Disciplines and competitions

As mentioned in the introduction to VI shooting page, the disciplines and competitions may vary depending upon the level you are seeking to compete. I will primarily focus on the international form of the sport, but I will make reference to some other disciplines and competitions as well.

Disciplines

In this section I intend to mainly focus on the position and how shooting is done in that discipline. Details regarding competitions and related rules I will leave until the competitions sections.

Standing air rifle

This is possibly the discipline where things differ the least from the unadapted form of the sport. Other than the audio aiming system and the help of an assistant, the VI shooter shoots using the same equipment and in the same way as any other shooter doing ISSF 10m air rifle. There may be a couple of things where the VI shooter can do things slightly differently, such as having a different head position due to not needing to look through the sights along the rifle. Whilst this may seem to give freedom to the VI shooter to use some other positions, it must also be noted that the positions used by sighted shooters have recieved much more attention and so coaches may better understand how they work.

In the standing position it may be difficult for the VI shooter to find their position by themself. This is due to only the feet being the only reference point on the firing point. They may require significant help from the assistant to get them correctly positioned on the firing point.

Prone air rifle

Dispite the name, this discipline is actually done from a seated position with the body and both elbows resting on a table, with a shooting sling to help support the arm holding the air rifle. For those familiar with the paralympic shooting disciplines, the prone for VI shooters is similar to the seated prone in paralympic shooting and is done at 10m on the air range.

So as well as the usual shooting equipment, the VI shooter will require the audio aiming system, a table, a seat without a backrest and the help of an assistant. Providing the table and seat have been set up precisely, the shooter may need much less help to find their position as they have many more reference points and the position is much more stable.

Supported standing air rifle

This is not an internationally recognised discipline for VI, although it seems like many countries have their own variations. In this discipline the shooter is standing, however the air rifle is placed on a support rest whilst shooting. Here in the UK we use a pring stand similar to the SH2 paralympic shooters, but other countries use rigid stands as described in the ISSF sport for all supported rest shooting rules. As the weight of the rifle is supported by the rest, it is physically less demanding on the shooter, so typically the special shooting jackets and trousers normally used in standing would not be necessary to compete in supported rest shooting. Supported standing rest shooting is good either for those with additional health issues or beginners needing to learn the basics of shooting.

If the support rest is precisely positioned, then an experienced VI supported rest shooter may be able to find their own position with little assistance. However assistants should be aware that as this discipline is more accessible to less able shooters, some may still require significant help finding the correct position.

Supported air pistol

In this discipline the shooter rests the air pistol on a support stand. The ISSF sport for all supported rest shooting rules give details. The main complication with this discipline is getting all the correct parts to fit an audio aiming system to the air pistol. The combination I have used is a Walther LP400, fitted with a Centra Tele HR sight raiser block to extend the sight rail backwards and then fit the VIASS Pro to that.

Whilst it would be nice to be able to shoot air pistol in the normal way, at this moment I feel I can only recommend VI shooters doing supported air pistol. There is some additional weight to the pistol with the audio aiming system and the lack of stability in the pistol standing position means it can be extremely difficult to find the target unless you have the support rest as a reference point. Assistants should pay significant attention to a VI shooter doing supported air pistol as even with the support rest, small movements in the shooter's wrist can lead to the pistol moving significantly away from the target.

Competitions

In this section I intend to discuss the structure of the competition and relevant rules, rather than the positions.

International air rifle

At international level VI can compete in either the standing air rifle or the prone air rifle disciplines. Currently World Shooting ParaSport is in the process of adopting VI shooting and including it into their programme. This will mean that VI will be able to compete up to World Championships level. There is work being done to develop VI shooting to a point where it can be considered for Paralympic inclusion.

For both standing and prone the competition structure is the same, only the timings differ. Shots are fired into ISSF air rifle targets. The target is formed of 10 concentric circles, the centre circle only being 0.5mm in diameter which scores 10 points, the next ring out is 5mm bigger and scores 9 points, and so on. The scoring rings are further divided into decimals, with the very best shot perfectly in the centre of the target scoring 10.9 points.

There is a qualifying round where the shooter has to shoot 60 shots. For standing the shooter gets 1 hour 15 minutes. For prone the shooter gets 50 minutes. At the end of the qualifying, the 8 shooters with the highest scores go through to the final.

The final is more complicated to explain. The shooters shoot two series of five shots within 250 seconds per series. After these first 10 shots, the shooters are then instructed to shoot single shots, getting 50 seconds per shot. After the 12 shot of the competition, the person with the lowest score is eliminated from the competition. Two shots later the person with the next lowest score is eliminated and this continues until there are only two shooters remaining. The final two take two more single shots and the person with the highest score is declared the winner. If when deciding who is to be eliminated, should the last place be a tie, then those two shooters will need to do a tie-break shot.

Finals really can apply pressure to the shooter as potentially if they have a bad shot then there is a chance they may be eliminated. Also normally the audience are encouraged to clap, particularly for the shots which may decide the medal places. It all adds to the atmosphere in the finals range and if you have difficulty with nerves then you will really feel it.

Supported standing rest competitions

As mentioned there is no real international standard on how supported rest shooting is to be done and different countries have their own variations. Therefore most of these competitions are just national level competitions, but sometimes a competition might be open to international participation, in which case the shooter should check what the rules will be as it may not be what they usually do.

Typically supported rest shooting competitions use air pistol sized targets which are significantly larger than the air rifle targets. Also depending upon the organiser, the main 10 scoring rings may be used, but in other cases they may also use the decimal score as well.

Supported air pistol

Unfortunately there are currently no competitions I am aware of for VI air pistol shooters. However if the shooter does it in the way as described in the ISSF sport for all rules, then they may want to seek permission to compete from organisers running air pistol competitions under those rules. I would encourage any organiser of such an air pistol competition to permit a VI shooter to compete as the ISSF sport for all rules are designed to increase inclusion and participation.

Other competitions

At national level there may be other competitions available which do not match those I describe above. They may vary on the number of shots, may include other disciplines or may even be a postal competition where the shooter shoots the competition at their own club and submits the results by post or email. Also shooters may seek permission from their national organisation or competition organisers to participate in competitions against sighted shooters. My message here is not to limit yourself to only the VI competitions I discussed above, if you want to compete then explore all possible options.

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