Cover Image: A Beretta 92X Performance and a chrome Canik Rival-S SFx next to 15 rounds of Federal Syntech 9mm. Both of these guns are ideal for USPSA Production division as they come from the factory.

At the tail end of 2023, board members of the USPSA voted to allow participants in its Production division to carry 15 rounds in their magazines starting February 1, 2024. This is a welcome change that not only will breathe new life into this waning competitive class, but also bring this United States based division more in-line with the rules of the international level IPSC Production division, where the magazine capacity has always been set at 15 rounds.


For the longest time, magazine capacity in the Production division has been limited to ten rounds. The ten round limit stems from this class’ inception during the US Assault Weapons Ban, where all new guns sold were arbitrarily capped with a 10 round magazine limit. Funny enough, it wasn’t that long ago that this division was still a smoking-hot category with a lot of skilled shooters competing at the highest levels. It was one of the the most popular categories for weekend match shooters, as nearly all modern pistols will qualify. There’s several competition oriented handguns that were borne out of this division like the Tanfoglio Stock II, the CZ Shadow 2, the Glock 34, etc. that still remain cult classics today. And some of these still live on in the USPSA Carry Optics division.


The USPSA Production division’s issue isn’t even necessarily that it was limited to ten rounds. It stems from the surge in dotted handguns’ popularity that also caused a paradigm shift in stage designs.The rise in popularity of the pistol mounted reflex sight along with the rise of the Carry Optics division cast the original USPSA Production division aside. Not only did all the high level competitors flock to the dots, so did the weekend warriors and many regular gun owners too.

The Carry Optics division itself doesn’t have a hard magazine capacity limit. Instead, like the Limited division, it specifies that a pistol’s magazine may not be longer than 141.25mm. The end result is that competitive guns’ magazines hold over 20 rounds of 9mm, with most being able to fit 22-24 rounds. The same also applies to both Limited and Limited Optics divisions, and since these divisions currently represent the most popular categories at matches in general, it’s easy to see why stages are set up in their favor. Divisions like PCC (pistol caliber carbine) or Open both allow for even higher magazine capacities is only more the reason for stages to be biased in favor of high round counts.


Until the recent decision to increase the Production magazine capacity limit to 15 rounds, for many of us who wanted to keep shooting stock handguns without being inconvenienced too much, the obvious solution was to simply sign up and participate under the Limited [minor] division and just load those factory magazines to their standard 17-18 round capacity. I can speak only for myself in that I only shoot matches for fun and enjoyment. I knew that regardless of equipment, I wasn’t going to be winning any matches at my club any time soon. So I didn’t care as I was just looking to shoot with the least amount of hassle.

From a different perspective, it does seem absurd for those wishing to compete with stock equipment to have to do so in the same division as honest-to-God raceguns. A stock factory Glock 19 vs. a tuned Staccato XL? It was either that, or just sucking it up and reloading a lot. But it gets old and starts to become a chore. For new competitors, there’s more important skills to focus on that merely reloading left and right.

By increasing the capacity by an additional five rounds, the Production division will shift back to its original spirit of focusing around stock equipment. Besides getting in touch with its roots, those extra five rounds mean navigating stages set up for Carry Optics and Limited guns with less hassle, for experienced and new shooters alike. It’s a reasonable decision in the right direction.

P.E. Fitch
I am a shooter first, and a writer second. IG & Twitter: @pfitch45