If I remember correctly, the original purpose of this forum was to stir up the shit a little bit (a stated mission which is evidenced by its moniker), so I thought I'd do just that. I've shot this sport for quite a long time, and it is quite literally one of my favorite things to do. I honestly still can't believe that people let us run around and race with handguns. However, my passion has led to a wall of frustration as the sport has failed to evolve, and has instead warmed itself into a comfortable little niche. Although, judging by match participation over the past several years, we've grown in numbers, in my opinion we haven't grown nearly to the extent we should have. USPSA (and IPSC in general) is esoteric at best, and extremely inaccessible to the public at large.
This is a gripe list, and these topics have been addressed from time to time here and on brianenos, but rather than discussing them individually I am viewing them in the collective (as they are indeed points of evidence of a particular insular mindset):
-USPSA requires a great deal of work in the marketing department. There is quite simply very little awareness of the sport for the majority of gun owners. For the level of talent we have in this game, we should be the gold standard for how recreational shooters measure up against. Instead, we constantly fight battles over the Internet with idiots who claim "that'll get you killed in the real world" and "I want to defend myself, not win a trophy." At SHOT, there was virtually no official USPSA presence (in spite of the best efforts of the ubiquitous Taran Butler entourage). If you walk into a gun store, you will not find USPSA flyers or brochures. USPSA has scarce visibility in mainstream media outside of Shooting USA. Additionally, when it comes to things like instructional videos, USPSA's web presence leaves much on the table. There are ample opportunities for SEO and SEM improvements when it comes to establishing our sport and our top guys as the thought leaders/brand ambassadors for gun culture in the US. Additionally, some of our champions are exceptional LEO and Military instructors (which should bridge the gap between competition and defense).
-Production Division is now bullshit. Tanfoglios and Accushadows? Really guys? This division was created around the Glock 17, and commonly available 9mm handguns. It was not intended to support $2500 race guns specifically designed for competition. Now, let me put this simply- they are not huge advantages. I would argue that one of these delivers about a 2% edge at best. However, having the public at large see space guns which nobody owns as the most common equipment does us a huge disservice. People walking onto the range should think that they too can be a GM with an Uncle Mike's cheapo rig and the plastic gun they may carry or keep in their sock drawer. On top of that, we've now created an equipment race within the game itself for people who want to chase that slight advantage.
-The scoring system is ridiculous. "Hey guys, who's winning the match?" "Well I have no idea. Since I brought my abacus to the range, I know my cumulative hit factor, but Stoeger hasn't shot yet, so that could change everything." No. We should move to something sensible like time plus. Not GSSF time plus. Not IDPA time plus. But a small penalty for Cs, and double that for Ds (maybe C/D/M = .15/.30/1.00 for Production as an example). This way we could actually tell what our score is on the fly, and not have a jam on a 24 round classifier obliterate a match by crushing our hit factor.
-Gaming needs to be mitigated. There are certain situations in which the MD needs flexibility in order to present a shooting challenge. For example, shooting one handed on a stage, or carrying an object, or dragging a dummy. However, USPSA renders these scenarios impossible. This is because anytime the shooter is required to do anything other than shoot with two hands, the course designer must build some elaborate device in order to prevent the squad from figuring out a way around it. Most of the time, when presented with a prop, the shooter will go "why the hell would I do that" and just ignore it. This leads to a higher PITA factor for stage designers, and results in a lot of stages that are very similar to each other. Additionally, newer shooters who are technically talented but who don't understand the game as much will suffer under the current rules. The MD should be able to more precisely specify actions that the competitors may or may not do (perhaps limited to one or two per stage so as not to make it an IDPA-fest). If I put together a match and I want you to carry that ammo can, there shouldn't be a debate over whether or not it's "worth it."
-We should move entirely to the Classic targets. This is because we are not shooting defensively. We are shooting a sport. What do we need the heads for? A lucky A zone hit? Yes, it is for PC reasons. However, we need to present ourselves as professional competitors. Torso targets send a confusing message to the media when we're wearing Salomons and colorful jerseys and running around out there. Yes, our skills are very useful for defense, but that is not our objective as sportsmen. Classic targets retain all the difficulty and none of the negative connotations.
-Switch the Nationals back to Las Vegas every now and then. Look, Barry and Frostproof are nice ranges. Also, the Nationals there have been run very professionally and my hat is off to the match staff. However, I can't take my wife to Barry or Frostproof. Quincy at least has some stuff to do, but Frostproof is in the middle of nowhere. Additionally, Pacific Time Zone shooters have to get up at the equivalent of 4:30am (Barry) or 3:30am (Frostproof) to shoot the match. Some of you who are unable to sleep the night before a match should doubly appreciate this. Las Vegas has rocks and ricochets and is hotter than the surface of the sun, but it's centrally located, easy and cheap to get to, and gee-whiz, there's actually some nightlife. When I shoot a match, I'm on vacation. I want to go see Le Reve with my family and wear a blazer.
Oh, and one more for good measure:
-We need to change the popper calibration rule. It is honestly the stupidest thing in the world when a competitor gets a clean hit in or above the calibration zone, and the popper does not fall. Then the ROs have to go out and do a little dance and follow the procedure. The guy hit the damn thing, and it didn't go down. We chrono at all major matches. The RO should be allowed to call range equipment failure if the popper doesn't drop. Additionally, if there's a clear hit on a painted target, it should be an automatic reshoot. If the shooter hits it again and it falls- then too bad.
Have at it guys.