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Shooting – Handgun Shooting

June 6, 2011

Handguns, or Pistols, are smaller than rifles, and are much more convenient to carry in general. They usually have a shorter range and lesser accuracy compared to rifles and shotguns. Following are the popular Handgun Shooting events:

  • The 6 ISSF shooting events with pistols (4 Olympic events plus 2 events not included in the Olympics program but are contested in World Cups and World Championships), its roots date back to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, consist of both precision slow-fire and rapid-fire target shooting from distances of 10, 25, and 50 meters. The pistols are unique in appearance compared to normal guns and each events has its own pistols designed specifically for the job. Shooters must use one hand only to shoot at small “bullseye(s)” downrange. In the UK (except for Northern Ireland), it is no longer possible to practice for some of the Olympic events following the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997
  • Modern pentathlon includes timed shooting with an air pistol as the first of its five parts
  • The CISM Rapid Fire match is similar to the ISSF 25 m Rapid Fire Pistol event
  • The National Rifle Association (NRA) Conventional Pistol, shot with up to 3 handguns of differing calibers. Its history is almost as old as the ISSF Events. Shooters must fire the pistol one-handed at 6 and 8 inch bullseyes placed 25 and 50 yards downrange respectively. This competition is also commonly called Bullseye (shooting competition). As with ISSF “bullseye” Pistol Matches mentioned above, they are the forerunners of all handgun competitions and the foundation of ALL marksmanship, whether be it rifle or archery competiitons and not just relegated to handguns alone
  • Metallic silhouette shooting, developed to loosely simulate hunting, is shooting at heavy animal-shaped steel silhouettes that must be knocked down to score, typically at distances normally reserved for rifles. Handguns used in the Unlimited Category are unique and rifle-like in appearance; they are also chambered in rifle calibers to take advantage of power, aerodynamic efficiency, and external ballistics and are specially designed for long range shooting. With proper shooting skills and support techniques, the accuracy of these so-called “handguns” rival that of top-notch match rifles out to 300 meters

The following pistol sports are categorized under action shooting. With the exception of PPC 1500, field shooting, and ActionAirgun, all has its roots dated back to the Southern California combat pistol scenes in the 1960s:

– Practical shooting, governed by a number of bodies, the largest of which is the IPSC, was developed by former police and civilian marksmen and later used as a basis for military and police exercises. It is a variation where the shooter often moves during shooting, and hit scores and shooting time are equally important. Another major sanctioning body, IDPA, was created as a response to some IPSC competitors wishing to participate in scenarios closer to defensive situations which may arise in real life
– The Bianchi Cup, a fusion of IPSC (without the “run and gun” element) and Bullseye Competition (except shot with two hands and going prone whenever rules allow it) where accuracy under tight time limits in 4 different simulated scenarios, known as the “Event(s)”, is the basis of this competition. Shooters must start with gun in the holster on every strings of fire and distances range from 10 to 50 yards
– NRA Police Pistol Combat, also known as PPC 1500, is perhaps the predecessor of all practical pistol shooting sports. It began in 1959 as a police only match, i.e., civilians are not allowed to compete, that theoretically trains officers for better real life shooting confrontations
– Cowboy Action Shooting, almost identical to IPSC and IDPA stage design but with Western Cowboy themed props, shot with long guns and revolvers of the same era. Mere act of shooting itself is not enough. Competitors must choose and go by a cowboy nickname or alias and are required to look the part by donning authentic cowboy and cowgirl garments
– ActionAirgun is an indoor action shooting sport using semi-automatic airsoft pistols and courses of fire downloaded from a central hub. Shooters upload shooting times to a website to resolve competitions


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