The History of IPSC
The International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) is a dynamic shooting sport in which the elements of precision, speed and power are counted in a single scoring system.
IPSC-style competitive shooting developed in Southern California in the late 1950s. It quickly spread to Australia, Central and South America, Europe and Africa.
In May 1976, the International Pistol Conference was held in Columbia, Missouri. Athletes from all over the world have participated in the development of a structure and an organization. It was from this conference that the constitution was born.
Subject to a rigorous regulatory framework, this sport requires precision and speed, mainly during movement and reloading. Several techniques and styles are used to minimize time while maintaining precision.
Once upon a time… IPSC in the 90s with Pierre Caron
A typical shooter's day from a good ol '1990s...
On the morning of the match, the club volunteers arrive with a few competitors. We sign up and give one last helping hand setting up targets and doing one final check. There was no pre-registration. Everything was done on paper: a score sheet for each course and manual calculation. The results were mailed (stamp and envelope) afterwards.
"Imagine when it was raining, with all that paper and pens drooling, it was the good old days! "
The match started when there were a minimum of shooters. It was also necessary to have in order to manage the range. There was no scheduled time, the shooters would arrive in the morning. Some shooters supposedly in a hurry wanted to shoot quickly and get back as quickly as possible. So many of those who had been there since morning had to sacrifice themselves and finish at the end of the day, in addition to helping with the dismantling. This is where the term TLM (toujours les mêmes) was born. So we had to find a way for everyone to have the same share of fun and work. The competition officials have decided to impose a compulsory period of work for all competitors.
IPSC today ... a little more regulated!
The training which was also compulsory at that time; security requires. The rule book was only 16 or 18 pages long.
“No small print and many appendices all subject to interpretation. Everything was simple and not complicated!"
In 1992, following Canadian regulations to ban high capacity magazines, IPSC Quebec almost disappeared. Many shooters sold everything outright and turned to other sports. Several clubs have also stopped presenting IPSC competitions for lack of shooters and volunteers. It was a big blow! With goodwill and a handful of die-hards, the industry has slowly regained strength. With the presence of an IPSC information kiosk at the Longueuil gun shows for 7 years and with the Internet increasingly accessible and the active return of the IPSC sector to the FQT, interest was slowly resuming to the great pleasure of all.
In 1996, there were regulatory changes. The new standards for firing ranges had changed in Quebec and only allowed lateral fire. So no more movement either forward or backward.
“Quite a job for designers! You will understand later that it was quite a challenge for the creation of the sets and for the matches!"
A sport that has evolved a lot
In the beginning, there were the 1911 semi-autos, the tactical double-action weapon category and the good old .357 and .45 revolvers. There was no division, all the weapons competed together respecting the power factor.
In terms of holster, the good old Ernie-Hill in leather was the high end choice. It was great when the weather was dry, but when it rained the leather got sticky which hampered quick handling. Then the many global companies put on the market synthetic and plastic products, increasingly light and adjustable.
It was now time for weapons and new calibers to make their appearance. 38 super, 9x23, 9x25, 357SIG, etc.
There was something for all tastes and for all prices. Let’s not forget the arrival of electronic sights and lasers that revolutionized sports. Of course, that brought changes at the category level, as you can imagine. Again, the first products were monsters, compared with the ones we have now.
In my time, there was the wired telephone and paper!
At that time, all competitions were played on Sunday. The reason is that the courses had to be set up on Saturday. The matches were announced by post and the good old telephone, because at that time, cellphones and the internet were scarce.
"Hobboy, I just got old!"
There weren't many clubs that could host this kind of competition. There were no range standards as we know them today.
“Talk to my friend Peter, the matches at Laval in the Miron quarry, hello target stand and what about the ricochets! At the Contrecoeur club it was also rock and roll. But the provincial championships were held at this club for several years, then moved to the St-Jacques and Stanbridge clubs until 1996."
I told you earlier about the change in regulations in 1996, which is why the Provincials of Quebec were organized in the Ottawa region for 14 years. We made the sets in Quebec with the collaboration of several clubs and volunteers. We were moving everything to Ontario to put everything back for the match.
“We were passionate!"
Back in Quebec, we had to deploy new means and find solutions in order to continue to practice our sport while taking these new standards into account. It is with genius and resourceful people that we have adapted in order to present quality matches again.
“Some will remember the memorable matches in Matane on Saturday and the next day in Rimouski. What a great weekend. Forgive me for not naming them all, for fear of forgetting some."
And some good memories to finish!
Impossible to talk about IPSC without mentioning the wacky and sometimes completely crazy scenery and courses during big competitions. Just think of the roller coaster courses in Ontario (Link on IPSC QUEBEC YOUTUBE,) the Cessna plane built in Guy's garage, the shooting suspended kayak from the ceiling in Beauport, the dance hall course lit by stroboscopes, crazy movies at the Trois-Rivières club, prison breakouts at the Stanbridge club, etc.
Pierre LEPROF Caron