General Mattis’ Reading List For Leaders

Secretary of Defense, Gen. James Mattis is not only one of the most respected service members of all time, but he is arguably one of the most intelligent as well. His personal library has over 6,000 books that includes everything from Roman philosophy to the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. Affectionately called the “Warrior Monk”, Mattis combines outstanding leadership, with tactical proficiency in a manner that has resonated with both his troops and peers. He is a living legend among U.S. Marines and is renowned as a superb leader who values the lower enlisted as if they were his own children. As the humble epitome of what a great leader should aspire to be, Mattis has a suggested reading list that he believes everyone in a leadership role should read in order to become a more effective leader. 

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow 








Before the First Shot Is Fired: How America Can Win Or Lose Off The Battlefield by Gen Tony Zinni & Tony Koltz








Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam by H.R. McMaster 


“The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C.”
—H. R. McMaster (from the Conclusion)

Dereliction Of Duty is a stunning analysis of how and why the United States became involved in an all-out and disastrous war in Southeast Asia. Fully and convincingly researched, based on transcripts and personal accounts of crucial meetings, confrontations and decisions, it is the only book that fully re-creates what happened and why. McMaster pinpoints the policies and decisions that got the United States into the morass and reveals who made these decisions and the motives behind them, disproving the published theories of other historians and excuses of the participants.

West Points’ Recommended Reading List

A page-turning narrative, Dereliction Of Duty focuses on a fascinating cast of characters: President Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, General Maxwell Taylor, McGeorge Bundy and other top aides who deliberately deceived the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. Congress and the American public.

McMaster’s only book, Dereliction of Duty is an explosive and authoritative new look at the controversy concerning the United States involvement in Vietnam.

Defeat Into Victory: Battling Japan in Burma and India, 1942-1945 by  Viscount Slim

Field Marshal Viscount Slim (1891-1970) led shattered British forces from Burma to India in one of the lesser-known but more nightmarish retreats of World War II. He then restored his army’s fighting capabilities and morale with virtually no support from home and counterattacked. His army’s slaughter of Japanese troops ultimately liberated India and Burma.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps Professional Reading List For NCOs

The first edition of Defeat Into Victory , published in 1956, was an immediate sensation selling 20,000 copies within a few days. This is an updated version with a new introduction by David W. Hogan Jr.

Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger

In this controversial and monumental book – arguably his most important – Henry Kissinger illuminate just what diplomacy is.


Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert Gates 



The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye

Fighting Talk: Forty Maxims on War, Peace, and Strategy by Colin Gray 

Colin Gray presents an inventive treatise on the nature of strategy, war, and peace, organized around forty maxims. This collection of mini essays will forearm politicians, soldiers, and the attentive general public against many―probably most― fallacies that abound in contemporary debates about war, peace, and security. While one can never guarantee strategic success, which depends on policy, military prowess, and the quality of the dialogue between the two, a strategic education led by the judgments in these maxims increases the chances that one’s errors will be small rather than catastrophic.

The maxims are grouped according to five clusters. “War and Peace” tackles the larger issues of strategic history that drive the demand for the services of strategic thought and practice. “Strategy” presses further, into the realm of strategic behavior, and serves as a bridge between the political focus of part one and the military concerns that follow. “Military Power and Warfare” turns to the pragmatic business of military performance: operations, tactics, and logistics. Part four, “Security and Insecurity,” examines why strategy is important, including a discussion of the nature, dynamic character, and functioning of world politics. Finally, “History and the Future” is meant to help strategists better understand the processes of historical change.

For Country and Corps: The Life of General Oliver P. Smith by Gail Shisler 


The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer

Forgotten Soldier recounts the horror of World War II on the eastern front, as seen through the eyes of a teenaged German soldier. At first an exciting adventure, young Guy Sajer’s war becomes, as the German invasion falters in the icy vastness of the Ukraine, a simple, desperate struggle for survival against cold, hunger, and above all the terrifying Soviet artillery. As a member of the elite Gross Deutschland Division, he fought in all the great battles from Kursk to Kharkov.

Sajer’s German footsoldier’s perspective makes The Forgotten Soldier a unique war memoir, the book that the Christian Science Monitor said “may well be the book about World War II which has been so long awaited.” Now it has been handsomely republished containing fifty rare German combat photos of life and death at the eastern front. The photos of troops battling through snow, mud, burned villages, and rubble-strewn cities depict the hardships and destructiveness of war. Many are originally from the private collections of German soldiers and have never been published before. This volume is a deluxe edition of a true classic.

The Future of Strategy by Colin Gray 

Strategy is not a modern invention.  It is an essential and enduring feature of human history that is here to stay.  In this original essay, Colin S. Gray, world-renowned scholar of strategic thought, discusses the meaning of strategy and its importance for politicians and the military as a means of achieving desired outcomes in complex, uncertain conditions.

Drawing on a wide range of examples from the Great Peloponnesian War to the Second World War, Vietnam, and the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gray ably shows how great military thinkers of the past and present have acted strategically in their various ideological, political, geographical and cultural contexts. Looking to the future, he argues that strategy will continue to provide a vital tool-kit for survival and security, but that the global threat posed by nuclear weapons remains an on-going challenge without obvious practical solutions.  As Gray boldy asserts, there is no promised land ahead, only hard and dangerous times that will require us to master the theory and practice of strategy to secure our own future.

Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield 


Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

The Greatest Raid of All by Lucas Phillips


‘A deed of glory intimately involved in high strategy’ – Winston Churchill St Nazaire, 1.34am March 28th, 1942 – the destroyer HMS Campbeltown , with her Oerlikons blazing at the enemy guns only a few yards away, crashed with terrific force into one of the enormous lock gates of the Normandie Dock. Operation Chariot had reached its climax. Its object was to destroy the essential gear of the largest dock in the world, so that it could not be used by German battleships, and it was brilliantly successful in its main purpose. The story of the assault, under a storm of enemy fire at point-blank range which set the sea itself on fire, and of the heroism of the men in the ‘little ships’ raid, carried out by Royal Navy forces – no fewer than five VC’s were awarded – is one of the most thrilling and vivid to come out of any war. ‘Exciting and moving account of a great epic’ Observer

The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman 

In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world. Beginning with the funeral of Edward VII, Tuchman traces each step that led to the inevitable clash. And inevitable it was, with all sides plotting their war for a generation. Dizzyingly comprehensive and spectacularly portrayed with her famous talent for evoking the characters of the war’s key players, Tuchman’s magnum opus is a classic for the ages.

Just and Unjust Wars by Michael Walzer 

The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant

In this illuminating and thoughtful book, Will and Ariel Durant have succeeded in distilling for the reader the accumulated store of knowledge and experience from their four decades of work on the ten monumental volumes of “The Story of Civilization.” The result is a survey of human history, full of dazzling insights into the nature of human experience, the evolution of civilization, the culture of man. With the completion of their life’s work they look back and ask what history has to say about the nature, the conduct and the prospects of man, seeking in the great lives, the great ideas, the great events of the past for the meaning of man’s long journey through war, conquest and creation – and for the great themes that can help us to understand our own era. To the Durants, history is “not merely a warning reminder of man’s follies and crimes, but also an encouraging remembrance of generative souls … a spacious country of the mind wherein a thousand saints, statesman, inventors, scientists, poets, artists, musicians, lovers, and philosophers still live and speak, teach and carve and sing…” Designed to accompany the ten-volume set of “The Story of Civilization, The Lessons of History” is, in its own right, a profound and original work of history and philosophy.

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela 

Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa’s antiapartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.

LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is his moving and exhilarating autobiography, destined to take its place among the finest memoirs of history’s greatest figures. Here for the first time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela tells the extraordinary story of his life–an epic of struggle, setback, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph.

March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam by Barbara Tuchman

Twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, author Barbara Tuchman now tackles the pervasive presence of folly in governments through the ages. Defining folly as the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interersts, despite the availability of feasible alternatives, Tuchman details four decisive turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of folly in government: the Trojan War, the breakup of the Holy See provoked by the Renaissance Popes, the loss of the American colonies by Britain’s George III, and the United States’ persistent folly in Vietnam. THE MARCH OF FOLLY brings the people, places, and events of history magnificently alive for today’s reader.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD)

Meditations is a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor 161 180 CE, setting forth his ideas on Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius wrote the 12 books of the Meditations in Koine Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. It is possible that large portions of the work were written at Sirmium, where he spent much time planning military campaigns from 170 to 180. Some of it was written while he was positioned at Aquincum on campaign in Pannonia, because internal notes tell us that the second book was written when he was campaigning against the Quadi on the river Granova (modern-day Hron) and the third book was written at Carnuntum. It is not clear that he ever intended the writings to be published, so the title Meditations is but one of several commonly assigned to the collection. These writings take the form of quotations varying in length from one sentence to long paragraphs.

Military Innovation in the Interwar Period by Williamson Murray 

This study of major military innovations in the 1920s and 1930s explores differences in innovating exploitation by the seven major military powers. This volume of comparative essays investigates how and why innovation occurred or did not occur, and explains much of the strategic and operative performance of the Axis and Allies in World War II.


My American Journey by Colin Powell 


One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer by Nathaniel Fick

If the Marines are “the few, the proud,” Recon Marines are the fewest and the proudest. Nathaniel Fick’s career begins with a hellish summer at Quantico, after his junior year at Dartmouth. He leads a platoon in Afghanistan just after 9/11 and advances to the pinnacle—Recon— two years later, on the eve of war with Iraq. His vast skill set puts him in front of the front lines, leading twenty-two Marines into the deadliest conflict since Vietnam. He vows to bring all his men home safely, and to do so he’ll need more than his top-flight education. Fick unveils the process that makes Marine officers such legendary leaders and shares his hard-won insights into the differences between military ideals and military practice, which can mock those ideals.

In this deeply thoughtful account of what it’s like to fight on today’s front lines, Fick reveals the crushing pressure on young leaders in combat. Split-second decisions might have national consequences or horrible immediate repercussions, but hesitation isn’t an option. One Bullet Away never shrinks from blunt truths, but ultimately it is an inspiring account of mastering the art of war.

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by Ulysses S. Grant 

Twenty years after Appomattox, stricken by cancer and facing financial ruin, Ulysses S. Grant wrote his Personal Memoirs to secure his family’s future. in doing so, the Civil War’s greatest general won himself a unique place in American letters. His character, intelligence, sense of purpose, and simple compassion are evident throughout this vivid and deeply moving account, which has been acclaimed by readers as diverse asMark Twain, Matthew Arnold, Gertrude Stein, and Edmund Wilson. Annotated and complete with detailed maps, battle plans, and facsimiles reproduced from the original edition, this volume offers an unparalleled vantage on the most terrible, moving, and inexhaustibly fascinating event in American history. included are 174 letters, many of them to his wife, Julia, which offer an intimate view of their affectionate and enduring marriage.

Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy

About national and international power in the “modern” or Post Renaissance period. Explains how the various powers have risen and fallen over the 5 centuries since the formation of the “new monarchies” in W. Europe.

The Rules of the Game by Andrew Gordon 

Foreword by Admiral Sir John Woodward. When published in hardcover in 1997, this book was praised for providing an engrossing education not only in naval strategy and tactics but in Victorian social attitudes and the influence of character on history. In juxtaposing an operational with a cultural theme, the author comes closer than any historian yet to explaining what was behind the often described operations of this famous 1916 battle at Jutland. Although the British fleet was victorious over the Germans, the cost in ships and men was high, and debates have raged within British naval circles ever since about why the Royal Navy was unable to take advantage of the situation. In this book Andrew Gordon focuses on what he calls a fault-line between two incompatible styles of tactical leadership within the Royal Navy and different understandings of the rules of the games.

Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon by Basil H. Liddell Hart 

Scipio Africanus (236183 b.c.) was one of the most exciting and dynamic leaders in history. As commander, he never lost a battle. Yet it is his adversary, Hannibal, who has lived on in public memory.As B.H. Liddell Hart writes,”Scipio’s battles are richer in stratagems and ruses–many still feasible today–than those of any other commander in history.” Any military enthusiast or historian will find this to be an absorbing, gripping portrait.

Sherman: Soldier, Realist, American by Basil H. Liddell Hart 

Civil War/Biography. “Liddell Hart’s biography of General Sherman is a masterly performance. It is neither eulogy nor philippic, and the author’s critical apparatus and technique are equaled by his critical judgment . . . It is one of the most thoroughly dignified, one of the most distinguished biographies of the year.”

War, Morality, and the Military Profession by Malham Wakin

This anthology brings together material on two major related topics: the military profession, and morality and war. The revised and updated edition retains those sections that made the original version indispensable in the classroom, while incorporating new selections on topics of special concern for the 1980s and beyond. In particular, Colonel Wakin has included essays focusing on the relevance of nuclear deterrence and “just war” theory in the nuclear age. More than a third of the chapters are new.The articles in the first section stress the ethical dimensions of the military profession, considering topics such as the conflict between military values and societal norms, the relation of the military to the state, and the concepts of loyalty, honor, and integrity. New chapters include an essay by Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale suggesting how moral philosophy can serve the profession, contemporary commentaries on the profession by Jacques Barzun and Max Lerner, and new thoughts on ethics and leadership by Colonel Wakin.The essays in Part 2 confront the agonizing moral issues associated with warfare, especially modern warfare. In conjunction with discussions of the laws of war and war crimes, new chapters highlight the continuing debate on nuclear issues. Included are excerpts from the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ pastoral letter, “The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response”; a defense of pacifism by Stanley Hauerwas; arguments about the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence by Michael Walzer, Michael Novak, and Charles Krauthammer; and some moral reflections on the Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”) by Kenneth Kemp.

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene B. Sledge

“Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific—the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary—into terms we mortals can grasp.”—Tom Hanks


In The Wall Street Journal, Victor Davis Hanson named With the Old Breed one of the top five books on epic twentieth-century battles. Studs Terkel interviewed the author for his definitive oral history, The Good War. Now E. B. Sledge’s acclaimed first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa returns to thrill, edify, and inspire a new generation.

An Alabama boy steeped in American history and enamored of such heroes as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene B. Sledge became part of the war’s famous 1st Marine Division—3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Even after intense training, he was shocked to be thrown into the battle of Peleliu, where “the world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets.” By the time Sledge hit the hell of Okinawa, he was a combat vet, still filled with fear but no longer with panic.

Based on notes Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and searing honesty the experience of a soldier in the fierce Pacific Theater. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life. Here, too, is the story of how he learned to hate and kill—and came to love—his fellow man.

“In all the literature on the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir than Eugene Sledge’s. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. It is a classic that will outlive all the armchair generals’ safe accounts of—not the ‘good war’—but the worst war ever.”—Ken Burns

World Order by Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger offers in World Order a deep meditation on the roots of international harmony and global disorder. Drawing on his experience as one of the foremost statesmen of the modern era—advising presidents, traveling the world, observing and shaping the central foreign policy events of recent decades—Kissinger now reveals his analysis of the ultimate challenge for the twenty-first century: how to build a shared international order in a world of divergent historical perspectives, violent conflict, proliferating technology, and ideological extremism.

There has never been a true “world order,” Kissinger observes. For most of history, civilizations defined their own concepts of order. Each considered itself the center of the world and envisioned its distinct principles as universally relevant. China conceived of a global cultural hierarchy with the emperor at its pinnacle. In Europe, Rome imagined itself surrounded by barbarians; when Rome fragmented, European peoples refined a concept of an equilibrium of sovereign states and sought to export it across the world. Islam, in its early centuries, considered itself the world’s sole legitimate political unit, destined to expand indefinitely until the world was brought into harmony by religious principles. The United States was born of a conviction about the universal applicability of democracy—a conviction that has guided its policies ever since.

Now international affairs take place on a global basis, and these historical concepts of world order are meeting. Every region participates in questions of high policy in every other, often instantaneously. Yet there is no consensus among the major actors about the rules and limits guiding this process or its ultimate destination. The result is mounting tension.

Grounded in Kissinger’s deep study of history and his experience as national security advisor and secretary of state, World Order guides readers through crucial episodes in recent world history. Kissinger offers a unique glimpse into the inner deliberations of the Nixon administration’s negotiations with Hanoi over the end of the Vietnam War, as well as Ronald Reagan’s tense debates with Soviet Premier Gorbachev in Reykjavík. He offers compelling insights into the future of U.S.–China relations and the evolution of the European Union, and he examines lessons of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Taking readers from his analysis of nuclear negotiations with Iran through the West’s response to the Arab Spring and tensions with Russia over Ukraine, World Order anchors Kissinger’s historical analysis in the decisive events of our time.

Provocative and articulate, blending historical insight with geopolitical prognostication, World Order is a unique work that could come only from a lifelong policy maker and diplomat.

The Best Steel Targets

What Makes A Good Steel Target

Shooting steel targets is one of the best training implements that you can put into your shooting regimen and can help you improve your rifle or pistol shooting. Seeing the reactionary targets drop or hearing the ping of the steel can be exhilarating. If you are looking for some steel targets to shoot, there are a few things you need to know first. Not all steel targets are created equal; anything softer than AR500 and AR550 can deform with repeated round impacts. So don’t grab a hunk of scrap steel that you sound in your backyard from ten-yards away. There are different types of steel targets for various applications, calibers, and distances. Some targets specifically designed for long range shooting while others are perfect for close-range pistol shooting and will minimize the amount of shrapnel that is sent back at the shooter due to the type of steel used, as well as the angle of the target and target stand. There are plenty of good quality steel targets out there; it depends on what you want to use for. What makes a good steel target depends on what you will be using it for.  If you are shooting from close to medium ranges with either a pistol or a carbine, there is a large variety of reactionary steel targets and plates that can be used. If you are shooting from a long distance with higher caliber rifles, make sure that the steel is rated to be shot with the caliber of the round that you will be using.

AR500 Steel

AR500 steel is the standard for pistol shooting at close distances because it minimizes shrapnel and can be shot safely as close as ten-yards. When shooting AR500 steel targets, the round will splay, and the majority of the round will be deflected approximately  20 degrees up or down, rather than back at the shooter or randomly in any direction. Random ricochets are possible with weaker steel because this steel can dent and deform due to repeated impact. The key takeaway here is not to shoot steel that isn’t rated for the round you are shooting at it. Only shoot steel that is sufficient for the application, there is no reason to shoot steel rated higher than you need and will cost you substantially more with little to no benefit. 

Everything you need to know about steel targets is available below.

Want to improve your marksmanship? Read our blog, 5 Gun Targets to Increase your Marksmanship

Choosing the Right Steel Target for Your Needs.

1/4” AR500 steel is rated for centerfire handguns up to 45ACP.  It also works with 38sp, 9mm, 40S&W, and other similar calibers. Great for shooters looking for a deal on handgun targets.  

3/8” AR500 steel is designed to handle impacts from magnum handguns and rifles up to 308. ⅜” is also great for 223/5.56, 5.45×39, 7.62×39 and other similar rounds.

1/2” AR500 Designed for rugged daily rifle use, including 300 and 338 magnum rifles

3/4” AR500 Designed for 50BMG, also works with 416 and 408 calibers.

For more information on Steel Target selection, go to


Best Steel Targets

AR500 Metal Targets by Shooting Targets 7

These steel targets are very high quality and are very affordable. They are bead blasted AR500 steel that is laser cut to minimize plate damage as opposed to plasma cutting. These targets have no signs of edge chipping due to the laser cutting process. They also offer a “Gong set” that saves the buyer money and includes 3″, 4″, 6″, 8″, 10″, and 12″ gong plates. Buying the packaged Gong set deal saves the buyer a substantial amount of money and maximizes the training potential of these targets and get the best bang for your buck. The buyer can also change the thickness of each target variant so that they can be used for different applications. The thickness available include 3/16″, 3/8″, 1/4″, and 1/2″. 1/2″ thick AR500 steel plates are rated to withstand impacts from 308 and 338 Lapua rounds.

Looking for another target option? Read our blog, The Best Silhouette Targets

It is important to note that these specific target variants are not designed to be used in conjunction with a target base stand. Instead, they are meant to be hung from a cross beam or some other hanging platform. If you do not have a cross beam set-up or hanging stand and would rather use targets with a traditional target stand, then these are probably not the steel targets for you.

  • Available in bundle pack to maximize training applicability
  • Gong style targets must be used for hanging or specialty stand
  • Great value available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses

AR500 Dueling Tree Paddles Steel Target DIY 6 plate kit- 6″ From Bullseye Metals.

These steel targets are designed to be reactionary targets and are extremely fun to use for 1-on-1 competition. They come with six reactionary knockdown targets and are best used if shot in rapid succession to practice speed and target transition. Merely set the targets up side-by-side with a few inches space between them and try to knock all targets down in succession with no misses successfully.  This set of targets will highlight deficiencies such as target fixation which is coming out of your sights to see if you hit the target rather than immediately transitioning to the next target. This is a prevalent problem for beginners and experts alike.

Looking for rifle targets? Read our blog, The Best Rifle Targets for your Next Range Day

These targets are made of ⅜” thick  AR500 Steel that is deburred, submerged plasma cut, and abrasion resistant.

  • Great for improving target transition speed and accuracy
  • Comes with six targets
  • Great for competition style training


AR500 12×20 x 1/2″ Silhouette steel shooting target & full portable 2×4 stand

This steel target/ target stand combo is an excellent value and is extremely practical and portable. It comes in the standard silhouette design which maximizes its training applicability as opposed to other smaller targets and has a quick and easy setup. All you need to have is a 2×4 that is your desired height, and you are ready to go, and if you get it on the shipping is FREE! The specialized mount kit holds the target at a 20-degree angle so that rounds are deflected to the ground. This target works for almost all common pistol and rifle calibers, including 9mm, 45ACP, .223, 30-06 & 308 as well as most other high powered rifle calibers.

Want to add more pistol targets to the collection? Read our blog, Top 7 Pistol Targets

  • Traditional silhouette design
  • Quick & easy setup
  • 20-degree angle deflects rounds in the safe direction
  • Free Shipping on Amazon
  • High Quality


Steel Shooting Targets – IDPA Knockovers – 10pcs by Magnum Target

This set of targets are great for setting up different scenarios with the added benefit of being reactionary. They are easily movable and do not require a target stand or mount because they can be placed and shot on any flat surface. This makes them extremely practical and useful for training that requires scenarios to be changed often and rapidly for maximized training value. The pack comes with ten total targets and is an extremely good value with FREE shipping available on

  • Extremely practical
  • No stands to setup
  • Can be moved easily by changing up training scenarios
  • Reactive knock over design
  • A36 Steel

Don’t have the finances to buy new targets? Read our blog, Free Printable Shooting Targets

Set includes two 9in.x5in., two 6in.x3.25in., two 5in.x 2.75in., two 4in.x2.25in. and two 3in.x1.5in. IDPA knock over targets

Reactive Steel Targets

Reactive steel targets offer a substantially superior training benefit to shooters of all types over traditional paper or cardboard cutout targets. They can be used over and over and let the shooter know immediately that they have made contact with the target, even at great distances. There are many different types of reactionary targets ranging from reactionary plate style targets that are meant to be used with pistols or carbines at close to medium distances that fall after one round, to long-range reactionary targets that have cutouts for “flippers” or metal pieces that flip out of position when being shot to leave no doubt as to whether the correct area was hit by the round or not. This is an excellent training tool because the flippers can be used dually for hostage scenarios when flipped away from the center mass of the target, or as a vital area indicator when flipped in (or behind the cutout of the target) For more information and examples of reactionary targets go to

Steel Target Stands

If you are in the market for steel targets, be aware that there is a large variety of targets to choose from with multiple mounting platforms and stand designs. Choosing which stand to use depends on the user’s preference as well as the range specific requirements and setup.

Static Steel Target Stands

The static targets are perfect for handguns and rifle calibers of 5.56 and smaller in most cases. They can be set up and taken down extremely quickly and allow the shooter to engage the target with follow-on shots rapidly. They can be set up and taken down much more easily than gong style targets. These stands simply sit on the ground and have legs to prevent the steel target from tipping over when shot (unless specifically designed to be reactive). These are useful because they often use a 2×4 hold the target up from the stand which has multiple benefits. The 2×4 will be substantially lighter than an additional hunk of metal and can be cheaply and quickly replaced if it gets shot up. Also, the height of the 2×4 can be changed easily by cutting it to a different height for the desired training application.

Full Target Stands, Top Mounts & Stand Bases for AR500 Steel Targets









Hanging Stands

These stands allow targets to be hung from them so that they have more of a reaction when shot. These are often called Gong Targets and have their benefits and difficulties. You will need more gear to go with a hanging stand because it requires a stand with a cross-beam for hanging the targets as well as at least two chains for holding the target in place after being shot to ensure it does not spin after impact. Only specialized targets that are designed to be used with hanging stands should be used. This stand type can take significantly longer to put together and break down but is a relatively popular option among steel target shooters. Its popularity is largely because they work well with higher caliber rifles and magnum handguns.


Viking Adjustable Target & AR500 Gong Stand
Field & Cave Gong Target Stand








How to Hang Steel Targets

  1. T-Post Mounts
  2. 2×4 Mounting Systems
  3. Chains
  4. Firehose
  5. UHMW Polymer
  6. Inner Tubes
  7. Rebar Target Stands
  8. Shepherd’s Hook Holder

Should I Buy Cheap Steel Targets?

If you find a great deal on some quality steel targets, then go for it, but make sure the target you are buying is made of steel rated to handle impacts from the rounds that you will be using, or you might as well be shooting a cardboard target. If you shoot a steel target rated only for .22 rounds with 7.62 rounds, the target will be rendered completely useless after one or two shots and will be dangerous to shoot because of deformations. Once a steel target becomes deformed or dented the rounds will be sent in unpredictable directions after impacting the target. The rule of thumb is to buy steel targets that are one size bigger than you may need to ensure that they never become deformed and so you don’t need to buy more if you want to use a larger caliber round in the future.

Learn how to let us design your next shooting target

Rounds to Use When Shooting Steel Targets

DO NOT use green tip, bi-metal, or any other type of penetrator or specialty ammo at your steel targets unless you love throwing away money, and don’t mind getting hit by a ricochet. These types of rounds will dent or go through some steel targets and render the targets useless and make the projectiles unpredictable after contacting the steel due to severe deformations in the steel.  If the target becomes concave, it has a good chance of sending rounds straight back at the shooter.

How to Paint Steel Targets

If you’re getting ready to purchase a steel target, one of your concerns might be the paint. Yes, it will come off over time. Some steel targets even come without paint to help the consumer save money. In either case, you can paint the target yourself or paint the target when it needs a little TLC.

Prep Steel Targets

The first thing you want to do is prepare your target. If you don’t properly prepare it, the paint might not stick as well or and it’s going to look like a metal piece of crap—completely up to you. But if you’re taking the time to paint it for the aesthetics, we’re guessing crap isn’t what you’re going for.

Make sure you clean your target of any dirt or debris. If your target has rust on it, which it may if it came unpainted, simply clean it off so the paint sticks.

Paint Steel Targets

After you’ve adequately prepared your target, the next step is to actually paint it. Now, you can use whatever kind of spray paint you want. But, keep in mind, some paints are meant specifically for metal surfaces. Your best bet is to get that kind. Why, because it will last longer and they tend to help with protection against rust.

After you’ve selected the perfect paint for your target, follow the directions on the can. Make sure you hold the can at least 12” from the target. If you decide not to follow our direction, you’ll end up with a bunch of drips and paint globs on your target. Again, like paint selection, it’s up to you.

Touch-Up Steel Targets

If you’re just looking to touch-up your target, it’s not too hard. Do a little sanding to get rid of any flaking paint and rust. Yes, it’s that simple. And re-paint as needed.

Best Paper Shooting Targets

Other shooting targets that are very useful for almost any training application are paper shooting targets. Because of their low price and the infinite amount of designs and applications, paper targets are an excellent alternative to steel targets. They provide an excellent reference for shot groupings and are lightweight and easy to transport. However, you can not shoot them all day like steel targets because paper targets will naturally tear after many rounds and round placement will no longer be identifiable. Here is a list of some great paper targets to try out that will enhance your shooting abilities and maximize range time.

The Essentials Target

The Essentials Target is designed to give you an essential set of drills that will maintain your current proficiency level. The exercise takes 150 rounds to complete and covers multiple aspects of pistol marksmanship to include slow aimed fire, weak and off hand shooting, target transition, trigger speed changes, drawing, magazine reloads and controlled multiple shot groups.

The Essentials Target
  • Measures: 23″ x 35″
  • Unlimited amount of shooting combinations
  • Designed to maximize range time
  • Made in the USA
  • This product is designed to be used specifically with the Essentials Shooting Guide.

The IQ Targets (Pistol & Rifle Specific Variants)

The IQ Target is designed to create thinking among shooters. The infinite combination of shapes, colors, numbers, and letters allows an instructor or student to create a wide variety of shooting problems. Students can be given simple commands such as “shoot all the triangles” or more complex scenarios such as “shoot at the squares and triangles that contain a number.”

The idea is it forces the shooter used to thinking and shooting rather than punching holes in paper. The 3 in. Shapes make the target suitable for close-in pistol work or long-range shots. The larger 5 in. Shapes are suitable for close quarters and short range rifle drills.

IQ Rifle Target
IQ Pistol Target










  • Measures: 23 x 35 in.
  • Unlimited amount of shooting combinations
  • Pistol targets: 3 in. shapes
  • Rifle targets: 5 in. shapes
  • Made in the USA

The Kill Zone Target

The Kill Zone Target comes with an overlay of the basic human anatomy. This collaborative target with Max Ordinate Academy is designed to give shooters the ability to see how their rounds would affect the human body.

Kill Zone Target
  • Measures: 23″ x  35″
  • Standard human anatomy design
  • Made in the USA

Best Defense Targets

When selecting a target to train for concealed carry scenario, you should choose a target that is going to represent what you may face in real life. There isn’t a target on the market that can thoroughly prepare you to shoot a human being if the time arises, but they can aid in the development of positive muscle memory and develop smooth draws through repetition. You should select a target with an anatomical figure or picture of an assailant, so you become familiar with identifying target points on a body. Shooting simple bullseye targets are decent for building accuracy, but if you need to use your pistol in a real-life scenario, you also need speed and muscle memory to go along with it, so use a target that is similar to what you will see when you need to pull the trigger for real. The Active Shooter Target is an ideal target for this application

 Active Shooter Target

The Active Shooter Target pictures an armed and nefarious individual used for self-defense and close-quarters training. The target has vital zone boxes to help shooters visualize key locations of effective shot placement.

Read more about The Best Shooting Targets

  • Measures: 23″ x 35″
  • Multiple scenarios
  • Designed to maximize range time
  • Made in the USA

Blue Man Target

The Blue Man Target allows shooters of all levels to improve their shooting skills, focusing on accuracy and target transitions. Capable of being used with rifle or pistol training, this target allows shooters to understand the importance of their shot placement, becoming more proficient in their shooting fundamentals and abilities.

  • Measures 23″ x 35″
  • Shoot/no shoot capable
  • Made in the USA

Need work on your target transitions? Read our blog, This Drill is Designed to help work on your Target Transitions

Thinking About Getting Your Concealed Carry Permit?

If you are thinking about getting your concealed carry permit but have questions about the process and standards for your state USA Carry is a great resource that has all the information you need for your state and the process for getting your concealed carry permit.

IDPA Rules

The following are the 2018 rules from IDPA.  The original rules can be found here. 

These rules are for reference only.  We suggest going to the IDPA website to receive the most up to date rules and regulations.


Founded in 1996, the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is the governing body for IDPA competition, a handgun-centric shooting sport based on simulated self-defense scenarios.

The IDPA competition format was designed to be enjoyable for all shooters of all skill levels, with a premium put on the social interaction and camaraderie of the members. Participation in IDPA matches requires the use of handguns, holsters and other equipment suitable for concealed carry self-defense. With that in mind, and keeping the shooters’ best interests in mind, IDPA’s founders established equipment requirements that are based on commonly available firearms and gear, allowing individuals the opportunity to compete with minimal investment.

Today, thanks to the vision of its founders and a commitment to serving the organization’s loyal membership, IDPA stands as the fastest growing shooting sport in the United States with over 25,000 members from all 50 states, and over 400 affiliated clubs hosting weekly and monthly competitions, and membership representing over 70 nations.

Our main goal is to test the skill and ability of the individual. Equipment that is designed with no application for daily, concealed carry is not permitted in this sport.

IDPA’s Fundamental Principles

The Fundamental Principles are a guide to all members.

  1. Promote safe and proficient use of firearms and equipment suitable for concealed carry self-defense.
  2. Offer a practical shooting sport encouraging competitors to develop skills and fellowship with like-mindedshooters.
  3. Provide a level playing field for all competitors that solely tests the skill and ability of each individual, not theirequipment.
  4. Provide separate divisions for equipment and classifications for shooters, such that firearms with similarcharacteristics are grouped together and people with similar skill levels compete against each other.
  5. Provide shooters with practical and realistic courses of fire, and test skills that could be required to survive life-threatening encounters.
  6. Strongly encourage all IDPA members to support our sponsors when making purchases of equipment andaccessories. Industry sponsors have been instrumental in IDPA’s success at all levels including Club, State, Regional, National, and International levels.
  7. Develop and maintain an infrastructure that will allow IDPA to be responsive to our shooters. While IDPA can never be all things to all people, respectful constructive suggestions from our members, which follow IDPA Fundamental Principles, will always be welcome.

Principles of Shooting IDPA

1.2.1 Equipment Principles

Allowed equipment will meet the following criteria:

  1. Concealable: All equipment (except flashlights) will be placed so that it is not visible while wearing a concealment garment, with your arms extended to your sides, parallel to the ground.
  2. Practical: All equipment must be practical for all day concealed carry self-defense, and worn in a manner that is appropriate for all day continuous wear.

1.2.2 Participation Principles

  1. Competitors will not attempt to circumvent or compromise any stage by the use of inappropriate devices,equipment, or techniques.
  2. Competitors will refrain from unsportsmanlike conduct, unfair actions, and the use of illegal equipment.
  3. The IDPA Rulebook is not intended to be an exhaustive description of all allowed and disallowed equipment andtechniques. Shooter equipment and techniques should comply with the basic principles of IDPA and be valid in the context of a sport that is based on self-defense scenarios. A reasonable application of common sense and the IDPA Founding Concepts will be employed in determining whether a device, technique, or piece of equipment is permitted under the IDPA rules.
  1. At its core, IDPA is a self-defense scenario based sport. The props used to create the Course of Fire (CoF) areoften incomplete but represent buildings, walls, windows, doorways, etc. The CoF will indicate available shooting positions. The props will be defined in the CoF walk through.
  2. Individual rehearsals of a CoF, including air gunning and taking sight pictures, are not permitted within the CoFboundaries.
  3. Shooting from behind cover is a basic premise of IDPA. Competitors will use all available cover in a CoF.
  4. IDPA is a shooting sport based on concealed carry. All courses of fire will be shot using a concealment garmentunless stipulated otherwise.
  5. In any single contest, a shooter must use the same firearm on all stages unless the firearm becomesunserviceable.
  6. Re-shoots are allowed for stage equipment failures or SO interference.
  7. English is the official language of IDPA. Range commands used in all matches regardless of location or nationalityof participants, will be in English. The English rulebook prevails.

1.2.3 Course of Fire Principles

  1. One issue critical to the long-term success of this shooting discipline is that problems shooters are asked to solvemust reflect self-defense principles. The IDPA founders agreed upon this when they set out to structure IDPA guidelines and principles. IDPA should help promote basic sound gun handling skills and test skills a person would need in a concealed-carry encounter. Requirements such as the use of cover while engaging a target, reloading behind cover, and limiting the number of rounds per string were all based upon that principle.
    1. “String of Fire” refers to a section of the course of fire that is initiated by a start signal, and ends with the last shot fired. There may be more than one string in a stage.
    2.  “Cover” refers to a position where a shooter can engage targets with a portion of their upper and lower body behind an object such as a wall.
  2. A CoF should test a competitor’s shooting skills. Allowances will be made for physically challenged or disabled shooters. Match Directors should always attempt to make the CoF accessible for all shooters.
  3. While we recognize that there are many schools of thought in training for self-defense concealed carry, the primary focus of IDPA is in the continuing development of safe and sound gun handling skills that are universally accepted.
  4. IDPA rules will be equally enforced for all classifications of IDPA members.


Cooper’s Four Basic Rules

Colonel Jeff Cooper’s Four Basic Rules of Firearm Safety have appeared in the beginning pages of books, videos, and training courses for more than 30 years. They are time honored and although they are not IDPA safety rules, they serve as the foundation of the safety rules below.

  •  All guns are always loaded.
  • Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
  • Identify your target, and what is behind it.The Safety Rules below serve as the cornerstone for every IDPA shooter to follow, including Safety Officers (SOs), Match Directors (MDs), and Area Coordinators (ACs), so that our events are safe and enjoyable to a wide range of participants. They are to be adopted for all IDPA events.


Unsafe Firearm Handling

Unsafe firearm handling will result in immediate Disqualification (DQ) from an IDPA match. The following is a non- exclusive list of unsafe behaviors.

  1. Endangering any person, including yourself. This includes sweeping one’s self or anyone else with a loaded or unloaded firearm. Sweeping is defined as allowing the muzzle of the firearm (loaded or unloaded) to cross or cover any portion of a person.
    Exception: Some body types combined with some holster types makes it almost impossible to holster a firearm or remove the firearm from the holster without sweeping a portion of the shooter’s lower extremities. Thus, a match Disqualification is not applicable for sweeping of the shooter’s own body below the belt while removing the firearm from the holster or holstering of the firearm, provided that the shooter’s trigger finger is clearly outside of the trigger guard. However, once the muzzle of the firearm is clear of the holster on the draw, sweeping any part of the body is a Disqualification. Example: Sweeping one’s leg on a seated start is a DQ.
  2. Pointing the muzzle beyond designated “Muzzle Safe Points” if used, or beyond the 180-degree Muzzle Safe Plane if used.
  3. Intentionally engaging (discharging the firearm) anything other than a target or an activator.
  4. A discharge:
    1. in the holster.
    2. striking up range of the shooter.
    3. into the ground downrange closer to the shooter than 2 yards, unless engaging a low target that is within 2 yards.
    4. over a berm.
    5. during Load And Make Ready, Unload and Show Clear, Reload, or Malfunction Clearance.
    6. before the start signal.
    7. while transferring a firearm from one hand to the other.
    8. while handling a firearm except at the firing line.
  5. Removing a firearm from the holster, unless:
    1. With verbal instruction from a SO.
    2. While engaging targets in a CoF under the direct supervision and visual contact of a SO.
    3. When in a designated “Safe Area”.
  6. Pointing the muzzle over the berm during the “Pull the Trigger” portion of Unload and Show Clear.
  7. Drawing a firearm while facing up range.

Dropping A Firearm

  1. 2.3.1  Dropping a loaded or unloaded firearm or causing it to fall, during Load And Make Ready, the shooting of a string or stage, reloads or malfunction clearance or during Unload and Show Clear will result in disqualification from the match. If a shooter drops a firearm, the SO will immediately give the command “Stop”. The SO will pick up/recover the dropped firearm and render it safe and unloaded before returning it to the shooter. The shooter will be disqualified from the IDPA match.
  2. 2.3.2  If a shooter drops a loaded or unloaded firearm or causes it to fall within a stage boundary, the shooter is disqualified from the match.
  3. 2.3.3  Dropping an unloaded firearm or causing it to fall while outside of stage boundaries is not within IDPA’s control, and is subject to local Range policy.

Ear and Eye Protection

  1. 2.4.1  Ear protection and impact resistant eye protection are required to be used by everyone attending an IDPA shooting event. The responsibility for safe and serviceable ear and eye protection falls completely on the shooter or spectator. IDPA recommends that hearing protection have a minimum 21dB NRR rating and that eye protection have a minimum ANSI Z87.1 impact rating and side shields.
  2. 2.4.2  The SO will stop a shooter that has started a CoF and is not wearing proper eye or ear protection, and a reshoot will be given to the shooter. If the shooter’s eye or hearing protection becomes dislodged during a CoF, the same action applies. If the shooter discovers missing or dislodged eye or hearing protection before the SO and stops, the shooter will also be given a reshoot.

2.4.3 A shooter who intentionally loses or dislodges eye and/or ear protection during a CoF will be disqualified.

Pistol Serviceability

Pistols used in competition will be serviceable and safe. The responsibility for safe and serviceable equipment falls completely on the shooter. The MD will require a shooter to withdraw any pistol or ammunition observed to be unsafe. In the event that a pistol cannot be loaded or unloaded due to a broken or failed mechanism, the shooter must notify the SO, who will take such action as he/she thinks safest.


Fingers must be obviously and visibly outside the trigger guard during loading, unloading, drawing, holstering, while moving (unless engaging targets) and during malfunction clearance.

  1. First offense is a Procedural Error penalty.
  2. Second Offense is a DQ from the match.
  3. Each “Finger” violation will be clearly noted on the shooter’s score sheet for tracking purposes.

Pistol Carry Condition

The normal condition of pistols not in use during a CoF is holstered and unloaded, with hammer down or striker forward and magazine removed or cylinder empty. Magazines, speed loaders, and moon clips may be reloaded while off the firing line, but the shooter’s firearm can be loaded or unloaded only under the direction of the SO. (See the rule below regarding Cold Ranges, Hot Bays, and Hot Ranges.)

Start Conditions

All CoFs will be started with the pistol holstered, safeties engaged as required by different divisions, and hands clear of equipment including the concealment garment unless other positions for the pistol are stipulated in the written stage description (table top, drawer, pack, purse, in the firing hand, etc.).

Muzzle Safety

There are three types of muzzle safe area indicators used in IDPA. The written stage description will describe which type of muzzle safe point is used or if the two types are used in concert. One or both may be used on a single stage, however if no muzzle safe cones or flags are present on a stage, the default is the 180° rule.

Muzzle Safe Points: A Muzzle Safe Point is a physical and clearly visible marker such as a traffic cone or stake in the ground with a brightly colored flag or marker tape attached.

180-Degree Plane: The 180° plane is an imaginary infinite vertical plane drawn through the centerline of the shooter’s body, perpendicular to the centerline of the shooting bay that moves with the shooter as the shooter moves through the stage. When facing downrange, the violation of the 180-degree plane when drawing from a muzzle rearward holster configuration or while holstering a firearm into a muzzle rearward holster configuration is not an infraction. If the muzzle of the shooter’s firearm points further up range than a “Muzzle Safe Point” the shooter will be disqualified from the match. The shooter will be given the command “Stop.” The shooter will stop immediately, place the trigger finger obviously and visibly outside the trigger guard of the firearm, and wait for further instructions from the SO.

Muzzle Exclusion Zone

Muzzle Exclusion Zones must be marked on doors that the shooter is required to open during the CoF. This type of muzzle safe point designates a keep out area and should be a minimum dimension of 6” square. If the muzzle points at this keep out area while the shooter is touching the door knob/handle, the shooter will be disqualified.

Safe Areas

Safe Areas must be provided for all local and Sanctioned matches, in convenient locations and in numbers adequate to handle the volume of expected shooters. A Safe Area is defined as a designated area where the following rules apply:

  1. Each Safe Area must be clearly identified by visible signage, and include a table with the safe direction and boundaries clearly shown.
  2. Unloaded firearms may be handled at any time. This area is used for bagging or un-bagging a firearm, holstering, drawing, dry firing, or equipment adjustment.
  3. A Safe Area may also be used for inspections, stripping, cleaning, repairs, and maintenance of firearms, ammunition feeding devices, or related equipment.
  4. The muzzle of the firearm must be pointed in a safe direction.
  5. Handling of ammunition, loaded ammunition feeding devices, loose rounds, dummy ammunition, snap caps,simunitions, training rounds, or loaded firearms is not permitted in safe areas.
  6. A Safe Area may also be used, while accompanied by a SO, to render safe a firearm that has locked up andcontains a live round or rounds.
  7. Reload practice within the Safe Area is not allowed. An empty magazine may be inserted into a firearm to testfunctionality or to drop the hammer on a firearm with a magazine disconnect, but reload practice is prohibited.

The violation of any of the cases above will result in disqualification from the match.

Hot and Cold Ranges

The question of Hot and Cold ranges at the local club level is subject to individual club policy. This issue is the sole responsibility of local clubs and is beyond IDPA’s control. Matches sanctioned by IDPA are required to operate under the Cold range rule, but may use Hot Bays if desired.

2.11.1 Cold Range

A “Cold Range” is defined as a range where all firearms must be unloaded unless under the direct supervision of a SO.

2.11.2 Cold Range with Hot Bays

A “Cold Range with Hot Bays” is defined as a range that does not allow loaded firearms in the holster outside of the shooting bays but does allow for loaded firearms in the holster within the shooting bays as directed by and under the supervision of the SOs. Loaded firearms may only be handled while on the firing line when the shooter is given specific Range Commands and is under the direct supervision of a SO.

With direct supervision from the SO, and when given specific Range Commands, an entire squad of shooters will line up across the bay, face down range and will “Load And Make Ready” as a group.

The perimeter of the bay will be well defined as well as any area designated as a “Safe Area” where handling of ammunition and loaded firearms is not permitted. A procedure for requesting to be unloaded to exit the bay will be established by the CSO and explained to all participants during the stage briefing. If a shooter for any reason needs to leave a Hot Bay, the shooter must contact one of the SOs in that bay to safely unload the firearm before leaving the bay.

If a shooter for any reason does not wish to load his firearm with the group, the shooter is not to be penalized.

2.11.3 Hot Range

A Hot range is defined as a range where each shooter has the choice to carry a loaded firearm at any time. Loaded or unloaded firearms may only be handled while on the firing line and under the direct supervision of a SO.

2.12 Range Commands

Many of the range commands given to a shooter by the SO are for safety, while the rest are for stage administration.

To allow a shooter to compete anywhere in the world and hear the same commands, the IDPA range commands will only be given in English, the official language of IDPA. These exact range commands must be used and local variations are not allowed.

The complete set of IDPA Range Commands are:

2.12.1 Range Is Hot – Eyes & Ears

This is the first command given to each shooter starting the action of shooting a stage. This command signifies the start of the CoF. The shooter will make sure that their eye and hearing protection is in place. It is also notification to anyone in the shooting bay to check that their own eye and hearing protection is properly fitted.

2.12.2 Load and Make Ready

When the shooter has proper eye and hearing protection, the SO will issue the Load and Make Ready command. The shooter will prepare the firearm and magazines to match the start position for the stage. Typically, this is to load the firearm and holster, but may include non-typical loading or staging of equipment. The shooter will then assume the starting position necessary for the stage. If the shooter’s firearm is not to be loaded for the start of a stage the command used will be “Make Ready.”

2.12.3 Are You Ready?

After “Load and Make Ready,” the SO will ask the shooter “Are You Ready?” If ready, the shooter should respond verbally, or by obvious nodding of the head, but may also choose to stand ready. If there is no response from the shooter in approximately 3 seconds, the shooter is assumed to be ready.

If the shooter is not ready when this question is asked the shooter must respond “Not Ready”. If the shooter continues to not be ready, the shooter must take a step out of the starting position. When ready, the shooter will assume the starting position and the “Are You Ready” question will be asked again.

The shooter is expected to be ready to proceed approximately 15 seconds after the “Load And Make Ready” command. If the shooter is ill prepared and needs more than fifteen seconds to get ready, the shooter will be advised that he/she is being given approximately 15 seconds more to prepare. If the shooter is still not ready after that period, he/she will receive a Procedural Error penalty and will be moved down in the shooting order.

2.12.4 Standby
This command is given after the shooter is ready. This command will be followed by the start signal within 1-4 seconds. The shooter may not move or change positions between the “Standby” command and the start signal, unless required to do so by the CoF.

2.12.5 Finger
This command is given when the shooter’s finger is not obviously and visibly outside the trigger guard when it should be, as noted above.

2.12.6 Muzzle
This command is given when the muzzle of the shooter’s firearm is pointed near a muzzle safe point. The shooter must correct the errant muzzle and continue with the stage. See muzzle safe points above.

2.12.7 Stop
This command is given when something unsafe has happened or is about to happen during a stage, or when something in the stage is not correct. The shooter must immediately stop all movement, place the trigger finger obviously and visibly outside the trigger guard, and await further instruction. Failure to immediately stop and remove the trigger finger from within the trigger guard will result in Disqualification from the match.

2.12.8 If Finished, Unload and Show Clear
This command will be issued when the shooter has apparently finished shooting the stage. If the shooter is finished, all ammunition will be removed from the firearm and a clear chamber/cylinder will be shown to the SO. If the shooter is not finished, the shooter should finish the stage and the command will be repeated.

2.12.9 If Clear, Slide Forward or Close Cylinder
Once the SO has inspected the chamber/cylinder and found it to be clear, this command will be issued and the shooter will comply.

2.12.10 Pull the Trigger
The shooter will point the firearm at a safe berm and pull the trigger to further verify that the chamber is clear. If the firearm fires, the shooter will be disqualified from the match. This requirement also applies to firearms with a de-cocker or magazine disconnect. For firearms with a magazine disconnect, an empty magazine, or dummy magazine must be inserted before the trigger is pulled, and then removed again. This command is not needed for revolvers.

2.12.11 Holster
The shooter will safely holster the firearm.

 2.12.12 Range is Clear

This command indicates to everyone within the stage boundaries that the range is clear. This command ends the CoF and begins the scoring and resetting of the stage.

2.13 Club Safety Rules

Clubs or Ranges that host IDPA matches may have additional or more restrictive safety requirements. These safety restrictions will be accommodated by the IDPA MD and staff provided that they do not interfere or conflict with the Purpose and Principles of IDPA or the administration of the match according to the IDPA Safety Rules. Any additional restrictions or requirements must be published in all Sanctioned Match announcements and visibly displayed at the match in a location accessible to the shooters.

2.14 Steel Targets

Steel Targets must be engaged from 10 yards or more. If a shooter engages a steel target from less than 10 yards the shooter will be disqualified.

2.15 General Maintenance

The MD should make every effort to ensure that all items used in an IDPA match are in good condition and safe as used. This includes permanent fixtures in the shooting bay, the bays themselves, berms, props, static and moving targets, target holders, doors, walls, barrels, tables, reactive targets, etc.


Concealment Garments

A concealment garment is required for all stages unless otherwise specified in the stage description. This includes standards and limited stages.

Police or military personnel may use actual duty gear in Tier 1 matches. See definition of duty gear in the Equipment Section. Use of duty gear eliminates concealment requirements.

Target Engagement

3.2.1  All targets must be engaged in tactical priority, including all targets engaged “in the open.”

3.2.2  Tactical Priority is method of target engagement in which targets are engaged by their order of threat. Threat is based on the distance of the visible threats from the shooter. Targets are considered equal threat when the difference in the target distances to the shooter is less than 2 yards.

3.2.3  If several targets are visible at the same time, targets are engaged from near-to-far unless they are equal threat.

3.2.4  If targets are hidden by cover, the targets are engaged as they become visible around the edge of cover (slicing the pie).

3.2.5  A target is considered “Engaged” when:

  1. A cardboard target is deemed to have been engaged when the required number of shots for that target have been fired at the target.
  2. Body and head shots may be required on an individual visible cardboard target and must be shot in the order and quantity stipulated in the CoF. Failure to shoot one or more targets in the required body then head order earns the shooter a single PE.
  3. A reactive target is deemed to have been engaged when a minimum of 1 round is fired at the target, regardless of whether the target reacts. All penalties apply if the shooter does not re-engage the target until the target reacts or if the shooter unsuccessfully challenges the reactive target calibration.
  4. A cardboard target with a steel activator behind it is considered engaged when the required number of shots are fired at the cardboard target.

3.2.6 When an activator reveals a target of equal or higher Tactical Priority, the shooter may interrupt the engagement of the cardboard target to engage the target of equal or higher Tactical Priority without retreating. 3.2.7 Target engagement penalties shall not apply in the following cases:

  1. A shooter may not be penalized for failing to fire the required number of shots at a disappearing target.
  2. When engaging a target array of equal priority, the shooter may not be penalized based on the shooter’s orderof target engagement.
  3. Targets may be re-engaged from other shooting positions provided the shooter does not break the definedMuzzle Safe Points see section 2.9.


3.3.1  Prior to shooting a stage, a group walkthrough will be given by the SO. During the group walkthrough, the SO will verbally indicate to all shooters the vision barriers and points of cover for each target and fault lines. During the group walkthrough, the SO will also indicate to shooters all special conditions for the stage. Each shooter will be allowed to view each target from every shooting position. This includes taking a knee or going prone.

3.3.2  Other than the group walkthrough, no individual stage walkthroughs are permitted. Individual walkthroughs include walking the path of fire or assuming shooting positions for the purpose of check cover positions or target engagement, order, etc.

3.3.3  Air gunning and/or sight pictures are not permitted. Air gunning is the act of going through the motions of firing all or portions of the stage with a hand or pointed finger while within the stage boundaries. A sight picture is the act of drawing a loaded or unloaded firearm and aiming it downrange before the start signal to begin a stage.

3.3.4  Stage Boundaries mark the region wherein the shooter becomes subject to the rules of air gunning, sight picture and an individual walkthrough.


3.4.1  An “emergency reload” is when the magazine/cylinder and the chamber are both empty in the firearm, and is the preferred reload for IDPA competition.

3.4.2  The shooter initiates a reload by performing any one of the following actions:

  1. Withdrawing a magazine, speed loader or moon clip from a carrier, pocket or waistband.
  2. Activating the magazine release on a semi-auto pistol (as evidenced by the magazine falling from the firearm)
  3. Opening the cylinder of a revolver.

3.4.3  A firearm is deemed to be reloaded when the magazine is seated and the slide is in battery or the revolver cylinder is closed. The firearm must contain at least one unfired cartridge in the chamber, magazine, or cylinder.

3.4.4  If the shooter “drops” or “racks” the slide prior to leaving a Position of Cover and the slide fails to go fully into battery, this must be considered a malfunction and no penalty shall be assessed.

3.4.5  A firearm is deemed empty when there is no live ammunition in the chamber or magazine for semi-autos, or there is no live ammunition in the cylinder for revolvers.

3.4.6  Shooters may not perform a reload which results in a magazine (or loose rounds) being left behind after there was an unfired cartridge in the chamber, magazine, or cylinder at the time the reload was initiated. When done intentionally, this is commonly known as a “speed reload”, but doing this unintentionally is still illegal and will result in a Procedural Error penalty being issued.

3.4.7  Dropping a loaded magazine or speed loader/moon clip does not incur a penalty as long as the shooter retrieves and properly stows the loaded magazine or speed loader/moon clip prior to the firing of the last shot in the string of fire.

3.4.8  When clearing a malfunction, the magazine or speed loader/moon clip and/or ammunition that may have caused the malfunction does not need to be retained by the shooter and will incur no penalty if dropped.

3.4.9  A shooter may not remove a loading device after the start signal and stage it (e.g. toss on table, ground or hold in hand) for use later in the stage. However, the stage description may specify staging loading devices prior to the start signal for all shooters as part of the CoF. Firearms must start from the mechanical condition of readiness appropriate to their design and shooter’s division.

3.4.10  Firearms and magazines must always be loaded to the shooter’s division capacity, unless otherwise specified by the CoF.

3.4.11  Firearms and magazines manufactured such that they cannot be loaded to the division capacity may still be used as long as they are loaded to their maximum capacity and meet all other criteria for that division.

Cover and Concealment

3.5.1  Cover refers to a barrier that exists between the shooter and the targets to be engaged. Typical examples are walls, barrels, barricades, etc.

3.5.2  When cover is available it must be used, while engaging targets, unless the shooter is “in the open” and must engage targets “in the open.” Shooters may not cross or enter any openings (doorways, open spaces, etc.) without first engaging targets visible from those locations.

3.5.3  Stages will have one or more of the following cover situations:

  1. There is no cover anywhere in the stage, so reloading and up to 18 rounds per string are allowed “in the open.”
  2. The shooter engages all targets from cover.
  3. In a stage with cover up to 6 shots may be required on targets “in the open” while the shooter is stationary ormoving to the first position of cover
  4. When moving between two positions of cover, up to 6 shots may be required on “discovered” or “surprise”targets hidden behind a vision barrier or revealed by activation.

3.5.4  For vertical cover when shooting, reloading and clearing a malfunction, shooter must remain within the fault lines. Low cover is the same as vertical cover and additionally requires at least one knee touch the ground.

3.5.5  When engaging targets through a window, the shooter must engage targets using Tactical Priority from the side of the window.

3.5.6  Cover During Reloads

  1. When the shooter runs the firearm empty in the open, the shooter may reload in the open and continueengaging targets as needed or move to the next shooting position.
  2. In stages with cover or concealment, shooters may reload standing still or on the move at any time, as long asthey are not exposed to targets that are not fully engaged during the reload.

Fault Lines

3.6.1  Fault Lines must be employed by Match Directors to mark the limit of a Position of Cover or shooting positions for a CoF.

3.6.2  Fault lines must be marked in such a way that they are consistent for each shooter. Examples of fault line materials are a physical barrier such as a barrel or short wall, a tightly stretched rope, dimensional lumber, angle iron, tape, paint or a flat metal bar.

3.6.3  When Fault Lines are used to delineate cover:

  1. Fault Lines are used to ensure a shooter is behind cover when engaging targets from a Position of Cover (PoC). There will only be one Fault Line at each PoC, and that line applies to all targets engaged from that PoC.
  2. Physical objects used (wood, rope, barrels, walls), as Fault Lines, to delineate cover must start at the cover object (e.g. wall, barrel, etc.) and extend back away from cover in the up-range direction. The object used to mark the line must extend back away from the cover object at least 3 feet.
  3. A shooter who engages a target while faulting the line (which is defined as the shooter touching the ground or other objects on the non-cover side of the fault line) shall be assessed a PE.
  4. Other measurement methods for determining cover must not be employed.

3.6.4 When Fault Lines are used to limit a shooting position (e.g. shooting in the open from behind a fault line).

  1. A. A shooter who engages a target while faulting the line (which is defined as the shooter touching the ground or other objects, on the non-shooting side of the fault line as defined by the written stage description) shall be assessed a PE.

Start Position

3.7.1  Once the shooter has assumed the “start position” and the “Standby” command has been given, the shooter’s physical position may not be changed prior to the start signal, with the exception of head movements, provided such movements do not contradict the ready position requirements specified in the stage description.

3.7.2  Unless specified otherwise in the stage description, the default ready position requires the shooter to stand erect with the body relaxed and hands resting naturally at sides.

3.7.3  If an SO determines that a shooter was allowed to start in an incorrect start position (at the time the “Standby” command was given,) a reshoot is mandatory and no penalty is assessed. Note: This rule does not apply to equipment start condition (e.g. loaded with correct number of rounds).

3.7.4  When a stage is started in an incorrect start position and the shooter notices but the SO does not notice, the shooter must request a reshoot immediately following the holster command and prior to the scoring of targets. If not requested during this period, no reshoot will be allowed.


Shooters cannot reshoot a stage or string for firearm or “mental” malfunctions. Reshoots are mandatory for stage equipment malfunctions. If an SO feels he has interfered with a shooter, he will offer an optional reshoot to the shooter immediately following the “range is clear” command and prior to the scoring of targets, as determined by the SO. If a shooter feels he has been interfered with by an SO, the shooter must request a reshoot immediately following the “range is clear” command and prior to the scoring of targets. The MD will determine if a reshoot request is granted.

Firearm Hand Usage Restrictions – Stage Description

  1. Freestyle: A denotation in a stage description that the shooter may use either hand or both hands to control the firearm while firing, at the shooter’s discretion.
  2. Strong/Dominant Hand Only: A denotation in a stage description indicating that only the strong or dominant hand (the shooter’s primary firing hand, located on the same side of the body as the holster) can be used to control the firearm when a shot is fired. The weak (support) hand or arm must not touch the firearm or any location on the shooter’s strong (dominant) arm or hand when firing. For safety reasons, both hands may be used when clearing a malfunction or reloading.
  3. Weak/Support Hand Only: A denotation in a stage description indicating that only the weak or non-dominant hand, i.e., the shooter’s support hand, located on the opposite side of the body from the holster, can be used to control the firearm when a shot is fired. The strong (dominant) hand or arm must not touch the firearm or any location on the shooter’s weak (support) arm or hand when firing. For safety reasons, no weak hand drawing from the holster is allowed and both hands may be used when clearing a malfunction or reloading.

Flashlight Usage Rules

If a shooter is required to, or elects to, use a flashlight on a stage, the default starting position for the flashlight is in the shooter’s support hand with the light off, unless otherwise dictated by the CoF. The CoF may not force the shooter to start with the flashlight stowed on his or her body. The following rules apply if a flashlight is used at any point during a stage.

  1. Once the stage begins the flashlight may be left on during the entire stage at the shooter’s discretion.
  2. Shooters must retain the flashlight throughout the course of fire.
  3. Dropping a flashlight does not incur a penalty as long as the shooter retrieves the flashlight prior to firing thenext shot in the string of fire.
  4. If a shooter drops a flashlight, the SO may, at their discretion, illuminate the area for safety reasons until theshooter retrieves the flashlight. This will not be deemed SO interference.
  5. The shooter’s flashlight may be used to recharge night sights any time after the start signal, but not prior.

Responsibilities and Code of Conduct

By shooting IDPA Matches, I agree to the following:

  1. I understand that it is a privilege, and not a right, to be an IDPA Shooter.
  2. I will follow all of the safety rules of IDPA and the host range. The safety of the shooters, match officials, andbystanders shall always be my primary objective.
  3. Prior to and during a match, I will refrain from the use of alcohol, substances, or medications that maynegatively impact my ability to shoot safely.
  4. I will maintain a current IDPA membership after my third match.
  5. I will maintain an accurate Classification by shooting a Classifier at least every 12 months unless a Master orDistinguished Master Classification is attained, a Match Performance Promotion has occurred in the last 12 months, or a Sanctioned Match has been completed in the last 12 months without DNF or DQ. See rule 9.2 for more details.
  6. I recognize that it is my responsibility to maintain a working knowledge of the current IDPA rulebook.
  7. I will adhere to the IDPA purpose and principles and will not willfully break any IDPA rule.
  8. I will listen carefully and refrain from talking during shooters’ briefings and stage briefings.
  9. I will refrain from any action that distracts shooters, safety officers, and other competitors during the match.
  10. I understand it is my responsibility as a squad member to be ready to shoot when called to the line.
  11. I understand it is my procedural duty as a squad member to help reset stages between shooters unless I am the current shooter, the on-deck shooter or have just finished shooting, unless instructed otherwise by a match official.
  12. I will not communicate with others in a threatening, harassing, or abusive manner.
  13. It is my responsibility to check my match scores within the verification period to see that they are correct.
  14. It is my responsibility to check my Classifications in the on-line database to verify that they are correct and toinitiate corrective action if they are not correct.
  15. If I have a question or an issue, my first contact is with the CSO at the match, then the MD, then the AC, thenIDPA HQ.
  16. I understand that violations of these responsibilities and Code of Conduct will result in my being penalized bythe MD within the full range of penalties up to and including disqualification from a match, and may result in the revocation of my IDPA membership.


The scoring system in IDPA is designed to reward a balance of accuracy with speed. IDPA scoring converts everything to a time score and the lowest time wins. The scoring system is also designed to be very simple to understand and use.

The main thing to remember when scoring in IDPA is that everything is based on time, the raw time it takes to shoot a stage and the accuracy of the hits on the targets, where inaccuracy adds time to the score. Part of the simplicity of IDPA scoring comes from not using the total points of a target, and instead using points down on each target. Each point down adds 1 second to the time for the stage.

Unlimited Scoring

4.1.1  Unlimited Scoring allows the shooter to shoot at each target as much as deemed necessary, as long as this does not violate other IDPA rules. The best hits on a target are used for score. This gives the shooter the option to make up misses or hits that he or she are not satisfied with to improve their score. When the shooter does not fire enough rounds at a target, the unfired rounds are counted as misses and a Procedural Error penalty is assessed for not following the written stage description.

4.1.2  Each Course of Fire description will specify how many hits are required on each target. For example, if 3 hits are required on each target, then the best 3 hits will be scored, if there are more than 3 hits on the target.

4.1.3  To tally an Unlimited score, take the time it took to complete the strings of fire (raw time from the shot timer) and total up the points down from each target. The raw time is added to the total points down for the stagenmultiplied by 1 second, and then added to any other penalties if applicable.

Limited Scoring

4.2.1  Limited Scoring operates just as the Unlimited Scoring method described above except the number of shots to fire in a string is limited to exactly the number specified in the written stage description.

4.2.2  Firing any extra shots in a string of fire will incur one Procedural Error penalty per string and for each extra shot 1 of the best scoring hits will be taped over before the score is calculated. When the shooter does not fire enough rounds at a target, the unfired rounds are counted as misses, a Procedural Error penalty is assessed for not following the written stage description, and other penalties may apply.

Incomplete Stage (Stage DNF)

4.3.1  If a shooter has started a stage but cannot finish the stage due to a broken firearm, squib, or personal injury the score will be determined by writing down the time and scoring the stage as found by noting all points down (including misses), adding penalties for failing to engage and other applicable penalties. When you receive a beep, you receive a score.

4.3.2  If the SO stopped the shooter for a perceived squib, and it turns out not to be a squib the shooter will be given a reshoot due to SO interference. If the SO stopped the shooter for a perceived squib, and it is a squib, the score will be determined per as above.

Did Not Finish Match (Match DNF)

A shooter that chooses not to shoot a stage will be given a DNF for that stage but may continue to shoot other stages for no total match score. At the completion of the match any shooter with a DNF score on any stage, will result in a match DNF for that shooter.

Reasonable Doubt

4.5.1  When a Safety Officer has a reasonable doubt on a scoring call, the SO will award the better score to the shooter. This also applies to possible doubles. However, this does not automatically mean that every miss is a double.

4.5.2  Video cannot be used to determine the shooter’s score or appeal the decision of an SO.

4.5.3  Typically, bullet holes leave a grease ring, and it is used to determine the outside diameter of the hole for scoring. However, bullets do not have to have a grease ring to be scored as a hit. (e.g. bullets passing through other targets, clothing, soft cover, etc., may not produce a grease ring) so it is possible to allow the hit to be scored.

4.5.4  A radial tear must not be used to give a shooter a better score. If the actual area of the bullet hole does not reach the next better scoring ring, the shooter gets the lower score even if the tear reaches the next higher scoring ring.

Bullet Holes

4.6.1  Oval or elongated bullet holes made in a target that exceed two bullet diameters do not count for score. This situation normally occurs for moving targets fired upon at extreme angles or targets where the shooter is moving.

4.6.2  The elongated bullet hole rule does not include keyhole bullet holes (a keyhole bullet hole is created by a bullet which tumbles out of the firearm barrel and appears to have gone through the target sideways,) which count for score if they were made without interference from another object.

4.6.3  Odd shaped holes made by bullets ricocheting off the bay floor, props, steel, etc., are not scored. Only holes made by whole bullets, not fragments, are scored.

4.6.4 Only bullet holes directly entering the front of the target will be scored.

Hard Cover/Soft Cover Scoring Implications

4.7.1  Stage props are commonly used to represent hard cover or impenetrable objects such as walls, cars, barricades, and furniture such as desks and file cabinets. Truly impenetrable objects may also be used as hard cover in a stage.

4.7.2  IDPA requires that course designers standardize on Black for simulated hard cover . IDPA recommends that course designers standardize on White for soft cover simulation, or use props such as windows, curtains, shrubs, etc.

4.7.3  Any shot that puts a full diameter hole in an object designated as hard cover and continues to penetrate a target will be considered to have missed the target, (whether the target is a threat or a non-threat.) If the SO cannot tell which shot through hard cover hit a threat target, remove the best hit from the target for each full diameter hole in the hard cover.

4.7.4  Shots that penetrate soft cover and go on to strike a target will be scored as hits, (whether the target is a threat or a non-threat.)

4.7.5  Simulated Threat and Non-Threat indicators painted or marked, regardless of color are not hard cover.

4.7.6  Threat indicators made of impenetrable material are considered hard cover.

4.7.7  Targets may be covered with clothing as desired. This is typically done with T-shirts, cut into a front half and a back half and one half is clipped or stapled onto the target sticks holding the target. Only a single layer of lightweight clothing material may be between the shooter and a target.

Threat and Non-Threat Target Designation

4.8.1  Non-threat targets must be designated by displaying a pair of normal sized open hands of contrasting color, at least one of which must be visible from all shooting positions where the target may be engaged.

4.8.2  Threat targets may be designated by displaying a normal sized threat indicator (like a firearm or knife) that is visible from all shooting positions where the target may be engaged.

4.8.3  Targets must be easily identified as threat or non-threat.

4.8.4  Threat indicators of different kinds all have equal threat value and do not change target engagement priority. For example, a knife is equal in threat to a shotgun, rifle, or other firearms.

4.8.5  Threat and non-threat indicators may be painted or marked on the targets or covering clothing, or may be clipped or stapled to the target.

Shoot Through

When a bullet passes through a non-threat target and also strikes a threat target, the shooter will get the penalty for the non-threat target hit and will get credit for the scored hit on the threat target. The reverse also applies when a round on a threat target penetrates a non-threat or threat behind it. All target shoot through hits count.

Hit on Non-Threat

4.10.1  A Hit on Non-Threat (HNT) is defined as a hit in any scoring zone of a target that is designated a non-threat. A reactive non-threat target (steel, reactive polymer, etc.) must react properly to a hit to be scored as a HNT.

4.10.2  Each hit on a Non-Threat adds 5 seconds to the shooter’s score.

Target Scoring Zones

4.11.1  “Head” refers to the part of the cardboard IDPA silhouette above the neckline. Shots designated for the “head” or “head only” must hit the part of the cardboard silhouette within the scoring area above the neckline, or they are counted as a miss, even if they hit another part of the silhouette.

4.11.2  “Body” refers to the part of the cardboard IDPA silhouette below the neckline. Shots designated for the “body” or “body only” must hit the part of the cardboard silhouette within the scoring area below the neckline, or they are counted as a miss, even if they hit another part of the silhouette.

4.11.3  “Target” refers to the whole silhouette, including the head and body described above. Shots designated for a “target” (or sometimes T1, T2, etc.) can hit anywhere within the scoring area in the body or the head for score.

4.11.4  A single IDPA cardboard target must not be divided into two or more scoring areas that are scored separately. For example, a line of black tape may not be used to turn a single target into two targets, with separate scoring being possible on both areas.



The following is an inclusive list of targets which are allowed:

  1. Cardboard Targets: Official IDPA cardboard targets may be stationary or moving. These targets will be scored as marked, as -0, -1, -3, and a miss is -5.All cardboard targets used in IDPA local and Sanctioned Matches must be Official IDPA cardboard targets. Official IDPA cardboard targets are available directly from IDPA headquarters and from licensed IDPA target manufacturers in each geographical area. Contact IDPA HQ, see listing in the Tactical Journal, or use the website at IDPA cardboard targets with the round down zero area cut out for scoring ease may be used only as a stationary target. The target may be shot starting within 3 yards or less and shot while stationary or moving away from the target.
  2. Poppers: Stationary full sized and miniature Popper and Pepper Popper reactive targets with a minimum height of 24 inches and a minimum width of 8 inches. These targets are scored as down zero (-0) if they fall. If the target is left standing it is scored as down five (-5).
  3. Steel “Legs”: Stationary steel reactive vertical plates representing target legs that present a target at least 3 inches wide and at least 15 inches tall are allowed. These targets are scored as down zero (-0) if they fall. If the target is left standing it is scored as down five (-5). The calibration zone for this target is the upper 1⁄2 of the target leg.
  4. Stationary IDPA Reactive Target: An IDPA cardboard target covered with a t-shirt or other clothing is held in front of a down zero sized steel plate that is aligned with the down zero zones on the cardboard target. One of the steel plates must be hit to knock down the target. These targets are scored as down zero (-0) if they fall. If the target is left standing it is scored as down five (-5). The cardboard holding the clothing is not scored. This target type is not counted in the steel paper ratio. The round down zero steel plate of the target is the calibration zone.
  5. A Stationary Popper Behind Paper may be used to activate other targets. An allowed Popper or Pepper Popper as described above situated behind an official IDPA cardboard target such that a down zero hit on the cardboard target will knock down the Popper. The Popper must be visible above or below the cardboard target from all shooting positions from which the target may be shot. The calibration zone on this setup is the round down zero area on the cardboard target. It is part of the shooting problem for the shooter to solve to ensure the Popper behind is activated when the cardboard is shot. The cardboard target is scored normally. The Popper is used only as an activator and is not scored, nor does it count in the paper to steel ratio calculation.
  6. Other targets are allowed if and only if they represent something pertinent and appropriate to the stage scenario.
  7. Stationary or moving Official IDPA cardboard targets with a small portion of the scoring area cut away such as removing the -3 scoring area, leaving a non-scoring 3/8” perimeter remaining.
  8. Stationary or moving Official IDPA cardboard targets with black hard cover painted on them.
  9. Disappearing target, any target that, when at rest, does not present the shooter with an available 1 downscoring zone.
  10. Official IDPA cardboard targets may have their scoring area reduced by painting the non-scoring area with a highcontrast color that is dark (if not black).
  11. Stationary 6” or larger diameter round reactive steel or reactive polymer plates.
  12. Stationary 6” or larger square reactive steel or reactive polymer plates.
  13. Other stationary steel reactive plates with 28.3 square inches or more surface area where the smallestdimension presented to the shooter must equal or exceed 3 inches. The MD will define the calibration zone forthese targets.
  14. Stationary Clay pigeon targets (examples: simulate a door lock, or an ocular area, etc.) Clay pigeon targets arenot subject to calibration.

**New targets will be evaluated annually.

Disallowed Targets

The following is a non-inclusive list of disallowed targets.

Bowling Pins, Texas Star, Polish Plate Rack, Dueling Tree, Slider Triple Dropper, Golf Balls, Balloons, Eggs, Cowboy Poppers, IDPA Practice Target, Animal Shaped Steel Targets, Tombstone Popper, Coffin Popper, and other similar targets including other novelty targets, etc.

Scored Hits

4.14.1  Only rounds fired by the competitor may be used for scoring in a stage.

4.14.2  Actions like throwing of knives, knocking over poppers by hand, punching a sparing dummy, etc., will not be scored, but may be required on the clock.

4.14.3  Any round required to be fired at a target by the competitor must be scored. For example, if six shots are required to be fired at a target, six shots will be scored.

Results Posting

All results from local and Sanctioned Matches must include the IDPA membership number for each shooter. Per the Shooters Responsibilities and Code of Conduct, a shooter must become a member of IDPA after their Third match. For those shooters temporarily without a current IDPA membership, an “XXX” may be displayed on the Match Results instead of the IDPA number.

Touching Targets

4.16.1  Shooters or their delegate will not touch or interfere with any target that has just been shot and has not yet been scored by the SO team. If a target is interfered with by the shooter or designee before it is scored, that target will be scored as all misses.

4.16.2  If a target is taped before it is scored, the SO will try to give the correct score if it can be discerned. Otherwise, the shooter will be given a reshoot.

4.16.3  The SO or Scorekeeper will not touch a target on the front or back of the target near the bullet holes before or during the scoring process.

4.16.4  If a target is scored and taped before the shooter or designee can see the target, the score stands.

4.16.5  If a target is not taped between shooters, the SO will try to give the correct score if it can be discerned. Otherwise, the shooter will be given a reshoot.

4.16.6  Targets where a scoring dispute is ongoing will be pulled from the stage and held for arbitration by the Chief Safety Officer or Match Director.

Calibration of Reactive Targets

4.17.1  Reactive targets must physically react to score. All reactive targets in a Sanctioned Match, poppers, plates, etc., will be calibrated so they will react properly with a “good hit” using the lowest power factor ammunition allowed in any division. The Match Director or designee will calibrate all reactive targets in a match before the first shot is fired in competition each day and at the Match Director’s discretion throughout the match. The stage SOs can call for a reactive target calibration on their stage at any time if deemed necessary.

4.17.2  If the BUG division is supported the Match Director will provide a .380 firearm and ammunition that together does not exceed the BUG power factor (95PF.) If the BUG division is not supported the Match Director will provide a 9 mm or .38 Special firearm and ammunition that together does not exceed the lowest power-factor of any regular division (105PF.) The same firearm and ammunition combination will be used throughout the match for calibration and calibration challenges with no changes.

4.17.3  Targets must be situated to minimize shift, twist, or movement during a match, so that proper calibration is not lost as the match continues.

4.17.4  To calibrate a reactive target, fire one round at the target from the most likely firing position in the stage and hit the calibration zone of the target. If the target does not react properly, change the target setup and repeat. The target must react correctly three times in a row to be deemed properly calibrated. If the calibration zone is missed, repeat this step.

4.17.5  If during a CoF a reactive target does not react properly when hit, the competitor has three choices.

  1. The competitor shoots the target until it reacts properly, the target is scored as hit, and the stage score stands. In this case, no calibration challenge will be allowed.
  2. The target does not react properly and the shooter does not challenge the calibration, the target is scored as a miss and the stage score stands. A challenge after the shooter knows the stage score or individual target scores will not be allowed.
  3. The target does not react properly to a hit and the shooter wishes to challenge the calibration. The challenge must be made to the SO running the shooter, immediately after the “Range Is Clear” command is given, and before the shooter knows the stage score or the individual target scores. Challenges occurring after this point will not be allowed. Whether the shooter completed the stage or not does not affect the challenge process. When an appropriate challenge is made the reactive target and the surrounding area will not be touched or interfered with by anyone until calibration is checked. As part of the challenge process, the SO will immediately collect 7 rounds of ammunition from those used in the stage from the shooter and these will be sent to the chronograph for testing.

4.17.6 If the target is touched or interfered with by match staff, MD, SOs or another competitor, the shooter will be given a reshoot.

4.17.7  If the target is touched or interfered with by the shooter or designee the target will be scored as a miss and the CoF will be deemed completed. If the shooter did not complete the stage then Incomplete Stage scoring will be used to determine the shooter’s score for this stage.

4.17.8  Should the target fall without interference prior to calibration (i.e. wind, etc.) the shooter will be given a reshoot.

4.17.9  Calibration Checking Process

A. The MD will fire one round of calibration ammo at the reactive target calibration zone from the same position that the shooter used to engage the target.

  1. If the target is hit in the calibration zone or lower and the target reacts properly, the calibration is deemedcorrect and the target will be scored as a miss. If the shooter did not complete the stage then Incomplete Stagescoring will be used to determine the shooter’s score for the stage.
  2. If the target is hit above the calibration zone, the Calibration Checking Process failed and the shooter will begiven a reshoot.
  3. If the target is hit anywhere on the scoreable surface and the target does not react properly, the targetcalibration will be deemed improper, and the shooter will be given a reshoot after the target is recalibrated.
  4. If the target is missed, fire another round at the calibration zone.
  5. No matter what the outcome of this process may be, the shooter’s ammunition will still be tested to see if itmeets or exceeds power factor. Normal chronograph processes and penalties apply.


In order for a Procedural Error (PE) or Flagrant Penalty (FP) to be assessed for a failure to perform actions other than shooting, there must be a defined, measurable qualifier for how a prop is to be used appropriately. Under no circumstances is a penalty of any type to be assessed based on a judgment call on whether or not the prop was used appropriately during the CoF. The qualifier must be of a pass/fail determinant and the quantifiable condition must be in the CoF. e.g., the briefcase must be set down inside blue barrel.

Procedural Error (PE)

Procedural Errors add 3 seconds per infraction and are assessed when:

  1. A shooter fails to follow the shooting procedures set forth in the written stage description.
  2. A shooter breaks a rule of the game.
  3. A conduct violation described in the Shooter’s code of conduct as determined by the MD.

A PE is assessed for each type of infraction. If the shooter commits more than one type of infraction, such as using the wrong specified hand and firing an incorrect number of shots, a separate PE is assessed for each type of infraction. For cover violations (or faulting the line), the number of cover PEs cannot exceed the number of positions of cover.

Flagrant Penalty (FP)

A Flagrant Penalty (FP) adds ten (10) seconds and is assessed, instead of a PE Penalty, in cases where an infraction results in a competitive advantage, such as failure to follow the instructions in a CoF and gaining a competitive advantage that cannot be addressed by a PE (i.e. score works out in competitors favor with a PE added).

5.2.1 Flagrant Penalties are assessed when:

  1. A shooter fails to follow the shooting procedures set forth in the written stage description and/or uses inappropriate equipment with the obvious intent of gaining a competitive scoring advantage.
  2. A shooter breaks a rule of the game.
  3. A conduct violation described in the Shooter’s code of conduct as determined by the MD.

5.2.2 Examples of an FP (non-inclusive list):

  1. SHO/WHO strings / stages shot Freestyle
  2. Not going prone when required
  3. Not fully engaging all targets as required
  4. Not following stage requirement that takes longer than 3 seconds to perform
  5. Shooting an entire array while faulting the line
  6. Staging an ammunition feeding device incorrectly
  7. Extra rounds in magazines

**All FPs must be approved by the MD.

Failure To Do Right (FTDR)

5.3.1  A 20 second Failure To Do Right penalty is assessed for gross unsportsmanlike conduct. Non-inclusive examples of this conduct are: Cussing out an SO, throwing a piece of their equipment on the ground, throwing a tantrum for any reason or violating the shooter’s code of conduct.

5.3.2  The FTDR is intended to be used solely as a penalty for acts on the part of the shooter to circumvent or violate the rules and by doing so gain a competitive advantage. A FTDR may be issued for violations of the Course of Fire, but not in cases of shooter errors where it is obvious that the shooter gained no competitive advantage by their actions. It should not be assessed for inadvertent shooter errors. In these cases, the shooter should be assessed a PE or FP, rather than an FTDR.

5.3.3  All FTDRs must be approved by the MD.

Disqualification (DQ)

Disqualification means the shooter may not continue in any part of the IDPA match, may not reenter in another division, and may not shoot any side matches. The shooter’s score will be reported as DQ. A shooter must be disqualified for the following reasons:

  1. Unsafe firearm handling as defined in the Safety Rules Section.
  2. Unsportsmanlike conduct.
  3. Violations of the Shooter’s Code of Conduct as determined by the MD.
  4. Shooting at a steel target that is less than 10 yards from the shooter.
  5. Intentionally discharging the firearm at anything other than a target or an activator.

**All DQs must be confirmed by the MD.

Penalty Application

5.5.1  Safety Penalties will apply before, during, and after the CoF.

5.5.2  A CoF begins when the SO issues the “Range Is Hot, Eyes and Ears” command to the shooter.

5.5.3  A CoF ends when the SO issues the “Range is Clear” command.

5.5.4  CoF penalties will apply during the time the CoF is in progress.

5.5.5  The CoF description may instruct shooters to speak certain words, but no penalty is assessed for failure to do so.


A Stage Description cannot override the rulebook, nor may it forbid legal actions by shooters except under the following conditions:

  1. To address a safety concern as it applies to the limits of the range.
  2. Provide the option of not wearing a concealment garment.
  3. Specify the number of rounds in the firearm at the start of the stage, up to division capacity.
  4. Specify the start condition and position for the firearm, and the start position for ammunition feeding devices.
  5. Specify the shooter start position.


Stage Categories

IDPA stages are divided into two general categories: 6.1.1 Scenario Stages

Scenario Stages attempt to represent a target engagement that could actually happen. Scenario Stages must have a written scenario description and must use Unlimited Scoring.

6.1.2 Standards Stages

Standards Stages are designed to test the shooter’s performance of the various techniques employed in IDPA shooting. Standards stages may use Limited or Unlimited scoring

Stage Descriptions

A well-written stage description contributes to the success of a match and prevents confusion and frustration among staff and competitors. The written stage description is read to every squad to ensure uniform communication. The written stage description includes, at a minimum, the following elements:

  1. A defensive scenario or a standards (skills test)
  2. Start position
  3. Specifies firearm condition (loaded, unloaded, downloaded)
  4. Procedure
  5. Identifies points of cover and fault lines
  6. Specify using the 180 or points out the muzzle safe points
  7. Specifies the minimum round count and whether the stage is limited or unlimited
  8. Specifies if a concealment garment is NOT required
  9. A descriptive diagram of the CoF is recommended but not required.

Fault Lines

  1. Fault Lines must be used by match directors to delineate cover at a cover position to reduce disputed penalties.
  2. Fault Lines may consist of marking material that remains consistent for each shooter the entire match. They maybe tactile or non-tactile at the discretion of the match director. If they extend above the ground surface, it is incumbent of each shooter to use appropriate care for safety. Paint, lumber, metal, etc. used to mark the fault line must be no wider than 4”
  3. Fault Lines must be placed in a manner which promotes the Principles of Shooting IDPA in Section 1.2
  4. Fault lines must outline the general boundary for each point of cover wherein a shooter may safely engage allavailable targets from that position as an option in shooting a stage.
  5. Fault lines used to mark a PoC extend from the end of the physical objects used up range to the stage boundaryto accommodate long-cover.
  6. Positions of Cover at windows and ports must be marked with fault lines.

Stage Boundaries

Stage boundaries must be defined at each stage, located no more than 10 yards back from the furthest up range shooting position. Rope, tape, cones, flags, etc. must physically indicate these boundaries.

Muzzle Safety

Match Directors are required to designate muzzle safety areas per the safety rules in section 2.9.


Miscellaneous Stage Design Rules

6.6.1  Only official IDPA cardboard targets or IDPA approved targets can be used in any IDPA stage.

6.6.2  75% of all shots required in a match must be made from 15 yards or closer.

6.6.3  Scenario stages may have targets up to 20 yards from the shooter.

6.6.4  Standards stages may have targets up to 50 yards from the shooter.

6.6.5  Memory stages are prohibited in all IDPA stages and strings of fire. A memory stage is any stage where one must remember the order of engagement, or other shooting restrictions that are not intuitive to the shooter based on the design of the stage.

6.6.6  Stages may require a change in the number of shots required on a paper target. Only one paper target in a string may require a different number of shots than the other paper targets in the string. For example, the first paper target shall be engaged with 6 rounds and the remaining paper targets shall be engaged with 2 rounds each.

6.6.7  No more than 25% of the shots required on any string of fire may be on steel targets.

6.6.8  No more than 10% of the total shots required in the match may be on steel. Activator steel with a scored target in front of it does not count towards the allowable percentage of steel.

6.6.9  Activators located behind a scoreable target must activate from shots which hit either the upper or lower zero down scoring zones. If this is not possible, the -0 zone that will not activate the activator must be identified as hardcover.

6.6.10  Blind stages and movable non-threat targets are not allowed.

6.6.11  No string of fire may require more than 18 rounds.

6.6.12  Required shooter movement under their own power of more than 10 yards between firing points is not permitted. Total required shooter movement under their own power of more than 20 yards is not permitted.

6.6.13  If low cover or a prone position is required, it must be the last shooting position of a string of fire.

6.6.14  Stage designers should strive to design stages that leave targets visible for mobility challenged and physically disabled shooters.

6.6.15  Only 1 non-threat target may be used for every 2 threat targets in any string of fire. Example: 1-2 threat targets = 1 non-threat target, maximum.3-4 threat targets = 2 non-threat targets, maximum. 5-6 threat targets = 3 non-threat targets, maximum.

6.6.16  No stage description shall mandate that an ammunition feeding/loading device must be loaded during the CoF on the clock.

6.6.17  Painted hard cover is not allowed to cover the path of a moving target. If hard cover is required for the path of a moving target, it must be made of a material that will not allow a bullet to pass through the hard cover and impact the moving target.

6.6.18  No “strong-hand only” strings of fire may require the shooter to engage targets more than 10 yards distant.

6.6.19  No “weak-hand only” strings of fire may require the shooter to engage targets more than 7 yards distant.

6.6.20  Weak Hand Only strings will not be designed that require the shooter to use only the weak/support hand to reload the firearm.

6.6.21  No shots are to be required at distances greater than 10 yards in scenario stages, or 15 yards in standards stages for targets head sized or smaller.

6.6.22  Cardboard targets at 10 yards or less from the shooter must present a minimum of 12 square inches of a down zero zone, with the smallest dimension being at least 3 inches.

6.6.23  Reloads shall not be mandated in a Course of Fire. All mandated reloads, topping off, etc. must be performed off the clock.

6.6.24 Long Guns and Pickup Guns

  1. Other than Pistol Caliber Carbines, other types of long guns may not be fired in IDPA matches, but inert (non-firing) long guns may be used as props.
  2. Pickup handguns provided by the match, match sponsors, or organizers may be used in IDPA matches. Pickuphandguns do not need to be compliant with IDPA equipment rules.
  3. If a shooter, has a firearm malfunction using a pickup gun, the shooter must re-shoot the string.

6.6.25  Stages with one or more cover positions will not present targets in the open requiring more than 6 shots while the shooter is out of cover. However, there may be more than one of these type engagements in a single stage.

6.6.26  Vision Barriers [Concealment]


  1. Vision barriers are soft cover objects such as tents, fake trees, walls, etc., that are used to block the view of a target or group of targets.
  2. Vision barriers are soft cover and may not be impenetrable or designated as hard cover. Vision barriers may not be designated as a point of cover for engaging targets, i.e. no slicing the pie around a vision barrier.
  3. Vision barriers may be used by Match Directors to hide “Surprise” targets, which are to be engaged “in the open” (i.e. after leaving a “position of cover” in a CoF).
  4. Humanoid shapes of any kind either partial or whole may not be used as vision barriers, soft cover or hard cover. Tactical dummies or mannequins may still be used as props, but not as Vision Barriers, soft cover; or hard cover.


For IDPA purposes, a permanently physically disabled shooter is defined as having:

  1. Missing limbs or partial limbs.
  2. Prosthetic limbs.
  3. Non-operational limbs.
  4. Use of wheelchair, walker or crutches.

In an effort to accommodate our PPDS, the following rules apply.

  1. PPDS who choose not to, or are unable to perform an action required by the CoF (kneeling, prone, etc.) will receive 1 PE penalty per action not performed. If the targets cannot be acquired from their position of ability, points down will be assessed but no PEs for engagement will be assessed.
  2. PPDS with the use of only one arm or hand may elect to use a light mounted on the firearm prior to the start signal, with no penalty, on all stages if within the match there is a stage that requires the use of a flashlight.
  3. PPDS who are one-armed/one-handed will not be penalized on a stage that requires shooting either weak hand or strong hand.
  4. PPDS may perform one-handed reloads in a manner that is deemed safe by the MD prior to the start of the match.
  5. PPDS who are confined to a wheelchair may use whatever means they choose to navigate the CoF in their wheelchair, including a pushing assistant. However, the requirement(s) chosen must be used for every CoF in the match.
  6. Use of a body mounted or wheelchair mounted holster and/or ammunition carriers are permitted.
  7. Firearms may be re-holstered between shooting positions.
  8. One-handed firearm control throughout a CoF is permitted.
  9. Shooters may forego usage of a concealment garment.

Shooters who suffer from hearing loss may request an alternate non-audible start signal.

IDPA Headquarters may issue individual waivers to allow physically disabled shooters to use alternate or specially designed equipment to suit their individual abilities.

PPDS status is based on Honor System. Those who misrepresent their PPDS status will be disqualified. 24


Firearms – General

8.1.1 Division Summary

  1. IDPA is divided into 6 regular divisions that are entirely separate. None of the following divisions competeagainst any other division:Stock Service Pistol (SSP) Enhanced Service Pistol (ESP) Custom Defensive Pistol (CDP) Compact Carry Pistol (CCP) Revolver (REV) Back Up Gun (BUG)
  2. BUG is a required division for Tier 1 matches and is an optional division for Tier 2 – Tier 5 Sanctioned matches.
  3. Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) is an optional Specialty Division for Tier 1 – Tier 5 matches.

8.1.2 Specialty Divisions (SPD) are an optional division for all matches. These additions must be published in all Sanctioned Match announcements and the addition of specialty division(s) inclusion is not subject to appeal or arbitration

  1. Double action, double action only and striker fired semi-automatic firearms compete in SSP, CCP, PCC, or BUG. Any firearm that can be used in SSP can be used in ESP or CDP, depending upon the cartridge used.
  2. Single action semi-automatic firearms compete in ESP, CCP, CDP, PCC or BUG, depending upon physical size and cartridge used.
  3. Revolvers are classified by loading method and ammunition power and compete in BUG depending upon physical size and cartridge used.

8.1.3 Magazine Loading:All magazines must be loaded to division capacity at the start signal throughout the match except in the following cases:

  1. If a magazine is used that holds less than division capacity, the shooter will load all magazines to the capacity of the lowest magazine throughout the match.
  2. The stage description may require reduced magazine loading.
  3. In the Revolver division, the shooter must load the revolver and all loading devices with the same number ofrounds throughout the match unless the above loading exceptions apply.

8.1.4 Division Capacity
SSP, ESP, SPD ………… 10 rounds

CDP, CCP………………. 8 rounds

REV, BUG-S …………… 6 rounds

BUG-R………………….. 5 rounds total

In all semi-auto divisions except BUG-S, the shooter will also start with one additional round in the chamber, unless the stage description requires otherwise.

8.1.5 Loading Device Count

  1. A “loading device” is a magazine, speed loader, or moon clip.
  2. Shooters starting with 8 or more rounds in all loading devices are allowed to start with the loaded firearm plustwo additional loading devices.
  3. Shooters starting with 6 or 7 rounds in all loading devices are allowed to start with the loaded firearm plus threeadditional loading devices.
  4. Shooters starting with 5 or fewer rounds in all loading devices are allowed to start with the loaded firearm plusfour additional loading devices.
  5. No additional loading devices beyond the above limits may be used during a string.

8.1.6 Unserviceable Firearm Rule

  1. In any single match, a shooter must use the same firearm for all stages unless it becomes unserviceable.
  2. If the shooter determines that the firearm has become unserviceable, he will notify a Safety Officer who willnotify the Match Director.
  3. Once the shooter declares the firearm is unserviceable, it may not be used for the duration of the match.
  4. The shooter may continue the match at the next start signal. Previous strings may not be re-shot.
  5. Any same-division legal replacement firearm may be used.
  6. If the replacement firearm magazines do not allow the same loading capacity as the original firearm, the shootermay adjust the magazine loading to suit the replacement firearm, following the magazine loading rules in Section Modifications for All Divisions

8.1.7 Allowable Modifications for All Divisions

The following modification rules apply to firearms in all divisions.

  1. Storage locks may be disabled or removed.
  2. Magazine disconnects may be disabled or removed.
  3. Lasers that are incorporated into the firearm or sights are allowed if they comply with all other division rules andthe laser is not activated during a string of fire. Tape may be used to prevent the laser from projecting.
  4. An extended magazine release button may not be oversized in diameter or protrude more than 0.2” out from the frame. The measurement is taken at the rear most part of the magazine release, where it exits the frame.When the magazine release area is recessed into the grip frame, the grip frame to the rear of the recess is used as the base of the measurement.

8.1.8 Non-IDPA-Legal Features and Modifications for All Divisions
The following features and modifications are not allowed in any division unless otherwise specifically allowed in the rulebook.

  1. Compensators of any type including hybrid or ported barrels.
  2. Add-on weights. This includes (but is not limited to) weighted magazines, tungsten guide rods, brass magazinewells, weighted grips, and weighted grip plugs.
  3. Heavy and/or cone style barrels without a barrel bushing except as allowed in ESP, CCP, BUG and CDP divisionswith length restrictions.
  4. Sights of non-standard configuration (ghost rings, Bo-Mar ribs, etc.).
  5. Disconnecting or disabling of any safety device including (but not limited to): manual safeties, grip safeties, firingpin, striker, and hammer blocking safeties, 1911 series 80 firing pin safeties, 1911 Swartz safeties. 1911 series 80 frames may be used with series 70 slides or vice versa. Revolver actions may not be modified so that the hammer can fall when the cylinder is open.
  6. Lights mounted on firearms.
  7. Rail mounted lasers and bolt-on trigger guard mounted lasers are not allowed.

Firearms – Divisions

8.2.1 Stock Service Pistol Division (SSP)

Handguns permitted for use in SSP must:

  1. Have a minimum annual production of 2,000 units. Discontinued models must have had a total production of 20,000 units
  2. Be semi-automatic
  3. Be double action, double action only, or striker fired
  4. Use 9 mm (9×19) or larger cartridges.
  5. Weigh 43.00 oz. or less unloaded, with the heaviest magazine inserted.
  6. Fit in the IDPA gun test box measuring 8 3⁄4” x 6” x 1 5/8” with the largest magazine inserted. Start Condition

  1. Selective DA/SA firearms will start hammer down.
  2. Firearms with a hammer de-cocking lever or button will have their hammer de-cocked using the lever or button.
  3. If the hammer must be lowered by pulling the trigger and manually lowering the hammer, the hammer will belowered to the lowest position possible.
  4. Manual safeties may be engaged at the shooter’s discretion. SSP Permitted Modifications (Inclusive list):

  1. Sights may be changed to another notch and post type. Slides may not be machined to accept different stylesights.
  2. Grips may be changed to another style or material that is similar to factory configuration and do not weigh morethan 2.00 oz. more than the factory standard weight for that model.
  3. Magazine releases, slide stops, safety levers, de-cocking levers, hammers, and triggers, that are stock on one SSPlegal firearm may be used on another SSP legal firearm from the same manufacturer provided they are drop in replacements. Parts in this list must come factory installed on standard production firearms. Special parts that are available installed only from a factory custom shop are not eligible in SSP.
  4. Recoil spring guide rods and dual spring recoil systems made of material that is no heavier than stainless steel.
  5. Frames may be replaced with identical frames from the same manufacturer.
  6. A slip-on grip sock and/or grip tape, skateboard tape, etc. may be used.
  7. Internal action work may be used to enhance trigger pull as long as safety is maintained (no visible externalmodifications allowed).
  8. Internal reliability work.
  9. Aftermarket extractors and pins may be used.
  10. Internal accuracy work.
  11. Replacement of barrel with one of factory configuration that uses the original cartridge.
  12. Plastic plugs may be used to fill the opening behind the magazine well.
  13. Custom finishes may be applied.
  14. Stock slide cover plates may be refinished.
  15. Slides may be engraved. Engraving is defined as etching into the slide of logos, letters, and graphics no deeperthan the original factory logos.
  16. Stippling and texturing may be performed on readily replaceable parts of the grip frame such as replaceableback straps and replaceable grip panels.
  17. Aftermarket magazines may be used provided they do not weigh more than 1.00 oz. over the same capacityfactory magazine.
  18. Aftermarket magazine base pads may be used provided they do not make the magazine weight more than 1.00oz. over the same capacity factory magazine.
  19. Magazine base pads may be modified by reshaping, texturing, or adding bumper pads provided that they do notmake the magazine weigh more than 1.00 oz. over the same capacity factory magazine.
  20. Magazines that are longer than stock may be used provided they meet all other division requirements. SSP Excluded Modifications (Non-Inclusive list):

  1. Externally visible modifications other than those listed in the Permitted Modifications section.
  2. Aftermarket or visibly modified magazine releases, slide stops, safety levers, de-cocking levers, and hammers.
  3. Robar-style grip reduction.
  4. Add-on magazine well opening.
  5. Slide inserts to accommodate a different recoil assembly design.
  6. A barrel that uses a different cartridge that is not offered in the original factory model.
  7. Customization of the slide by adding front cocking serrations, tri-top, carry melts, and high power cuts.
  8. Compensated/ported firearms with non-compensated/ported barrels installed.
  9. Checkering or stippling on non-readily replaceable parts of the grip frame.
  10. Aftermarket slides.
  11. Removing material from the magazine well opening.
  12. Aftermarket grip tang extensions or beavertails.
  13. Disabling the slide stop.

8.2.2 Enhanced Service Pistol Division (ESP)

Handguns permitted for use in ESP must:

  1. Be semi-automatic.
  2. Use 9 mm (9×19) or larger cartridges.
  3. The unloaded firearm with the heaviest magazine must weigh 43.00 oz. or less.
  4. The firearm with the largest magazine inserted must fit in the IDPA gun test box measuring 8 3⁄4” x 6” x 1 5/8”.

Firearms originally sold as compensated/ported models may be used in ESP with non-compensated/ported barrels installed. Start Condition:

  1. Single action only firearms will start with the hammer cocked and the safety engaged.
  2. Selective DA/SA firearms may start cocked and locked or de-cocked, at the shooter’s discretion.
  3. DA, DAO, or striker fired firearms with a de-cocking lever or button will be de-cocked using the lever or button.
  4. DA, DAO, or striker-fired firearms may have a manual safety engaged at the shooter’s discretion. ESP Permitted Features and Modifications (Inclusive list):

  1. Sights may be changed to another notch and post type. Slides may be machined to accept different style sights.
  2. Grips may be changed provided they do not weigh more than 2.00 oz. more than the factory standard weight forthat model.
  3. A slip-on grip sock and/or grip tape, skateboard tape, etc. may be used.
  4. Robar-style grip reduction.
  5. Action work may be used to enhance trigger pull as long as safety is maintained.
  6. Reliability work.
  7. Aftermarket extractors and pins may be used.
  8. Internal accuracy work.
  9. Replacement of barrel with one of factory configuration that uses a stock or non-stock cartridge.
  10. Plastic plugs may be used to fill the opening behind the magazine well.
  11. Aftermarket triggers and trigger work that result in the trigger being forward or rearward from the stock triggerposition.
  12. Externally visible trigger over travel stops.
  13. Hammer and other trigger action parts to enhance trigger pull.
  14. Checkering, serrating, and stippling.
  15. Reshape trigger guard.
  16. Extended and/or ambidextrous thumb safety.
  17. Extended beavertail grip safety.
  18. Ambidextrous or right side magazine releases.
  19. Extended, trimmed, and/or ambidextrous slide releases.
  20. Heavy or cone style barrels on firearms with barrel lengths of 4.25” or less.
  21. Recoil spring guide rods and dual spring recoil systems made of material that is no heavier than stainless steel.
  22. Slide inserts to accommodate a different recoil assembly design.
  23. Modification of the magazine well and add-on well extensions.
  24. Custom finishes and engraving may be applied.
  25. Aftermarket slide cover plates.
  26. Slides with front cocking serrations, tri-top, carry melts, and high power cuts.
  27. Grip tang extensions or beavertails
  28. Swenson style thumb shields and frame mounted thumb shields.
  29. Aftermarket safeties.
  30. Aftermarket magazine base pads may be used provided they do not make the magazine weight more than 1.50 oz. over the same capacity factory magazine.
  31. Magazine base pads may be modified by reshaping, texturing, or adding bumper pads provided that they do not make the magazine weigh more than 1.50 oz. over the same capacity factory magazine.
  32. Magazines that are longer than stock may be used provided they meet all other division requirements. ESP Excluded Features and Modifications (Non-Inclusive list):

  1. Removal of material from the exterior of the slide other than front cocking serrations, tri-top, engraving, carry melts, and high power cuts.
  2. Trigger shoes.
  3. Disabling the slide stop.

8.2.3 Custom Defensive Pistol Division (CDP)

Handguns permitted for use in CDP must:

  1. Be semi-automatic.
  2. Use .45 ACP cartridges.
  3. Weigh 43.00 oz. or less unloaded, with the heaviest magazine inserted.
  4. Fit in the IDPA gun test box measuring 8 3⁄4” x 6” x 1 5/8” with the largest magazine inserted.

Firearms originally sold as compensated/ported models may be used in CDP with non-compensated/ported barrels installed. Start Condition:

  1. Single action only firearms will start cocked and locked. (hammer cocked, safety engaged).
  2. Selective DA/SA firearms will start cocked and locked or de-cocked. This is at the shooter’s discretion, includingfirearms using the SSP into CDP rule.
  3. DA, DAO, or striker fired firearms with a de-cocking lever or button will be de-cocked using the lever or button.
  4. DA, DAO, or striker-fired firearms may have a manual safety engaged at the shooter’s discretion. CDP Permitted Features and Modifications (Inclusive list):

  1. Sights may be changed to another notch and post type. Slides may be machined to accept different style sights.
  2. Grips may be changed provided they do not weigh more than 2.00 oz. more than the factory standard weight forthat model.
  3. A slip-on grip sock and/or grip tape, skateboard tape, etc. tape may be used.
  4. Robar-style grip reduction.
  5. Action work may be used to enhance trigger pull as long as safety is maintained.
  6. Reliability work.
  7. Aftermarket extractors and pins may be used.
  8. Internal accuracy work.
  9. Replacement barrels of factory configuration in .45 ACP.
  10. Plastic plugs may be used to fill the opening behind the magazine well.
  11. Aftermarket triggers and trigger work that result in the trigger being forward or rearward from the stock triggerposition.
  12. Externally visible trigger over travel stops.
  13. Hammer and other trigger action parts to enhance trigger pull.
  14. Checkering, serrating, and stippling.
  15. Reshape trigger guard.
  16. Extended and/or ambidextrous thumb safety.
  17. Extended beavertail grip safety.
  18. Ambidextrous or right side magazine releases.
  19. Extended, trimmed, and/or ambidextrous slide releases.
  20. Heavy or cone style barrels on firearms with barrel lengths of 4.25” or less.
  21. Recoil spring guide rods and dual spring recoil systems made of material that is no heavier than stainless steel.
  22. Slide inserts to accommodate a different recoil assembly design.
  23. Modification of the magazine well and add-on well extensions.
  24. Custom finishes and engraving may be applied.
  25. Aftermarket slide cover plates.
  26. Slides with front cocking serrations, tri-top, engraving, carry melts and high power cuts.
  27. Grip tang extensions or beavertails
  28. Swenson style thumb shields and frame mounted thumb shields. CC. Aftermarket safeties.
  29. Aftermarket magazine base pads may be used provided they do not make the magazine weight more than 1.50 oz. over the same capacity factory magazine.
  30. Magazine base pads may be modified by reshaping, texturing, or adding bumper pads provided that they do not make the magazine weigh more than 1.50 oz. over the same capacity factory magazine.
  31. Magazines that are longer than stock may be used provided they meet all other division requirements. CDP Excluded Features and Modifications (Non-Inclusive list):

  1. Removal of material from the exterior of the slide other than front cocking serrations, tri-top, engraving, carrymelts, and high power cuts.
  2. Trigger shoes.
  3. Disabling the slide stop.

8.2.4 Compact Carry Pistol Division (CCP)

Handguns permitted for use in CCP must:

  1. Be semi-automatic.
  2. Use 9 mm (9×19) or larger cartridges.
  3. Barrel length 4 3/8″ or less.
  4. The unloaded firearm with the heaviest magazine must weigh 38.00 oz. or less.
  5. The firearm with the largest magazine inserted must fit in the IDPA gun test box measuring 7 3⁄4” x 5 3/8” x 13/8”. Start Condition

  1. Single action only firearms will start cocked and locked. (hammer cocked, safety engaged).
  2. Selective DA/SA firearms may start cocked and locked or de-cocked, at the shooter’s discretion.
  3. DA, DAO, or striker fired firearms with a de-cocking lever or button will be de-cocked using the lever or button.
  4. DA, DAO, or striker-fired firearms may have a manual safety engaged at the shooter’s discretion. CCP Permitted Features and Modifications (Inclusive list):
CCP firearms must comply with all Enhanced Service Pistol (ESP) features and modifications, and equipment restrictions.

8.2.5 Revolver Division (REV)

Revolvers will be categorized into one of the two following sub-categories:

Stock Revolver or Enhanced Revolver Stock Revolver handguns permitted for use must be:

  1. Any revolver that uses .38 Special or larger cartridges with a rimmed case and is not loaded with moon clips.
  2. The unloaded firearm must weigh 43.00 oz. or less. Enhanced Revolver handguns permitted for use must be:

  1. Any revolver that uses .357 magnum or larger cartridges with rimmed or rimless cases.
  2. The unloaded firearm must weigh 50.00 oz. or less.
  3. May be loaded via speed loader or full moon clip.

8.2.6 Stock and Enhanced Revolver requirements: The use of trimmed (shortened) ammunition is not allowed. Ammunition used must match the cartridge listed on the firearm with the following exceptions:

  1. .38 special in .357 magnum
  2. .44 special in .44 magnum
  3. .45 Auto Rim or .45 GAP in .45 ACP
  4. .45 ACP or .45 GAP in .45 Colt .
  5. 40 S&W in 10mm  Barrel length must be 4.25” or less.  Revolvers must be loaded to the division capacity of 6 rounds in the cylinder. Higher capacity 7 and 8 roundrevolvers are permitted, but may only load 6 rounds.  Stock and Enhanced Revolver Permitted Modifications (Inclusive list):

  1. Sights may be changed to another notch and post type. The frame and barrel may be machined to accept different style sights.
  2. Action work to enhance trigger pull as long as safety is maintained (smoothing the trigger face, removing the hammer spur, use of over travel stop, conversion to DA only and addition of ball detent are considered action work and are permitted).
  3. Grips may be changed to another style or material that is similar to factory configuration, provided they do not weigh more than 2.00 oz. more than the factory standard weight for that model.
  4. Grip tape, skateboard tape, etc. may be used.
  5. Cylinder latches may be changed to another factory offering from the firearm manufacturer.
  6. Chamfer the rear of the chambers.
  7. Shortening of factory barrels.
  8. Re-barreling to another factory offering for that model.
  9. Firearms converted to accept moon clips may be used in Stock Revolver provided moon clips are not used.
  10. Custom finishes. Enhanced Revolver Additional Permitted Modifications (Inclusive list):

  1. Cylinder latches may be modified or replaced, but may not protrude past the frame in any direction and may notbe thicker than 3/8″ as measured from the side plate of the frame.
  2. Conversion to accept moon clips.
  3. Stock and Enhanced Revolver Excluded Modifications (Non-Inclusive list):
  4. Oversize or heavy barrels.
  5. Hogue Big Butt grips and similar are not allowed. The maximum grip dimensions allowed are:
  6. 5.00” maximum height, measured from the bottom of the hammer opening in the frame to the bottom of thegrip, 2 3/8” maximum depth, 1 5/8” maximum width.

8.2.7 Back Up Gun (BUG)

The Back Up Gun division is a required division for Tier 1 matches, and is an optional in Tier 2 – Tier 5 matches at the Match Director’s discretion, BUG is reported as a single division.

The Back Up Gun division may also be used to create a specialty BUG only match. Match directors may prescribe conditions for courses of fire such as the start condition, holster use, and reloads on the clock.

Handguns permitted for use in BUG are categorized into one of the following sub-categories:

  1. Semi-Automatic BUG.
  2. Revolver BUG.
  3. Other Special Sub-Categories as defined by the MD.

8.2.8 Semi-Automatic BUG (BUG-S) Handguns permitted for use in BUG-S must:

  1. Be semi-automatic.
  2. Be single action, double action, double action only, or striker fired.
  3. Use .380 ACP or larger cartridges.
  4. Barrel length of 3 1/2″ or less.
  5. The unloaded firearm with the heaviest magazine must weigh 26 oz. or less.
  6. The firearm with the largest magazine inserted must fit in the IDPA gun test box measuring 6 1/2″ x 4 5/8″ x 13/8″. Start Condition:

  1. Single action only firearms will start cocked and locked. (hammer cocked, safety engaged).
  2. Selective DA/SA firearms will start cocked and locked or decocked at the shooter’s discretion.
  3. When decocking is desired, firearms with a decocking lever or button will be decocked using the lever or button.
  4. When decocking is desired, if the hammer must be lowered by pulling the trigger and manually lowering thehammer, the hammer will be lowered to the lowest position possible.
  5. Shooters will start with 1 round in the chamber and 5 rounds in the magazine. BUG-S Permitted Features and Modifications
Semi-automatic BUG must comply with all ESP features and modifications, and equipment restrictions.

8.2.9 Revolver BUG (BUG-R)
Handguns permitted for use in BUG-R must be:

  1. Any revolver that uses .38 or larger cartridges with a rimmed case and is not loaded with moon clips.
  2. The use of trimmed (shortened) ammunition is not allowed.
  3. Barrel length of 2 1/2″ or less.
  4. The unloaded firearm must weigh 26 oz. or less.
  5. Be loaded to the division capacity of no more than 5 rounds in the cylinder.
  6. The firearm must fit in the IDPA gun test box measuring 6 1/2″ x 4 5/8″ x 1 3/8″.
  7. Revolver BUG Modifications: Revolver BUG must comply with all Stock Revolver features and modifications, andequipment restrictions.

8.2.10 Specialty Divisions (SPD)

  1. IDPA encourages shooters to practice their gun handling skills with commonly carried firearms. Many everyday carry firearms do not fit into the 6 competition handgun divisions.
  2. IDPA allows clubs to add “Specialty Divisions” for scoring. This division allows cartridges smaller than 9 mm, carry optics, activated lasers, mounted lights, and other firearms which do not fit into the other competition divisions to participate in matches.
  3. All other IDPA equipment rules apply for holsters and loading device holders as well as their placement on the body. Match Directors also have the option to allow junior shooters with .22 rimfire firearms to begin strings at low ready in lieu of requiring a holster.
  4. All IDPA membership rules apply.
  5. Specialty Division classifications are based on the shooters highest classification of regular IPDA divisions.
  6. Clubs are not required to implement this provision, and Match Directors are allowed discretion withimplementation so that match quality remains high.


The following rules apply to ammunition used in IDPA matches.

  1. Metal piercing, incendiary, and tracer ammunition is prohibited.
  2. Clubs may prohibit cartridges that may damage metal targets.
  3. All ammunition must use a single projectile.

8.3.1 Ammunition Power

The goal is to compete with commonly available ammunition. The minimum power factors are:

  1. SSP, ESP, CCP….125
  2. CDP ………………165
  3. Stock REV ………105
  4. Enhanced REV ..155
  5. BUG………………95

Calculate the power factor by multiplying the bullet weight in grains by the bullet velocity in feet per second (fps), divide by 1000, and ignore numbers to the right of the decimal. For example, a 230.1 grain bullet at 794.7 fps: 230.1 x 794.7 / 1000 = 182.86047, or 182 power factor.

8.3.2 Official Chronograph Procedure
Chronograph is conducted with the competitor present. Ammunition is pulled and/or bagged prior to arriving at the chronograph stage. The chronograph official will use the competitor-supplied firearm, and the following procedure will be used:

  1. If two of the three rounds meet or exceed the required power factor, the ammunition is in compliance. Prior to each shot, the muzzle of the firearm will be elevated to vertical (if range rules permit) to move the powder charge to the rear of the case, thus giving the competitor every chance to achieve maximum velocity.
  2. A bullet will be pulled and weighed using a powder scale. If two rounds exceed the highest velocity for the caliber and power factor, pulling the bullet and weighing is optionally waived.
  3. A competitor whose ammunition fails to make power factor will be allowed to shoot the match, but their total score will be a disqualification.


Belts may be no wider than 1 3⁄4 inches or thicker than 5/16 inches and must pass through a minimum of all but two of the pant loops.


  1. The following criteria apply to IDPA legal holsters.
  2. Must be suitable for all day concealed carry, and worn on each stage regardless of the start position.
  3. Must be a strong side hip holster worn inside the waistband (IWB) or outside the waist band.
  4. Must be worn on an IDPA legal belt.
  5. Must prevent activation of the trigger while holstered.
  6. Must carry the firearm in a neutral (vertical) or muzzle rear cant.
  7. Adjustable cant holsters are legal if bolts must be removed and repositioned for cant adjustment. IWB holstersare exempt from this rule.
  8. Must hold the firearm with enough tension to allow the wearer to complete normal daily tasks without fear oflosing the firearm.
  9. Must be constructed of normal thickness common holster making materials (leather, Kydex, plastic, nylon, etc.).
  10. For male shooters, the holster must carry firearm so that the entire front strap (to the trigger guard) is at orabove the top of the belt. IWB holsters are exempt from this rule.
  11. The shooter’s holster location must remain on the same side of the body throughout the entire course of amatch.
  12. Must be positioned on the belt so that the center of the trigger pad is behind the centerline of the body.
  13. For IDPA purposes, the centerline of the body originates in the center of the armpit and goes straight down.
  14. All retention devices on the holster must be used.
  15. Retention devices may be permanently removed or permanently disabled, but not temporarily disabled for amatch.
  16. The front edge of the holster may not be more than 1 3⁄4 inch below the breech face (autos) or 1 inch below therear of the cylinder (revolvers).
  17. Holsters may be modified to meet IDPA rules.
  18. Holsters with screws or knobs that extend past the outer face of the holster are allowed if the adjustmentscrew(s) require a tool to change tension, the screws protrude less than 0.125” from the outer face of the holster, and they meet all other holster requirements. Additionally, all tension screws anywhere on a holster must require a tool for tension adjustment.
  19. For male shooters only, the holsters must fit the shooter’s body such that a 3⁄4 inch diameter dowel placed between the shooter and the firearm anywhere above the belt contacts both the shooter and the firearm simultaneously.
  20. A holster may be legal for some shooters but not legal for other shooters due to different body shapes.
  21. A holster may be legal if worn snugly but illegal if sagging away from the body.
  22. For women shooters only, a dropped and offset (DOH) holster may be used. Concealment and cant rules apply.
  23. For women shooters only, when viewed from the front, a women’s holster may not tilt out away from the body further than vertical, unless the shooter’s body touches the grip of firearm.

8.5.1 Non-Permitted Holsters (Non-Inclusive list):

  1. Cross-draw carry
  2. Shoulder holsters
  3. Small of the back carry
  4. Appendix carry
  5. Pocket carry

Ammunition Carriers

8.6.1 General Ammunition Carrier Rules

  1. Instead of using ammunition carriers, shooters may carry spare loading devices in their pockets. Shooters maymix carry methods.
  2. One ammunition carrier per allowed ammunition feeding device may be worn on the belt. Each individual pouchin a multi-pouch carrier counts as one. One additional ammunition carrier may be worn behind the centerline of the body for the purposes of loading at the start of a stage. This carrier must be empty before the “Stand By” command.
  3. Ammunition carriers may be modified to meet IDPA rules.
  4. For male shooters only, ammunition carriers must hold the loading devices such that a 3⁄4 inch dowel placedbetween the shooter and the device contacts both the shooter and the device simultaneously.

8.6.2 Magazine Carriers

  1. Must be suitable for concealed carry and all day continuous wear
  2. Must be worn on an IDPA legal belt
  3. Must cover 2” of the magazine as measured from the top of the cartridge rim down the back flat of themagazine tube
  4. Must cover the entire outer face of the portion of the magazine inside the carrier. The outer face is the sideaway from the shooter’s body
  5. Must hold the magazine within 10° of vertical relative to the belt. (80° to 100° relative to the belt).
  6. Screws or knobs that extend past the outer face of the carrier are allowed if the adjustment screw(s) require atool to change tension, the screws protrude less than 0.125” from the outer face of the magazine carrier, and they meet all other magazine carrier requirements. Additionally, all tension screws anywhere on a magazine carrier must require a tool for tension adjustment.
  7. “Bullets out” magazine pouches are not allowed.
  8. Magazine carriers must be worn in a location on the belt so that the front edge of the carrier or magazine isbehind the shooter’s hipbone.
  9. The same exact location for magazines, magazine pouches, and/or ammunition feeding devices in pockets mustbe used for every stage in a single match, unless otherwise specified in a stage description.

8.6.3 Speed Loader and Moon Clip Carrier Rules

  1. Be suitable for concealed carry and all day continuous wear.
  2. Speed loader carriers must either be of open top configuration that covers at least 45% of the diameter and100% of the cartridge height when viewed from the front, and must retain the speed loader by tension or retainthe speed loader with a snap or Velcro closure. Side cuts are permitted for thumb and index finger access only.
  3. Moon clip carriers must either be of open top configuration that covers at least 45% of the diameter and 100%of the cartridge height when viewed from the front, and must retain the moon clip by tension and a stud thatprotrudes through the center of the clip, or retains the moon clip with a snap or Velcro closure.
  4. Moon clips may not be retained in the carrier by 3 or less cartridges. Side cuts are permitted for thumb andindex finger access only.
  5. Two speed loaders/moon clips may be worn directly in front of the holster. The speed loaders/moon clips wornin front of the holster must be within 1” of each other, and the speed loader/moon clip nearest the holster must be within 1” of the revolver pouch of the holster.
  6. The shooter may wear additional speed loaders/moon clips behind the hipbone on the weak side or behind the holster.
  7. The same exact location for speed loaders, speed loader pouches, moon clips, moon clip pouches, and/or ammunition feeding devices in pockets must be used for every stage in a single match, unless otherwise specified in a stage description.

Duty Gear Exemption

This duty gear exemption is for patrol type gear worn by uniformed personnel, not undercover, plainclothes, or investigative type gear.

Police and military personnel are allowed to use their duty rigs as follows:

  1. The duty holster must be a strong side belt or thigh holster with at least one retention feature.
  2. All retention features of the holster must be used.
  3. All belt equipment holders must be present, though the shooter may decide which belt equipment is present.

Police and military personnel using the duty gear exemption are exempt from:

  1. Using concealment garment
  2. Holster design and placement requirements (other than listed above)
  3. Ammunition carrier design and placement requirements
  4. Belt design and placement requirements

The duty gear exemption is available for Tier 1 matches only.

Miscellaneous Equipment

8.8.1 Knee Pads & Elbow Pads
Hard shell kneepads and elbow pads are not allowed.

Soft shelled pads, braces, and tape may be worn throughout a match without being concealed, provided they are worn for each stage of the match. Pads, braces, and tape worn under concealment garments may be put on and removed as the competitor sees fit.

8.8.2 Cleats
Cleated shoes may be worn so long as the cleats are made entirely from a rubber compound that you can push your fingernail into. No hard plastic or metal cleats are permitted.

8.8.3 Gloves Gloves may be used.

8.8.4 Flashlights
Only hand held lights may be used in IDPA competition. For Physically Disabled shooters, refer to Physically Disabled Shooters Section.

Lights may not be attached to the shooter’s hand, wrist, or arm in any fashion.
Rings or straps that go around any part of the shooter’s body (finger, palm, wrist, etc.) are not allowed. Lanyards may be present, but may not be used.

Police and military personnel using the Duty Gear Exemption with a firearm mounted light may not activate the mounted light, and are otherwise subject to the same hand held flashlight usage rules as other competitors. See rule 3.17.

Concealment Garments

8.9.1  Concealment garments hide the holster, firearm, ammunition carriers, and loading devices from view.

8.9.2  To see if the garment is legal, the competitor stands with their arms straight out to their sides, parallel to the ground. If the standing SO cannot see the previously listed equipment from the front, sides, or rear, then the concealment garment is legal.

8.9.3  Concealment garments may not be modified with plastic zip ties, wire, metal, Styrofoam, cardboard, or any 35 similar material that would stiffen the garment or pockets. Patches may not be placed on concealment garment pockets. Use of standard laundry starch is acceptable.

8.9.4  Weights may not be attached to concealment garments, but items may be placed in pockets.

8.9.5  Pocket flaps may be inserted into pockets.

8.9.6  Specially made pockets for magazine stowage after a reload may not be used.


IDPA shooters are divided into 7 separate Classifications so that shooters may compete against others of like skill, using similar equipment. These Classifications are Unclassified, Novice, Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, Master, and Distinguished Master. New IDPA members are Unclassified in a division until they shoot their first IDPA Classifier in that division or receive an Equity Promotion in that division.

There are three ways a shooter’s classification can change: by shooting the Classifier, by being promoted based on performance in a Sanctioned Match, or by an Equity Promotion.

The IDPA Classifier is a match that classifies shooters. Distinguished Master, however, is only attained by winning the Division Champion title or scoring within 3% of the Division Champion score at the IDPA U.S. Nationals, IDPA U.S. Indoor Nationals, or the IDPA World Championship.

Classification Database

The IDPA Classification Database is the only official record of Classifications. The IDPA Classification Database must be kept up-to-date and accurate by each IDPA club’s Match Director, Club Contact, or designee.

When a Classifier Match is held, or a Classification Promotion occurs at a Sanctioned Match, the Club Contact, Match Director, or designee must upload the appropriate scores to the IDPA Classification Database within 7 calendar days.

Classification Frequency

9.2.1  Every IDPA member must shoot the Classifier at least once every 12 months, except Master and Distinguished Master class shooters.

9.2.2  A Match Performance Promotion in the last twelve months in a division counts as shooting the Classifier in the division they are promoted to.

9.2.3  Shooting and completing a Sanctioned IDPA match in the last 12 months (without a DQ or DNF) also counts as shooting a Classifier in the division in which the shooter competed.

9.2.4  Should a Match Director feel that a shooter should be shooting in a higher Classification level, the MD may require that the shooter shoot the Classifier again to reestablish a current Classification.

9.2.5  Every shooter in a Sanctioned Match must be classified within the previous 12 months in the Division in which he/she is entered. For a Sanctioned match, the Match Director or designee must confirm that every shooter is an IDPA member on match day and has a current Classification on match day in the Division and Classification entered in the match.

9.2.6  For local matches, it is sufficient to shoot a Classifier in the division most often entered. A shooter may compete in club matches in a division where a classification is not current within twelve months or the shooter is Unclassified, where the Equity Classification will be used.

9.2.7  Shooters may not go down in Classification except for permanent physical disability or for other irrevocable reasons. IDPA HQ will determine when this is appropriate and make the necessary adjustments to the Classification Database.

Universal Semi-Automatic Classification

The classification attained by shooting the Classifier in any semi-automatic pistol division must be applied to all other semi-automatic pistol divisions. For example, if an SSP shooter receives an Expert classification, they are then also classified as Expert in CCP, ESP, and CDP.


Match Performance Promotion

9.4.1  Classification can also be affected by a shooter’s performance in Sanctioned Matches. This is based on the number of people in a shooter’s Division and Classification and the Classifications above within that same Division. This method of Classification promotion calculation does not include DQ’s, DNF’s or match no-shows.

9.4.2  The winner of a class at a Sanctioned Match will be promoted to the next higher Classification if that shooter beats 9 shooters in that class or any higher class in that Division.

9.4.3  The 2nd place finisher of a class at a Sanctioned Match will be promoted to the next higher Classification if that shooter beats 19 shooters in that class or any higher class in that Division. This progression continues for the 3rd, 4th, 5th place, etc. in the match. For example, the 4th place finisher will be promoted if that shooter beats 39 shooters in that class or any higher class in that Division.

9.4.4  If 2 or more shooters in the same Division and Classification in a match have the exact same score, and that score qualifies for a Classification Promotion, all shooters with that score will be promoted.

Equity Promotion

9.5.1  A shooter’s highest and lowest Classification in a semi-auto division can only differ by one Classification level. When a semi-auto shooter receives a Match Performance Promotion, the Equity promotion rule is applied to all semi-automatic Divisions. Divisions in which the shooter is Unclassified also receive an Equity Promotion by this rule if the highest Classification attained is Marksman or above. The Equity Promotion does not apply to or affect PCC, REV or BUG divisions. For example, if a shooter is promoted to Sharpshooter in a match, then the shooter’s classifications in other semi-automatic divisions are updated to Marksman.

9.5.2  Equity Promotions do not count as shooting the Classifier. For divisions where the shooter’s Equity Promotion applies, it defines the minimum classification that one can shoot under. The shooter still needs to meet the requirements of the rule above for Sanctioned Matches.

9.5.3  This rule does not apply to six firearm awards, which may only be attained by shooting Classifiers at the appropriate level.

The Pistol Classifier Match

The pistol classifier and the pistol caliber carbine classifier stage descriptions, layout diagrams and score sheets can be found at


The purpose of this process is to provide guidelines which promote constructive dialogue and resolution of shooter concerns at a sanctioned match. An appeal expresses dissatisfaction with a decision or interpretation of the current IDPA rules as applied by the Match Director, Safety Officers, or Stage Designers.

This process will govern IDPA sanctioned matches only. The IDPA Rules in the most current rulebook will be used as the guide for resolving disputes.

General Guidelines:

Appeals can be submitted by the following process.

An appeal can be made regarding a stage design before or after a competitor completes the CoF but must be submitted prior to final scores being posted.

Appeals Requirements

10.2.1  Shooters may verbally appeal an issue/decision to the Chief Safety Officer (CSO) of the stage on which the dispute arose, adhering to all aspects of the IDPA Shooter’s Code of Conduct, immediately after attempting to shoot the CoF.

10.2.2  If the shooter and CSO still disagree, the shooter may verbally appeal the issue/decision to the Match Director 37 (MD), adhering to all aspects of the IDPA Shooter’s Code of Conduct, within 15 minutes of receiving the decision from the CSO.

10.2.3  If the shooter and MD still disagree, the shooter must alert the MD immediately of the shooter’s intent to file a written appeal.

10.2.4  The shooter submits a written appeal within 30 minutes of informing MD of their intent. The preparation of the document rests solely on the shooter. Appeals received past this time limit will not be considered. The appeal should include the following information:

  1. Shooter’s name and contact information (including cell phone number, if applicable)
  2. Brief description of the issue (100 words or less)
  3. Names of witnesses and description of evidence, if applicable
  4. Confirmation that the appeal has been expressed to both the CSO and MD
  5. Specific rule and number from the current rulebook (including page number) that has been violated or is being reviewed
  6. The desired outcome of the appeal
  7. A fee of $100 USD cash must accompany the written appeal.

Written Appeal Review

10.3.1  After receipt of the written appeal, the MD will deliver the document to the Area Coordinator (AC) of the region or his delegate, who will act as Lead of the Arbitration Team.

10.3.2  The AC will select a team of 3 shooters (including himself) who are certified Safety Officers to comprise the Appeals Team. Each member will have one vote. The Appeals Team Members should have no conflict of interest with the outcome.

10.3.3  The Appeals Team will review the document prepared by the Shooter and will retain the appeal fee until a decision is made.

10.3.4  The Team may request further information from the shooter, SO, CSO, MD, and witnesses, and may inspect any stage or area related to the appeal.

10.3.5  The shooter filing the appeal should not initiate communications with any of the parties involved with the issue or with the Appeals Team after the initial submission of the appeal.

10.3.6  The team will deliberate and render a decision within 1 hour after receipt of the appeal. This will be presented to the MD and the shooter who filed the appeal.

10.3.7  It is the responsibility of the MD to implement the Appeals Team’s decision.

10.3.8  If the team supports the appeal, this may involve reinstating the shooter, providing the shooter with a reshoot, eliminating a penalty or withdrawing the stage from the match. In this case, the appeal fee will be returned to the shooter.

10.3.9  If the team does not support the appeal, the decision of the MD stands and the AC will forward the appeal fee to IDPA Headquarters.

10.3.10  All decisions by the Appeals Team are final and may not be appealed.

10.3.11  No third-party appeals will be accepted by a shooter on behalf of someone else.

10.3.12  The AC will provide a summary of the appeal and disposition to IDPA Headquarters within 1 week of the match completion date.

Best Binoculars of 2018 [Buyer’s Guide]

We put together a list of some of our top rated binoculars for your ease of use.  Because there are hundreds of options of binoculars on the market it’s easy to purchase a pair that offers too much or too little quality.  While the US military spends thousands of dollars on some of the best binoculars around, they may not be what you need for your hunting trip.  Conversely, a $100 pair of cheap binoculars may not offer the clarity you need for your intended use.  So here are a few of our favorites.

Our Top Reviewed Binoculars

  1. Leupold Binoculars-

The Leupold Rogue Compact Porro Prism Binoculars are our top pick for everyday binoculars.  These retail for just under $100 and still offer superior quality in clarity.  In addition the 10 x 25mm (meaning 10 x magnification and a 25mm diameter lens) offers great low light quality and great magnification.  At 12.9 ounces these won’t weigh down your kit and they offer a compact solution.

  • Lightweight
  • Fits in the palm of your hand
  • Under $100
  • Inverted Porro Prism offers great magnification in a compact unit
  • Leupold limited lifetime warranty


2. Burris Binoculars

The Burris 300293 is hands down one of the clearest binoculars on the market.  While they are a little pricier than other options you certainly get what you pay for.  The lenses are fully multi-coated for enhanced light transmission and reduced glare.  The binos are 12 x 50mm which means they offer a better magnification than a lot of their competitors as well as a larger lens that will naturally let it better light.  This is crucial when hunting.

  • Reduced Glare
  • Great magnification
  • Great for use in low light

3. Vortex Binoculars


The Vortex Viper HD are expensive, but they are unbelievable when it comes to quality.  These are 10 x 50mm meaning they have a great field of view.  The Vipers are also coated with a compact rubber armored chasis which makes them super durable which is ideal for combat or hunting use.  In addition these are argon purged and O-ring sealed making them extremely water resistant and able to stand up to the elements.

  • Weather resistant
  • Designed specifically for field use
  • Possibly the best light transmission of any bino we’ve seen

4.  Bushnell Binoculars

If you are looking for an inexpensive option for binoculars the Bushnell Power View 10 x 50mm are probably your best bet.  These binoculars are around $60 and offer some great HD quality imagery.  While they aren’t the most durable or the clearest option on the market, they are the best of the less expensive options.

  • BK-7 Prism offers high definition viewing at an inexpensive price
  • Real-tree camo pattern
  • Best of the inexpensive options on the market

5.  Steiner Binoculars 

The Steiner LRF 1700 are the most expensive option ($2,000), but they are also hands down the best option.  The 1700 come with an integrated, highly accurate laser range finder that offers quick ranging of targets.  Steiner has been a long-time supplier of binoculars to the US Military and all of their optics are built to the highest quality.  These will offer incredible imaging from low light scenarios to bright days.  In addition they come with incredible anti-glare coatings and a durable, weather-proof, body.

The Best Night Vision Bincoluars

This is a tough one to gauge since night vision binoculars can range from $100-100,000 and the quality range of those binos can be just as different as the price.  If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive item take a look at the Solomark Night Vision Binoculars.  These are around $360 and are arguably your best bang for the buck.  These are great for hunting scenarios but wouldn’t be ideal for any type of military/police operations.  The Solomarks can offer viewing up to 400m at night with infrared technology.  In addition they have the ability to take 5pm photos or videos at day or night.  This is great for location scouting/recon.  In the dark these have 7 x magnification with a 2 x digital zoom.

Best Spotting Scope

Our choice for the best spotting scope is the Vortex 20-60 x 85mm Razor.  If you are getting a spotting scope for the purposes of reading trace, this is one of the least expensive options out there that will still offer great clarity.  While there are arguably better spotting scopes on the market, they will often be well over the Razor’s $1500 price tag.  These have an ultra hard coated armatek exterior lens that helps it from getting scratched.  They also have an XR anti-reflective coating which offers an extremely bright viewing platform.  The variable power 20-60 magnification allows you to back out far enough to read trace and zoom in far enough to see round impact.  Finally these are weather sealed for use in the elements.


Binoculars Definition:

Binoculars are an optical instrument that has lenses for each eye.  In general these are magnified in order to see objects in the distance.

Free Printable Shooting Targets

Our Free Printable Shooting Targets are easily downloadable and can be printed on standard 8.5 x 11″ paper.  Each target features elements of our larger targets that are also available on our website.

1. The Kill Zone Target

This 8.5 x 11″ free downloadable target features the head of our Kill Zone Target.  The dimensions of this target are anatomically correct to a human head and it’s designed to give you an idea of how your shot placement would affect a human.

2. IQ Rifle

Our IQ Rifle Targets are 5″ shapes designed to give you multiple training options.  These are great for long range and CQB shooting.  These can be paired with our Deadman’s Hands shooting cards that offer 52 different rifle drills.

Want to improve your marksmanship? Read our blog, 5 Gun Targets to Increase your Marksmanship


3. IQ Pistol

Like our Rifle IQ targets, our Pistol IQ Targets are designed to create thinking shooters.  These are 3″ shapes rather than 5″ shapes and are better suited for close in pistol shooting. The targets can be used in an infinite number of configurations for maximum training opportunities.  We also created a deck of Pistol Deadman’s Hands that offers 52 drills that can be used in conjunction with the target.

Looking for another target option? Read our blog, The Best Silhouette Targets

4. Essentials Target

Our Essentials Target is a great target that features a number of shapes designed to maximize your range time.  We also wrote an entire book of drills that can be used in conjunction with the Essentials Target.  This printable target features a few shapes from the target to include a 3 x 5″ box (represents common 3 x 5″ card drills), a 2″ circle and a 1″ square.

Looking for rifle targets? Read our blog, The Best Rifle Targets for your Next Range Day

Looking for a great VA Loan Guide?  Of course you are. Be sure to check out ours here

How To Check for Vital Signs | What Vital Signs Mean

What are Vital Signs?

The human body is magnificently designed. Just like a high-performance race car, a trained individual can tell you what’s wrong with someone based on a standard diagnostics test just like the local technician at the local auto repair shop. For cars, it’s a diagnostic test. For people, it’s vital signs. The normal vital sign range can vary depending on many factors, such as age, overall health, environmental factors, etc. Infant vital signs and kids’ vital signs are higher or lower (depending on the vital sign being evaluated) than normal vital signs for adults.

Vital Signs Definition

Vital signs, also known as signs of life, are objective measurements that are able to be monitored, observed, or measured. When these vital signs are anything above zero, they indicate life. Firefighters, paramedics, police officers, military service members, medical professionals, and even dentists require a working knowledge of vital signs to provide a baseline indication of health.

Why do we check for Vital Signs?

Whenever you go to a hospital, emergency clinic, doctor’s officer, or even the dentist one of the staff check your “vitals.” The purpose of this is to establish a baseline which in turn enables the nurse, doctor, physician assistant, etc. to identify any irregularities and begin developing a solution to your ailments. Even if you’re perfectly healthy and merely visiting the doctor for a yearly checkup, your doctor may tell you to watch your blood pressure based upon a change in the last baseline vitals during your previous visit. Later, we’ll get into how to take vital signs.

What are the six Vital Signs?  

While medical professionals agree on four signs as standard, specialized care facilities may use up to six measurable traits.

  1. Body Temperature
  2. Heart Rate or Pulse
  3. Respiratory Rate
  4. Blood Pressure
  5. Pain Scale (most commonly used)
    1. Menstrual Cycle
    2. Pulse Oximetry
    3. Blood Glucose Levels
  6. Shortness of Breath
    1. Functional Status
    2. End-tidal CO2
    3. Gait Speed

Body Temp

Body temperature, or thermoregulation if you want to impress your friends, is your body’s ability to regulate its own temperature. You sweat in hot weather and shiver in cold weather because your body is attempting to self-regulate your temperature within an acceptable range. This acceptable range varies by person, but the generally accepted range for a healthy adult is between 97.6 and 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Babies and children have a slightly higher range, between 97.9 to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

For most of us, a low body temperature (hypothermia) likely indicates an overexposure to the elements in cold temperatures or water immersion. Your body shivers to vibrate your muscles and increase exothermic activity in your muscle’s cells, in turn generating heat while staying still in an effort to reach your norm temperature. Drug and alcohol use, a hypoactive thyroid, and any number of infections can also explain a consistently low body temperature.

The causes of high body temperatures (hyperthermia) can be anything from over bodily exertion to your body fighting off infection. In fact, many medical professionals believe you develop a fever to burn up the infection as a natural defense. When you’re mowing the grass on a hot Texas summer day or hiking Pike’s Peak in Colorado during a light snow, you’re likely sweating. This is the body’s most common way to regulate your temperature by cooling your skin down.

If someone’s body temp falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit or is above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, seek medical attention immediately. These are considered deadly body temps and indicates that the body can no longer regulate its own temperature.

Here’s a quick study guide for treating life-threatening hypothermia:

And another guide for treating hyperthermia:

To check for body temp, you can use a number of different tools. We recommend maintaining a glass or electric thermometer for oral use at home. The special thermometers your doctor uses in your ear are quite accurate because they give a better indication of the body’s core temperature. You can improvise and use a glass thermometer in someone’s armpit, but keep in mind that it may be up to half a degree higher than a typical oral reading. The Ranger Instructor Special, or rectal temperature, will also measure anywhere from half a degree to 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than an oral reading.

Pulse Rate

The pulse rate, more commonly known as heart rate, is essentially the rate at which you can feel your heart pumping blood through your body. The pulse rate is a good way to help measure the heart’s efficiency. To get a good tactile reading on the pulse rate, you need to find an artery close to the skin’s surface. The easiest arteries to check are the carotid artery (on your neck just below your jaw) and the radial artery (on the wrist below the palm of your hand). You can also use the femoral artery (groin), popliteal artery (behind your knee), the posterior tibial artery (near the ankle joint), and the dorsalis pedis artery (on top of your foot). You can use any of these places to check for pulse rates by holding one of these particular areas with your fingertips and counting how many beats you feel per minute.

Here’s a normal pulse range chart correlating age with the average pulse range (BPM= Beats Per Minute):


(0-3 months)


(3-6 months)


(6-12 months)


(1-10 years)

Children over 10 years &

Adults (including seniors)

Well-trained Adult Athletes
99-149 BPM 89-119 BPM 79-119 BPM 69-129 BPM 59-99 BPM 39-59 BPM

Many factors affect the normal pulse range, such as activity level, fitness level, air temperature, body position during measurement, emotions, body size, and medications. Keep in mind that all measurements are generally taken at rest. A normal pulse range for a healthy adult ranges anywhere from 60-100 beats per minute, but a well-trained athlete might be closer to 40 beats per minute.

Generally speaking, a high resting pulse rate can mean inactivity or poor fitness that’s indicative of a sedentary lifestyle. Conversely, a low resting heart rate indicates an active, fitness-centric lifestyle.  Outliers do exist, so please consult a doctor if your resting heart rate is unusually outside of the normal adult pulse of 40-60 beats per minute.  

If you have access to clinical resources, you can use high tech machines to accurately read the pulse rate. The most common is the electrocardiograph machine or EKG. EKGs measure much more than just heart rate, but it is a very accurate method. Most of us do not have access to these machines, so we must rely on a simple watch or timer and the tactile sense in our fingers. To do this in a field environment, use your bare fingertips to feel the pulse on exposed skin at one of the areas discussed above. Locate the pulse and feel a few beats prior to starting your timer. Keep your eyes on your watch and fingers on the skin, then count the beats until one minute elapses. Certain conditions, such as extreme cold or hypothermia, may not allow for taking a pulse reading on extremities. For extreme cases like this, measure the heart rate as close to the heart as possible.

Respiration Rate

Simply the amount of normal breathes per minute your body takes to intake oxygen and offload carbon dioxide. Below is a chart representing the normal respiratory rate based on age. Note that the adult respiratory rate is significantly lower than newborns. In this instance, BPM= Breathes Per Minute.

Less than 1 year 1-2 years 2-5 years 5-12 years Over 12 years
30-40 BPM 25-35 BPM 25-30 BPM 20-25 BPM  12-20 BPM

As noted above, your normal breathing rate should be somewhere between 12-20 breathes per minute. Irregularities in your normal respiration, such as shortness of breath, are potentially life-threatening. Changes in your average respiration rate can indicate dangerous causes such as heart attack, pneumonia, or a pulmonary embolism. These symptoms require medical attention immediately. More common causes of high respiration are exercise, exertion, or stress. For some of the common causes, you will return to your normal breaths per minute after a (hopefully) short break.

Common causes of low respiration rates are head injuries, hypothermia, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma, and diabetes. Drugs can also significantly lower your average respiratory rate.

To check for the respiration rate on a patient, simply observe the number of breaths taken within a minute. Cold weather will help see the breath, but if you’re in a situation where you can’t see the breath itself, you can either observe the chest rising, feel the breath with your exposed skin, or hover your ear over the patient’s mouth to both feel and hear the breath count. Once the minute is up, compare the patient’s breath with the chart above to see if it falls into the normal respiratory rate.

Blood Pressure

This is the pressure of circulating blood within your blood vessels. Here is a chart showing the minimum, maximum, and normal blood pressure for infants to seniors.

1-12 months 75/50 90/60 110/75
1-5 years 80/55 95/65 110/79
6-13 years 90/60 105/70 115/80
14-19 years 105/73 117/77 120/81
20-24 years 108/75 120/79 132/83
25-29 years 109/76 121/80 133/84
30-34 years 110/77 122/81 134/85
35-39 years 111/78 123/82 135/86
40-44 years 112/79 125/83 137/87
45-49 years 115/80 127/84 139/88
50-54 years 116/81 129/85 142/89
55-59 years 118/82 131/86 144/90
60-64 years 121/83 134/87 147/91

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when blood moves through arteries at a higher pressure than normal. Hypertension can put you at risk for stroke, heart disease, heart attack, and kidney failure. Conversely, low blood pressure (hypotension) is lower than normal pressure in your arteries. This is usually not considered dangerous unless noticeable symptoms are present such as dizziness and fainting. However, when these symptoms are present they can indicate serious heart, endocrine, or neurological disorders.

Blood pressure is checked with a few different methods, but most readings are given in systolic pressure (maximum pressure during one heartbeat) over diastolic pressure (minimum pressure during one heartbeat). One of the most common readings is gathered using a sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope. A manual sphygmomanometer uses the height of a column of mercury to reflect the circulating pressure in your arteries, but electronic ones are also available. The electronic ones are simple, but more expensive, since you simply snuggly place it on your bicep, turn it on, and wait for the reading. The manual version requires more work but is still fairly accurate.

Here’s how to use a manual sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope:

  1. Sit in a chair with a place to support your testing arm (generally your left arm). Your arm should be approximately the same height as your heart when extended with a slight bend in your elbow.
  2. Wrap the cuff around your testing arm. Ensure to remove any garments and get skin to cuff contact. It should fit snugly on your arm.
  3. Place the wide head of the stethoscope flat against your skin on your inner arm on your brachial artery. The edge of the stethoscope should be just beneath the cuff.
  4. Place the earpieces of the stethoscope in your ears.
  5. Clip the pressure gauge to a stable surface so that you can see the needle and pressure markings.
  6. Tighten the valve on the rubber bulb. Twist the valve clockwise until you feel it stop.
  7. Rapidly inflate the cuff to 180mmHg. This temporarily cuts off the blood flow to get an accurate reading.
  8. Gently turn the bulb valve counter-clockwise to release the pressure. Keep an eye on the needle and try to keep it moving downwards at a rate of 3mm per second.
  9. As the pressure drops, note your systolic pressure. When you hear the first thump in your earpieces, the pressure reading on the gauge is your systolic pressure.
  10. Once you stop hearing thumping or whooshing noises in your earpieces, note the reading on the gauge. This is your diastolic blood pressure.

Adult and Pediatric Vital Signs Chart

Age Group Respiratory Rate  Heart Rate  Systolic Blood Pressure Weight (pounds)
Newborn 30-50 120-160 50-70 4.5-7 lbs
1-12 months 20-30 80-140 70-100 9-22 lbs
1-3 years 20-30 80-130 80-110 22-31 lbs
3-5 years 20-30 80-120 80-110 31-40 lbs
6-12 years 20-30 70-110 80-120 41-92 lbs
13 years and over 12-20 55-105 110-120 over 110 lbs

*Respiratory Rate is given in Breaths Per Minute

**Heart Rate is given in Beats Per Minute

The RE Factor Tactical Kill Card Challenge

The RE Factor Challenge is designed to test your pistol shooting capabilities.  The drill will test your speed, accuracy, trigger manipulations and reload times.

Anyone who is able to meet the drill standard will receive the RE Factor Tactical Challenge patch.  This patch is not available for purchase and is available only to those who successfully meet the drill standard with video proof.  Your name will be published on our website unless requested otherwise.


Video Requirements:

In the video you must provide:

  • Proof of distance (using a measuring tape)
  • Proof of time (using a shot timer)
  • Proof of hits (show before and after of the target)


This drill is to be conducted on the Essentials Target


Distance for this drill is 5 yards

Starting position:

The shooter starts facing downrange, facing the target.  The shooter will have a pistol holstered.  The type of holster does not matter.  The type of pistol used does not matter.

The shooter will have their hands either in the surrender position, or with their hands down by their sides.  The shooter MAY NOT have their hand starting on the weapon.

The weapon will have a round chambered and one round in the loaded magazine.

In addition the shooter will have two magazines on their side, one with four rounds and one with two rounds.

The Drill:

At the buzzer the shooter will draw and fire two rounds to the #1 circle, reload, fire four rounds to the #7 rectangle, reload, fire two rounds to the #12 rectangle.


Successful completion of this drill is any time under 7 seconds with no misses.

Current Patch Holders:

  1. Alan Elam (From Surefire)- 4.62 Top Time
  2. Jake Denno- 5.28
  3. Brice Silveria (Quantico Tactical)- 5.29
  4. Brandon Wright- 5.35 
  5. @T1CS “Jared C”- 5.53
  6. Brian Popelas- 5.93
  7. Sean Griffith- 6.09
  8. Sam Ghormley- 6.10
  9. Mike MacCubbin- 6.26
  10. Kodiak MPDSWAT(ret.)”- 6.28
  11. Nick Makowski (Texas Department of Public Safety) – 6.34
  12. Craig McElhaney- 6.37
  13. FBI SWAT Agent (Name withheld)- 6.41
  14. FBI HRT Operator (Name withheld)- 6.46
  15. L.P.- 6.53
  16. Joshua Armstrong / Valiant Arms- 6.53
  17. Ryan Mowrer- 6.60
  18. McGrath Fort Lauderdale Police Department: 6.64
  19. Adam Simon- 6.66
  20. Brantin Perkins- 6.71
  21. JSOC Member (name withheld)- 6.72
  22. Joey Hsiao:  6.76
  23. Chase Cejka 6.77
  24. Special Agent Homeland Security Investigations” 6.76
  25. Jeremy Wang- 6.81
  26. Jake Morales- 6.81
  27. Michael Hiday (Jacksonville, FL Sheriff’s Office SWAT- 6.83
  28. Mike@65- 6.83
  29. K. Thompson, HPD- 6.84
  30. Christopher Garlock- 6.84
  31. Sam  Lerman (Quantico Tactical)- 6.87 
  32. David “Unicorn” Lang- 6.87
  33. Rev. Harrison Kone – 6.87
  34. Elias Anderson- 6.88
  35. Chad Strickland- 6.89
  36. Joshua Damme – 6.93
  37. Tom Reese- 6.97
  38. Steven Hellwig- 6.97
  39. Josh “The Original” Taylor- 6.99
  40. Brian Lewis- 7.00