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The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), founded in 1996, is an organization based in Berryville, Arkansas, that has created a shooting sport based on defensive pistol techniques, using equipment including full-charge service ammunition to solve simulated “real world” self-defense scenarios.
Shooters competing in defensive pistol events are required to use practical handguns and holsters that are deemed suitable for self-defense use.
The sport came about as a response to the perceived shortcomings in competitions organized by the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) and its migration away from the use of common, un-customized handguns.
It was decided by the founders of IDPA (Bill Wilson, John Sayle, Ken Hackathorn, Dick Thomas, Walt Rauch and Larry Vickers), that USPSA competitions had become too far removed from the reality of defensive shooting situations, using extensively modified guns, handmade ammunition, and speed-draw holsters that were impractical for self-defense.
The IDPA founders believed that USPSA matches had become “equipment races”, which were heavily dependent on a shooter’s gear rather than their ability.
To control costs, alterations to the sidearm are carefully regulated in IDPA, and magazine capacity is limited to a division-specific maximum of 10 rounds.