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September 29, 2007

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Let's Get Practical

Ever heard of USPSA?

It stands for United States Practical Shooting Association, an organization that governs “practical shooting.” And what’s that, you say? Practical shooting is a sport that sprang out of experimentation with handguns used for self-defense. But it has evolved far beyond its origins in law enforcement to become a fun shooting contest that, according to the organization’s website (uspsa.org), obliges shooters, “ to take on obstacle-laden shooting courses (called stages) requiring anywhere from six to 30+ shots to complete. The scoring system measures points scored per second, then weights the score to compensate for the number of shots fired…Competitors move, negotiate obstacles, run, speed-reload, and drive their guns through each of several courses as fast as their skills will allow.”

Sounds like fun, right?

The USPSA Nationals were held earlier this month at the United States Shooting Academy in Tulsa, OK, where Dave Sevigny won a milestone fifth Production National Championship.

Sevigny used a 9mm GLOCK 34 to score four stage wins and sixteen top five finishes during the eighteen-stage championship. Competing against many of the best shooters in the world, the champion’s consistency and mental toughness carried him to victory. “I didn’t feel like anything was really happening in the first couple days,” he said. “My goal was to be in a position to win in the closing stages, so I was patient and looked for the right opportunities.”

And like many tough competitors, he had to endure a nail-biting finish. “The last stage was gut wrenching,” he said. “I had to shoot before all the guys who had a chance to win it.”

He had a smooth round until he slipped in the mud—remember, these events go off rain or shine.

“It felt like a rug was pulled out from under me,” he said, “and the shot must have went high, because it was nowhere in the scoring area. My competitors had every opportunity to knock me out but the pressure forced them to drop points and take extra shots.” And that allowed Sevigny to hang on for the win.

It’s worth mentioning that Sevigny’s GLOCK 34 is near stock and hasn’t undergone any major gunsmithing work. The same pistol used by Sevigny can be purchased at your local GLOCK dealer. “You can be competitive right out of the box or add sight and spring preferences like mine for less than $90,” he says.

That’s good advice. When Gun Shots talked to Sevigny about his win, we asked him for a tip for shooters who would like to take up practical shooting. He said, “If you learn to grip the gun correctly and dry practice regularly, your live sessions will be more enjoyable. Always be safe, and have fun shooting.” Spoken like a pro.

Slaton White



oops, typo in the url, it takes us to the US Parachute Association :)

I love the idea of the event happening in inclement weather or not.

I subscribed to your feed a couple weeks ago and love it, keep up the good work.

-andy (geek w/ gun)

Black Rifle Addict

Agree...when qualifying in the service we shot in some nasty weather conditions. Combat takes place 24/7, so should shooting events.

John Snow

Thanks for the heads-up--link is fixed now.

Chris Byrne

It sounds silly and overly simple; but success in practical shooting really is all about four things:

1. Grip
2. Sight focus
3. Trigger release
4. Follow through

Do it until it's muscle memory; thats when you START to get fast.