Courtesy of Tactical Life

Competition pistol shooters want a reliable, accurate pistol that they can take out of the box, load and shoot at the buzzer. We want a pistol that performs without the high expense of a custom gun but with all the features we expect in a competition gun, like a smooth, lightweight, crisp trigger, high-visibility sights and/or the option to mount a reflex sight, a ported barrel, a flared magazine well, grips that actually fit our hand, a short trigger reset—the list goes on.

So what should you look for in an action-shooting pistol? Start with the pistol requirements in your chosen competition discipline and then decide on the caliber. Better yet, do both at the same time since they are both connected. In the case with IDPA and other disciplines, the pistol needs to fit in the box, literally. According to IDPA rules, the pistol (with the largest magazine inserted) must fit in the IDPA gun box measuring 8.75 by 6 by 0.625 inches for Stock Service Pistol (SSP), Enhanced Service Pistol (ESP) and Custom Defense Pistol (CDP) divisions. If you want to shoot Compact Carry Pistol (CCP) or Back Up Gun (BUG) divisions, the box shrinks to 8.75 by 6 by 1.375 inches and 7.25 by 5.5 by 1.375, respectively.

For IPSC Standard division, the pistol must fit within a 225mm by 150mm by 45mm box. The rules for 3-Gun Limited and Tactical are nearly the same. Pistols must be chambered in any caliber larger than 9mm and cannot have any type of muzzle device or optical sight. These restrictions are easy to follow, offering a bunch of different options.

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