The United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) is the national branch of the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC). Its early pioneers developed scenario-based competitions to accurately measure the effectiveness of their own shooting techniques and equipment. These early competitions were enhanced to provide the rapid shooting on-the-move style of modern practical shooting competitions giving birth to the term “Run and Gun” so commonly used today to describe the sport today.  USPSA practical shooting has become the fastest growing shooting sport in the US, allowing competitors to compete at any level of expertise with a handgun.

The typical course of fire is an array of targets, which the competitor must engage with two hits each (Sometimes more.) Also, steel plates that fall when struck can be added to a course of fire, or stage. The shooters time is recorded electronically, by means of a timer that "hears" the sound of the shots. Scoring is relatively simple to explain, but involved to calculate for a match. The competitor generates points by hits on the targets which are then totaled. Penalties (if incurred) are subtracted. Then the points total is divided by the time it took the competitor to engage the stage. This calculation, called a "hit Factor", is essentially the ratio of points per second. The highest hit factor wins the stage.