Jul 18, 2017
In the live chat for the last Triangle Tactical Q&A show,
Austin asked "What's the difference between IDPA and USPSA?"
I didn't have time to get to it in the Live Q&A show, so I
thought I'd talk about it here on the main podcast.
Here's the rundown:
IDPA requires you to have your gun concealed. You'll
generally see people using a vest to conceal their gun, but a vest
is not required.
USPSA does not require your gun to be concealed.
For the most part, the different divisions in each game are
In USPSA there are 7 divisions. This is really high level, but
here's the breakdown:
- Production - This is the division I shoot. You'll want to shoot
9mm in Production. You're limited to 10rds in a magazine, and in
this division you'll see a lot of Glocks, M&P's, CZ's and
- Carry Optics - This division is for pistols that have
slide-ride optics. My advice here is to buy an optic with a GREAT
warranty. I've seen a LOT of them break, and they're
- Pistol Caliber Carbine - Pretty self explanatory. You're
generally going to see 9mm AR's, that sort of thing.
- Single Stack - This is a division for 1911 pattern
- Limited - You can basically do whatever you want to your pistol
in Limited, except for have a compensator, optic, or weapon-light.
You'll generally see .40S&W 2011 pistols in this division.
- Open - This is the division you probably think of when you
think of a race-gun. 2011 pattern pistol, red-dot optic,
compensator, chambered in .38Super or 9mm major.
IDPA has a few less divisions:
- Stock Service Pistol - Pretty similar to USPSA's Production
division. Guns like the Glock 34, Glock 17, M&P, etc. will
shoot in this division without many modifications.
- Enhanced Service Pistol - ESP allows some more modifications
than SSP, as well as single-action pistols.
- Custom Defensive Pistol - This is basically the 1911 division,
but you can shoot other .45ACP pistols here too.
- Compact Carry Pistol - A division for the smaller guns that
people actually carry concealed. It's basically for your S&W
Shield sized guns, up to about the Glock 19 sized guns.
- Back-up Gun - This is or the teeny tiny guns like the Ruger
USPSA stages can have up to 32 required rounds. This means
you'll need to make sure you've got enough magazines to shoot all
IDPA stages are limited to 18 rounds per stage, which means you
need a little less ammo, and other gear to get started.
In USPSA, you're basically presented with a problem, and it's up
to you to come up with a stage plan, and solve the problem
In IDPA, you'll be told a bit more about how to shoot each
stage. "Start here, shoot these targets from here, those targets
from there, etc."
USPSA Classifier Updates
Also in the live chat for the last Triangle Tactical Q&A
show I had a few people asking me about my thoughts on the
announced USPSA classifier updates. I read the entire thread over
on Doodie Project, and honestly, I think the whole thing is a big
nothing-burger. I think they should be updated frequently, and I
don't really have an issue with how it's being done.
Plug of the Week:
Jessica Nietzel wrote a
FANTASTIC article over on the Shooters Mindset blog about
subjectivity in RO calls in USPSA.
DQing new shooter SUCKS.
DQing you friends SUCKS.
But, sometimes it needs to be done. Go read it.