On Saturday I shot USPSA at Sir Walter Gun Club with about 130 other gun nuts. This was just a regular monthly match at Sir Walter, nothing particularly special about it, other than the beautiful weather.
While we were shooting the match at Sir Walter here in NC, the USPSA Singlestack and Revolver Nationals were taking place in Barry, IL, as well as a 3-Gun Nation Pro Series event in Tulsa, OK.
The big story was that Jerry Miculek wasn’t at Revolver Nationals defending his national title, instead he was at the 3-Gun Nation Pro Series event in Oklahoma. The big story is that Jerry Miculek wasn’t at Revolver Nationals defending his national title. He was in Oklahoma shooting 3-Gun.
Some are saying that this signals a that USPSA is in trouble, on the verge of collapse because they are losing sponsors and shooters to 3-Gun.
Personally, I think this says that 3-Gun Nation is a sport that is growing by leaps and bounds, and they are doing a great job getting the big names involved. Not only does 3-Gun Nation have large prize tables for winners, they also have a popular TV show that helps competitors get exposure for sponsors and name recognition.
USPSA doesn’t have the large prize tables, the TV show, or even the name recognition within much of the shooting community that 3-Gun Nation has, but USPSA does have a unique edge that I expect will keep it around for a good long while: lower cost of startup for new shooters, less range requirements, and less intimidation for new shooters.
Someone looking to get started in competitive shooting for the first time will be much less intimidated by only having to shoot one gun in the match than having to think about shooting a pistol, then safely dumping it, picking up a rifle or shotgun, and safely running it through the course of fire. This is where USPSA shines. One gun, one stage at a time.
With IDPA getting stupid with their rulebook last year, I’ve noticed a decline in shooter turnout at matches around these parts, whereas USPSA continues to draw large crowds every month.
Just because one game is growing and drawing big names doesn’t mean that another game is in trouble. Each game definitely has their own crowd, but the vast majority of shooters crossover between the different games. I think USPSA is here to stay, and so is 3-Gun, and IDPA might be around for a little longer too…