Frequently Asked Questions

Who can shoot an IDPA event?

Anyone who can shoot a handgun safely and can legally bear arms, are welcome to participate in our IDPA matches. Thunder Tactical makes it a practice to welcome new shooters, law enforcement personnel, and shooters from other clubs to join us. Our club is comprised of a very diverse group of people from all walks of life and all ages, including doctors, lawyers, engineers, information technology, sales, etc.


How much does it cost to shoot an IDPA event?

Range fees vary at different clubs. Thunder Range has a $12 fee to use their range which must be paid to the range inside the office. The Thunder Tactical club charges a fee of $5 for Wednesday night practice matches and a fee of $10 for Saturday matches. The club fee covers the cost of targets, equipment, and insurance.


How old do you have to be to shoot IDPA?

You must be at least 12 years old. Children who want to participate must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during the entire match.


What kind of a gun do I need?

IDPA requires the pistol to be "safe and serviceable". That means the gun must operate safely and reliably. The IDPA also requires a certain minimum "power factor". These power factors are usually met by pistols shooting a 38 special or more powerful cartridges. The most common cartidges used are 38 special, 9mm, and 45. You may shoot either a revolver or an automatic.


What else should I bring to shoot?

Hearing protection (either muffs or ear plugs), eye protection (impact resistant sun or regular glasses or clear shooter's glasses), a holster (hip only, no shoulder holsters, cross draws, or pocket holsters), inside the waistband holsters are okay. Extra magazines (only two are required for almost all scenarios, but three are better) or speed loaders to shoot an 18 round course of fire. Magazine or speed loader pouches (not required, but recommended). You also should have a garment that conceals your handgun in its holster.


What are the requirements for concealment for a match?

One of the goals of IDPA is to more closely approximate real world situations in a safe environment. Therefore, unless specifically relaxed (Summer Rules) the handgun must not be visible when your arms are held straight out to the sides. If you are shooting for the first time on a Wednesday night the club may also give you a waiver from this requirement for your first practice match.


Can I just watch a match?

Yes. There is no fee for watching a match and spectators are always welcome. However, you need to bring hearing and eye protection. It is appreciated if you just let one of the match directors know that you are there just to watch.


I just want to improve my shooting skills, I am not interested in the competition. Can I just shoot for practice?

Lots of people come out and shoot just for practice. Because of safety requirements we will treat everyone who is shooting just the same. You will have a safety officer right behind you at all times and he will time your run. If you are not interested in your scores, just ignore them. Focus instead on shooting safely and accurately. Each run is made individually, the only real competitor you have is yourself. We are all trying to learn how to shoot faster and more accurately within the strict limits of safety. If you are not interested in your scores, no one else will be either. No matter how well your badly you shoot, if you shoot safely you will be welcome.


What is a classifier?

In order for shooters to be able to compete with their peers, IDPA competitors are divided into five classifications based on their skill level. A "Classification Match" is a standard formatted match scored by one of our accredited Safety Officers. We recommend you shoot a classifier if you are going to compete at any level. Thunder Tactical hosts a quarterly classifier match or smaller groups by special arrangement.


Do I need a concealed carry permit to shoot IDPA?

No. As long as you can handle a gun safely and can legally bear arms you can shoot an IDPA match?


What do I do when I show up for a match?

If you are a first time shooter please arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time of the event. That is 6:00 pm on Wednesday nights. Thunder Tactical shooting bays are located right in front just as you exit the range office. You will need to pay your $10 range fee in the office. Our sign up table is by the yellow building. Come up to the sign up table to pay your match fee and fill out a scoresheet, and let them know you are a new shooter. They will make you feel welcome and set you up with the right people to give you a personal safety briefing.


Is IDPA safe?

Yes. IDPA has an admirable safety record, far better than other recreational activities such as softball or jogging. And we intend to keep it that way. Shooting a firearm is an inherently risky activity. To minimize this risk there are stringent safety requirements. We will not bend, alter, waive, or otherwise try to shortcut safety rules.


The rules are commonsense:

There are four basic rules of gun safety.

  • The 1st Law of Gun Safety - The Gun Is Always Loaded!
  • The 2nd Law of Gun Safety - Never Point A Gun At Something You're Not Prepared To Destroy!
  • The 3rd Law of Gun Safety - Always Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Behind It!
  • The 4th Law of Gun Safety - Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Your Sights Are On The Target!

A Safety Officer remains behind every shooter for every scenario. Safety violations such as dropping a loaded gun or pointing the muzzle beyond the designated muzzle safe points will result in a disqualification from the rest of the match. Handguns only can be removed from their holsters either in the designated "safe area" (over at the covered range are) or under the instruction of a Safety Officer.


Where can I find out more about IDPA?

You can find out more at http://www.idpa.com - The official site of IDPA. Recommend you download the rulebook and review it. You can also become a member of IDPA.