IDPA Match Criteria: Fast-Tracking The Process

Have you ever met someone that has a tendency to dive into a new hobby with tremendous furor, fist-pumping all the way down? I’m a lot like that guy. I tend to find something I enjoy and get involved quickly. With my First IDPA Match behind me, you can only imagine the thoughts that are racing through my mind right about now.

The issue is that I don’t want to just shoot a monthly match at a local club. Oh no, I want to do better than that and shoot at an IDPA Sanctioned Match, the Liberty 2012 Match at Lower Providence Rod and Gun ClubOpens in a new tab., to be precise.

So what is the big deal, it is just a matter of showing up and shooting, right? Unfortunately, there are criteria that must be met in order to compete in this match. Those criteria are simple enough to reach, the issue is the time frame in which I need to accomplish everything.

The time frame I’m up against is the following “Registration closes at 12:01AM on September 14 2012. Or sooner at the discretion of the Match Director.” In addition, open squad slots seem to be filling up. By the time I submit my application I may be lucky to get one, let alone a slot on a squad where friends are also shooting.

IDPA Membership

As you would imagine, shooting at a Sanctioned IDPA Match means being a member of the organization. At this particular time, I do not satisfy that requirement. The process is simple enough and can be completed online. Annual membership dues are $40 or $105 for three years.

My inner cheapskate, however, tells me not to complete the online registration. If join IDPA through a club, such as Lower providence Rod and Gun Club, I get to shoot the match in which I join, for free. This essentially saves me $15 that could otherwise be used for ammunition.

My only concern at this point is, do I have the time to wait around for the August match before signing up? Even if a late August match would be cutting it close, how much time will it take for IDPA to process the paperwork and provide me with a membership number for the Liberty Match Registration Process, if I sign up right now?

IDPA Classification

Once the registration process is finished, the next order of business is getting myself classified. Shooters are required to classify Marksman or higher. I’m not particularly concerned about actually making Marksman. The time seems fairly generous as it is the bottom rung of the classification ladder (Novice is actually below Marksman but there is no time requirement for Novice. I imagine that is your classification fresh out of IDPA Membership).

The concern is actually getting myself classified. Many of the clubs in my area seem to run a classification match once or twice per year. This acts as a re-certification, of sorts, for members. If you were guessing that I’m out of luck for a classification match, you would be correct. There is an alternative, though.

Ontelaunee Rod and Gun Club runs a program for new shootersOpens in a new tab.. This program is free of charge and acts as a way for potential shooters to learn about the sport and shoot two small IDPA Style Stages to test the waters. After completion of the class, shooters who join IDPA are offered the opportunity to shoot the classifier through the club. From what I understand, it is simply a matter or agreeing on a time that works for both the shooter and instructor.

If I can make the August 12th Class and make arrangements to shoot the classifier, shorty after, I may be able to become classified before match registration closes on September 14th. Even if the stars align and everything works out, I think the time frame is really tight.

Ask The Readers

By this point you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. I have one IDPA Match under my belt, I’m not even a member of the organization, and I want to shoot a sanctioned match? Remember the part about diving into a new hobby with tremendous furor, fist-pumping all the way down? Well, what did you expect after reading that?

What I would like your help with is, do you think I’m overdoing it? Should I hold off on shooting a sanctioned match until I have more experience? Do I even have a prayer of meeting all of the requirements by the September 14th cutoff date?


Hi There, My name is Walt White and as the name of this blog suggests, I am a Pennsylvania resident. In addition to having numerous hobbies that I discuss on my blog - I’m also the father of three little girls and a pitbull.

7 thoughts on “IDPA Match Criteria: Fast-Tracking The Process

  1. “how much time will it take for IDPA to process the paperwork and provide me with a membership number for the Liberty Match Registration Process, if I sign up right now?”
    Unless a sudden glut of new shooters has occurred, HQ is processing new applicants in 5 business days. Hedge your bets to twice that just to be on the safe side.

    “(Novice is actually below Marksman but there is no time requirement for Novice. I imagine that is your classification fresh out of IDPA Membership).”
    Actually if you attend a Classifier and shoot like unadulterated crap (like me) and blow Marksman times, you get a Novice. If you don’t attend a Classifier well, you are Unclassified.

    Are you overdoing it? Maybe but, who cares? However, at the sanctioned match you will not be treated with New Shooter’s gloves. It is gonna be Big Boys Rules and since you are a Type-A personality, you may take the tighter application of the rules in a “OMG I suck at this” fashion and get all depressed and crap. If you go there with the mindset of “I know I am gonna screw up but I don’t care ’cause I will learn and have fun” then go ahead and take the chance.

    1. Miguel,
      As much as I would like to show up and kick some ass, based on my lack of experience, I’d be thrilled with anything above 25% in whatever division I classify. I’ve never shot what might be considered a “Major” or the equivalent of a USPSA Level II match and would like to change that. With the plethora of IDPA clubs in the area, it makes it much easier in this sport.

  2. You have to become IDPA member anyway so go ahead and get it done. Get a Classifier as soon as you can, make sure your Classification card is signed and you are set for the match.
    The must fun I have at sanctioned matches is the time spent with the people in the squad, specially when we come up with excuses as why we shot a No-Shoot (“He was a Collaborator” is #1 followed very close by “Mother in Law/Ex Wife” combo.)

  3. by all means, get your membership and register in that sanctioned match (on the app i usually future date my classifier date knowing when i’m going to get a classifier in). now, some clubs around here will run one through a classifier with advanced notice.

    send a note to the md of your local club(s) to see if that is possible. likely, there are others who need one as well.

    1. Lee,
      Thanks for the suggestions. I emailed the Match Director that is hosting the match.

      With any luck, the hosting club will act as a One-Stop-Shop and help me with everything I need. If not, I’ll just have to hustle and see what I can get accomplished in the small window of time.

  4. Walt,

    DO IT. I wouldn’t worry about the $15, get the membership right away and register, then bride the local MD/SO to run you thru the classifier, even if it means meeting him on a saturday when there isn’t a match going on. Bribe him with beer. set up in the back yard and dry fire the entire classifier COF the night before so that you goto sleep thinking about it.

    Miguel is spot on, you will not be treated like a newbie at the liberty match, you will probably collect procedurals with reckless abandon, but don’t sweat it- HAVE FUN!

    I’m driving up with my brother from NC (I’m a Ft Bragg Soldier and he’s a Camp LeJune Marine) to shoot at the liberty match in Oct, hope to see you there.

  5. i’m in the same boat, but just kinda. i just shot my first ever idpa event two weeks ago and already trying to find one once a week to go shoot. im gonna spend more on ammo than i do on food…..

    i have no idea when i will be classified though….

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