Information for new USPSA Competitors






How Do I Get Started & What Equipment Do I Need?


We're thrilled that you are interested enough in USPSA to explore how 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. Before the match start time at each match, the match directors will conduct a new shooter briefing to help you get comfortable and be ready to shoot your first match. Some things to know before you join us for the first match.


You must bring and at all times wear eye and ear protection.
Your normal corrective lens or sunglasses will suffice as long as they are of a shatter resistant material. Inexpensive foam earplugs will suffice for hearing protection. This is a requirement for all competitors and all visitors/spectators. 

USPSA has eight 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. Most new shooters start with the gun and gear they already own, not full tricked out race guns. Three of the divisions of USPSA are very friendly to off the shelf defensive guns:

​Production Division 

Where most new shooters start and a great way to learn the sport. Production Division is shot with off the shelf 9mm or larger service pistols like the Glock, Beretta, Sigarms, CZ, Springfield XD, S&W or similar type pistols. Only minor modifications to the grips and sights are allowed in this division, making the guns that are literally on the shelf at any gun store quite competitive. Production Division requires that you load no more than 10 rounds in each of your magazines, so there is no advantage for a gun that holds 17 rounds over one that holds 10, etc. 

Single Stack Division
Is for single stack 1911 style guns. Competitors in this division use standard 7 or 8 round single stack magazines

Limited Ten Division
Is for pistols that will hold ten rounds in the magazine, but no more than ten rounds can be loaded in a magazine at any time, so both 1911's with extended 10 round magazines as well as other guns which hold 10 rounds or more. Limited modifications such as grips, basic notch & post style sights and internal modifications are allowed.

Limited Division
Is the same as Limited 10 but you can load more than 10 rounds.

Revolver Division
is for revolvers 9mm or larger with a maximum of six shots for major or 8 shots for minor. Only some minor modifications are allowed such as grips and basic notch & post style sights.

Open Division
is for guns 9mm or larger and many modifications are allowed. Such modifications include the use of Optical sights, grips, muzzle recoil compensators, magazine wells and internal modifications.

In each division, 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, leg or thigh holsters, et al, are not permissible at USPSA events.


Further, Production Division and Single Stack division require that you use street type belt holsters instead of race gun rigs. You can read the USPSA rules that go into greater detail on the specific requirements of each division, they can be downloaded from .


The easiest way for most shooters to shoot their first match is to pick the Production Division or Single Stack Division gun they already have, use an acceptable belt holster you probably already have that holds the gun securely and covers the trigger guard...


Carry Optics

This new division  starts off with a Production legal gun, but a slide mounted optic sight is required.  There are several modifications allowed here that are not in Production, most notably are slide machining for texture and grip, (but no holes) and the use of 140mm magazines that will hold 20+ rounds.  Holster and mag pouch requirements mimic Production.  Scoring is minor only.



This new division is for Pistol Caliber Carbines, permitted calibers are 9mm, 357 sig, 40 S&W, 10mm and 45 ACP only.  Regardless of caliber, all are scored minor.  There is no magazine capacity limit or size limit.  Iron sights and optical sights are permitted within the single division.  





Other necessary equipment includes spare magazines or speed loaders and belt mounted carriers. Having at least four magazines is desirable to be sure to get you through the various stages in a match. We recommend four belt mounted magazines in carriers, on your belt if you choose to shoot single stack or production divisions.

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 9mm is most common.

You will typically shoot about 120-140 rounds in one of the club level matches, but because you need to keep your magazines topped off on each stage and you may need to re-shoot a stage in case of prop failure or some other range or stage related reason, we suggest you bring at least 200 rounds of suitable ammo to a match.




Rifles and Shotgun Stages
Although less common, USPSA 3-gun has been around for nearly two decades now. The USPSA rule base has become what we call "multi-gun" rules to govern these matches.


Basically any semi-auto centerfire rifle fed with a detachable magazine is suitable for rifle stages. The majority of competitors will shoot AR-15 type rifles. We also see successful competitors with AK type rifles, M1A's, FAL's, AR-10 type rifles, Mini-14's, and even pistol caliber carbines in caliber 9mm or larger.


Separate divisions are recognized based on the type of rifle and how it is set up:
•Limited division is for rifles with only iron sights or a single non-magnified optic like an aimport or eotech red dot scope. Muzzle compensators must be no larger than 1" in diameter and 3" long. No bipods or slings are allowed.
•Tactical division is basically the same as Limited except the optic may have magnification, either internal or from an in line magnifier.
•Open division allows multiple optics on the rifle and removes the limits on the size of the muzzle compensator.
•Heavy Metal division is for iron sighted rifles in caliber .308 or larger. Magazine capacity is limited to 20 rounds.




Range Safety & Range Rules

Before your first match, you should download or print a copy of the USPSA rule book and familiarize yourself with the safety rules, range commands, and range rules, but a few of important things:

   •No loaded firearms allowed on the range any time during the match, except for the competitor who is actively shooting the stage under the direction of the range officer. Your guns must be unloaded and cased when you get out of the car at the range.

   •No gun handling of any kind is allowed except in designated safe areas or by the shooter who is shooting the stage under the direction of the range officer. These safe areas generally have tables for you to unbag your gun and put it in your holster, but no ammo or loaded magazines may ever be handled in these safe areas.


   •Your gun must always be securely in your holster or in your range bag until you are called to the line (by the range officer) to shoot the stage.

   •Except when shooting the stage under the direction of the range officer, all guns are always completely unloaded, with no magazine in the gun, the slide down, and de-cocked, stored securely in your holster on your belt or in your range bag or case.


   •You may handle your magazines and ammunition at any place on the range EXCEPT in the designated safe areas described above. No loaded magazines or ammo are ever handled in the safe area.

   •You may never load your gun or put a magazine into the gun except when it is your turn to shoot the stage and the range officer running the stage calls you to the line and instructs you to "Make ready".


   •Make sure there are no magazines or ammo in your gun, even if it is securely cased, when you get out of your vehicle at the range for the match.



Joining USPSA
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. Click on this link to join USPSA...


You will need to delve further into the rules and understand all the details as you begin to participate in the sport, the rule books can be downloaded or viewed from the link below.