Sunday, February 27, 2011

Equipment: Begin With The End In Mind

Equipment, sigh. This is probably the most important decision, and the one that you most often get wrong. Despite all the good intentions, simply telling new contestants to IPSC that they need a holster, some magazine pouches and a handgun that they are comfortable with, isn't really that helpful. At least it wasn't for me, and by chatting with other contestants it is plain to see that we all started out "wrong".

I had somewhat of an idea, given that I had been exposed to Practical Pistol shooting before, but my thinking was limited to the state the sport was in 20 years ago. So I thought, big deal, get a functional holster and a few magazine pouches, as well as eye protection and ear-muffs. Not that much of an investment. Well it turns out I was wrong, naturally, and I needed a lot more.

Not only did I need a holster, but I needed mag pouches, a lot of them. I also needed a sturdy belt, ear-muffs and eye protection. Then there are the other items you don't think about; a range bag, extra magazines, ammunition boxes, cleaning kits, clothing and an ammunition budget (a big one).

The next few articles will examine each piece of equipment, and how I progressed.


  1. I am a bit confused regarding placement of pouches on the belt. I see that most experienced people place their single pouches on the front but what I have read mags and gun need to be behind the hip bone. Does that have to do anything with the open gun or something else?
    I am about to buy double pouches for my Shadow as it seems as a good pricing point until I decide what I want.
    Little clearance on that would be appreciated.
    Great blog BTW,
    Your Calgarian neighbor.

    1. Hello Anonymous:

      Placement of equipment is indeed related to the "division" that you're in. Equipment placement can be determined by a close examination of Appendix D and E2 from the IPSC Handgun rulebook .... available at:

      You mention "Shadow" so I'm assuming you're competing in either production or standard division, in which case your holster, mag pouches and all related/allied equipment located on your belt must be behind your hipbone as per those two appendices in the rule book. Revolver and open division allow for placement of equipment in front of the hip bone.

      As to which mag pouches you should use, well that's entirely up to you and your personal preference ..... the type of equipment one needs for IPSC takes up a great deal of space and content on this blog.

      Ask 6 guys which mag pouches you should use, and you'll likely get 7 differing opinions. Me, personally, I really like and use the Double Alpha Racemaster mag pouches and holster. Many other IPSC shooters are very happy with the CR Speed brand as well as "Ghost" ... and I see many folks shooting with the Bladetech and Safariland Kydex single and double mag pouches to which I am assuming you may be referring to. I know of many shooters in production and classic division that use the single and double Bladetech mag pouches. They're very happy with them.

      It's your choice and entirely up to you. Asking "Which brand and type of mag pouch is best for you?" is like asking "How deep is a hole? How long is a piece of string?" It's really up to you and ultimately your budget.

      Hope that helps. Feel free to fire more questions.
      Sorry it took so long to address your concerns ... only just noticed the question.


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