New Shooter Info

New IDPA shooters are welcome at every match. If you are a new shooter, please arrive at the match early and inform staff during registration that you are a new shooter. Staff will get you registered and assign you to attend the new shooter orientation. After the briefing you will sign up on a squad with experienced shooters who will gladly assist you with shooting the match and answer questions that arise from match participation.

In addition, we recommend that you come watch a match before competing, and especially before investing in any new equipment to be used to shoot IDPA matches. Handguns, holsters, belts, ammunition carriers, magazines, and speed loaders can be expensive; watching a match and asking questions may be quite helpful in your equipment selection process. Also, make sure you have read the Competition and Equipment Rules in the official IDPA Rule Book before investing in any new equipment.

If you are new to IDPA or the Charlotte area, we recommend that you find other IDPA clubs and shoot in their matches as well. A great way for the novice shooter to get comfortable with IDPA shooting is by supporting local clubs and shooting different matches. You will find under the links section, a listing of other clubs in the area.

Shooters competing in IDPA events are required to use practical handguns and holsters that are safe and truly suitable for self-defense use. No “competition only” equipment is permitted in IDPA matches since the main goal is to test the skill and ability of an individual, not his or her equipment or gamesmanship. Any Safety Officer at the local match can assist you with equipment questions. There are no exceptions on using unsafe firearms, ammunition, or equipment. These rules protect the shooters, safety officers, club, and community.

We run a “cold” range during matches (guns are unloaded, magazine out, and hammer down except when responding to the commands of a Safety Officer). Mecklenburg Wildlife Club enforces a 180-degree rule; the muzzle of your gun must remain pointed down-range at all times, and cannot cross an imaginary line drawn straight across the range parallel to the backstop.  Safe Areas are the only locations that guns should be handled outside the holster. When using a Safe Area the shooter should not have any loaded magazines on his person. The only other times a gun may be removed from the holster is on the load and make ready command issued by the safety officer. Individuals violating this policy may be disqualified from the local match for violating these safety guidelines.

Required Equipment

  • Handgun (Concealed-carry guns only – No competition-type guns) For specific equipment rules, see the Equipment section of the IDPA Equipment & Competition Rule Book at the Official IDPA Web Site. Commissioned police and law enforcement officers and active-duty military personnel may use their standard-issue duty gear.
  • Hip holster
  • Three magazines or speed-loaders
  • Double magazine pouch, two single mag pouches, or two speed-loader holders
  • 125 rounds of ammunition for the typical monthly match
  • Eye and ear protection
  • Cover garment (Not always required, but bring one)


Col. Jeff Cooper’s 4 rules of Gun Safety:

1. The Gun Is Always Loaded!
2. Never Point A Gun at Something You’re Not Prepared To Destroy!
3. Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Your Sights Are On The Target!
4. Always Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Behind It!


Here is a good video that helps explain a lot by The Power Factor Show.