Multi-platform competition guns

Everyone knows that economic times are kind of tough right now for everyone, myself included.  That’s why when you’re looking at guns to shoot competition with, it’s nice to have a gun/guns that you can use in multiple shooting disciplines.  That way, you save money on gear and can spend that money on ammo, which translates into becoming a better shot. When it comes to being able to shoot multiple disciplines with one gun, you cannot beat the humble 1911 in terms of versatility.  A well made 1911 pistol with adjustable sights (no fiber optics for Wild Bunch, but they’re fine for everything else) in .45 ACP can compete in the following sports/divisions:

  • USPSA/IPSC – Single Stack & Limited-10
  • IDPA: Custom Defensive Pistol
  • Steel Challenge: Limited & IDPA-CDP (that’s right, Steel Challenge has IDPA divisions)
  • Single Action Shooting Society: Wild Bunch Division, Traditional or Modern depending on gun.
  • Bowling pin shooting: the .45 ACP is a wondrous pin gun.
  • 3 Gun/Multi-Gun: Heavy Metal division

Now, it’s worth noting that for Wild Bunch or 3-gun you’re going to need a couple of extra guns, but the 1911 stays the same across the games.  You can even use the exact same holster for USPSA, IDPA, Steel Challenge, 3-Gun, and Bowling Pins.  I use a Blackhawk CQC for most competition shooting.  Buy a bunch of magazines, mag holders, and .45 ACP ammo and get shooting!

You can also compete across multiple sports with plenty of other guns, but very few guns offer the multi-sport versatility of the 1911.  You can even “mission” customize it for various sports using a TechWell magazine well system.  The modular well allows you to put one of three different sizes of magazine well on the gun depending on what game you’re shooting.  You can use the huge magwell for Limited-10 division, and then one of the smaller 2 magwells for Single Stack or Custom Defensive Pistol.  Remove the magwell completely and you’re set for Wild Bunch.

It really is easy to get started in action shooting – and you don’t need to spend a fortune on gear to do it!  One gun can get you into 5 different types of matches, all with divisions designed to make your 1911 competitive!


  1. But the problem is what 1911 to buy during these tight times. Good value, not a 2000.00 expense either. Id love a 1911 that is reliable enough for carry and starting to compete, I know it wont be at glock prices, but interested in opinions

  2. That’s a good question, actually. Since you’re not the first person to ask me that, and since I’ve heard conflicting answers, I emailed USPSA about it.

  3. with a glock or pretty much any of the polymer framed autos currently on the market, you can compete in Limited, Limited 10, or Production without altering the gun at all. add a magwell for limited if you want to. and you can use the same holster for either division.

  4. Also true – a Glock 35 in .40 S&W can get you into Production, Limited, and Limited-10. Its best fit (IMO) is in Limited-10, which allows you take advantage of the Major caliber while not forcing the gun up against some of the hardcore raceguns you find in Limited.

  5. Caleb-

    A 1911 with some internal modifications for the sake of accuracy can also be used to shoot ODCMP Hardball matches. The biggest thing that could be a sticking point would be the prohibition against use of a pistol with a beavertail safety. (The gun must have the outward appearance of one that would be or has been issued in the military.)

    With the addition of a set of adjustable target grips from the likes of Randall Fung or Nill, you’re good to go for NRA Bullseye. Though it’s not unheard of to see competitors at NRA Bullseye matches shooting a hardball gun.

    I know that Bullseye-style games are rapidly falling out of favor, and may even be completely gone within a generation or two, but it is worth noting that the 1911 platform dominates this game as well.

  6. Maybe Ill start with my g30 instead of gettin a 1911. Im tempted to buy a 35 cause .40 is the only ammo i can find around here.

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