United States Practical Shooting Association
at River Bend Gun Club

Scoring Points and Penalties

  Targets: There are three main types of targets that we shoot in USPSA competitions. The first two are different variants of a silhouette style cardboard target called the Metric and the Classic target. The Metric is vastly more popular in the United States where the Classic target holds sway in the rest of the world. They are scored similarly with each target having specific scoring zones, labeled A, B, C, and D. Each is worth a decreasing point value respectively but note that while the Metric target has a B zone, the Classic target does not. This isn't so much of an issue when you realize that the B zone and the C zone are both scored with the same value. The last type of target is a steel reactive target that must fall to score. These may take the form os a hinged "popper" style target or may be a simple round or square plate that must be shot over to score. All steel scores as an A zone hit when it is successfully knocked over.  
  Scoring is based on the hole in the target caused by the bullet and scoring is in the favor of the shooter. By that I mean all you have to do is touch the line of a scoring zone to be awarded that point value. There is also a scoring line surrounding the entire target edge that identically defines each target's maximum outer dimensions. This allows target manufacturers to be less specific on the actual cutout of the target as the scoring lines are perforated into the cardboard and at a fixed size. Be aware that clipping the edge of the target won't score a D zone hit unless you touch this outer edge perforation.  
Major Zone Minor
Metric Target   Classic Target
  Power Factor: Speed, Accuracy and Power are the three legs of the motto of IPSC and USPSA. This is where the Power leg comes into play. Heavier recoiling ammunition is harder to shoot quickly and accurately. The idea is that this heavier recoiling ammunition should have a leveling factor applied to it so that those shooting .45ACP aren't at a disadvantage to those shooting light recoiling 9mm rounds. The idea of a power factor uses a simple formula relating the weight of the bullet and the muzzle velocity to determine an energy rating for that particular round out of that particular handgun.

(Bullet Weight in grains * Muzzle Velocity in feet per second) / 1,000 = Power Factor for example
(180gr bullet * 950fps) / 1,000 = 171 Power Factor

This number is then used to determine if you are able to make Major or Minor Power Factor for your scoring. Minor Power Factor is 125 and Major is 165 in USPSA competition. Production Division is the only division that forces all competitors to be scored minor power factor so all the other divisions are acutely aware of making sure they get the scoring advantage of this higher recoiling ammunition. You can see in the table above how "making Major" adds a full point difference on each shot that isn't an A zone hit. But also notice that Accuracy trumps them all in the end. If you can shoot A zone hits, it doesn't matter what power factor you score as you will always make 5 points for every hit.
Now an important note! Failing to make Minor results in your match not being scored. Basically if you run too close to the ragged lower edge and fail to make 125 power factor, you are basically shooting for fun that day and will not be scored in your chosen division. This is where a chronograph becomes a good friend in your load development.
  Mikes and No-Shoots: Missing a target is referred to as a Mike (miss) and is a penalty of -10 points. Hitting a white "No-Shoot" target is worth the same -10 penalty. Mikes and No-Shoots are the most common scoring penalties and some of the easiest to avoid. Shoot as fast as your sights allow you to shoot and be sure of every shot you break. Being a little slower with good hits and no Mike or No-Shoot penalties is a great way to do very well at a match.  
  Procedurals: These happen when you make a procedural mistake such as failing to engage a target, failing to follow the course description (missing a mandatory reload for example), or engaging a target while having stepped over a fault line. Many times these are the mental mistakes that can hurt you when you aren't paying close enough attention. This is a thinking sport as well as a physical one so keep your head in the game or you may receive one of these -10 point penalties.  

USPSA Main Page

USPSA Divisions and Gear Requirements

RBGC Main Page   Back to Shooting Venues