Attending your first USPSA match can be a bit intimidating, and the learning curve to understanding the structure can be so steep it becomes a barrier to entry. My hope is that the information provided here can help you make the leap into competitive shooting and see how incredibly fun and helpful shooting matches can be for progressing in your abilities. If you want in person instruction before attending your first match I cannot recommend Green Ops enough. Everyone teaching there is an active competitor, they are highly qualified shooters with extensive shooting backgrounds in competition, the military, law enforcement, or a combination of them all. I owe much of my success at the few matches I have attended because of what I learned at their Competition Skills & Drills course. I do have another article discussing similar topics here, but if you want more information Spotter Up’s purpose is dedicated to learning and sharing knowledge.

  1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
  2. Never point your weapon at anything you don’t intend to shoot.
  3. Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you intend to fire.
  4. Know your target, what lies beyond and in front of it.

These fundamental safety rules will always apply when handling a firearm, to include at a USPSA match. However, there are some additional safety rules specific to USPSA that an outsider would have no way of knowing. The Safety Table, minding the 180, and trigger discipline are some of the easiest ways to face a DQ, and are also very easy to avoid with proper focus. There are many more rules and guidelines to USPSA, rather than drown a new shooter in new information I chose to focus on the most common issues that arise. As always, if you want more information don’t hesitate to ask.

There are some additional things I wanted to cover in regard to USPSA that did not fall into the other categories discussed. Equipment, sponsorships, scoring systems, and having a mentor are important aspects to understand. The simple answer is don’t buy any fancy gear purely for the match, find a mentor to help guide you at the match, and shoot everything as quickly and accurately as you can.

By Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson spent six years as a USMC Machine Gunner. He deployed three times to Afghanistan as a gunner, team leader, and section leader and left the Marines in 2015. After leaving the Marines he attended college and earned his Bachelors in Business Administration in 2019. He is currently raising his three small sons with his wife, while continuing to learn as much as he can about firearms, and pass that knowledge on. He also dryfires entirely too much in his basement.

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