The sport of practical shooting involves simulated combat style courses set up to practice and compete with home defense or more advanced pistols. Practical shooting developed largely in the law enforcement and military community with lifelike situations and has now grown into a specialty shooting sport. Advanced shooters may put quite a bit of money into their guns and equipment, but the USPSA (Untied States Practical Shooting Association) is quick to point out that there are divisions for almost every pistol over 9mm. With a couple of extra clips or speed loaders, anyone with a pistol can practice and compete.
Practical Shooting competitions are scored for hits as well as speed, and the competitors at the top of the game are extremely fast and accurate. Physical fitness plays into the sport, however great shooting and quick shooting are the keys. As with all sports, there is a formal structure to practical shooting. Course designers also pride themselves in their creativity and introducing variance into each course.
Practical shooting courses consist of a series of walls or barriers and targets with required competitive rapid target recognition and shooting. Practical shooting has many variations and encourages “freestyle” problem solving. Essentially this is a fast paced police or swat team training sport.
There are several gun classifications as well as short, medium and long courses measured by the amount of shots needed to complete the course. In addition to the handgun sport, practical shooting has extended to shotgun skills and rifle shooting as well. All of the shooting is geared towards combat style training courses although rifle shooting is further geared towards accuracy. The bulk of the practical shooting sport remains pistol orientated.
If you are looking for a fast paced competitive pistol sport or just interested enough to watch a tournament, head to the local shooting club for a closer look at practical shooting.