Older men in vests, 1911s galore, and talks of glory days, is what I expected when I went to my first IDPA match. Previously I had attended and shot at USPSA matches, and they do make fun and talk down about IDPA. Honestly, I had a great time shooting my first IDPA match. My goal is to try as many different shooting sports and give my input on how you can get started in it.
To help understand IDPA, some background of its intended purpose will help. IDPA (international defensive pistol association) is a shooting sport based on defensive pistol techniques, using equipment including full-charge service ammunition to solve simulated “real world” self-defense scenarios. You are supposed to engage targets in order of threat and the way the stage is designed. The pistols you are allowed to use are going to be ones you would typically use for everyday carry. Some people do use more competition guns, and with PCC being added, it changes things. The scoring is based on accuracy and speed; you want to make sure you are getting accurate hits more than speed. You can bomb a course by getting one miss or a delta and add a few seconds to your stage time.
My first match was just before the pandemic starting. In my area (Nampa, ID), IDPA is not as popular as USPSA, so they hold one match a month. On the day of my match, we had approximately 15 people, and more than half were all first-time IDPA shooters, including myself. Shooting the courses was a lot of fun. I think if you are getting into shooting sports, IDPA is a great place to start. You don’t have to worry about figuring out how you would shoot the stage; you shoot it as accurately and fast as you can. The only thing you have to remember is the intent or way the stage is laid out. For my first two stages, I saw I needed to slow down and get my hits in the “a” zone. Your course score can go from a 20-sec stage to a 30 with a few mistakes and poor shots. For my setup, I ran a Smith and Wesson M&P 40 with a Vortex red dot and two mag holders. When I shoot again, I would like to try to shoot a match with my Smith and Wesson Shield.
I liked shooting the match so much that I plan on doing more. I don’t feel the pressure to buy an open gun or have a super modified gun. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the people who shoot it are friendly. I plan on competing more in shooting sports, with IDPA locally having one match a month it helps with my scheduling. I would encourage you to go out and try IDPA. The main piece of equipment you need is a good holster. A dual mag holster is not required with being able to stuff mags in your pockets. However, with the cost of them relatively cheap, I would invest in a good holster. Once you have that and your eye and ear protection, you are all set to compete at your first match. Remember, it is your first match, learn as much as you can, go slow, be safe, and have fun!
Comment below on your experiences with IDPA or even USPSA.
If you live in the Boise area, the matches are held at the Nampa Rod and Gun Club. Info can be found here http://www.nragc.com/
Check out our store to stock up your bullets for your next IDPA match