Fast facts, it's easy to join and participate at ATHL!

what is Alberta Tactical Handgun League see below?

most beginners like to do their homework, so look at previous and upcoming matches on our home page, review the IDPA site, download and read the current rule book, finally ask questions to our board at

giddy-up and introduce yourself at the next scheduled match!!!  or just come to watch, it's fun!  

Who are we?  Alberta Tactical Handgun League is the largest affiliated Canadian club of International Defensive Pistol Association. Our club holds competition matches, training, certification of Alberta shooters. IDPA is a shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real life encounters, founded in 1996 the organization now boasts membership of more than 13,500, including members in 36 foreign countries.

One of the unique facets of this sport is that it is geared toward the new or average shooter, yet is fun, challenging and rewarding for the experienced shooter. The founders developed the sport so that practical gear and practical guns may be used competitively. An interested person can spend a minimal amount on equipment and still be competitive.

The main goal is to test the skill and ability of the individual, not equipment or gamesmanship. 

Our main activities are monthly competitive matches, with active participation from 20 to approximately 40 shooters competing.  In addition to hosting matches, the club provides safety officer training and certification, practice and classification trials, and finally new shooter orientation sessions.   We rely solely on volunteer labour to design and supervise the matches, maintain the safety of the events, and to conduct the training, and classification trials. 

Profile of our Club Members - Our membership is extremely broad, ages span from 12 years to seniors, and there is no age, gender, or disability barriers. We regularly recruit members from many professions, juniors, retirees, law enforcement, and military backgrounds.

What is ATHL?  The Alberta Tactical Handgun League is an affiliated club of the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA). We conduct monthly IDPA matches. Our members come from all over Alberta and even have members from Saskatchewan and British Columbia. You don't have to be a member to shoot your first match; so you can "try before you buy". There is no training prerequisite but we do offer a "familiarization and skills" clinics from time to time.
What is IDPA?  IDPA as a sport is quite simply the use of practical equipment including full charge service ammunition to solve simulated "real world" self-defence scenarios. Shooters competing in IDPA events are required to use practical handguns and holsters that are truly suitable for self-defence use. 

No " competition only" equipment is permitted in IDPA matches since the main goal is to test the skill and ability of an individual, not his or her equipment or gamesmanship.
Why do we need another Shooting SportPrior to the formation of IDPA, there was no place to compete and hone one's skills with equipment designed for and suitable for self-defence. Other shooting sports are just that, sports that have no relevance to self-defence. IDPA offers an exciting forum for practical shooters in which truly practical equipment, techniques and courses of fire are mandated. 
Prior to IDPA, there was no place at all to compete with common service pistols such as Beretta, Glock or SiG and be competitive. Nor was there a shooting sport where a concealed carry holster could also be your match holster without handicap. When you come to an IDPA match, you can not only use your duty or concealed carry type equipment, you can be completely competitive with it! 
Other shooting sports have become "equipment races"; IDPA will not. 

If you're interested in using truly practical pistols to solve challenging and exciting defensive shooting problems, then IDPA is the sport for you.

What are the goals of IDPA? 

1. Promote safe and proficient use of guns and equipment suitable for self-defence.  

2. Provide a level playing field for all competitors to test the skill and ability of the individual, not their equipment or gamesmanship.  

3. Provide separate divisions for equipment and classifications for shooters, such that guns with similar characteristics are grouped together and people with similar skills compete only against each other.  

4. Provide shooters with practical and realistic courses of fire that simulate a potentially life-threatening encounter or that tests skills that would be required to survive a life-threatening encounter.  

5. Offer a practical shooting sport that is responsive to the shooters and sponsors, with unprecedented stability of equipment rules.  

6. Offer a practical shooting sport that allows the competitors to concentrate on the development of their shooting skills and fellowship with likeminded shooters.

Who competes in ATHL / IDPA matches?  ATHL / IDPA membership and matches are open to all people who can lawfully own a handgun, regardless of occupation, race, gender or religion. ATHL / IDPA shooters come from all walks of life and include many women and juniors too.

What type of matches does ATHL hold?  Courses of fire fall into two categories: Self-defence scenarios or Standard exercises. The self-defence scenarios are simulations of actual or possible "real world" confrontations. These scenarios typically require shots from 3 - 20 metres and often require the shooter to change firing points and shoot from awkward positions. 

Standard exercises do not attempt to simulate a potential threat situation but are designed to test specific shooting and gun handling skills. IDPA matches offer diversity and truly test both accuracy and speed. Physical condition has very little to do with your performance in an IDPA match.

Typically our peak season is from April through October for each year.  

What type of equipment do I need to compete in ATHL / IDPA matches?  IDPA matches typically require the use of a service type pistol or revolver of 9mm/.38 Special or larger calibre. If your handgun is suitable for self-defence use, it will probably be competitive for IDPA matches. Practical concealed carry type holsters are stipulated for IDPA use. A common service pistol or revolver such as a Beretta 92F, Glock 17/22, SiG P226, Colt 1911A1, S&W 686 or Ruger GP-100 carried in a common pancake style holster is all that is needed to be competitive in IDPA matches.

Does IDPA offer a place for both pistols and revolvers?  Yes, as a matter of fact, IDPA competition is divided into divisions so all popular service type pistols and revolvers will have a place to compete competitively. They are: Stock Service Pistol (SSP) for DA, DAO, Safe Action users; Enhanced Service Pistol (ESP) for SA users; Custom Defensive Pistol (CDP) for .45 ACP chambered pistol users; (REV) Revolver for 'moon clip' revolver users, for revolvers that use speed loaders.

What are the advantages to ATHL / IDPA membership?

1. You will be a member of an international organization devoted to promoting defensive pistol shooting as a sport.

2. You will receive an official IDPA rule book.

3. You will be eligible to compete in shooting events at the local, regional, national and international levels.

4. You will receive a copy of the IDPA Tactical Journal (the official publication of IDPA) every quarter.

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