International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC)

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IPSC shooting is a winter sport as well at the Eastern Ontario Handgun ClubWhat is IPSC shooting all about? IPSC shooting is a sport in which competitors are required to combine accuracy, speed and power to successfully complete varied courses of fire. Competitors use centerfire handguns in large calibers (9mm/.38 special is the minimum allowed) and shoot full-power loads. Fewer points are awarded to competitors using "minor" power loads when their shots land outside of the centre "A zone". The handguns are carried in belt holsters and spare magazines in pouches are also attached to the belt.

Unlike bullseye and all other traditional forms of target shooting, the stages shot in practical shooting matches are different each time - different ranges, numbers of targets and target arrays. This requires competitors to be diverse in their training so that they can handle any shooting challenge presented by the match designers. At any given match a shooter may be required to shoot targets 2 meters away in one stage of the event, and 50 meters away in the next. Sometimes the targets are paper, sometimes they are steel. Often penalty targets are placed near "shoot" targets to increase the degree of difficulty. Points are subtracted from a shooter's score for hitting these "no-shoot" targets. Shooting may be done from freestyle, strong hand, weak hand, prone, or from any other imaginable position, depending on the course of fire. Since your score is the total points on the targets divided by the elapsed time for each stage, the shooters strive to find the best combination of accuracy, speed, and power to win. In addition to shooting while stationary, proficient IPSC shooters will shot while moving through stages in order to save time. If traditional target shooting leaves you cold, this is the game for you! This is the most popular form of target shooting competition at the Eastern Ontario Handgun Club by a large margin and has caught on with the majority of clubs in the region.

IPSC Black Badge Course

Shooting around a barricade in an IPSC matchCompletion of this national training course is necessary before you can compete in 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, plus it's more fun to compete when you know the "right" techniques.

The IPSC Black Badge course is not "Basic-Level" instruction and 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. This doesn't mean you need years of experience - one student successfully completed the course after having only shot her pistol in three practices prior to the course!

Semi-automatic pistols are recommended, although revolvers can be used. Minimum caliber is 9mm. Whatever gun you choose, it must be totally reliable and capable of firing 300-400 rounds without malfunctions. For those on a budget, the new Production Division limits guns to basically unmodified, affordable, duty type firearms (e.g. Beretta 92, Glock 17, CZ 75, Para-Ordnance LDA) with double action or safe action first shot triggers. For competition in the Standard Division, Gunnar Christensen of IPSC BC has put together a good overview of 1911 style pistols. If you are thinking of buying a used gun check out some good tips for buying a used competition pistol. You will also need a minimum of three reliable magazines or speedloaders.

The course will require you to shoot 300-400 rounds. You may use either factory ammunition or reloaded cartridges, whichever you prefer. Particularly if you use reloaded ammunition, you must be sure that it functions reliably and consistently in the gun you are using.

Other Equipment:
You will require 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. (For an affordable and decent starter rig consisting of belt, competition holster and two double magazine pouches you should call Laroche Leather in Alymer at 819-684-0390.)

Skill Level:
The IPSC Black Badge Course blends both accuracy and speed requirements to develop your shooting proficiency. In order to comfortably handle the course, you should be able to meet the following standards before beginning:

  • Be able to consistently shoot the gun you will be using for the course into a 6" group at a distance of 20 yards.
  • Be able to operate the safety and magazine release of your gun with only your strong (shooting) hand.

Please don't consider these requirements to be intimidating! They really are not all that onerous, and having the basics under control before you begin will allow you to get maximum benefit and enjoyment from the course.

Come on out! Participate in the most dynamic shooting sport around! Discover why IPSC is the fastest growing shooting discipline in the world! For the $120 fee you get membership in the provincial and national IPSC organizations as well as two full days of instruction. If you are a junior shooter (under 18), be sure to check out IPSC Ontario's Futures Program, as it makes the course more accessible for you by waiving the fee.

Generally we only run these courses from April through October, as it is not practical to spend 12 hours outside shooting in sub-zero temperatures. We usually conduct a couple of courses in the Spring and in the Fall. For more information on Black Badge Courses in Eastern Ontario, check our schedule of events or send an email to IPSC Open Division Gun in a Bianchi holster

IPSC Range Officer (RO) Courses

For more information on Range Officer Courses contact the
Also see the IPSC Ontario website for information on RO courses.

IPSC Shotgun & Rifle Competitions

While IPSC is primarily a handgun sport, shotgun or rifle stages may be included in Scene from a winter IPSC Shotgun matchmatches at some clubs that have the required facilities. The same principles of practical shooting apply, and IPSC standard targets are used. Both pump-action and semi-autos are used in shotgun stages. In Canada, semi-auto shotguns are limited to a magazine capacity of 5 rounds by law. Pump-action shotguns are exempt from this restriction and may provide an advantage in stages that do not specify mandatory reloads. Any type of centerfire rifle may generally be used in practical rifle stages. As with shotguns, semi-auto rifles are restricted to a magazine capacity of 5 rounds. In Canada virtually all scary/military looking semi-auto rifles such as the AR-15, FN FAL, AK-47, etc are designated "restricted or prohibited firearms"...restricted firearms may only be used on rifle ranges approved for their use. Prohibited rifles may no longer be legally discharged in Canada.

Two and 3 gun matches are becoming more popular. Check the events page EOHC Events for 2 gun matches as most of our smaller IPSC pistol matches feature an IPSC shotgun side event. Unfortunately, the Eastern Ontario Handgun Club's ranges are not appropriate for centre-fire IPSC rifle, so we make do with rimfire Mini Rifle matches.


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Links to IPSC Organizations

IPSC World Body

Training Tips for IPSC Shooters

Check out some Finnish IPSC stages

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Monique on the move in an IPSC field course at the Ottawa Open 2002

This page was updated on 9/18/2009