IPSC SHOOTING COURSE

IPSC SHOOTING COURSE


By now you should have a good knowledge of:

  • What is IPSC shooting
  • Where it started
  • Basic overview of the rules of IPSC
  • Basic overview of the firearms, ammo, and equipment
  • Basic range safety and the use of Safety Areas
  • Basic range commands and procedures
  • Basic draw from the holster

The following exercises should be handled by at least two instructors. One to explain while the other demonstrates and watches.

Carrying a Firearm on the Range

The firearm is always carried in a holster with the hammer down, magazine out, and empty chamber. The competitor is not allowed to take the firearm out of the holster unless in a Safety Area or ordered to do so by a Range Officer on an active firing line. It must be  stressed that a properly fitted holster is one of the most effective safety devices. Nothing can happen with the firearm while it is in the holster and the competitor is not handling it.

Correct Techniques

On the range, correct instructional techniques require instructors to introduce, explain and demonstrate a skill. Having been exposed to the techniques you will then practice with unloaded (empty and proved) handgun while the Range Officers coach.

Listen, Learn, and Ask Questions

This is the time for students to ensure they have a good understanding of each technique. Students are encouraged to take advantage of this stage to ask questions, seek assistance and listen to the advice given by the Instructors and Range Officers.

DRY FIRE DISCIPLINES

Now is the time to go to the range.

For this dry fire exercises, no ammo present under any circumstances.

This following exercise is done repeatedly to become comfortable with loading and unloading commands and procedures.

Simulations Facing Downrange with No Ammunition

On the command, Load and Make Ready (no ammo) simulate loading and holster when finished.

On the command, If You are Finished, Unload and Show Clear simulate unloading and showing clear.

These exercises is should be repeated and repeated enough times to begin feeling comfortable with the process.

Once comfortable with the loading and unloading procedures, follow the Load and Make Ready (no ammo) with the Standby command and then a simulated signal to fire.

This will allow the loading procedure with the stance, grip, safety, sight alignment, and smooth trigger press followed by If You are Finished, Unload and Show Clear. The entire exercise should be done smoothly in slow motion. It should never be rushed.

At some point during this exercise when holstered and after the loading procedure, the competitor may be asked to place their hands on their heads. This will allow the Range Officer to check if the safety catches have been applied.

Repeat and repeat the above enough times to begin feeling comfortable with the loading, drawing, and unloading procedures.

Draw and Grip

When drawing, the competitor should always try to be standing erect and allow as little body motion as possible. Only the hands and arms should be moving and the head should remain in an upright position. Practice slowly. You should strive for economy of motion. As you become more proficient, natural speed will develop.

Simultaneously the competitor’s weak hand moves to their chest. The strong hand grips the butt of the firearm. You should be using the techniques as described in the previous Grip section. Establishing a proper grip is the most crucial element of the draw. Make sure that you have established a proper grip on the firearm before removing if from the holster.

Lift the firearm out of the holster and bring it up to chest level. Your weak hand should grip your strong hand. Your trigger finger should remain outside of the trigger guard.

LIVE FIRE DISCIPLINES

Eye and hearing protection must be worn on the firing range.

Safety Rules

Adhere to all safety rules. The firearm should remain in its case until it can be removed in either a designated Safety Area or on the line under the command of a Range Officer.

Obey Range Officers

All commands from a Range Officer must be obeyed immediately. Failure to comply may result in a competitor being asked to leave the range.

Pointing Downrange or Holstered

During and after the loading process the handgun must remain pointed straight downrange at all times unless holstered.

Off Target, Off Trigger

When not engaging a target the finger must remain off the trigger.

Safe Muzzle Direction

Never let the muzzle of the handgun point in any direction which would let a round exit the range.

Safe Handling

If you are not on the firing line under the command of the Range Officer, handguns may only be handled in a designated Safety Area.

Ammunition in Safety Area

Do not handle loaded magazines in Safety Area.

Load Only on Command

Load the handgun under the control of a Range Officer at the command Load and Make Ready. Do not load at any other time.

Eyes and Ears

All instructors and students must wear appropriate eye and ear protection at all times while on the shooting range.

From this point on, all magazines and speed loaders should be fully charged except for one stripper magazine which should have only one round.

Never handle ammunition in any Safety Area. If you handle ammunition in the safety area it will result in immediate match disqualification.

The following exercises must take place on a shooting range under the supervision of an instructor or range official. Competitors must always wear eye and ear protection while on a shooting range.

Repeat the above Dry Fire Exercises with live ammo. Do not fire any rounds and do not put your finger on the trigger.

Load and Make Ready

1. Smoothly draw handgun from holster with a straight trigger finger, muzzle pointing straight downrange, elbow bent.

2. Cant the pistol so the magazine well can be seen. Fully insert the stripper magazine (the magazine with only one round).

3. Extend your arm out straight and cant the pistol to the weak side so you can grab hold of the rear serrations with your weak hand.

4. Pushing forward with your strong hand and pulling back with your weak hand, rack the slide all the way to the rear and let go, chambering the round. Immediately apply the safety and bring the pistol back down always keeping the trigger finger well outside the trigger guard.

5. Release the magazine into your weak hand and visually check that the magazine is empty ensuring a chambered round. Put your stripper mag in your pocket and replace with a fully charged magazine. Muzzle always pointing downrange and trigger finger always straight and well clear of the trigger guard.

6. Now holster the fully loaded pistol. The safety must always be applied.

If You are Finished, Unload and Show Clear

7. Draw as in Step 1 above.

8. Remove the source of ammo as in Step 5 above.

9. Remove the round in the chamber as in Step 3 and 4 only this time apply pressure with your strong hand thumb under the slide-release while the slide is racked back. This will lock the slide back as the round falls out. Bring the pistol back down with the slide locked back, ready for Range Officer inspection.

If Clear, Hammer Down, and Holster

After the Range Officer has visually inspected the chamber and magazine well, and issues the above command.

10. As in Step 3, bring the pistol up canting it so as to grasp the rear with your weak hand, disengage the slide-release with your thumb and ease the slide forward. Do not allow the slide to slam down on an empty chamber. Always pointing downrange, use the trigger to drop the hammer. Do not ease the hammer down. The hammer must drop. This is the ultimate check of empty chamber.

11. Holster an empty and unloaded pistol.

Range is Clear

Not until the Range Officer issues the command Range is Clear may you move from the line, pick up brass, bend down, or move downrange.

Stand easy until you hear this command.

The above exercises should be done enough times so that the competitor becomes comfortable with the live loading and unloading sequences.

At some point during this live exercise, after the loading procedure, the competitor may be asked to place their hands on their heads. This will allow the Range Officer to check if the safety catches have been applied.

LIVE FIRE DRILLS

Competitors must always wear eye and ear protection while on the range. IPSC targets must be used for the following exercises.

Competitors may not, under any circumstances, handle the handgun, other than in the Safety Area or on the firing line under the command of the Range Officer. This safety procedure will be strongly enforced.

All the following exercises must have all shots on the target, with at least 50% A-zone hits in order to advance to the next level. Concentrate on a smooth draw, safe muzzle control, and keep checking the correct grip and stance. Score and patch between all stages.

Stages 1 – 9 must have all shots on the target and at least 50% A zone hits before proceeding to the next stage. Stages with overtime shots also need to be repeated.

Exercise 1

Distance: 7 meters
Time: Not timed
Targets: 1
Rounds: 6
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: Draw and fire 1 round. Done 6 times.
On the start signal, draw and fire one round at the IPSC target in your own time. Re-apply the safety each time and holster. This will be done six times. When completed score and patch the target.

Tip

Sights on the target ~ finger on the trigger
Sights off the target ~ finger off the trigger

Exercise 2

Distance: 7 meters
Time: 2 seconds
Targets: 1
Rounds: 6
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: Draw and fire 1 round. Done 6 times.
Same as Exercise 1, only this time with a three second time limit. Re-apply the safety each time and holster. Done six times. Then score and patch. Remember, you must have all 6 hits on the target and at least 3 A’s and no overtime shots. Now we will move to double taps.

Tip

A nice smooth draw with a good grip is more important than a shaky fast draw. Proper sight acquisition is the key to hitting the target. High visibility sights helps the flash sight picture. Remember, you cannot watch the target and watch the front sight at the same time. Watch the front sight.

Exercise 3

Distance: 7 meters
Time: 3 seconds
Targets: 1
Rounds: 12
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: Draw and fire 2 rounds. Done 6 times.
The double tap is two quick shots in succession with two flash sight pictures. On the signal, draw and fire two rounds at the target in three seconds. As always, re-apply the safety and holster between strings. This will be done six times. Then score and patch. Remember, we need 12 hits on the target, at least 6 A’s, and no overtime shots.

Tip

Notice the difference between two aimed shots and double taps. Watch the front sight!

At some point during these exercises, the competitor may be asked to place their hands on their heads. This will allow the Range Officer to check if the safety catches have been applied.

Exercise 4

Distance: 15 meters
Time: Not timed
Targets: 1
Rounds: 6
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: Draw & fire 1 round. Done 6 times.
Same procedure as Stage 1.

Tip

Moving to 15 meters requires a much more deliberate sight picture.

Exercise 5

Distance: 15 meters
Time: 4 seconds
Targets: 1
Rounds: 12
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: Draw and fire 2 rounds. Done 6 times.

Tip

Front sight, front sight, front sight.

Exercise 6

Distance: 10 meters
Time: 7 or 10 seconds
Targets: 1
Rounds: 12
Start position: Hands at shoulder height
Procedure: Draw and fire 2 rounds, reload, fire another 2 rounds at the same target. Done 3 times (7 seconds for self-loaders – 10 seconds for revolvers). Starting with hands at shoulder height means that the Range Officer should be able to see the back of your palms. The reload should be smooth and unhurried.

Tip

Simultaneously release the grip on the firearm with the weak hand. Move the trigger finger outside of the trigger guard. Press the magazine release with the strong hand thumb while the weak hand is moving to the first magazine pouch on the belt.

The weak hand grips the magazine with the thumb and three gripping fingers wrapping around the body of the magazine. The index finger stays straight along the spine of the magazine.

Keep the firearm at eye level and canted so that you can see the magwell opening. This creates a natural angle for the new magazine to follow straight up into the magwell.

Insert the magazine into the magwell opening.  Push the magazine firmly into the firearm.

Your weak hand moves immediately back to establish a proper grip. Your arms begin to extend the back towards the target.

Your trigger finger can now move inside the trigger guard.

Your trigger finger cannot be inside of the trigger guard at any time during the reload procedure and the firearm must be pointed in a safe direction at all times.

Exercise 7

Distance: 10 meters
Time: 7 – 10 seconds
Targets: 2
Rounds: 12
Start position: Hands at shoulder height
Procedure: Draw and fire 2 rounds, reload, fire another 2 rounds on the other target. 3 times. Same as Exercise 6 only now on alternating targets.

Exercise 8 (El Presidente)

Distance: 10 meters
Time: 12 – 18 seconds
Targets: 3 (2 target widths apart)
Rounds: 12
Start position: Back to targets, hands at shoulder height
Procedure: Turn, draw, and fire 2 rounds on each target, reload, and fire another 2 rounds on each target. Do not draw until completely facing downrange. Dry practice first before shooting. Watch your muzzle direction and a nice smooth magazine change (12 seconds for self-loaders – 18 seconds for revolvers)

Target Illustration

Exercise 9

Distance: 15 and 10 meters
Time: Not timed
Targets: 2
Rounds: 4
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: From area A engage T1 with 2 rounds, proceed to area B and engage T2 with 2 rounds. The trigger finger must always be outside trigger guard during movement and the muzzle must always be pointed downrange.

Tip

Stages 9 through 15 are for technique and not timed. Watch for muzzle control, safe muzzle direction and finger well out of the trigger guard.

Exercise 10

Distance: 10 and 15 meters
Time: Not Timed
Targets: 2
Rounds: 4
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: Same as Stage 9 with a reload between area A and area B.

Tip

When reloading on the move you need to ensure that your trigger finger is outside the trigger guard and that the firearm is always pointed in a safe direction. Initially when you start practicing this technique take your time and do not rush. Once you are comfortable with this technique, progressive speed will develop.

During movement, when not engaging a target, the trigger finger must be outside the trigger guard. The best position for the trigger finger during movement is to have it anchored alongside of the frame. This allows the competitor to maintain better control of the firearm and a more reliable control of the muzzle direction. Another advantage of this technique is that the trigger finger can be clearly seen outside of the trigger guard. It is also recommended that the safety be engaged during movement.

Exercise 11

Distance: 20 meters
Time: Not timed
Targets: 1
Rounds: 6
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: Draw, kneel and fire 1 round. Done 6 times.

Tip

It is important when shooting from a kneeling position to draw the firearm before kneeling and to keep the muzzle pointed safety downrange. The finger should be outside of the trigger guard  while getting in position.

There are several different techniques that can be used to shoot kneeling. The most common one that you will see is from the stance, drop down on your strong knee. Keep the trigger finger outside of the guard. The body is perpendicular to the targets and not be twisted.

Exercise 12

Distance: 20 meters
Time: Not timed
Targets: 1
Rounds: 6
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: Draw, go prone and fire 1 round. Done 6 times.
Do not, under any circumstances, place your arm or hands downrange of the muzzle.

Tip

Make sure that the firearm is always pointed in a downrange in a safe direction and that your finger is outside of the trigger guard when you are getting into the prone position.

There are two prone positions commonly employed.

1. Draw and bring the weak foot forward keeping the strong foot in position. As you step forward you bend your knees until the strong knee comes into contact with the ground. With the firearm in your strong hand and in front of your body lower yourself down and forward using your weak hand to break your fall as though you were doing a one handed push-up. As you fall to the ground, push your strong hand straight out in front so land on the strong side. The fall should not be broken by dropping onto your strong elbow.

As you drop onto your side, hook the weak foot instep into the back of your strong knee and using it as a lever, you can prop yourself up on your strong side. This will allow you to breath easier as you will not be laying flat on your diaphragm. The weak hand now joins the strong hand and the head comes to rest on the bicep of the strong arm. Take the safety off and you are ready to shoot.

2. Draw and step forward with the weak foot, then bend at the waist until you touch the ground with your weak hand. Then punch the firearm forward in front of you and kick your legs out straight behind you. Spread your legs as you kick back and use your toes to land on, your body prone, as if doing a one handed push-up. Drop straight onto your stomach and bring the weak hand up to form your grip on the firearm. Take the safety off and you are ready to shoot.

Exercise 13

Distance: 15 meters
Time: Not timed
Targets: 1
Rounds: 12
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: Draw and fire 6 rounds, right side barricade, reload, 6 rounds left side barricade. Done once.

Tip

Barricade shooting can be greatly simplified if the competitor takes the attitude that there is no barricade. The firearm should not touch any part of the barricade. If the slide or the cylinder comes into contact with the barricade, it can cause a malfunction.

If you are going around the right side of the barricade, bend your right knee and follow the firearm around the barricade onto the target. If you need to go around the left side of the barricade, bend your left knee and follow the firearm around the barricade onto the target. Keep back so you are not crowding the barricade.

Barricade shooting is all about smoothness and balance. Avoid getting into an awkward position.

Exercise 14

Distance: 10 meters
Time: Not timed
Targets: 1
Rounds: 6
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: Draw and fire 2 rounds, strong hand only. Done 3 times.

Tip

Grasp the firearm as you normally would for the draw. As the firearm is lifted out of the holster the weak hand is brought close to the chest. The firearm should be brought up to eye level. Your trigger finger should remain outside of the trigger guard. As the firearm is punched towards the target, the trigger finger moves inside the trigger guard. This is the time disengage the safety. Establish a sight picture and press the trigger until the firearm discharges.

Exercise 15

Distance: 10 meters
Time: Not timed
Targets: 1
Rounds: 6
Start position: Hands at sides
Procedure: Draw and fire 2 rounds, weak hand only (strong hand draw). Done 3 times.

Grasp the firearm as you normally would for the draw. How you disengage the safety on your firearm will be dependent on whether or not is has an ambidextrous safety.  If your firearm is equipped with an ambidextrous safety, leave the safety on while you are transferring the firearm into your weak hand. The weak hand then would disengage the safety when the firearm is being pointed at a target.

If there is no ambidextrous safety then you should draw and disengage the safety as you normally would. Be careful when you do the transfer and make sure that you keep your trigger finger outside of the trigger guard.

Another method is to grasp the firearm lower on the butt of the firearm.  This will leave a space under the beavertail for your weak hand to slide onto the grip. At the point where you would normally join your hands, begin to transfer the firearm to the open weak hand. The firearm should be brought up to chest level. Your trigger finger should remain outside of the trigger guard. Establish a sight picture and press the trigger until the firearm discharges.


Congratulations! We hope you had fun and enjoyed the shooting.

If you did not enjoy the challenge or if you got stuck on some of the exercises (could not complete after three attempts), let it go for a while and think about doing the entire course again. It’s fun!