Originally Posted by austin125
I found two places near me in ohio. So if I like shooting matches, I'll have to join a club to be able to keep shooting matches? Does the gun have to be a certain size limit for barrel length? Can you have a ported barrel? Does it have to be 9mm? Do you have to have a holster that has no sort of release button, just retention? Can you use any ammo?
If you like shooting matches, you only have to join IDPA. Most clubs welcome any IDPA member and you don't have to join the club itself. Some clubs charge a little more for non-members to shoot the matches. There would be match fees (typically $10-15) for club matches. Sanctioned matches cost more and involve more rounds, more stages, etc.
There are size limits for barrel length. Semi-auto pistols must fit inside a standard IDPA box (8.75 x 6 x 1.625). My XDm 5.25" Competition Series 45ACP just barely fits! Revolvers do not need to fit in the box, but maximum barrel length is 4".
Ported barrels are not allowed.
There are 5 divisions: 3 are for semi-auto and 2 are for revolver. Calibers from 9mm to 45ACP can work for semi-autos, though 380 auto may be below the minimum power factor (product of bullet weight in grains and muzzle velocity in ft/s). 38spl to 44mag or 45ACP/45LongColt can work for revolvers. Each division has different power factor limitations. SSP and ESP require 125000, CDP requires 165000, SSR requires 105000 and ESR requires 165000. They'll help you figure out which division your gun is in.
Most retail ammo will meet the power factor (though some just barely make it). Club matches often skip the chronographing and weighing to prove power factor, but at sanctioned matches they will check.
Holsters do not need to have a retention mechanism, but if your holster does have a retention system, it must be used. I use a Safariland ALS holster that has retention because I carry that way and use IDPA to practice. There are lots of faster options than my holster.
There are some pretty subtle rules in IDPA. Procedural errors (like incorrect use of cover or shooting targets out of order) are likely when you first start. Download the rulebook from IDPA.com and read it. But even if you study well, you're still likely to get some procedural penalties. They'll explain what you did wrong so you can learn. Don't take it personally. Have fun.
IDPA is about balancing speed and accuracy. "You can't miss fast enough to win." But taking forever to line up each shot is also pointless. Finding the balance in between is what IDPA is about.
Scoring is done by times. The raw time for you to finish a course of fire is measured and recorded. Your hits are scored in terms of how far below perfect they are. A-zone hits (5" square head shots or 8" circle in center of target) are called "down zero" meaning no penalty. Just outside the A-zone in the body is a region labelled -1. Hits in this area are "down one". Further out is -3 or "down three" and completely missing the target is "down five". All targets are scored on this basis and total points down for that stage are recorded (actually they record points down on each target and add up). Each point down adds 0.5 seconds to your raw time. Then any procedural errors, hits on non-threats, or failures to neutralize (no hits in down zero or down one zones) are evaluated. There are time penalties associated with these mistakes. Raw time plus all penalties is the score for that stage.
A lot of stages are called Vickers Count, which means you can shoot extra rounds to make up for bad shots. Such stages may be "best 2 hits scored" or "best 3 hits scored". That would be defined in the stage description that you would hear about before you have to shoot the stage.
Some stages (generally "Standards" stages) are called Limited Vickers Count. Limited Vickers means you may NOT shoot extra rounds. So, if the description says 2 shots per target, then only shoot 2 per target. If you shoot 3 times at such a target you get a procedural (3 seconds penalty) AND they tape over your best shot! So, you can't improve your score on Limited Vickers stages.
By far the most useful skill when starting IDPA (IMHO) is the ability to laugh at yourself. You will make some truly entertaining blunders. You will wonder why that non-threat couldn't duck just once! You will become sure the targets previously starred in the movie Matrix "How did I miss that?"
Have fun! And let us know how you do!