IDPA Pistol Requirements: The Basics

This is the first in a series of blog posts helping competitors answer the question: “Is my pistol IDPA legal?”

The internet forums and message boards are consistently flooded with the question, “Is my pistol with X, Y, Z parts IDPA legal?,” or “(Insert manufacturer’s name here) just produced a new pistol. Is it IDPA legal in my division?” These same questions are going to be asked from here to the end of time, as long as manufacturers produce new products. To guide you to the answers, we look at the 2015 IDPA Rulebook Section 8 – Equipment Rules. This section covers everything from pistol divisions to how you wear your gear and ammunition power factor. But, let’s just focus on the pistol divisions.

There are 6 divisions in this sport: Stock Service Pistol (SSP), Enhanced Service Pistol (ESP), Custom Defense Pistol (CDP), Compact Carry Pistol (CCP), Revolver Stock & Enhanced (Rev-S or E) and Back-Up Gun Semi Auto or Revolver (BUG-S OR BUG-R). Of the six divisions, CCP & BUG were added March 1, 2015.

IDPA Magazine Limits

Here are the magazine round limits for each IDPA division:

  • SSP – 10 rounds
  • ESP – 10 rounds
  • CDP – 8 rounds
  • CCP – 8 rounds
  • REV – 6 rounds
  • BUG – 6 rounds

These are magazine limits for magazines on your belt only. You are able to start with a full magazine and one round chambered.

General Pistol Requirements and Exclusions

All pistols (except revolvers) must fit with the largest magazine inserted with the lid closed. The IDPA box measures: 8 ¾” x 6” x 1 5/8”. There are smaller box inserts for CCP and BUG division, but we will get to that later. Since IDPA is a defensive scenario-based sport, there are certain features or attachments that are not permitted. These are:

  • Compensators on barrels or barrel porting.
  • Add-on weights, including but not limited to weighted magazines, tungsten guide rods, brass magazine wells, weighted grips, and weighted grip plugs.
  • Heavy and/or cone style barrels without a barrel bushing except as allowed in ESP, CCP, BUG and CDP divisions with length restrictions.
  • Sights of non-standard configuration (ghost rings, Bo-Mar ribs, etc.).
  • Disconnecting or disabling of any safety device including, but not limited to: manual safeties, grip safeties, firing pin, striker, hammer blocking safeties, 1911 series 80 firing pin safeties, 1911 Swartz safeties. 1911 series 80 frames may be used with series 70 slides or vice versa. Revolver actions may not be modified so that the hammer can fall when the cylinder is open.
  • Lights mounted on firearms.
  • Rail mounted lasers and bolt-on trigger guard mounted lasers are not allowed.

This post is not intended to replace the IDPA Rule Book, but is simply a guide to help the interested shooter become more familiar with the pistol rules. All competitors are responsible for reading, understanding and following all IDPA rules. If you have any further questions about your pistol, please feel free to call or email your local IDPA club contact, Chief Safety Officer, Match Director or Area Coordinator to help you with answers to your questions. We have the knowledge and ability to guide you through the rule book so you will have a fun experience with the sport and want to continue to further your shooting abilities.

Jason C Armstrong
Temple Gun Club IDPA CSO / Match Director
Owner of Hammerdown Sports Gunsmith Services

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