AIPSC is rapidly becoming one of the most popular disciplines in UK Practical Shooting. Jim Sephton tells us how rapidly it has grown at The Grange.
Airsoft Practical Pistol Shooting was something we were introduced to by Victor of Popular Airsoft, back in October 2011 during the lead up to the Airsoft Arms Fair – and we fell in love with the sport. The AIPSC club at The Grange opened its doors in November 2011 and we’ve never looked back.
Although airsoft pistols are used for the sport, that’s where all similarity to airsoft skirmishing ends. That having been said, the skills you gain from practical pistol can make you a true terror to face in a CQB skirmish environment, as many of the shooters at Gunman Airsoft Midlands can attest.
IPSC rules state that any gun should be treated as loaded live firearm at all times (yes, even unloaded airsoft pistols) and all of the DQ (Disqualification) offences in the sport are based around this principle. Good gun discipline and safe handling techniques are at the heart of the sport, making it a great learning and training environment for airsofters, target shooters, Airsoft Practical Pistol shooters and Real Steel Practical Pistol shooters alike
The sport offers some of the most adrenaline fuelled-shooting you are ever likely to encounter in a sporting environment in the UK. Combine that with a universally friendly attitude from participants, practice taking place inside warm, dry buildings and some exceptionally pretty guns and it’s no wonder the sport is growing so rapidly in the UK.
Airsoft practical pistols or “race pistols” as they are known, range from the utilitarian to works of art, with price tags ranging from hundreds to thousands of pounds. The reason for the price tags is the materials the guns are made from. Most standard airsoft pistols are zinc alloy or ABS, race pistols are aircraft grade aluminium and stainless steel. The biggest problem faced by airsoft pistol shooters is the cold, as shot after shot goes down range the internal temperature of the gun crashes. If it gets too cold the slide locks and the magazines gas out, therefore the capacity to deal with the cold has to be at the heart of any good race pistol design. This leads to materials being chosen that won’t contract with the cold, ensuring that the gun keeps firing.
We are several years down the line now from where we started and our own guns have evolved from their humble Tokyo Marui origins to top class race pistols, as we’ve learned how to build guns to the specification levels required to compete in the sport.
There are some key things we’ve learnt along the way.
- Always base your race gun on a Tokyo Marui
- You’ve got three valid choices; Hi-Capa, Glock or 1911
- Start with what you’re comfortable with (you don’t have to spend the earth)
- Upgrade your gun when you are better than it is – that way it will evolve to fit you as a shooter.
- Clean and maintain your gun and magazines after every session
The AIPSC club at The Grange has become a great training centre with multiple shooters starting to appear in the top 5s of national club matches, after a relatively short time in the sport. We are always on the lookout for new members to join our regular club sessions and offer private coaching and workshops (which is also a great way to do something different for a works event, or Stag /Hen party).
Having got the guns sorted, the club up and running and the rules straight in our heads (thanks to Jim Gibney from the UKPSA) we moved onto running matches, rather than just attending them, starting with 3 national Club Matches through 2012 and 2013. Then with the support of Clarence Lai (Airsoft Surgeon) and the RedWolf team, we took on the challenge of moving from national to international. What came from that partnership was the Airsoft Surgeon European Practical Pistol Championship.
The 2013 Championship was an intense roller coaster ride for us, with some incredible shooting and many memorable moments. The late nights and early starts are already fading from memory, which is probably why we’ve agreed to do it again.
The 2014 Airsoft Surgeon European Practical Pistol Championship will be held over the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of August. Giving us a theoretical limit of about 160 competitors, but when you’re drawing shooters from all over Europe, that’s not very many. So if you’d like to join us, make sure you keep your eyes on our Facebook page and website for when the booking links go live.
AIPSC Club – sessions open to all
Sun: 3pm – 5pm
Mon: 7pm – 9pm