International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA)

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The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is a membership-based organization and the governing body of a handgun-centric shooting sport based on simulated "real-world" scenarios, using practical equipment not customized for competition, and which a person may actually carry for everyday self-defense.


IDPA was founded in 1996 in response to shooters who desired a more real-world based self-defense event than was being offered by other sports at that time. IDPA is geared toward new and average shooters using practical gear and guns, allowing participants to spend a nominal amount on equipment, but provide competition for shooters even at the Expert and Masters classifications.

As of July 2015, there are more than 25,000 IDPA members competing in more than 400 affiliated clubs in over 50 countries around the world.

Contact Information

The International Defensive Pistol Association� 2232 CR 719 Berryville AR. 72616

Phone: (870) 545-3886 Fax: (870) 545-3894 Email:


Membership in the IDPA is available on a one or three year basis. A single year membership is $40.00, while a three year membership is $105. IDPA rules allows a shooter to participate in one local/tier 1 match without being a member. The registration page is here:


The most recent IDPA rules can always be found at the IDPA website at this link: The current rulebook, as of August 17, 2015, is downloadable as a PDF file at: Anne Arundel Fish and Game Association provides a nice overview resource for shooters at:

Classification Rules

Shooters are divided into one of six classifications so that they may compete against others of similar skill. New members are listed as Unclassified until they shoot a classifier match. Classified shooters may increase their classification through a better score on a classifier match, performance in a sanctioned match, or through an equity promotion. The six classifications are:

  • Unclassified
  • Novice
  • Marksman
  • Sharpshooter
  • Expert
  • Master

Equipment Rules

IDPA matches are divided up into six entirely separate divisions, and one optional division: SSP - Stock Service Pistol ESP - Enahnced Service Pistol CDP - Compact Defensive Pistol CCP - Compact Carry Pistol REV - Revolver BUG - Back-up Gun NFC - Not for Competition is an optional division for local matches only. This can be used to allow someone who does not meet equipment rules to go ahead and shoot the match.

More detailed descriptions of firearm divisions as well as information pertaining to holster, belt, magazine pouch, cover garment, etc. requirements are available in section 8 of the Rules, and may be added here later.

Mid-Atlantic IDPA Clubs

In addition to Match Director/Safety Officer requirements, IDPA requires clubs to host a minimum of 1 classifier event per year, and a minimum of six matches per year. The classifier may be one of those matches.



North Carolina





West Virginia: