OK, So your here because your curious about IDPA. You saw it on TV, Internet or a buddy told you about it. Your thinking "Hey that might be fun". Well It is fun. And I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be expensive either. Don't do what I and so many others before you did and run out and buy new gear.
Step 1. Read this "New Shooter Packet"
Work on you safe gun handling. While IDPA does not have a 180 degree rule, NVSA's range has one. That means that your muzzle will at no time be allowed to cross up-range an imaginary 180 degree line. You will need to be able to draw, holster, unload and reload a weapon without your finger going into the trigger guard. You finger will only be allowed on the trigger when your sights are on the target. That means while moving between targets you finger will need to come off the trigger.
Understanding range commands is also important. You can hear STOP. This means just that, "freeze" where you are at. do not attempt to correct anything. You will receive immediate instruction on what the range officer wants you to do. The STOP command is not given very often.
Muzzle and finger is a command you might hear more often. It is a warning that needs to be corrected immediately. If you hear "FINGER", this command means you need to immediately move your finger out of the trigger guard. Even if you don't believe your finger is on the trigger, the Safety officer does. If you hear this just move your finger off the trigger or move it farther off the trigger. Muzzle is the other command that needs to obeyed. This is given when the muzzle of your gun is at, or approaching the 180 degree violation. Just like the trigger command, even if you believe your muzzle is pointed in a safe area, the safety officer doesn't. So point it more downrange.
NVSA wants you to come out and give it a try. If you believe you can follow the above commands and can safely handle your weapon then read below.
Option 1) Grab your eye & ear protection and head on out to a match. If all you want to do is see what it is all about and discuss IDPA with the other members. By all means just show up and witness it for yourself. You can meet other members that at one time were just like you. This is FREE.
Option 2) If you believe you are ready to shoot, but you are unsure if you have all the right equipment. Contact a member here and discuss what you have already in your possession. We can discuss with you your options for purchasing and/or borrowing of equipment. Borrowing equipment is in my opinion the best way to get started. You can find out not just what works, but you can also find out what works for others. So often I see people get a $30 holster only to use it for one match and throw it in the safe never to be seen again.
So If you are new to action shooting and you want to try it out, don't hesitate to get in touch with someone here. There is an extra (whatever you need) somewhere that will help you get started. Once you try it you will become hooked. Then and only then should your buy (if necessary) any other equipment.
Caution: You may never go to your public range to shoot at a static target again.