Olympic pistol events

The five pistol disciplines explained for beginner shooters

Olympic pistol events are amongst the most exciting events out there, but if you want to enjoy them fully you'll need to know the basics. Check out our quick guide to Olympic pistol events to find out everything you need to know.

In the Olympics pistol shooting event competitors shoot at a fixed target consisting of ten concentric rings, with the inner-most being the highest scoring or ‘bulls eye’. The shot targets are placed at either 10, 25 or 50m away and shooters must only use one hand to fire the pistol.

Olympic pistol events

The equipment for pistol shooting includes ...

Pistols

  • A small bore pistol of 5.6mm calibre.
  • The target is 50cm (20in) with the centre being only 50mm (1.9in) in size. The gun must be fired, single-handed, in the standing position.

Rapid fire pistol shooting

  • The pistol used is a 5.6mm calibre, capable of firing five shots.
  • The target is 50cm wide with the centre being 50mm wide. The shot is taken from 25m.

Air pistols

  • Air pistols are 4.5mm calibre. The target is 50cm wide with the center of the target is 11.5mm (approx 0.5in) in diameter.

Pistol disciplines at the Olympics shooting competitions ...

  • 50m Pistol men
  • 25m Pistol women
  • 25m Rapid fire pistol men
  • 10m Air pistol men
  • 10m Air pistol women

50m Pistol shooting for men

  • 60 competition shots are fired at a target 50m away.
  • In the following final, 10 shots are fired by each competitor with scores evaluated in tenths (10.9 being the maximum) and added to the qualification score.

25m Pistol shooting for women

  • 30 precision shots and 30 rapid-fire shots are taken at a distance of 25m. The center of the target is 50mm in diameter for the precision stage. Six series of five shots each are completed.
  • The rapid fire stage sees six series of five shots, each completed with three seconds allowed for each shot.
  • In the final of the eight best shooters, four series of five shots each are completed in the rapid fire stage. The shots are evaluated in decimal tenths. The scores of the earlier round and the final are added together to determine the winners.

25m Rapid fire pistol shooting for men

  • Two stages of 30 shots each. Each stage consists of two series of five shots in eight, six and four seconds. A series of five shots is fired, one shot each at five targets placed 75cm (30in) apart at a distance of 25m.
  • In the final of the six best shooters, four series of five shots each must again be completed, each in four seconds. The shots are evaluated in decimal tenths. The scores from the earlier round and the final are added together to determine the winners.

10m Air pistol shooting for men and women

  • The match is shot, single-handed, in the standing position at a distance of 10m. 60 competition shots are fired in the men’s competition and 40 shots in the women’s.
  • The final of the best eight consists of ten shots, with scores again evaluated in tenths.

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