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January 2012

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Home » Archives » January 2012 » IDPA – What is it? Is it Safe? Why?

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01/24/2012: "IDPA – What is it? Is it Safe? Why?"

As we start the New Year it seems like a good time to review the principles governing our sport as well as some of the safety rules.

IDPA Principles:

I. Promote safe and proficient use of guns and equipment suitable for self-defense.

II. Provide a level playing field for all competitors to test the skill and ability of each individual, not equipment or gamesmanship.

III. Provide separate divisions for equipment and classifications for shooters, such that guns with similar characteristics are grouped together and people with similar skills compete against each other.

IV. Provide shooters with practical and realistic courses of fire that simulate potentially life-threatening encounters, or that tests skills required to survive life-threatening encounters.

V. Offer a practical shooting sport responsive to the shooters and sponsors, with unprecedented stability of equipment rules.

VI. Offer a practical shooting sport that allows competitors to concentrate on developing skills and fellowship with like-minded shooters.


Everyone needs to know the 4 universal rules of gun safety. These aren’t just for the range; they are to be used at all times, even in an armed conflict. If you aren’t familiar with these, commit them to memory.

1. All guns are always loaded
2. Never let the muzzle cover something you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
4. Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

Sometimes we hear “All guns are loaded? I just unloaded this one and checked it.”

What the rule means is, treat ALL guns as if they are loaded. Yes the gun may be unloaded at the time, but anytime you pick up a gun or you are handed a gun by someone else, the first thing YOU need to do is check and make sure it is unloaded.

While checking it, be aware of where the muzzle is pointed. Have you ever been in a store and have someone who is looking at a gun point it at you? Most likely the gun is unloaded but it is uncomfortable looking down the barrel of a gun pointed at you, isn’t it? What if it was loaded?

One of the most common things we see in new shooters is the finger on the trigger when it shouldn’t be. You really can’t move the gun to a shooting position faster than you can put your finger on the trigger, so keep it off until the sights are on the target and you are ready to shoot.

Lastly bullets don’t magically stop just because it hit something. So we need to be aware of what is beyond our target.

Remember your first and most important safety is your brain – USE IT. When that fails, if you are obeying the 4 rules of gun safety, then no one will get hurt.

Safety is the primary job of our Safety Officers on the range, but Safety is everyone’s job.

Next month we will look at the IDPA safety rules for competition.