Q: What is IPSC Shooting? (a.k.a Practical Shooting)
A: It is competitive pistol matches and fun shoots all rolled up into one! The matches are run under USPSA rules (http://www.uspsa.org). In short, you will typically see four to six shooting stages (or scenarios) where you may be given specific instructions on which targets to shoot and in what order, OR you may be allowed to decide everything for yourself. The object of the game is to shoot as safely, as accurately and as fast as you can. Each of your runs will be timed with a digital electronic timer. Your shooting time, along with your score will be entered into a computerized scoring program. After the end of the match the results will be tabulated and the results announced. Sometimes they are distributed in paper form, via email, or posted on various web sites (like this one).
Q: What do I need to know?
Actually, nothing. Just come out and watch the fun. On your first visit to a match you will be shown around and given a basic understanding of what the sport is all about. At that time, depending on the range and match director (and your desire) you will be given the basic rules of the sport, equipment requirements, and guidelines to participating in your first match. During your first actual match you will usually be paired up with an experienced shooter and squadded with a team of other shooters of your same experience level.
Q: Can I use my revolver?
A: Yes, there are different divisions for all types of guns including one just for revolvers. This is intended to level the playing field against the exotic race guns and the common store bought / home defense weapons.
Q: Do I have to have a holster and magazine pouches?
A: Yes and no. Although it is a requirement to start most shooting stages with the gun holstered, we will make exceptions for first time shooters. Come on out and shoot your first match without, or contact the match director before match day and see if you can borrow one.
Q: Can I bring my family?
A: Please do, the only stipulation is that EVERYBODY on the range is required to have and wear eye and ear protection. It's not uncommon to have bullet fragments, rocks or dirt flying as the bullets impact the berms. A hit to the body will usually do little more than get your attention. A hit to the naked eye is guaranteed to cause serious injury or cost you your sight permanently.
Q: Do I need to buy all that expensive / high tech equipment?
A: Absolutely not! In fact I would recommend that you do not buy anything until you come out, try the sport for a while and talk to the experienced shooters. You can enjoy yourself just as much for a very low price, if you’re smart. Example: I went to a gun show and bought a used Glock 17 (9mm) gun for $350. I then bought two more used magazines at $10 each. The belt came from Wal-Mart. The holster is a G-Code www.range5.com ($30). Same for the (2) double magazine pouches. So for under $500 I have a legal and reliable outfit that is perfectly capable of whipping the “Big Dawgs” and their $4000 outfits. Plus now you can afford some ammo and lunch!
Q: What types of guns do most people use?
A: The most popular are the many variations of the Colt 1911, only because it’s fairly inexpensive and easy to work on/modify. But to list just some of the common guns:
Glock, Sig, Beretta, Colt 1911s, CZ, EAA Witness, Browning Hi-Power. The most important thing I can say is call me up, show me what you have and we’ll make that work for you. Above all, DO NOT buy anything until we talk. No, I’m not gonna try to sell you a gun. My only interest is to be sure you don’t buy something you’ll be sorry for later.
Q: How long is a match?
A: The safety briefing and walk-through usually lasts about 20 minutes. It is recommended to show up 45 – 60 minutes early to get registered, prepare your equipment, inspect the stages and socialize. Local matches usually last about three hours, depending on how many shooters show up and how many stages there are. The match results will usually be posted at the range within a half hour of the last shot fired, and then the rest of the time is spent socializing, bragging and making excuses. Or you can go home and wait for the results to be posted on this web page later the same day of the match.
Q: What else should I bring?
A: This is North Carolina, you’re not going to the movie theater, you’re gonna be outdoors the entire time, plan accordingly. Summer can be hot as hell and winter can be nasty as well. I'd recommend: hat, coat, lawn chair, sunscreen, bug spray, favorite (non-alcoholic) beverage, dog, cat, grandma,... whatever.
Still have a question? Drop me a line at ncsection(at)earthlink.net for an answer...