Might be running my first USPSA match Sunday


November 9, 2012, 09:33 PM
Any tips? I'll be shooting my Glock 26, which is unfortunate because I have very limited trigger time on this gun (approximately 100 rounds). I know, probably not good for a carry piece, but time just hasn't been on my side, haha.

Anyway, my buddy is going to let me borrow some of his G17 mags. Hopefully I'll be able to get a few rounds downrange tomorrow before the match on Sunday. I'm planning on taking it slow since (1) this will be my first match, (2) I want to focus on accuracy over speed, and (3) I don't have any mag holders or even a holster suited for USPSA shooting.

Anyway, any advice?

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November 9, 2012, 09:55 PM
You asked for tips so here goes. This may seem overwhelming, so ask for help and guidance soon as you arrive at the range. If your group is like mine, they will be glad to help you have a safe and fun time.

A few tips in no particular order:

Your idea of accuracy over speed is a good strategy, but consider that in USPSA safe gun handling always trumps accuracy and speed...

When you pre-register, ask the Match Director to squad you up with an experienced competitor. This will make your experience that much more safe and enjoyable. There should be a posted copy of each stage's plan and instructions posted in a prominent place...examine these "match copies" to get a sense of what lies ahead. Find you squad mates and stick with them. Do what the others in your squad do, including taking time to familiarize yourself with the stage during the walk-through inspection. You will eventually get a sense of the rythm of the game, and will be ready when your name is called out in the squad's shooting order.

If you bring 300 rounds, you should have enough to see you through most local level matches.

Bring water and lunch, basic gun mtce kit, hat & sunscreen, sturdy hikers, insect repellent, reliable gun & ammo, mags & pouches (if you have them), holster, gun belt, clothes for a change in the weather.

Always know where you scorecards are (you will be given one per stage when you register), have your info (name, shooter #, stage #, division) written down on all of them in advance. Be ready to hand the corresponding scorecard to your squad's shooting order coordinator soon as you arrive at a new stage.

Unless you are next up in the shooting order, or have just shot and your targets are being scored, or are reloading your mags after you've shot, you will be expected to patch targets or reset steel poppers. When everyone pulls their weight, things go smoothly and people are not exhausted at day's end.

At each stage you will often be expected to draw at the start signal, then engage multiple targets while you are moving through or past various physical and visual obstacles. There is a lot going on, even though only one person per squad shoots at a time.

You will see experienced competitors shooting accurately while moving blazingly fast, reloading on the run, arriving at a shooting position ready to shoot, clearing stoppages in the blink of an eye, etc. Looking at youtube videos is a good way to get a sense of the game before you show up at the range - you've probably already done that.

Things go blazingly fast and all the while competitors keep their muzzle pointed in a safe direction and their finger off the trigger unless there's a target in the gun sights. In USPSA you can usually engage targets off to the side so long as you don't "break 90"; this 90 degree business is a very important safety -and strategy- concept to know.

The safety rules are actually much more nuanced and complex so you should read the rulebook, esp. that which deals with disqualifications for unsafe gun handling:

For example, if you draw or load your gun at any time unless ordered to do so by the RO, you will be stopped and disqualified. Ask about the safety area(s), which is the only approved location in which to uncase and holster your unloaded gun without an RO being there...just don't handle ammo boxes, loose ammo or loaded mags while in the safety area. if you fumble your gun while shooting a stage, you will be stopped and disqualified. If you sweep any part of your body, you will be stopped and disqualified. The rules are on the USPSA site.

Have fun.

p.s. Don't show up at the last minute; an hour before the match start is a good strategy. Stick around after the match to help tear the stage down and carry the props into storage. Doing so will earn you the respect of the regulars, even if you came in dead last in the scoring.

You must use a hip holster (strong side), but it doesn't have to be competition specific so long as it safely covers the trigger. Mag pouches are essential but the Match Director may let you carry mags in your pocket. Many competitors carry 5 to 6 mags, but you could probably squeak by many stages with 3 or 4. Anyhow, you will not win or even place well, so giving the game a try with the gear you have is what's most important. Don't worry about not having the 'best' gear, just be safe and have fun.

pps: Be familiar with the official USPSA range commands. When you are called to the line, the RO (Range Officer) will instruct you using these very commands. They're explained in the online rulebook.

November 9, 2012, 10:02 PM
Oh yea, will definitely focus on safe gun handling. Luckily I've been shooting safely for so many years that its pretty much second nature. Of course, that's no reason to be complacent, especially since they have nuanced safety rules. I'll still be focusing on safety. I'm planning on reading the rulebook tomorrow.

November 9, 2012, 10:55 PM
Be prepared to have a heck of a lot of fun.

Hk Dan
November 10, 2012, 10:01 PM
Expect the following:

1) Not to recall your first stage. It will be a blur of sight pictures and shots breaking. I couldnt recall one sight picture after my first stage, and I shot all As.

2) After the match, every time you close your eyes you will see the back of the gun, bucking in recoil, and another shot breaking. This is how you know you are hooked...LOL

3) Your practices will have changed. Shooting groups on static targets will be like watching paint dry. No, more properly, it will be like watching dry paint fade. You will have to have a plan, have to work certain skills, and have to have a way to guage improvemnt.

Welcome aboard bud. You'll be dipping your teo in a mighty deep pond tomorrow,


November 11, 2012, 02:28 AM
Well, as it turns out my schedule changed and I'm unable to go to the match. Might be a good thing, because I went to the range today and decided my Glock 26 just won't work for me. I was only hitting 50% or less at about 15 yards (metal targets). The sight radius just plain sucks, haha.

Hk Dan
November 11, 2012, 08:52 PM
LOL--Yah, you didnt see Sevigny shooting one in a match did ya? Look at a G17 or even a G34. With either of those you'll be "state of the art" for a long time in USPSA.

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