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USPSA, IDPA, Steel Challenge


The United States Practical Shooting Association, or USPSA, is the national governing body of one form of Practical shooting in the United States, and is the US Region of the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC). Its over 18,000 members and over 350 affiliated clubs make USPSA the dominant competitive pistol shooting organization in the United States and the largest Region within IPSC. USPSA publishes a member magazine called Front Sight six times a year.


The International Defensive Pistol Association, founded in 1996 and based in Berryville, Arkansas, promotes defensive pistol shooting as a sport using full-charge service ammunition and other equipment to solve simulated "real world" self-defense scenarios. Shooters competing in defensive pistol events are required to use practical handguns and holsters that are deemed suitable for self-defense use. The sport came about as a response to many perceived shortcomings of competitions organized by the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC). It was decided by the founders of IDPA (Bill Wilson, John Sayle, Ken Hackathorn, Dick Thomas, Walt Rauch and Larry Vickers), which included some of the founders of IPSC, that IPSC competitions had become too far removed from the reality of defensive shooting situations, using extensively modified guns, handmade ammunition, and speed-draw holsters that were impractical for self-defense. The IDPA founders believed that IPSC matches had become "gun races," which were heavily dependent on equipment. That is, you had to have the latest gun, sighting equipment, and competition holster to be competitive. Since alterations to the sidearm are carefully regulated in IDPA, and magazine capacity is limited to a division-specific maximum of 10 rounds, it is possible to be competitive in IDPA with a greatly reduced outlay of money.

Steel Challenge

The Steel Challenge is a speed shooting championship governed by the Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA). The competition was founded by Mike Dalton and Mike Fichman. The targets, made of steel, range in size from 10" round plates to 18"x24" square plates.