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USPSA vs IDPA

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by Good Ol' Boy, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    This thread is not meant to cause a storm. I know many here have shot both and I'm interested in hearing opinions on which you prefer.

    This video is just one example of an opinion online in a sea of opinions, although I see some valuable points if they are true.






    I really don't have the time nor finances to shoot both so I'm wondering again, what your opinions are. The other issue is although USPSA appeals to me more I haven't found anyone local that runs training or comps. IDPA can be found everywhere around here.


    Lets keep it civil, and thanks in advance.
     
  2. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm going to move this thread to Competition Shooting.
     
  3. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    I'm open to shooting whichever fits my schedule/finances. It's all gun games in fun.

    If one or the other eventually welcomes my carry kit (AIWB with a WML) I might become a little less organization agnostic.
     
  4. leadaddict

    leadaddict Member

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    Interesting take. I actually think his second point (concerning difficulty) carries more weight than the first (concerning stage planning), which he spent most of his time on.

    I think the IDPA argument against the USPSA style of stage planning is that it encourages bad planning rather than forcing good tactics. Yes, you plan the stage in USPSA, but you're planning it to shoot quickly with no concern for getting shot. I'll be the fist to say that IDPA encourages some bad tactics as well, but it does force some good ones. I've shot both and currently shoot more IDPA because the match times and locations work out better for me. I'd actually prefer USPSA if all else were equal.

    I think USPSA's strength is in the greater round count (including magazine capacity) and the diversity of the stages (including difficulty). In my limited experience, USPSA shooters, as a whole, tend to be better "shooters". However, better "defensive shooters"? I'll not venture an answer to that! ;) They are both fun games with slightly different priorities. Be safe and enjoy!
     
  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I have shot more IDPA because that is what was most convenient for me and made it to Master class in every division that existed when a series of rule changes kind of burned me out. I have shot quite a bit of USPSA as well mostly limited and open but some production as well.

    They are both games and I don't see things one does in either game except general gun handling as being beneficial to SD. There is a muscle memory that occurs by doing things thousands of times over and over to the point they seem to become automatic.

    That said with either you will be better off than keeping your gun in a box.
     
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  6. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    I've been an IDPA Match Director for about a decade now, and my club hosts both IDPA and USPSA shoots each month. I'm certainly not going to come out with a definitive "answer" to any question so nebulous as to which sport is better for defensive shooting, or produces better defensive shooters. The truth is probably about like this:

    ----> Self Defense
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    ----> IDPA
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    ----> USPSA

    I've tried fairly hard over these years to take what I've learned about self defense principles, both legal and tactical, and simply practical matters about how violent predators and victims/defenders really operate in the split-second altercations they interact in, and apply those things to writing good IDPA stages. It is EXCEEDINGLY difficult.

    About the closest I ever got was a stage description that instructed:
    "At the signal the shooter shall retreat from P1 toward the parking lot, keeping a close eye on the threats, ready to engage them if they actively threaten you with violence that they have the ability to enact. Shooter shall get in his or her car and drive to a safe location where they can call the police...." That one didn't make it into a match though.

    The real benefits of either sport (to self-defense practice) are in the heavy familiarity one develops with good gun-handling and high-speed engagement of targets. Dealing with problems/malfunctions instinctively, and just being safe and competent with a handgun in a more fluid, moving, 3-dimensional situation.

    The benefits of IDPA over USPSA probably come down to IDPA's (rapidly fading... :() insistence on not running out into the path of flying bullets (i.e., staying behind some kind of cover/concealment), and that -- if you actually DO so -- you're encouraged to use the gear you carry on the street.

    Both sports tend to encourage (probably even force) shooters to pre-plan their motions, footing, and engagement of targets like a choreographed ballet with bullets, which has absolutely nothing to do with self-defense. USPSA is probably a little worse there, but not by much.
     
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  7. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    IDPA is trying to be realistic. That limits what they can do in a stage, and creates rules to keep it from becoming like USPSA. IDPA is the easiest, but most strict. It's like a campground with too many rules. You can go in the pond, but don't swim in it. IDPA doesn't allow you much wiggle room to come up with your own game plan. And the gamer belts from USPSA need banned, but are often used still, and barely meet the rules. Except for PD officers, they can run their duty belt any way they want, as long as the pistol has some type of retention device. The USPSA belts and pounches don't conceal for squat. They should ban the stupid "shoot me vest" at the same time. I use my carry gear, and my normal carry garment. Only oddity for me, is my big Glock 34 or 41 which I would only carry in the winter or backcountry, not in the city. But I often shoot my G23 in CCP class. That's the best class IMO. IDPA is cheaper, easier, and simpler. That's why newbs gravitate to it, and that's excellent. The fine line, between "practical", and "gamer", is a tough one to walk. That's the best and worst challenge for IDPA fans.

    USPSA is a sport. Nothing tactical about it. You literally run around shooting targets in the open. In real life those targets would waste you in half a second. Pistols are sometimes huge monsters. SVI, CZ for example. Belt holsters and mag holders sit about a foot from the shooters body for easy speed use. You even run a magnet on the belt for easy tac reloads if the stage calls for it. (I can't wait 'till someone attaches a retractor cable to a mag or something, LOL) There's a bit of room for strategy that IDPA doesn't have. Gear costs more, ammo spent is far more.

    It's best to do both. Opens up more opportunities for you. I go back and forth as I feel fit. When you get tired of the stigma from one, try the other for a while.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2017
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  8. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    As a game, sure. As relates to self defense, not so.

    There was a Match Director not far from me who for years ran what he saw as the most realistic IDPA matches he could come up with. In the end, though, it just wasn't that much fun for most shooters to only fire one to four or five shots per stage.
     
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  9. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    I will always prefer USPSA over IDPA.. To many rules an unrealistic scenarios, in IDPA. (least the clubs I tried) My gun will never be in the boat up in the tree with my magazines in the car by the beach.
    All are games that will teach you to handle your gun and movements better.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2017
  10. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    Just a heads-up, folks - the issue here is IDPA vs USPA. Please don't start discussing 3-gun, bullseye, skeet, or any other form of competition you prefer over IDPA or USPSA. Those comments will be (and have been) deleted.
     
  11. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    you can show up with whatever you have in all 3 of the sports. only true difference in equipment needed for USPSA vs IDPA are a couple more magazines. You dont need that 5k open race gun to compete in USPSA. Just as you dont need that 5k open shotgun to compete in 3gun.
    My first USPSA match was shot with a G17, First IDPA match Colt LW Commander, First 3 gun Colt 6920/870/92FS
    All run of the mill guns that got me started..
    That said, as the years progressed I have upgraded to more specialized equipment.
     
  12. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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  13. Atla

    Atla Member

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    It's just a game.

    Always keep that in the back of your head and just have fun.

    Then take as many training classes as you can. :)
     
  14. csa77

    csa77 Member

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    IMO if one of the two sports were going to give you an edge in a defensive shooting scenario its the sport where the better shooters play. USPSA.


    honestly I think steady nerves would be much more important then shooting skill for defensive shooting.
     
  15. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    That is what you gain when you compete in USPSA or IDPA...the ability to shoot under pressure. The old saying is that "The best laid plans go out the window when the buzzer goes off" isn't completely without a basis in truth
     
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  16. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I feel just to opposite. You can stage plan around difficult shots and play to your personal shooting strengths. Stage planning is the much harder skill to develop and also requires that the shooter be able to honestly self-evaluate their weaknesses.

    Accuracy carries much more weight in IDPA as a shot outside the prime scoring zone is a much higher penalty than in USPSA. I've been shooting a revolver in IDPA this year. When my reloads take 3 times as long and I usually have to perform them 3 times as often, but I'm still beating 2/3 of the total number of shooters (33/109), you know I'm not really beating them with speed
     
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  17. leadaddict

    leadaddict Member

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    Each game and shooter seems to have different priorities and will prefer to emphasize different aspects of shooting. I'm a big fan of diversity!
    celebrate_diversity_guns.gif
     
  18. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    You've made my day, thanks! I probably should have done a better job staying tuned to rule changes. The handful of competitions I've shot in recent years have been independent for ID PA affiliated. Time to start looking around for USPSA.
     
  19. waktasz

    waktasz Member

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    If I had to be in a shootout with someone I'd rather they be an IDPA shooter than a USPSA shooter, so that means USPSA is better for self defense, right?
     
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  20. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I'm not sure what meaning you intended. A shootout with someone, against others?

    I remember a conversation among friends after the match one day, where the subject of "who would you want to be with if...", came up.

    My picks were two SS's we had in our club at the time. One was a "super senior" long retired Marine, who didn't get around like us others but was often most accurate and the other was a friend that had long ago lost an arm but generally finished in the top half anyway.

    I always thought any bad guy that didn't give them a second thought would have a life lesson in the difference between perception and reality.

    Another time a group of us went to a restaurant after a match and as is always the case some folks have to sit with their back to the door. One of those folks is a USPSA GM and when another fellow across the table asked him what he would do if bad guys busted in the door, he stuck his fingers in his ears and put his head on the table.

    Just because you are a remarkable shot doesn't mean the solution to everything is a shooting solution.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  21. waktasz

    waktasz Member

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    Neither of the games are going to teach you how to deescalate a situation, and this is a competition shooting subforum, so the solution to every problem IS a shooting solution...so what I meant by my first post is that if I had to shoot AT someone, I'd rather they were an IDPA shooter.
     
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  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Absolutely, the "scenario" part of IDPA was always what I thought was nuts and people associating "realistic SD" with it.

    When "call 911, from "safe spot" and engage if threats present themselves." Might be a bit more useful in real life.

    Just would be a pretty boring afternoon playing a game like that.
     
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  23. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Both will teach you gun handling/using skills. Neither teaches tactics, nor could they and still be a fun game (see comments above about leaving the area and calling 911 being a pretty boring stage).

    At least USPSA won't condition you to try to "retain" magazines. When I got into competitive pistol shooting, I picked USPSA over IDPA because I thought it was absurd that the "realistic" game demanded that I hold onto a magazine while reloading. In the incredibly unlikely event that I'm ever in a gunfight, and in the astronomically-unlikely event that I need to reload during the gunfight, I figure I'm going to want to have the gun running again ASAP. Since I'm not an "operator" on a long-range recon mission far behind enemy lines, "wasting" a couple of rounds in a magazine lying on the pavement of the parking lot or wherever seems like a non-problem to me. Of course, I'm fortunate to live in an area where one could shoot a half dozen matches of either in any given month.

    From observing long-time IDPA competitors who come shoot USPSA, I would say that IDPA does force more of an emphasis on hits in the center of the target than USPSA, where (with major scoring) an A/C or 2 C target isn't really a problem and not worth spending a lot of time "fixing" with more careful trigger presses or makeup shots. Conversely, what a lot of lower-level IDPA shooters think is "fast" is laughably slow to USPSA shooters.

    In the end, I think USPSA is a better game. Since they're both games, why not play the better one? That's my thinking.
     
  24. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...better for defensive shooting..." Neither. They're both games and nothing else. Neither is the least bit "practical" either.
    Your issue is kind of typical. Finding a place to play and having normal time and money constraints. Play the one that's most convenient at first. You'll very likely find the same guys playing both who will show you where you can play either one. Part of the benefits of joining a club.
     
  25. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    As for the $$ aspect...
    Unless rules have changed recently IDPA requires a membership after your first couple matches..
    USPSA does not..

    However, you will spend more on ammo with USPSA. with an average 100-200 rds a match.
    i.e. my match this weekend was 151 rds over 6 stages...
     

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