23 March 2016


The official ISSF emblem ‘flag’ as specified in ISSF rule will not be a requirement for PA competitions.

For PA competitions:

             The safety flags must be of a readily visible colour,

             For 10m, the flag must extend through the full length of the barrel


Some Background

The applicable rules and ISSF interpretation


ISSF Rule Interpretations for 2013 ISSF Rules (8Feb1023)

Recommended Application

Which events?


When does the CBI/CCI have to be inserted?

What about the PA ‘service-style’ events?

PA Black Powder


For the ISSF events, when does the CBI/CCI have to be inserted?

Transporting ISSF pistols

At Equipment Control

Whipper-snipper cord (some notes on)

4mm plastic tube (some notes on)


Air Pistols

Why are Air Pistols treated differently?

The ‘standard’ for PA

Problems with some models of Air Pistol

.22 Single Shot & .22 Semi-automatics

CF Semi-automatics

CF Revolvers



The ISSF is not ‘leading the way’ on the use of CBI/CCI flags, it is following a growing practice (ICFRA, USA: 3P,  National 4-H Shooting Sports, Army Marksmanship Unit, USA Shooting and the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force JROTC):

  • Common-sense recognition of the liability issues will see more and more shooting organisations around the world follow suit.


The use of CBIs/CCIs will not only make the Range Officers’ task of clearing pistols a lot easier, they will make the fact that the pistol is ‘clear’ obvious to anyone on the range.

For those that would argue that there is no need for the ‘inconvenience’ or intrusion on their rights of the use of CBI/CCI as our Range Officers check the pistols and there is no problem, all I can say is that you have not been around long enough.  CBI/CCI flags do not replace the responsibility of the RO, but they add to RO’s effectiveness.

Something like this, which protects us and the reputation of our sport, has my support.




Safety  flags  must  be  inserted  in  all  rifles,  pistols  and  semi-automatic shotguns at all times other than during authorized dry firing or live firing on a firing point. The purpose of safety flags is to visibly demonstrate when gun actions are open and guns are unloaded.    To demonstrate that air rifles and air pistols are unloaded, the safety flag must be long enough to extend through the full length of the barrel.

·         If a safety flag is not used as required by this rule, a Jury Member must give a WARNING with instructions to insert a safety flag in the gun.

·         If the Jury confirms that an athlete refuses to use a safety flag as required by this rule and after being warned, the athlete must be disqualified.




The 2013 ISSF Rules require the use of “safety flags” in all rifles and pistols. The use of safety flags demonstrates the high priority that the ISSF places on practicing the highest standards of gun safety. The following guidelines regarding the use of safety flags apply:

1.       Safety Flags. In 2013, athletes may use any type of safety flag that complies with these standards (color, full barrel length for air guns).

2.       Color. Safety flags must be of a bright color that Range Officers can easily see at a distance. Fluorescent orange or a similar bright color is recommended.

3.       Air Guns. Safety flags used in air rifles or air pistols must be full-length lines that extend out of both ends of the barrel. The easiest way to prepare air gun safety flags/lines is to cut lengths of plastic trimmer line 2.0 mm – 2.3 mm (.080” - .090”) in diameter that are long enough to extend about 10 cm – 15 cm out of each 11end of air rifle or air pistol barrels.

4.       ISSF Gun Safety Emblems. The ISSF is obtaining a large supply of two-sided safety emblems that can be folded and attached to the breech (action) end of safety lines to make them readily visible to Range Officers. These flags will be available for sale in the ISSF Shop and at 2013 ISSF Championships.

5.       Safety Flags for .22 Caliber Guns. Safety flags used in .22 cal. rifles or pistols can be either commercial safety flags or safety flags constructed by attaching an ISSF Gun Safety Flag to a 15 cm – 20 cm length of heavier plastic trimmer line.




Which events?



Where adopted, ISSF Rule will apply to all ISSF Pistol events.


What about the PA ‘service-style’ events?

Existing procedures:

·         Revolvers – visual individual check of all chambers by RO/Observer

·         Semi-automatics – visual check of chamber and magazine well by RO/Observer


PA Black Powder

Existing procedures:

·         Revolvers – visual individual check of all chambers by RO

·         Break-action single shot – an easy visual check of chamber by RO

·         Muzzle loading – specific checking procedure with barrel depth rod by RO




For the ISSF events, when does the CBI/CCI have to be inserted?

When/where in force at ISSF events:

·         Arrive at the firing point with the pistol cased.  If permission is given to uncase pistols before Preparation Time, insert CCI/CBI until “PREPARATION TIME” is called: the CCI/CBI can be removed after “PREPARATION TIME” is called.

·         When at the Firing Point, effectively, whenever you unload the pistol, i.e.;

o   To put the pistol down on the bench when you have completed a series/stage

o   Definitely before any personnel go forward of the firing line

o   On the commands ‘STOP’ and/or ‘UNLOAD’ (unless claiming a 25m malfunction)

·         To put the pistol down to leave the firing point after “START’ but before STOP’ and/or ‘UNLOAD’, live fire pistols must be unloaded with the action open, and air pistols must have the action open – it is not necessary to insert CCI/CBI provided STOP’ and/or ‘UNLOAD’ has not been called

·         To remove a pistol from the firing point for repair, or recharge an air pistol (only with the permitted by the Range Officer) – I would prefer that these pistols be cased before removal from the firing line.

o   A pistol with a cartridge or pellet inserted may NOT be removed from the firing point!

o   The pistol must have CCI/CBI inserted

·         after the RO has verified that the pistol is empty, when casing a pistol for removal from the firing line, the CCI/CBI may be removed.  It is advised that for 10m pistols with a loading gate the pistol never be cased with a CBI in place – it would be all too easy to damage the gate/lever unless it it fully closed.

·         See Equipment Control, below


Transporting ISSF pistols


While semi-automatics can be safely cased with the action ‘closed’ on a CCI, both single shot pistols and revolvers cannot have the action closed with a CCI or CBI in place – between the RO’s inspection and verification and casing the pistol, the CCI/CBI can be removed and the pistol cased.


At Equipment Control


Believe it or not, the place where the majority of ‘pistol not unloaded’ instances are detected in our sport is at Equipment Control!

1.       WITH THE PISTOL IN A SAFE DIRECTION, open action and insert CCI/CBI

2.       Hand pistol to EC personnel

3.       When inspection completed, verify the pistol is ‘clear’, and re-case.


Whipper-snipper cord


Whipper-snipper cord can be used for air pistols, .22 pistols and centre fire pistols


Whipper-snipper cord comes in coils and the curvature of ‘untreated’ cord will make inserting the cord from the loading gate of air pistols very difficult – the inserted end can snag on a/ the forcing cone, and b/ the compensator (if so equipped):

·         Whipper snipper cord is easily straightened by gentle application of heat – a paint stripper gun is ideal.  Whipper snipper cord is a tensilised plastic and the GENTLE application of heat to the outside of the curvature will remove the curvature

·         ‘As cut’ ends are sharp and tend to snag – heat and mould to a rounded end with the fingers (avoid the ‘ouch’ factor).

·         A bend or a loop can be formed by application of heat


4mm plastic tube


Coils 4mm plastic tube can be found at most stores with a craft section and is an economical CCI for .22 and centre fire pistols.


A 200-300mm length works well for both .22 and centre fire pistols:

·         Can be left in semi-automatics when they are cased.

·         A 45° end is MUCH easier to insert in the chamber of a semi-automatic, or the forcing cone of a revolver.






loop end, and bent end


Pink works well



A.     Bright colour.

B.      Clearly extends both ends of barrel – I suggest at least 200mm/8” longer than overall barrel length.

‘Nice’ to have:

C.      Round off the end that will be inserted (particularly if the pistol has a compensator)

D.     While a plain length of indicator works OK, a bend (approx. 90°) or loop at the ‘breech’ end makes life easier


Why air pistols are treated differently to cartridge pistols

·         The majority of single shot air pistols will insert the pellet a considerable distance into the chamber/barrel when the action is closed: this makes it virtually impossible visually to verify that there is no pellet (anywhere!) in the barrel.

·         If there is a pellet in the chamber, discharging gas will fire the pellet!



A number of shooters have reported difficulty when inserting a CBI through the barrel of air pistols with a compensator fitted to the muzzle.

When the end to be inserted through the barrel from the loading gate end (you were not thinking of putting your hand in front of the muzzle, WERE YOU!) is ‘as cut’, this sharp end will tend to snag on compensator holes/ports: if the end to be inserted is rounded off and the cord fairly straight for 200-300mm, this snagging is not much of a problem.

Even 3.0 (that is three) mm whipper-snipper cord will work well as an air pistol CBI if the end to be inserted is rounded off and fairly straight (even in a Hammerli LP300 which has a short opening at the gate, and a compensator at the muzzle end).


Before any smart a**e comes up with the devious idea of inserting a bit if cord from the front and a separate bit of cord from the back; this would be treated as a concealed violation 6.12.7.b (i.e. disqualification). … extend through the full length of the barrel…


Problems with some models of Air Pistol

There are problems for some models of air pistol when it comes to “Safety flags used in air rifles or air pistols must be full-length lines that extend out of both ends of the barrel”: for some models it is impossible to insert a line that extends out both ends of the barrel!

Apply a bit of common sense…

·         5-shot Air Pistols: with magazine/loading bar removed, 200mm of brightly coloured whipper-snipper cord or 4mm PVC tubing across the magazine/loading bar slot

·         Loading-gate Air Pistols (e.g. Hammerli Single/Master): 200mm of brightly coloured whipper-snipper cord through the raised loading ‘port’


1.       Hammerli Single/Master

2.       5-shot

3.       Manufacturer’s dry fire plugs

4.       TRA ‘rifle’ style







A.      Bright colour

B.      Clearly extends into the chamber (for whipper snipper cord or plastic tubing, I suggest at least 25mm/1”; 40mm for CF)

C.      Clearly extends out of the open action (I suggest at least 50mm/2”; 100mm/4” is better)


‘Nice’ to have:

D.     If using 4mm plastic tubing, a 45° cut at the chamber insert end makes life much easier

E.      If your semi-automatic does not have a slide stop, a flag that incorporates a ‘block’ for the action is an advantage


Commercially available CCIs



There is a wide range of commercially available CCIs – these are OK provided they are a bright colour, AND clearly extend into the chamber, AND clearly extend out of the open action:

·         Picture #4

·         The ‘action-blocking’ type (picture # 6, above) has the advantage of providing a way of keeping the action open on semi-automatics without a slide stop.

·         Typical manufacturers’ dry-fire plugs (picture # 7, above) have only one failing; they do not “clearly extend out of the open action.  A such, the standard dry-fire plugs by themselves do not meet the requirements – add 200mm of brightly coloured whipper snipper cord.

·         I have found the ‘rifle’ style CCI (picture # 8 above) not to be suitable for .22 semi-automatics, as with a bit if use (e.g. leaving them in when the slide is closed for casing) they deform and can be difficult to remove.


You might have to order online.


‘D-I-Y’ CCIs


9.       Simple & ‘deluxe’ versions of 4mm tubing


10.   CF – longer ‘insert’ end




Suggested Material

While there are commercially available CCI items available, there are DIY alternatives


I have been using appropriate lengths of 4mm plastic tube (available at craft shops) for my .22 semi-autos, and CF pistols for some time.  2-3mm whipper snipper cord works just as well, but the 4mm plastic tube:

·         Has less tendency to fall out, and

·         Is easier to shape for deluxe versions.


If you want to use a length of whipper snipper cord, it will need to extend further into the chamber than is needed for 4mm tubing (otherwise it falls out too easily).


.22 Single Shot & .22 Semi-automatics

Note: for semi-automatics,the magazine must be removed!  Inserting a CCI does not do away with the requirement to remove the magazine.


Semi-automatics without a slide stop

A combination of the CCI and a ‘blocking item’ to keep the action open is required.


Break action

Action open and insert CCI into barrel throat.


CF Semi-automatics

Note: the magazine must be removed!  Inserting a CCI does not do away with the requirement to remove the magazine.

As above for .22 Single Shot & .22 Semi-automatics, except that the chamber end needs to be inserted about 40mm to stop it falling out.


CF Revolvers


Swing-open action

With the cylinder swung out, insert CCI into barrel throat.


Loading gate action revolvers (e.g. Toz 36/49, Ruger single-action)

Remove cylinder and insert CCI into barrel throat.


Break action

Action open and insert CCI into barrel throat.


More about indicator flags – or, sorting through the balderdash!

There are a number of Furphies floating around about indicator flags:

  1. My pistol cannot take an indicator flag”

·         I know that two types that cannot fully comply with the ISSF rules on indicator flags: i.e. Morini Hybrid Air Pistol and (now, very old) Hammerli Single/Master Air Pistols.

·         MatchGuns MG2 CAN use a ‘whipper snipper’ indicator (see photo 1) – thicker whipper snipper cord won’t  work, but the thinner cords do!

·         TOZ 36/49 revolvers CAN use a ‘whipper snipper’ indicator (see photo) – setting the cylinder in a ‘half-way’ position allows an indicator flag to pass through the chamber and into DSCF0016the barrel.

  1. Our sport should be balderdash free – particularly balderdash from those who should use their ‘elite’ status to set a good example!















© 2016, Pistol Australia Inc.  Copyright information>