Understanding NRA Silhouette Pistol Competition

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posted on August 27, 2016
silh-pistol-2.jpg
Above: Only 100 Anschutz 1416 Silhouette pistols were manufactured.

In long-range silhouette pistol competition, a competitor may shoot up to six pistols in four freesytle and two standing categories. The freestyle events include unlimited, unlimited half-size, revolver, and conventional pistol.

Freestyle refers to the shooting position that has very few restrictions other than the firearm must be supported by the shooter's body without artificial support. Combine this latitude with the two unlimited class pistols which are restricted mainly by their overall weight of 4 1/2 lbs., 15-inch barrel, and 15-inch sight radius and you can see the potential for outstanding long-distance accuracy. Shooting with iron sights (with one scoped standing exception) at targets roughly equivalent to five-inch circles at 200 meters.

Targets used in the competition are not conventional circles or squares, but in the shape of chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams. In the long-range competition, the chickens are placed at 50 meters, pigs at 100 meters, turkeys at 150 meters and rams at 200 meters.

Unlimited half-size category refers to the targets being scaled to half the size of the normal targets used for the other five events. In this case the ram, which is shot at 200 meters would be six inches from the top of his back to his belly rather than the 12 inches of the full-sized ram. Half-size animals look much smaller than their full-size counterparts, because they only have a quarter of the surface area.

Smallbore pistol silhouette is very similar to long-range, but there are significant differences. First the distances are generally half the long-range distances, and rather than the targets being half-size, they are 3/8 scale. The exception to the 3/8 scale targets are the chickens, which are half-size but moved out to 40 meters rather than 25 for safety reasons.

Smaller targets, the greater effect of wind and the lack of control over ammunition makes the smallbore match much more demanding, and the scores reflect this. There is also no half-size target event in smallbore competition because it would be far too difficult. It would be impossible to draw shooters in numbers large enough to justify holding regular competition.

Learn more about NRA silhouette pistol at this link: competitions.nra.org/how-to-get-started/silhouette-competition.aspx.

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