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Competition Pistol, What you look for

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by Hamburger, Feb 24, 2012.

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  1. Hamburger

    Hamburger Member

    Feb 10, 2011
    Just curious as to what competition shooters look for in a semi auto pistol.

    I've shot a decent range of pistols. Not sure which I would like to use when getting into the shooting sport. Do you look for:

    Trigger feel
    Low Bore Axis

    I'm guessing is a combination of these in the order of your preferance plus whatever else I could not think of.

    Please tell me what pistol you use and why you chose that one.
  2. mbopp

    mbopp Member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Upstate NY
    Depends what you're shooting - bullseye, IDPA, USPSA, Steel Challenge, 3-gun, cowboy ect.
  3. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

    Oct 17, 2003
    Clemson, SC
    Yep.... you gear will be very much driven by what sport/division you decide to shoot.
  4. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

    Jan 10, 2010
    Northwest Coast
    I think that depends on whether you are just starting out as a novice competition shooter or top rank national competitors as sponsorship may dictate what pistol models they compete with. When I started shooting USPSA 17 years ago, just about all the seasoned regional level match shooters used 1911 platforms but local beginners like me used everything from stock Beretta 92F/FS, Sig 226, CZ75 to modified 1911s with trigger jobs (I started out with a modified Norinco 1911 and Sig 226).

    If you are looking at stock factory/production level pistols with minimal modifications, since double-taps and fast stage times are the "core" of USPSA match scoring that trump Bullseye match level accuracy, factory pistols with faster/shorter trigger reset would outscore pistols with slower/longer trigger reset simply based on the fact that slower stage times will heavily penalize stage scores.

    We used to do pistol comparisons on some match practice days where we brought various pistols we had to run the same match stages to see how they compared. I was never a fan of Glocks with their "plastic/polymer" frames that felt "cheap" until I compared my Sig 226 with a Glock 17 I have never shot before. After running the match stage, I got comparable double taps with faster stage time with Glock 17. I couldn't believe it as I was quite proficient with the Sig 226 and ran the match stage again with the same results. Over several practice days, I got to run the match stages with over 35 different pistols (Berettas, HKs, Sigs, CZs, Rugers, Hi-Power/clones, etc.) and always got the fastest stage times with Glocks with comparable double-taps. YMMV

    Holes on target speak volumes, especially with fast stage times.

    On a dare from a RO who taught SWAT/PD/SD and also ran USPSA matches, I bought two factory stock Glock 22s to compete in local USPSA Limited division and shot almost 80 percentile ranking using no modifications.

    In recent years, I have purchased M&P40/45 and performed trigger jobs on them as factory 7 lb+ triggers and longer reset don't help with double-taps (Thank goodness S&W finally "fixed" the M&P triggers on new models ;)). Now with 4-4.5 lb triggers and shorter reset, I can produce very accurate and fast double-taps with much improved ergonomics than Glocks. With Glocks, I need to shift my grip/reach for the mag/slide releases but M&Ps have them right where they should be and they are easier to operate. Also, the coated metal M&P magazines always positively drop free while the metal-lined polymer Glocks magazines require a courtesy "wrist flick" to ensure they are flung free from the mag well. :D

    Lately, I have been carrying a Glock 27 with Pearce +1 magazine base and found myself doing more range practice than my G22. I am at the point where I can produce comparable double-taps as G22 at 7-10-15 yards and thinking about using the G27 to run matches with but I am also growing very fond of Sig 1911 TacPac as it has been very accurate and takes me back to my early match shooting days (Ahhhh, memories). So who knows what my next match pistol may be.

    - I would recommend you handle as many pistols as you can and dry fire while watching the front sight as you pull the trigger. Does the front sight move and how much? I would note the pistols/models that did not move the front sight or moved the front sight minimally for the range test.

    - I would also conduct draw-and-point at target from the holster you plan to use for match shooting and see which pistol produces the most consistent POA on target from draw.

    - During range test, I would also compare POA/POI of each pistol at typical match distances of 7-10-15 yards at which most targets are set at.

    - Place two 8x11 copy paper targets on the cardboard backing with one target about 4" lower than other and shoot single shot/double taps target-to-target as fast as you can shoot accurately so you have to reacquire the POA with each shot/double-tap while taping up the holes after each set of shots/double taps. BTW, this is a good range practice for match shooting and you can work up to using half sheet of 8x11 copy paper targets as they represent smaller than "Alpha" target zone of USPSA match targets.

    - If you can, talk to club/match coordinators/staff/members to see if you can do comparison range tests by actually running the match stages with test pistols after the match or during practice range days (offering to help with stage setup/clean up may "facilitate" this request) ;). Many shooters may even offer to let you try their pistols for your comparison tests or you can see if a "comparison range day" can be setup.

    Hopefully in the end, you will be mated to a factory pistol you can accurately shoot fast consistently or modify the pistol to your liking as allowable in the match division you are competing in.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  5. Hoser

    Hoser Moderator

    Dec 29, 2002
    First things first, it needs to run 100%.
  6. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

    Sep 19, 2010
    California Coast
  7. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 28, 2005
    Lewisberry, PA
    You really need to state which style of competition to get a decent answer.
  8. hax

    hax Member

    Sep 10, 2011
    It depends on how much money you have lol

    Really just depends on the competition and category. I recommend you go to a few comps in your area and just shoot what you have or just go to browse and shoot other people's guns and learn rules.

    Just in uspsa there are a bunch of different categories. Production, limited, open, revolver, limited 10, single stack and I'm probably missing one.

    Quick and not a lot of info and not all the rules

    There's a lot of different factory guns people use from glocks to cz's

    Mainly going to be a 2011 in a 40s&w

    Sky's the limit though most people go with a tricked out 2011 with comp and red dot in either 9major, 38super, 38super comp

    Not to sure what would be good

    Single stack
    All must shoot 1911

    Limited 10
    Not sure

    Here's the rules http://www.uspsa.org/rules/2010HandgunRulesProof3web.pdf

    Now remember there are a lot of different competitions and dependent to where you live (if you have mag restrictions) the rules can change a bit. So I advise you to find events in your area and visit them before you buy your stuff because you might set up your pistol for limited(uspsa) and find out there is only idpa competitions in your area

    Go ahead and go to the comps most shooters are more than welcome to spread the sport and let you shoot their blasters. You might even start shooting one division and decide you like another and switch(many people do)

  9. Jed Carter

    Jed Carter Member

    Oct 19, 2008
    For my first USPSA pistol I chose a Glock G34. Ease of use, consistant trigger, low bore axis, long sight radius, cheap sturdy magazines, very easy to work on and readily available parts and upgrades. It just seemed to me to be a good place to start. Shoots great, totally dependable, still my go to Production Division pidtol. I had several other pistols, SIGs, Beretta, S&W, CZ, but no Glocks, I own 4 now, including the G34 and a G35 that I have modified for Limited/Limited 10 Division.
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