Here are the current rules in force for IPSC
Range Officer Guidelines
Guidelines for Stage Design:
IPSC matches must be designed, constructed and conducted with due consideration to safety. (2009 Jan 2nd ed. Rules 1.1.1).
Be careful that you don’t create dangerous situations, or traps designed to make someone do something dangerous like break a 180.
Courses of fire must be designed primarily to test a competitor’s IPSC shooting skills, not their physical abilities. (2009 Jan 2nd ed. Rules 1.1.2).
Try not to create courses that require more running, climbing or crawling than shooting.
Accuracy, Power and Speed are equivalent elements of IPSC shooting, and are expressed in the Latin words "Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas" (“DVC”). A properly balanced course of fire will depend largely upon the nature of the
challenges presented therein, however, courses must be designed, and IPSC matches must be conducted in such a way, as to evaluate these elements equally. (2009 Jan 2nd ed. Rules 1.1.3).
It may be difficult to incorporate all the properties into each shoot, but overall your entire shoot should reflect a balance of all the factors.
IPSC matches are freestyle. Competitors must be permitted to solve the challenge presented in a freestyle manner, and to shoot targets on an "as and when visible" basis. After the start signal, courses of fire must not require mandatory reloads nor dictate a shooting position, location or stance, except as specified below. However, conditions may be created, and barriers or other physical limitations may be constructed, to compel a competitor into shooting positions, locations or stances. (2009 Jan 2nd ed. Rules 1.1.5).
The exception is with Standard Exercises. Where ever possible you should design courses that can at least be started in different ways to allow diversity in the solution of the shoot and ideally have solutions that are as varied as possible. It makes for a much more challenging and interesting shoot.
IPSC matches may contain the following types of courses of fire:
1.2.1. General Courses of Fire:
184.108.40.206. “Short Courses” must not require more than 9 rounds to complete and no more than 2 shooting locations.
220.127.116.11. "Medium Courses" must not require more than 16 rounds to complete and no more than 3 shooting locations. Course design and construction must not require more than 9 scoring hits from any single location or view, nor allow a competitor to shoot all targets in the course of fire from any single location or view.
18.104.22.168. "Long Courses" must not require more than 32 rounds to complete. Course design and construction must not require more than 9 scoring hits from any single location or view, nor allow a competitor to shoot all targets in the course of fire from any single location or view.
22.214.171.124. The recommended balance for an IPSC match is a ratio of 3 Short Courses to 2 Medium Courses to 1 Long Course. Where possible, it is further recommended that no single COF in a match represents more than 15% of the total match points available.
As it relates to course construction and safety you must read Chapter 2 of the IPSC Handgun Rules, January 2009, 2nd Edition from 2.1 to 2.3.6.
Remember that we shoot IPSC for fun!(99.9% of us anyway!). Please make sure that you plan your efforts to create a situation that all participants regardless of skill level can have fun and be SAFE, that way the sport will grow and we will all continue to enjoy IPSC shooting.