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What's Wrong With USPSA

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#1 Shooter McGavin

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 04:24 AM

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.



#2 Trigger Warning

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 05:11 AM

How big should USPSA be to be big enough?  People keep talking about the need for growth.  I wonder why and what size is believed to be right for this type of sport/activity?


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#3 Doc

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 05:26 AM

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 text...


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#4 Buck Turgidson

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 05:46 AM

I can tell you that from my experience in other sports, fundamentally altering the game (which is what you're asking for) never, ever, results in an influx of new competitors or members.  In fact, when you start fucking with equipment rules to outlaw(or severely handicap) certain kinds of firearms that have become popular, more people than not will just go away rather than sell and start over.

 

You make some good points re marketability and I think the most likely eventual president will deal with that well.

 

If your major burr is why cleetus the dumbfuck gun owner doesn't want to play, let me tell you a little secret.  HE WILL NEVER PLAY NO MATTER WHAT WE DO.

 

There are several reasons why that is, and in no particular order of importance here they are:

 

1. You don't need any particular reason to own a gun in this country.  In many countries, you have to give the po-po a reason (out of the list of approved reasons) for why you want to buy a gun.  In most of those countries, competition is one of the few legit reasons the law will let you have.  So you have European countries where the # of gun owners as % of the population is minuscule but the % of gun owners that are sport competitors is huge compared to us

 

2. The tactical "mindset".  You will never overcome it.  Forget about it.

 

3. Most American men were born thinking they excel at three things: driving, fucking, and shooting.  Most will never get past their ego to show up and drive in an autocross or compete in USPSA.  Of those that do, a certain % will never come back because they can't handle having their self image crushed.

 

Those who want to compete will do so and will learn to deal with and even enjoy many of the things that you see as problems.

 

Change what you need to change

 

Said from the POV of someone who's new to USPSA but not to the shooting sports.


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#5 Vagetarian

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 06:02 AM

As long as it's a .org there will never be a marketing budget or strategy comparable to that of a for-profit corporation. I work for a non-profit and its like squeezing juice from a rock. As for the rest of your issues I agree about Production, disagree with targets, and will finish by saying fuck off, quit trying to make this IDPGAY.

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#6 Fordfan485

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 06:12 AM

How big should USPSA be to be big enough? People keep talking about the need for growth. I wonder why and what size is believed to be right for this type of sport/activity?


More clubs. Closest uspsa club to me is 2 hours away. There are 7 gun clubs/ commercial ranges within an hour and 15 min drive that shoot Idpa or outlaw idpa. None offer USPSA, so there is still more that can be done to grow the sport.

#7 Buck Turgidson

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 06:24 AM

There are 7 gun clubs/ commercial ranges within an hour and 15 min drive that shoot Idpa or outlaw idpa. None offer USPSA, so there is still more that can be done to grow the sport.

 

Sounds like hell


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#8 Will

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 06:38 AM

Don't agree USPSA is inaccessible: anyone can join at any time; inaccessible as hard to understand - maybe as the scoring is stupid but IDPA has way more subjective and confusing elements.

Marketing is required for anything where you're trying to attract a mass quantity of people.

Agree that seeing people run around with high dollar guns could create a perception of an elitist sport, but a quick walk through the match parking lot where you won't find an abundance of high dollar cars takes care of that.

USPSA is a game period the end. Will it help in the streets fuck yeah to a point when you're smoking terrorist pigs and they return fire and drop you like a bad habit because you're standing in the open like a baby buffalo; but hey you're hit factor rocked.

Ok with targets point.

Venue point is spot on, but good ranges that can accommodate some larger 25 plus shot stages aren't found in the middle of the city.

Poppers argument - really? I read your wall of fucking text and this is a main point of why USPSA sucks?

Overall grade for your first post: C plus. No bag of dicks awarded, Would you like a reshoot?

You're not telling us anything we don't know, or you could have found out using the search function...

#9 ron169

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 06:39 AM

More clubs. Closest uspsa club to me is 2 hours away. There are 7 gun clubs/ commercial ranges within an hour and 15 min drive that shoot Idpa or outlaw idpa. None offer USPSA, so there is still more that can be done to grow the sport.


So what's stopping you from starting a club at one of those closer ranges?
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#10 Fordfan485

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 07:24 AM

So what's stopping you from starting a club at one of those closer ranges?


Time. Between work, two kids under 3 and a wife that complains when I shoot one match every other month there is no way I could take something like that on. Maybe in the future I could but not at this point in my life.

#11 LeadChucker

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 07:25 AM

So USPSA is in trouble? I've often thought that. Certainly we have some issues, namely at the HQ level. At the club level I think things are actualy pretty good besides the odd happening (one yesterday actually)

We hear we need growth.

We hear we can't get into the matches we want because they fill up too quickly.

Which is it?

So reading this thread made me think of something I had not considered before, maybe our membership (with numbers that have changed very little) has become more active. I'm sure that HQ could figure out if our current members are shooting more. Problem is, many clubs don't run classifiers every month, others only post scores to Practiscore. Does USPSA does get a full accounting or participation?

Maybe we are actually in a better place relative to participation than I had previously thought.

Note: Yesterday the match I shot had to add an extra squad because so many showed up. This is a good problem to have!

#12 Trigger Warning

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 07:51 AM

More clubs. Closest uspsa club to me is 2 hours away. There are 7 gun clubs/ commercial ranges within an hour and 15 min drive that shoot Idpa or outlaw idpa. None offer USPSA, so there is still more that can be done to grow the sport.

 

Thanks and good point.  I was just thinking of the overall numbers and really how many people "should" be the right amount.  Around here, there are within  1.5 hours or so USPSA matches going on essentially all the time - every weekend I'm sure and sometimes both days.  I have no idea on outlaw or IDPA matches except I know there are a bunch.

 

I'm pretty new at USPSA and I started at an outlaw 3 gun match that favors handguns (at a range I love and love to shoot at).  I think some of the people at the outlaw match would not go to USPSA (they certainly know about it) due to the level of competition (and consequent ego bust) and time the matches take.

 

I think there's a fairly low limit to how many people would want to shoot this kind of sport, but I could see if you have a USPSA-desert the need to promote the sport more.


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#13 GuanoLoco

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 08:36 AM

Excellent intro post.

Wrong forum but I'll overlook that. I am over-riding young Will - your BOD is summarily awarded.

It might take me a few posts to respond to your points.

Marketing: Absolutely. Sing it, Brother. USPSA should claim the 'premier [action pistol] shooting sport' position and defend it vigorously. Do demonstrations. Invite outside challengers to participate. USE the Classification system for shoot-offs even. Hell, even out-timmy Timmy himself with drills. Run with Steel Challenge. Go get some!

Production: I love tinkering with my unicorn - which BTW can be bought stock on occasion for < $1000, not $2500. Try that with an SxI custom built gun. I think Production Nationals proved that 'it's not the gun'. So don't screw with my investments and in particular my FUN. I LIKE messing with my gun(s) and Limited isn't doing it for me. It has occurred to me that we could use a 'Polymer' division or somesuch but the rules would likely eliminate many of the things that enthusiasts like to do with their guns, stipping and undercuts and externally visible mods and what not. Plus no one wants to be STUCK shooting a sucky gun (individually defined) - trigger, weight, polymer, striker-fired, cheap, whatever.

Scoring System: Time Plus primarily sucks in say IDPA because time acumulates across all stages, and there is no weighting system to normalize the impact of one long stage on the entire match. Short stages atomatically become loser stages - you can screw them up but you can't in with them. Hit Factors, Stage Points, etc. initially irritated be but they are steadily growing on me.

Gaming: I shot a L1 match yesterday and ate penalties because a stage was being governed by a single RO's interpretation of stage designer intent and not what was written in the Stage Description. I doubt this was handled with any consistency. It wasn't worth arbitrating. Same RO later didn't get awarded penalties when doing essentially the eact same thing on another stage where an action was 'specifically prohibited'. And the impression was that I was being the asshole. FML. I enjoy the free style and gaming aspects of the game, but yes it is more prop intensive and it solves a lot of range lawyering problems.

Classic targets: In my last target acquisition I purchased and have been shooting exclusively Classic (nothing Classic about them, this is IPSC propaganda) targets. They are growing on me. I don't need heads. I like heads and they allow more creative target positioning but they are a PITA from a space consumes and management perspective - floppy heads, etc. I feel very strongly about not even pretending to accept our rights being abridged - even in pereption - but I think I am relaxing my guard on this one.

Nationals in Vegas. Fine with me. I stay up late and am not a morning person. I travel and feel you...

Popper calibration - Interesting. I hate recalibration, constant PITA.
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#14 peterthefish

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 08:50 AM

So USPSA sucks because there's not someone else close to you to do the work (starting a club) that you're too lazy to do and the scoring not is hard for you to understand. Dumbest intro in a while. And I brought my steel challenge ammo to a pin match today, so I know dumb.

#15 CDengler

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 09:00 AM

Marketing - you are spot on. HQ couldn't market water in the desert. They suck.

Scoring - time plus is simple, but puts all the value in long stages and negates small stages. I like long field courses as much as the next asshole, but a good short stage can make or break a match. It a good balance. Leave HF scoring the way it is, put out a HF for dummies book so the knuckle draggers can understand it.

nationals - agreed. It doesn'5 have to be Vegas, but somewhere were we can drag the family unit and "trick" the wife into believing the trip is for the family would be nice. And move SS nats anywhere else. Nationals should be moved to give it a different feel and different stages.

Targets - classic is easier to maintain. Fuck floppy heads during a match with rain and bags. Otherwise, I don't care what we shoot at.

Production - still the best entry level division in the sport. Nobody is going to win nationals with a box stock Glock and an uncle mikes holster. Even if you Ban CZ and Tanfo. Not gonna happen. Start with a Glock, get gooder, buy a CZ or trick out your Glock. Stop bitching that plastic isn't competitive, it BS. Use your M&P, put in as much time training and shooting as Ben and fucking win. If he can win with a fucking Beretta, you can with with your fucking Tupperware!

Gaming - GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE! If you wanna drag a dummy or carry a purse or deliver flowers during a COF then go shoot IDPA! If you want to shoot stay here. It not gaming or cheating, it freestyle. Learn it, love it, or fuck off!

Just my humble option on all that above shit.

#16 Sweet T

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 09:16 AM

 

 

-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.  

 

 

fuck.  that.



#17 M1911A1

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 10:02 AM

 

-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.

 

Yeah cause everyone CCW's a G34 and they were not specifically built for competition either...

Dont fret though, Welfare Optics is here to give those plastic boys a chance.



#18 ZackJones

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 10:36 AM

Why didn't you run for president since you know what all is broken?
Not to be confused with ZachJ

#19 Ben

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 10:45 AM

I missed Mac. Nice to see him again.
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#20 GuanoLoco

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 10:49 AM

Is he a returning former Doodie?
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