We get a lot of questions about the legality of thumb rests in the different USPSA divisions, so for the August Question of the Month, we asked which divisions allow thumb rests. A thumb rest is a device that is attached to the frame with the purpose of reducing recoil.
Here are the results:
It’s no surprise that Open has the most votes. Open is, well, open to pretty much any modification and thumb rests have always been allowed there. The results for Limited and Limited-10 are a bit surprising in the fact that they don’t have the same number of votes. Those divisions are identical as far as equipment requirements except for the number of rounds in the magazines after the start signal. Thumb rests were not legal in these divisions prior to the 2014 version of the rulebook, and some people still think they aren’t legal. But thumb rests are currently allowed in Limited and Limited-10 since App. D2 and D3 do not say thumb rests are prohibited. Revolver and PCC are the same as Limited and Limited-10. App. D6 and D8 do not prohibit thumb rests. I would not recommend a thumb rest on a revolver though, the gas burns your poor thumb would get.
We are now left with Production, Single Stack, and Carry Optics. Thumb rests are not allowed in these divisions. For Single Stack, it is clearly stated in App. D5, Item 22 that thumb rests are not allowed. For Production and Carry Optics, the appendices (D4, Item 22.2 and D7, Item 21.4, respectively) state that the grips cannot be modified to create a thumb rest. And in those divisions, bolting thumb rests onto the frame is not allowed because that is not specifically stated as allowed in App. D4 and D7.
Some of you may be asking, “But I have heard recently that aftermarket replacement small-parts that double as a thumb rest are allowed?” Yes, since March 2018, when the new Production and Carry Optics appendices were approved by the USPSA Board of Directors, the replacement of minor external components are allowed with factory and aftermarket parts (read more in this post). And there are some manufacturers that are making parts that are a bit wider than the factory parts and can be used as a thumb rest. Just remember that by adding width to your handgun, it may cause other problems. Your handgun must still fit into the USPSA box for Production (1 5/8″ depth) and fit into a non-race type holster for both Production and Carry Optics. Also remember that there are weight limits for Production and Carry Optics, so make sure your handgun still makes weight with the replacement part.
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