I expected older men in vests, 1911s galore, and talks of glory days when I attended my first International Defensive Pistol Association match. Previously, I had shot at USPSA matches, where there is often teasing and belittling of IDPA. Honestly, though, I had a great time at my first IDPA match. My goal is to explore as many different shooting sports as possible and share insights on how to get started in each of them.

Understanding IDPA: Purpose and Setup

To better grasp IDPA, it’s essential to understand its purpose. IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) is a shooting sport centered around defensive pistol techniques. Participants use full-charge service ammunition to tackle simulated “real-world” self-defense scenarios. Targets are engaged in order of threat according to the stage’s design. While most use pistols suitable for everyday carry, some prefer more competitive models. The recent inclusion of PCC (Pistol Caliber Carbine) has broadened equipment choices. Scoring prioritizes accuracy over speed, with penalties applied for misses or less precise hits, impacting overall stage completion times.

Firsthand Experience: Joining the IDPA Community

My first match took place just before the pandemic began. In my area (Nampa, ID), IDPA is less popular compared to USPSA, so they host one match per month. On the day of my match, we had approximately 15 participants, with more than half being first-time IDPA shooters, including myself. Shooting the courses was immensely enjoyable. If you’re venturing into shooting sports, IDPA is an excellent starting point. You don’t need to worry about strategizing how to tackle the stage; instead, you focus on shooting as accurately and quickly as possible while adhering to the stage’s layout. In my first two stages, I realized I needed to slow down and ensure my hits were in the “a” zone. A few mistakes or poor shots can significantly impact your course score, turning a 20-second stage into a 30-second one.

For my setup, I used a Smith & Wesson M&P 40 with a Vortex red dot and two magazine holders. Moving forward, I’m eager to try competing with my Smith & Wesson Shield at future matches.

Continuing the Journey: Future Plans in IDPA

I enjoyed the match so much that I plan to participate more frequently. There’s no pressure for me to invest in an open or highly modified gun. The atmosphere at IDPA matches is relaxed, and the people involved are friendly. With IDPA hosting one match per month locally, it fits well into my schedule, encouraging me to pursue competitive shooting further. I strongly encourage you to give IDPA a try. The essential equipment you need includes a good holster; while a dual mag holster isn’t mandatory (since you can carry extra mags in your pockets), it’s wise to invest in one due to its affordability. Once you have your holster, eye protection, and ear protection, you’re ready for your first match. Remember, it’s a learning experience; take your time, prioritize safety, and most importantly, enjoy yourself!

Local Matches and Information

If you live in the Boise area, matches are held at the Nampa Rod and Gun Club. Information can be found here: http://www.nragc.com/