Practical shooting is a sport that evolved from experimentation with
handguns used for self-defense. The researchers were an international
group of private individuals, law enforcement officers, and military
people generally operating independently of each other, challenging the
then-accepted standards of technique, training practices, and equipment.
The work was, for the most part, conducted for their own purposes
without official sanction. Even so, what they learned changed the face
of police and military training forever.
You may remember that in the original Dirty Harry movie, Clint
Eastwood's character visits a training center and walks down the street
of a mock city engaging hostile targets and while identifying and
sparing innocents. A lot of us saw it too, and thought, "cool!" It
looked like too much fun to be just the law enforcement work of
qualifying with a handgun.
Competition had begun with the "leather slap" quick draw events of the
1950's, which had grown out of America's love affair with the TV
westerns of that era. However, many wished for a forum that would more
directly test the results of the experimentation that had been going on
in Big Bear, California and many other places. Competitions evolved to
test what had been learned, and just for the pure fun presented by what
quickly became a sport requiring competitors to deal with constantly
changing scenarios while shooting rapidly and accurately with full power
In 1976 an international group of enthusiasts interested in what had
become known as "practical" shooting met in Columbia, Missouri. From
that meeting came the International Practical Shooting Confederation
(IPSC). In 1984 USPSA was incorporated as the US Region of IPSC.
Membership in USPSA automatically includes membership in IPSC.
For 20 years USPSA competition has provided a test bed for equipment and
techniques, many of which are now the standard for police and military
training. Some of USPSA's top competitors are regularly employed as
trainers for elite police and military units. Today, USPSA matches are
conducted every week by the nearly 400 affiliated clubs all over the
United States. For most people, practical shooting is pure sport
conducted with little or no thought of the self-defense aspect of
firearms use. However, USPSA members are generally the most proficient
shooters in the world as witnessed by their domination in the world of
All that's missing to make USPSA's history a total success story is your involvement. Join us today!