Cost of getting into IDPA or IPSC


March 18, 2005, 12:59 AM
Ever since I started shooting, I thought it'd be fun to complete in practical shooting competitions. I was wondering what the minimum investment I'd be looking at to try either IPSC or IDPA would be. My dad has a S&W 910 that I could use (I assume it'd be better for IDPA than IPSC), but I've been looking into buying a Springfield Loaded 1911 this summer and I'm not sure that I'd want to buy a holster and mags for a gun that doesn't belong to me (especially since my dad wouldn't have much use for a holster).

If I bought a 1911, what more would I need to buy? I know I'd need at least 2 additional magazines (would 10 round mags be legal for IDPA?), mag holders, and a holster, but the seemingly infinite number of holsters out there as well as the IDPA's complicated holster rules have me pretty confused. Is it safe to assume that anything legal for IDPA would also be legal for IPSC? What type of ammo would I want to use; is there any reason not to use something cheap like CCI blazer? Are there any good FAQs around or specific threads on this board I should search for? I'm not looking to compete with Rob Latham; I just want do something more than the typical stand still and shoot at stationary target-type shooting that I can do at my local pistol range.


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Zak Smith
March 18, 2005, 02:29 AM
I don't know what holsters are IDPA legal.

My advice in general with a little more of an USPSA/IPSC focus, just because I know their rules, would be to buy moderately priced reliable gun that has good ergos for you, enough magazines for about 40 rounds (this is IPSC), a simple kydex belt loop holster from Blade-Tech (or similar), and 3-4 mag pouches from the same source.

Shooting "Limited", Limited-10, or "Production", you can get a long way with a Glock, SIG, or entry-level single-stack 1911.

I shot my Dan Wesson Patriot (ss 1911) in Limited-10 for a year, using 5 10-round mags.

hope this helps

March 18, 2005, 05:26 AM
Several guns work well in both IDPA and if you plan well you can shoot in both organizations..

a 1911 would fit nicely in IDPA CDP and USPSA Limited 10 would need a good belt, holster and mag pouches..for IDPA, 2 and for USPSA, at least 4. IDPA at least four or five mags is good to have for USPSA six or seven mags are good. IDPA 7-8 round mags and for USPSA 10 round mags are good...

IDPA's holster rule is trickier in that it depends on how the holster fits you individually..

my setup with a 1911 is a comptac holster, four comptac mag pouches, 5 CMC power mags, 5 Wilson 10 round mags. That seems to get me through any of the matches in any of the two sports..

Chris Rhines
March 18, 2005, 07:45 AM
nico -

My advice is geared towards IPSC/USPSA, 'cause that's what I shoot the most of...

If you just want to try your hand at USPSA to see if you'll like it, then just shoot what you have. The Smith and Wesson 910 will do fine in USPSA Production class as well as in IDPA. For USPSA Production, you'll need a total of five magazines, a holster, and four magazine carriers. I like Comp-Tac holsters - great quality, reasonable prices, and fast turnaround time. Oh, you'll need a good belt if you don't already have one. You should be able to get a holster and four Fobus mag pouches for $100 or so. The magazines - maybe another $100. So your total investment to get into USPSA is gonna be around two bills.

If you want to check out some of the local matches, send me a PM. The season in Area 8 (MD, VA, PA, NJ, etc...) has just started.

- Chris

March 18, 2005, 08:31 AM
The IDPA holster rule has gotten much more simple. Basically you can't have a gap of more than 3/4" between your holster and body, there's no such thing as an "approved holster" now. The 10rd mags you might buy for IPSC aren't legal. Basically to be legal your gear must be appropriate for concealed carry, if it's not designed for carry but IPSC then it's likely not going to work. Now having said that I'd go shoot an IDPA and IPSC match with what you have and then decide it the investment is worth it.

March 18, 2005, 08:55 AM
The IDPA holster rule has gotten much more simple.---gigmike
Actually, for the shooter, the IDPA holster rule has gotten much more difficult. In the past you could look at a list and pick out a holster without worrying about whether it's legal. Now, even though your holster may be legal for everyone you know, it may be illegal for you. Your holster may be legal for you now, but if you gain or lose weight or wear a different shirt, it may become illegal. You may also get different opinions from different SOs as to whether your holster is legal.



Joe D
March 18, 2005, 09:22 AM
Any 1911 will work. The SA or a Kimber will be just fine. I much prefer a Kimber for several reasons. The most versatile gun is a Glock 35. With the Glock you can compete in USPSA Limited, Limited 10 and Production, IDPA SSP and ESP.
If you go with the Glock all you will need is a $15 Blade Tech holster and a Uncle Mike's double mag pouch.
Blazer will work OK. The recoil level will be more than if you reloaded your own ammo.
The Match Directors and SOs that I know are not going to be too strict with the new holster rules.

March 18, 2005, 09:44 AM
Thanks for all the replies. I didn't mean to give the wrong impression, but I wasn't planning on buying a 1911 just to use to compete. I was planning to buy one before I realized that there were competitions close to me and figured it would work well if I really started getting into it.

March 18, 2005, 09:57 AM
While I don't shoot IDPA anmore (boring, boring!) I compete in a lot of USPSA matches. My advice for an entry level handgun would be a .40 caliber Glock 35 which would be legal for Limited, Limited 10 and Production divisions. You can shoot the Glock as is or add on a few goodies like adj. rear and fiber optic front sights and light weight strikers for minimum cost. But they're not necessary for a newbie.

I like Uncle Mike's Kydex holsters and mag pouches. Inexpensive and very practical (I understand they're illegal in IDPA now? :confused: )

March 18, 2005, 04:20 PM
I'm new to this forum and to action pistol shooting. Since I've started shooting both IPSC and IDPA over the last month and a half, and have gotten some great advice, I think I can give you some helpful info.

I showed up to my first IPSC match totally unprepared. I had my stock Para, one of those black nylon gun show holsters with the mag pouch on the front, and a couple of boxes of factory ammo I got from my Dad. He'd been bugging me to go out there for weeks. I shot in the match and managed not to finish last overall. I wasted some time because I wasn't used to taking the safety off, and once the holster clip came off my belt and stayed on the end of the gun. So I had to add a flip of the wrist to get rid of the holster. But I finished without any major safety problems.

An experienced IPSC shooter sold me a Safariland 012 holster ($125, probably $180 retail). You can find cheaper holsters, but this is a good one. He also advised me to get a CR Speed belt ($45), some mag pouches from Garcia's Universal Shooting Academy ($25 ea.), a couple of more factory mags ($45 ea), and a couple of Dawson Precision basepads that add a few rounds ($30 ea). This is the IPSC setup. Go to and to find most of this stuff. I've bought a few other toys and books, but these are the essentials. Actually I could make do with two 14 round mags for most IPSC stages, as long as I didn't miss. So the essentials are a suitable gun, belt, holster, and mag pouch.

I shot in my first IDPA match about a week ago. IDPA doesn't allow "competition only equipment," so you have to use a concealment holster. I don't have one yet, but the Para fits into another belt slide holster I have, so I made do. I couldn't use the extended mags, since IDPA limits you to ten rounds. You also have to have a concealment garment, so I took a long windbreaker and put my keys in the right pocket so it would swing out of the way. I couldn't use the competition belt or mag pouches. I did okay sticking the mags out of my pockets, but I'll buy some before long You can find IDPA-legal holsters and mag pouches for $25 or so, each. One is the Fobus C21 holster for 1911's. So I expect to spend $50 or so for IDPA. Also don't forget to use cover, or you'll be penalized. The rules differ, and you can see how at

Now I've shot in five matches (2 IPSC, 1 IDPA, 1 steel with IDPA stages). I'm not yet winning, but I am getting better each time, both in the standings and in committing fewer mistakes.


March 18, 2005, 04:20 PM
I'd recommend shooting both. They are both fun, and different enough to mix it up a bit. Unless you have either an IDPA or USPSA match in your area every week, you will have to do a little of both if you want to shoot more than once a month.

The 1911 with 10 round mags would be an ESP gun, or with 8 round mags, could be used in CDP for IDPA. It would also make a good Lim-10 gun with the 10 round mags. I agree with other guys that if you want a good gun to have the most choices of divisions to shoot in get a Glock 35. My recommendation would be to shoot what you have, at least for a few months until you see some of different guns that the guys at the matches will have, maybe one of them will let you shoot theirs, and go from there.

March 18, 2005, 07:28 PM
I'm not really looking to buy a gun specifically for competition. But out of curiosity, why do you guys recommend the Glock 35 over the 34? Also, why a glock and not a P99, XD9 or XD40?

March 18, 2005, 07:44 PM
Do you have to have a bushing gun for IDPA? I see gun makers that make almost all bushingless guns, will make a bushing gun for IDPA. I am not clear on this as I haven't done it yet plan to try it soon.

Joe D
March 19, 2005, 01:43 AM
The 34 is not as versatile as the 35. If you shoot a 34 in Limited or Limited 10 you will be scored Minor rather than Major. The bullets for a .40 cost me about $10m more than the 9mm. Everything else is the same. If you do not reload then the 9mm ammo is much cheaper.
A .40 with 180 gr bullets actually shoots softer at the lower power factor than a 9mm.
The bushing rule is just an IDPA thing.

March 19, 2005, 08:45 AM
Nico - I've shot USPSA Production with a 9mm XD Tactical and found it to be a very practical (excuse the pun) pistol. But I would not choose a .40 XD for L10 or Limited, just too many tricked out guns in those Divisions for it to be competitive. Of course if you really want to use an XD, Springfield's Custom Shop now offers the XD Custom Pro, a fully tricked out XD with all the "bells & whistles" and it would be legal, and practical, in L10 and Limited but not Production. At present I've only seen them in .45 GAP but they are supposed to make them 9mm and .40 also.

March 19, 2005, 11:29 PM
I agree with eerw and Zak Smith. If you like a 1911 and plan on getting one anyway, you can have a lot of fun and get a long way in USPSA (IPSC) shooting a single stack in L10. Of course, a 1911 in .45 is what IDPA CDP Division is all about.

March 20, 2005, 11:27 AM
I've become interested in IDPA recently, as I've never played in any reindeer games before, and IDPA seems like a good place to cut your teeth. I normally carry 1911's in .45 ACP, but I am buying a 9mm CZ 75B, and am strongly considering using that to shoot ESP (my pistol will be a single action, which is not allowed in SSP). I can shoot my carry gun in the CDP division. This seems to me to be a good way to find out if I like gaming, without having to lay out money for a dedicated game gun. I'm thinking that, if I like this, I will look into IPSC. Does this seem like a reasonable plan, to those who have experience in these games?

March 20, 2005, 12:57 PM
You can lower the hammer and shoot your first shot DA with that CZ and be in SSP.

IDPA is a good place to start, the round counts are lower and it is less intimidating to jump into, IMO. Once you get used to what you're doing out there, do both!

March 20, 2005, 01:02 PM
This can be anywhere between a few hundred dollars, to a few thousand. It also depends upon which shooting sport you're going into.. and which category within that sport.

If you just want to shoot "stock", then you can use what you have. You may have to pick up a couple extra magazines and maybe a holster.. but all's at minimum cost.

On the other hand, if you want to play with the big boys.. then it's going to cost you three, four thousand plus. The choice is yours.


March 21, 2005, 03:10 PM
You can lower the hammer and shoot your first shot DA with that CZ and be in SSP.
Yes, I gave it a thought myself, but I think I will go with the SAO, so that it will be more similar to my 1911's, which I will use in CDP. I won't be shooting in SSP, because the rules prohibit the type of pistol I carry (single action), as well as the mode in which I like to carry it (Condition 1). I'm just trying to keep the experience as relevant as possible to my particular carry plan.

March 23, 2005, 01:35 PM
I have been shooting IPSC now for about a year. I started our by purchasing a XD40 from a guy on the internet. It came with 4 mags and the gun for $360.

I then spent money on some gear, I bought.

2 uncle mike mag holders $35
Safariland duty belt $35
inner velcro belt $20
Fobus XD holster $18

My Grand total for gear came to $108

If I were you I would stick with Fobus or Uncle Mikes gear it is cheap and plenty good for someone who is just starting out.

March 23, 2005, 01:41 PM
Don't forget to save some money for the reloading gear you'll want to buy as you fall in love with action shooting. :)

March 28, 2005, 06:04 PM
Out of curiousity, I did some figuring to see what it cost me to get started in USPSA Open division. I know this isn't quite answering your question, but it's relevance is the cost extremes.

Numbers rounded and tax/shipping not included:

Gun: $3000+
Belt w/pouches/holster: $316
Mags: $690
Reloading components: $550
Dillon 650 w/extras: $1000
reloading is absolutely necessary in Open division.

Total $5556

This was "my" cost... cost may vary greatly with different choices.

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