IMG_1216International Defensive Pistol Association shooting is a fun and safe way to learn simulated defensive pistol skills, sharpen your gun handling and shooting abilities.  Music City Tactical Shooters has been an IDPA affiliated club since 1999 that hosts both club level and sanctioned matches(until 2015).  We highly recommend joining us for an IDPA match even if you have never shot competitively before.

Equipment Rules

IDPA has six different equipment divisions for handguns. These divisions are divided with three for semi-automatic pistols, and two for revolvers. Obviously, any firearm used at a match must be in working order. Grip safeties may not be pinned, manual safeties may not be removed, etc. For semiautos, you should have at least three magazines. For revolvers, you should have at least four moonclips or three speedloaders.

The official rules are covered in the IDPA rulebook at

Holsters: Holsters used must be of a strong side style, and should be suitable for everyday concealed carry. They should safely retain the handgun, not be offset from the Shooterʼs body, and not be of a “competition only” design. A good test for retention is to put your handgun in your holster and do some jumping jacks. If the handgun doesnʼt shift around, itʼs likely that the holster will adequately retain the handgun. No shoulder, ankle, weak side, or small of the back holsters are allowed.

Ammunition Carriers: Ammo carriers must retain the spare ammunition that the Shooter carries. Check the IDPA rule book for specific requirements. The “jumping jack” test also works to determine if the ammunition carrier will retain your magazines, moonclips, or speedloaders.

Ammunition: All Divisions have a minimum power floor for ammunition. Both factory and handloads are allowed. Check the IDPA rule book for specific requirements. While not guaranteed, the vast majority of factory ammunition will meet or exceed the power floor. Metal piercing, incendiary, and tracers loads are not allowed.

Protection: IDPA matches also require that everyone have eye and ear protection. This includes both participants and observers that are on the range. Itʼs generally a good idea to wear a brimmed hat of some sort as well- this will help prevent ejected brass from being able to fall behind your safety glasses.

Concealment: Many IDPA stages require some sort of concealment garment that hides your handgun and ammunition from view. Vests, light jackets, and button-down shirts can all serve as a concealment garment. The standard test for this is to stand with your arms held out to the sides. If your firearm and ammunition are hidden from view from all directions, you should be good to go.  New shooters at non-sanctioned club matches are not required to wear concealment.

Miscellaneous: Make sure to check the weather conditions forecast for match day, and dress appropriately. Sun block, bug spray, and water may all be useful items to bring with to a match. Make sure to bring enough ammunition to the match. The match announcement will generally list the minimum number of rounds required to complete the match. Itʼs a good idea to bring extra ammo, though, in case of needing extra shots to get good hits, having to re-shoot a stage due to a stage malfunction, etc.

Finally, always feel free to ask questions of your Safety Officers and Match Directors.  Stay safe and have fun!