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Practical shooting is an International competition that is shot on all continents, with local, state, national, regional and international championships happening on a regular basis. It is controlled on an International basis by IPSC, with national and regional committees organising membership and competitions.

The sport of Practical target shooting is different to most other forms of target shooting. In other forms, a single type of target is used (most often a round paper target with concentric scoring zones and a “bulls eye” in the middle). Also the rules for target engagement are specific, and so the shooting match is conducted in exactly the same manner match to match. This allows competitors to practice the competition itself over and over again.

In Practical competition, a variety of target types are used (both paper and steel, stationary and moving, scoring targets and penalty targets). There is no set way these targets are arranged, nor even how many targets are used in a single match. A competition organiser creates a number of “stages” (conforming to a set of IPSC design rules), each using different numbers and arrangements of targets, to create a shooting challenge that the competitors have to solve as accurately and as rapidly as possible.

The other major difference from other shooting competitions is the way in which the final score is calculated for a competitor. In most other competitions, the score is calculated simply by adding up the values of the scoring zones hit by the competitor. In Practical competition, the time taken is also part of the final score. The sum of the scoring zones is worked out, and this then divided by the total time the competitor took to engage the targets. Thus the quicker the competitor completes the stage, the better the final score will be.

Additionally, stages usually require competors to move away from a starting position to enable them to see and engage all the targets in the stage.

Also unlike other shooting disciplines, all participants (male, female, junior) compete together over exactly the same stages, with the same rules and the same scoring procedures. Only one competitor at a time shoots a stage. At all times this competitor is under the direct observation and control of a trained Range Officer whose primary task is to enforce the match safety rules. Practical shooting is a safe sport, and IPSC training, rules and procedures will ensure that this continues.


10m Air pistol events are shot by both men and women, at all levels of competition up to and including the Olympics and Paralympics.
These events are shot with .177inch/4.5mm air pistol using compressed air or gas. Mens events shoot 60 shots in 105 minutes, and womens events shoot 40 shots in 75 minutes.

Formerly known as Free Pistol, the 50m Pistol event is shot at all levels of competition up to and including the Olympics and Paralympics using .22 calibre single-shot pistols.
60 competition shots are fired in a total competition time of 2 hours, at a target with a 50mm centre ring, and each subsequent ring increasing by 50mm.

Formerly known as Sport Pistol, 25m Pistol womens event was introduced in the 1960s.
25m Pistol combines both precision and rapid-fire, it is shot with a .22 long rifle rimfire in two stages each of 30 shots. The precission stage is shot in six series of 5 shots, each series is 5 minutes. Targets have a 50mm centre ring with each subsequent ring increasing by 50mm. The rapid fire stage is shot in six series of 5 target exposures, each exposure is for 3 seconds and allows 1 shot.

25m Centre Fire Pistol is normally a men-only event. Other than the calibre used, the Centre Fire event is exactly the same as the 25m Pistol Women, and Mens Sport Pistol events. The 25m Centre Fire match is shot with a handgun of any calibre between 7.62 mm (.30") and 9.65 mm (.38"). In Australia this event is also shot by women at most competitions.

25M Rapid Fire Pistol In 25m Rapid Fire Pistol competitors use semi-automatic pistols in .22 calibre (5.6mm) at all levels of competition up to and including the Olympics. A series (or string) consists of five (5) shots fired, one at each of five target within a limited time. Five targets stand next to each other at a 25m distance from the shooter. When the targets appear, the competitor must raise his/her arm from a 45 degree angle and fire his/her five shots. If a shot is too late, it will score as a miss.
60 competition shots, fired as two stages of 30 shots. There are three different time limits: 8 seconds, 6 seconds and 4 seconds for the series. A stage consists of two series in each time, and a full course of fire comprises two such stages. Targets have a 100mm centre ring with each subsequent ring increasing by 100mm.

25M Standard Pistol 25m Standard Pistol is one of the ISSF shooting events introduced at the World Championship level in 1970. It is shot with .22 long rifle rimfire. Targets have a 50mm centre ring with each subsequent ring increasing by 50mm.
The 60-shot match is divided into 5-shot series with different timings:
4 series of 5 shots within 150 seconds for each series
4 series of 5 shots within 20 seconds for each series
4 series of 5 shots within 10 seconds for each series

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