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  1. #1
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    Default STICKEY: SSP - The most popular IDPA Division!

    Stock service pistols: the most popular IDPA division
    Guns Magazine, April, 2006 by Massad Ayoob

    Stock autos are by far the most popular guns in IDPA. There are good reasons why. There are five handgun categories in IDPA. Single-action .45 autos are called Custom Defense Pistols (CDP). The same cocked-and-locked style in 9mm through .40 S&W is known as Enhanced Service Pistol (ESP). A wheel-gun will compete in Stock Service Revolver (SSR) if it is loaded with speedloaders, and Enhanced Service Revolver (ESR) if it is fed with moon clips.

    However, the 800-pound gorilla in the five IDPA handgun categories is Stock Service Pistol (SSP). It is by far the most densely populated of the "gun classes." I've been to IDPA matches where the SSP competitors outnumbered those in all four other categories combined.

    SSP is the home of the double-action pistol. If your auto is a traditional double action, or TDA--double action on the first shot, self-cocking itself to single action thereafter--this is your category. If your gun is double action for every shot--and, under IDPA rules, that includes the Glock but not the Springfield Armory XD, which is mechanically a single action--this is its natural home at IDPA. Authorized calibers range from 9mm Parabellum through .45 ACP.

    Caliber Choice

    Though you're welcome to run your larger caliber pistol, its greater recoil will slow you down. Most courses of fire require two shots per target, and the electronic timer is always running. This is one reason why the minimum round--9mm--is the overwhelming favorite. Another is the cost factor. 9mm Parabellum is the cheapest generic factory centerfire handgun ammo you can buy today, making this caliber economical for those who don't have the time or inclination to handload.

    If you prefer a .40, .357 SIG, or .45 and are looking more for trophies than for the training experience, it makes sense to handload down to the SSP power floor of 125,000 (determined by multiplying bullet weight in grains by velocity in feet per second). If your gun will run with reduced loads, the larger diameter bullet will occasionally cut the scoring line and give you another point or two, turning a near miss into a better score.

    Bear in mind a big advantage of SSP class is you're allowed to have 11 rounds in the gun, as in ESP class. In CDP, the max is nine rounds, and it's six in either of the revolver classes. If you're going for overall top score in a class like High Lawman, High Female, or High Senior, this can save a few time-consuming reloads over the course of a many-stage tournament. Another reason why the SSP category is so popular.

    The Winning Guns

    A CZ or Taurus starting in double-action mode can win in SSP, and so can any quality DA auto from the HK USP to the Ruger. However, the guns spending the most time in the overall winner's circle are Glock, Beretta and Smith & Wesson 9mms.

    The Glock is overwhelmingly the most popular. This partly reflects the gun's huge popularity in the real world of concealed carry and law enforcement, because so many competitors shoot IDPA for its original, intended purpose of building skills with sidearms worn for self-defense. However, the Glock's soft recoil and consistent, easy trigger pull from first shot to last are attributes appreciated as much by "gamesmen" as by "martial artists." If you're buying a Glock just for IDPA, you'll want the G34, a 9mm with 5.3" barrel. David Sevigny has dominated IDPA with one of these for years. Many find themselves just as well served with the 4.5"-barreled Glock 17, which has also won its share of IDPA matches with overall top score.

    The Beretta 92 seems to be the second most popular among consistent winners, especially in its factory Elite format or when tuned by Ernest Langdon. Ernest for many years was the overall guy to beat in IDPA, before mothballing his Berettas and taking a job with Smith & Wesson. David Olhassa and many others have shot their way to fame with Langdon Berettas. Sweet triggers, soft recoil, great accuracy, and outstanding reliability are at work for them. Personally, I've won a higher percentage of IDPA matches with my Langdon-tuned 92G than with any other auto pistol, including my only "down zero" match, with no shots outside the 8" center circle of the target in the entire tournament.

    The Smith & Wesson TDA 9mm, particularly the splendid Performance Center version of the Model 5906, has won a disproportionate number of IDPA championships in the hands of masters like Tom Yost. The PC 5906 delivers honest 1" groups at 25 yards, has ridiculously soft recoil thanks to its all-steel construction (just barely within the IDPA weight limit), and its 1/10" trigger reset allows very fast follow-up shots.

    The SIG is also a fine 9mm, though hampered slightly by a longer trigger reset than some others in its class. I had the good fortune recently to catch a First Master SSP out of a state shoot where I used a box-stock P226.

    Don't neglect true double-action-only autos. Mike Benedict became one of the first SSP Masters with a police-trade Beretta 96D in .40, and World IPSC Champ Todd Jarrett has won many an SSP National title and overall high score with his ParaOrdnance LDA in 9mm.

    The point is, the Glock and the other double-action autos dominate police work and defensive shooting, for good reasons. It's no surprise to see them often beating the cocked-and-locked guns in IDPA tournaments.



  2. #2

    Default Re: STICKEY: SSP - The most popular IDPA Division!

    Nice article but one thing I do not agree with:-

    "Bear in mind a big advantage of SSP class is you're allowed to have 11 rounds in the gun, as in ESP class. In CDP, the max is nine rounds, and it's six in either of the revolver classes. If you're going for overall top score in a class like High Lawman, High Female, or High Senior, this can save a few time-consuming reloads over the course of a many-stage tournament. Another reason why the SSP category is so popular."

    The fact that SSP and ESP gives you access to 11 rounds compared to 5 or 6 in Revolver or 9 in CDP does not really mean that you are at a advantage as you do not compete across the division 'borders' and compete with other in the same division. I would rather say that the popularity of SSP and ESP has more to do with the cost of such a weapon and the proliferation of these division firearms in Law Enforcement and average Joe's hands. A decent CDP pistol is going to set you back much more than a SSP or ESP pistol and the Revolver divisions is a niche division to cater for those that are in love with these 'dinosaurs'.....

  3. #3
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    Default Re: STICKEY: SSP - The most popular IDPA Division!

    I think what was meant was that if you are looking to win High LE or Lady and you are shooting a SSP against other cops or ladies with flywheels you are going to spend less time reloading and thus have a better chance winning.
    Cattle die, kindred die, every man is mortal:
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    the glory of the great dead.
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