Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are IDPA and SADPA shooting?

IDPA shooting as a sport is quite simply the use of practical equipment including full charge ammunition to solve simulated "real world" self-defence scenarios. Shooters competing in events are required to use practical handguns and holsters that are truly suitable for self-defence use. No "competition only" equipment is permitted since the main goal is to test the skill and ability of an individual, not his or her equipment or gamesmanship.

IDPA stands for International Defensive Pistol Association, the international governing body of the sport with membership of more than 17,000 in 50 countries. SADPA (South African Defensive Pistol Association) is the SAPS / CFR recognised dedicated sport shooting body that governs the sport in South Africa. SADPA functions under the auspice of IDPA, and caters for both Handgun only shoots and Defensive Multi-Gun shoots (Handgun / Shotgun / Semi-Auto Rifles).

When you join JDPC you also become a member of SADPA, which means that you are allowed to participate in shoots hosted by any of the many SADPA clubs in South Africa (of which there were 27 at the last count).

2. What type of shooting can I expect to do?

We engage in different shooting scenarios designed to test combinations of shooting skill, tactics, speed, accuracy and stress. We strive to practice realistic skills and scenarios that can emulate real situations allowing the shooter develop and maintain real defensive shooting skills.

Typically the exercises can be one of the following:
  • Standard Exercises: - Test the shooters' firearm handling and shooting skills.
  • Scenarios: - Stages that emulate real-world situations, often involving movement, reloading of firearms and use of cover.
Watch the below video to get a feel for the type of shooting that we do:

3. How does scoring work?

We uses a time-based scoring system that takes the time you take to finish a course of fire (a "stage") and adds penalties based on lack of accuracy, not using cover correctly, not shooting on the move, shooting non-threat-targets, or otherwise not following the rules.

Don't worry if that sounds complicated; everyone makes mistakes and the Safety Officers are there to help you through the Course of Fire safely. We will insure that you don't do anything unsafe and that you understand the basic rules of firearm safety.

4. What equipment do I need to participate?

Less than you might think. IDPA aims to make the sport accessible to as many people as possible, so equipment requirements are not onerous, and you don’t need a fancy gun or gear to be competitive. It can be cheaper than golf or fishing!

You will need a handgun that is suitable for self-defence, a belt, a holster, two extra magazines stowed in magazine pouches, eye and hearing protection, and a jacket for concealment (a loose shirt is acceptable for day one). Your handgun should preferably be a pistol of minimum 9mmP calibre or a revolver of minimum .38 calibre. There are limitations with regards to the size and weight of firearms allowed. The details of what’s allowed and what’s not allowed can be found in Appendix A of the rule book.

5. Is shooting experience required?

No. One of the unique facets of this sport is that it is geared toward the new or average shooter, yet is fun, challenging and rewarding for the experienced shooter.

6. How do I get started?

  • Complete the New Membership Application Form on the Join JDPC page.
  • Pay over your fees into our bank account.
  • Await your club & SADPA confirmation and SADPA Membership number and book yourself on a New Shooter Orientation (NSO).
  • Attend the NSO, where you will be introduced to the sport and safety aspects and shoot your first classifier.
  • Sign up for shooting events on the website.
Happy shooting!

7. Is IDPA/SADPA shooting safe?

Although the concept of shooting is inherently dangerous, we and the other SADPA affiliated clubs pride ourselves on our safety record. Safety is the first, last and middle rule of all activities associated with SADPA. Each match is run by trained and certified Safety Officers. No one is allowed to handle their weapon during a match, loaded or unloaded, without being under the direct supervision of a Safety Officer. New shooters are required to attend a New Shooter Orientation before they can participate in shooting events, where they are familiarised with the sport's stringent stafety rules and procedures.

8. Can I participate before I join JDPC?

Due to liability issues, unfortunately not. However, you are welcome to come to the club on shooting days to watch. Be sure to introduce yourself and ask any questions you might have. Don’t forget that eye protection and hearing protection is required, even for those just watching.

9. Can I start shooting immediately after I’ve joined?

Due to the inherent dangers associated with firearms, all members have to undergo a New Shooter Orientation (NSO) before they can participate in club (and SADPA) events. This is not negotiable. The NSO is an induction through which we ensure all members are aware of safety aspects, range rules and commands and the most basic SADPA rules. All shooters are also required to first shoot a classifier before participating in club shoots – you will shoot your first classifier when you attend the NSO.

10. How often are New Shooter Orientations (NSOs) presented?

JDPC presents NSOs roughly every month or as the need arises. New shooters are also welcome also to attend NSOs hosted by other SADPA clubs. There are several other SADPA clubs in Gauteng, so you shouldn’t have to wait longer than about 6 weeks.

You must have received your SADPA membership number before you can attend a NSO

11. What is a Classifier?

In order for shooters to be able to compete fairly with their peers, IDPA competitors are divided into five classifications, namely Novice, Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert or Master, based on their skill level. At any time, competitors will only compete aginst other shooters with the same classification as themselves.

A Classifier is a "Classification Match" which is a standard formatted match, consisting of 3 stages and scored against time, by an accredited Safety Officer, in order for a shooter to achieve any desired next classification level, provided he/she shoots within the pre-determined times. JDPC runs several classifiers over the course of each year.

12. Can I do the NSO now, and do the classifier at a later stage?

No, all new shooters are required to shoot a classifier as part of the NSO; it’s how we check that you’re a safe shooter.

13. Can I join JDPC if I don’t have a gun?

Yes you can. You are welcome to borrow a fellow shooter's gun to participate in shooting events (under their direct supervision and in accordance with all relevant legislation).

JDPC does not rent out firearms.

14. Can I share a gun with someone else?

For normal club shoots, yes. The Safety Officer will ensure that after each person has shot, the firearm is safely handed from one person to the next.

For leagues and national shoots, where there are a large numbers of participants, the answer is generally no because the transition from one person to the next takes too long.

15. How much ammunition do I need?

It depends from shoot to shoot. The NSO will require 120 rounds, monthly club shoots anywhere between 50 and 100 rounds, leagues from 80-160 rounds and the Champs can run up to 300 rounds. You will be advised of the expected round count prior to each shoot.

16. How do I become an IDPA Safety Officer (SO)?

Once you’ve shown yourself to be a competent and experienced JDPC shooter, you can request to attend a SO training course. The two-day SO training covers both the both the theory and practical aspects of IDPA shooting, and is thus greatly beneficial to anyone wishing to improve in the sport.

As a newly qualified SO you will be supervised by an experienced SO until you are confident to run a shoot on your own. In a typical club shoot each detail/squad will be run by two qualified SOs, however, on the rare occasion when there are too many shooters for the number of available SOs, the second SO may be replaced by an experienced shooter for the day.

17. How will I be notified of important news and events?

  • Information about JDPC events is available on the JDPC website.
  • All notices of SADPA shoots and shoot results will be emailed to you via the SADPA Yahoo group.
  • JDPC also sometimes sends out notice of club events via SMS.

18. How do I get Dedicated Sportsman Status?

Every time you attend a SADPA event you are awarded a number of points towards your Dedicated Sportsman Status (DSS). Once you’ve earned 20 points you may apply for you DSS by completing the form on the SADPA website and following the instructions.

SHOOTERS have points allocated on the following basis:
  • Club Shoot : 4 points
  • SADPA League Shoot : 6 points
  • SADPA Nationals : 8 point
  • SA Champs : 10 points
SAFETY OFFICERS are allocated additional points on the following basis:
  • Club Shoot : 1 points
  • SADPA League Shoot : 2 points
  • SADPA Nationals : 4 points
  • SA Champs : 4 points
A minimum level of 20 points per year is required to maintain your DSS status. You can keep track of the number of points that you’ve accumulated by logging into the SADPA website.

19. Does JDPC offer firearm training?

No. Safety officers will generally be happy to give you a few pointers if you ask for them, and we are in the process of arranging shooting clinics where one of our experienced shooters will help you work on your shooting skills. For any formal training we will be happy to direct you to a reputable, accredited trainer.

20. What does the JDPC Exco do and how much do they get paid?

The JDPC Exco is an awesome bunch of guys and gals who voluntarily give of their time to run the club. Without them there would be no club. They don’t receive any remuneration for their efforts, a fact that you might want to consider when you have the opportunity to buy them a beer. There is no voting process to get onto the Exco, so if you’d like to get involved in the running of the club let us know – we are happy for all the help we can get.