Well, I’m going to have to eat a little crow here. Approximately 12-18 months ago I predicted that the next fad in USPSA would be the HK VP9. I thought for sure everyone was going to have to try one and that the trigger kits and base pads would rain from the sky…boy was I wrong. Out of nowhere a cloud of Pistol Caliber Carbines has rolled in and opened up over our humble little game. There are far too many Type-A personalities around for this kind of thing not to be controversial. Never the less, PCC division has arrived, the boat of match administration has been rocked, and a bunch of people are all of a sudden interested in guns that nobody cared about a year ago.
My personal feelings on PPC are complicated at best. I don’t think I ever once said to myself at a pistol match, “This would be way more fun with carbines.” If anything as a 3-gunner, I get more than my fill of shooting things with stocks and am left wanting for more pistol shooting. When I do attend a pistol match, I am perfectly content to leave all my heavy multigun equipment at home and shoot a pistol match for exactly what it is – a pistol match. On the other hand, suppressor legalization in our area has lead me to spend some time with an SBR in 300BLK, which in its subsonic loadings is perfectly OK to shoot steel at naughty close distances (compared to 5.56mm)…and that is fun…very fun!!!
There are folks who think PCC is USPSA’s way of trying to bring folks back and/or tap into the 3-gun craze. To be sure, it is their sole purpose in life to attract as many participants as worldly possible to their events. If the 3-gun crowd is truly their target audience, however, in my opinion PCC in USPSA will be short lived because I think it was 3-gunners who left USPSA and not the other way around. Nobody chooses not to shoot a match because they don’t want to shoot pistol. The same cannot be said for rifles and shotguns. In addition, if that was the case, then why is 3-Gun Nation simultaneously pushing against the grain in their market to make PCC happen? It is met with an equal amount of skepticism and resistance in that circle as well. Some hypothesize that the sponsors are behind it in some capitalistic scheme to turn a profit. While that is a cute notion, there isn’t enough money in PCCs for that juice to be worth the squeeze.
Contextually though, it is kind of strange that PCC wasn’t developed as a division sooner. Action shooting as a sport is approximately 30 years old depending where we place its genesis. In that time, a recreational genre has been developed to run and gun with every type of firearm…except subguns (aka PCC’s). This is odd because running and gunning CQB type applications are pretty much the only reasons subguns exist. Seriously, how did duck-hunting shotguns get into action shooting before PCC’s? So really this was inevitable because there was an entire demographic of guns that the consumer thought were cool enough to buy, but a segment of the shooting sports had yet to be developed for them.
Still though, what’s the point? Why would one choose to compete in this division other than to play with guns they bought because they looked cool in a movie? The answer is actually pretty simple…it’s poor man’s Open. What is the point of Open? It is to go as fast as possible by whatever means necessary. The bare minimum price of entry for a legit open pistol is $3,000…realistically it’s more like $4500+ for a new one. Once you have spent this ridiculous amount of money on a pistol, you have a gun that runs on specialty major ammo that is also expensive, and in all reality you need to handload it for yourself. On the other hand, a top shelf PCC hangs on the wall today in 2016 under $1700, ready to go…the best you can buy. They run on bulk pack 115gr factory ammo with magazines that are also readily available and work without tuning. If you want to hose targets with a red dot but without the mag changes for the price of a decent production pistol, PCC is for you. Is it the same as shooting an open gun? No. Does it accomplish the same thing in a similar amount of time? Yes.
As the integration of PCC moves forward and its place in the world is debated and contested, consider this question: What is the point of a USPSA match? Is it the pursuit of perfection in pistol shooting, or is it the pursuit of perfection in problem solving? I choose to believe the later and thusly have treated it as such in our Ignite 3-Gun series. We did not open a special segregated division for PCC. Most targets at an Ignite match are eligible for at least 2 types of guns. If a competitor decides they want to use a PCC, Open Division is the Wild West and that is where PCC’s find their place in our matches. To me the match is a problem solving exercise. Pick a division whose rules you want to play by; if you want a PCC in your bag of tricks then Open is Open. As we try to find PCC’s place in other games, I would invite others to consider this for themselves: what is the true objective of the event and how do PCC’s fit into it?