Saturday, January 26, 2013

USPSA and New Gun Restrictions

In my January 19, 2013 post "Stop the Rage .... Mine" (and several earlier posts!) , I summarized my... disappointed .. in the recurring political movement to restrict private firearms ownership.

Actually, what I did was to say I was through talking about it.


Wrong.  I'm not through talking about it.

One of the comments was ... perhaps offered facetiously, but still the question offered was entirely germane to this blog: 

Instead of delving into the progressive mindset, we should be asking the important questions. How will restrictions on certain firearms, and magazine capacity affect USPSA/IPSC rules and stage development? The feds are talking 10 round magazines, but NY has already mandated 7 round capacity mags and other states are sure to follow. How will USPSA respond to these potential draconian restrictions and/or bans in magazine capacity and firearms? What affect will they have on 3gun?
Oh, yeah,  we've been there before.

Some folks suggest that since the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban didn't really have much effect on .. gun stuff ... maybe this one will be equally as ineffective (if still equally inconvenient).

Well .. maybe so, maybe not.

I know that I found ways during that time period to get around the 'banned' items.  For example, I found a way to move from Limited to OPEN Division, including the purchasing of "normal capacity" magazines of 18 rounds (limited) and 25 rounds (open).  The magazines were all marked something like "only military or Law Enforcement" .. but I still got them.  The magazines cost three times as much as their replacement tubes did after the 1994 law sunset in 2004, of course.   Which is, of course, economically selective; "poor people" couldn't afford them, just us "rich folks".  (Or those of us who really like Tuna Fish and Macaroni for dinner six nights a week.)

But that was then; this is now.

For the purpose of this discussion, I'll ignore the very STRONG possibility that Race Guns (they have "compensators", you know) may be outlawed.  Also, "Firearms which may accept magazines of greater than 'x-rounds' capacity" will not be totally banned ... I'm not sure if that can even pass a Democratic congress; any magazine-fed firearm doesn't have a way to restrict the LENGTH of the magazine.

So, delving into excruciating detail, here's what I see as possible ways that Congress and Our Beloved Leader may screw us most painfully:

10-round Magazines:
Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that ten-round magazines are the legally maximum capacity allowed under federal law.

Hmm .. the difference between LIMITED and LIMITED-10 Divisions have been been eliminated.

The Open Division can't use 25-round magazines; but they still have compensators and electronic dot-sights, so there is a clear advantage .. albeit LESS of an advantage .. over Limited/Limited-10 Divisions.  (Speaking as a 'vision-challenged' Super Senior: it's still an advantage when you can see the sights.)

I might point out, however, that current USPSA rules limit the number of shots which MUST be fired from a single location, port or position.  Any time you move, you have a small window of opportunity when you may reload.  Speaking for myself, I moved from "C-class" to "B-class" using a single-stack 1911 in 1998 when Limited-10 Division was still a "Talking Point" in USPSA.  If you gotta move, you gotta reload.  BFD.

Production and L-10 Divisions were predicated on limited magazine capacity.  Even Limited has a 144-mm magazine length restriction, which means you can probably stuff 18-20 9mm rounds in there, so ... who cares?

Single-Stack has limited capacity, under 10 rounds.
Revolver .. huh.  Who cares; they're only shooting 6-shot loads anyway.  And Jerry Miculek is possibly the only man in the world who doesn't care if he can get a 20-round Revolver or not.

 So, how about the possibility of a 7-round magazine capacity restriction?

Okay, so now we're talking about being really shitty for no discernible reason.

In the first place, the USPSA rule about limiting the number of rounds which must be fired from a single location/position/etc. have been completely undermined.  A 10-round magazine can handle a 9-round maximum; a 7-round magazine can not.

Since most stages include IPSC targets (cardboard, requiring 2 rounds to 'neutralize'), you could only have three targets in most array .. rather than the four (presuming a 9-round max per location) currently presented.  So ... many, even most, of the Classifiers would be either revamped or discarded.

That pretty much hoses the entire Classifier System which USPSA currently uses to decide who is Top Dog in any given Division/Class.

 On the other hand, when I started competing in USPSA/IPSC, the standard assumed that a Revolver was the 'standard/minimal firearm', so all stages were designed to be "six-round friendly".  So .. target arrays included 3 IPSC targets instead of 4, and .. have you noticed that plate-racks still have six plates?  Baby, we haven't got THAT far away from our technological roots.

We're just going back from 10-round-friendly target arrays to 6-round friendly target arrays.

The difference is, if the Federales have their way, we're just going back a decade (or two) to minimum rounds per shooting position, from 9 to 6.  (Citation needed here).

In other words, the current 9-round maximum rule presupposes a 10-round magazine capacity.  A 6-round maximum rule presupposes a 7-round magazine capacity.

It sucks to be a Limited or an Open Division Competitor, in that case.

Look for Open Division to remain strong (but magazines will be a lot cheaper).  The difference between Limited and L-10 will disappear.  Assume that L-10 will not be very popular .. there's no advantage to being able to reload quickly.   In fact, L-10 (or Limited .. whichever survives) and Singlestack will be much more competitive.

Production?  The discrimination between Production and Singlestack will also blur.  Who knows which will predominate.  Note that 1911-style handguns are specifically forbidden in Production, and the Single-Stack Division will disallow the double-stack magazines which are typical in Production Division.

My guess is that Production and Single-Stack will merge in Limited Division ... which was once "STOCK DIVISION" .. and which may be the best choice for the entire definition of "no compensators, no electronic sights".   The only discernible difference between Production and Single-Stack/Limited is that Production now specifically excludes 1911 frames (Prod vs SS) and Single-Stack precludes double-stack magazines (which Limited does not).

TO beat this dead horse a little further:  Limited will accept both Single-Stack and Production firearms, but the placement of holsters and magazine carriers is less restrictive.  Would we really need to cause the differences between the three divisions so picky as to center on holster placement?  (Well, okay .. Limited allows more modifications than does Production .....)


OPEN DIVISION:  Okay, no Big-Sticks, but still a viable Division.  Think of it as "Limited:, But Still Cooler!  And better for weak-eyed old guys.
LIMITED DIVISION: probably no change
LIMITED-10 DIVISION: probably not viable; no real difference between L10 and Limited
PRODUCTION DIVISION:  Probably the same as Limited except for equipment placement and maximum number of rounds allowed ... which wouldn't matter, legally.  That, and 1911's are specifically disallowed.
SINGLE-STACK DIVISION: Probably the same as Production, except that 1911s are specifically allowed and double-stack magazines still are NOT .. not that it matters.

  • I would combine Production and Single-Stack, except that maybe the modifications .. I don't know, it's still debatable
  • Open and Limited differences remain based on electronic sights and compensators
  • Revolvers .. who cares?  God knows THEY don't care!
  • Limited and Limited-10 ... Limited-10 is definitively deleted.


This entire exposition is extemporaneous and not well organized.  It's an off-the-cuff attempt to respond to what turns out to be a very good question .. assuming that Obama's Gun-Killer Legislation ever becomes law.  (That is NOT beyond the realm of possibility in the current Politicized climate.)

You can be sure that these issues are being discussed around the water-cooler at Sedro Woolley, and I think it would be a service to all USPSA members if their thoughts could be shared with the rest of us .. RSN.

Jerry The Geek


Anonymous said...

Great analysis, at least for handguns. I am curious at to your informed thoughts on three gun, in that the most popular rifles and shotguns seem to be the most threatened with extinction, as least for non-government types.

Jerry The Geek said...

Antipoda wants to know "What About Three-Gun?" Bob, you're a nice guy but what the HECK do I know about 3-gun? [NOTHING!]

My best guess? The Obamanation will declare every firearm used in 3-gun (or multi-gun) to be "EEEVVVVIIIIILLLLLL" and there will no longer be any such competitive sport.

As we all know, assault rifles and assault shotguns have no useful purpose other than killing hundreds of innocent shoppers. This is much in the same vein as bicycles serve no useful purpose other than to allow Lance Armstrong to become world famous because rides over his opponents while on drugs.

We must do it for the childruuuuuuunnnnnnnnn.