Welcome to our beautiful and beloved club. Please help us keep it that way by picking up after yourself and taking your trash home with you.

The good folks who volunteer their time to mow should not have to stop and pick up debris that could damage the mover or otherwise be thrown by the mower.

New Shooter

Here is a link to the IDPA rule book. Then click on the “RULE BOOK” button. If you find something that I have written  below to be in conflict with the IDPA rule book, then please let me know by sending an e-mail to

For archival purposes, here is  a link to the 2015 rule book:

Despite much effort to re-write and re-organize this rule book, it may still be daunting to the new shooter to figure out what they need to buy and bring and what are some of the basic things they need to know when they arrive at the range for their first match. Many new shooters have the advantage of being brought to a match by a friend who is already an experienced shooter and therefore has the advantage of having already explained one-on-one what to do and what not to do and what gear to gather and bring. Hopefully, what I have put together below will be a good introduction for the new shooters that are “on their own” to figure out what to do.

Also, there are many videos available on Youtube if you search for words such as “IDPA new shooter” or “Introduction to IDPA”. Also, a Google search of the same words should result in several sites and articles to supplement what I have put together below.

What equipment to buy and bring:

Range bag: You will need some sort of bag or box or container to hold all of the gear you will need for the day. Some folks may use a hard/rigid box or container that can also serve as a seat. You may see a few shooters bring a stroller type cart on wheels that they would otherwise use at a 3-gun match. Most shooters you will see with a fabric type bag with zippers that is designed and sold as a range bag for pistol, while some are a “tool bag” from a home improvement store. Click here for an example.

Small zipper bag or gun rug: Some folks use the original plastic carry box that came with the pistol. Some folks have a “gun rug” that folds over the gun and secures with a single flap of Velcro. Most folks have a small zipper bag that is just big enough to hold the unloaded pistol and nothing else. You will need to select one of the above or some sort of container that is stored within your range bag to hold your unloaded pistol. Use this to transport your empty gun to and from the safety table while the range bag remains some distance from the safety table. More about the safety table and “gun-up” procedure later. Click here for an example:.

Gun: Most IDPA shooters use semi-auto 9mm with 10 round magazines, or 40 S+W with 10 round magazines, or 45ACP with 8 round magazines. Revolver shooters are welcome too, 38spl/357 mag, typically with 6 round speed loaders. The caliber (bullet weight and bullet speed) must be powerful enough to knock down a 42 inch tall steel “Pepper Popper”. For this reason, smaller calibers like .380 auto and smaller will not suffice. However, some IDPA clubs may designate one match per season as a “Bug match”, (B.U.G. – back-up-gun) to bring out the smaller guns to play. Some clubs will set up a separate optional “side match” as a bug stage that not all of the shooters participate in. The 42″ tall pepper poppers would not be used in a “bug match”. Before buying a gun, find out if it has a “magazine safety”, which means a magazine must be inserted in order to fire. This can be problematic during the “unload and show clear”, followed by the “pull the trigger” command at the end of a course of fire because a gun with the magazine safety feature would require an empty magazine to be inserted in order to “hammer down”. More about this later.

Holster: A belt holster on the “strong side” (ie dominant shooting hand) is required. In other words, right hand shooters will have the holster on the right side. No shoulder holsters, no belly bands, no appendix carry, no ankle holsters, no pocket carry etc. The holster should have some amount of retention such that the gun does not fall out when bending forward to pick up brass etc. We discourage, but do not forbid, the use of the cheap and floppy/loose fabric type holsters. If you have a loose/floppy fabric style holster, be sure the snap clip strap is in good working order and adjusted to secure the gun. When such a strap exists, the start condition for stage will be with the strap secured. IWB (inside the waistband) or OWB (outside the waistband) are both acceptable. A paddle style holster is acceptable, but be sure the inner paddle portion slides over the belt and pants such that the paddle is inside the pants. I have seen where a shooter incorrectly installed by sliding over just the belt. A Fobus Evolution paddle holster, with adjustable retention is a rather inexpensive and adequate holster for both the new shooter and experienced shooter. Select the right model for your gun. Click here for an example: If you are a Law Enforcement Officer, you have the choice to wear your duty rig and compete as if on-duty or wear your off-duty concealed holster. We strongly discourage the use of any holster that requires the index finger to depress a release that is directly above the trigger, especially for new shooters. As the gun slides upward out of the holster, the index finger may continue to apply pressure and transfer directly onto the trigger causing a negligent discharge. Both Rochester Personal Defense and M.D.T.S Training forbid the use of the Serpa holster in their training classes, so be aware before buying one. For more info on the dangers of the Serpa style holster, do a Google search on the words “I just shot myself”.

Belt: A quality/strong belt is important. Many times a belt has broken (or forgotten at home) on match day.  A wise shooter will bring a spare belt. One belt that broke had a design such that the metal buckle crimped onto the end of the leather. The crimp failed and the leather pulled out. Look for the leather to wrap around the buckle and rivet (or stitch) the leather end to itself with quality rivets. Another belt failed because the metal buckle was of 2 piece design such that the leather wrapped around a pin and the pin is pressed into “open ends” of a C shaped piece of metal. Look for a one piece metal buckle that is a “full square” rather than an “assembled” buckle.

Dual Mag holder: Also known as a mag pouch, to hold 2 magazines on the belt, on the opposite side as the holster. Right hand shooters will have the mag holder on the left side. If all of your mags hold 7 or 6, you are allowed to have three loaded magazines (or revolver speed loaders) on your belt per on page 32 of the 2015 rule book and 8.1.5C of the 2017 rule book.  If all of your magazines (or revolver speed loaders) hold 5 or less, you are allowed to have four loaded magazines on your belt per on page 32 of the 2015 rule book and 8.1.5D of the 2017 rule book. Click here for example:

Magazines: How many magazines do I need? We recommend 4 or more magazines, especially if shooting the classifier. Sometimes a course of fire will require 2 magazine changes. In some cases the magazines are downloaded to perhaps 2 or 3 rounds each and in other cases a reload is required to remove and store a partially loaded magazine (ie tactical reload or reload with retention). If you show up for your first match with only two magazines, then we may be able to let you participate with this disadvantage. Most of our stages for a regular monthly match are 12 rounds to 18 rounds, so two 10 round magazines, or three 8 round magazines will do as an absolute bare minimum for your first match. It is best to have 4 mags, including a “barney mag” in your back pocket to get one round charged in the chamber when it is your turn to “load and make ready”, then return the barney mag to back pocket and insert into your gun a full mag from your front pocket, to be 10 plus 1 in the gun, then holster. Two full mags on the belt, for a total of 31 rounds available for a course of fire for SSP and ESP division. For CDP division and the new CCP division with 8rd mags, this will be 8 plus 1 in the gun, plus two 8 rd mags on the belt for a total of 25 rounds available for a course of fire.

Ammo: How much ammo to bring? Round count for a typical “monthly” match is 70 to 90 rounds and will typically be posted in the match announcement. However, many stages are not limited and extra “makeup” shots are allowed, so you will use more than the minimum, so I recommend bringing three boxes of 50. If you plan to use reloaded ammo, it is always wise to bring along a box or two of “factory” ammo as a backup. Unless, of course, you have been reloading for years and have high confidence in your reloaded ammo. A cartridge gauge is highly recommended for quality control check of reloaded ammo and can also be used to check factory ammo as well. If a loaded round is able to fully “drop in” to the cartridge gauge and fall out easily with gravity (or a slight push), then there should be no chambering problems during a match. Click here for an example of a cartridge gauge,

Cover garment: A cover garment, such as a vest, or light jacket is required for most stages of most matches. A very hot day (match director discretion) or a “classifier match” would be two exceptions where a cover garment is not required for the entire match. A scenario where the gun starts on the table or in a box or starting at “low ready” would be examples where a cover garment is not required, but don’t expect all the scenarios to be like this for the entire match. Some folks use a button down shirt just as if they would use for every day concealed carry. Most regular shooters have a “photographers” style shooting vest. On cold days, this should not be an issue since it will be natural to have a coat or jacket.  The length of the cover garment should be able to pass the “scarecrow test”, which is holding your arms out straight (hold your arms out like an airplane). The length of your cover garment should cover your holstered gun and magazines on your belt.

Protection for eyes: Eye protection shall be ANSI Z87.1 or better. See section 2.4 on page 5 of the 2015 rule book and 2.4.1 of the 2017 rule book, which now recommends side shields. You should find Z87.1 either molded into or printed on the frames of all shooting glasses. Either select glasses from the hunting/sporting goods department where shooting related items are sold or the construction/power equipment department. You will find they have the Z87.1 markings. Conversely, the cosmetic sunglasses that you find in other departments or at a gas station are not likely to have the Z87.1 marking.

Protection for ears: Ear protection shall be 21 db NRR rated or better. Look at the packaging for an NRR rating. Even the “classic” foam ear plugs have an NRR rating of 29 db, when properly inserted. We have a mixture of shooters where some use the disposable type foam ear plugs, while others use electronic noise cancelling earmuffs. For a new shooter getting started, the inexpensive foam plugs will be fine.

Other essentials: Prepare and dress for the weather. If the forecast indicates hot sunny days, bring water to stay hydrated. Sunblock, Z87.1 sunglasses, a hat and bug spray are always a good idea. If expecting mud/rain, then be sure to wear boots. Cold mornings sometimes change into hot afternoon, so dress in layers. Many shooters bring a lunch or snacks to get them through the day. Tioga stopped the practice of offering pizza after every match. Square Deal and Greene typically does not offer food for sale.

Setup and tear down: A select few folks come early to help setup and stay late to tear down. If you think you can be one of those good folks, then bring work gloves to reduce the chance of getting splinters from the wooden stands and sticks. Some bring their own staple gun, staples and ground paint. Although the clubs provide several staple guns, a supply of staples and ground paint, sometimes Murphy’s law prevails and we run out of supplies or our tools break or are left home by mistake.

Arriving at the range:

You may assemble your empty holster and empty mag holder set to your belt while at your vehicle, but no handling of pistol unless at the safety table.

New shooter orientation is usually at 9am the morning of a match. If you show up too late, you may stay and observe as a spectator, provided all spectators have Z87.1 eye protection and 21 db NRR ear protection. 

“Gun-up” procedure at safety table:

Come to the range with your empty unloaded pistol in small zipper style bag or velcro gun rug so that you can approach the safety table without ammo. Ammo remains in your main gun bag that you will set down some distance from the safety table. No ammo in your pockets, no ammo on your belt when approach the safety table. According to the new rule book, they don’t want folks to insert an empty magazine into a gun while at the safety table, unless it is for a function check. No mag change drills with empty mags at the safety table.

Here is the sign for the safety table.

MS Word Sign to print for gun club, Safety Table

PDF Sign to print for gun club, Safety Table

Pistol stays in the holster until it is your turn on the line. Even when it is your turn on the line, don’t just whip out your gun and start loading. Wait for the command to “load and make ready” from the safety officer. More about this later.

At the end of the match, do the reverse to de-gun at the safety table or else sometimes SO (safety officer) will supervise bagging of gun after match is complete while down range in the pistol pit.


New Shooter Orientation:

There is a 21 page booklet for new shooter orientation to review starting at 9am. It is important for new shooters to arrive before 9am and make it clear to the match director that they are in need of new shooter orientation. We need to get started as early as possible in order to be done with orientation by 9:45 when registration closes.

DQ (Disqualification): There are several safety violations that will result in a disqualification. Starting on page 3 of the 2015 IDPA rule book, the following unsafe firearm handling examples result in an immediate DQ.

2.2.1 Sweeping one’s self or others with loaded or unloaded hand gun. Sweeping means the gun was momentarily pointed at a portion of your body such as your support hand when drawing or holstering.

2.2.2 Pointing muzzle beyond designated muzzle safe points.

2.2.3 Improper or unsafe discharge.

………. In the holster.

………. Striking up range of the shooter.

………. Into the ground downrange closer to the shooter than two (2) yards (1.8 meters), unless engaging a low target that is within two (2) yards (1.8 meters.)

………. Over a berm.

………. During Load And Make Ready, Unload And Show Clear, Reload, or Malfunction Clearance.

………. Before the start signal.

………. While transferring a firearm from one hand to the other

2.2.4 Handling a firearm except on the firing line. This includes premature drawing of gun before being given the command to load and make ready.

2.2.5 Pointing over berm during “pull the trigger”.

2.2.6 Drawing while facing uprange. (while back is to targets)

2.3 Dropping a firearm, loaded or unloaded.

2.6.1 Second finger offense.

2.14 If shooter intentionally loses or dislodges eye or hearing protection during course of fire.

2.15 Shooting at steel less than 10 yards. (Note, this should only be a factor if the course of fire requires advancing toward a position closer to steel after leaving a position designated to shoot the steel at a distance 10 yards or greater)


Registration / sign up, pay $10:

In an area away from the safety table, you should find the registration table with a supply of blank score sheets. XLS file. 2015 GRGC, BLANK-6 stages updated 5.15  PDF file: 2015-GRGC-BLANK-6-stages-updated-5.15

Contact Info: You will need to clearly enter your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. This is especially important for new shooters, or anyone that has not participated here before, so that the person entering scores after the match is able to enter your info accurately.

Classification: You will see a selection for classification MA = Master, EX = Expert etc. You should see a selection for UN or UNC for unclassified. A new shooter should circle UN or hand write UN if the selection is not there. Unclassified is not the same thing as Novice because novice means the shooter has attempted a classifier and did not achieve Marksmen.

Division: This is for the gun that you will use. You should see selections for SSP (stock service pistol), ESP (enhanced service pistol), CDP (Custom Defense pistol). Click here for a guide to selecting your division: What division is my gun

Squad selection: If you and one or more other shooters wish to shoot together, then you need to communicate this clearly to the person arranging the piles of papers into “squads”. This person arranging the squads is sometimes the match director or a person designated by the match director. There is no place on the sheet to circle anything, so what some match directors will do is write a small letter, such as the letter A, in the upper right corner of the sheet for each of you that want to shoot together. The next group of shooters that wish to shoot together will each get a letter B in the upper right corner, and so forth. The objective is to arrange in equal size groups, so there will be some creative shuffling before the shooters meeting.

Close of registration at 9:45 am: In order to try to get the match started by 10am, we need to close registration by 9:45 and finish new shooter orientation by 9:45 in order to have time for announcements, roll call for squads and walk to the designated pits.

Shooters meeting:

The match director will make announcements to the group usually related to upcoming events. Upon completion of announcements, the safety officer for pit 1 will call out the names in his group. Followed by the safety officer for pit 2 will call out the names in his group, and so forth. In Greene, pit 1 is the 100 yard range at the bottom of the hill and pit 5 is the pistol range at the top of the hill.



This page revised by Jeff C. 1-15-2016 (added info to DQ section 8-15-2016)