International Defensive Pistol Association
Matches from the NWPPA
and Renton Fish & Game Club



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


 

Who can shoot an IDPA event?

If you can shoot a handgun safely and can legally bear arms you will be welcome to participate in our IDPA matches.  Northwest Practical Pistol Association (NWPPA) makes it a practice to welcome shooters from other clubs, law enforcement personnel, and new shooters to join us.

 

How much does it cost to shoot an IDPA event? 

Monthly Saturday matches are $20.  The club charges a fee for Thursday night practices of $14 for non-members.  The club fees cover the cost of targets, equipment, and insurance.   

 

How old do you have to be to shoot IDPA?

You must be at least 12 years old.  Children who want to participate must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during the entire match. 

 

What kind of a gun do I need?

IDPA requires the pistols be “safe and serviceable”.  That means they have to operate safely and reliably.  The IDPA also requires a certain minimum “power factor”.  These power factors are determined to be equivalent to full-power factory ammo when shot through short-barreled “carry” type pistols.  The most common cartridges used are .38 Special (Stock Service Revolver Division), 9mm (Stock Service Pistol and Enhanced Service Pistol), and .45 ACP (Custom Defensive Pistol and Enhanced Service Revolver).  

 

What else should I bring to shoot?

Hearing protectors (either muffs or ear plugs), eye protection, (impact resistant sun or regular glasses or clear shooter’s glasses) a holster; hip holsters only, no shoulder holsters, cross draws, or pocket holsters.  Three magazines, or four speed loaders for revolvers (only three are required for almost all scenarios, but three or four are better).  You also should have a garment that conceals your handgun in its holster. 

 

What are the requirements for concealment for a match?

One of the goals of IDPA is to more closely approximate real world defensive situations in a safe environment.  Therefore, unless the concealment rule is specifically relaxed, the handgun and other belt-mounted gear must not be readily visible to onlookers.  The most popular concealment garment is a variation on the photographer vest, which not only provides concealment, but has plenty of pockets for small items. 

 

Can I just watch a match?

Yes.  There is no fee for watching and spectators are always welcome.  You must bring hearing protection and safety glasses, and sign a liability waiver, however.  It is appreciated if you just let one of the match staff know you are there just to watch. 

 

I just want to improve my shooting skills; I am not interested in the competition.  Can I just shoot for practice?

Lots of people come out and shoot just for practice.  Because of safety requirements we will treat everyone who is shooting just the same.  You will have a safety officer right behind you at all times and he will time your run.  If you are not interested in your scores, just ignore them.  Focus instead on shooting safely and accurately.  Each run is made individually; the only real competitor you have is yourself.  We are all trying to learn how to shoot faster and more accurately within the strict limits of safety.  If you are not interested in your scores, no one else will be either.  No matter how well or badly you shoot, if you shoot safely you will be welcome.

 

What is a classifier?

In order for shooters to be able to compete with their peers, IDPA competitors are divided into five classifications based on their skill level:  Novice, Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, and Master.  A “Classification Match” is a standardized format, 90-round match scored by one of our certified Safety Officers.  To compete in sanctioned, regional or national championship matches, shooters must reclassify annually.  NWPPA holds one classifier match per year on a regular match Saturday, and additional classification opportunities are offered throughout the year. 

 

Do I need a concealed carry permit to shoot IDPA?           

No. 

What do I do when I show up for a match?
If you are a first time shooter, new to either IDPA competition or new to the range, please arrive no later than 8:00AM on match day, to attend the mandatory New-Shooter Orientation. The shooting bays are on the left side of the driveway, just past the skeet range. Approach anyone milling around the “stats shack” – the small, gray building in the middle of the action bay area - let them know you are a new shooter and they’ll get you pointed in the right direction. A PA announcement will be made concerning the location of the new-shooter orientation at 8:00. The orientation covers Renton Fish & Game Club “rules of the road”, IDPA safety and competition rules, range commands, and some basic competition techniques and terminology. Afterwards, you will need to fill out a liability waiver/registration form, and pay the match fee. You must produce a valid IDPA membership card before shooting your second match. Match registration closes at 10:00AM.

Is photography allowed at the range?
The NWPPA has a "no-video" and "no photography" policy.

Is IDPA safe?

Yes.  IDPA has an admirable safety record; far better than some more mundane sports and pastimes.  And we intend to keep it that way.  Shooting a firearm is an inherently risky activity, and to minimize this risk, we stringently enforce IDPA’s rules; we will not bend, alter, waive, or otherwise try to shortcut safety. 

 

The rules are commonsense.    There are four basic rules of gun safety -

·      The 1st Law of Gun Safety - The Gun Is Always Loaded!

·      The 2nd Law of Gun Safety - Never Point A Gun At Something You're Not Prepared To Destroy!

·      The 3rd Law of Gun Safety - Always Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Behind It!

·      The 4th Law of Gun Safety - Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Your Sights Are On The Target!

A Safety Officer (SO) remains positioned just behind every shooter during every Course of Fire, or “stage”.  Safety violations such as dropping a loaded gun or pointing the muzzle past the designated muzzle safe points will result in disqualification from the rest of the match.  Handguns can be removed from their cases or holsters only in the designated “Safety Areas”.  During the competition, a SO will check downrange to confirm it is clear and then call out, “We are going hot!” before a gun is drawn or loaded.  When it is your turn to shoot, and you’re called to the line, the SO will instruct you to, “Face Downrange, Load and Make Ready.”  The SO will ask, “Are You Ready?”  This will be followed by, “Stand By!” after which the start of the Course of Fire is signaled by a “beep” from the automatic timer.  After you are finished shooting, the gun muzzle must remain pointed downrange until the SO says, “If You are Finished, Unload and Show Clear.”  For a revolver that means opening the cylinder, removing all rounds and showing the SO an empty cylinder.  For a semiautomatic pistol, remove the magazine, retract the slide to eject the chambered round (allowing the round to fall to the ground), and show the empty chamber to the SO.  Once the weapon is thus proven to be unloaded and is safely stowed, the SO will call out “Range is Clear.”  Then and only then will anyone be allowed downrange for scoring.  The Safety Officer is in charge of all range activities within his view, and his commands are binding on all competitors and spectators.  While one IDPA-certified SO is assigned as the “Chief” Safety Officer of each squad of 10-12 shooters, most NWPPA-hosted matches are attended by a dozen or more SOs, so there are always extra pairs of eyes working to keep everyone safe while on the range

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