IDPA has recently released an updated ruleset for matches, and there are some SIGNIFICANT changes to it. IDPA released all of the information in a post on their Down Zero blog, and that post contains a short presentation of the major changes, some changelog files, and of course the updated copies of new match rules, and match administration rules. If you shoot IDPA, you are DEFINITELY going to want to go look through those carefully.
Here’s the link: New Rulebook, MAR, and Equipment Appendices
What follows is some commentary on the major changes that you might want to know from a competitor perspective. There are also a lot of changes from a match/stage design perspective, but we’ll be concentrating on the main points of what shooters need to know when they shoot stages.
Division capacity changes: SSP shooters may now load 15 rounds into their magazines, and CCP goes to 10 rounds. (If your CCP gun doesn’t hold 10 rounds, remember that the rules say that you load to the max capacity of your smallest magazine.)
Equipment placement changes: AIWB is now legal! In addition, OWB holster placement no longer has to be precisely on the midline of the shooter, but may range from 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock for right handed shooters and 10 to 8 on left-handed shooters. In addition, drop/offset holsters are now legal, provided 1) the butt of the gun stays above the belt, 2) all equipment is concealed by the cover garment when arms are outstretched, and 3) the firearm can’t angle outward from the body farther than vertical, and 4) the gun must have a neutral or muzzle-rear cant.
In addition, the rules defining where exactly you must place magazine pouches (and moonclip/speedloader pouches) have disappeared–the rule now is merely that all equipment must be concealed by the cover garment from all directions during the standard test of hands outstretched at sides.
Equipment modification changes: There were a number of them, but many are division-specific. If your gun was legal before, it still is, but if you plan on doing further modifications please make sure to take a look at the updated rules and appendices. One MAJOR change for everyone: weapon-mounted lights are now legal. If it is concealed and turned off at the start of the stage, it is good to go.
Reloading rules change: FINALLY, you don’t have to retain empty mags. The new rule simply states that any ammunition holder with ammo in it needs to be retained during a reload. That’s it. So as long as the mag is empty even if you still have one in the chamber, drop the mag and don’t worry about it.
And the last main shooting rule change: Sweeping of the shooter’s own body below the belt while removing the firearm from the holster or holstering of the firearm, provided that the shooter’s trigger finger is clearly outside of the trigger guard is not grounds for disqualification. (After the muzzle of the firearm is clear of the holster and has rotated up on the draw, sweeping any part of the body is a DQ.)
Those are some significant changes–and as I said, those aren’t all of them. There are many more, though most of them have to do with stage design, target presentations and setup, and so on. But there ARE some other little details, so again—take a look at the new rules!
(Personal annoyance: I just got done making a set of informational videos on the main rules of IDPA for people just starting the sport. And now I have to go redo them! But in general, I find most of these rule changes to be good things that will make the sport better, and more fun.)