Why Concealed Carry Permit Holders Should Participate In IDPA


Why concealed carry permit holders should participate in IDPA.

Now I know a lot of you are scratching your head and wondering “What is IDPA?” (Subtract points if you actually pronounced it “idpa“.) 

Let me explain. IDPA is the International Defensive Pistol Association. From their website:

“The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is the governing body of a shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real-life encounters. It was founded in 1996 as a response to the desires of shooters worldwide. The organization now boasts a membership of more than 25,000, including members in 70 foreign countries.

IDPA offers an exciting forum for practical shooters in which truly practical equipment, techniques, and courses of fire are mandated. Prior to IDPA, there was no place to compete with common service pistols. There were no shooting sports where your concealed carry holster could also be your match holster without handicap.”

That second paragraph is the important one. While there is a certain amount of “game” in an IDPA match (Please, don’t pronounce it again.), by the rules you are shooting scenario-based courses of fire with what you would really carry concealed. This means your current everyday carry equipment is all you need to shoot in a match. You don’t have to lay out hundreds or thousands of dollars for gear to participate. So, since you already have the equipment, let me tell you why you should compete.

For the benefits.

How often do you really train as opposed to going to the range and practice? And, when you go to the range to practice, do you shoot what you’re good at, or do you work on your areas of improvement? You know, the stuff you suck at?

By shooting IDPA matches, you’re pulled out of your practice comfort zone. You’re shooting at targets placed at various ranges, some moving, some partially obscured. And you’re doing this against the clock in front of people you don’t really know. Now you’re asking, “John, why is this good?”

When you shoot in an IDPA match, you’re employing all the skills you need to have refined to effectively employ your concealed weapon should the real-world need ever arise. You’ll be drawing your gun from concealment, exercising target discretion, moving, and reloading. How often do you do all or even some of this during your practice sessions?

Nothing will demonstrate the areas of improvement (remember, the stuff you suck at) like shooting in a match environment. Along with great practice, an IDPA match is an awesome diagnostic tool. If you’re not working on the stuff you suck at, you’re not going to grow as a shooter. When your weak areas are laid bare, you know what you need to improve.

Naturally, as an instructor, I’m a huge proponent of training. My range sessions are planned in advance, and progress (and sometimes lack of) are recorded in a notebook so I can keep track of where I’m at. The monthly IDPA matches I shoot in are my diagnostic tool. They’re what drives the “this is what I sucked at so this is the problem area I’m going to work on” section of my session.

For the fun.

And I’ve been holding back. Here’s the really big bonus of shooting IDPA. You’re on a range, sending rounds downrange, with like-minded, friendly people. Too many of us tend to forget the “sports” part of “shooting sports.” At the local match level, you will find people more than willing to help you, answer questions, and make your experience as enjoyable as possible. There’s no prize money, trophies, etc. at a local (Tier 1) matches so, while competitive, it isn’t the blood sport other disciplines such as USPSA are.

Since you already have the equipment as a concealed carrier, what’s your reason for not spending an enjoyable day on the range exercising your skills and making yourself a better shooter?

Contact your local club today and give it a try.


The Tactical Pirate

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President and lead instructor. Follow me on Twitter, and check out our blog.

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