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Air Rifle

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With a bull’s-eye the size of a pinhead, this is no casual “plinking” sport.



Air Rifle is shot by both men and women in competitions from club level to the Olympic Games.  All shooting is done from the standing position. 3-Position Air Rifle shooting (standing, kneeling and prone), has become popular in Europe and the USA.  Men and Women are placed in classes according to ability so the thrill of winning is available to all who try this fast growing sport.  This discipline first made its debut at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.


Alberta’s Susan Eymann competing in the Women’s 10 meter Air Rifle at the Western Canadian Air Gun Championships, Calgary, AB.

The skills required for this sport are so close to those of smallbore and fullbore shooting that many athletes use the Air Rifle as an indoor winter sport to practice for the outdoor seasons. Air Rifle is shot at 10 meters distance using a target with a 10 ring of 0.4mm (approximately the diameter of a pin head) and the 9 ring is just slightly larger than the .177″ diameter of the pellet.  Because the target is so small, only 1 shot is fired at a target during a competition.



In separate categories, men and women shoot 60 shots (each maximum shot value is 10.9) for a total possible 654 points in 75 minutes. A shot that hits directly in the center of the ten ring counts as a 10.9, whereas a shot just barely touching the ten ring counts as 10.0.


Western Canadian Air Gun Championships, Calgary, AB.  October 2011

At the end of a regular match a elimination style Finals is shot.  In the final, each of the eight finalists (top 8 in the open event) shoot up to 24 scoring shots.  After all 8 shooters have fired their shots, the scores are announced to the spectators and athletes on the line.

An example of the Megalink(TM) Electronic Target & Scoring System used during Air Rifle competitions

In Alberta we typically have five Air Gun competitions annually:
1:  Western Canadians, Calgary;
2:  Memorial Match, Olds;
3:  Alberta Air Rifle Provincial Championships, Calgary;
4:  City of Calgary, Calgary; and
5:  Maple Leaf, Leduc.

Besides Nationals, Canada has one major Air Rifle event, which is shot each spring and is now a world ranked “Air Gun Grand Prix” match with over 300 competitors taking part from all over the world.  Alberta shooters regularly take part in these competitions along with the Annual Canadian National Smallbore (and air rifle) Rifle Championships.

If you visit most gun clubs today, you will find a group shooting air rifle at least 1 night a week.

A YouTube video example of competitive air rifle shooting at 10 meters:  ISSF Air Rifle