Everything you need to know about USPSA


Basically, IPSC, USPSA, and IDPA are generally the same things in that they are all dynamic competitive shooting sports.  However, each one tends to have its own unique quality.

USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association)

This is the largest pistol association within the United States and is the US version of the International Practical Shooting Confederation or IPSC.  USPSA and IPSC both include 3 gun and pistol shooting competitions.  USPSA/IPSC are designed to test a shooter’s shooting ability, however, USPSA tends to focus more on the technical side of shooting.

IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation)

IPSC is the parent organization of USPSA and is on a global scale.  IPSC is broken down into various regions and incorporates a number of countries across the world.  IPSC is broken down into zones to include the African Zone, the European Zone, the South American Zone, the North American Zone, the Pan-American Zone, and Australasian Zone.

IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Shooting Association)

Like IPSC/USPSA, IDPA tests shooting capabilities in a dynamic environment.  However, IDPA tends to differ from IPSC in the sense that it is geared more towards real-life scenarios.  IDPA has differing rules that are designed to mimic what a shooter would encounter in a gunfight.  These include things like, shooting a specific target because it poses a bigger threat or taking cover behind a specific barricade.


The USPSA Rules can be found on the USPSA website, here.


The USPSA uses only organization approved targets for their matches.  Each target must be approved by the USPSA.

You can buy official cardboard targets here

IDPA Target

You can buy IDPA Practice Targets here

You can buy IDPA competition Targets here



Target Dimensions

Below are the target dimensions for USPSA/IPSC and IDPA competitions

USPSA/IPSC Target Dimensions (Old)

USPSA/IPSC Target Dimensions (New)

IPSC Classic Target Dimensions

You can buy IPSC Classic  targets here


IDPA Target Dimensions

USPSA Divisions

There are a number of divisions for USPSA to include: Production Division, Revolver Division, Single Stack 1911, Limited 10 Division, Limited Division, and Open Division.

Production Division

Production Division includes pistols that are double-action-only, double-action/single-action or striker-fired.  These are usually reserved for 9mm pistols and tend to be “duty guns.” In addition, stock revolvers may be used to include eight and seven shot variations.

The shooter may change the following:

  • Sights
  • Added grip such as skateboard tape
  • Tuning of internal parts

In the production division, shooters may only have 10 round per magazine.  Holsters may not be “race” holsters and must be word behind the forward most point of the hip.

Revolver Division

The revolver division includes stock revolvers that are limited to six rounds.  Modifications to the revolvers are very limited.

Shooters may change the following:

  • Grips
  • Enhanced Cylinder Release
  • Sights (other than optical)
  • Action Tuning

Only rounds that are .355 or larger may be used.

Single Stack 1911

In 2006 USPSA introduced the 1911 Single Stack Division for 1911 shooters as a provisional division and changed it to a regular division in ’08.  Only single stack 1911 pistols are allowed.

Limited 10 Division

The limited 10 division allows 1911 pistols in both double or single stack and non-1911 pistols.  There is no capacity cap on the magazines used, however, the “10” refers to the number of rounds the competitor can hold in their magazines at any one time. Competitors can modify their pistols in minor ways.

Limited Division

This division is very similar to the Limited 10 Division, however, shooters may put as many rounds in their magazines as they like.  Shooters must use a .400 caliber or higher in order to score a major power factor.

Open Division

The open division is the most relaxed division when it comes to modifications and pistol restrictions.  The guns in this division are often heavily modified and this is where you will find the “race” guns.  The main restriction is on the 170mm magazine.  Only rounds that are .355 or larger may be used.

USPSA Membership

If you would like to become a member of the USPSA you can sign up here

USPSA Membership Cost

The cost to become a new member of the USPSA is $25.   In addition, you will pay $15 per match plus any additional fees applied by the hosting range facility.

USPSA Classification scale

There are several levels that you can advance through within the USPSA to include U, D, C, B, A, M, and GM.  In order to get a classification, you must have scores from four different classifiers.  If you shoot more than four classifiers, the best four scores of your six most recent classifiers will count.

U Class- Unclassified

D Class- 2-39.9%

C Class- 40-59.9%

B Class- 60-74.9%

A Class- 75-84.9%

M (Master) Class- 85-94.9%

GM (Grand Master) Class- 95-100%

USPSA Scoring

USPSA has both a major and minor caliber scoring incorporated into 5 of their 7 divisions.  Major Calibers make a minimum of a 165 Power Factor and minor make 125 Power Factor.  This scoring system affects how the points are scored. The common USPSA Metric Target has A, B, C, and D zones.  An A zone hit with either a major or a minor PF counts for 5 points.  If the shooter uses a major caliber and hits the B or C zone they get four points, if they are using a minor caliber they get 3 points.  Majors get 2 points for a D zone and 1 point if they are using a minor caliber.

The score for a state consists of dividing the points scored by the time it took to fully complete the stage.  This determines a shooter’s Hit Factor.

USPSA Production List

The full production list of USPSA guns can be found here

USPSA Matches

USPSA has matches across the United States and most likely there is one hosted near you.  If you would like to find the closest match to you, visit the USPSA website match area here.


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