About ISSF Pistol Shooting

The International Shooting Sport Federation is the global governing body for the sport of shooting, which includes rifle, pistol and shotgun. The ISSF website is a mine of useful information - and I use the word ‘mine’ advisedly; sometimes you have to dig around a bit to find what you want…

Here is a detailed overview of the Olympic disciplines. From a pistol perspective, the Olympic disciplines are 10m Air Pistol (for men and women) and 25m Rapid Fire pistol (men) and 25m Sport Pistol (women), with a mixed pairs team event in the 10m Air Pistol as well. The Mixed Pairs is a relatively new feature and has been very well received – Mixed Pairs finals are exciting and fun for competitors and spectators. Sadly though, the premium pistol event, 50m Free Pistol, has been dropped from the Olympics, although it is still shot at some World Cups and other international, national and domestic competitions.

Below is a very rough outline of the course of fire for each event, for more details see the ISSF website.

Air pistol
Air pistol

10m Air Pistol (AP) (Men & Women)

  • 10m AP is shot on electronic targets (where available) with 60 match shots taken in 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • The match is proceeded by 15 minutes set-up and preparation time, followed by 15 minutes for sighting shots
  • Each shot is taken individually and scored by integers (i.e. 9 or 10) not decimals (i.e. 9.2 or 10.9) with a maximum of score of 10 per shot
  • The world record (as of March, 2019) is 594 (ex 600) shot by the legendary Korean Jin Jong-oh at the Changwon World Cup in 2009
  • The British Record (as of March, 2019) is 590, shot by Britain’s greatest pistol shooter, Mick Gault OBE (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Gault) in March, 2000
  • After the 60 shot qualification, the top 8 finishers go on to a decimally scored Olympic Final with a knockout format to determine 1st, 2nd and 3rd places

50m Free Pistol (FP)

  • Follows the same format as 10m Air Pistol but is shot at a range of 50m with live .22LR ammunition and a specialised single shot pistol
  • The time for qualification is extended to 2 hours
  • 50m pistol is incredibly demanding both technically and physically, it is rightly regard as the pinnacle of pistol shooting
  • The World Record of 583 is also held by Jin Jong-oh
  • The British Record is 577, held by Richard Wang

Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol (RFP)

  • Shot with magazine-fed, 5-shot .22LR pistols
  • In the UK, these require a Section 1 Firearms Certificate, issued only with the approval of British Shooting &/or as part of the military
  • RFP is shot on paper or electronic turning targets with 5 targets lined up laterally
  • Each series of 5 shots is fired within a set time, 8 seconds, 6 seconds and then 4 seconds
  • RFP requires similar skills to precision pistol (i.e. AP & FP) but with added dynamism, mobility and speed
  • Finals are held for the top 6 qualifiers
Rapid Fire pistol
Rapid Fire pistol

Women’s 25m (Sport) Pistol

  • Shot with magazine-fed, multi-shot .22LR pistols
  • In the UK, these require a special Section 1 Firearms Certificate, issued only with the approval of British Shooting &/or as part of the military
  • Consisting of a Precision Stage – 6 x 5 shots in 5 minutes, utilising precision techniques, and…
  • … the Rapid Stage – 6 x 5 shots on a turning target. 3 seconds facing, 7 seconds away for each shot
  • Finals are held for the top 8 qualifiers