Observations at my 1st International Match

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Observations at my 1st International Match

Post by Rob Kovach on 12/15/2014, 12:52 am

Last weekend I tried my hand at my 1st International Pistol Match.  I wanted to get these thoughts down before I forget...some of this writing is copied from some emails that I sent on the topic so if it reads a little weird, forgive me.

I had a FANTASTIC time!  The fact that I shot so competitively added to the fun!  I won the "standard pistol" match that was match 1 and I did it with my Advantage Arms 1911 conversion with a 3+ lb. trigger!  It was very fun to be in the hunt with our bullseye equipment while the other shooters had fancier stuff. 

The differences that stood out most were:

--the lack of scoring during the match eliminates the mental pressure that comes with knowing the score while you are shooting.  The range I was shooting at had turning paper targets--no e-targets.

--there seems to be a lack of chit-chat between strings at your range.  That is different from bullseye.  We are usually giving each other all sorts of shit, sometimes just to get in the head of the other shooter.  I'm not sure if it was because of the small turnout, or if that's commonplace.  I'll be looking at that when I shoot other international matches.

I want to give a run down of the way the event was administered and some observations from a shooter who had never been to an International Pistol Match before:


The first match of the day was a "standard pistol" match fired with iron sight .22s and is much like a Conventional pistol 600 2-slow, 2-timed, 2-rapid.  The only difference is the commands and you don’t raise the gun until the targets face.  Instead of "ready on the right...." you get "attention"  When the target faces, you can raise your pistol.


The 2nd match of the day was air pistol.  I had only shot 2-thirty shot matches at the CMP center at Camp Perry before this, and this was a 60 shot match.  I shot 7 points out of 1st with a borrowed gun.  Very fun!


After the break for lunch was free pistol.  Pretty much any bullseye .22 is allowed, but you have to load only 1 shot at a time.  It’s like a really long slowfire match.  Because I was only loading 1 shot at a time it really felt like dryfire.  Very fun and very good shot process practice.


The most fun was the last match-- the centerfire duel.  Half of the match is slowfire with any iron sight centerfire gun .38 cal or less. (lead bullets only).  The second match is the duel--It’s like a cross between bullseye and action pistol.  The 7 ring is huge on the duel target—like it goes all the way to the edge of the paper.  The commands come and when the targets face, you raise the gun and shoot 1 shot while the target is facing you for 3 seconds, then it turns away for 7.  I think it’s called a duel because it’s just like and old-timey duel—when the guy turns, you shoot him.  It’s so much fun.



The duels are well suited for our .38spl revolvers.  The guy that beat me in the duels was shooting a S&W 14-6.


I think the biggest difference between international and conventional is in conventional you are firing a course of fire.  In international you are shooting like slowfire 1 shot drills.  It really has the same rhythm of dry-firing.  For that reason it’s really great shot process practice.
The other big difference is .38cal is the biggest you are allowed to shoot.  I wonder if the people who don't cross over from International find the .45acp intimidating... 



Because it’s the same slow fire drill over and over, it’s really easy to get into that comfort zone.



I'm definitely going to do it again.  I think that discipline has things to offer as a training tool for bullseye.
But it isn't fun enough to replace bullseye! Evil or Very Mad lol!
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Re: Observations at my 1st International Match

Post by knightimac on 12/15/2014, 7:51 am

Sounds like a great time.  I find shooting bullseye indoor when not scoring targets during matches is great for concentration.

The international centerfire duel sounds like fun.  Never did that one. 

Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Re: Observations at my 1st International Match

Post by LenV on 12/15/2014, 7:13 pm

You brought back fond memories. In Germany every town that has a range seems to have a pistol team. I was lucky enough to be asked by the Nuremberg team to shoot with them for a couple of years. All of the matches are shot with 22s but they are shot on Centerfire rules. I had never heard it called the duel before but then thinking back on it I don't remember the commands being in English either. Some things you lose in translation. Sounds like you had fun.

Len  Ist alles vertig?
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Re: Observations at my 1st International Match

Post by Ed Hall on 12/15/2014, 10:52 pm

The "Duel" stage was actually renamed "Rapid Fire," for Political correctness, quite some time ago.  The targets were also changed from ringed silhouettes to the current bullseye.

I, too, shot for a German club, the Polizei Sportverein Kaiserslautern e.V. back in the mid '90s.  We shot Air Pistol, .22 (called Klein Kalibre, also called KK, which was pronounced "kaka"), and we shot Center Fire, for which I used my wad gun with open sights.  The AP and KK had leagues that were tracked in the newspapers and all three had competition at various levels.  I have some fond memories and quite a few stories of those days.

Back to International competition for a moment.  You will find the International crowd somewhat more "serious" in their demeanor than the BE crowd.  Stories of competitors being upset because someone spoke to them at the wrong time or someone who forgot their ammo, but wouldn't compete with borrowed ammo because it wasn't their lot number, are just a couple of what I've heard.  I have not found that in the American International competitors I've shot with for combined USAS/NRA events, but have heard of it at higher USAS/ISSF levels.  Just to note, the German club members were much more like our BE crowd than the International description I just gave.  They were great, fun loving, shooters, who would base "beer rounds" on scores like 456, or 555, or maybe on who got the most pellets on a paper plate at 25 yards, from a 12 gauge.

Mein Deutsch ist schlecht - vertig?

Alles ist gut, bis ein Engel Pinkeln in Ihrem Steinschloss.

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Re: Observations at my 1st International Match

Post by LenV on 12/15/2014, 11:17 pm

vertig , oops I mean fertig. Ist alles fertig ( Is everyone finished). alles ist fertig ( everyone is finished ) Then the target turns. Those couple of years were in 73 & 74 so the memory is fond but rusty.
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Re: Observations at my 1st International Match

Post by Axehandle on 12/16/2014, 6:43 am

We played at a little  Standard, Centerfire, and Free pistol at my club in the 80s.  Wasn't a big thing since at that point in time most of us still  shot iron sighted guns.  From what I remember we could compete in the centerfire match with our 45s but a record score with the 45 was not valid.  Those tiny scoring rings going all the way to a value of "1" on the target were fun!

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Re: Observations at my 1st International Match

Post by Schaumannk on 12/16/2014, 9:10 am

OldMaster64 wrote:vertig , oops I mean fertig. Ist alles fertig ( Is everyone finished). alles ist fertig ( everyone is finished ) Then the target turns. Those couple of years were in 73 & 74 so the memory is fond but rusty.
I went to a few riding classes in Germany.    I couldn't understand the commands, but fortunately, the horse did...   :-)

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Re: Observations at my 1st International Match

Post by desben on 12/16/2014, 9:55 am

In my experience, Standard Pistol is very similar to bullseye, but with 3 key differences:
1. You have to shoot iron sights. No red dots allowed.
2. The target is the same size for slow, timed and rapid.
3. You must start with the gun pointed 45 degrees down, not aimed at the edged target. As a result, rapid fire feels slightly more rushed, since you lose 2 seconds to raise the gun and align the sights once the target faces you.

As Rob found out, duelling is a lot of fun. For me, it's all about a good trigger release, and sight alignment. Aiming doesn't even seem to matter since the rings are so large.

For the centerfire pistol match (30 slow+30 duel), people will also shoot it with their 22 if they prefer. It is then called "sport pistol" or "25m pistol women". This is reserved for women in the olympics and international competitions, but around here, Men do it too.
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Re: Observations at my 1st International Match

Post by lalka686 on 12/18/2014, 3:44 pm

Rob, welcome to Streator.
Nice write up and good observation. Glad to hear you had a fantastic time and I bet you met a fantastic group of people most of which are active bullseye league shooters and members of this forum. I'm the least experienced of them but they are great shooters and teachers.
Crowd/competition was small do to USA Shooting 2014 Winter Air Gun but next month, the line should be full.
Level of concentration is much higher at the international matches compare to bullseye (in my opinion) and the "chit-chad" usually starts at the group dinner table after match.
They all help each other with equipment, ammo, reloading tips and supplies, same as at bullseye matches.
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Re: Observations at my 1st International Match

Post by Dipnet on 1/14/2015, 12:39 pm

I've been thinking about checking out an international match, but lack equipment (except for 22 pistol) and definitely need to get some adjustable eyeglass apertures to see the sights! It definitely seems like fun. Thanks much for the summary. dipnet
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