Practical Shooting attempts to measure the ability to shoot rapidly and accurately with a full power handgun, rifle, and/or shotgun. Those three elements – speed, accuracy, and power – form the three sides of the practical shooting triangle. By design, each match will measure a shooter’s ability in all three areas.
If shooting has an “extreme” sport, USPSA sanctioned practical shooting is it. Competitors move, negotiate obstacles, run, speed-reload, and drive their guns through each of several courses (stage) as fast as their skills will allow.
The typical stage will require a shooter to draw his gun from a holster and then move through the stage engaging paper and steel targets. The shooter will have to reload his weapon during the movement through the course. The scoring system measures points scored (minus misses and penalties) divided by the time taken to finish the course of fire. A competitor that has the balance of accuracy and speed will place high in the match.
USPSA offers competitive divisions for most handguns, from revolvers, to scope-sighted, recoil-compensated “race guns” developed just for our sport. Each division has 6 classes for the different skill levels of the competitors. Even though you could be shooting in a squad with individuals in the higher classes you will only compete with shooters in your class and skill levels.
One of our shooters has made a very detailed post on the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA) forum.
Link to post regarding rules and safety for the USPSA matches.