What is Practical Shooting?
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. Matches are held outdoors, in all weather, further taxing competitor skill.
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.
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. Enjoy!