Promoting safe and efficient use of guns and equipment suitable for self-defense
and providing opportunities to practice safely in a sporting atmosphere.




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IDPA - New Shooter Information

Down load & review our...
New Shooter Orientation & Safety Briefing packet 

New shooters are always welcome and we encourage you to come join us! Whether you are shooting or you just want to watch, we'll pair you up with an experienced shooter to answer your questions and provide guidance on the courses of fire. 

If you are a new shooter shooting your first match on Wednesdays, you need to arrive at the range no later that 5:30 -- and quickly identify yourself as a "New Shooter" so we can run you through our new shooter safety briefing in a timely manner.

It's also important that you realize WHSC is a non-profit organization and its activities depend completely on volunteer effort -- there is no paid staff.  All participants are required to help where they can at each shooting event so that it can run smoothly and start & finish on time.   Subject to physical limitations and experience, all shooters are needed to do their fair share of target-taping, helping to set up, and safety-check stages, and restoring the bays to their pre-match condition after the match is over.  After some shooting experience and training, shooters are also expected to serve as a Scorekeepers and Safety Officers, and are strongly encouraged to serve as Match Directors.  Your cooperation and participation will be appreciated by all who enjoy the activity. We can't run safe, enjoyable shooting events without able-bodied helpers.  Shooters who wish only to "show up, shoot, and leave early" should look for another club.

Shooters competing in IDPA events are required to use practical handguns and holsters that are truly suitable for self-defense use. No “competition only” equipment is permitted in IDPA matches since the main goal is to test the skill and ability of an individual, not his or her equipment or gamesmanship.

We run a “cold” range during matches (guns unloaded, magazine out, and hammer down except while firing), and we enforce a 180-degree rule. The muzzle of your gun must remain pointed down-range into the berm at all times, and cannot cross an imaginary line drawn straight across the range parallel to the backstop.

IDPA shooting emphasizes the following practical applications of safe and efficient firearm use for self-defense:

  • drawing from concealment
  • shooting while moving
  • shooting from behind cover
  • reloading
  • engagement of multiple targets
  • safe gun handling * MOST IMPORTANT *
   Required Equipment    
  • Handgun - (no competition-type guns) For specific equipment rules, see the Equipment section of the IDPA Equipment & Competition Rule Book at the Official IDPA Web Site.  Commissioned police and law enforcement officers and active-duty military personnel may use their standard-issue duty gear.

  • Holster - Hip type holster on the strong side of the body.  Inside or outside the waist band holsters are allowed.  Muzzle must point towards the ground & the holster must completely cover the trigger guard.  No small of the back, cross-draw, fanny packs, or shoulder holsters. Inside the waist band and belt or paddle holsters must conform to the IDPA rules.

  • Mag Pouches - At least two mag pouches, or 3 speed-loader holders, most people use 3 (one double mag pouch & one single mag pouch).  New shooters may use their pockets until they get a proper mag carrier.

  • Belt - You will need a quality belt to support your holster/gun properly.  Any belt will work, but a belt designed to carry a holster will do exactly that, it will carry the weight of the holster minimizing fatigue and keeping your gear where it's supposed to be.  Most people use a 1.5" wide Wilderness Instructor belt.

  • Mags - At least 2 magazines (most people use 3) or 3 speed-loaders, & yes more is better.  Mags must be flush with the bottom of the grip.

  • Ammo – For the typical weekly match (50 rounds minimum, 100 rounds to be safe) & for the typical monthly match (100 rounds minimum, 150 rounds to be safe).  The idea here is… bring more than you think you need.  IDPA is intended to be shot with full power ammunition.  Reloaded ammunition or factory produced ammunition is acceptable & copper jacketed, lead, or hollow points can be used.  It makes the most sense to use the cheapest ammo you can find to shoot this sport but it’s also a good idea to shoot your preferred self defense ammunition through your personal defense weapon.  IDPA provides an invaluable platform to test your ammo/gun combination in a stressful environment before your life is at stake.

  • Eye and ear protection - Are required to shoot with us.

  • Cover garment - Not always required, but bring one.


A helpful tool for deciding what kind of gear to get is the 2012 IDPA National Championship Equipment Survey.  This is a real eye opener for most people.  Look at this as a quick reference guide of sorts. 

This survey includes…

1. Guns Used
2. Holsters Used
3. Ammo Used
4. Reloading Presses Used
5. Powder Used
6. Brass Used
7. Bullet Type Used
8. Bullet Manufacturer Used
9. Primers Used
10. Eye Protection Used
11. Hearing Protection Used
12. Range Bags Used

We recommend that you shoot a match or at least come watch a match before investing in any new equipment to be used to shoot IDPA.  Handguns, holsters, belts, ammunition carriers, magazines, and speed-loaders are expensive. 

Watching a match and asking questions may be quite helpful in your equipment selection process.  Also, make sure you have read the Competition and Equipment Rules in the official IDPA Rule Book before investing in any new equipment. 

IDPA shooting is a fun and safe way to learn defensive pistol skills and sharpen your gun handling and shooting abilities. IDPA’s safety rules are easy to learn and follow.

Click below for advice on
preparing for the Course of Fire:


Below is a video of our new shooter briefing with actual demonstrations.  If you are a New Shooter & need more info or you just have some questions feel free to contact us at

   The above video feed courtesy of the
    Greater Atlanta Defensive Pistol Association


The IDPA classifier.



Below, Brian is now showing us how to get it done right. 
This is a typical monthly match here at WHIDPA. 
This video is from April 2011, Brian is shooting ESP Master.


Below is Jason Colborn is shooting the classifier,
but this time it's from the shooters perspective.


The 1st Law
All Guns Are
Always Loaded!

The 2nd Law
 Never Point The Muzzle
At Something You Are
Not Willing To Destroy!

The 3rd Law
Keep Your Finger
Off The Trigger
Until Your Sights
Are On The Target!

The 4th Law
Identify Your Target,
And What Is Behind It!