IDPA Rulebook: First look and quick thoughts

Through the week I’m going to be taking an exhaustive look at the new IDPA rulebook. I did a front to back read-through of the entire rulebook this morning, and I wanted to share the quick thoughts I had on issues that stood out to me. Check out the entire draft rulebook yourself at IDPA. One thing to keep in mind is that the rulebook is not final yet; this is the draft that has been released to members for comment and possible revision.

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The first thing I noticed that I liked quite a bit was that nowhere in the rulebook are the words “round dumping.” Not one instance. In my review, it appears that IDPA has removed round dumping as a penalty. This is an excellent decision, and one that I applaud.

Another subtle change that will also help clear up issues is one line on page 14 of the digital draft document, new rule R5.1 which reads “Cover extends back from the point of the physical barrier up range to infinity.” What this does is eliminate the regional interpretation of cover that some ranges used which required you to be within arms reach, two feet, or some other arbitrary distance from the physical barrier. Now if you’re properly obstructed from the targets regardless of your distance from the barrier you are behind cover. Good job on this one.

Additionally added is the requirement for a group walkthrough of the stage; which allows competitors to view all the targets from all the stage’s shooting positions. The notes in the new rulebook specify that the stage SOs should point out the points of cover during these walkthroughs to help shooters understand where they’ll receive penalties for breaking cover. Unfortunately, the fairly subjective nature of cover isn’t addressed – IDPA didn’t add fault lines to the game or another system for eliminating subjective calls, so we’ll probably still catch some of the “nuh-uh/yeah-huh” nature of disputed cover calls. That being said, the new rulebook does take pains to address cover and eliminate as much of the subjectivity as possible by adding the walkthroughs, defining cover as extending to infinity uprange, and generally cleaning up the verbiage surrounding cover.

However, the absolute best change to the rulebook is this, found in rule R8: All reloads must be performed behind cover; however, a shooter, who runs the firearm empty while in the open, may initiate an Emergency (slidelock – Ed) Reload while advancing to the next position of cover. Under the previous rule book, initiating a reload in the open if you ran your gun empty would earn you a 3 second penalty.

There are some other interesting tidbits in the new rulebook that we’ll address through the week, like XDm pistols now being in SSP, however on the balance I think it’s excellent. Removing round dumping, allowing shooters to perform slidelock reloads in the open, and defining cover as an infinite space are all good, positive changes that will help make the sport more fun and accessible. It’s not perfect, and there are issues that I’m going to talk about in upcoming posts, but ultimately the new rulebook is positive and represents good changes. I’m excited to see IDPA moving forward and I think that the new rulebook is a great start.