Pistol Competition

Pistol Team Web Page

Detachment 729’s pistol teams provide members an opportunity to develop their handgun marksmanship skills, and to enjoy the comradeship of like-minded Marines. January marks the beginning of our training season. Our pistol teams’ training calendar is built around the annual Marine Corps League postal match competitions, which are held nationwide. Training in the early months of each year is held entirely at members’ expense. During August, the Detachment’s budget begins providing weekly indoor range time plus furnishing targets. Training intensifies into full match rehearsals as we near the dates for the national competition. This competition is administered by National HQs and is completed in October each year. Our Detachment 729 has historically competed very strongly against all other Detachments’ pistol teams. Our trophies are displayed on the walls of our meeting hall, for your inspection!

Pistol team members belong to one of two different teams, which compete in different Divisions by type of weapon. The Open Division Team uses any type of center-fire handgun made by any manufacturer, excluding those types with ported barrels and electronic or laser sights. The Service Division Team uses the Beretta M9 (9mm), Colt M1911 (45 cal), SIG Sauer M17 P320 (9mm), and the Smith&Wesson Model 10 Revolver (38 cal). Service pistols by any manufacturer may be used, but all must adhere to military configuration, with regard to mechanical function. For all types of automatic pistols, it is recommended that four magazines be brought to facilitate loading during matches. For other practices, two magazines will suffice.

The great sport of Bullseye Marksmanship provides our competitive challenge and drives all of our firing practices. Our format is to shoot at the NRA Official CompetitionTarget B-8(T) or B-8(P) in an indoor facility at a 50 foot distance from shooter to target. Warm-up periods are allowed as needed, and for new shooters, the target distance may be shortened for the first few practices. We practice as small groups of individuals and as 5 man teams with timed exercises fired on voice command. The following shows the course of fire for the annual match, which is repeated twice for record competition:

The sequence of fire is as follows:

  1. NRA Official Competition Target B-8(T) is set for each shooter at 50 feet from the firing line. A new target is used for each course of fire.
  2. The relay of shooters, usually 5 to 7 people, will occupy their shooting booths adjacent to each other on the firing line.
  3. The shooters will fire on command of their Range Officer; all observing the same fire commands and safety procedures. A bell or air-horn signal starts the timing for the courses of fire below.
  4. Slow Fire is the first course of fire, requiring 10 rounds to be fired in 10 minutes, shooters firing independently.
  5. Timed Fire is the next course of fire, done in two separately timed strings of fire. For each string, 5 rounds will be fired in 20 seconds. (10 rounds total)
  6. Rapid Fire is done the same way, but the requirement is to fire 5 rounds in 10 seconds. (10 rounds total)
  7. Scoring and repair of targets is done after each course of fire.
  8. The three courses of fire above total 30 rounds. The entire match requirement calls for a second repetition of all three courses of fire, with the grand total of rounds fired being 60.

For all practices and for all matches, the members of Det 729’s Pistol Team follow strict internal safety procedures and comply with all Range Officer commands while on the range. Proper eye and ear protection must be worn during all training sessions.

Specific Range Safety Procedures and Firing Commands:

  1. No loaded guns carried into range; to be loaded only on command.
  2. All guns pointed downrange at all times.
  3. When guns are tabled, slides will be locked to the rear.
  4. On command, “Load and make ready,” guns are loaded and remain in shooter’s hand, safety ON.
  5. On command “Standby” guns are aimed at target, safety OFF.
  6. On sound signal or voice command: BEGIN firing, or CEASE firing.
  7. On command, “Unload and show clear,” remove magazine, lock slide to rear, clear round from chamber, table gun and stay with it for inspection.

It is expected that all Marines wishing to fire with the pistol team will have the basic mechanical knowledge of their handgun. Also, they will be able to load, unload, field strip, clean, lubricate, and reduce stoppages on their handgun before they show up for training. No unsafe or inoperable features on any handgun will be permitted. As with all shooting sports, the burden of providing a handgun, ammunition, and other accessories is substantial and is to be expected. As much as possible, our pistol team members help each other with resources and advice during the training year. General proficiency in the sport, the fun of competition, increased proficiency with the handgun, and the comradeship of other Marines are the rewards that keep our team members coming back each year. Marines wishing to train with the pistol team can join at any time durng the training year. As training progresses and scores are compared, only the top five scoring shooters on each of the teams will be allowed to compete in the record matches. This determination is usually made by mid-October.

Jefferson County Sportsmens Club, on 12100 Waterford Road in Louisville, KY is the current indoor range facility used by Det 729’s Pistol Team. This venue could change with the passage of time, and any updates will be posted here.

The current members of Det 729’s Pistol Team encourage you to join us, and we leave you with these final words of wisdom:

Rules of Gun Safety





Team Point of Contact:
Otis W. Fox