Benefits Of Joining The IDPA

benefits of joining the IDPA

Can Concealed Carriers Benefit From Joining IDPA?


The IDPA stands for the “International Defensive Pistol Association” and they host events, workshops, and training seminars that focus heavily on pistols. As a concealed carrier, there is a lot you could potentially get out of attending their events. In this article, we’re going to briefly go over how the IDPA can improve your concealed carry experience.


Division Classifications Can Be A Bit Confusing Initially


different IDPA Divisions

There are a lot of IDPA divisions. This is a good thing. It means someone who wants to bring their high-speed, low-drag pistol to a competition isn’t necessarily competing against someone who wants to fire his back-up gun. That said, it’s important to know the different divisions that exist because this may affect which events you’ll get the most out of.


  • CDP – Custom Defensive Pistol Division
  • ESP – Enhanced Service Pistol Division
  • SSP – Stock Service Pistol Division
  • CCP – Compact Carry Division*
  • REV – Revolver Division*
  • BUG – Back-Up Gun Division*


*Of especial interest for concealed carriers.


What The IDPA Reinforces In Their Events


The IDPA is a pretty common-sense organization. Events are designed from the ground-up to familiarize shooters with prioritization and situational awareness. A great thing that the IDPA reinforces is their Shooting Rules.


Safety comes first. Every single event is overseen by safety officers (SO) who explain the “course of fire” (CoF) prior to competitors starting the event. They also strictly hold every single competitor to the tenets of firearm safety. Failure to acknowledge all of those requirements can result in dismissal from the course.


Targets are engaged in tactical priority, near to far. Sometimes they’ll have events where they’ll specify sequence of engagement but overall they strive to reinforce that the biggest threat is the one closest to you. Moving outward to engage targets not only reinforces a mentality that applies in the real word, it also prepares you mentally and physically for them.



The aspect of “taking cover” is highly prioritized in their events. In a real world scenario, you never want to be standing out in the open when engaging individual or multiple targets. IDPA events motivate you to practice taking cover while changing magazines and before engaging targets. Failing to do these things may sometimes result in a penalty – but we all know that the real world includes much stricter penalties than points lost.


Concealed carriers are encouraged – and often mandated – to use concealed carry holsters and garments. This not only encourages you to get used to fast-paced scenarios where you draw and fire upon targets, it also promotes you choosing a concealed carry holster that benefits those actions.


Watch A Live IDPA Event – If You’re Able


Before you jump right in, see if you can watch an IDPA event take place. While there are quite a few flashy, high-profile handguns and equipment being used, you can start with just the bare minimum. If you find the event to be fun and informative for you, consider participating in the next one. It’s fun, easy, and a great way to reinforce a mentality you can carry with you in your everyday concealed carry practices.


There’s only so much you can get from going to a regular indoor range and practicing with your concealed carry pistol. To get to that next level, competitions and events such as those held by the IDPA, can take your concealed carry capabilities to the next level.


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