New Shooter Info

Information for shooters new to the sport:
Practical shooting competitions are a blast! The most important thing you need to compete is a reliable handgun in 9mm or higher caliber. If you already have a gun that fits this description, great! Make sure you have a holster that covers the trigger guard, and at least two extra magazines (enough to hold at least 30 rounds — sometimes you’ll need 40).
If you don’t have a gun that fits the above description, don’t go out and buy one! Come to a match and see what other people are shooting and then decide what you want to shoot. People shoot everything from 9mm SIGS, to 40S&W wide body 1911 variations, to Glocks, to 38super “race guns” and everything in between.
Before you compete in a match you should be intimately familiar with your handgun: how to load, unload, holster safety, draw from your holster safely, reload, clearing a jam, etc. You don’t have to be fast, just safe. The most important aspect of the sport is safety.
Other things to take into consideration when coming to a match
1. It can get hot. Bring sunscreen. Bring a hat.
2. Bring Water, bring more water.
3. We tend to have stages where running, kneeling and going prone are common, so have a good sturdy pair of shoes, and clothes that can get dirty.
4. Eye protection and ear protection are always required at USPSA matches, whether you are shooting or not.
5. Our matches generally last until 1-2PM. There is no food available on the range so if you are inclined, bring a snack.
Match Fees:
Like most clubs, we charge $20. Sign up begins at 9:30, and shooting begins at 10:00. But if you’ve never competed, show up early for a safety briefing. When you get to the match, just ask for the Match Director and he will have a range officer go over our safety rules.
Friendship and Camaraderie:
A large part of the fun on USPSA/IPSC Action shooting is the camaraderie that you will experience. While some people show up at a match just in time to shoot, and are gone shortly after the last shot is fired, a dedicated group of volunteers shows up early and stays late to build the match and then to tear it down and put it away. This is the group that we call the Alpha-Mike Shooters. We don’t have a membership fee; our dues are paid in sweat. The rewards though are the highest. Don’t be afraid to show up and pitch in.
The USPSA Rules:
We shoot each match using USPSA rules and regulations, which can be downloaded using the link provided below.
We’re thrilled that you are interested in practical shooting. Every weekend we enjoy safe, fair, family fun with some of the greatest people anywhere.
You are not required to join USPSA to shoot matches with The Alpha-Mike Shooters. Being a member is required to shoot in the “Major” matches (like Sectional and Regional matches). But even though you don’t have to join in order to compete with us, there are many benefits to being a USPSA member. Go to and click on the “How Do I Join USPSA” button for a list of membership options and benefits. The United States Practical Shooting Associations (USPSA) is the premier competitive shooting organization in the world. USPSA membership is your pass to compete in any USPSA or IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) match anywhere in the world (and competing in other countries is an incredible experience).
The rules may seem complicated at first, but if you show up at a regular monthly club match the guys will be glad to explain them (and you’ll find them much easier to understand). Here, though, are the basics:
You probably own a firearm that you can use to get started in practical shooting. USPSA has five competitive divisions, delineated by equipment rules. Unless you are blessed with more money than you need, we recommend that you don’t rush out and spend until you’ve had an opportunity to learn enough about the sport that you can make an informed decision.
Holsters must retain the firearm during any required movement, must cover the trigger of a holstered gun, must point to the ground when the firearm is holstered, and must be carried at belt level. Shoulder holsters, fanny packs, et al, are not permissible at USPSA events. Further, Production Division has additional holster restrictions.
Other necessary equipment includes spare magazines and belt mounted “mag pouch” carriers. In general, you should have enough magazines to be able to fire at least 30 rounds on a course of fire (more is better). Magazines should be available from the gun manufacturer or from a variety of after market sources.
We recommend three to four belt mounted magazine carriers, depending on the gun you’ll be shooting and the divisions in which you choose to compete
Most USPSA members reload their own ammunition, although some use factory loads. Reloading is common for reasons of both economy and performance. The desirability of reloading depends on the divisions in which you choose to compete and the caliber you select. The division choice frequently influences the caliber choice. The issues involved in caliber choice include magazine capacity, recoil, and the division rules.
For example, most Open Division competitors use .38 Super or one of its variants. Most firearms built to compete in Open Division require specific bullet weights and velocities to reach full potential so most Open competitors choose to reload.
Limited Division is dominated by the .40S&W cartridge fired in highly tuned firearms similar those found in Open Division, although they are less complex. Most Limited competitors also opt to reload.
Many who compete in the Limited 10 (L10) Division use the same guns they use in Limited Division, but the division rules allow no more than 10 rounds in the magazine. A growing number of people compete in L10 with single stack 1911-pattern firearms in 40S&W.
Production Division provides a competitive venue for the box-stock firearms people typically purchase for self-defense. Most Production competitors use 9MM or 40S&W calibers. Because the power requirements in Production are less than those in the other divisions, factory ammunition is common.
The most commonly used calibers in Revolver Division are .45ACP and .357 Magnum. The recoil dished up by factory ammunition can be significant in a revolver, and most competitors find that there are combinations of bullet and powder that can be hand loaded to provide the necessary accuracy and velocities without the recoil (and cost!) of most factory ammunition.
EXPECTATIONS: It is important to have realistic expectations as you approach competitive shooting. If the sport were golf and you were just beginning to compete, it is unlikely that you would have aspirations of dominance. Unfortunately, even people with some shooting experience fall into the trap of believing that tin can plinking or hunting has prepared them for competitive shooting. Keep in mind that many of the people at these matches shoot hundreds of rounds every weekend.
Practical shooting is an exciting, fun, safe sport. Like any sport, proficiency comes with experience. As you compete over the course of weeks and months, you’ll find gratification as you see your name rise in the match results.
Welcome aboard!
One of the best things that come from shooting competitively is that you WILL become a safer gun owner.
Get there a little early and ask them for an orientation. Safety comes first in this sport.
The rules are pretty simple. Gun stays completely unloaded and holstered all the time until it’s your turn to shoot, you step up to the firing line, and your range officer says, “Make Ready.” Load the gun, set the safety, holster. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed downrange. Imagine a huge glass pane which goes through your shoulders as you face downrange. The pane of glass follows you as you move downrange or uprange. You can point the gun anywhere on the downrange side of that glass, but don’t break the pane with your muzzle. That’s what we call “the 180.”
When you reload, ALWAYS remove your finger from the trigger.
If you move and you’re not shooting, your finger should also pop out of the trigger. It should be automatic.
Come out and try it!