Brazosland Pistoleros - What Is Practical Shooting?

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.

What Is Practical Shooting?

INTRODUCTION
Practical Shooting attempts to measure the ability to shoot rapidly and accurately with a full power handgun, rifle, and/or shotgun. Those three elements - speed, accuracy, and power - form the three sides of the practical shooting triangle. By design, each match will measure a shooter's ability in all three areas.

To do this, shooters take on obstacle-laden shooting courses (called stages) requiring anywhere from six to 30+ shots to complete. The scoring system measures points scored per second, then weights the score to compensate for the number of shots fired. If they miss a target, or shoot inaccurately, points are deducted, lowering that all-important points-per-second score.

If shooting has an "extreme" sport, USPSA-sanctioned practical shooting is it. Competitors move, negotiate obstacles, run, speed-reload, and drive their guns through each of several courses as fast as their skills will allow. Although most matches are held outdoors, in all weather, further taxing competitor skill, there are a growing number of indoor ranges conducting USPSA events.

Most of our competitors do not lift weights, or otherwise work on their physical condition with the sport in mind, but those at the very top of the game do. For them, the edge provided by physical strength and dexterity matters, much the way a ping-pong player will improve his stamina by running daily.

Some shooters may like to train with ar500 targets for increased shooting accuracy.

Most practical shooters are just regular Joes that enjoy shooting on the weekends - much the way the average golfer enjoys golf. There's no way the average golfer can do what Tiger Woods can do, but that doesn't limit their enjoyment of the sport and it's sure fun to watch Tiger. Where Practical Shooting and golf differ is that it's actually quite likely that you will meet one or two of the world's top shooters at any major match. What are the odds a regular golfer will meet Tiger Woods, much less play on his foursome?

We offer competitive divisions for most handguns, from revolvers, to scope-sighted, recoil-compensated "race guns" developed just for our sport. For more information, download our color annual. It will give you a little bit of history, some good pictures, and a membership application. Enjoy!

HISTORY
Practical shooting is a sport that evolved from experimentation with handguns used for self-defense. The researchers were an international group of private individuals, law enforcement officers, and military people generally operating independently of each other, challenging the then-accepted standards of technique, training practices, and equipment. The work was, for the most part, conducted for their own purposes without official sanction. Even so, what they learned changed the face of police and military training forever.

You may remember that in the original Dirty Harry movie, Clint Eastwood's character visits a training center and walks down the street of a mock city engaging hostile targets and while identifying and sparing innocents. A lot of us saw it too, and thought, "cool!" It looked like too much fun to be just the law enforcement work of qualifying with a handgun.

Competition had begun with the "leather slap" quick draw events of the 1950's, which had grown out of America's love affair with the TV westerns of that era. However, many wished for a forum that would more directly test the results of the experimentation that had been going on in Big Bear, California and many other places. Competitions evolved to test what had been learned, and just for the pure fun presented by what quickly became a sport requiring competitors to deal with constantly changing scenarios while shooting rapidly and accurately with full power handguns.

In 1976 an international group of enthusiasts interested in what had become known as "practical" shooting met in Columbia, Missouri. From that meeting came the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC). In 1984 USPSA was incorporated as the US Region of IPSC. Membership in USPSA automatically includes membership in IPSC.

For 20 years USPSA competition has provided a test bed for equipment and techniques, many of which are now the standard for police and military training. Some of USPSA's top competitors are regularly employed as trainers for elite police and military units. Today, USPSA matches are conducted every week by the nearly 400 affiliated clubs all over the United States. For most people, practical shooting is pure sport conducted with little or no thought of the self-defense aspect of firearms use. However, USPSA members are generally the most proficient shooters in the world as witnessed by their domination in the world of firearms competition.

All that's missing to make USPSA's history a total success story is your involvement.

TYPES OF PRACTICAL SHOOTING
Divisions
Historically USPSA has been primarily a handgun sport. However in recent years 3-gun (handgun, rifle, shotgun) competition has been growing very rapidly. Let's look at the choices available to you.

Handgun:
:: There are five handgun divisions, each defined by the equipment used.
:: Limited
:: Limited-10
:: Open
:: Production
:: Revolver

Rifle:
:: There are four rifle divisions and, again, each is defined by equipment.
:: Open
:: Standard
:: Tactical
:: Manually Operated

Shotgun:
:: There are two shotgun divisions defined by equipment.
:: Open
:: Standard

Types of Competition
USPSA matches will be one of four types.

Approved - Approved matches are the most common and are conducted every week by USPSA clubs around the United States. If you attend an approved match you can assured that it will be safe, fun, and fair. The club conducting the match has agreed to follow all USPSA rules. It is not necessary that you join USPSA to be eligible to compete in an approved match, although we certainly hope you will join.

Sanctioned - Sanctioned matches are generally state or section championships. Membership in USPSA is required to compete in a sanctioned match. The club conducting the match has agreed to follow all USPSA rules and the stages have been approved by the National Range Officer Institute (NROI). Sanctioned matches generally have more stages, shooters, and rounds than the typical Approved match.

Tournament - A Tournament is a major USPSA event. Membership in USPSA is required to compete in a Tournament match. The club conducting the match has agreed to follow all USPSA rules and the stages have been approved by the National Range Officer Institute (NROI). Tournament matches generally have more stages, shooters, and rounds than the typical Approved or Sanctioned match. It is possible to win a slot (invitation to compete) to the USPSA National Championship at a Tournament.

Recognized - A Recognized match is not technically a USPSA match at all. Typically they are Single Stack, Glock Shooting Sports Foundation, Steel Challenge, International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts, or other events conducted by USPSA affiliated clubs. The organizers have agreed to conduct the match using the USPSA safety rules and are given permission to use the USPSA name.

WHO COMPETES IN PRACTICAL SHOOTING

USPSA competitors come from every walk of life, every economic level, and all ages. Members include:
:: doctors
:: lawyers
:: auto mechanics
:: engineers
:: business people
:: airline pilots
:: law enforcement officers
:: active duty military personnel
:: homemakers, students and many others.
:: Approximately 15% of our total membership is women.
:: Approximately 10% of our total membership is under the age of twenty-one.
:: Many of our members are retired, or approaching retirement.
:: USPSA members include representatives of many races and religions.
:: The USPSA bylaws require that USPSA membership be open to anyone who can legally own a firearm.

CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM

What Is It?
The USPSA™ classification system categorizes practical shooters to allow them to compete against other competitors of the same skill level. To accomplish this feat, USPSA™ publishes specific classifier stages for which scores fired by the best shooters in the world are available, and distributes these stages to the affiliated clubs. The clubs setup the stages as part of their monthly matches and submits those scores to the USPSA™ national headquarters. Submitted scores are compared to the best available (100%) and members are classified within the division or divisions in which they've chosen to compete, based on their percentage of the high scores.

Classification Bracket Percentages

Grand Master 95 to 100%
Master 85 to 94.9%
A  75 to 84.9%
B  60 to 74.9%
C  40 to 59.9%
D  2 to 40%

The USPSA™ staff enters thousands of scores each month and manages classified members in five competitive divisions.

Earning A Classification
To become classified, a member must have at least four valid scores from different classifier courses in a specific Division in the USPSA™ database. If more than four scores are in the database when the averages are calculated, the best four of the most recent six valid scores will be used. Any scores in excess of the most recent six valid scores are not used for the initial classification. Those scores over the most recent six may be used at the next monthly reclassification if they are within the most recent eight scores. Most of the scores will come from classifier courses set up by USPSA-affiliated clubs. The clubs are responsible for setting up these stages according to exact specifications and for administering them uniformly. They are part of the club's monthly match, are included in the calculation of the match results, and are submitted for national classification of the member.

All valid classification scores received at National Headquarters by the 10th of each month are entered into the computer before the classification program calculates averages, unless there is a problem with the paperwork submitted by the club. After the scores have been entered and verified as correct, the computer calculates a current average for those who have become eligible for a classification and generates a classification card. These cards are mailed out around the 15th of the month.

Reclassification
USPSA™ currently classifies previously unclassified members as well as reclassifies members on a monthly basis. Whereas new classifications are based on the best four of the most recent six scores in the system, reclassifications are based on the best six of the most recent eight valid scores in the system. If the member's current average is in a higher classification bracket, the member is moved to that class. Members may also request to be moved to a higher class, not including Grand Master. The member must comply with the same requirements for requesting to be moved down in class.

Moving Down In Class
Members may request to be moved to a lower class because of age or injury. The member must send a letter stating the reasons for reclassification to a lower class along with a letter from the club president or section coordinator endorsing the request. After the request has been received, the member's scores will be checked to see whether there are any recent scores that indicate the member is still properly classified.

The member will be notified of the decision in writing, and if the request is granted, a new classification card will be sent.

Please note that even if a member's current average drops into a lower classification bracket, the member will not automatically be reduced in class.

Your Scores On The Web Page
Members who want to verify their classifications may call the national office or check their scores on the USPSA™ web page at http://www.uspsa.org. Please remember that the classification data shown on the web page is updated once a month, about seven to 10 days after the classification system is run in Sedro Woolley.

Scores From Major Matches
A shooter's performance in larger matches and tournaments may also be used to help establish a classification if at least three Grand Masters completed the match within a specific Division and performed at a level high enough to be considered a national standard. Each division is evaluated separately based on this criteria, so it may be possible for scores from one division to be used while another division is not.

In addition, if the competitor shoots an Area Championship or major tournament and wins first or second in a class higher than his or her current classification, the member may be promoted to that higher class, except for Grand Master.