This article is copied from
"IDPA Scoring for Dummies" by Miguel Gonzalez.
Download a copy.
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Who has not seen this picture? A guy with a clipboard surrounded by at least three other shooters
looking at bullet holes in a target and trying to decipher the score? Welcome to IDPA Scoring,
perhaps the single most confusing part of our wonderful sport. What I am trying to do here is to
come up with a simpler guide to scoring and hopefully clarify the issue for everybody.
So, lets start with the basic and most important rule:
This is the most important rule in IDPA Scoring. We are an inclusive sport and thrive on people
learning and enjoying themselves and the surest way to create trouble among the ranks is to be a
petty inflexible dictator when it comes to scoring.
A shooter’s score can be defined by the following formula:
Time + Points Down + Penalties = Score (in seconds)
That pesky person running behind you with a shooting chronometer, the Safety Officer, gives
time. Points Down is the possible penalties you may incur for not placing your shots properly in
the target and Penalties are additional goodies for not following IDPA rules. At the end, whoever
has the smallest score (less time) wins.
According to the manual, an IDPA target has a 5, 4, and 2 zones. It also has a -0, -1 and a -3
zone. And let us not forget the ’A’ zone. And you are going Yeah yeah, I only see a 0, a 1 and
a 3 and I do not see the other numbers or the letters. Well, here comes the explanation.
Although it does not say in the IDPA rulebook, I got it from a good source that the A zone is the
one depicted in green on the illustration below and that we know as 0 and (5 points). The B
zone is the Blue zone known as 1 (4 points) and the C zone is the Red Zone or a.k.a.3 (2
points.) See? It got complicated again so just look at the illustrations.
Lets just stick with the 0, -1, -3 for now and make it easier on the brain. We will see this
applied later in Failure to Neutralize and the A zone is mentioned in the Rule Book regarding
cover so check it out.
In IDPA, time is the final yardstick used to measure the shooter. But IDPA also cares about shot
placement so it is also important where the shots end up. Therefore not placing the shots where
they can do the most will get you Points Down or a Penalty.
|-0 equals 0 points down equals 0 seconds added to your time
|-1 equals 1 point down equals 0.5 seconds added to your time
|-3 equals 3 points down equals 1.5 seconds added to your time
Let’s say we shot our target and the COF says we needed a minimum of 2 shots per target. In
order to get a total of -0, you must have the 2 holes in one of the following three versions:
|2 shots center mass (-0) = 0 points down
||One shot center mass (-0), one shot head (-0) = 0 points down
||2 shots head (-0) = 0 points down
|-0 + -0 = 0 points down - 0 x 0.5 = 0 seconds to be added to your time
So, your score would be your time plus 0 seconds added.
Now here you put one shot in the -0 and one in the -1 zone (2 possibilities):
|- 1 + - 0 = - 1 points down
||- 1 + - 0 = - 1 points down
|1 x 0.5 = 0.5 or half a second.
So, your final score would be your time plus half a second
And we keep going with the possibilities:
|- 1 + - 1 = - 2 points down = 1 second
||- 0 + - 3 = - 3 points down = 1.5 seconds
||- 1 + - 3 = - 4 points down = 2 seconds
And we should add to our time 1 second for the first target, second and a half for the second and
two for the third and so on.
Of course, we do not start doing the math right there during the match, so, we just write the
time, points down and penalties in the score sheet and leave the heavy work for the Scorer-In-
Chief and his advanced software.
"Vickers Count simply take the time it took to complete the string of fire (raw time) and ADD five
tenths (.50) of a second for each point down from the possible score. Add any applicable
penalties and total to get the Final Score. As many shots as desired may be fired but only the best
hits as specified by the course description will be scored"
Nice, huh? Ok, Vickers Count is simply shoot till you are happy, but only the best 2 shots (or
whatever number of shots the COF calls for) count for the score. That’s it! Check the example
Still with our COF of 2 shots minimum in Vickers Count, we see that the shooter got three shots
in the target. Since we always score in favor of the shooter, we ignore the lowest score (-3) and
score the 2 best shots (-1 + -1) = -2 or 2 points down (1 second).
You may feel the urge to empty the gun in order to get the best score possible. But
you must remember that: 1) The clock is running and you may lose whatever advantage you are
trying to achieve by taking too much time getting no points down. 2) You may run out of ammo
and most COF’s have more than one target and you are going to be in serious trouble when you
start accumulating FTN’s and 3) Whoever
Things change in Limited Vickers Count. In Limited Vickers you are to shoot only the number
of shots as specified in the COF description. If the COF said 2 shots only, the scoring for the
same target changes dramatically: you lose your best shot and you get a Procedural for your extra
trigger pull. So, instead of going (-1 + -1) = -2 or 2 points down (1 second) you end up with (-1
+ -3) = -4 or 4 points down (2 seconds) PLUS 3 seconds courtesy of the Procedural for a grand
total of 5 seconds added to your score. Now that has got to hurt.
|(-1 + -3) = -4 (4 points down = 2 seconds) + 3 seconds Procedural = 5 seconds
In PAR time you get squeezed for both time and number of shots. You must shoot a specified
amount of shots in the time given by the COF, (At the signal, draw and shoot 3 rounds in 2
seconds.) Your score will be the time (2 seconds) plus the Points Down you get plus any
penalties applicable. Penalties may differ from Vickers: a Procedural in PAR gets you 5 points
(2.5 seconds), a Hit on Non-Threat target gets you a single 10 pointer (5 seconds) and a Failure
to Do Right nails your hide with 200 points (100 seconds).
Example: You managed to put the 3 rounds in the allotted time but you got 4 points down and a procedural:
2 seconds Par Time + [- 4] points down (2 seconds) + 5 point procedural (2.5 seconds) = 6.5 seconds
And all PAR time points will be computed to time to fit with the other stages running in Vickers
or Limited Vickers. Like I said before, time is the final yardstick used to measure the shooter.
If a shooter is unable to finish a match, we still need to give him/her a score. This is done always
trying to be kind to the shooter. There are 2 ways.
we calculate all shots NOT FIRED for Points Down (5 a piece) and a
Failure to Neutralize. IE: The stage has 5 targets (T1 to T5) and requires 2 shots per target. The
shooter has shot 3 targets when the gun ceases to work and cannot be fixed. And let’s say that the
3 targets shot normally had one point down per target, the remaining 2 will be scored like this:
|(T1, T2, T3, 1 point down each =
|(T4, 2 shots missing x 5 seconds per shot = 10) + 5 seconds down for FTN =
|(T5, 2 shots missing x 5 seconds per shot = 10) + 5 seconds down for FTN =
On Stages not done,
the score is the minimum number of shots required for the stage
multiplied by three seconds (3). IE: The stage had a total of 10 shots minimum (5 targets, 2 shots
per target) so the DNF score would be 10 x 3 = 30 seconds.
Scoring Hardcover is simple. Anything but a full diameter hole inside the full cover is a valid
shot and gets scored accordingly.
|Full Diameter inside = Missed Shot
||Partial Diameter = Good Shot
Whenever you happen to see a target like this, DO NOT SHOOT IT! Shooting it will get you a
full 5 extra seconds in your score. However, it does not matter how many times you shoot a
Non-Threat-Target, you will only get ONE 5 second penalty.
What if the shooter hits a Target after the bullet has gone through a Non-Threat-Target? You
score the hit on the Target as valid. Non-Threat-Targets are considered soft cover and, therefore
As a matter of fact, ALL targets are penetrable unless they depict some hard cover such as a
painted gun. The picture on the right shows A as a good scorable shoot while B has to be
considered full hit on hardcover. The rules for scoring hardcover apply here too.
I am going quote directly from the IDPA Rule Book
Any attempt to circumvent or compromise the spirit or rationale of any stage
either by the use of inappropriate devices, equipment, or technique, will incur a
twenty (20) second penalty (Vickers Count Stage) or a two hundred (200) point
penalty (PAR Time Stage); this is the "FAILURE TO DO RIGHT RULE".
So, if you cheat, you will not only earn the scorn of your fellow shooters, but your score will
read like the mileage of my truck.
Is it hitting the line? Is it a -0 or a -1? Sometimes, holes will be close enough to present a doubt.
If you cannot be sure and you have to get too close to the target, then automatically score the
shot in favor of the shooter.
And then again some other times, the hole is clear enough, but there are tears in paper that break
the line. Again you score in favor of the shooter. In the illustration, instead of scoring a (-3 + -1)
you must score a (-1 + -0). The only exception to this is radial tears in the paper exceeding two
If this basic guide has helped you clear any basic questions you had about IDPA Scoring, your
next step is to pick up the
IDPA Rule Book
and check on Procedurals and the other points not
covered here. After that, volunteer to score at the next match and ask questions if you have any
doubt. Keep you rule book handy and have fun!