North Carolina's Premier Shooting Sports Authority
1: What is Competitive Action Shooting? (a.k.a Practical Shooting)
It is competitive pistol matches and fun shoots all rolled up into one! There are many different Competitive Action Pistol Matches available. The most popular right now is USPSA, or United States Practical Shooting Association (http://uspsa.org), the next is IDPA, or International Defensive Pistol Association (http://idpa.com), and the newest is ZSA, or Zombie Shooters Association (http://zombieshootersassociation.com) The matches are run under each association’s rules and each one is a bit different, so I would recommend to read up and get a basic familiarization of the rules for the match you are attending and they rules will be explained in more detail once you arrive.
In short, you will typically see four to six shooting stages (or scenarios) where you may be given specific instructions on which targets to shoot and in what order, OR you may be allowed to decide everything for yourself. The object of the game is to shoot as safely, as accurately and as fast as you can. Each of your runs will be timed with a digital electronic timer. Your shooting time, along with your score will be entered into a computerized scoring program. After the end of the match the results will be tabulated and the results announced. Sometimes they are distributed in paper form, via email, or posted on various web sites.
2: What do I need to know?
Actually, nothing. Just come out and watch the fun. On your first visit to a match you will be shown around and given a basic understanding of what the sport is all about. At that time, depending on the range and match director (and your desire) you will be given the basic rules of the sport, equipment requirements, and guidelines to participating in your first match. During your first actual match you will usually be paired up with an experienced shooter and squaded with a team of other shooters of your same experience level.
3: Do I need any specialized training?
This is a difficult question, the simple answer is No, you do not need any specialized training, but if you are brining your own firearm and equipment it is a good idea to know how your firearm works and basic firearm handling. The biggest part of any match that you will go to is safety. If you are unsure of the proper way to handle you firearm in a safe manner, before you take out your firearm and equipment just tell the match director or a Range/ Safety Officer that you are new and this is your first match and that you need some help and any one will be happy to assist you.
There are a variety of training classes you can take at an affordable price to get your self familiar with your firearm, or to help steer you to the right firearm for you. As well as the proper safety step you need when handling any firearm. These classes are designed for the person unsure of what to buy to someone who already owns a firearm and may need instruction on how to handle their firearm in a safe manner and how to maintain the firearm so it will function properly.
John Z Sr, from Zombie Shooters Association has begun a training schedule just for this purpose, he is offering basic pistol handling and safety classes and well as some NRA Basic Pistol classes. You can contact John through his web site at http://responsiblehandgunandfirearmstraining.com/ or you may email me at Ken@ncshootingsports.com with any questions.
4: Can I use my revolver?
Yes, there are different divisions for all types of guns including one just for revolvers. This is intended to level the playing field against the exotic race guns and the common store bought / home defense weapons.
5: Do I have to have a holster and magazine pouches?
Yes and no. Although it is a requirement to start most shooting stages with the gun holstered, most all of the ranges and match directors will make exceptions for first time shooters. Come on out and shoot your first match without. The best thing would be to contact the range or the match director before match day and explain that you are new to the action shooting sports and you do not have a holster for your particular pistol, most of the time they will have something that you can borrow for that day.
6: Can I bring my family?
This is am activity for the whole family so please do, the only stipulation is that EVERYBODY on the range is required to have and wear eye and ear protection. It's not uncommon to have bullet fragments, rocks or dirt flying as the bullets impact the berms. A hit to the body will usually do little more than get your attention. A hit to the naked eye is guaranteed to cause serious injury or cost you your sight permanently. Again if you do not have enough equipment for the whole family contact the range or match director and they will usually make arrangements to have some extra safety equipment available.
7: Do I need to buy all that expensive / high tech equipment?
Absolutely not! In fact I would recommend that you do not buy anything until you come out, try the sport for a while and talk to the experienced shooters. You can enjoy yourself just as much for a very low price, if you’re smart. Example: I went to a gun show and bought a used Glock 17 (9mm) gun for $350. I then bought two more used magazines at $10 each. The belt came from Wal-Mart. The holster is a G-Code www.range5.com ($30). Same for the (2) double magazine pouches. So for under $500 I have a legal and reliable outfit that is perfectly capable of whipping the “Big Dawgs” and their $4000 outfits. Plus now you can afford some ammo and lunch!
8: What types of guns do most people use?
The most popular are the many variations of the Colt 1911, only because it’s fairly inexpensive and easy to work on/modify. Some of the most common guns you will see are: Glock, Sig, Beretta, Colt 1911s and clones (such as Springfield, Smith and Wessons), CZ, EAA Witness, and Browning Hi-Power.
The most important thing I can say is drop me a email (Ken@ncshootingsports.com), let me what you have and we’ll make that work for you.
9: How long is a match?
The safety briefing and walk-through usually lasts about 20 minutes. It is recommended to show up 45 – 60 minutes early to get registered, prepare your equipment, inspect the stages and socialize. Local matches usually last about three hours, depending on how many shooters show up and how many stages there are. The match results will usually be posted at the range within a half hour of the last shot fired, and then the rest of the time is spent socializing, bragging and making excuses. Or you can go home and wait for the results to be posted on this web page later the same day of the match.
10: What else should I bring?
This is North Carolina, you’re not going to the movie theater, and you are going to be outdoors the entire time, so plan accordingly. Summer can be hot as hell and winter can be nasty as well. I'd recommend: hat, coat, sunscreen, bug spray, favorite (non-alcoholic) beverage, snack, dog, cat, grandma,... whatever.
The 10 most asked question from new shooters
Now that you have your questions answered and your equipment is figured out, Next step is to head out to a match