Training for Competitors and Match Officials

1. UKPSA Safety Courses for Competitors

Firearms can be dangerous when used incorrectly, obvious : and the start point for all courses.

The 3 primary concerns of the courses are safety, safety, safety.

Along the way you will learn the techniques and skills which will enable you to safely complete a typical IPSC Practical Shotgun Match, and of course club and other practical matches.

Why UKPSA Safety Course?

The UKPSA is affiliated to IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) and recognises the IPSC Rules which are applicable worldwide in over 78 Regions, the UKPSA being one.

Through a long established reputation for safety and proficiency the UKPSA Safety Courses have developed and are seen as an example of how Practical Shooting should be safely taught and tested. Satisfactory completion and the achievement of a Competition Licence is recognised in ALL the IPSC Regions. The courses are open to all, not just UKPSA members, but Competition Licences can only be issued to UKPSA members or subsequently to those who join the UKPSA within six months of successfully completing the course to that level.

The course is two very full days and covers all aspects of the firearm being used. The courses are usually hosted by clubs and the cost is down to the club (but around £80 is common). The Association provides the qualified Instructors/Coaches without charge. Suitable equipment can usually be supplied for those without. To find out more about courses and to get your name down for notification of forthcoming courses email

For shotgun, as well as actions types , the various ammunition types and patterns: for rifle the various action types, and the same for handgun in the form of Long Barrelled Revolver and Long Barrelled Pistols in the UK and in Northern Ireland Semi Automatic pistols.

Loading, reloading, and yes, unloading : grip, stance, movement, shooting positions e.g. kneeling, prone. All covered with the emphasis on the four basic safety rules.





The requirements within the IPSC Rules are also covered, regarding shooting divisions and equipment requirements and required actions in matches.

There is plenty of opportunity to practice all of the elements that are covered, and students are continually assessed on their performance in a variety of shooting exercises.

A safety infraction will mean that a student will fail and have to leave the course.

The exercises will often be reproductions of the actual stages seen in typical IPSC matches.

Usually 300 to 350 round are required for the courses.

There are 3 potential outcomes from a Safety Course.

  1. Satisfactory completion to competition level standard and the issue of a Competition Licence. The student is at a level where they have the skills, technique and temperament to compete and complete the tests presented in a typical IPSC shotgun match.
  2. Satisfactory completion of the safety course but more practice required before the grant of a Competition Licence. The instructor will usually discuss what is required and arrange for a short re test at a suitable date.
  3. A Fail; from either, a safety infraction or, the inability to successfully demonstrate the required skills and techniques. A further safety course of either one or two days is required and the instructor will discuss the way forward with the student.

After the Course

You will be tired, and have a head full of information, as well as handouts from your instructor. As soon as possible after the course sit down and take stock of what was learned and WRITE DOWN the things which you need to remember and wish to work on.

For successful candidates it’s practice, practice, practice. Just how much is dependent on how successful you wish to become.

For those unsuccessful it’s just the same.

Most practical shooters will offer advice and guidance to new shooters, and when you enter your first match tell the match director on your entry and they will squad you with a mentor who can guide you through the match.

If you would like a course or need any more information email to

Course are available for:

Shotgun, which also qualifies for competition in Gallery Rifle, Rifle and .22rf Rifle

Long Barrelled Firearms i.e. Long Barrelled Revolvers and Long Barrelled Pistols .which also qualifies for competition in .22rf Rifle

.22Rf Rifle only

ActionAir and ActionAir, which after recoil and handling test also qualifies for competition in Long Barrelled Firearms.


So why all these courses?

Safety is paramount and we believe that high standards of safety are achieved by a layered approach. Training is an exceptionally important part of this. If participants are trained in safety from day one it becomes second nature to them as they progress. So participants in the sport are trained: Range Officers are trained, as are Chief Range Officers and Instructors and so on. Then we add in the actual rule sets that have aspects that are geared to safety –  muzzle direction/angles, courses of fire construction, use of breech flags and so forth. Sensible safety elements that can be practically incorporated also add to the enjoyment. It’s quite comforting to know that your fellow participants are as safety conscious as you are.

2. Courses for Match Officials

So you think you might like to a be  a Range Officer, or perhaps you would like to know a little more about what the role entails.

Range Officers within the UKPSA are members of the UKPSA National Range Officers Institute (NROI), which oversees training and development of Range Officers.

Without range officers no match can ever happen.

The range officer is an integral part of practical shooting and his/her job is primarily to ensure that things happen safely . Ensuring compliance with the rules is a natural follow on.

Before we go into training ; here is an extract from the International Range Officer manual regarding the qualities of a Range Officer.


1          Range Officer Qualities.  Desire, good attitude, knowledge and objectivity are the qualities of a good RO.

2          Desire.  You must really want to become an RO.  If you don’t have the time or inclination, don’t do it.  To be a good RO can be very rewarding but is hard work.

3          Attitude.  The RO must always have a good attitude.  If you lose your temper or become irritated quickly, think again before enrolling to become an RO.

4          Knowledge.  The RO must have an above average knowledge of the IPSC rules, knowledge of firearms and good communication skills.

5          Objectivity.  ROs treat all competitors the same – firmly and fair.  They never allow the smallest perception of favouritism.  They are consistently calm, confident and efficient.  They never ever intimidate the competitor and are not intimidated by the competitor.

Then from the same manual


6          Competitor Action.  ROs are in charge of competitor action.  They brief all competitors on the requirements of the particular stage and answer questions to clarify any misinterpretations of the course designer’s intention.

7          Patience.  The shooters should see ROs as part of the solution and not part of the problem, we are not there to punish. To this end a little patience and understanding helps. Not all shooters will approach the problem posed by the course in the same way, therefore, it is important that the RO listen to the shooters as much as they may want the shooters to listen to them.

8          Control.  Once the RO is ready to start a squad control must be taken and maintained  throughout. This includes spectators.

9          Safety.  Safety is of prime importance in our sport and overrides all other considerations.  Any safety infringement is dealt with in terms of the Rules.

10         Impartial.  An RO is impartial. Always maintain the same standard throughout a match.

11         Similar Conditions.  Each competitor must be given the same conditions in which to compete. That means if a plate must be painted or a target must be changed to give each competitor an equal opportunity, do it or get someone to do it.

12         Range Equipment.  Remember, you are representing the host organisation on that range and have certain responsibilities. For example, it is the host organisation’s responsibility (Range Master) to calibrate poppers and to ensure the range equipment functions properly (Match Director).  Where this is not always possible, you can ensure that the popper will go down when hit properly and the equipment functions correctly.  This saves time by avoiding range equipment failure and the resulting re-shoots.  You are co-responsible to take care of the range and the range equipment for the time that you are in charge of that stage.

If you feel that all of the above is within your desire and capability then to start to train as a Range Officer you must;

  1. be a current member of the UKPSA
  2. have successfully competed in a minimum of three sanctioned UKPSA matches i.e. not been disqualified.

This ensures that you have some of the necessary practical experience that is required to be a successful Range Officer. You will probably have had the opportunity to see several other range officers working, and have been able to see if being a Range Officer is right for you.

Next is a Range Officer seminar. Two days of intensive, work both practical and theoretical with six examinations on the rules. Some open book, others closed book. All of which require a high pass mark, as a Range Officer needs  a thorough up to date knowledge of the rules

The seminar leaders are all experienced Range Masters who have a wealth of experience and have seen many practical situations where the Range Officers skills are called into use.

If you are successful at the seminar you will then be supervised at three matches, with an assessor ensuring that you have demonstrated that the practical and theoretical skills are all well embedded and that you also have the right temperament.

After that you will be in great demand as Range Officers are always welcomed by Match Directors and not just in the UK. For all matches of L3 and above all range briefings and range commands must be given in English, which most us have as an advantage.

After a suitable period of experience you may wish to be considered for a position as a Chief Range Officer, who at a match would normally look after an area with three or four Range Officers under his control, and perhaps eventually as a Range Master with responsibility for all Range safety at a match.

If you enjoy working as a Range Officer the rewards are certainly not financial, but you have the opportunity to see all shooters at every match and everyone will know your name!!

You may wish to become an International Range Officer and join a fairly small group of individuals who regularly travel the world to officiate at matches.

If you would like a course or need any more information email to

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