As the governing body of Practical Shooting in the United States, USPSA provides a wide range of competitive opportunities for shooters with regulated competition in six distinct divisions. Each division within USPSA is determined by the kind of firearm used and ranges from production guns, the “stock cars” of the sport, to fully customized open guns that are the Formula 1 cars of Practical Shooting. The following is an explanation of the six divisions within USPSA.
Production Division is strictly limited to the use of production handguns with actions that are double-action-only, double-action/single-action or striker-fired – mostly in the caliber of 9mm. These are the “duty guns” available from nearly every pistol maker and each of the major manufacturers offers a wide variety of models that meet USPSA Production Division requirements. Stock revolvers may also be used, including the 7- and 8-shot variants.
Shooters may change the sights, add a skateboard style grip tape, and tune the internal parts of the gun, but externally-visible changes are not legal.
While capacity is not uniform across model, caliber or manufacture, USPSA levels the playing field by limiting shooters to just 10 rounds per magazine. Regardless of the round used in Production, the division is scored as a minor power factor. Holsters and allied equipment must be “non-race-type” and be worn behind the forward most point of hip. Most shooters use a standard outside-the-waistband belted holster intended for daily wear, often made of kydex or plastic.
The Revolver Division is intended for stock revolvers and shooters are restricted to only six rounds between reloads. Modifications are limited and optical sights, porting and recoil compensators are prohibited. However, shooters may change grips, enlarge the cylinder release, change sights, chamfer cylinders and tune the action as they desire.
While .45 ACP is the most popular, shooters may score major using any cartridge that fires a .355 or larger bullet.
Single Stack 1911
The Single Stack 1911 Division caters to the traditional 1911 fan. USPSA introduced Single Stack as a provisional division in 2006, and based on its popularity made it a regular division in 2008. Only single-stack Government model 1911 pistols are allowed in this division.
The equipment rules are almost identical to Limited-10 with the exception that shooters may only use standard-capacity magazines providing 8 rounds for major calibers and 10 rounds for minor.
As for holsters, Single Stack shooters must adhere to the Production Division guidelines. All equipment must be worn behind the hips and the holster must be a practical, non-race style such as those intended for daily wear.
The Limited-10 Division features both wide-body, or double-stack, 1911 pistols and single-stack 1911 pistols. Additionally, non-1911 pistols are also permitted. The name, Limited-10, is a reference to the total number of rounds (10) a competitor can load in his/her magazine. This capacity limitation eliminates any capacity advantage one model pistol would have over another.
Competitors can make various minor modifications such as change sights, grips, slide stops, magazine releases and mainspring housings but optical sights, porting or a recoil compensator are strictly prohibited.
Calibers can be either minor (9mm, .38Spl, and down-loaded .40S&W, for example) or major (.40S&W and larger). However, in order to score major, a Limited-10 (as well as Limited) pistol must use a .400 caliber or larger bullet.
Limited Division features both wide-body, or double-stack, 1911 pistols and single-stack 1911 pistols. Additionally, non-1911 pistols are also permitted. Modifications allowed to the gun include those for the Limited-10 Division, plus shooters may use high-capacity magazines so long as the magazine is does not have an overall length greater than 141mm for double-stack pistols and 171mm for single-stack pistols.
Again, as with Limited-10, shooters must use a .400 caliber or larger bullet in order to score a major power factor.
As its name implies, the Open Division allows for the greatest range of pistol and sight modification. Pistols used in Open Division competition are the shooting equivalent to the Formula 1 race car. They are custom built with parts and features specifically designed for competition. The most notable modifications are the use of recoil compensators and optical sighting systems. The overall length of the magazine is restricted to 170mm.
While the most popular cartridge in the Open Division is one of several variants of the .38 Super, shooters may compete with a pistol chambered in any caliber that takes a .355 or larger bullet.
For a detailed explanation of all the rules for each division, please refer to the USPSA Handgun Rules.