Practical Pistol competition, sometimes called action pistol, is an exciting shooting activity enjoyed by thousands of participants worldwide. The originators of practical pistol shooting founded the activity for the purpose of gaining skill in the defensive use of firearms, but over the years it evolved into the fast, fun sport it is today.
Practical Pistol matches consist of a number of courses of fire, called “stages,” which are shooting problems which each shooter has to solve to the best of their ability. Each stage will consist of a number of targets and accompanying instructions. The instructions state parameters within which the competitor must address the shooting problem, usually to ensure safety, and sometimes to make the stage more challenging. Each competitor is accompanied through each stage by a range officer, who is usually another competitor with range officer experience and training. The range officer’s purpose is to give the competitor the signal to start shooting the stage and to time the competitor’s run through the stage, but most importantly, to ensure the safe conduct of the competitor through the course of fire. Because of this primary concern for safety, the range officer is in charge of the stage and his or her commands must be followed.
Focus on safety
Safe matches and ranges are the number one concern of Tri-County Gun club, the Practical Pistol discipline chairman, the match director, and every competitor and person present on the range. All safety rules must be obeyed. To help ensure that TCGC members have a skill level high enough to allow them to compete safely in matches or to practice on the range, all users of this range must become Action Range certified by attending and successfully completing the club-authorized safety certification class and a subsequent Practical Pistol match. The class will cover the safety requirements for shooting on the Action Range as well as what to expect in a match. The match will provide a an opportunity to demonstrate that you have retained the instructional material sufficiently to safely practice on the range or compete in Practical Pistol matches.
Doing your part
Before the match, show up early enough to help set up the stages if possible. When not shooting, pitch in and help at each stage by recording stage scores, taping targets when directed to do so by the range officer, picking up brass, resetting targets and props. When you are “on deck” you are expected to do your preparation, such as walking through the stage to confirm target location, planning reloads, etc. After shooting a stage, stick around to sign your scorecard before you return to your gear to reload your magazines. After you shoot your last stage, put your gear away and when the Match Director gives the word all competitors are expected to help tear down the stages and put the props away. When the scorekeeper has the complete scores, the match director will announce the order of finish, present awards, and hand out certificates and TCGC badge stickers to identify those who successfully completed the Action Range safety certification.