IDPA SSR Power factor

There is a rumor going around that IDPA is going to lower the power factor for Stock Service Revolver to 105 from its current place at 125.  To make a 125 power factor in IDPA, you’d almost exclusively have to handload .38 Special for SSR, as most factory loads come out around 105/115 power factor, and only a few +P loads with 158 grain bullets exceed the power floor.  By lowering the power factor to a more reasonable number, IDPA actually opens the door to SSR to a lot of new shooters.  Previously, this was the hardest division to compete in, as you couldn’t in many cases buy factory ammo to shoot in SSR, and had to handload.  For someone with a K-frame that they picked up for cheap and a desire to improve their gunhandling skills, that can be a high bar of entry.

Model 60
Model 60 and Federal 130 grain FMJ

With the new rules for power factor hopefully going into effect before the major match season kicks off, I’m excited to see what my S&W 686 (not pictured) can do with 130 grain ball ammo.  For whatever reason, 130 grain FMJ has become the most common .38 round available, and yet none of the factory loadings would actually make IDPA power factor.  Assuming again that this isn’t all a horrid rumor, you’ll be able to buy factory ammo, like the Federal American Eagle 130 grain FMJ pictured at left and make IDPA’s power factor.

I think this is a good thing, I hope that IDPA releases the ruling soon so that the change can be made official.


  1. I agree! I shot the WA State IDPA match in 2010 with a 686SSR and barely made power factor. I was shooting CCI Lawman 158gr +P, which I thought should have given me a fair margin for error, but at the chrono stage, power factor was a miserable 127…I made it, but just barely.

  2. Definitely a good thing. Thankfully most local clubs are already ignoring this rule for new shooters but making that more consistent is a great idea all around.

  3. Out of curiosity, was factory ammo for .38 EVER generally available for 125 pf? If not, why set the bar there, especially for what I would (perhaps naively) assume is an entry level (“Stock”) division. Or is this like “Stock” car racing?

    1. No, because the ICORE rules make an exception to the power factor. It says if you’re using factory 158 grain FMJ or LRN, you don’t need to meet the power factor.

  4. I know longer barrels can increase bullet speed, but is it enough to affect PF? If you used a 6″ .38 special, would it make 125pf in a load that makes 115pf in a snubby?

  5. Cool. I’ve been tempted to bring my Webley 38 S&W out, and maybe I will if they drop to 105PF. It will just make 125PF with 185 grain cast bullets, but 105 would be easier.

Comments are closed.