Local matches

One of the primary complaints I hear after we run our club matches at West Coast Armory is “I didn’t get to shoot very much.”

In this picture you just see me shooting because everybody else is standing around behind me where I won't hit them with bullets.

You should never go into a local match environment expecting to shoot a lot.  Club/local level IDPA matches usually have round counts right around 100 rounds, and USPSA matches are a little bit higher, maybe 150ish.  A better place for a high round count would be to take a class from someone like Todd Green or Insights Training Center, especially since you’ll improve your skills while shooting lots of bullets.  If you want to just fire a high round count and aimlessly turn money into smoke and noise I know plenty of ranges that will absolutely love your business, including mine. If you want a new experience, a social environment and to take your shooting to the next level then go to a local match.

You should expect to spend a lot of time standing around. The best thing you can do with this standing around time is to talk to the people around you. You can learn a lot from the people who attend these matches, especially the ones who attend these matches and shoot well at them. Look for the guy who knows what he’s doing and then ask him about it. People who have guns love to talk about them, that’s one of the reasons matches are so successful. Welcome to the mixer of the gun world.

I would also encourage everyone to go out with a group at least once after a local match. I have found that most people opt to meet up at a local restaurant and this serves as another great learning opportunity (if you can survive through the inevitable slew of bad jokes). People will discuss their favorite and not-so-favorite firearms, break down the match and talk about what they did right or wrong, discuss the set up of the match and otherwise gossip about the day.

All local matches should be taken as social experiences, learning experiences or a chance to test your skills. If you’re going for the high round count you’re doing something wrong.


  1. Pffft, everyone knows you go to gun games to stand around, look at each other and get swept by morons with guns so that you don’t have to do something productive for the day.

    “Honey, no, I can’t; I’ve got to go to a match.”

    A bullet is a small price to pay to not having to clean out the garage.

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more on this matter but I would like to bring up another issue with Local Matches. Maybe not all Local Matches but at least at some, it seems the rules are not enforced as strongly as they should be. I shoot local matches to prepare for the next level meaning If I’m doing something wrong, I’d like to know about it. If knowledge is obtained from being DQ’d at a Local Match then that is $20 or $30 well spent if it saves me from being DQ’d at a Higher/More Expensive Match. I’d like to encourage those who run Local Matches to attend an RO Class and enforce the rules just as you would at a Higher Level Match. A disqualification wouldn’t keep me from coming back, it would just make me focus that much more in order not to duplicate the same mistake. Good Shooting!

  3. 4 of us went out to make smoke and noise yesterday.
    It was a fun, and totally unproductive day, which is nice in it’s self once and a while. Next trip is back to load development and accuracy practice……..

  4. @Shootin Buddy, if you you get swept regularly, find some better matches that enforce the rules.

    @Bryan: I agree 100%. You gotta at least point out everything, and if it’s a safety issue, you have to enforce the rules to the letter. I let something slide once (sweeping the off hand on the draw in an awkward position) but when I thought about it later I realized I did the shooter no favors. I thought about having to live with myself if the shooter hurt himself or someone else later in the match. Going forward I decided to never again let a safety problem slide. I haven’t had to DQ anyone yet, but there’s one local shooter who I watch like a hawk that I know I’ll have to DQ sooner or later.

    Non-safety rules issues, I always point out, but if it’s a newer shooter who won’t be in contention I may let it slide. Example: at a USPSA match last month, a Production shooter started with an 11 round magazine on an empty gun start. I pointed it out to the RO and shooter, but we ‘forgot’ to put the bump to Open in the stats.

  5. At local matches, in addition to standing around talking, it is also helpful to help paste targets and pick up brass.

  6. “@Shootin Buddy, if you you get swept regularly, find some better matches that enforce the rules.”

    I’ve been coast to coast and the gun goobers are the same. Rules? The guns are just sporting equipment. No big deal, right? Just ask ’em.

    I RO’d a cowboy match and they got mad at me when I referred to their shootin’ irons as weapons. Like don’t point the weapon at yer fellow buckaroo. They were mad at the “weapon” not the muzzle sweeping.

    If I don’t want to get swept I stay away from the games, unless I have to clean something then I welcome the bittersweet, stinging pain of the bullet. 🙂

  7. Talk to people? You guys must not have 30 db earplugs on. 🙂 I can’t even hear instructions. I guess I know what my next gun related purchase is.

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