New IDPA rules – a close look

Last night, IDPA released two sets of rules, the first being an enhancement/update to the existing rulebook and the second being the new IDPA Multi-gun rules.  I’m excited about both of these and am going to dedicate two separate posts to the new rules.  This one will look at the enhancement to the existing pistol rules, and the following post will cover the IDPA Defensive Multi-Gun rules.

A little background on the new rules – remember a while back when I talked about how IDPA was releasing unofficial rules on the IDPA forum and then not telling people?  Those days are over now, because the unofficial IDPA forum is now the official IDPA forum.  This actually solves the problem I had with that – there was no expectation that people could find the rules, but now that they’re ON THE IDPA WEBSITE people should be expected to know the new rules.

Speaking of the new rules, here are the updates to the IDPA rules.  Where the rules amend an existing rule, the current rule will appear in red writing.  Let’s look and see what will change when the rules go effective on August 1st 2010.

The first two clarifications are about pistol capacity – the rules now specify that you may only download your pistol mags when the course of fire calls for it.  This means if you’re running a 1911 with 8 round magazines, you cannot download them to 7.  It also clarifies that guns that cannot be loaded to division capacity are legal, but must be loaded to their maximum capacity.  The next rule change addresses the number of no-shoots allowed per COF, and I think that helps clear things up a bit.

The third change clears up some of the issues with usage of cover – here’s the existing rule in italics followed by the addition in bold:

CoF 9. When cover is available, it MUST be used when shooting unless the competitor starts in the open and must engage targets while on the way to cover. If cover is available anywhere in the COF it must be used for reloading. Competitors may NOT cross any opening (doorways, windows, open spaces, etc) without engaging targets.
The update is in bold.  This does clear up a lot of the questions about movement to cover for open starts.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t clear up one of the questions I had about cover, so we’ll have to see.  In fact, I’ll post that question later to see what you guys think.
There are a couple of changes to the prize awards, but we’re not going to worry about that.  The next rule that is interesting is that you may now officially receive multiple procedures for failing to use cover properly on a stage.  For example, if there are three shooting positions, you could receive a max of three procedurals for failing to use cover.  They also clear up the failure to neutralize penalty – it now officially states that FTN applies to any target without 1 “down zero” or 1 “down 1” hit.
Now, the changes that are going to interest a lot of people are the equipment changes.  For both CDP and ESP now they have added that extended slide stops are legal, as well as certain types of slide cuts.  This had previously not been legal in CDP and ESP.  They also increased the maximum legal in CDP to 42 ounces, I guess Wilson Combat is releasing a 1911 that weighs 42 oz (I’m kidding).  Enhanced Service Revolver is now allowed to use slightly oversized cylinder releases, and CDP and ESP have been updated as above to bring them slightly closer to USPSA Limited/Single Stack.  Slightly.
Two big changes – back to my earlier post about the then secret rules forum, the genesis of that post was finding out that using shortened ammo in a wheelgun was frowned upon.  For example, using .38 Short Colt in a .38 Special revolver or using .45 GAP in my S&W 625.  This is now specifically disallowed by IDPA.  Not addressed in the rulebook is the hoped-for lowering of the power factor for Stock Service Revolver.  I had noted that most factory .38 ammo doesn’t make the 125 required PF, and IDPA is addressing that and will be releasing an updated power factor for the Stock Service Revolver class.  Awesome.
Chrono procedures are clarified, as are some of the holster rules.  You now cannot temporarily disable the lock on a retention holster, so if you’re using a SERPA (for example) you must use it in its intended configuration.  They also clarified the procedural penalty for dropping ammo.  Now, if a loaded mag falls out of your mag pouch it’s a procedural regardless of whether you pick it up.  This is a good rule, if you ask me.  If you drop a loaded mag during a reload with retention, it is NOT a procedural as long as you pick the magazine up and stow it before the last shot is fired on the stage.  Along with that, it is clarified now that you’re not allowed to fire while holding a magazine or speedloader in your hand.  Not that I’ve seen many people do that, but it’s nice to know.
A couple of other quick changes: if there’s a stage with a window or port, you cannot stand directly in the window or port without incurring a cover violation.  I don’t like this, but it makes sense within the framework of IDPA’s rules.  Blind stages are specifically disallowed in major matches, another good thing.  The final “major” change is that you can no longer have stages with “tactical sequence” shots beyond 10 yards, and it is officially against the rules to mix Tactical Sequence and Tactical Priority on a single stage.
Overall, I think the new IDPA rules do address some of the deficiency in the previous rule book, and it’s a good thing.  What’s an even better thing is the progressive move by IDPA to go to official online rules clarifications that can be found at the IDPA website.  That will allow shooters like me to get clarification and understanding of what the rules mean for them and how they can work within the rule set to shoot the match their way.


  1. I don’t understand the reason for disallowing priority+sequence. I’ve liked seeing that from time to time in the past. Like you, I dislike the new port/window rule, but it makes sense in the context of IDPA.

    I need to chew on the dropped mag rule change.

  2. Yeah, I’m sure some like IDPA but all of this just adds to the reason I chose to start shooting competitively in USPSA and will most likely stay there. I prefer the idea of “here’s the puzzle, solve it as you see fit…safely”. For me, it makes for a much more enjoyable game which is really what competitive shooting really is…regardless of “intention”. Many of the IDPA situations would get me thrown in jail in real life if I engaged them as shown. Seems like it has little to do with Defensive anything and more to do with Police/Military Tactical situations. Just my personal opinion and people do seem to enjoy it and more power to them but I think I’ll enjoy the “Arms Race” game. May have to do a little write up myself on why I chose USPSA over IDPA. Glad they are addressing issues that some shooters have though. It shows that they are listening and working to make it the best sport they can for those that like it. That’s always a good thing.

  3. Now, I’ve been using only 7-round magazines in my Commander since about 1993, because I had a few issues with the 8-round followers in what were basically 7-round mag tubes with an extra witness hole drilled. Switched ALL my followers in the Colt factory 8-round magazines to standard 7-round followers, and the problem never reoccurred. So I have a mix of magazines that all hold seven rounds, but have either five or six witness holes in the sides. . .

    (I’m willing to grant that designed from the floor up 8-rounders are probbaly more reliable, I’ve just never felt a big enough need to spend the extra cash on them yet.)

    Do you think that would be considered a “download”? or an “unauthorized” parts replacement?

  4. If the mag holds 7 rounds and not 8, then it’s a 7 round magazine. That’s not downloading, it’s just “loading”.

  5. One never knows with IDPA. . . Since they left the factory as 8-rounders, I could them making the case. . .


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