SFDCC Match Rules.

South Florida Defensive Carbine Club

(a Tropical Sport Shooting Association production)


The Four Rules of Safe Gunhandling

As defined by Jeff Cooper, founder of Gunsite and father of the Modern Pistol Technique.

  1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.
  4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

For our purposes rule #1 needs some clarification.  All guns are unloaded until the shooter is instructed to load and make ready by a Safety Officer.  However, even once unloaded and with a chamber flag properly inserted they must still be treated as though they were loaded, to include rules 2 and 3.

Eligible Shooters
Beginning in January of 2011 SFDCC is open to all SAFE shooters.  This means that you need to have some level of familiarity with the firearm you intend to use at the matches.  It IS the place to come if you’ve had some formal training, or gotten tired of shooting from the bench on public range days, and want to use your carbine in a dynamic environment.  SFDCC is NOT the place to come if you just bought your carbine last week and have never otherwise fired it, or one like it. Prior experience with IDPA, USPSA, or other action shooting sports is helpful but not required.  If you are not sure about your level of proficiency ASK US!  We always encourage prospective New Shooters to come out, introduce themselves, and just spectate the first time around.  Be sure to say hello to one of the match organizers and we’ll pair you with an experienced shooter to help show you the ropes.

New Shooters

If you have never shot SFDCC with us you are considered to be a “new shooter”, regardless of prior experience or training with other events, competitive or otherwise.  If you are a New Shooter, you should arrive at the range with your rifle cased, sign in at the sign-in table (to include filling out the New Shooter paperwork), and wait for the New Shooter Mentor to announce the new shooter briefing.  New Shooters must wait to gear up until after the New Shooter Briefing.  You should make every effort possible to arrive at the range by 6:00 PM in order to be there for the briefing.  No briefing, no shooting.


South Florida Defensive Carbine Club, and it’s parent organization Tropical Sport Shooting Association, are volunteer-based organizations.  As one of our long-time members is fond of saying, “this is a club, not an amusement park”.  What this means is that we rely on the participation of our members in setup, pasting and resetting stages, and tear down in order to make things run smoothly.  this is not the place to come if you prefer to have things done for you.  We appreciate greatly those shooters who arrive early enough to help with setup, assist the staff in pasting targets and resetting props between shooter, and stay late enough to help tear down and police up the range.  We do not expect every one, every time, to arrive at 5:00 and stay until the range lights go out at 10:00, but we also prefer that shooters do not show up at 6:30 and leave the range after their last shots fired, at least not every single time.  There is a happy medium somewhere in between, and if everyone finds that happy medium it means not only a more enjoyable event for everyone involved, but less work for everyone, and a BETTER event.  If you’re not sure how you can help, ASK SOMEONE!


Upon arrival all non-new shooters are to sign in and pay the match fees.

Squadding will be at shooter’s choice and they may sign up for whichever squad they prefer.  Match directors, Safety Officers, Score Keepers, and club Officers reserve the right to make any and all adjustments to squads and shooting order deemed necessary to ensure a smooth and safe match.

If setup is still on-going, it is appreciated if participants head out and help complete the setup.  Once setup is complete, shooters may proceed to the safety area with their gear and sling their rifle muzzle down under the supervision of the Safety Officer.  Please ensure that your safety flag is inserted in the rifle.  The Safety Officer at the safety area will supervise the un-bagging of firearms and check for the SFDCC approved safety flag. The flag is available at sign in for a charge of $5/two. Shooters may bring this or their own approved flag to subsequent shoots. All flags must be the approved model (http://www.championshooters.com/safety.htm).

All shooters must sign the park safety and liability waiver before any other paperwork is completed.  Strict compliance with this policy is necessary to ensure that we retain the ability to utilize this facility.

SFDCC Match Rules

  1. All firearms must arrive at the range cased. Firearms are only removed from or inserted into cases at the safety area.
  2. Each shooter must have their own, unique carbine or rifle and sharing of carbines or rifles is not permitted at any time.
  3. Shooters should be aware of muzzle direction in the bag or case and ensure that the firearms are pointed into the berm when the case or bag is opened.  Two-gun cases are allowed, but must allow the rifles to be cased such that both muzzles are pointed in the same direction.  Security of the second firearm is your responsibility and it must be left in the bag, in the safety area.
  4. No un-cased firearms are allowed in the sign-in area. Shooters must first sign-in and pay match fees and then proceed to the safety area to “gear up”.
  5. No handling of ammunition or loaded magazines is allowed at the safety area(s).
  6. All firearm cases are to remain in the vicinity of the safety area. Separate bags for ammunition and/or magazines and other gear may be carried to the firing line(s).
  7. Rifles are to remain unloaded and slung, in front of the shooter, muzzle down, at all times. The safety must be engaged if possible and an SFDCC approved Safety Flag inserted at all times. SLINGING BEHIND THE BACK IS NOT PERMITTED!
  8. Firearms may be loaded only when directed to do so by the Safety Officer and should be unloaded when directed to do so.
  9. Scorekeepers and Safety Officers may be permitted to ground their carbines given a safe location exists at the starting point of the stage.  All other shooters must comply with rule 7, to include SKs and RSOs that are not actively engaged in those tasks.  As such no more than two grounded rifles allowed per stage.
  10. If the shooter needs to use the restroom or leave the fenced range area and enter the parking lot, rifles may be bagged and left in the safety area provided that they remain unloaded and the safety flag inserted in the chamber.
  11. You must shoot all stages for the event with the same equipment and configuration of your rifle/carbine. Whatever configuration you choose to shoot Stage 1 must be present for Stage 2, 3, etc.
  12. Bipods, Grip-pods, monopods, rests (improvised or otherwise) are not allowed but may be attached to the carbine provided they are not utilized.  Stage props may be used as support.
  13. Any shooter having questions about guns or gear allowed at SFDCC matches should address them during sign-in.


SFDCC scoring is divided into two separate divisions, Iron Sights and Optical Sights.  Definitions for each should be self-explanatory but the Match Director reserves the right to make a determination as to division and all such rulings are final.

Multiple sighting systems are permitted, but the use of any multiple sighting systems will result in the shooter being place in the Optical Sights division, even if all sighting systems are in fact iron sights.


SFDCC works under the principle of Target Neutralization in order to make scoring easy and fast. Targets utilized are standard IDPA targets with -0, -1, and -3 scoring zones.  A target shall be deemed neutralized when it has two shots in the A (-0) zone, three shots in the B (-1) zone or best combination possible of both zones. Any shot in the C (-3) zone does not count for scoring purposes.

Examples of shot placement on neutralized targets

Penalties are calculated as seconds added to raw time in the following amounts:

Failure to Neutralize a threat target (FTN):    30 Seconds

Hit on a Non-Threat (friendly) target (NT):    30 Seconds

Procedural (P):                                          5 Seconds

Failure to Do Right (FTDR):                         100 Seconds

Procedurals are defined as minimal disregard for the rules.  Examples include failing to use cover properly (all shooters will be given one warning of “cover” and then one P for each time the Scorekeeper or Safety Officer say “cover”), failing to follow prescribed loading or round count, failing to follow a prescribed sequence, failure to engage the mechanical safety while moving, allowing the finger to enter the trigger guard during reloads, etc.  For further examples see page 15 and 16 of the IDPA Rule Book.

Failures to Do Right are defined as flagrant disregard for the rules in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage.  Examples include intentionally failing to follow a prescribed loading, beginning a stage with the mechanical safety in any position other than fully engaged, etc.  “Air gunning” or walkthroughs prior to the beginning of a shooter’s turn on a stage will result in an FTDR.  For further clarification see page 15 of the IDPA Rule Book.


Scores for each match are compiled and maintained, and awarded an inverse number of points based on standing.  At the end of the season the total number of points is used to determine the season winner and trophies are awarded.  The points system is designed to reward both attendance and to reward a “win” over a greater number of shooters more heavily than a win over a small number of shooters. A first place winner in a field of 25 gets 25 points while last place gets 1 point.  A first place winner in a field of 13 gets 13 points while last place still gets 1 point.

Seasons are six calendar months each.  January to June is Season 1, July to December is Season 2.

[Total number of matches for consideration] – 1 = [total number of matches for season calculation]


[8 matches total] – 1 = [7 best scores used for calculation]

[6 matches total] – 1 = [5 best scores used for calculation]

Use of Cover

SFDCC use of cover guidelines follow the original IDPA standards wherein at least 50% of the upper torso and 100% of the lower body must be behind cover such that only one target is visible to the shooter (and therefore the shooter is only visible to one target) at a time.  Feet must remain behind cover and non-exposed to the target.  Once a target has been engaged, regardless of whether or not it has been neutralized, the shooter may proceed to the next target.  Unless specified in the COF description or walkthrough shooting over the top of cover is not allowed and will result in a FTDR.  Unintentional or sloppy use of cover will result in a P for each time the Scorekeeper or Safety Officer calls “cover”.  Intentional disregard for cover will result in a FTDR.

Mechanical Safeties

If a course of fire begins with the carbine loaded, the mechanical safety must be fully engaged.  Failure to comply with this rule will result in a FTDR.  Additionally, anytime the shooter is moving but not firing the mechanical safety must first be engaged.  “Moving” is defined as any walking or running from one firing position to another, changing sides on a barricade (whether or not changing shoulders/firing hands), vertical movement from sitting, standing, kneeling, prone, etc. and any change in firing position such as going from one port in a wall or barricade to another.  Failure to engage the mechanical safety while moving and with no other safety violations will result in a P for each time after the first warning.  Failure to engage the mechanical safety in conjunction with any other act that may be considered unsafe will result in a disqualification.

Required Equipment

  • Centerfire rifle or carbine
  • Rifle case
  • SFDCC approved safety flag
  • Rifle sling which hangs the rifle in a muzzle down orientation
  • Rifle magazines (3 minimum)
  • Rifle magazine pouch
  • Rifle ammunition

Ammunition Requirements
1. Round Count:
Minimum 150 rounds of rifle ammunition.

2. Magazines:
While only 3 rifle magazines are required, it is suggested that shooters bring at least 6 rifle magazines.

3. Special Loadings:
Shooters should load 3 of the 6 recommended rifle magazines completely and leave 3 empty until you get to the range and get specific instructions. Some stages may require one or more downloaded magazines. There is no way to pre-warn shooters as to how many rounds will be in that magazine and sometimes it is random. If the shooter only has 3 rifle magazines, it is suggested that the shooter arrive at the match with all 3 empty.

Procedures for Beginning and Ending of Stage
Load and Make Ready – Some stages may require a loading of the rifle on the clock, but any stage that begins with the rifle loaded should be handled as follows.

  1. The safety officer will start by asking the shooter if they understand the course of fire and if they have any questions.
  2. If they do not have any questions the RSO will ask them to Load and Make Ready the carbine.
  3. The shooter will draw back the bolt and the RSO will remove the approved Safety Flag and retain it.
  4. The shooter will then insert a magazine, charge the rifle, and ensure that the safety is engaged.

Unload and Show Clear – At the end of the stage the shooter must unload all firearms and demonstrate to the RSO that the firearms are empty with no rounds in the chamber.

  1. The RSO will have the shooter remove the magazine, if present.
  2. The shooter will then draw back the bolt and the RSO will look inside the chamber to verify that there are no rounds present.
  3. The RSO will insert the Safety Flag into the chamber and allow the shooter to close the bolt.
  4. Then the RSO will direct the shooter to engage the safety and sling the rifle in front of their body, muzzle down.

Range Commands While Shooting

See page 78 of the IDPA Rule Book for a list of range commands and definitions of same.  “Finger”, “Muzzle” and “Cover” warnings will be issued once and Procedurals assessed for each additional time.  if “Finger” or “Muzzle” commands result in an unsafe condition the Safety Officer may say “stop” at which point the shooter must stop shooting and, if moving, any movement of the body.  Failure to comply with a stop command will result in a disqualification (DQ) for the match.  Repeated failures to follow stop commands will result in banishment from SFDCC.

Outside Reference
Our parent club, Tropical Sport Shooting Association (TSSA), is primarily an International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) club.  As such any rules not expressly defined above automatically defer to the 2005 IDPA Rule Book.  However, Match Directors and Club Officers retain the right to interpret conflicts and disagreements they see fit in order to maintain a safe and smooth-running match.  This may mean that an “unfavorable” ruling results that may cause the shooter to finish in a lower position in the rankings than they would with a more favorable ruling.  Our greatest priority is ensuring a safe and smooth-running match.  Maintaining a fair and competitive atmosphere is secondary.

Unique instructions, special match announcements, score postings, and all other communication for SFDCC are handled through the Google Group at the following link.
You do NOT need a gmail account to join the group but you will need a Google Groups ID which can be any email account you wish.  Once you join the group you may choose to receive your updates in whatever way you wish and at whatever interval you wish, or not at all.  You will need to request permission to join the group, and only group administrators may send emails to the group, so you do not have to be concerned with excessive spam.  Weather alerts and real-time updates are also sent to this group so having instant emails as your chosen subscription method is strongly suggested.

Alternately, weather and other match updates are sent to http://www.twitter.com/tyv2009 in real time as well if you prefer to get or view your updates that way.