New ISSF 2013-2016 Rules: competitions will start from zero, and end in a duel

All finalists will start from zero, all finals will end up with a duel to assign the Gold medal. It’s the ISSF major step forward from the introduction of finals in 1986.

After more than two years of work by ISSF bodies, the ISSF Administrative Council unanimously approved the new ISSF rules on 13 November 2012, that open a new chapter for the Shooting Sport Olympic events. 

The new rules feature many important changes designed to increase Shooting’s appeal to youth and make it more spectator and media friendly, as well as to keep competitions fair and equal.


New Shooting Finals start from zero, feature eliminations, and end up in a duel

Major changes include new Finals for all Olympic events. The new rules contain new Finals formats for all Olympic events where all finalists start from zero. This means that qualification’s score will not be carried into the final anymore, making the scoring system immediately understandable for the spectators.Furthermore, all Finals feature eliminations, and end with duels between the two best athletes to decide the gold and silver medals. This step was taken to engage a worldwide public by attracting spectators and fans through an appealing and easily understandable competition format.  Detailed rules for all new Finals are included in the 2013 Rules which are already published on the ISSF website.  These new Finals will be used in all 2013 ISSF Championships. The new ISSF Rules also include small increases in difficulty in Skeet and Double Trap, the separation of sighting and match firing in 10m and 50m rifle and pistol events, a new position order for 50m Rifle 3 Positions events and a provisional test of decimal scoring for 10m Air Rifle and 50m Prone Rifle events. The Final for the 50m Rifle 3 Positions events is now a 3 Positions Final, not a one-position Final like it use to be, and will include changing times from one position to the other. New skill elements like reverse doubles on stations 3 and 5 in Skeet and making rapid position changes in 3-position rifle Finals will add interest. Both 25m Pistol Finals will use hit-miss scoring to encourage more spontaneous spectator reactions. 


The entire ISSF family participated in the development of new Rules

The ISSF tried to involve the entire ISSF family in developing the 2013 ISSF Rules.  ISSF Section Committees not only made initial proposals, but they were given multiple opportunities to review rules drafts.  The Athletes and Coaches Committees not only contributed ideas, but were involved in evaluating the rules.  Elite athletes and national coaches were especially active in developing the new Finals Rules.  In some cases, difficult compromises had to be worked out to meet the diverse aims of these vital ISSF constituent groups. The ISSF is especially pleased that so many National Federations, industry members, athletes, coaches and even shooting fans were able to participate in making the 2013 ISSF Rules and help make the new rules stronger and more effective.


“An important step forward to keep a leading position” ISSF President said

“Changing is necessary, to keep our sport on top.” The ISSF President, Mr. Olegario Vazquez Raña said. 


“The Shooting Sport has always been a leading sport in the Olympic movement. And with the new finals we made an important step forward to keep that leading position.” The ISSF President said.


“This is the major step forward since the introduction of Final matches in 1986. It was time to change.” The ISSF Secretary General Franz Schreiber said, at the ISSF Organizers Workshop, where the new rules were presented today.


“The ISSF has always been open to innovation, and we are proving it once again. All sport must adapt to the digital era of technology and media. The time has come to adopt new finals which fulfil these objective.” Secretary General Franz Schreiber added.


“New Challenges means new opportunities.” The ISSF Vice-President Gary Anderson said. “We have new finals, and we will have to work hard to make this working. But our sport will benefit of this new, appealing format.”

“I am a true supporter of the decimal scores in the qualification round. The qualification proces was not sensitive enough for air rifle and prone.” London 2012 Olympic Champion Niccolò Campriani of Italy said, after taking part in the testing of the new rules.

“When ISSF invited me to participate in the new 3p final test in Munich I accepted their offer as I felt that, as well as gaining first hand experience of the new format, I would also have the opportunity to meet with and exchange views and opinions with the ISSF leaders.” Campriani added.


Decimal Scoring for 10m Air Rifle and 50m Prone Rifle. 

With so many highly skilled athletes competing in these events today, it has become even more important to have qualification competitions that truly advance the best athletes to the Finals.  Making it to the final is frequently a matter of one shot that scores a 10.0 or a 9.9; the difference between making or not making a Final can be less than one-fourth of a millimeter on that one shot.  Decimal scoring virtually eliminates the decisive role that one close shot can play in deciding finalists and provides a far more accurate way to decide the best shooters in the qualification. The ISSF plans to use decimal scoring in the 10m Air Rifle Men, 10m Air Rifle Women and 50m Prone Rifle Men events in the 2013 World Cups.  This will be evaluated at the end of the 2013 Championship season and decisions will then be made on whether to use decimal scoring for those events on a permanent basis or to use decimal scoring for all 10m and 50m elimination and qualification competitions.  Decimal scoring requires either electronic scoring targets or electronic scoring for paper targets.  National federations or shooting clubs are not required to use decimal scoring, but many that have electronic scoring available will find that it adds fairness and interest to these events. In addition to these changes, the position order in 50m 3 Positions Rifle is changed from prone-standing-kneeling to kneeling-prone-standing to bring the qualification order in line with the order that will be followed in 3-position rifle Finals.


Shotgun events are changing

Both Skeet and Double Trap qualification rounds have changes designed to add additional difficulty to these events that now have so many high scores.  The target throwing distance in Skeet is increased from 66m +/- 1m to 68m +/- 1m.  In addition, the firing order is changed so that the two station 4 doubles will be fired after station 7 and just before station 8.  This means that the most difficult targets must be shot near the end of a round of Skeet instead of in the middle.  Double Trap qualification is changed from three series of 50 targets (25 pair) or three series of 40 targets for women to five series of 30 targets (15 pair) for men and four series of 30 targets for women.  What makes Double Trap more difficult is that random schemes will now be used to determine the target combinations that are thrown (scheme A, B or C). 


Changes in Rifle Equipment Rules 

The 2013 Rules include many small changes regarding rifle clothing and equipment. The ISSF objective in adopting these changes is two-fold:  1) to limit the use of performance-enhancing clothing and equipment while maximizing the tests of skill, training and performance in rifle events, and 2) to keep competition conditions as equal as possible for all rifle shooters. These changes were made because the ISSF feels recent trends in the development of Rifle clothing, equipment and accessories are in danger of going too far in providing performance-enhancing capabilities. The 2013 ISSF Rules place reasonable limits on how far the development of performance-enhancing rifle equipment can go. 


Separate Sighting and Match Firing Periods

Sighting shots are part of the pre-competition warm-up process in Shooting. The new rules require sighting shots to be fired in a 15-minute “Preparation and Sighting Period” before competition or match firing starts. This new change will eliminate confusion for spectators, by completing warm-ups before the competition starts. 


New ISSF Rulebook

The new 2013 ISSF Rulebook, which will be effective from the 1st of January 2013 and used for all the 2013 ISSF World Cup Stages, is available for download at:




Marco Dalla Dea


ISSF Partners