NRA Action Pistol is one of the most demanding handgun competitions available to the pistol shooting world. Developed in 1979 by former LAPD police officer John Bianchi, the NRA Action Pistol shooting comprises of 16 individual events ranging from the Tyro to Combat and Speed Steel events. The coveted Bianchi Cup is held in Columbia Missouri every year and is regarded as the "Mecca" for all Action Pistol shooters. In 1985 the National Rifle Association took control of the Bianchi Cup Tournament and has continued to award the National Action Match Champion each year.
There are four main matches that make up an NRA Action Pistol Event.
- The Falling Plates Match
- The Barricade Match
- The Practical Match
- The Mover Target Match
Handguns used in NRA Action Pistol shooting fall into four categories for competition: Open, Open Modified, Metallic Sight, and Production. Open Class where anything goes from Optical sights to 3lb trigger pull, to Production Class where the handgun is straight out of the box and no modifications are allowed.
NRA Action Pistol events involve accuracy as well as timing. All sections of a match are timed based from 6 shots in 6 seconds at the 10yd mark for Plates to 6 shots in 15 seconds at the 50yd mark in the Practical event. All must be executed within the time frame and accurate enough to hit a 4 inch black bulls-eye. The matches are challenging and rewarding as you can gauge how well you are doing by the increase in your score, everytime you go to the range and compete in these matches.
Here in New Zealand we try and hold at least one match per month where all the Action Pistol Shooters get together and compete against each other. The "Superleague" series are an excellent event that allows the new Action Shooter to get into the realms of competition.
The North Island, South Island and National Championships are the top Action Pistol competitions, and tend to attract our neighbours, the Australian Action Pistol competitors as well. Along with the Kiwi Cup, Cowley Cup and John Cameron Cup (postal shoot) our yearly shooting calendar tends to be very full.