IDPA Overview

01 – The Founding Concepts of IDPA
Founded in 1996, the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is the governing body for IDPA competition, a handgun-centric shooting sport based on simulated self-defense scenarios.
The IDPA competition format was designed to be enjoyable for all shooters of all skill levels, with a
premium put on the social interaction and camaraderie of the members. Participation in IDPA matches
requires the use of handguns, holsters and other equipment suitable for concealed carry self-defense. With that in mind, and keeping the shooters' best interests in mind, IDPA's founders established equipment requirements that are based on commonly available firearms and gear, allowing individuals the opportunity to compete with minimal investment.

Today, thanks to the vision of its founders and a commitment to serving the organization's loyal membership, IDPA stands as the fastest growing shooting sport in the United States with over 25000 members from all 50
states, and over 400 affiliated clubs hosting weekly and monthly competitions, and membership representing
over 50 nations. Our main goal is to test the skill and ability of the individual. Equipment that is designed with no application for daily, concealed carry is not permitted in this sport.

1.1 IDPA’s Fundamental Principles

The Fundamental Principles are a guide to all members.
1.1.1 Promote safe and proficient use of firearms and equipment suitable for concealed carry self-defense.
1.1.2 Offer a practical shooting sport encouraging competitors to develop skills and fellowship with   likeminded shooters.
1.1.3 Provide a level playing field for all competitors that solely tests the skill and ability of each individual, not their equipment.
1.1.4 Provide separate divisions for equipment and classifications for shooters, such that firearms with similar characteristics are grouped together and people with similar skill levels compete against each other.
1.1.5 Provide shooters with practical and realistic courses of fire, and test skills that could be required to survive life-threatening encounters.
1.1.6 Strongly encourage all IDPA members to support our sponsors when making purchases of equipment and accessories. Industry sponsors have been instrumental in IDPA’s success at all levels including Club, State, Regional, National, and International levels.
1.1.7 Develop and maintain an infrastructure that will allow IDPA to be responsive to our shooters. While IDPA can never be all things to all people, respectful constructive suggestions from our members, which follow IDPA Fundamental Principles, will always be welcome.

1.2 IDPA’s Strict Principles of Safety

As with any firearm competition, safety is the primary and fundamental concern. The Four Rules of Gun Safety are the basis for the IDPA safety rules:
 All guns are always loaded.
 Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
 Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
 Identify your target, and what is behind it.

1.3 Principles of Shooting IDPA

1.3.1 Equipment Principles

Allowed equipment will meet the following criteria: Concealable - all equipment except flashlights will be placed so that, when wearing a concealment garment with your arms extended to your sides and parallel to the ground, it cannot be seen from the front, rear, or sides. Practical - Must be practical for all day concealed carry self-defense, and worn in a manner that is appropriate for all day continuous wear.

1.3.2 Participation Principles Competitors will not attempt to circumvent or compromise any stage by the use of inappropriate devices, equipment, or techniques. Competitors will refrain from unsportsmanlike conduct, unfair actions, and the use of illegal equipment. The IDPA Rulebook is not intended to be an exhaustive description of all allowed and disallowed equipment and techniques. Shooter equipment and techniques should comply with the basic principles of IDPA and be valid in the context of a sport that is based on self-defense scenarios. A reasonable application of common sense and the IDPA Founding Concepts will be employed in determining whether a particular device, technique, or piece of equipment is permitted under the IDPA rules. At its core, IDPA is a self-defense scenario based sport. The props used to create the Course of Fire (CoF) are often incomplete but represent buildings, walls, windows, doorways, etc. The CoF will indicate available shooting positions. The props will be defined in the CoF walk through. Individual rehearsals of a CoF, including air gunning, and taking sight pictures, are not permitted within the CoF boundaries. Shooting from behind cover is a basic premise of IDPA. Competitors will use all available cover in a CoF. IDPA is a shooting sport based on concealed carry. All courses of fire will be shot using a concealment garment unless stipulated otherwise. In any single contest, a shooter must use the same firearm on all stages unless the firearm becomes unserviceable. Re-shoots are allowed for stage equipment failures or SO interference. English is the official language of IDPA and range commands used in all matches regardless of
location or nationality of participants, will be in English. The English rulebook prevails.

1.3.3 Course of Fire Principles One issue critical to the long term success of this shooting discipline is that problems shooters are asked to solve must reflect self-defense principles. The IDPA founders agreed upon this when they set out to structure IDPA guidelines and principles. IDPA should help promote basic sound gun handling skills and test skills a person would need in a concealed-carry encounter. Requirements such as the use of cover while engaging a target, reloading behind cover, and limiting the number of rounds per string were all based upon that principle. A CoF should test a competitor’s shooting skills. Allowances will be made for physically challenged or disabled shooters. Match Directors should always attempt to make the CoF accessible for all shooters. While we recognize that there are many schools of thought in training for self-defense concealed carry, the primary focus of IDPA is in the continuing development of safe and sound gun handling skills that are universally accepted. IDPA rules will be equally enforced for all classifications of IDPA members.

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