International Defensive Pistol Association
IDPA matches are based on tactical reality in self-defense shooting scenarios. Each match is supervised by Safety Officers (SOs) and Match Directors (MDs) who ensure that safety is paramount and that each match is conducted appropriately within the subjective competition rules of the International Defensive Pistol Association. According to the IDPA rule book, "Certified Safety Officers are the people whose purpose and goal is for all the shooters at the match to have a safe and enjoyable day at the range by directing the shooter through the course of fire. Safety Officers must be at least 21 to be IDPA certified. To become a certified Safety Officer, you must participate in a safety officer class taught by one of the safety officer instructors listed on the IDPA web site or an area coordinator."
Since IDPA is a for-profit corporation run by a board of directors, participants have a more indirect voice in how the sport is run (i.e. what the rules are, where the matches are held, who runs the organization, etc.) as compared to the IPSC and USPSA, which are member-run organizations.
Scoring at each match is based on the time taken to shoot the stage plus any penalties accrued. Penalties are given for poor marksmanship, failure to use cover, failure to follow a Safety Officer's directions, or any violation of IDPA rules. Penalties range from ½ second to 20 seconds each.
 Vickers Count
Most IDPA stages are scored using Vickers Count which means that a shooter may fire as many rounds as he feels necessary to make the specified number of hits. The best hits on the target are the only ones that count for score. If a stage calls for 2 hits on each target, a shooter may fire 2, 3, 10 or however many rounds he needs to make those hits and no penalty will be given beyond the amount of time taken to make those shots. The best 2 hits will count.
 Limited-Vickers Count
On a standard stage (an exercise more than a scenario), it is common for the Course of Fire to specify Limited-Vickers scoring. On this type of stage, you may fire no more than the number of rounds specified. Firing more rounds will earn the shooter a procedural penalty and only the lowest scoring hits are counted. For example, suppose a Limited-Vickers stage calls for two shots fired. The shooter fires one round into the 5 zone and one round into the 4 zone. Dissatisfied with his less-than-perfect score, he fires again hitting the 5 zone. When the target is scored, only the 5 and 4 zone hits will be scored. The "make up" shot will be thrown out (not because it is the make-up, but because it is the highest score), and the shooter will be assessed a procedural penalty for firing more shots than the Course called for. In addition, he will have placed lower by adding to his time in firing the third round.
 Points Down
Originally the IDPA target was marked with a 5 zone (head and eight inch circle in center), a 4 zone (a polygonal box around the circle), and a 2 zone (the outside periphery of the target. However since scoring is obtained, not by calculating points obtained, but by subtracting points dropped, the scoring zones came to reflect that system.
The current standard IDPA target is a cardboard humanoid shape with scoring zones perforated onto its surface. There are two areas marked as "-0" or "down zero" (the head and center-mass of the body represented by a circle, which has been moved up from its original position) and one each marked "-1" and "-3."
Each hit in each zone is added to the total points down. A target calling for two hits, with one hit in both the "-1" and "-3" zones would be scored as "-4" and called as "down 4." Only the shooter's best hits are scored unless a stage is specified as Limited Vickers Count. A Limited Vickers stage specifies the number of shots that can be taken at a target. Additional shots taken past the specified number results in a procedural penalty, in addition to which only the lowest-scoring shots are recorded.
A miss on a target is scored as down-5.
The points down are converted into time by multiplying by .5 (each point down incurs a ½-second penalty) and added to the total time taken to shoot the stage.
 Procedural Penalty
A procedural penalty is a 3-second penalty given out for breaking the rules of IDPA or failing to follow the directions of a course of fire.
Procedurals assessed by the safety officer for: • Failure to use cover • Loading your gun with the wrong number of rounds (too many or too few as a means of "gaming the stage" to gain an unfair advantage over other competitors) • Shooting targets in the wrong order • Failure to follow the directions for the stage • Leaving ammunition behind after performing a tactical reload (reload with retention)
 Failure to Neutralize
A failure to neutralize is a 5-second penalty for not getting at least one shot within the down-0 or down-1 zones of a threat target. If a shooter lands only peripheral hits on the target, or misses the target altogether, the threat target is still considered viable and a potential threat to the shooter.
 Failure to Do Right
A failure to do right (FTDR) is a 20-second penalty given for any illegal action taken specifically to gain a competitive advantage. A shooter who deliberately fires extra rounds at a target so that he must reload at a more opportune time is a classic example of this penalty. This penalty can be highly subjective, and the SO has to determine that the shooter engaged in the action with a "guilty mind" - that he knowingly failed to do right. Because of the subjectivity of the call, the penalty is seldom given. Receiving one all but guarantees the shooter will lose the match, or at least place low in his or her division.
 See also
- Shooting sports
- International Practical Shooting Confederation
- United States Practical Shooting Association
 Notes and references
- Equipment and Competition Rules of the International Defensive Pistol Association, Inc. 2005-04-15 Depending on the division, limits can be 10, 8, or 5 rounds for semi-automatics (plus one in the chamber), and 6 for revolvers.
- At the time IDPA was founded, U.S. federal law restricted the capacity of newly manufactured magazines to 10 rounds. Although that law has since expired at the federal level, IDPA maintains this restriction.