USPSA Web Site                                                IDPA Web Site


There is a big debate among shooters about which is better, IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) or IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation). Actually it's a stupid question with a simple answer; Neither is better! Comparing these two formats is like comparing Chevrolet and Pontiac or Ford and Mercury. They are closely related, and the one that is "Better" is simply the one that you prefer. The formats of the two are certainly different, and the equipment is certainly different, but they both have the goal of improving your shooting skills in a safe, competetive, enjoyable, environment.

I shoot both IPSC and IDPA (not very well in either case though), and I can tell you for a fact that if you enjoy shooting pistols you WILL enjoy either one. Which one you prefer most will depend on you and how you like to shoot. I have tried to compare the two below, and I urge everyone to give them a try. If you are an IPSC shooter, dust off your carry gun and give IDPA a try. If you are an IDPA shooter, there is an IPSC class you can fit into. If you haven't shot either format, PLEASE give them a try because you will be hooked.

Note: IPSC is the governing body for the International Practical Shooting Confederation, and is truly international in scope. The USPSA is the US Practical Shooting Association, and is the US affiliate of IPSC. The international rules are slightly different so for the purposes of this information I have shown USPSA instead of IPSC rules so be aware that the US versions and international versions may vary slightly.

In several places I use the term "Competition Related" when referring to USPSA, and that really isn't fair.  These are both competitions and everything about both of them is "Competition Related".  IDPA is primarily oriented toward "Defensive" type handguns, and the underlying theme of IDPA is improving skills with these firearms.  USPSA does not have an underlying theme other than shooting fast and accurately, and in that respect it is more "Competition Oriented" than IDPA so I simply used the term "Competition Related".

Also, keep in mind that if you think that either of these venues is going to turn you into some sort of Urban Commando then you need to find another game to play.  We have shooters from virtually every walk of life and profession that you can imagine, however we are not a group of vigilantes or militants.  We are just people who enjoy shooting handguns and want to do it faster and more accurately than the next guy.  If you come to a match looking or acting like some sort of Rambo I can pretty much guarantee that you won't have a good time.

GENERAL COMPARISON

SAFETY EQUIPMENT COMPETITOR CLASSIFICATION
SSP Novice 210.01 or more
Marksman 210.00 to 152.74
Sharpshooter 152.73 to 120.01
Expert 120.00 to 98.83
Master 98.82 or less
ESP Novice 190.01 or more
Marksman 190.00 to 138.19
Sharpshooter 138.81 to 108.58
Expert 108.57 to 89.42
Master 89.41 or less
CDP Novice 195.01 or more
Marksman 195.00 to 141.83
Sharpshooter 141.82 to 111.44
Expert 111.43 to 91.77
Master 91.76 or less
SSR Novice 217.51 or more
Marksman 217.50 to 158.19
Sharpshooter 158.18 to 124.30
Expert 124.29 to 102.36
Master 102.35 or less
COURSES OF FIRE SCORING SUMMARY

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