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2017 NRA Precision Pistol Program Update

2017 NRA Precision Pistol Program Update

Read on for the latest NRA Precision Pistol program updates.

Metallic and Open Divisions for Precision Pistol

This is a relatively new rule that allows shooters with "iron sights" on their pistols to compete in a separate division from those using more expensive optical sights. In the 1980s, optical (scopes or red dot) sights began to be used at Precision Pistol matches across the country. As they became more popular, more and more pistols had optics mounted on them.

The NRA did not seek to separate the two, as metallic sights dwindled in popularity from optic sights. As a result, Precision Pistol National Records became blended with both Metallic and Optic records. Several years ago, the NRA recognized that shooters with limited resources who own a pistol with "iron sights" that wanted to get into Precision Pistol were at a disadvantage with their optic sight competitors.

Thus, the Pistol Committee drafted rules to distinguish between Metallic and Optical sight pistols. Shooters who compete in the metallic division annotate their SR1 card accordingly and the NRA issues a classification card to the shooter after the minimum number of rounds are fired in that division. The Metallic Division is slowly becoming more popular as evidenced by more shooters registering for it, and more match sponsors offering the Metallic Division for their matches. Currently, the NRA only recognizes the Open Division (all sights) at the National Championships. However, with more shooters and sponsors recognizing the Metallic Division, there is a possibility that the 2018 NRA National Pistol Championships may include the Metallic Division.

.22 Caliber Only Aggregate Match

The .22 Caliber Only Aggregate Match (.22 COAM) is now offered at the NRA National Pistol Championships. The .22 COAM supports shooters that have limited equipment or resources for reloading.

Ted Carter, member of the NRA Pistol Committee said: “For many competitors, their first pistol was a .22 cal. When I knew I was going to shoot competitively, I purchased a used .22 cal. competition pistol that I could use in both NRA International Pistol and Precision Pistol (it was called Conventional Pistol back then—and will always referred to as Bullseye). It was what I could afford because .22 cal. ammunition was inexpensive at the time.”

Prior to the .22 COAM, if a competitor entered a Precision Pistol Match they would have to quit after the .22 cal. match was completed, because there was no option to shoot the remainder of the match (Centerfire and/or .45 cal). With the .22 COAM, a shooter can enter matches where sponsors allow the .22 COAM, and shoot across the course with the other shooters. The entire .22 aggregate score is reported to NRA, who assigns a .22 COAM classification to the individual after the minimum shots for record are fired.

Carter added: “Having the .22 COAM at the National Pistol Championships opens another venue to shooters both young and old to shoot at the National Pistol Championships, where prior to the existence of the .22 COAM, they did not have this option.”

.22 Caliber Ammunition

Previously, the NRA rules required that the bullet weight not exceed 40 grains. When .22 cal. ammunition was in short supply, competitors appealed for a rule change with .22 cal. ammunition allowing for bullets greater than 40 grains to be fired in NRA sanctioned tournaments. The NRA amended the Precision Pistol rules to permit the use of any .22 cal. long rifle rimfire bullet made of lead or similar soft material.

Distinguished Revolver

The Distinguished Revolver Match was a superb idea that allowed competitors with a .38 cal. revolver to compete in a designated match and earn points toward Distinguished Revolver. The match is based upon firing a National Match Course (30 rounds), consisting of slow fire, timed fire and rapid fire using a factory manufactured revolver chambered for firing a 158-grain round nose or semi-wadcutter .38 Special cartridge. The Distinguished Revolver match is fired at the State, Regional or National Pistol match levels. Until 2016, in order to participate in a State or Regional Distinguished Revolver match, the individual had to sign up and pay entry fees for all or part of the NRA Precision Pistol match.

The NRA relaxed the rules, allowing shooters to shoot the Distinguished Revolver Match at State or Regional events without requiring participation in other NRA events. Additionally, responding to the requests from already Distinguished Revolver shooters who wanted to continue to shoot the revolver match, but desired an award for shooting above the "leg" point cutoff, the NRA developed an award for already distinguished, Distinguished Revolver shooters. Expect that award, along with a nominal Distinguished Revolver entry fee to be introduced in 2018. The NRA Distinguished Revolver match is a separate match offered to shooters who attend the NRA National Pistol Championships.

Military Veteran Individual and Team Category

The Military Veteran Individual and Team Category was introduced into the NRA rules in 2014. Local match sponsors began to recognize the new categories in 2015. The response from military veteran shooters has been very good. The NRA recognized Military Veteran teams at the 2016 National Pistol Championships, and will do so again at the 2017 Championships. With more visibility for this category, the NRA National Pistol Championships may offer the Individual Veteran category in 2018.

One or Two Hand Probationary Precision Pistol Match

This rule allows shooters who are transitioning to the Precision Pistol sport the opportunity to use two hands to compete, until they have become comfortable and proficient using one hand to fire the pistol. While this rule does not apply to competition at the National Pistol Championships, it is an opportunity for match sponsors to encourage new shooters to shoot in a Precision Pistol match, using two hands. The maximum distance fired is 25 yards. 

About the NRA Pistol Committee

The NRA Pistol Committee is made up of Precision Pistol competitive shooters, an NRA senior-level referee and committee leadership that is well-versed in NRA competitive shooting. The Pistol Committee, in conjunction with the Director of Competitive Shooting and the Pistol department staff work closely together to not only ensure accurate pistol rules, but most importantly—to stimulate interest and participation.

The NRA Pistol Committee welcomes competitor input on current rules. Comments, including recommendations for any changes or clarifications can be addressed to the Pistol Committee via NRA at Pistol@nrahq.org.

Register now for the 2017 NRA National Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, OH, at this link: competitions.nra.org/NationalMatches.

Thanks to NRA Pistol Committee Member Ted Carter for the update.

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