One of the most fun things you can do with a pistol is shoot a competitive match. There are many flavors in this regard and eventually, you will find the one that suits you best. But just like Baskin Robins, there is something to be said for trying them all. This week we are going to talk about USPSA, which is my favorite of the bunch.
USPSA stands for United States Practical Shooting Association and by “practical” they don’t mean “tactical.” Most of the pro’s wear jerseys in colors that wouldn’t be out of place in an 80’s rap video and most of the guns are shiny. In fact, the thing I like best about USPSA is that it absolutely is a game and no one pretends otherwise. That might sound weird from a guy that teaches tactics for a living, but it’s not.
The truth is there is no sport that mimics combat. All the ones that try become a walking abortion of skirting the rules and cheating your equipment to toe the line of what’s acceptable. No one wears a fishing vest in real life (*Cough* IDPA *Cough*). USPSA teaches you pistol skills only in that it forces you to be fast and accurate and that is more than good enough to take from a sport.
There are a number of “tactical instructors” that will try and tell you competition teaches bad habits. I couldn’t disagree more. I know why these bearded dudes in their $400 shooting pants don’t want to show up — because they would have their collective asses handed to them, and they know it. I am speaking here about the usual Instagram heroes.
If you did a tour in the GWOT, you are entitled to your opinion. But so did I, and I think competition is great. It has made me faster and more accurate and not once did I show up for a firefight afterward thinking I should dance around in my cleats putting two in everything. And it’s a pretty easy statement to make considering that Kyle Lamb, Aaron Reed, Tom Beckstrand, Mike Pannone, and countless guys I won’t name right now from Bragg agree with me.
Your First USPSA Match
Your first match is nothing to fear. The competition shooting crowd is some of the nicest people you will ever meet. There are a lot of rules to learn if you want to play to win, but the video we put together this week covers enough basics to get you started. You can find other resources at USPSA.org or by checking out Becky Yackley’s competitive shooting series on GunsAmerica.
I like competitive shooting not only because it is fun, but because of the people I have met. Shooting sports was really the first time I was around civilians during my military career and I have made lifelong friends from participating in the sport. It’s the best use of 150 rounds you are going to get this week and I highly encourage you to try it.