IPSC shooting combines accuracy, speed and power in different courses of fire. The scoring system is designed to reward each of the three attributes equally. Competitors use centerfire handguns in large calibres (9mm/.38 special minimum) and shoot full-power loads. Maximum points are awarded for shots in the "A zone", fewer points are awarded for shots outside the "A zone". Competitors using "minor" power loads lose more points than competitors using "major" power loads. Handguns and magazines are carried in holsters and magazines pouches attached to a belt.

Unlike bullseye and other traditional forms of target shooting, the stages shot in practical shooting matches are different each time. Diversity in scenarios is a hallmark of IPSC. Stages are shot free-style, requiring the additional challenge of each competitor having to figure out the best way to engage each target. Targets may be paper or steel. Penalty targets may be placed near "shoot" targets. Points are subtracted for hitting "no-shoot" targets. A competitor's score is the total points on the targets divided by the time required to shoot each stage. The best shooters need to find the best combination of accuracy, speed, and power to win.


Successful completion of a Black Badge course is necessary in order to compete in IPSC at matches sanctioned by the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) in Canada. Given the complexity of the gun handling skills required in IPSC, this training course is required to maintain the highest safety standards. The IPSC Black Badge course is not a basic course. A reasonable degree of shooting ability and familiarity with your equipment is necessary if you are to get maximum benefit and enjoyment from the program. You should be able to consistently shoot the gun you will be using for the course into a 6" group at a distance of 20 yards, and be able to operate the safety and magazine release of your gun with only your strong hand. Semi-automatic pistols are recommended, although revolvers can be used. Minimum calibre is 9mm. Whatever gun you choose, it must be totally reliable. You will also need a minimum of three reliable magazines or speedloaders, a sturdy belt, a holster which points the muzzle towards the ground and completely covers the trigger, and belt pouches for at least two magazines or speedloaders.

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