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Something To Talk About…

We have been without (matches) in South Mississippi for almost a month now. While the nice weather and lack of rain has caused disappointment every weekend since we shut down (because we could have been shooting), I thought it might be interesting to look at some data from the past three years.

Now, don’t get your hopes up about seeing combined results of all matches from our three clubs for three years, cause that ain’t gonna happen. I have been dealing with Nationals slots for the better part of this year (2020) because the Nationals matches will be all over the place, with the plans calling for five separate divisional championships matches for the eight existing divisions. I thought it would be interesting to see how many slots the MS Section had been awarded in the past three years (since my term as Section Coordinator began). So, without further ado, here are the numbers.

2018 Nationals Slots to Mississippi (based on activity in 2017)

Division(s) Slots
Open/CO/PCC match 4
Production/Single Stack match 4
Limited/Revolver/L10 match 3
Total 11

2019 Nationals Slots to Mississippi (based on activity in 2018)

Division(s) Slots
Open/PCC match 5
Carry Optics/Limited match 3
Production/L10 match 3
Single Stack/Revolver match 3
Total 14

2020 Nationals Slots to Mississippi (based on activity in 2019)

Division(s) Slots
Limited/Open match 2
Production/Carry Optics match 3
Single Stack match 2
PCC match 3
L10/Revolver match 0
Total 10


What does all this mean, you ask? Before my thoughts on what it means, lets look at how these numbers came about. Slots are distributed by USPSA to states based on a formula. First, there are only so many competitors allowed in any Nationals match. Each entry is a “slot”. A few are reserved for winners from the prior year and match sponsors, but most are available to any USPSA member in good standing. Each year, the activity in the prior year at all the local clubs in each state (some states have more than one section, and they do it by section there) is totaled by division. The total national activity is divided by the number of available slots to get an award rate. The 2019 activity in Mississippi determines our share of the available slots in 2020. We are competing against all other states to get those slots, too.

So, what do these numbers mean? First, it appears that our state-wide overall participation in 2018 (for the 2019 Nationals slots) was better relative to the rest of the country than it was for the other years listed. This is evident from the total number of slots we got that year. Second, there really isn’t a second thing. That’s it. Because each of the years looked at had different groupings of the divisions, we can’t draw any significant conclusions down to the division level, at least not without looking at the underlying data that resulted in the allocation of the slots. And, while that is available in very raw form, it isn’t worth the time.

For many of you, this is a big yawn. Why? Because the vast majority of our local shooters will never attend a USPSA Nationals match and don’t need a coveted slot. And that’s fine. That is your level of participation. It costs a lot to shoot a Nationals match, with total expenses likely greater than $1000, and possibly much more. So why do a small number of us ever want to shoot the Nationals?

Speaking solely from my perspective, we do it because we get to compete head to head against the best in the world and see how we stack up. I have no illusions about being able to win the match, or really even win my classification (Super Senior). But if you are serious about our sport, and I am, then you want to see how you would do against the JJ Racazas, Christian Sailors, Max Michels and Ben Stoegers of the world. I participated in 3 Nationals in Open division in the past and plan on shooting this year, as well (let’s hope the Covid-19 issues are long gone by then). My shooting friends also don’t expect to win but they also want to see where they rank at a national level. And this is pretty much the only way to do that.

I guess I missed writing the pithy stories about our local matches more than I imagined. This was just supposed to be a couple of small charts, and look what it turned into. I have some other “data observations” that I may share down the road since we all have so much more free time these days; me for writing, and hopefully, you for reading.

And one final point bears stating. If you don’t get a slot, you still can enter the match during general registration. In the past three years, Mississippi has always had more requests for slots than actual slots, but everyone who really wanted to shoot actually did get to shoot. So, all this slot business seems kinda dumb.

Categories: General
  1. Anonymous
    April 6, 2020 at 6:37 PM

    Thank you for the input, no yawns here.

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