Time Plus Scoring

In previous articles in this series we explained how most practical or action matches have been scored using some form of the IPSC scoring system and within that, the Comstock* method predominates. We also saw that the simple hit or miss recording of plates, poppers and clays becomes more complex when we add paper targets (for mini-rifle, LBF* and slug or buckshot for shotgun) as the range and stats crew now have to score the number of A,C,D hits and/or misses per target.

The advent of multi-gun matches in Britain has led to more targets per stage to accommodate mini-rifle and LBF and far more paper targets, typically requiring two shots per target. That means a big increase in scoring and stats burden for the crews.

* See Notes at the end of this article.

Time Plus originates from the IDPA* scoring system known as Vickers Count. This method takes the time to the last shot (raw time) and then adds on fixed 5 or 10-second penalties for various inaccuracies, misses, no-shoots and procedural errors. This provides a total time for the stage and the shooter with the shortest time wins the stage. Time Plus does not factor in the total stage points and calculated points (based on relative percentages as IPSC does) but simply ranks shooters in order of ascending total time for each stage and then total all the stage times to produce an overall match result.

A major advantage of this system is simplicity; the range crew only have to record the raw time and exceptions (e.g. misses, no-shoots) rather than all the A to D hits as in IPSC/Comstock. Using paper score sheets a corrected time (raw plus penalties) can be produced on the stage, ready for input by the stats crew.

Time Plus is widely used by organisations including IDPA, IMA* and 3-Gun Nation. There are variations as to how penalties are scored, but the following are typical (3GN):

5-second penalties

Miss (no hits) on paper, steel or clay
Only one C-D or black* hit on two shot target (FTN*)
No shoot (per hit)

10-second penalties
Failure to Engage (FTE*)
Procedural Error


Though widely used in multi-gun matches, Time Plus can be used to score any match and is used by at least one UK club for regular shotgun matches.

There has been much debate about the respective merits of Time Plus and IPSC scoring methods certainly in the USA. The conclusion is that both strive for the same goal but achieve it in different ways; in both systems the shooter with the fastest time and most accurate hits wins. We know the essence of DVC* is to balance accuracy, power and speed and both systems do this in differing ways.

Scoring the same match with both systems will not produce identical results though they will be very similar.

USPSA (IPSC in the USA) provides Time Plus as an option within their scoring application EZWinScore and have retained the IPSC practise of awarding the shooter with the shortest time the total stage points (100%) and then allocating a percentage of those total points to subsequent shooters in the list. Thus USPSA Time Plus is a hybrid of the two systems. The scoring application Practiscore refers to this as Time Plus with Points.

Opinion suggests that Time Plus leans towards accuracy and IPSC towards speed. IPSC is kinder on penalties but is considered to favour long stages as there are more points earned per stage.

In summary, Time Plus offers:

• Easier to score and input when using many zoned targets
• Immediate comparison of performance across all competitors including across Divisions
• Consistent weighting across all stage types (short, medium, long)
• Match can be scored just on paper (no computer needed)


Feedback from F4i matches that have used Time Plus suggest that if you have a bad stage or a stoppage that cannot be corrected you may as well go home as you have lost the match or at least any hope of a notable placement.

Penalties in both systems will damage your scores significantly as you will drop stage points and thus hit factor in IPSC and will accumulate time penalties in Time Plus. Like-for-like penalties for a given stage cause more damage using Time Plus, hence the lean to accuracy.

What is significant (and perhaps explains this perception) is that in IPSC penalties cannot reduce your stage points beyond zero (that is, cannot go negative) whereas with Time Plus penalties keep adding to your corrected time.

Therefore, how an application or match scores DNF (Did Not Finish) using Time Plus is critical as there are variations across the organisations and even specific matches. IDPA for example adds 3 seconds for each target of a Stage Not Fired (SNF). Other examples add 10 seconds per target not engaged which is a huge penalty.

Comstock – Unlimited time and number of shots, stated number of hits per target to count for score, stage points factored by points divided by time.
LBF – Long Barrelled Firearm (Handgun)
IDPA – International Defensive Pistol Association
IMA – International Multi-Gun Association
Black – 3-Gun Nation targets have a red bull and black outer only
FTN – Failure to Neutralise
FTE – Failure to Engage. Actually scored a 5 seconds for a miss and 5 for not engaging
DVC – IPSC motto Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas meaning accuracy, power, and speed

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