The IDPA Indoor Nationals &
The IDPA Experience


Shooting USA - The IDPA Indoor Nationals - The IDPA Experience

30-13-1We're at Smith & Wesson's state of the art indoor ranges for the National Championships in the sport that grew out of concealed carry training.  The International Defensive Pistol Association challenges shooters with real-world scenarios and targets with bad guys and hostages. The annual Indoor Championships awards titles in five gun classifications, that are highly prized by the top shooters and the manufacturers who sponsor their competition. 

30-13-7Plus, Jim, John, and Mike shoot the match as their first IDPA experience. You'll see how they did beginning their IDPA competition with the toughest stage challenges of the year.

It stands for International Defensive Pistol Association.  For short we call it IDPA.  It’s the game designed around concealed carry training, and once a year the members rally inside Smith and Wesson’s indoor ranges competing for national titles. This is the match that starts the shooting season, and all the competitors agree there is no better place to start.


Stage props include headlights shining in your face, erratic no shoot movers, entire stages in the dark, and some of the fastest charging targets anywhere.  You begin each stage challenge drawing from concealment, using an approved holster that is suitable for concealed carry in real life.



30-13-9The tactics are also real. You can’t just run-and-gun an IDPA stage. You have to shoot using cover, and not exposing yourself to threat targets. It goes well beyond just gun handling skills, accuracy, speed of the draw; it’s how you can engage each scenario, and how your mind will work the solutions under pressure.

IDPA has five divisions for competition, defined by the choice of carry gun.

  • Stock Service Pistol – Stock Double Action / Safe Action factory pistols such as Glock, Beretta, S&W M&P, Ruger, Browning and Sig.
  • Enhanced Service Pistol – for Single Action 9mm / 38 Super / 40 S&W service pistols, such as the Browning HP, EAA Witness, and 1911 pattern pistols.
  • Custom Defensive Pistol – 45 Auto single stack pistols and Hi Cap models in 45 such as Para, STI, SVI and Glock 20 / 21 models.
  • Stock Service Revolver – for popular service revolvers loaded with speed loaders or one round at a time.
  • Enhanced Service Revolver - revolvers loaded using moon clips.
  • There will be a champion in each gun division with all competitors ranked according to their skill level: Novice, Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, and Master.


Related Links:

Equipment for IDPA Competition

30-13-19Concealment Garments from Blackhawk!

The Training Jacket.
Available in black, navy, or foliage green.  It's the Jacket Todd Jarrett uses in IDPA competition. $90 Suggested Retail

The Rad Vest
Soft shell windproof vest with a fleece lining, but it also works well for IDPA.  $100 Suggested Retail

The Grid Fleece is designed as a base layer. It’s flexible so there’s no interference with your draw. $60 Suggested Retail.

Shooting USA viewers Save 10% when shopping Blackhawk! 

Pro Tip – Julie Golob on Flashlight Shooting Techinques



If you’re competing in Indoor IDPA Competition, you will need to use a flashlight on dark stages.  Julie shows you the choice of techniques for lighting your way while shooting fast and accurately.



Blackhawk! Flashlights For Concealed Carry and Competition

30-13-20The ALLY PL3 compact flashlight with two settings, high has 85 lumens. $175

The Legacy L6-P is one of the brightest flashlights at 90 lumens. $130

The Legacy X9-P  is larger and the brightest at 120 lumens. $60

Shooting USA viewers Save 10% when shopping Blackhawk! 


One Reason Mike Irvine Shot Well:


Mike added precut grip tape to his M & P 9 from Speed Shooters Specialties.  The rough surface tape provides a more secure grip. It worked for Irv. 

Speed Shooters Specialty Website




RCBS Reloading Tip with Kent Sakamoto - Case neck Uniforming

30-13-11If you are hand-loading for accuracy, then every step in the process becomes important.  So consider the neck of the cartridge case that’s going to release the bullet at ignition.  Even with new brass, you need to be sure the metal in the neck is the same precise thickness, or the release may be slightly different, side to side, as the bullet starts into the rifling. That is why you’ll want to even out the thickness of the metal in the neck.  In hand loading prep, it’s called uniforming. And we’ve got Kent Sakamoto of RCBS to show you how.

30-13-12The hand case neck turning tool turns the neck of the case to uniform the thickness.

Kent:  The hand case neck turning tool is for use with gold medal bushing die system.  It allows you to peel the neck of the case for equal tension and hence equal bullet release. 

To begin first take a ball micrometer and measure the neck, looking for the thinnest spot along the neck. This case’s thinnest point is 13.5 thousandths. The next step is to set the cutter thickness for 13.5 thousandths. Insert the case into the case holder, add the case neck on to the pilot, and begin rotating the case. Rotate and push the brass across the cutter.

30-13-16Kent:  When you remove the case, three quarters of the case has been turned leaving the thinnest portion untouched. 

The cut brass is the brightest and shiniest section of the case neck. The uncut brass remains dull and tarnished looking. 

Kent:  Now that the case neck thickness is even, this case is ready to reload.  This is mandatory step with the RCBS Gold Medal Bushing dies, however there is a benefit to any rifle re-loader.

30-13-17It should be apparent, case neck uniforming is not a process you’d use if you’re a high volume, progressive press reloader, using the Pro 2000 to reduce the cost of your shooting habit. But, as Kent said, the precision will help produce more accurate hand loads, if you’re working toward one-hole targets and pursuing ultimate accuracy, with your rifles.

RCBS Website



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