One of the competitive principles of IDPA is that shooters should compete only against other shooters who are at similar skill level and who use similar equipment. Members of IDPA are classified as to skill level and placed in a division according to the kind of gun they shoot. When you shoot a match, your performance will be judged only against those in the same division who hold the same classification.
DivisionsIDPA groups firearms into five divisions, as follows:
Custom Defensive Pistol (CDP) (semi-autos chambered in .45 ACP only)
Enhanced Service Pistol (ESP) (semi-autos, including single-action, chambered for 9mm or larger, with some modifications allowed)
Stock Service Pistol (SSP) (double-action, double-action/single action, and “safe action” semi-autos [Glock] chambered for 9mm or larger caliber with few modifications allowed)
Enhanced Service Revolver (ESR) (.38 caliber or larger double action revolvers with moon clips allowed)
Stock Service Revolver (SSR) (.38 caliber or larger double-action revolvers, moon clips not allowed).
At a match, you'll hear the term “division capacity,” which refers to the maximum number of rounds allowable for your division. Most stages require that you begin with your gun loaded to division capacity. For revolvers, the division capacity is 6 rounds. Division capacity for CDP is 8+1 (eight in the magazine and one in the chamber). Division capacity for ESP and SSP is 10+1 (10 in the magazine and one in the chamber). Don’t worry about what division your gun falls into or what your division capacity is—we can answer all of your questions at match registration.
IDPA members are classified by skill level ranging from Novice (NV), to Marksman (MM), to Sharpshooter (SS), to Expert (EX), and, finally, to Master (MA). Classifications are based either on the shooter’s performance in a classifier match, or by his or her performance in a major, IDPA-sanctioned match. As a new shooter, you will start out unclassified. In the final results for your first match, you’ll be grouped with other unclassified shooters in your division (CDP, SSP, etc). If you decide that IDPA matches are fun and you want to continue to participate (and why wouldn’t you?), you'll need to shoot a classifier match to determine your initial classification. We try to hold a classifier match at Brock’s Gap at least four times a year. We’ll announce an upcoming classifier by e-mail and also on this Web site. The classifier consists of three stages and requires a minimum of 90 rounds. It will test all of your shooting skills, including one-handed shooting, reloading, and shooting while on the move. It’s a good test of overall shooting skills. Your results in the classifier (raw time plus points down—just like in a regular match) will determine your classification. Download the IDPA rulebook (you can use the link on our New Shooter FAQ page) for a complete description of the classifier.