IDPA Backup Gun National Championship

If you want to compete or watch real-life scenarios and real-carry guns, you might be interested in the IDPA Backup Gun National Championship. 

What is IDPA Backup Gun National Championship?

The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) Backup Gun National Championship is a competition where shooters take on threats in real-life scenarios. It’s the culmination of a shooter’s practice of self-defense. 

Shooters actually compete with the gun they actually carry. The simple format of this competition keeps the five-shot nationals stay to their original concept which is good training and competition for concealed carry. 

These competitions take place all over the United States, most notably throughout the New England region, in states like New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. It also includes charity fundraisers such as the Sig Sauer Academy Aiming for Zero Charity Match. To help you stay on track, you can visit for related match updates, as it has acquired


Who is IDPA?

The International Defensive Pistol Association was founded in 1996. It is the governing body for all IDPA competitions which are centered around handgun shooting sport based on simulated self-defense scenarios. 

The IDPA competition format was designed so shooters of all skill levels can compete and enjoy. It emphasizes the social interaction and camaraderie of the members. If you want to participate and get favorable results, you are required to use handguns, holsters, and other equipment suitable for concealed carry self-defense. 

IDPA is the fastest-growing shooting sport in the United States. It has over 25,000 members from all 50 states and over 400 affiliated clubs hosting weekly and monthly competitions. IDPA also has memberships representing over 70 nations.

IDPA’s Fundamental Principle

These are taken from IDPA’s Rulebook. The fundamental principles are a guide to all members and to provide information on the organization’s foundation. 

  • Promote safe and proficient use of firearms and equipment suitable for concealed carry self-defense. 
  • Offer a practical shooting sport encouraging competitors to develop skills and fellowship with like-minded shooters.
  • Provide a level playing field for all competitors that solely test the skill and ability of each individual, not their equipment. 
  • Provide separate divisions for equipment and classifications for shooters, such that firearms with similar characteristics are grouped together and people with similar skill levels compete against each other.
  • Provide shooters with practical and realistic courses of fire, and test skills that could be required to survive life-threatening encounters. 
  • Strongly encourage all IDPA members to support our sponsors when making purchases of equipment and accessories. Industry sponsors have been instrumental in IDPA’s success at all levels including Club, State, Regional, National, and International levels.
  • Develop and maintain an infrastructure that will allow IDPA to be responsive to shooters. While IDPA can never be all things to all people, respectful constructive suggestions from our members, which follow IDPA Fundamental Principles, will always be welcome. 

Essential Equipment

You need your own firearms and related equipment to participate in IDPA competitions. Here are recommended resources for the recommended equipment:

In addition, here are some additional recommendations that gun users find beneficial:

Backup Gun (BUG) Division 

The Backup Gun division is a required division for Tier 1 matches. It’s optional in Tier 2 – Tier 5 matches at the Match Director’s discretion. BUG is a single division only. 

The Backup Gun division may also be used to create a specialty BUG only match. Match directors may prescribe conditions for courses of fire such as the start condition, holster use, and reloads on the clock. 

Classification Rules

IDPA shooters are divided into 7 separate Classifications so that shooters may compete against others with the same skill level using similar equipment.

These Classifications include:

  • Unclassified
  • Novice
  • Marksman
  • Sharpshooter
  • Expert
  • Master
  • Distinguished Master

New IDPA members are Unclassified in a division until they shoot their first IDPA Classifier in that division or receive an Equity Promotion in that division.

A shooter’s classification can change by:

  • Shooting the Classifier
  • Being promoted based on performance in a sanctioned match
  • Equity Promotion

The Classifier is a match that classifies shooters. You can only be classified as a Distinguished Master by winning the Division Champion title or scoring within 3% of the Division Champion score at either the: