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Bullseye Pistol Shooting


Scenes from Bullseye matchs at PRGC
Shooters on the line at PRGC, note the equipment boxes nearly every shooter uses to hold his gear and spotting scope.
Note also the Arizona State Pistol Team shirts!

Article for the ASRPA Bullet Trap
Bill Poole

Bullseye Pistol Shooting


If you’ve ever wanted to learn to shoot that pistol accurately, try Bullseye!

What we popularly call “bullseye pistol” is more correctly NRA Conventional Outdoor Pistol competition. This same type of competition has been fired for about 100 years all over North America.

Bullseye pistol consists of shooting a pistol, 1-handed, at 25 and 50 yards. The 50 yard stage is one shot at a time slow fire. The 25 yard stages are timed or rapid fire, 5 shots in 10 or 20 seconds. The target is a piece of paper with a black circle with scoring rings. The object of the game is to shoot the bullets as close to the center as possible for the highest score. This differentiates from the “action” or “practical” shooting events where speed is what is measured. Bullseye shooting drives the shooter to concentrate on PRECISION!

A typical “match” is 90-shots, divided into 4 stages:
·    Slow Fire, usually 50 yards, 10 shots in 10 minutes, score and reface targets, 10 more shots in 10 minutes.
·    Timed Fire. 25 yards. A string of 5 shots in 20 seconds. Reload and 5 more shots in 20 seconds, score and reface targets, 10 more shots in two 20 second strings.
·    Rapid Fire. 25 yards. A string of 5 shots in 10 seconds. Reload and 5 more shots in 10 seconds, score and reface targets, 10 more shots in two 10 second strings.
·    The “National Match Course” 10 shots each slow, timed, rapid, as above.

A typical full day for an active shooting club will consists of three 90-shot matches:
·    A .22 Match - .22 LR only
·    A .45 match - .45 only
·    A Centerfire match – any centerfire pistol (you can use that .45 again)

Since 270 shots are fired the perfect possible score is 2700, so we call this match a “2700”.

The origin of that was that the shooter would shoot the sportsman’s .22, the police officer’s .38 and the soldier’s .45.

NRA rules allow iron sights or a red-dot style optical sight on the pistol. Fitted grips and extended barrel lengths are permitted. In the .22 event, most shooters use a typical mid to high grade .22 semi-auto pistol, anything from a Ruger or Browning with a trigger job to a S&W Model 41 or older High Standard, a .22 conversion to a 1911 or a high-end European target pistol such as a Pardini. For the .45 match the 1911 in .45 ACP is the absolute KING of this sport and it is nearly as popular in the centerfire event where the occasional .38 wadcutter 1911 or S&W Model 52 appears also.

The National Match course mentioned above is named because it is the course of fire in the National Matches at Camp Perry and the course of fire used by the CMP to Qualify for the “Distinguished Pistol Shot” Badge, the twin of the Distinguished Rifleman Badge. These are shot with a “Service Pistol”, .45 1911 or 9mm M9 with iron sights and specific rules. Going “distinguished” is the goal of most precision service rifle or service pistol shooters and along with the “President’s Hundred” award ranks as the highest shooting honor an average shooter can likely attain.

Most shooters keep all their gear, guns and ammo in a Pistol Box that has a spotting scope mount that they can bring right to the line and set up and be fully self contained.

Arizona sends a team to the national matches at Camp Perry OH every summer.

Arizona’s center of excellence for bullseye pistol shooting is Phoenix Rod & Gun Club (7th ave south of Baseline at the mountain). The state championships in October and a big regional Mid Winter Match are held there. Along with a daytime registered or practice match every other weekend and a weekly Tuesday evening practice match. Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club (Usury Pass Rd, North of McDowell) has a very popular Monday night bullseye practice match. (Those evening events are GREAT for beginners, there’s always someone willing to help a new shooter and some equipment to loan.) Ben Avery’s bullseye range has been dismantled but there is a group of north-valley shooters looking to get a program going there too. There are also smaller groups around the state that shoot bullseye.

Olympic style or International Pistol is a close cousin to NRA Bullseye, PRGC has the state’s most active program with a few events fired at Ben Avery. There are several past and future Olympic shooters here in Arizona!

The best way to get started is to go visit one of the evening programs, bring eye & ear protection, a .22 pistol and 100+ rds of standard ammo.

More information about the sport can be found at:

If you or any of your friends wants to learn how to shoot a pistol better, this is a great way to get into it! Shooting a standardized course of fire regularly, like every week, allows you to gradually get better and better and SEE that you are getting better. It creates a very strong sense of accomplishment and satisfaction and can be very addictive. It is much more meaningful (to the shooter himself) that to just blast away somewhat randomly at the public range. Come shoot with us!

See you on the firing line!

Images taken at a match at PRGC a while back.

scoring 25 yd targets, we score the guy next to us, every 10 shots.

Shooters on the line at PRGC where the firing line can accommodate 40 shooters at 25 and 50 yds.

last modified by Bill Poole, 卜毕尔    بل  پول     on 15-Dec-08, ©.
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