HGR 034 - Competition Shooting with Handguns

HGR 034 - Competition Shooting with Handguns

This week, Ryan talks with guest Matt about some (but not all!) of the types of handgun competition there is out there.

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Week in Review:


  • Did some reloading! Reloaded some subsonic .38 Specials for a NEF Handi-Rifle in .357 Magnum. A few years ago, we discovered using a suppressor on the threaded Handi-Rifle with the handloads of a 125 grain plated Flat Point Berry’s bullet over a mid-range charge of Trail Boss produced a bullet with a velocity of around 864 fps and is also accurate. Really quiet with the suppressor!!!
  • Picked up some .32 ACP for the Colt 1903. Look for a review coming the next time I get out to the range.
  • One of my very favorite YouTube personalities, TNOutdoors9 apparently had a significant health scare, which explains his absence for the past couple months. He posted a video explaining his absence. I am so happy to hear he is doing better and I can’t wait to see more content from him. Get better brother!


  •   Worked on one of my reviews, a bottom feeder. The STI Steelmaster 9mm
  •     Finished my vcomp for uspsa this year
  •     Picked up a Remington #1 rolling block action Saturday.

Main Topic: Competition Shooting with Handguns

IDPA : International Defensive Pistol Association

  • cheaper to get started
  •  least amount of equipment
  •  lower round count
  •  real life scenarios
  •  friendly & laid back

A sport that was founded to get pistol away from run and gun and get more back to tactics. It uses cover garments and basic equipment that you would carry everyday in situations that actually could happen. A good place to first try a shooting sport.


 ssp-stock service pistol is for striker fire or double action pistols,compact to full size. Pretty much what most people carry day to day. No exterior mods other than sight changes. Action jobs permitted

   esp-enhanced service pistol is for pistols with some mods. small magwells,stippling and action work are all permitted. Basically just a lightly modded carry gun.

cdp-custom defensive pistol is the single action 1911 division. Limited to eight rounds. You will see some striker fire guns just downloaded.

ssr-stock service revolver is your basic 6 shot revolver in minor caliber and reloaded with speed loaders. Smith k&l frames and the gp100 are the main players, but any rimmed cartridge will work.

 esr- enhanced service revolver is for moon moon clipped ammo making major power factor of 165000. This division is mainly Smith 625 territory but you will see 610 10mm/40 from time to time


 holsters: any basic daily carry holster, iwb or owb will do. There a few simple criteria but most are ok

belt: any sturdy standard leather/ instructor belt is ok. No 2 piece

          cover garment: shirt, jacket or vest.

reloads/holder: you need 2 extra mags in ssp & esp with a holder

                           3 extra mags in cdp with holder

                           ssr needs 3 speed loaders and approved holders

                           esr needs 3 moon clips and holder

Steel Challenge

       -fast & fun

       -few rules

       -almost any gun can compete

       -great practice for every other sport


       -can be done on the cheap

Steel challenge is a competition where you shoot 5 steel targets as fast as you can. You shoot it 5 times in a row with your best 4 being kept for score. Total of 8 sanctioned stages. It is fast and fun, but also great practice for other sports. You can really get your draws and transitions down, really see what works.


production-basic centerfire pistols and holsters, guns you carry everyday.

  limited-modified guns,higher round mags, heavier

 open-race guns,red dots comps, anything goes

  revolver-usually 7&8 shot revolvers, no dots or comps

rimfire open- red dots and comps permitted

rimfire-your basic .22 revolver or pistol


         holster and a way to hold 4 reloads. Rimfire only requires a bag and 4 reloads. For Rimfire revolver I use a ds-10 reloading block and speed loader.

USPSA-United States Practical Shooting Association

          -running and gunning

          -cool guns

          -more rounds down range

USPSA  is more of a sport than practice for real world. It requires a little more gear and generally more rounds per match. You are shown the course of fire and then its up to you to figure the fastest way to shoot it while still remaining accurate. Its open to revolvers to all out race red dot comped out guns.People are a bit more serious.


open-skys the limit really, high capacity mags, red dots, compensators, gas pedals and weights are all allowed

   limited- basically an open gun stripped down, fast with high capacity.

limited 10- limited to 10 rounds in mag

production-carry guns and equipment, your idpa gear will work here

single stack-1911’s in a carry condition,8 round major, 10 rd minor

 revolver-basic revolvers,mods allowed. 6shot major,8 shot minor


        double belts are allowed, need enough reloads to cover 32rds (maybe more). Holsters range from open front race to standard carry holsters depending on division.

ICORE-Internatinal Confederation Of Revolver Shooters

My favorite, its all revolvers! Its a run and gun sport as well with a mix of paper and steel targets. It has a place for almost any revolver,mild to wild. Probably the most tight knit group of shooters,maybe because there are fewer of us in the other sports.


classic-6 shot,speed loader and iron sights only here. 38 is the most prevalent caliber

limited-6-8 shots,moon clips and iron sights here. smith 625 and 627 most common. The 627 8 shot Smith is used probably most.

   open- anything goes, red dots, weights and comps all legal. Customs and vcomps rule the roost here. The Smith 929 will probably take over here.


          good belt, (double belts are allowed) a holster that covers atleast the trigger guard and an ammo holder capable of holding up to 48 rds.

Many other pistols sports out there, NRA action pistol, bowling pin, ppc, silhouette, bulls eye and even hybrids of the ones we talked about. Something really for anyone. Every club and match I have shot has been friendly and welcoming. You can’t find a better group of people than shooters. Try them all,you will like some better than others, but you will have a good time at all of them.


  • Dont forget to shop Brownells using our affiliate link, www.handgunradio.com/brownells
  • Make sure you shop Paladin Press using our affiliate link www.handgunradio.com/books for all your firearms-related reading needs!
  • Leave us a review on iTunes!
  • Listen to Tactical Paradise on the Firearms Radio Network!
  • Be sure to visit the Firearms Insider for review and SHOT Show 2014 coverage!
  • We are also doing the first ever Handgun Radio giveaway! We have 10 weeks worth of products for this giveaway so the way in which we conduct the contest will vary. We are giving away EDC Tape which was very generously donated by Anthony of the Firearms Radio Network. Anthony states “I came up with EDC tape after I was at a concert with my wife and her sandal broke , I thought if I only had a few inches of tape I could fix it, and the idea was born. I started making them for family and friends and realized it might be worth trying to market a few. Each roll is approx 24" of brand name duck tape. No bigger than a roll of Chapstick. Currently we are producing them in black ,camo ,and  pink. Available is packs of 3 or 5 for $15-$18  at our website Edctape.com”
  • WINNER THIS WEEK: iTunes reviewer ksnell! Email me at ryan@handgunradio.com so I can send the EDC Tape to you.
  • THIS WEEKS GIVEAWAY: I will make a post over on the Handgun Radio Facebook page saying “Like this post to get entered in the EDC Tape Drawing for next Sunday, March 9th. I will include all the people who like the post in the giveaway for next week!!!
  • Until next week, have fun and SAFE SHOOTING!!!!!