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IDPA Officially Moving To 1 Second Per Point Down

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.

About Ben

Blog contributor. Active in IDPA and USPSA, and he won't flinch if you call him a rules lawyer. Ben is a beard wearing, bacon eating, whiskey drinking, motorcycle riding, coder.


  1. Oddly, I seem to have a lot to say about this.

    Our monthly local-club “outlaw” pistol matches have always used full-point-down scoring. (It’s easy; we haven’t yet entered the electronic age).

    I win a fair number of these matches (it’s a small pond) and the accuracy game suits me, but some of us recently wondered if the penalties were stacking up a little too quickly; that we were enforcing too much accuracy (nominally good) at the expense of speed (also a lifesaver in a defensive situation).

    Keep in mind our “target market” of shooters contains the bare minimum of USPSA shooters (I can think of two of us). And that most of our crowd are happy to sharpen their defensive pistol skills once a month.

    I doubt this change will change much. I already shoot IDPA with my G19, and tend to put extra rounds in hard/distant targets anyway (I suspect I had a bad experience with cardboard targets as a child).

    Finally, I feel compelled to condemn you for breaking the Interwebs; you analysed actual data before forming an opinion, and then published both.

    Highly irregular. Maybe even a little creepy.

  2. If this is true it really bothers me. Most first time IDPA shooters don’t do so well and if their points down double then they will be even further from the top shooters time. Meaning if they were afraid of shooting a match for fear of embarrassment they will be less likely to come back.

    Just my 2 cents but I find it hard enough to introduce gun owners to the sport as it is.

  3. This is going to further separate the fast and accurate from the slow and not as accurate as they think. My club’s Halloween zombie match featured a ton of head shots. I dropped 16 points in 108 rounds for the win. A lot of competitors were double my time thanks to poor accuracy. IDPA is already very accuracy skewed. This is going to be a rough change for the “Marksmen”…

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