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March 3rd, 2020

Pistol Matches Are Fun — Give IDPA a Try

IDPA Practical Pistol Concealed carry handgun competition

Most of our readers are rifle guys, but it’s fun to shoot a pistol match now and then. You don’t need a lot of equipment, and if you shoot IDPA (Int’l Defensive Pistol Assn.) matches, you can really win with a $400 pistol and $20.00 worth of bulk 9mm ammo. That’s a bargain compared to what you’ll spend on a competitive PRS or F-Class rig and custom hand-loads.

If you want to get into the IDPA game, Shooting Sports USA has a good article that explains the basic rules and classifications. IDPA is not your grandad’s bullseye pistol match. There is movement and action. Stages are timed, and competitors engage targets from cover if available. Singled-handed shooting is sometimes required, as is shooting while moving. You can compete with pretty much any handgun suitable for self-defense — but no $4000 Raceguns with fancy optics. The fact that you can be 100% competitive without spending a ton of money is what makes IDPA so popular.

Shooting Sports USA polled IDPA shooters at the 2016 IDPA Nationals to determine their favorite gun brands and models. The #1 choice was the 9mm Glock 34 for the SSP (Standard Service Pistol) and ESP (Enhanced Service Pistol) Classes. Next most popular was the Smith & Wesson M&P Pro.

IDPA Practical Pistol Concealed carry handgun competition
IDPA Gun Chart from Shooting Sports USA.

IDPA targetAlong with SSP and ESP, there are three other main IDPA classes: Custom Defensive Pistol (CDP) for .45 ACPs (mostly 1911 types), Concealed Carry Pistol (CCP), and Revolver (REV). All classes have a minimum power factor. Scores are based on time and shot placement on the IDPA target.

IDPA Scoring System
The official IDPA Target (right) has multiple scoring zones. If you don’t hit the target’s center mass zone or head zone (both appear green in illustration), you drop one or three points. Here’s the formula: Score (in seconds) = Time + Points Down + Penalties. In IDPA, “points down” (and penalties) are added to your time. If you hit the outer edge of the target, you get 3 points down. Nearer center can be 1 point down. Center hit or head shot is 0 points down. See IDPA Scoring for Dummies.

IDPA glock 34 pistol carry match

Five Tips for New IDPA Shooters

This Editor got his start in competitive shooting with local IDPA matches. I shot a 9mm Glock 34, and a 9mm SIG Sauer P226, and even did one match with a .38 Spl S&W Snubbie. I eventually settled on the SIG P226, as it fit my hand better than the Glock, was more accurate, and was every bit as reliable. The P226 also pointed better than the Glock for me — something that helps with target acquisition. Here are FIVE TIPS for new IDPA competitors:

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March 3rd, 2015

New Official IDPA Steel Practice Target

At ranges across the country, on any given weekend, there are probably more IDPA matches than any other type of pistol competition. And now the IDPA has its own official steel practice target: the IDPA PT (Practice Torso). The new target, crafted by Utah-Based Action Target from 3/8″-thick AR550 steel, features a regulation torso shape with scoring zones. Green-colored reactive plates provide instant feedback. Notably, the target has no exposed bolts, clamps or brackets. The completely flat shooting surface reduces the risk of ricochets coming back at the shooter.

IDPA Training Target

The IDPA target’s reactive plates feature an innovative hinge design. “A lot of work went into the design of this target,” said Chris Hess, Action Target’s marketing manager. “Not only did we ensure that the torso dimensions of the target perfectly match IDPA regulation, we also created a new patent pending hinge design for the reactive plates that minimizes the number of parts needed and provides consistent reaction on every shot. This new design will soon be used on all of our reactive steel targets.”

New IDPA PT Target features innovative, Patent-pending hinge design.
IDPA Training Target

Two-time national IDPA champion Tom Yost helped develop the new steel target: “As a competitive shooter, this is exactly the kind of target I want to train with. Practicing on steel helps build muscle memory for accurate shots better than anything else because it provides instant feedback that you can hear and see.”

IDPA Matches feature “real-world” type scenarios, with guns drawn from cover.
IDPA Training Target

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