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Getting Started in USPSA Production Division

By 2 July 2009 No Comment



The USPSA Production Division originally was conceived to allow people who were interested in competitive Action Shooting to get into the sport without spending thousands of dollars to get started. The Production Division was also created to provide a category for the increasing number of Polymer frame, striker fired pistols popularized initially by Glock®.

The Guns

Today several Polymer pistols are offered, the XD® and XD(M)® by Springfield Armory® and it’s USA Trigger™ system, the Smith & Wesson M&P Polymer frame, and of course the Glock with it’s “Safe Action” trigger system and recently several other manufactures have entered the market such as Canik and their TP9 Series guns.

Not all Production Division guns have to be Polymer frame guns. The CZ 75 SP01 is an all steel gun and is very popular in Production Division. The CZ is a Single Action/Double Action (SA/DA) trigger mechanism. CZ Custom in Mesa Arizona produces some great guns ready for competition. The Sig Sauer 226 is gaining popularity, with National Champion Max Michel recently signing with Sig Sauer as their Manager of Competitive Shooting Activities and the introduction of a Sig 226 USPSA model. The Production rules specify that you must start the course-of-fire in Double Action mode. If you have a pistol such as a Beretta 92FS you must begin de-cocked. Beretta also has a Polymer pistol, the PX4 Storm that is legal for Production Division.

The Rules

The broad rules that govern the Production Division equipment are:

  • Cannot be a Single Action only firing mechanism
  • The manufacturer must have produced 2000 guns
  • Limited in the modifications that can be made to the gun
  • Must fit in a box of a set size with an empty magazine inserted
  • Magazines can have only 10 rounds after the start signal
  • Holsters and magazine pouches must be reasonable for “everyday use”

The complete Production rules are available on the USPSA website at USPSA Current Edition Rule book. The Production Division does not recognize a Major Power Factor however you must meet the Minor Power Factor of 125. This makes the 9mm the predominant caliber for Production Division. This doesn’t leave out the .40S&W or the .45ACP both of which can be downloaded to minor power factors with great success.

The Gear

The Production Division also sets restrictions on the equipment, holsters, magazine pouches, and how they may be worn. The rules use the phrase “Suitable for everyday use. ‘Race gun’ type holster prohibited.” The holster and magazine pouches must be worn no farther forward than the points of your hips. Very popular holsters are the Kydex® style holsters. Several manufacturers make holsters and magazine pouches of this style. Safariland, Blade-Tech, Uncle Mikes, Blackhawk, Fobus, Sidearmor, and others.

Safariland offers a SAFARILAMINATE™ holster in their ALS™ line that features a suede lining to help protect the finish on the gun. Blade-Tech offers a Combo-Pak that includes a holster and a double magazine pouch for certain pistols. These Kydex style holsters range from as low as $15 up to $65. The XD line of pistols come with a Yaqui style holster and a double magazine pouch included.

A wide range leather holsters are available that are suitable for Production Division as well. Both Safariland and Blackhawk offer leather holsters, Galco Gunleather, Dillon Precision, and many others. Leather holsters typically range in price from $60 – $100 but some can cost far more, especially if you’re interested in having a custom holster made just for you.

A good gun belt is as important as a holster. Throw away those old wide-white left over from disco days belts. A good belt is both part of your safety equipment and your competition equipment. When you draw your pistol you want your holster to stay in place and not come with the gun. This is essential for a high-speed draw. If you don’t have a solid platform to draw from you cannot maximize your draw. If you are using a floppy old street belt, and every time you draw, the holster comes with the gun up to your arm pit, you’re not only slowing down your draw, but you’re creating a possible safety problem.

The belts most commonly used by USPSA competitors are a competition belt system consisting of a stiff under-belt faced with Velcro™ that goes through your pants belt loops and a stiff outer belt faced with the other half of the Velcro that carries the holster and magazine pouches that goes over the under belt. This creates a very stable and secure holster platform. Safariland, CR Speed, and Blade-Tech offer a competition belt system.

Other belts designed for handgun carry are also popular, belts such as the Instructors belt by Wilderness Tactical or Blackhawk, Uncle Mikes or Galco work well especially if you are using a Paddle style holster and quick release magazine pouches. Invest in a good quality gun belt.

Getting Started

Even though the Production Division is intended to provide an easy entry into USPSA Action Shooting, don’t think that the division in anyway is a watered down only-for-beginners division. Far from it. In many ways the Production Division offers challenges not present in Open or Limited divisions. Many of the top shooters in the world prefer and routinely compete in Production Division. Shooters such as Robert Vogel, Dave Sevigny, Angus Hobdell, Matthew Mink, and Rob Leatham.

So what do you need to shoot your first USPSA Production match? First of all visit the USPSA website and read the rule book. While you’re there locate a USPSA club near you. Make sure you know and understand the 4 Basic Rules of gun safety.

Get to the match a few minutes early and let the sign-up person know that this is your first USPSA match. They may have a safety briefing for you to attend. Make sure you show up to the match with your gun unloaded, slide forward, hammer down and in a gun bag or rug. There will be a safety area available to un-bag and holster your gun.

You’ll of course need your handgun, at least 4 magazines and most likely between 120 – 150 rounds of ammunition. If you’re not yet reloading and you’re shooting 9mm a few boxes of Winchester USA commonly known as Winchester white box, will work. Stay away from +P or expensive 9mm ammo as it’s generally way too hot a load for the sport.

As suggested above get a belt designed for use with a handgun and a holster and 3 or 4 magazine pouches. Wear comfortable clothes and running shoes or lightweight boots with some tread. This isn’t a commando or ninja gathering, it’s a sport. A range bag is a good idea to carry your ammo and accessories between stages.

Be prepared for maximum fun. Understand that this likely will be addictive and that you might find yourself traveling to matches every weekend.

So get out there and compete!

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