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June 2, 2012 / 1911ryan

IDPA: The Self Defense Sport

Today I am going to post a series of videos. These videos are of myself shooting an IDPA match at Lemon Grove Gun Club in Alpine California and some videos from Youtube for comparative purposes. I would like to show the difference between IDPA and IPSC as it may not be evident to many viewers. IDPA is an acronym for International Defensive Pistol Association. The point of IDPA, as the website reports is” The main goal is to test the skill and ability of the individual, not the equipment or gamesmanship.” ( This sport was created in contrast to IPSC or International Practical Shooting Confederation. IPSC’s mission, which is much longer than IDPA’s, is basically to maintain regularity and perpetuate the sport of practical Shooting sports. “Practical” shooting, as the IPSC website says, differs from the IDPA style of shooting by promoting sport versus real world applications. Lets watch and IPSC and IDPA demonstration and I will explain. This video has been borrowed from Chade2112 on Youtube.

IPSC Video

Next watch this video of an IDPA demonstration. Yes, the slow guy shooting is me.

IDPA Video

In the IPSC video, the shooter is moving from point to point without regard to cover. The idea is to hit all the targets as fast as possible. So the shooter moves from one engagement area to the next considering only the shortest distance, fastest engagement patterns and reload plans. By reload plans I mean the plan for making sure you don’t run out of ammo at an in opportune time. If your low on ammo, it is best to reload while your moving and not engaging targets. You don’t want to reload while your in the middle of shooting.

In the IDPA video, the shooter is wearing a cover garment, which would be worn by a citizen who is carrying a concealed weapon and the shooter seeks cover when possible. The idea here is to mimic a real world environment as closely as possible. Rather than going purely for speed as in the IPSC competitions, IDPA incorporates true combat consideration into the rules. IDPA is a competition that fosters good personal defense habits and skills. So it more than a sport really. IDPA is a gathering of people who have fun competing while learning to be effective defenders.

Lets see another video of IPSC as a purely completive sport.

IPSC Open Race Gun

Here, maybe you can see that the shooters gun has sights on it. It also has a host of other upgrades including a recoil compensator on the end of the barrel, all of which assist in the speed of the pistol, none of which would be used on a self defense pistol.

I hope I have helped to illustrate some of the differences between the two shooting sports. I try not to be biased about either but I do see benefits of both. IPSC can foster a safe shooting environment and safe practices while popularizing shooting sports. I believe that IDPA does all of that and helps reinforce good self defense habits. That’s why I shoot IDPA


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