Procedural Errors (3 Second Penalty)
• Not responding to MUZZLE commands.
• 1st Finger Call
• Engaging target(s) while faulting the fault line.
• Not shooting while moving if required in CoF
• Not following other CoF actions as required.
• Not observing Tactical Priority.
• Speed Reloading
• Magazine falls from holder.
• Taking extra shots on Limited Vickers CoF.
• Body Movement after “Stand by” and Before Start Signal
• Not loaded to division capacity when required
• Failure to Reset, Harassing Shooters, Coaching
Hit on Non‐Threat Target (5 Seconds)
– 1 penalty for each hit.
– Targets are penetrable (a shoot through will count).
Flagrant Penalty (FP) (10 Second Penalty)
• FPs are only given when a violation occurs that results in a
competitive advantage of >3 seconds for the shooter.
Shooter’s intention may apply or be implied.
• Does not perform last reload to engage remaining Target(s)
• Intentionally engaging targets while out of required cover
(does not include re-engagement of targets)
• Shooting Freestyle when SHO/WHO is required
• More that one extra/less round in loading device
• Not following other CoF actions as required.
• Speed Reloading
• Staging Loading Device outside of CoF direction
• Repeated Failure to Reset, Harassing Shooters, Coaching
Failure To Do Right (20 Seconds)
– Circumvent or Compromise spirit of the stage.
– Committing Procedural Error on purpose to better your score.
– Not reloading to fire one more round because your score will be better,
even with a miss.
Scoring at each match is based on the time taken to shoot the stage plus time added for any penalties accrued. Penalties are given for poor marksmanship (i.e. posting hits outside the targets’ highest scoring area), failure to use cover, failure to follow a Safety Officer’s directions, or any violation of IDPA rules. Penalties range from one-half second per dropped point on targets up to 20 seconds for a Failure to Do Right which is a blatant violation of IDPA rules—i.e. cheating or unsportsmanlike conduct.
Most IDPA stages are scored using Unlimited Scoring which means that shooters may fire as many rounds as they feel necessary to make the specified number of hits. The best hits on the target are the only ones that count for score. If a stage calls for two hits on each target, a shooter may fire as many rounds as desired and no penalty will be given. Only the best two hits will count.
On a standards stage (an exercise intended to test marksmanship and gun handling skill as opposed to being a scenario) it is common for the course of fire to specify Limited scoring (previously known as Limited-Vickers). On this type of stage, the shooter may fire no more than the number of rounds specified. Firing more rounds will earn a procedural penalty and only the lowest scoring hits on target, of the number specified in the course of fire, are counted. For example: a Limited Scoring stage calls for two shots fired; the shooter fires one round into the -0 zone and one round into the -1 zone; if they fire again, hitting the -0 zone; when the target is scored, only the -0 and -1 zone hits will count. The “make up” -0 shot will be thrown out (not because it is the make up, but because is a higher score and the rationale is there should be no possible advantage accrued from failing to follow the stage procedure) and the shooter will be assessed a procedural penalty for firing more shots than the course called for. In addition, the shooter will have also added to their score by taking the time to fire the extra round.
This refers to the maximum number of rounds allowable for your division.
Most stages require that you begin with your gun loaded to division capacity.
Division capacity for ESP and SSP is 10+1 (10 in the magazine and one in the chamber).
Division capacity for CDP is 8+1 (eight in the magazine and one in the chamber).
For revolvers, the division capacity is 6 rounds.
Don’t worry about what division your gun falls into or what your division capacity is — your questions can be answered at match registration.
Classifications are based either on the competitor’s performance in a classifier match, or by his or her performance in a major, IDPA-sanctioned match.
As a new competitor, you will start out unclassified. In the final results for your first match, you’ll be grouped with other unclassified competitors in your division (CDP, SSP, etc).
If you decide that IDPA matches are fun and you want to continue to participate (and why wouldn’t you?), you’ll need to shoot a classifier match to determine your initial classification.
The classifier consists of three stages and requires a minimum of 90 rounds.
It will test all of your shooting skills, including one-handed shooting, reloading, and shooting while on the move. It’s a good test of overall shooting skills.
Your results in the classifier (raw time plus points down—just like in a regular match) will determine your classification.
A complete description of the classifier is available in the latest version of the IDPA rulebook.
IDPA International Defensive Pistol Association
DA Double Action
DAO Double Action Only
SA Single Action
SAO Single Action Only
CoF Course of Fire
AC Area Coordinator
MD Match Director
SOI Safety Officer Instructor
SO Safety Officer
RSO Range Safety Officer
BoD Board Of Directors
A COF may require that you engage targets while moving forward, backwards, or sideways or from around, over, or under barricades. These COFs are not designed to be physically challenging, but they do provide you with the opportunity to practice shooting from unusual positions.
Depending on how many people show up for a match, we break up into a number of squads, typically with 10-12 shooters each. These squads stay together throughout the match, moving from stage to stage until all the stages in the match are completed. If you come to a match with one or more friends, we’ll try to ensure you’re all squadded together. We try to have at least two certified and experienced safety officers assigned to each squad. These people can take care of most of the timer and scorekeeping duties, leaving the target resetting and pasting to the other shooters in the squad. Even if it’s your first match, we expect you to pitch in with target pasting and resetting. It’ll help you understand what’s going on, and it will make the match move along a lot faster for everyone.
When your squad arrives at a stage, the safety officer will give you all a “walkthrough” that explains the COF. You will be told where and how to start the COF and how to proceed from there. If you have any questions, you can ask them now. If you’re unsure what you’re supposed to do, it’s better to clear it up now rather than wait until it’s your turn to shoot.
All our matches primarily use the official IDPA targets.
Sometimes, portions of a target may be painted black to represent “hard cover.” Any round fully in hard cover doesn’t count.
Some targets have open hands painted on them. These represent unarmed bystanders and are referred to as “non-threats.” Hits on a non-threat target earn a time penalty.
Sometimes paper targets are mounted on swingers that require the shooter to engage a target while it moves back and forth. Other targets pop up then disappear or turn then disappear, or move laterally.
IDPA is not bulls-eye shooting (not that there’s anything wrong with that), so we try to offer a variety of shooting challenges to keep it interesting.
You may not think about it when you come to your first match, but a lot of people volunteer a lot of their time and expend a considerable amount of energy designing and setting up the COFs for every match we shoot.
Designing more elaborate stages with more complicated scenarios takes time, as well as taking down and storing items when the match is over. We appreciate any help we can get. With enough hands, we can have the range cleared in a very short time. When your safety officer says we’re through with a stage, please pitch in to get everything taken down and put away.
Power factor is a calculation designed to level the playing field between competitors with baseline requirements for ammunition used in competitions. This prevents a competitor from hand-loading a very soft round and gaining an unfair advantage over others using regular ammunition.
The power factor for a particular weapon and ammunition combination equals
Power Factor = bullet weight (in grains) * muzzle velocity / 1000
Understanding the Power Factor
by Chris Christian – Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Competitors entering the Action Pistol arena will need to digest a lot of new information and rules. The Power Factor (PF) is one, and it’s critical. It mandates the power level of the ammunition allowed and can determine which gun division a competitor should compete in—or if they’re even allowed to compete.
The procedure for determining the PF for any load is a simple mathematical formula: Multiply the bullet’s weight by its velocity over a chronograph (which will be used at major matches) and divide the resulting figure by 1000.
That figure will be the PF for that load, regardless of the caliber. If that figure meets, or exceeds, the required minimum PF for the gun division or game being played it’s legal. If not, a competitor can be disqualified from the match.
The formula to determine PF deals only with the bullet weight and its velocity—not with the caliber. Nor is there one universal PF. Different competitive organizations often use differing Power Factors.
For example, Steel Challenge has no PF requirement. If the load will safely operate the gun it’s allowed. ICORE and the Bianchi Cup keep things simple with a 120 PF across the board. USPSA has two: 125 Minor and 165 Major. Things get much more complicated with IDPA because they use five PFs; based upon the gun divisions, and in one case the guns used within a division.
IDPA competitors in Stock Service Pistol (SSP), Enhanced Service Pistol (ESP) and Compact Carry Pistol (CCP) require a 125 PF. Custom Defensive Pistol (CDP) must use a .45 ACP at a 165 PF. Back-Up Gun (BUG) requires only a 95 PF. Additionally, the newly modified Revolver Division allows competitors with .38 Special and larger revolvers that are reloaded with a speedloader to use a 105 PF, while those competitors using moon clips to reload must make a 155 PF.
All the above figures are the minimum allowed, but savvy competitors don’t handload to the minimum figure. Chronographs can vary slightly, temperature extremes can alter velocities, and even slightly differing internal case volumes among different head stamps can alter velocities downward. Experienced competitors normally load to an average factor of +5 PF: making a Major load a 170, and a Minor load a 130 PF.
The original intent of the Power Factor was to prevent competitors from using extremely light “Mouse Puff” loads and require the use of full-powered ammunition. It achieved that—to a degree. Full-powered factory loads will normally produce a PF anywhere from 13 to 40 PF above the required minimum and will be legal. But savvy handloaders have figured out how to create loads that meet the required PF with considerably less recoil.
Thus, the Power Factor formula leans heavily towards bullet weight. Any bullet weight suitable for the commonly-used calibers (.45 ACP, .40 S&W, 9 mm, .38 Special or .38 Super) can be driven to a velocity that will make the PF. But, heavier bullets have an advantage.
It’s often assumed that heavier bullets produce more recoil than lighter bullets. But that’s only true if both are loaded to full SAAMI pressures. Regardless of the caliber used, a small charge of fast burning powder with a heavier bullet in a reduced load will produce recoil that is a softer push, and with less muzzle rise than lighter bullets making the PF. Lighter bullets require higher velocities, more powder to reach them, and produce a snappier recoil with more muzzle rise.
.45 caliber bullets from 185-to 240-grains can be loaded to make a Major or Minor Power Factor. But the heavier bullets will produce a softer recoil that is considerably less than that produced by factory loads in the same bullet weight.
For example, the traditional load in the .45 ACP is a 230-grain bullet at about 860 feet per second (FPS). That’s a 197 PF. Handloading a 230-grain bullet at about 740 FPS makes a comfortable 170 Major power factor with considerably less recoil.
In the .40 S&W, the standard factory load is a 180-grain bullet at about 990-1000 FPS for a 180 PF. Loading a 200-grain bullet at 850 FPS gets a Major 170 PF, with softer recoil than the 180-grain load.
While the .45 ACP and .40 S&W are normally considered Major calibers, both can be handloaded to a Minor 125 PF and shot in those divisions where their gun type is allowed. A 200-grain bullet at 675 FPS makes a 135 PF and redefines the term “Mouse Puff” load. A 180/185-grain bullet at 725 FPS also makes a comfortable 130+PF with very soft recoil.
The 9 mm is the most popular Minor caliber and factory loads in 115-and 124-grains all make a PF in the 138 to 141 range. The standard factory load for the 147-grain load is in the 990-1000 FPS range and makes about a 147 PF. Loading a 147-grain slug at 880 FPS makes a 130 PF and provides the same soft push recoil as the heavy bullets/fast powder loads in the .45 and .40.
While heavy bullets and fast powders produce a softer recoil push, there are competitors who prefer the snappier recoil of the lighter bullets. Some feel that the quicker recoil cycle gets them back on target faster. Those who understand the Power Factor can try both, and choose the load that works best for them.