The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is the governing body of a shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real life encounters. It was founded in 1996 as a response to the desires of shooters worldwide. The organization now boasts membership of more than 17,008, including members in 50 foreign countries.

One of the unique facets of this sport is that it is geared toward the new or average shooter, yet is fun, challenging and rewarding for the experienced shooter. The founders developed the sport so that practical gear and practical guns may be used competitively. An interested person can spend a minimal amount on equipment and still be competitive.

The main goal is to test the skill and ability of the individual, not equipment or gamesmanship. “Competition only” equipment is not permitted in this sport.

The firearms are grouped into five divisions:

  • Custom Defensive Pistol
    .45ACP semi-automatics only

  • Enhanced Service Pistol
    9mm (9x19) or larger caliber semi-automatics

  • Stock Service Pistol
    9mm (9x19) or larger caliber double action, double action only, or safe action semi-automatics

  • Enhanced Service Revolver
    .38 caliber or larger double action revolvers

  • Stock Service Revolver
    .38 caliber or larger double action revolvers

Shooters are then classed by like-skill levels with progression from

  1. Novice (NV)

  2. Marksman (MM)

  3. Sharpshooter (SS

  4. Expert (EX)

  5. Master (MA)

Equipment Requirements

IDPA is a handgun-centric shooting sport based on simulated self-defense scenarios. Participation in IDPA matches requires the use of handguns, holsters and other equipment suitable for concealed carry self-defense.

Shooters will need

Minimum equipment is gun, holster and 3 mags. Run what you have, no need to buy anything fancy.

  • An IDPA legal firearm. ( A semi-automatic pistol, double action revolver, or pistol caliber carbine revolver. No 22LR. )

  • An IDPA Legal belt.

  • Appropriate ammunition feeding devices (speed loaders/moonclips or magazines)

  • Ammuntion carriers (magazine pouches or speed loader holders or just stick 'em in your pockets) View

  • Ammunition suitable for your firearm.

  • IDPA legal holster. View

  • Concealment garment. View

  • Ear protection

  • Eye protection

For more information, consult Section 8 of the Rulebook.

Download a pdf of the rulebook here.

Register for upcoming matches: