In the comments here, we’re discussing why USPSA has lower participation in the revolver divisions than IDPA. At the USPSA Nationals in 2009, there were 33 revolver shooters, one of whom was disqualified. On the flip side, the IDPA Nationals had 41 revolver shooters across its two revolver divisions. While that’s not a huge number, IDPA generally has a higher revo turnout than USPSA. A huge part of this is because shooting USPSA with a revolver borders on “not-fun” at times. The max round count for a USPSA stage is 32 rounds, compared to IDPA’s 18 rounds. IDPA also has the controversial “revolver neutral” rule, which means that you don’t generally see engagements longer than 6 rounds before moving shooting positions, USPSA has no similar rule (and shouldn’t, I would add).
What that leads you to with USPSA is a sport that’s generally unfriendly to revolver shooters. Shooting multiple 32 round field courses gets tiresome after a while; as I’ve said in the past it becomes less about shooting and more about reloading – USPSA revo is a very technical discipline. It often borders on masochism, because unless you land in an all revolver squad, you’re going to be the slowest guy in your bunch, and that can be quite demoralizing.
Of course, that creates the question of “why are all the courses of fire 32 rounds”? If you’ve shot a USPSA major recently, you probably noticed that majority of the COFs were 30-32 rounds (with the exception being the Single Stack Nationals) and wondered “why”? It’s a relatively simple answer – people like to shoot more. The majority of USPSA shooters live in the B-D classes, and we all like shooting more. It feels like you get more for money if you have a high round count match, especially if you had any kind of travel to get there. So a lot of times, stage designers will want to satisfy that desire, if even on an unconscious level and make sure to throw lots of high round count stages out there.
Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with that. USPSA’s culture has developed to the point where long field courses are the standard; and no amount of revo shooters saying “this is kind sucky” is going to change that. The long, high round count courses are good for the sport – people like shooting, they look cool on TV, and they really are an excellent test of a shooter’s skill. I also encourage my fellow revolver guys to go shoot at least 1 USPSA major a year – if you’re ever questioning your reloads, a USPSA major is a great way to find out how fast you can actually reload your gun under match conditions.
I don’t really want USPSA to change their culture. I’ll still shoot it, and I’ll piss and moan about it, but secretly I kind of like it. I live for those rare moments when you post a higher hit factor on a stage than someone shooting a semi-auto in your squad. I’ll still shoot IDPA, because it’s very revolver friendly, and of course there’s always ICORE; it’s not like revolver guys don’t have options, after all.