Olympic Pistol Event Descriptions

Most international pistol shooting takes place at 25 meters distance. The two exceptions are Air Pistol (10 meters) and Free pistol at 50 meters.

50 M Pistol (formerly Free Pistol) - is one of the ISSF shooting events. It is free of restrictions regarding weight, trigger pull and sight radius but it must have “open” sights (no scope or dot or laser). The pistol must be of .22 Long Rifle calibre and may only be loaded with one round at a time. This is the ultimate slow fire precision event, with 60 shots fired over a two hour time period at a 10-ring that is just 50 millimetres in diameter. 50 M Pistol is one of the oldest shooting types, dating back to the 19th century and only having seen marginal rule changes since the 1930s. Currently, at the International level, competition in this event is open only to males.( More information )

25 M Rapid-Fire Pistol - is one of the ISSF shooting events. If you think of Free Pistol as the marathon event then Rapid-Fire is the sprint event for men. Five targets, arranged side-by-side, face the competitor, who must fire one shot at each of the targets within a specified time interval. There are three time intervals. The event begins with a “sighting” series of five shots fired in eight seconds. After that, two five-shot series are fired, each in eight seconds; then another two series, but each in six seconds; and finally, two series, each in four seconds - for a total of 30 scoring shots. All this is repeated a second time for a grand total of 60 shots for score (and ten sighting shots).
Up until the 2004 Athens Olympics, this event typically was fired with a pistol chambered for the .22 Short cartridge. However, beginning 1 Jan 2005, the rules were changed and now the pistol must comply with the Standard Pistol specifications - which requires that the .22 Long Rifle cartridge be used, rather than the .22 Short - but the time intervals and the targets remain the same. This, too, is a “men-only” event at the International level. ( More Information )

25 M Centre-Fire Pistol - is another of the ISSF shooting events. This event is for centre-fire pistols of caliber 7.62 mm (.30”) to 9.65 mm (.38”). Currently, the most popular choice seems to be European-made target pistols in .32 caliber, although .38 calibre and 9 mm calibre pistols do make an appearance - at least up to the National level. There are a number of design and dimensional restrictions on the pistol, including a minimum trigger pull of 1360 grams (3 lbs.), a maximum barrel length of 156 mm (6") and open sights. Single shot pistols are not permitted.
The event is divided into two stages: Precision and Rapid Fire.
The Precision stage is fired first and consists of five sighting shots followed by 30 scoring shots (fired in six 5-shot series of 5 minutes duration each) on the 50-meter Free Pistol target mounted at 25 metres.
The second stage is shot on the Rapid Fire target (all black, with larger scoring rings), which is exposed for 3 seconds and turned away for 7 seconds in a repeating cycle. One shot is fired at each exposure until five exposures have occurred. This 5-shot series is repeated seven times. The first series is for sighting and the next six series (30 shots) are for score. Before each exposure, the shooter must be in a “ready” position with his gun arm pointing not less than 45 degrees below the horizontal, and not resting on any support.
At top-level competitions, this event, as well as 25 M Pistol, may be shot on electronically-scored targets which do not turn but instead utilize green and red lights to indicate the “shoot” and “no shoot” intervals. ( More Information )

25 M Pistol (formerly Sport Pistol) - is both an ISSF and an Olympic shooting event. This is a women's event, which started in the 1960’s. It was first introduced to the Olympic scene in 1984. It is a 60-shot match fired at 25 meters distance and is essentially the same as 25 M Center Fire Pistol, with the exception that the gun used must conform to the Standard Pistol specifications (.22LR, 1000-gram trigger, etc). While at the International level, 25 M Pistol is still shot only by women and juniors, (men have Center-Fire Pistol instead), in many countries there is also male participation at the national level and below.( More Information )

25 M Standard Pistol - is one of the ISSF shooting events, introduced at the World Championship level in 1970. It has its roots in the NRA conventional pistol competitions. This event combines elements of precision and rapid fire. Any pistol which conforms to the rules (.22 cal., 156mm barrel, 1000gms trigger pull ) can be used.
The course of fire is 60 shots, which are fired in 5-shot series. The match is broken into three stages, each with a different time limit. It actually begins with a sighting series of five shots in 150 seconds, but these shots do not count for score. The sighting series is followed by four 5-shot series, each of 150 seconds duration; then four 5-shot series, each in 20 seconds; and finally, four 5-shot series, each in ten seconds. The 20-second and 10-second series begin with the shooter in the “ready” position, with his arm at or below 45 degrees from the horizontal and not resting on any support.
Although Standard Pistol is not an Olympic event, it enjoys widespread popularity - from the club level upwards to the international level. It is shot at the BC Provincial Championships and the Canadian National Pistol Championships. In 1970, Standard Pistol was also a women’s event, but since then, at the international level, it is restricted to men.( More Information )

10 M Air Pistol - is an ISSF and an Olympic shooting event for both men and women, but they shoot different matches. Men fire 60 scoring shots over 105 minutes and women fire 40 scoring shots in 75 minutes. An unlimited number of sighting shots are permitted within the time period, but only prior to the competitor firing his/her first competition shot. Consequently, shooters must manage their time to ensure that they complete the match in the allotted time.
The pistol has a maximum allowed weight of 1500 grams. It fires a 4.5 mm (.177”) calibre lead pellet propelled by compressed air or carbon dioxide (CO2). The trigger pull must be at least 500 grams. There are other restrictions on shape and dimensions and the pistol must be capable of fitting into a box of 420 x 200x 50 mm. Only “open” sights are permitted. The match is shot, single-handed, in the standing position at a distance of 10 meters. The centre of the target, the “ten-ring”, is 11.5 mm in diameter.( More Information )