Action Shooting

The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA):

IDPA is America's fastest-growing practical shooting discipline.  
Since its inception in 1996, IDPA has risen to fill the self-defense niche on today's shooting-sports menu.   The organization now numbers tens of thousands of in over three dozen foreign countries.   We have been formally affiliated with IDPA since 2007. So what exactly is IDPA? To quote directly from the rule book: "Defensive Pistol shooting as a sport is quite simply the use of practical equipment, including full-charge service ammunition, to solve simulated 'real world' self-defense scenarios." 

Shooting an IDPA match is a little like a round of golf.  You show up with your equipment (guns and ammo rather than clubs and balls), which you use to negotiate a course.   The lowest score (strokes in golf and seconds in IDPA) wins.  To finish the analogy, it is important to note that a round of golf is different from a golf lesson, just as an IDPA match is different from tactical training. Shooting an IDPA event is an opportunity to practice your gun-handling skills in a competitive yet friendly environment.

Current schedule can be found here: under Upcoming Events.

For more information, please contact us at


Action Shooting combines the challenge of accurate shooting with the demands of movement and strategy. Everyone can participate in Action Shooting simply by bringing your favorite centerfire pistol to a practice or match. A stiff gun belt, a secure strong-side holster, and a few extra magazines will make the experience even more fun. 

The Harvard Action Shooters host practices every Wednesday evening at 5:00. The practices are informal with no scoring, but follow all the safety procedures and rules of an actual USPSA event. They are a terrific opportunity for new participants to gain exposure to Action Shooting without the stress of competition and scoring. Practices are open to the public and there is no fee.

HAS also hosts monthly USPSA/IPSC matches on the second Sunday of each month from May (sometimes April) through November. Check out for the schedule. 

The International Practical Shooting Confederation is arguably the beginning of the entire sport of action shooting with its roots sprouting in the 1970s. IPSC was founded in Columbia, Missouri where the famed Colonel Jeff Cooper gathered a group of experienced, renowned people from throughout the practical shooting world. The sport grew quickly and when it became a world-wide entity, USPSA was formed as the United States region. In time, USPSA shooters thought it might be fun to compete with vintage cowboy-style firearms and the Single Action Shooting Society was formed to promote Cowboy Action Shooting. Some time later, USPSA shooters thought it would be good experience to add the requirements of concealment clothing and covered body positioning, and the International Defensive Pistol Association was formed.

Additional information and details regarding USPSA can be found at the following links.


Harvard Action Shooters


Beginner's Guide To Shooting Competitions-USPSA (video)

Targets for sale:

Contact: Betsy Grecoe.

IPSC:  85 cents each
USPSA:   85 cents each


Steel Challenge is based on the most basic concepts of action shooting. Each stage consists of an array of steel targets that are most often engaged from a single position. There are typically 5 targets on each stage and the competitor is given the task of clanging all five in a single run. The competitor has 5 attempts at each stage and the slowest run does not count toward the score. A complete match might be anywhere from 3 to 8 stages. With scoring divisions for center fire pistols, rim fire pistols, rim fire rifles, and pistol-caliber carbines, Steel Challenge is an excellent first experience for a new action shooter.

HSC hosts monthly Steel Challenge matches with dates listed on the HSC calendar.

The famed Mike and Mike (Dalton and Fichman) were avid competitive shooters and hoped to develop a format that was more interesting to spectators and easy to understand. It is difficult to see the difference in paper-target scores, but everyone can see whether the steel plates are hit and then read the time on the clock. Steel Challenge quickly became the most popular televised shooting sport and was prime time viewing in the 1990s.

More information is available at the following link.

Steel Challenge


Cowboy Action Shooting

The sport is an attempt to re-live the time of the "Old West", whether real or fantasy. The shooting competition utilizes reactive steel targets and live ammunition. Shooters negotiate scenarios based on real or imagined incidents from the history of the 19th century West or the silver screen of the Saturday matinee.

We are affiliated with the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS). We travel to shoots around New England and the Northeast and some go to Winter Range (the SASS National Championships) and End of Trail (the SASS World Championships).

Unlike many modern "high tech" shooting matches, CAS takes pride in the use of weapons available between the Civil War and 1899. The technology of this sport is limited to what can be found in original or reproduction firearms of the period. Equipment needed includes single action revolver(s), a lever action rifle in pistol caliber, and a side-by-side, pre-1899 pump or lever action shotgun. Ammo must be lead bullets only (pistol under 1000 fps, rifle under 1400 fps); shotgun ammo must be lead shot, #4 or smaller. Shooters are grouped in classes based on the type of pistol they shoot (fixed vs. adjustable sights), the way the pistol is held when shooting (one or two-handed), the ammo used (smokeless vs. black powder), their age, and/or their costuming.

As well as hosting the SASS MA/CT/RI State Championship first weekend in June each year, we have several monthly events each year. Registration runs from 8:00-9:15 AM. There is a mandatory safety meeting for all shooters at 9:15 AM. Shooting starts at 9:30 AM and runs until approximately 3 PM (3 stages in the morning, a break for lunch and 3 stages in the afternoon). Registration fees are $15.00, however Young Guns (age 14-16) and Buckaroos (age 12-13) are free. Spectators are free, but eye protection is mandatory.

For more information please see the following link:

Harvard Ghost Riders


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