Paloma Ferrea Pistol Club
P. O. Box 2393 Sun City, AZ 85372-2393

What is Hunter's Pistol Silhouette?


   All Silhouette shooting sports have their origins in Old Mexico. Won’t go into all the details except to say that when conditions were such that shooting live game animals became impossible in Northern Mexico, steel silhouettes of game animals were substituted. Eventually, word of this fun pastime reached across the border and Americans became curious about it and went south to investigate. They found a very informal and non-standardized shooting contest that used steel targets at random ranges. It is generally accepted that the new game was imported into the U.S.A. at El Paso, Texas. Exact date unknown. As time went on and the news of the new game circulated throughout the South West, clubs formed and groups gathered to play the new rifle game. The desert “Gallina” or Chicken, “Javelina” or Pig, “Guajalote” or Turkey and the “Borrego” or Desert Rams at  200, 300, 380 and 500 meters respectively became the accepted animals and distances.

            Eventually and inevitably someone had the idea to play this new game with hand guns. I.H.S.M.A. (International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association) was the group responsible for the long range pistol silhouette that we know today. Other groups, either simultaneously of in conjunction with each other wanted a metallic silhouette game that could be played with box stock, leather holster type pistols at reasonable ranges. Enter “Short Range Pistol Silhouette”. By this time, target distances had been standardized in the fashion of most things American. Short Range Pistol at 25, 50, 75, 100 meters. Targets were scaled down from the full sized rifle targets to ¼ scale.

            The birth of  “Short Range” Pistol Silhouette soon took on a more formal evolution as have the other games. Interest became nation wide and the N.R.A. (National Rifle Association) was called upon to regulate competition and standardize the sport. And now we have “Hunter's Pistol Silhouette”. Basic equipment is a revolver, semi-automatic or single shot pistol, unmodified except for sights and in a standard pistol caliber. No rifle calibers allowed. Thompson Center Contender single shot pistols seem to dominate but many others brands and types of hand guns are used.

            Today ranges for Hunter's Pistol are 40, 50, 75 and 100 meters. Depending on range construction and numbers of silhouettes available, targets are engaged five at a time, left to right in order, one shot per target. A 30 second preparation period is available to adjust sights, load and make ready to fire. Then a two minute period is started for the five shots. This is then repeated for another five rounds for a total of 40 shots, 10 at each animal. You will hear range commands of the like: “Shooters to the line”, “You have 30 seconds to load, load”, “You have two minutes to fire five rounds, fire”, “Cease Fire, open and empty all actions, make the firing line safe”.  It is permissible and some ranges do call these commands in Spanish. Generally, targets must be re-set, either by the competitor or a designee. These details are announced prior to the match. Some ranges are fortunate enough to employ pneumatically re-settable targets.

            Today we have four types of Hunter's Pistol Silhouette. Rim Fire or .22LR only with open sights, .22LR pistols with any sight (i.e.. Scope, Red-dot).  Center fire pistols with opens sights and any sight constitute the four divisions. Classifications from Master, AAA, AA, A, B and unclassified are dependant on your level of experience and scores. The N.R.A. governs our matches and the rules are extensive but reasonable and easily understood. Rule books are available from clubs and the N.R.A. At our club, “Paloma Ferrea Pistol Club” (Iron Dove), we will be happy to provide a mentor to help new shooters through the first match. A “Shoot through” or practice match is available for first time shooters at a reduced fee.

Paloma Ferrea Pistol Culb P. O. Box 2393 Sun City, AZ 85372-2393 USA