IDPA, via their Tactical Brief newsletter, sent out an announcement this morning:
Last week at the World Championship awards banquet, I announced that the IDPA Board of Directors has elected to increase the Point Down penalty from a half second to 1 second. The BoD is comprised of two MA shooters (both Founders of the sport) and one EX with a combined total of more than 57 years of IDPA experience. This decision was made to keep the sport aligned with the founder’s intent of valuing accuracy over speed. As concealed carry holders, which many of our members are, we are responsible for every round that leaves our gun, and IDPA needs to reflect that in our practices. I met with some of the Area Coordinators recently to share this information and the feedback received from them was very positive. There is no hard timetable for this change. Classification scores and other areas will need to reflect the change, and we are already working with some of our scoring vendors on this change. More information will be available as the work progresses and we will make updates on this via the Tactical Journal and Tactical Brief.
This may be a little surprising given that IDPA had promised after the most recent rulebook updates to add CCP and BUG that they would not be updating the rulebook for two years to give things a chance to settle. However, a week after the World Championship, here we are.
There has been a lot of discussion about what the outcome of this rule change will be, but just as a quick glance, I decided to pull the scores for the top ten finishers in each division at the recent World Championship and see if this would dramatically change the outcome of any shooters.
It’s pretty well-established among high-level IDPA competitors that even half a second is already a significant penalty and you shouldn’t plan to take many, if any, down ones. Bob Vogel, on the way to winning the SSP world title, dropped 18 points across 16 stages. For the serious shooter, IDPA has already prized accuracy very highly.
However, given that, on the clock, making up a down one, between the time to see it happened, mentally process it, and fire the makeup shot, usually took about half a second, it was considered a wash and therefore not worth it to make up down one hits. I expect this will probably change that conventional wisdom and shift it so that dropping any points on a stage is seen as unacceptable. Shooters that want to move up the ranks will be expected to clean stages.
Another logical outcome of this change is that distance targets, which are already somewhat rare, will become more important since a miss on them will hurt twice as much. I’m reminded of a target at this year’s Carolina Cup that was at least 20 yards away and mostly obscured by a car door. I took two shots at it, each one taking somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 seconds, the same as it would have cost to just take the miss. Strategically speaking, once I had one down one or better hit (to avoid a Failure to Neutralize), I would have been better off sending a second shot as soon as possible and moving on. Given the previous scoring system, spending 2.5 seconds firing a shot to avoid a five point (2.5 second) penalty wasn’t really worth it.
We’ll keep you posted on the blog and podcast as this rule change moves forward towards become reality.