About ‘Artificial Support’…in the PA Service Pistol Events and WA1500


There has been an assumption that PA shooters would work from the basis that the rules are there to be observed, including ‘in spirit’, not from the basis that the rules are there to find ways to gain an advantage unless something was specifically prohibited.  Sadly, this assumption is not always the case…


There is no specific rule regarding ‘artificial support’ in the current PA Service Pistol rule book (2005/1st printing) – such clause was not thought necessary.


Working from (and within) ‘Service’ rule 5.1.15 (the Jury must decide in all cases that are not provided for in the Rules of PA. Such decisions must be made within the spirit and intent of these rules). 

Artificial support is not permitted – it would not be within the spirit and intent; the following examples (not an exclusive list) on ‘artificial support’ are given:

·          Any supporting surface except the ground not specifically authorized for use in the Rules for the applicable shooting position.

·          Digging or use of elbow or heel holes at the firing point or the use of depressions which form an artificial support for the elbows, arms, or legs is prohibited (this not likely on the typical concrete firing points).

·          A ground cloth may be used provided it is not constructed or used in a manner to provide artificial rest or support.

And in particular,

·          Equipment such as speed loader/s, ammunition pouches, holster, or any equipment would be considered "artificial support" when positioned in a location so as to provide or give reasonable appearance of providing support.


When this photo was taken, there was no room for debate over whether the speed-loaders were providing support – the speed-loaders were clearly under pressure from the shooter’s body.

However, the wording above about ‘or give reasonable appearance of providing support’ is not to be taken lightly!  The onus is on the shooter to position equipment, etc. so that there is clearly no artificial support.


Advice for Shooters:

·          The onus is on the shooter to position equipment, etc. so that there is clearly no artificial support.

·          For those that get their jollies by stirring - Neither the competitor that you bettered by a few points or the range officials is interested in how close to artificial support you can get without getting a warning or penalty.  Our sport is supposed to be about how well you can shoot; not about how much you can stir other people.


Advice for Range Officials:

·          or give reasonable appearance of providing support’ is to be interpreted with a degree of common sense!  If the equipment is clearly not providing support, that is the end of the matter!  ‘Clearly’ does not mean 100mm, or 10mm, or some other arbitrary measurement; it simply means ‘clearly’.

·          This is not a safety issue.  Action by a range official will be at the end of the stage.  Jumping in during the stage for a non-safety issue will undoubtedly result in a claim for disturbance(6.6.16).

·          As with any other rule or interpretation, this is not a way for range officials to embark on a ‘competitor-bashing’ spree!

·          At a weekend club shoot, a warning or word or advice is probably enough – at a competition, Service rule applies (warning and ten points penalty).  The finalised  WA1500 rules will most likely be far more severe (lose shots of highest value), though this has not been fully determined.