May 22nd, 2018

2018 Bianchi Cup Kicks Off Today in Missouri

2018 Bianchi Cup NRA Action pistol Championship columbia Missouri
The amazing Doug Koenig, shown above, has won 18 Bianchi Cup titles, more than any other human.

2018 Bianchi Cup NRA Action pistol Championship columbia MissouriMany of the world’s top pistoleros are in Missouri this week competing in the 2018 NRA Bianchi Cup, the USA’s most prestigious action pistol match. This year’s Bianchi Cup event, which follows the NRA National Action Pistol Championship, runs May 22-25, 2018 in Hallsville, Missouri at the Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club. Today there will be registration and a Special Multi-Gun Match. The official First Shot Ceremony is on Wednesday, May 23rd, at 7:45 am. Then Cup competition begins promptly at 8:00 am on Wednesday.

Due to the high accuracy required in each stage of the Bianchi Cup, the tournament is widely considered one of the most difficult handgun championships on the planet. To finish on top, you have to be near-perfect.

2018 Bianchi Cup NRA Action pistol Championship columbia Missouri

As in 2017, this year’s match will feature a second “Championship” Round. There will be no multi-gun aggregate match. After completion of the match’s 192-shot, 1920-point aggregate, the top 36 competitors will fire an additional 192-shot Championship Round. Scores from the Championship Round will combined into an overall Aggregate to determine each category’s champions. CLICK HERE for 2018 Bianchi Cup Program Guide.

Watch Colt Speed Event at 2013 Bianchi Cup Championships:

Bianchi Cup

Ace Shooter Jessie Harrison (from Bianchi Photo Archive)
Bianchi Cup 2015 Missouri

About the Bianchi Cup
The Bianchi Cup is the NRA National Action Pistol Championship, a major tournament held every May in Columbia, Missouri. The premier action pistol championship, the Bianchi Cup boasts the largest purse of any tournament on the action pistol calendar. The Bianchi Cup is the only major shooting tournament that has retained its original Course of Fire since its inception. The Course of Fire consists of four separate matches:

  • The Practical Event: From the appropriate shooting line, the shooter fires at distances from 10 yards to 50 yards under varying time limits.
  • The Barricade Event: From within shooting boxes and behind barricades, a shooter fires at targets on either side of the barricade at different distances and under varying time limits.
  • The Falling Plate Event: From the appropriate shooting line, the shooter fires at 8 inch round steel plates arranged in banks of six at distances from 10 to 25 yards under varying time limits.
  • The Moving Target Event: From within shooting boxes at distances ranging from 10 to 25 yards, the shooter fires at a target moving from left to right with the target being exposed for only 6 seconds.

At the Bianchi Cup, there are six categories for individual competitors: Civilian, Police, Service, Junior, Woman, Senior, Grand Senior, New Competitor, International, and Revolver.

Bianchi Cup Revolver

Competitors need plenty of ammo at the Bianchi Cup. Look at that collection of magazines.
Bianchi Cup NRA Pistol championship 2018 ammo

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April 17th, 2018

Hey Rifle Guys — Why Not Try a Pistol Match for a Change?

IDPA Practical Pistol Concealed carry handgun competition

Most of our readers are rifle guys, but it’s fun to shoot a pistol match now and then. You don’t need a lot of equipment, and if you shoot IDPA (Int’l Defensive Pistol Assn.) matches, you can really win with a $400 pistol and $20.00 worth of bulk 9mm ammo. That’s a bargain compared to what you’ll spend on a competitive PRS or F-Class rig and custom hand-loads.

This Editor got his start in competitive shooting with local IDPA matches. I shot a Glock 34, and a SIG Sauer P226, and even did one match with a S&W Snubbie. I eventually settled on the SIG, as it fit my hand better than the Glock, was more accurate, and was every bit as reliable. The P226 also pointed better than the Glock for me — something that helps with target acquisition.

If you want to get into the IDPA game, Shooting Sports USA has a good article that explains the basic rules and classifications. IDPA is not your grandad’s bullseye pistol match. There is movement and action. Stages are timed, and competitors engage targets from cover if available. Singled-handed shooting is sometimes required, as is shooting while moving. You can compete with pretty much any handgun suitable for self-defense — but no $4000 Raceguns with fancy optics. The fact that you can be 100% competitive without spending a ton of money is what makes IDPA so popular.

Shooting Sports USA polled IDPA shooters at the 2016 IDPA Nationals to determine their favorite gun brands and models. The #1 choice was the 9mm Glock 34 for the SSP (Standard Service Pistol) and ESP (Enhanced Service Pistol) Classes. Next most popular was the Smith & Wesson M&P Pro.

IDPA Practical Pistol Concealed carry handgun competition
IDPA Gun Chart from Shooting Sports USA.

IDPA targetAlong with SSP and ESP, there are three other main IDPA classes: Custom Defensive Pistol (CDP) for .45 ACPs (mostly 1911 types), Concealed Carry Pistol (CCP), and Revolver (REV). All classes have a minimum power factor. Scores are based on time and shot placement on the IDPA target.

IDPA Scoring System
The official IDPA Target (right) has multiple scoring zones. If you don’t hit the target’s center mass zone or head zone (both appear green in illustration), you drop one or three points. Here’s the formula: Score (in seconds) = Time + Points Down + Penalties. In IDPA, “points down” (and penalties) are added to your time. If you hit the outer edge of the target, you get 3 points down. Nearer center can be 1 point down. Center hit or head shot is 0 points down. See IDPA Scoring for Dummies.

IDPA Practical Pistol Concealed carry handgun competition

Five Tips for New IDPA Shooters

1. Dry-Fire Practice at Home
You can improve your grip and sight acquisition dramatically with 30 minutes of dry-firing every week. Get some quality snap caps and go to it. One tip — don’t do this in your back-yard if the nosy neighbors can see. We had one friend who was dry-firing in his yard and got an unexpected visit from the local police (with guns drawn). That can turn out badly to say the least…

2. Practice One-Handed Shooting (Both Strong-Hand and Weak-Hand)
Most of the worst misses I saw during IDPA matches were during stages requiring one-handed shooting. A lot of pistol shooters have spent all their time shooting two-handed. That’s the best technique, but in an IDPA match, you may be required to shoot one-handed. If you’re a righty, shooting with the left hand only will feel really weird, and your accuracy will be poor unless you practice. We suggest starting your one-handed training with a rimfire pistol, then transition to your centerfire pistol.

3. For 9mm, Don’t Bother to Hand-load Your Ammo
This may seem like sacrilege, but if you’re only shooting one match a month, it’s probably not worth the time and money to reload 9x19mm. I did reload my 9mm ammo on a progressive for a couple years. After looking at money and time, I just started buying commercial 9mm reloads which worked fine. I was only saving a few cents per round by reloading, and that wasn’t worth the time invested.

4. Get a Good Holster That Fits Right
In IDPA matches you normally draw from holster during the match. I saw a lot of people struggle because they had Kydex holsters that would not release easily, or leather holsters that fit too tight or rocked during draw. Try a few different brands at the local store.

5. Be Smooth, Be Calm, and AIM Your Shots
Many folks come into IDPA thinking it’s all about speed. But there are score zones on the official IDPA target, so you need to focus and AIM. Don’t just “run and gun”. If you stay calm, align your sights in the center of the target for EVERY shot, you will end up with a higher score with fewer “points down”. Speed will come with time. It is better to make sure each one of your shots is a hit.

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