Brazosland Pistoleros - Getting Started

The Brazosland Pistoleros are members of the Texas South Section of United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA), Region 4. The Brazosland Pistoleros hold matches on the fourth Sunday of each month.

Getting Started

NEW SHOOTERS:: Before the first match you plan to shoot, you will need to contact the club for a safety briefing and orientation. This orientation will cover rules, safety, equipment and include some live fire. When you get to the range on match day, ask to see the Match Director and he will have a range officer give you a safety briefing on the days' stages (of course, it is always nice to inform the Match Director before hand that a new shooter is coming).

 

The most important thing you need to compete in IPSC is a reliable handgun in 9mm or higher caliber. If you already have a gun that fits this description, great! Make sure you have a holster that covers the trigger guard, at least two magazine holders for your belt, and enough magazines to hold at least 40 rounds.

If you do not have a gun that fits the above description, do NOT go out and buy one! Come to a match or two and see what other people are shooting and then decide what you want to shoot. People shoot everything from 9mm SIGS, to 40s&w wide body 1911 variations, to Glocks, to 38super "race guns" and everything in between.

Before you compete in a match you should be intimately familiar with your handgun: how to load, unload, holster safety, draw from your holster safely, reload, clearing a jam, etc. You don't have to be fast, just safe. The most important aspect of the sport is safety.

Other things to take into consideration when coming to a match

1. It can get hot out there. Bring sunscreen. Bring a hat.

2. Bring Water, bring more water.

3. We tend to have stages where running, kneeling and going prone are common. Have good sturdy shoes and clothes that can get dirty.

4. Eye protection and ear protection are always required at USPSA matches, whether you are shooting or not.

5. Our matches generally last until 1-2PM. There is no food available on the range so if you are inclined, bring lunch.

Match Fees:

We charge $25 per shooter. Matches are scheduled to start shooting at 9:00am. For the first match you plan to shoot, you need to show up BEFORE 8:30 for a safety briefing. When you get to the match, ask to see the Match Director and he will have a range officer give you a safety briefing. (of course, it is always nice to inform the Match Director before hand that a new shooter is coming)

Brazosland Pistoleros Annual Dues:

The annual membership dues are $35 per year.

Friendship and Camaraderie:
A large part of the fun on USPSA/IPSC Action shooting is the camaraderie that you will experience. While some people show up at a match in time to shoot and are gone shortly after the last shot is fired, a dedicated group of volunteers shows up early and stays late to build the match and then to tear it down and put it away. This group has open membership. Dues are paid in sweat. The rewards though are the highest. Don't be afraid to show up and pitch in.

The USPSA Rules:
We shoot each match using USPSA rules and regulations, which can be downloaded using the links provided below.

Latest edition of USPSA handgun rule book (PDF)
Summary of Differences between 2004 and 2008 Rulebooks (PDF)
Multigun Match Rulebook
Rifle Competition Rulebook
Precision Rifle Rulebook
Shotgun Competition Rulebook
Tournament Rulebook

We're thrilled that you are interested enough in practical shooting to explore how best to get started. You are about to take the first step on an exciting journey to a new world of safe, fair, family fun with some of the greatest people you will ever know.
 
You are not required to be a USPSA member, or to join the USPSA, to shoot matches with the Brazosland Pistoleros. Being a member is required to shoot in other larger sectional and regional matches; even so, there are many benefits to joining the organization. Click on the "How Do I Join USPSA" button for a list of membership options and benefits. The United States Practical Shooting Associations (USPSA) is the premier competitive shooting organization in the world. USPSA membership is your pass to compete in any USPSA or IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) match anywhere in the world.
 
USPSA membership does not include range or local club membership. You will discover, though, that there are many advantages to belonging to a club in your area, if for no other reason than the camaraderie that exists among like-minded enthusiasts!
 
 FIREARMS & HOLSTERS
It may be that the firearm you already own will be just what you need to get started in practical shooting, but you may learn of other competitive opportunities that will give you that excuse you've been looking for to buy a new toy! USPSA has five competitive divisions, delineated by equipment rules. Unless you are blessed with more money than you need, we recommend that you don't rush out and spend until you've had the opportunity to learn enough about the sport to make an informed decision.
 
Holsters must retain the firearm during any required movement, must cover the trigger of a holstered gun, must point to the ground when the firearm is holstered, and must be carried at belt level; shoulder holsters, fanny packs, et al, are not permissible at USPSA events. Further, Production Division has additional holster restrictions. Go to our Rulebook, page 97, for more information about the equipment requirements of each division.

 OTHER EQUIPMENT
Other necessary equipment includes spare magazines or speed loaders and belt mounted carriers. In most cases at least one magazine will be included with the firearm when you bought it, but having at least five magazines is desirable to be sure to get you through the various stages in a match. Magazines should be available from the gun manufacturer or from a variety of after market sources.
 
We recommend three to four belt mounted magazine/speed loader carriers, depending on the divisions in which you choose to compete
 
 AMMUNITION
Most USPSA members reload their own ammunition, although some use factory loads. Reloading is common for reasons of both economy and performance. The desirability of reloading depends on the divisions in which you choose to compete and the caliber you select. The division choice frequently influences the caliber choice. The issues involved in caliber choice include magazine capacity, recoil, and the division rules.
 
For example, most Open Division competitors use .38 Super or one of its variants. Most firearms built to compete in Open Division require specific bullet weights and velocities to reach full potential so most Open competitors choose to reload.
 
Limited Division is dominated by the .40S&W cartridge fired in highly tuned firearms similar those found in Open Division, although they are less complex. Most Limited competitors also opt to reload.
 
Many who compete in Limited 10 (L10) Division use the same guns they use in Limited Division, but the division rules allow no more than 10 rounds in the magazine. However, a growing number of people compete in L10 with single stack 1911-pattern firearms in 40S&W or .45ACP. While most L10 competitors reload, it is more feasible to use factory ammunition here than in either Open or Limited.
 
Production Division provides a competitive venue for the box-stock firearms people typically purchase for self-defense. Most Production competitors use 9MM or 40S&W calibers. Because the power requirements in Production are less than those in the other divisions, factory ammunition is common.
 
The most commonly used calibers in Revolver Division are .45ACP and .357 Magnum. The recoil dished up by factory ammunition can be significant in a revolver, and most competitors find that there are combinations of bullet and powder that can be hand loaded to provide the necessary accuracy and velocities without the recoil (and cost!) of most factory ammunition.
 
 EXPECTATIONS
It is important to have realistic expectations as you approach competitive shooting. Many people, but most especially those without a lot of shooting experience, make unreasonable assumptions about this game.
 
If you had just begun to golf it is unlikely that you would assume you know how to golf before the first lesson. You've probably seen Tiger Woods on television and heard the commentators wax eloquent about his skills. You may have seen him muff a shot and go into the rough. Even if you've never swung a club yourself you understand that golf is hard.
 
Unfortunately, many people are exposed to shooting only on television or in the movies and they believe a lot of myths that are presented therein. Our heroes are shown hitting difficult targets at extreme ranges without seeming to aim. Looks easy. Anyone can do that. Even people with some shooting experience may fall into the trap of believing that tin can plinking or hunting has prepared them for competitive shooting.
 
Practical shooting is an exciting, fun, safe sport. Like any sport, though, it takes time and effort to become proficient. Like any sport there will be times when your progress is rapid and it's easy to remain focused on your goal. At other times it will seem that you're not getting anywhere and it will be easy to become discouraged. Consistent practice will take you where you want to go.
Welcome aboard!