2019 Practical Pistol Reunion – the original IPSC targets

On Sept 21-22, 2019, many of the key figures in the early days of Practical Shooting reunited for a weekend of shooting and socializing. The event was hosted by Bill and Joyce Wilson at the Circle WC Ranch. Part one of this blog post series has more details about the event and who attended.

Several of the participants brought historical documents with them, and Ken Hackathorn gave me one of the original IPSC double sided ITEM/Option targets. The specs for this target were documented in the notes from the 1976 Columbia Conference when IPSC was founded. The minutes from the 1976 Conference can be downloaded from the KR Training website here.


IPSC Option target from 1976
Original Option specs

25 cm is basically 10″, 30 cm is almost 12″ and 35 cm is almost 14″. Targets in current usage (for example the IDPA target, NRA D-1 and FAST target) all use an 8″ center. The NRA D-1 has 8″ and 12″ circles in a design very similar to the IPSC Option without a head box.


The original IPSC target was double sided, with one side being printed with the “option” design, and the other side printed with the ITEM design. The ITEM design looks a lot like the standard USPSA target.

Original ITEM design 1976

Those familiar with the current USPSA target design will note that the A zones (head and body) of the 1976 target are larger than the current designs. The general trend over the last 50+ years of defensive pistol target design is to use smaller and smaller “acceptable hit” zones, modeling the size and shape of the vital organs in a human body more accurately. Many common targets in use today use a 6″ or 8″ hit zone, with using 3″ or 4″ precision zones inside the primary body zone.