There are currently 5 divisions within IPSC in which to compete. Select your equipment and your firearm based on careful consideration of the IPSC Handgun Rulebook and the divisional requirements outlined in the applicable appendices (Appendix D and E).
The equipment and firearm you choose for the division you wish to compete in are detailed in the IPSC Handgun Rulebook with specific attention drawn to "Chapter 5 – Competitor Equipment" as well as the following appendices:
The provisional "Production Optics Division" Appendix D6 is >>HERE<< as it is not included in the current rulebook.
The appendices regarding each division is also condensed here on the IPSC.org website.
>>The Handgun Division List
The Provincial Training Officer usually has possession of the “IPSC Box”.
The box will be located at the Chronograph bay during matches to check for “fit compliance”.
An additional, supplementary guideline for 1911 dimensions is also applicable.
Before purchasing a firearm for competition in Production Division, ensure the firearm that you are choosing is listed on the approved “Production Division Firearms” on the IPSC.org website.
Production Division Approved Firearm List
If your chosen firearm is NOT on this approved list, then it is NOT approved for use in Production Division IPSC competition.
There are also some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) concerning IPSC Handgun rules and their interpretation. You can review the FAQ on the IPSC.org website.
IPSC Handgun Division Rules FAQ
Once again, to the new, prospective IPSC shooter, we would like to stress the importance of talking to your respective Zone Director and personally coming out to watch an IPSC match and see the various divisions and equipment in action by various IPSC shooters. Many, if not all, IPSC shooters will gladly discuss and highlight the equipment, firearm and brands that they have selected to compete with. Furthermore, coming out to observe a match will also allow you to talk to the various vendors that you will see set up on site. Typically they have samples of the product they are selling and can provide a great deal of knowledge for you.
If you still have any other questions, or are unsure of the equipment or firearm you wish to use in IPSC competition, be sure to contact the Provincial Training Officer and ask him for his advice.
Selecting a handgun and division will also have to be determined in concert with the caliber you wish to shoot from that handgun (9mm, 40S&W, 38 super, etc …).
Your choice of ammunition caliber will help you determine whether or not to compete with “major power factor” ammunition, or “minor power factor” ammunition. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with either power factor.
Minimum Power Factors (PF) and calibers are listed in each appendix for each division in the IPSC Handgun Rulebook.
Power Factor is determined by = bullet weight (Grains) x muzzle velocity (fps) / 1000
For example, a 200 Grain bullet moving with a muzzle velocity of 860 feet per second will yield a power factor (PF) of 172: (200Gr x 860fps) / 1000 = 172 PF
Muzzle velocities are determined by a match official shooting your gun and ammunition through the match chronograph in accordance with rule 5.6 of the IPSC Handgun Rulebook.