This last week I went to my first USPSA match with a G19. I didn’t know what to expect out of a match, as all the videos posted online make it seem like everyone you go up against will be a speed freak with a laser like shot to the target. Seeing those videos can really put a dent in your resolve as you may believe that you won’t be able to compete.
First off, your will to get better should be the driving force behind your practice, the gun courses you take, and the competitions you go to. Watching too many videos of the World Class He-Men and She-Ra shooters will make you feel outclassed, so stop watching them and start doing! As pistol is my weakest skill, I *was* outclassed by many shooters… but the reason I went is because I know my pistol hand sucks. Perhaps for that reason, pistols were left behind when I need those skills as much as I need rifle skills.
The USPSA match would put me in the same position as it did when I began to compete with my rifle; it would put me out of my comfort zone and into a field were I could test my mettle against better shooters. It would give me a basis to compare myself and learn what I need to work on to master my sidearm.
“Make Ready and Holster Your Weapon”
I joined up and entered as a production division shooter which amounts to a 10 round magazine capacity limit on a box stock gun. New sights are allowed. I had a holster and a Blade-Tech mag holster and brought a total of 5 mags. The gear you need is really sparse, as a pistol, eyes, ears, ammo, gear bag, a mag pouch, and a holster are all you need to get started.
Each course was held in a bay with a total of five bays and five squads of shooters. Each course was set up to allow you to problem solve the situation and determine which targets would get your attention first. Two rounds on each target, with steel targets needing to be knocked down to be neutralized were the main COF.
I like to run guns with a more universal approach. I want to be able to compete in any event with the same guns I would use if the deepest, darkest SHTFANTASY erupted. I want my guns to be all the same, and each of them nearly worn out by the time I die. I want to be the man with one gun, or in my case multiple guns in the same platform. So any guns I shoot will be on the practical side… even if they cost me the National Championship. Yea No.
“Is the Shooter Ready? Standby: Beep!”
The courses were a challenge and pushed me and my G19 to hit COM as fast as I could keep in control. My biggest blunders of the day were failing to engage two targets completely. I didn’t see them as I ran the course too fast and I obscured them by moving to a different location. Otherwise, I hit all my steel and generally hit the targets where I was supposed to. The biggest challenge in weapon manipulation was focusing on the front sight in spite of the excitement of the COF.
I find that running my gun in a USPSA match was invaluable, and cheap, way to learn to self correct my deficits. Some takeaways from the day:
- Your gonna suck, so just get it over with… the suck will go away
- Your weapon will be well suited to have a malfunction in a USPSA environment
- You can only improve so much on a static target or if you are static at the gun range
- The “game” will, at the very least, help you improve your speed on target and follow up shots
“Clear Weapon, Show Clear, Hammer Down, Holster!”
The sport of USPSA will be a great, low cost means to improve my shooting with my CCW and my new *Home Defense Pistol* which is basically a G17 that I will modify for the hell of it. Get your gun working for you, and don’t hesitate to take it to a competition. There is far more to the art of the gun than shooting at a static target at crowded shooting lane on a Saturday afternoon. Avoid the non-member range danger, and try out a well controlled, challenging sport which will push you to master that pistol! It is NOT a complicated sport, and anyone can get into USPSA.
Video Courtesy of Guns1961
As a supplement to my rifle, its going to be a great year of shooting ahead! – The New Rifleman