Often we get enqueries what excactly does IPSC entail, this is a brief overview of the origin and disciplines in this sport.
The South African Practical Shooting Association (SAPSA) is the governing body of practical shooting in South Africa and was founded in 1976. We are affiliated the the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) which has approximately 100 member countries. There are active clubs situated all over South Africa and matches are held throughout the year. SAPSA is an accredited shooting organisation and also regularly selects National Teams to compete internationally, for which National Colours are awarded.
History of the sport
The art of shooting can be traced back as far as the Middle Ages but it wasn’t until the 19th century that shooting actually developed into a sport. In the 200 years since, shooters have come together at the local, national, and international level to practice and compete in a variety of shooting disciplines.
IPSC-style competitive shooting developed in southern California, U.S.A. in the late 1950’s and quickly spread throughout the shooting world. As the sport attracted more interest, participants sought a more structured format and competition environment. As a result, in May of 1976, the International Pistol Conference was held in Colombia, Missouri where sportsmen from around the world participated in determining the structure, organization, and future of IPSC marksmanship. A constitution was established and the Confederation was born.
Accuracy, power, and speed were recognized as the quintessential elements that have become the foundation of IPSC. The motto -DVC- Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas (Accuracy, Power, Speed) was introduced to reflect these balanced elements. Safe gun handling skills, as well as procedures and rules for competitions were also adopted. IPSC athletes must blend accuracy, power, and speed into a winning combination. Handgun targets are 75 centimetres by 45 centimetres with a 15 centimetre centre representing the “A zone” or bullseye.
Most shooting takes place at relatively close distances, with rare shots out to 50 meters. Hitting a 15 centimetre zone might seem easy to an experienced pistol shooter, but in IPSC only full power handguns are used (9mm or larger).
Mastering a full power handgun is considerably more difficult than shooting a light recoiling target pistol, especially when the competitor is trying to go as fast as possible. Time is a key factor. Scores are divided by the time taken to achieve them, adding to the challenge.
Handgun shooters may enter any one of five Divisions depending on the style of firearm they use.
IPSC is not restricted to handguns. There are three disciplines; IPSC Handgun, IPSC Rifle, and IPSC Shotgun.
Rifle and shotgun disciplines are similar to handgun but differ in many details. The differences are found in their respective competition rules, but only a detailed comparison will show how different they are.
Shooting all three disciplines can be seen as the pinnacle of marksmanship and shooting skill. IPSC Tournaments are where we bring all three disciplines together for score to calculate overall tournament results. Each discipline is a stand-alone match and the individual match scores are used to determine the overall tournament results.
Multiple targets, moving targets, targets that react when hit, penalty targets, or even partially covered targets, obstacles, movement, competitive strategies, and other techniques are all a part of IPSC shooting to keep the athletes challenged and the spectators entertained.
Although the roots are martial in origin, the sport matured from those beginnings, just as karate, fencing, and archery developed from their origins. IPSC shooting is an international sport, emphasizing safety and safe gun handling, accuracy, power, and speed, in high-level competitions around the world from Argentina to Zimbabwe.
- IPSC matches are designed, constructed and conducted with due consideration to safety.
- Courses of fire must be designed primarily to test shooting skills and not physical ability.
- Accuracy, power and speed are equivalent elements of IPSC shooting.
- IPSC shooting challenges are diverse
- IPSC matches are freestyle. Competitors are permitted to shoot targets on an “as and when visible basis” in order to solve challenge in a freestyle manner.
- Minimum cartridge calibre is 9×19.
- Minimum bullet diameter is 9 mm (Smaller calibres may be used at Club level to promote safe firearm use and interest in the sport)
- Firearms must be safe and serviceable
- A competitor may never use or wear on his person more than one firearm during a course of fire (Disqualification under unsafe firearm handling)
- Handguns with shoulder stocks and/or fore grips of any kind are prohibited.
A typical IPSC stage:
If you are keen to join and participate, SAPSA can be contacted on: