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IPSC Style Airsoft Pistol Shooting

Helen Brown-Lee tries her hand at IPSC style airsoft pistol shooting at Xsite

Airsoft News

One uneventful Monday whilst sitting in my office wondering just how long it would be before I could get back out on the Skirmish field, and suddenly I get a telephone call that turned my day around.

The only game in town
“Fancy trying your hand at IPSC?” I was asked. After my confused answer of “What the hell is that?”, I finally figure out that this is Target Pistol Shooting with a huge emphasis on speed that is now being adopted by Skirmish sites around the country.

Being of course far too young (I wish) to remember the Pre VCR golden years, I have never shot a real steel pistol and reasoned that the Airsoft equivalent is probably the closest thing that I am ever going to get to try, so on that note Hell yeah, bring it on!

I travelled up to Xsite Airsoft in High Wycombe where they are trialling Airsoft IPSC and have a chat to Tim Wyborn the MD who says that there has been a huge amount of interest in this sport, both from normal skirmishers and former pistol owners who thought that they would never hold a gun again. With the Airsoft pistols looking identical to their real steel counterparts and having gas blowback, they can even feel similar when shot. This seems like a fantastic opportunity for everyone who used to compete to get those skills back up to par.

Real steel rules
Airsoft IPSC is played to real steel rules and as I saw straight away, 90% of the Airsofters having a go would have been disqualified from a proper competition due to aiming their pistol at a range officer, crossing lines of fire, not making their gun safe or having a magazine still in their gun inside the safe zone. All of these errors are perfectly normal and natural to airsofters – our entire sport is

based around pointing guns at people and it is extremely difficult to break that mind set, as I found out to my cost having my first run disqualified after failing to make my gun safe at the end of the round – dammit! To make matters worse I was being beaten in both speed and accuracy by my non- shooting best friend, as you can imagine I was not a happy bunny and the competitive side started to come out.

After watching several more people make the exact same mistake as me, Tim realised that some training was in order and after a quick lecture about real steel rules and the damage that guns can do, we were back in business and this time there was a 100% improvement. I also realised that there is a large bias on speed over accuracy in this sport as .3 of a second quicker but less accurate by 1 hit still ended up on the top of the leader board (not bitter about that at all by the way). Speaking as someone whose accuracy most definitely decreases the faster I go, this was a bit of a result but unfortunately not enough to save me from the far faster young guns.

IPSC is limited only by the course builders imaginations, the training course that I took part in was fairly straightforward but others include compulsory magazine changes, moving targets, partially blocked targets and pretty much anything else that you can imagine! I have been told about a defensive IPSC course coming soon from Xsite that sounds pretty fabulous – more details here as soon as I get them.

Running for real
Back to the action, the practice runs were over and it was time to do the real thing. With my range officer waiting next to me, I step up to the bench and placing my hands on the marks wait patiently with the gun made safe on a 3rd strip for the beep. Of course modesty (or embarrassment) prevents me from revealing my exact score but I can say that I had an absolutely brilliant time trying this and will most definitely be trying again after some intensive practice sessions in the back garden – oh and my best friend? She kicked me big time and ended up finishing 4th in the competition and is now starting to skirmish so she can purchase her own pistol to continue beating me – something tells me I am going to have to seriously up my game!

There are a few places in the UK where you can currently participate in Airsoft IPSC, The Range in London, The Shop at the Grange in Birmingham, The Elite Shooting Centre in East Sussex and Xsite Airsoft in High Wycombe with hopefully many more places across the UK following suit soon. There will be an opportunity to try your hand at IPSC at the Airsoft Arms Fair which will be taking place on the 19th May 2012 and the new course at Xsite will open on the 14th April at The Outpost in High Wycombe – fingers crossed I do better there.

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User Comments
  • I assume the airsoft pistols used in IPSC are affected by the VCRA meaning that you either have to be a registered skirmisher or you have to buy/use brightly coloured pistols?
    I was a fan of 'high end' airsoft pistols but purely as a collector then the VCRA came along and put a stop to that as I could no longer purchase pistols unless I attended a skirmish site and played regularly in order to become registered.
    I'm too long in the tooth to be running around a skirmish site but I would be interested in IPSC.

    Comment by: Christopher     Posted on: 19 Jul 2012 at 12:49 PM

  • There are a couple of options that you can explore without having to skirmish, yes there is always the 2 tone option and with new anodised 2 tone full metal pistols now on the market that is looking slightly more attractive. Otherwise you can always rent a site gun or some sites do offer a hire purchase where your pistol is kept in store until your legal defence is clear.

    I think the best option for you is a site that offers IPSC then the standard VCRA qualification applies, you do not have to skirmish as the IPSC days also qualify as a site visit so you can do your 3 visits in 2 months then purchase your own pistol, as long as you attend at least 3 IPSC days a year then your UKARA will continue to be valid.

    Hope that this helps!

    Regards

    Helen

    Comment by: Helen Brown-Lee     Posted on: 01 Aug 2012 at 06:07 PM

  • Iam confused as to were the information is coming from that you need a ukara licence to own a co2 pistol of either 6mm or 4.5mm in either gas or c02 variants as all these pistols can be purchased form gun retailers without a licence as they are more powerful than one joule of energy and so sold as air pistols and as such come under the same rules there is no requirement to have them 50% colour either, hope ipsc comes to the yorkshire area soon as i was one of those people who shot ipsc with the real thing,hope this information is of use .

    Regards
    wayne

    Comment by: wayne lawson     Posted on: 29 Sep 2012 at 08:52 PM

  • Wayne, Pistols over 1 joule are as you rightly point out, classed as air weapons, but are not allowed for IPSC airsoft precisily because they are not under 1 joule. All airsoft activities are governed by this 1 joule limit. The Umarex boys club do IPSC style iron plate shooting using +1j airpistols for this very reason. Not IPSC rules but accommodates air weapons that are too powerful for airsoft.

    Comment by: Dan     Posted on: 09 May 2013 at 08:45 AM

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IPSC Style Airsoft Pistol Shooting
IPSC Style Airsoft Pistol Shooting
IPSC Style Airsoft Pistol Shooting
IPSC Style Airsoft Pistol Shooting
IPSC Style Airsoft Pistol Shooting
IPSC Style Airsoft Pistol Shooting
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