What Is Practical Shooting

The basic game originated in Southern California in the 1950's and was known as "Leatherslap" matches. Very little was standardized. As the game evolved it became an amalgam of many elements. Some old-west fast draw, sometimes an obstacle course to run around and through.

The, International Practical Shooting Confederation, IPSC in short,, pronounced "ip-sick", to make it even quicker to say (coz that’s what us practical boys & girls are good at, speed is everything you know) was created as an organization in 1976 at Columbia, Missouri, by representatives from nine nations where the sport of "practical" shooting was becoming popular.

As the organization grew, member nations developed their own national sanctioning bodies to administer matches in their own countries, and to hold their own national championships.

Since the pistol ban competitors use mainly Rifles or Shotguns which are carried in both hands or Airsoft pistols which are carried in belt holsters and are accompanied by spare magazines in pouches also attached to the belt.

What is IPSC Practical Shooting

The Objective

Practical shooting is a sport in which competitors are required to combine accuracy and speed to successfully complete many different types of shooting "problems".

Practical shooting is like no other shooting discipline. Practical shooting tests a persons mind, body and shooting ability. It is a great all round leveller, equally matching the young and old.

The events or stages shot in each practical shooting match are different each time - which requires competitors to be diverse in their training. At any given match a shooter may be required to shoot targets 2 meters away in one event, and 50 meters away in the next. Sometimes the targets are paper, sometimes they are steel. Often "no-shoot" penalty targets are placed near "shoot" targets. Points are subtracted from a shooter's score for hitting the "no-shoots".

Practical Shotgun Essex

A shooter runs and shoots at targets as he makes his way through an obstacle course. Paper targets and steel plates are engaged, rapid-fire, as moving targets are activated and drop in and out of sight. Incredible feats of shooting skill performed at warp speed.
Multiple targets, moving targets, partial targets, knock-down targets, No-shoot penalty targets that cover or obscure "shoot" targets, barricades high and low, doors, windows, walls, tables and other props are blended together by our ingenious Course Designers to create constantly changing situations that challenge the shooter to think and shoot.

Props are used to simulate a scenario that the shooter must complete. Shooting may be done from freestyle, strong hand, weak hand, prone, or any other imaginable position, depending on the course of fire.

Since scoring uses both total points and elapsed time, the shooters strive to find the best combination of accuracy and speed to win.

The obstacle course or stage must not be confused as an assault course where all must start at point 'A' and finish at point 'B'  in exactly the same way. It’s a bit like a Map, Some take the Motor way; fast but a longer route. Some take the winding country lanes; shorter but more wiggely. Some use a mixture of both and not to forget the ‘gameie’ who find a short cut!

Good stages, and there are many that go towards making a whole match, normally have a minimum of two ways of doing them, each way will have its advantages and disadvantages and unique problems to solve.

Practical shooting has many aspects, Its not just about who can pull the trigger the fastest or who is the most accurate or who can run through the obstacle course the fastest. You do not need to be an athlete or young and fit to do well. Many older competitor or the less agile are usually the match winners, proving that experience and practice, makes for a winning formula.

Who would win?
Take two men of equal shooting abilities.
One can run faster than he can think, whilst the other thinks faster than he can run.
Now introduce a third, who can neither think or run fast but has a greater shooting ability.
Only a fool would predict a winner, however give all three a bit of practice to hone their natural abilities and master their weaknesses and the triumphant one would be the one that took his practice time the most seriously. However the others will still enjoy playing the game equally.

Practical Shooting is what you want to make of it. You can gear up and become a Serious Competitor. The choice is yours.

The sport recognizes many different aspects of individual excellence. There is a wide diversity of attitudes among the shooters at a match. For some, the match is part practice, part social occasion. They enjoy the challenge, the fun and social aspects of the sport, and don't take things too seriously. At the other end are the Serious Competitors. They respond to the challenge by employing modern sports training techniques to condition mind and body to peak performance. In between are all sorts of shooters.


The principles of the sport

The following principles are established to define the nature of practical shooting.
They are accepted by all members of the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) as conditions of membership.

  • Practical competition is open to all reputable persons without regard to occupation.

  • Accuracy and speed are the equivalent elements of practical shooting and practical competition must be conducted in such a way as to evaluate these elements equally.

  • Firearm types are not separated, all compete together without handicap

  • Practical competition is a test of expertise in the use of practical firearms and equipment.

  • Practical competition is diverse. Problems are constantly changed, Courses of fire may be repeated, but no course may be repeated enough to allow its use as a definitive measure of practical shooting skill.

  • Practical competition is freestyle. In essence, the competitive problem is posed in general and the participant is permitted the freedom to solve it in the manner he or she considers best within the limitations of the competitive situation as provided.


The Equipment Race

Some people have criticized practical shooting for "forgetting its roots". The proliferation of "race guns", with compensated barrels, electronic sights, and quick-release holsters, has discouraged many competitors who cannot or do not want to get into the "equipment race".

Many serious shooters choose to take advantage of the freedom IPSC allows to experiment with new technologies that can reduce muzzle flip, increase accuracy, and speed up target acquisition.

An expensive gun is not required to shoot an IPSC match. A reliable, accurate gun, a safe holster, and spare magazines are all you should need to get started.

Practical Shooting HPC




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