I had an email from a reader who asked what the correlation is between USPSA rankings and IDPA rankings, which I interpreted to mean that he was interested to know about what skill level an “A” class USPSA shooter would be in IDPA, or vice versa.
USPSA breaks its shooters down into the following classes:
Grand Master 95 to 100%
Master 85 to 94.9%
A 75 to 84.9%
B 60 to 74.9%
C 40 to 59.9%
D 2 to 40%
The percentage numbers are how many points out of the “best possible” the shooter was able to pick up on the classifier stage. As you can see, if you shoot somewhere in between 90% and 100% of the “max score”, you’ll end up with a Master or Grand Master classification. USPSA had dozens and dozens of different classifier stages, which are often inserted into matches so that shooters will keep their classification current.
IDPA on the other hand has a single classifier – it is fired as a continuous 90 round event, and your resulting time (since the classifier is scored using the Limited Vickers system, your time is your score) determines your class. IDPA has the following classes:
IDPA also has a provision that if a shooter in say, Sharpshooter wins his class and division (Stock Service Pistol: Sharpshooter) at a major match, he may be “promoted” to the next highest class, which in the example would be expert.
Now, as you can see, USPSA has more classes than IDPA. The time/skill required to shoot in IDPA Master class on the classifier is roughly in line with an “A” class shooter in USPSA, Expert with a “B” class, Sharpshooter with a “C” class, etc. That is not to say that an IDPA Master class shooter couldn’t be a USPSA Grand Master, but rather that after a certain skill level, IDPA no longer distinguishes between skills. Thus, the IDPA Master class can be almost deceiving in the amount of skill sets that it holds, as (for example) you have shooters such as USPSA Grand Master Dave Sevigny at one end, and at the other end you have people who just squeaked under the bar on the classifier.
Hopefully, this will help you provide a basis for comparing the two classifications. It’s not an exact primer, but if you’re holding an event at your club that accept shooters across the divisions, it should help you gauge the skill levels of your entrants with a bit more precision.