I'm a high A pushing for his M-card now, but see no reason to handicap myself with equipment ;)

I like the longer sight radius, but can shoot my wife's red gun just as well. It "corners" a bit faster, but not by much. When I was putting those pimp grips on my Open and Limited guns this last weekend, I noticed that my Limited (Hill) and Open (Bedell) guns were almost exactly the same length and weight. Which goes a bit to explaining why I liked the Bedell Shorty from the first one I picked up...I just didn't realize (overtly) what was going on :)

Benny Hill is one of the best smiths...and shooter (expecially 3-Gun) around. I think you made an excellent choice...and were I buying a new Limited gun today, I'd probably go with the 5" gun just so when I went back overseas I could play IPSC :D


but the fact is Limited Grand Master is within reach of a pretty much stock Glock G35 (Sevigny) a Para (Todd Jarret), a Springfield (Leatham), etc....

Come on, Ron, you know better than that. Dave uses a pretty close to stock Glock, but Todd's Para is anything but stock...and TGO's Springfield isn't even a catalog item! Although if it were, we would probably see a lot of widebody 6" radically lightened Springfields in people's hands (the extra round or two over the STI alone would be...interesting...). Alas, however, it is not to be.


August 15, 2005, 11:27 PM
When I shot limited..I got my M card with a heavy gun..I had an STI longdustcover gun with a full slide and a tungsten sleeved barrel. real soft shooting..didn't really notice any loss in the transitions...

my last limited gun was another STI..but just standard frame with standard slide and a bull barrel..nothing really trick..

if I thought about getting back into Limited..not sure what I would do or have built..

Zak Smith
August 16, 2005, 01:51 AM ( [ link to LARGER image ] (

SV 40

August 18, 2005, 09:04 PM
Thanks to everyone that replied!

August 19, 2005, 11:17 AM
I haven't shot much USPSA, and I'm on a budget, so I don't even have a limited gun.

But I've got to say that this thread makes me green with envy. :D Man, those are some nice guns. I really need to get a limited type gun, just to use in 3gun. (use a poly Kimber .45, so 14+1, but it has been a great gun, and has held up really well).

Okay, quick but probably stupid question. STI vs. SVI. I notice SVI is pricier, but I can't really tell what you are gaining other than more options. Also what mods do you guys think are must haves? I hear lots of talk about lightening the slide. I really like the look of the Krebs thumbshield also. My gun has no finish left there from my thumb rubbing on it.

I'm guessing that having a custom ST type limited gun built up, you're looking at what, about $1,500-$2000?

August 19, 2005, 12:30 PM

August 19, 2005, 02:21 PM
I shoot a P14.45, customized by Mike Caylor of Caylor Custom Guns. Before Mike did his thing I had a lot of stoppages. He put on a Bomar rear sight and Dawson fiber on the front, refinished the whole gun in black Teflon; melted the rear sight into the slide; stippled the grips; did a reliability package; replaced the trigger, hammer, sear, and disconnect; and did a trigger job. I couldn't be happier with it. No stoppages since I got it back.

I also shoot a G35 straight out of the box. No stoppages here either!

August 19, 2005, 03:45 PM
Okay, quick but probably stupid question. STI vs. SVI. I notice SVI is pricier, but I can't really tell what you are gaining other than more options. Also what mods do you guys think are must haves? I hear lots of talk about lightening the slide. I really like the look of the Krebs thumbshield also. My gun has no finish left there from my thumb rubbing on it.

I'm guessing that having a custom ST type limited gun built up, you're looking at what, about $1,500-$2000?
SV makes their stuff pretty and spends a fortune on R&D. I own and have owned many.

STI makes their stuff functional and less pretty. I own more STIs than any other.

The rationale of light slides is less moving mass. When the power factor was 175 and most shot 180-183, the wide long dustcovers and unique cut slides helped. Now days with the watered-down PF, they are mostly there for looks. I like the looks of the wide long.

The thumbshield is good for me. I have skinny fingers and I get waaaay to close to the slide. When shooting angry/stressed, my thumb has slowed the slide enough to induce a jam.

A box stock STI Edge or Eagle is ready to go right out of the box. There arent many must haves out there. Most are just stuff that you spend $$$ on and dont buy you any points.

August 19, 2005, 04:06 PM
To add to what Hoser said...STI has excellent customer service. As Art's Grandma says "...if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all, ya punk!"

So I won't comment on SVI or their barrel boy, Wil Schuemann.

Did I mention that STI has excellent customer service?


STI and SVI are built on the same patent. The differences are the modular breechface on the SV slides, the SV "triglide" trigger (neat stuff there, and it fits right in a STI frame), and a slightly different design (and better polish ;) )on the SV magazine bodies. STI has started doing a neat surface hardening/polishing trick with their magazines, though, and so they are a cool (and very smooth) gray colour now.


Zak Smith
August 19, 2005, 06:40 PM
I had an issue with my SV which was resolved in days, including shipping.

August 19, 2005, 07:10 PM
Correia, I have done a lot of pricing lately prior to picking the smith to build mine. Prices for a competitive Limited gun on an STI or SVI range from about $1750ish for a stock Edge from STI to just north of $3000 for some of the ultra cool blasters from the biggest name smiths. Wait times for a custom gun are also a bit shocking, some being as low as 3 months and some being as long as a year and a half!!!!!!

$1750ish for a stock Edge and you have it by the end of next week, or $500+ more for a full custom and wait 3 months or more. THAT was the hardest part for me, I want it NOW!!!!!! In the end I went with a custom gun. For that extra $500+ I got all of the best parts on the market, every single part was selected for quality and durability. Those parts are being massaged and fitted by a master of his art, as well as the slide-to-frame and barrel fitting. The logic that I used was 'I can handle paying someone that is really really good at what he does another $500+ over the cost of an Edge for upgrading almost every piece and hand fitting them, and I can handle giving him a few weeks to get that done'.

Oh, and with a stock Edge you get ONE magazine. With most custom guns you get NONE, so you will have to buy them too. Stock mags are about $50 each, tuned mags with all the best parts in them (the best according to who you are buying them from) run $100 and up each.

No one said it would be cheap when I started, and it sure is fun, but it will be a LONG time before I plop down that kind of money on a handgun again.

August 20, 2005, 01:25 AM

I said pretty much stock Glock... The "stock" remark was only meant to be applied to the Glock, not the other pistols. I know TGO and Todd don't shoot off the shelf guns.

Still, I think everyone knows a GM card can be had with a stock Para P-14, fat Springer, etc. with the only changes being sights, grip tape, and a decent trigger.

Having said that, I like nice guns. If I were buying a new Limited gun I would love to have a Brazos, Kodiak, etc. But the fact is, I could get a Dawson Para and be good to go.

Zak Smith
August 20, 2005, 06:41 PM
My SV (pictured) was right around $2000, but did take quite a while to get done.

It's not that hard to build an SV/STI-- I suggesting getting a frame kit and having someone competent build it.


August 23, 2005, 03:07 PM
I use a Para P-16 Limited. I've got Dawson basepads that adds four rounds to the 16 that the mag normally holds plus one in the tube. The guns is extremely reliable with my simple handloads and is easily accurate enough. I've been shooting this gun for six years now and I put about 2000 rounds a year through it.

I think I paid like $650 for back then and I always felt like I got my money's worth.

3 gun
August 24, 2005, 05:51 AM
I shoot a bone stock Para P-16 with Para +2 bases. Well, maybe not bone stock. I have had to replace a few bits and pieces that have broken over the years. For the 12k rounds or more that have gone thru the thing the list is very small. Mag release, bushing, springs, slide stop and sight screws, grand total of about $70 max. Having a custom pistol would be nice but I know my gun is better than I am. I spend my extra $$ on ammo and range fees.

August 24, 2005, 01:10 PM
Another Para 16-40 Limited here. S&A Magwell, Dawson FO front sight (green), STI mag release. 6 Para mags, 2 STI mags all with Dawson +2 pads. A bit of grip tape for good measure.
Drawing from UM belt holster and Fobus double mag pouches.

Having fun and burning a good bit of ammo.

August 31, 2005, 10:16 PM

SV standard frame
STI 6" slide
Schuemann bushing barrel

Dawson-tuned STI tubes, Grams spring/follower kits, Dawson +1 pads (in super-stylish discontinued purple); 19 rounds, reloadable

courtesy of BrianH at

Zak Smith
August 31, 2005, 11:39 PM
Hoser, if you ever want to get rid of one of those limited guns, I can provide a good home. :D


I've been tempted by the long slide, but never tried one. How do you like it?

September 1, 2005, 08:11 AM
Monster, that is one DEAD SEXY longslide!!!!

Island Beretta
September 1, 2005, 09:44 AM
guys, seeing these pictures of these guns make me believe I don't have a gun..

Seriously though equipment helps.. I have shot a tuned g35 (KKM barrel, trigger change, magwell, striker parts change) and a STI Edge and believe me my performance was way better with the STI.. and I had considerably less trigger time with the STI.. it was easier to time the gun, the gun resettled quickly, the gun has better balance etc. etc. - I consoled myself with the difference in price..but still big difference in performance..

it is going to affect you psychologically knowing that you are not giving yourself the best chance..

September 1, 2005, 10:55 PM
The longslide is definitely nice, but I'm not sure it offers a real, objective advantage over a 5". It does let you have a soft shooting gun at a lighter overall weight, partially by needing less powder to make power factor and partially by shifting the weight distribution forward. I think, though, that the longer overall length might make it a bit squirrely in recoil if you have a loose grip, since that far-forward weight has greater leverage. Oh, and reassembling the guide rod sucks ;)

Zak, you (or anyone else) are welcome to shoot it any time you make it down to an Aurora match. I just "volunteered" to be on the board so I'll be there every time, bright and early :cool:

Zak Smith
September 1, 2005, 11:06 PM
Good idea. I need to start shooting IPSC matches again.

September 2, 2005, 03:34 PM
A properly set up 6" competition gun uses a 5" guide rod and has the slightly lighter slide than a factory 5" gun ;)


September 6, 2005, 12:34 AM
Dawson Edge.

September 7, 2005, 12:32 PM
While equipment doesn't make all that much difference for GMs it made a huge difference for me. I shot production last year with a bone stock XD40. This spring I bought a tricked out XD9. My times and scores have improved considerably!! I won't credit it all to the new gun because I have been a lot better about practicing this year. Bottom line is equipment can make a difference. I won't be shooting limited for a while, but I am planning on shooting a XD40 in Limited 10 next summer.

Guy B. Meredith
September 7, 2005, 03:18 PM
PC 627 V-Comp, 686+ with moonclips depending on my mood. The M66 with the new moonclip conversion will probably be getting some use on my return from competition haitus.

September 7, 2005, 07:22 PM
Sturmruger - I'd bet even money that the main equipment related difference you experienced was from the XD9 being 9mm, versus the XD40. Shooting about 135-140 pf is a breeze after 165-170.

I've been shooting L10 with full-power .45 loads, and I know I need to get my damn press set up for some reduced loads, or simply switch to .40. Hell, I'm running upwards of 195 pf, and only need to go 165.

September 7, 2005, 10:44 PM
a P-14 and then a P-16. Now I have a long-slide SVI Sight-Tracker in, of course, .40 S&W. It's fun seeing the fiber optic sight waaaay out front! ;)

September 7, 2005, 10:55 PM
Morgan I am sure that is a large part of the equation as well. The largest difference in my opinion is the sub 2 lb trigger I have on my XD9! It is one of the best non 1911 trigger I have ever felt. The lower power factor is really nice. I had to shoot a G35 a few weeks ago and noticed a hug difference in my splits.

If you enjoyed reading about "USPSA Limited gun, what are you using?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!