Frequently Asked Questions

The Oceanside Practical Pistol Club FAQ

Match setups

  1. General Questions
  2. Equipment Questions
  3. IDPA Match Questions
  4. Steel Match Questions
  5. Glossary of Terms

General Questions

  1. Are spectators allowed?
    Certainly. They need to sign in with the range and wear eye and ear protection. If you're interested in competitive shooting this is a great way to see what it's all about.
  2. Can you explain the match commands?
    The basic commands, in order, are:
        Do you understand the course of fire? - answer yes or no
        Load and make ready - load your weapon as the stage requires and put it in the starting position (usually your holster)
        Is the shooter ready? - answer yes or nod when you are ready
        Standby - the starting beep will follow in 1 to 2 seconds
        Unload and show clear - remove the magazine, lock the slide back, look to make sure the weapon is empty and show the RO
        Slide - allow the slide to drop closed
        Hammer (or striker) - with the gun pointing in a safe direction pull the trigger to show the gun is empty
        Holster - store your pistol safely in your holster
        Range is Safe - it is now safe to go downrange to tape targets, reset steel, etc.
    Other commands you may hear:
        Stop - cease firing immediately
        Cover - when the course of fire requires the use of cover the RSO will call this when you are failing to use cover
        Finger - your finger should only be on the trigger when actively engaging targets, otherwise it should be outside the trigger guard
        Muzzle - make sure your muzzle is pointing in a safe direction (downrange)
  3. What is a cold range?
    All Oceanside Practical Pistol Club matches feature a cold range. On a cold range all pistols are to remain unloaded and holstered until your are instructed to do differently by the RSO. If you need to handle your firearm you may use the classroom off the the lobby, ammunition is not permitted in the classroom.
  4. Is there any membership fee?
    While gratuities are always welcome there are presently no membership fees. Show up, pay your match fee, and shoot.
  5. Where are you located?
    Our matches are held at Iron Sights Shooting Range in Oceanside California, adjacent to Oceanside Municipal Airport. Take the 76 east from the 5 Freeway, turn left (north) on Benet Road and then make an immediate right onto Airport Road. Iron Sights is at 618 Airport Road (760-721-4388).

Equipment Questions

  1. What kinds of holsters can I use?
    For most of our matches any safe holster may be used. The muzzle of the pistol must point straight down (or almost straight down) when holstered and the trigger must be completely covered. No shoulder or cross-draw holsters. IDPA matches have additional holster restrictions, see the IDPA rule book for details.
  2. Are there any ammunition restrictions?
    Match ammunition restrictions are identical to the ranges restrictions. No steel case (Wolf) ammo. No armor piercing, steel jacketed, or steel core bullets. .45 ACP is about the biggest thing we're going to let you shoot at our steel targets, so leave the S&W 500 at home.
  3. Are there any limits on the type of handgun?
    Just about any modern, safe pistol or revolver may be used. Modifications to a weapon that make it unsafe, such as the removal of basic safety features are not allowed. The Match Director will always have the final say in whether a particular weapon may or may not be used.

IDPA Match Questions

  1. What the heck is IDPA?
    The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is the governing body of a shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real life encounters. It was founded in 1996 as a response to the desires of shooters worldwide. The organization now boasts membership of more than 11,000, including members in 19 foreign countries. More info here.
  2. What is a failure to neutralize penalty?
    The failure to neutralize penalty is assessed for failing to get adequate hits on a target to "neutralize" the threat. The current IDPA rule interpretation is that you must get at least one hit in the zero (0) or the minus one (-1) zone on every threat target. In the past two hits in the minus three zone were considered adequate, that is no longer the case.
  3. I'm a marine, can I use my drop leg holster?
    While drop leg holsters are generally not permitted in IDPA there is a specific exception for duty rigs worn by members of the military or law enforcement. The club policy is that we will always allow a member of the military to shoot with the gear that they may have to carry into harms way unless there is a safety concern.
  4. This IDPA stuff is fun, is there any way I can shoot more than once a month ?
    Sure. Check out our calendar for links to other regional matches. You can shoot IDPA almost every weekend of the month, money and spouse permitting.

Steel Match Questions

  1. I see I can shoot a second gun, are there any limitations?
    Not really. Many people simply shoot the same gun twice (if you have enough magazines). You can also choose to shoot a different gun and start from the low ready position if the second gun will not fit in the holster you use for your primary weapon. We even have a few people who shoot shotgun for their second gun. If you are using a different pistol for your second gun it should be cased and left at the cart on the firing line.
  2. Do I have to shoot a pistol or revolver?
    No, in fact many people can and do shoot shotguns at our steel matches. Rifles are generally not allowed as they would damage our steel targets, although the Match Director may allow pistol caliber carbines (e.g. 9mm AR).

Glossary of Terms

  1. Barney Mag, Barney Load
    Used to describe the process of topping off a pistol prior to shooting the stage. IDPA rules require that in most scenarios the pistol be loaded to division capacity, which includes one round in the chamber and a full (10 or 8 round max) magazine. The Barney Mag is a spare magazine carried for loading that first "in the chamber" round. The shooter inserts the Barney Mag, chambers a round, removes the Barney Mag and inserts a full mag. Named after the character Barney Fife from the TV show Mayberry RFD who was only issued a single bullet for his revolver.
  2. COF
    Course of fire, the description of how a stage or match is to be shot, order of engagement of targets, use of cover, etc.
  3. DNF
    Did Not Fire, score sheet entry for someone who fails to complete a course of fire.
  4. Stage
    An individual scenario, matches are usually made up of multiple stages.
  5. String
    A stage is comprised of one or more strings of fire, each string may completely encompass the entire stage COF (i.e. the stage is shot multiple times) or the stage COF may be broken into multiple strings (as it is in the IDPA classifier).
  6. RSO
    Range Safety Officer, the person who runs shooters through the stages.