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IDPA vs USPSA - what are the pros and cons?

Discussion in 'General Competition' started by GlockinNJ, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. GlockinNJ

    GlockinNJ

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    Apr 24, 2011
    PRONJ
    I'm looking to shoot more than GSSF and I'm considering IDPA and/or USPSA. Would like to hear some pros/cons from the GT community.

    I guess I could shoot both, but I really want to learn one format at a time.

    I would be shooting either my mostly stock G22 or stock CZ-75.
     
  2. Chris Chris

    Chris Chris

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    Both games are fun, and I shoot both. The best description of the differences between the two of them is this: USPSA is a track meet with handguns. A lot of running is often involved, and sometimes over relatively long distances. IDPA is more of a choreographed ballet. They have rules about using 'cover' properly to engage targets, do not allow more than 10 yards movement between shooting positions, and have far stricter rules on reloading than does USPSA.

    In IDPA you also have to shoot with a cover garment on, in keeping with their Defensive Pistol approach. That garmet is not required in USPSA. Holster rules in IDPA are also more strict than USPSA.

    Both your G22 and CZ-75 are good to go for both. In fact, with the magazine carriers and proper holster you could shoot either gun in USPSA Production Division or IDPA SSP
    (striker fired gun or CZ DA) or ESP (striker fired or CZ cocked & locked).

    That might be a good place for you to start to get your feet wet. The games are similar, but with some noticeable differences, but the above gun divisions are virtually identical in terms of equipment.
     


  3. glock_19guy1983

    glock_19guy1983

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    dixie
    Ive never shot USPSA, but I can tell you some of the gripes I have with IDPA. Downloading magazines is the biggest one. If I am carrying a g19 I am not going out into the real world with only 10rnds in my mag. Also some of the stock service revolver regulations on speedloader carriers are down right stupid.
     
  4. whatsupglock

    whatsupglock

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    Shoot both! It's too much fun just to choose one. GSSF is incredibly boring compared to run-n-gun. I shoot both. I like both. I have had people tell me I should only shoot one or the other. Bullshevic. There are a ton of people at the matches that will help teach you the rules. Learn the safety rules and go play.

    IDPA purists tend to get on my nerves. If I hear one more person use the word "gaming" or "gamer" I might lose my freaking mind! Newsflash folks. IT'S A FREAKING GAME!!!!

    You may decide you don't like USPSA or IDPA after shooting one versus the other. I have several friends who don't want to have anything to do with IDPA any more after shooting USPSA. I like both and will continue to shoot both.

    And as stated previously, some of the rules are stupid. But it is a game, and games have rules.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  5. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

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    Downloading magazines is one of the best rules IDPA has. The point is to level the playing field between guns, so that you are comparing skills of shooters, more than equipment. It's a direct response to the USPSA equipment/mag capacity races under various sets of rules. Face it, your gun won't benefit from practice, but you will, so it's better to see how you can do than how your equipment can do. On top of that, matches want to give you 18 round stages that are more fun than they are real-world in terms of round count, so guns that only hold 8-10 rounds and would work great for real self defense would be eliminated from competition if mag capacity was an issue.

    As for the OP - try IDPA first. You can be more competitive with your CCW equipment and stock guns and the rules make it much mroe useful as practice for guys who carry a gun for self-defense.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  6. davsco

    davsco

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    in my experience (VA/MD/PA/WV), USPSA events are a little bigger - more stages, more targets per stage, more spaced out - so you generally get more shooting in at any given match. Also steel targets and some moving targets which the local IDPA matches generally don't have.

    so if there is both an idpa and uspsa match on the same day with a similar drive to the event, i will pick the uspsa match. but if a uspsa match is one day, and an idpa is another day, i try to do them both.

    the number one rule by far with both events is safety - muzzle always down range, finger off trigger unless actually in the process of shooting a target. leave your gun in its case until you speak with the match director or a range officer and they'll tell you what to do from there. i wouldn't get too caught up in the rules and differences between the two - just show up, tell them you're the new guy and they'll take care of you, and learn from the guys in front of you. treat the first year as a learning experience. tough to do, but start out slow, focus on front sight, and get good hits. if you get great hits on one stage, speed up a little on the next, and so on.
     
  7. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    41,621
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    Jan 16, 2005
    Kentucky
    The opposite around here - a big complaint at the local matches is that they are as big as a major match and take all day and pretty much every stages has multiple movers, steel targets, etc. to reset every run. You won't see one that is under 100 rounds.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  8. glock_19guy1983

    glock_19guy1983

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    dixie
    I like large matches. I have to drive an hour to the nearest IDPA match, so if its a 100 or more rnd match it is more worthwhile for me. We usualy have 30 or more shooters and it goes pretty fast if everyone will help reset and paste with one person helping the shooter pick up his brass.
     
  9. BuckyP

    BuckyP Lifetime Member

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    PA
    In general, USPSA is more of a shooting challenge, IDPA a "rules" challenge. You'll see far more procedural errors at an IDPA match, and typically more misses at a USPSA match.

    USPSA uses a fault line (piece of 2x4) to show you where you can and cannot shoot from. You are either touching the ground outside the line, or you are not. IDPA uses a subjective form of cover. Depending on who is running you (and who you are), will depend if you are or are not behind cover.

    By virtue of the rules and course descriptions, there are typically few options on how to shoot an IDPA stage, positions must be approached in order, targets must be shot in order. USPSA allows for options, sometimes minor, sometimes major, depending on the course designer.

    I'll add one more thing, IDPA sometimes requires you to "cheat" to win. I'm specifically referring to "round dumping". That is, shooting an extra round at a target to make the reload more convenient. Some people are quite blatant about it (like dumping 3 rounds into the down zero at a 4 yard target), but more commonly a better shooter will pluck a down 3 and make it up. The latter is hard to call, as you are allowed to make up shots.

    As for equipment, when IDPA first began, USPSA required high and equipment, and even more important high capacity magazines (which at the time were expensive and hard to find due to the AWB that was in effect). Today, USPSA has Production and Single Stack which can be effectively shot with IDPA gear, with the addition of a couple more mag pouches (and of course the magazines to fill them).

    A couple years ago, I liked them both equal. I liked what IDPA was trying to accomplish, but think some of the subjectiveness fell short. Admittedly, I don't know what the answer is to resolve this. I still shoot both on a regular basis. Given the option, however, I'll pick a USPSA match over IDPA.
     
  10. ron59

    ron59 Bustin Caps

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    Smyrna, GA
    You have to "download mags" in USPSA production division also which is the closest comparison to IDPA, so that's a silly statement.

    My biggest complaint is the "cover" call in IDPA. It's a judgement call by the R.O. and often not applied evenly/fairly IMHO. Far too subjective I think.

    I started with that and by far prefer USPSA now. USPSA can be overwhelming to a newbie though.... LOTS of targets on some stages and tough to get your head around.
     
  11. RJ 71

    RJ 71

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    I shoot both. Mostly because I enjoy shooting. USPSA is more challenging mentally and physically but both IDPA and USPSA are a ton of fun. My advice is find a match and shoot it. Don't worry about which one is better in someone else's opinion. Shoot both and decide for yourself. They are different games with different rules but they are Games and remember games are supposed to be fun.
     
  12. BuckyP

    BuckyP Lifetime Member

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    PA
    What statement are you referring to? :dunno:

    I think it's tougher for a Newbie to grasp the concept of "tactical priority" and "tactical sequence" than dealing with a few extra targets on a stage.
     
  13. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

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    Kentucky
    Here's a stage from a local monthly IDPA match - I believe I even shot in this one. Down the side are links to the other stages, so you can see the number of props and shots going into it.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsoO5qOwvhw"]IDPA at BGSL Stage 2 - 18 Oct 08 - YouTube[/ame]
     
  14. ron59

    ron59 Bustin Caps

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    Post #3, where the guy says "downloading mags" is his biggest complaint about IDPA.

    #1. The REASON for that, is that many states don't allow higher capacity magazines. So they implemented the "max 10 rounds" rule so that people from those states, when they went to a match in another state or a national event.... would still be on level playing field, as opposed to having to adjust for a difference. It makes plenty of sense.

    #2. Also, out of all the divisions in USPSA, I'd say the Production division is the one closest to IDPA for comparison reasons. It too has a max of 10 rounds for the same reasons I mentioned above.

    So to use that statement has a knock against IDPA is pretty ridiculous, actually.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
  15. whatsupglock

    whatsupglock

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    Round dumping is the rule that chaps my ars. I have had people tell me that I shoot too good to take extra shots, so if I do, I'll get a 20 sec ftdr. BS. A 15 yard make-up shot is not round dumping. If people are going to gripe, make every blasted stage limited vickers!!!!! Solves the problem.
     
  16. Chris Chris

    Chris Chris

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    IDPA and USPSA are games. Games have to have rules. You don't have to agree with the rules, you just have to abide by them or accept the penalty for violating them.

    I'm sure that NFL defensive linemen object to the rules about 'roughing the quarterback' and defensive backs probably aren't too happy with the 'pass interference' rules. But, they have to abide by them.

    Complaining about the rules doesn't accomplish much. If you don't like the rules in one game, play another.
     
  17. glock_19guy1983

    glock_19guy1983

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    dixie
    thanks. I like the idea of a swinger for a non threat. looks like a fun stage.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
  18. whatsupglock

    whatsupglock

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    I don't mind the rules. Rules make the game more challenging. What bothers me is when the rules are not applied equally across the board.
     
  19. Chris Chris

    Chris Chris

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    Florida
    I will grant you that with a BIG +1.

    I've been a SO for about seven years (MA in one Division and EX in 3 others) and have shot major matches ranging from the World Championship, through several Nationals, some Regionals and a bunch of state championships.

    The quality of the SOs can vary greatly. I have even seen a Novice Class shooter serving as an SO at Sanctioned matches.... along with plenty of MMs who haven't been shooting the sport for even a year.

    Yeah... they often put their own spin on things while they strut around embued with their 'important status'.

    It's a sore point with many experienced IDPA competitors.

    The good news is that the IDPA Tiger Teams are looking closely at this SO/experience issue. There may be new Rules that require a certain level of IDPA experience (either time or Classification) to gain more experienced people in the SO position... along with a retest and re-certification of existing SOs. That should help.

    The TTs are also going through a total Rule review that may produce some other changes.

    We can only wait and hope.
     
  20. ron59

    ron59 Bustin Caps

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    Smyrna, GA
    This is where I was mentioning "the cover" call.

    R.O.'s suck buddies don't get called as tightly, newbies are over policed.

    Way too subjective of a rule, yet is so crucial to time.