AFPL Rules

Rules for the Adirondack Foothills Pistol League
Approved Oct 8, 2012 (Updated October 6, 2013)


Individual Average – total of scores of all matches fired divided by the number of matches fired without rounding.  Last year’s ending average will remain in the calculation for the first 3 matches.

Average for most improved shooter – same as above except rounded to the nearest whole number.

Handicaps – will be 100% of the difference between a shooter’s individual average score without rounding and 300 rounded down.

New Shooter – one who has never shot in the Adirondack Foothills Pistol League (AFPL) or who has not shot in the AFPL for the previous two (2) years.

Senior – any shooter who reaches the age of 60 by the start of the new shooting season.

Scratch Score – as defined by the current NRA rulebook for a 3-stage Gallery Course.

Handicap Score – is the scratch score plus the calculated handicap as defined above.

Shooter classification – Sum of all scores divided by the number of ten (10) shot strings fired.  This is determined by summing all scores shot for the season and dividing by the number of weeks shot multiplied by three (3), i.e. ((week 1+week 2+week 3…)/weeks shot X 3) rounded to two (2) places.

High Master    97.00-100 (291-300)                      Master             95.00-96.99 (285-291)

Expert             90.00-94.99 (270-285)                    Sharpshooter   85.00-89.99 (255-270)

Marksman       84.99 and below (255 and below)

Range Safety is our primary concern – All teams are encouraged to post range rules in a conspicuous place at their respective ranges.  Range safety rules shall be reviewed at least annually.  To reduce lead exposure to shooters please adhere to the following guidelines: Range Officers will operate ventilation fans for the duration of firing and for a reasonable period thereafter to eliminate smoke.  Shooters are encouraged to wash hands and face thoroughly after shooting; do not sweep floors dry; rotate the clean-up duties among shooters to reduce individual exposure.

All shooters will follow the golden rules of firearms handling as described in the NRA Pistol Rulebook.  The range officer has the right to remove any shooter from the line who does not follow these and all other safety and behavior rules.  The shooter so removed will be disqualified from that weeks’ match. If a shooter is disqualified, both captains participating in that match will inform the League Officers within 2 days.

In each match year each team competes against each of the other teams twicefor a total of 14 matches.

SCORING – At each match the teams present will try to have two (2) scorers at the table at all times.  When targets are scored, each target should be scored by both teams’ scorers to the best of these people’s abilities.  The person who shot that score may go over his/her target when he/she comes off the line.  It will be the league member’s responsibility to double check scores on the target.  If there is a problem with the score then according to league rules that person will put up one (1) dollar.  The target’s score will then be decided upon by the captain, or designate, from each team and a range officer from the club hosting the match.  If the challenge is decided in favor of the shooter the dollar will be returned.  If it goes against the shooter the dollar will be added to the league treasury.  The use of overlays and lights and magnifying devices will be the primary scoring tools.  The use of a plug will only be used during a challenge.  Targets should not be taken from the match until the score sheet has been signed by both teams.

FORFEITS – In the event that a team fails to show up for a match by 8:00 p.m., without first giving notice (except as noted under postponements), the match will be forfeited.

POSTPONEMENTS – The match can be postponed to a later date due to weather or range conditions by either the home or traveling team (no e-mails, no answering machines).  Each club will provide 3 contacts per team.  Cut-off time is 5:00 p.m. to cancel a match. If there is a state or county emergency, all matches will be automatically postponed however the team contacts will still try to make contact with each other.  If the 3 contacts cannot be reached, the League President shall be notified.  The League Secretary will be notified of all postponements.

In the case of a tie – between teams for League First Place Scratch Team, a shoot-off at a neutral range decided upon by the respective team captains will be necessary.  The respective team captains will select the scorers.  To break a League First Place Handicap Team tie compare year-end total team handicap scores when the teams shot head-to-head.  If still tied then compare total X-count to determine the winner.

League dues are $3.00 per match per person.

All matches begin at 7:30 PM.  If the last relay of the match is on the line and it is after 9 PM and there is/are empty position(s) on the line then there will be no further relays.  Anyone coming in after this last relay has begun will not be able to participate in the match.

Sign-up sheets: Home team shall leave an equal number of openings for the Away team on each relay (e.g., 4 Home shooters and 4 Away shooters on Relay 1).

Scratch & handicap team scores – Each weekly match is worth a total of two (2) points, one (1) each for winning scratch and handicap team aggregates.  To determine the winning scratch and handicap team aggregates during a league match each team will compare their respective scratch and handicap team aggregates.  The scratch team aggregate will consist of the aggregate of the five (5) highest scratch scores fired by individuals on each team.  The handicap team aggregate will consist of the aggregate of the five (5) highest handicap scores for each team.  If a team has less than five (5) shooters, then a maximum of two (2) ghost people will be allowed. Ghost people will be allowed 200 points with no handicap

All new shooters must shoot a scratch score their first match, that is, their handicap for the first match will be zero.  This score will be used to decide their handicap for the next match.  A new shooter’s class for the year will be determined after firing six (6) matches.

Most improved scores will be the comparison between last year’s ending average and this year’s ending average.  A shooter must fire a minimum of one half of the total number of matches scheduled for the year to qualify for this award.  New shooters are not eligible for most improved shooter awards.

To qualify for any award, a shooter must fire at least half of the matchesscheduled for the year.

Shooters will compete in the same class that they finished in the previous year.  If they improve enough to move up a class they will move up next season to that class.  A shooter may move down in classification if they shoot three (3) consecutive years with an average lower than their higher classification and they compete in at least 50% of the matches for all three years.  A shooter that is out of the League for two or more years will be considered a new shooter and all new shooter rules will apply.

Weekly individual tie breaking – If two (2) or more individuals have the same score total, then the person with the higher X-count will be ranked higher than the other(s).  If they are still tied, then tie breaking shall be done by per the current NRA rulebook.  (NRA Rule 15.4)

Weekly team tie breaking – If the two (2) teams are tied, then add the X-count of the five (5) people on each team.  Compare these totals.  The team with the higher X-count shall be the winner.  If the teams are still tied, then current NRA rules apply. (NRA Rule 15.7)

If weekly match scratch or handicap team scores are within ten (10) points the league secretary will check for math errors and notify the respective team secretaries involved of errors if and only if it affects the outcome of the match(s).  The involved teams will then have one (1) week to settle the issue among themselves.  If they cannot settle the issue then the league president will appoint three (3) neutral team leaders to mediate.  The mediators will have one (1) week from the time the issue is presented to them to render a decision.  All decisions so rendered are final.

Banquet guidelines – Each team in succession will have the responsibility of hosting the annual banquet and awards ceremony.  The rotation will be in descending, alphabetical order.  The banquet location and approximate per person cost will be presented to the membership at the mid-season handicap match by the host team.  The responsibility for the distribution of excess funds over and above normal league expenses including the banquet at the end of the shooting year will be determined by the team hosting that year’s banquet.  The funds are classified an award and can only be given to those shooter’s who qualify for an award.  A balance of approximately $250 will remain in the treasury and be carried over to the next year.

Good and Welfare  Donations to be made in remembrance of AFPL members in good standings.  The amount of $150 will be held in reserve each year for these donations.

Did Not Finish (DNF) – Inability to complete a course of fire – in the event that a shooter is unable to complete a National Match Course due to a physical malfunction that, in the opinion of the Range Officer (1) makes it impossible or unsafe for the shooter to continue firing, or (2) results in a double alibi, the shooter shall be given the option of requesting of the Range Officer that a DNF result for the match be recorded for that match.  The Range Officer serves as witness to the event.  If the Range Officer approves the request, both the shooter and the Range Officer sign the target with an indication of DNF.  The shooters score for that match will be submitted as a DNF to the league secretary along with the shooters match fee.  A DNF score will not be included for the calculation of a shooters season average, but will be counted as participation in a match for the purpose of determining eligibility for awards.  Each shooter is allowed two (2) DNF’s per year.

Junior Shooters – Must abide by New York State Penal law (PL 265.20 Section 7-e.) in order to participate in the AFPL.  If parent or legal guardian is not present, their guardian must have a written permission slip from their parent or legal guardian in order for them to participate in a league match.  The guardian must have this permission note on their person at all matches both home and away.  They will also supply the league officers with a copy of the note for the record.  All awards shall follow as written in the AFPL rules for awards.

Line Courtesy – No talking or any other distractions on the range while anyone is still shooting.  No cell phone and pager use during the match.  No eating, drinking, or smoking on the range.  No bumping or leaning on the shooting bench, especially when others are still shooting.  No dumping of brass; leave until relay complete.

For purposes of the Adirondack Foothills Pistol League (AFPL), the designated Range Officer, either in practice or league-relay phases, shall act in accordance with NRA rules with regards to safety and shooter conduct.  Note- Each AFPL shooter should obtain and be familiar with the NRA Rulebook.

NRA Rule 10.1

“The safety of competitors, range personnel and spectators require continuous attention by all to the careful handling of firearms and caution in moving about the range.  Self-discipline is necessary on the part of all.  Where such self discipline is lacking, it is the duty of range personnel to enforce discipline and it is the duty of competitors to assist in such enforcement.  Under no circumstances shall firing commence or continue on a range where an unsafe condition exists.”

The primary duty of the Range Officer is safety – over and above everything else.

  • Ensure no one handles a gun until directed to do so
  • Ensure muzzles are always pointed downrange
  • Ensure no one loads a gun before directed to do so
  • Ensure the line is safe before anyone goes downrange
  • Ensure no one handles a gun until everyone is back behind the firing line again
  • Ensure that guns are safely boxed after the match
  • Give formal warning to any competitor who violates any of the above safety issues
  • Disqualify, and remove from the range, any competitor who requires a second warning, or who commits a flagrant safety violation

The Range Officer should be especially watchful while preparing for and giving the command to load.

  • Shooters sometimes load too early
  • Shooters sometimes turn their gun sideways to facilitate loading

When changing relays, ensure that the on-coming relay doesn’t start handling guns before the off-going relay is clear (i.e. guns safe, targets collected, etc.)

The Range Officer shall be familiar with how to operate the range equipment.

The secondary duty of the Range Officer is to run practice and the match smoothly and efficiently.

 Practice Firing:

  • Shooters will enter the range observing “host club” rules concerning the wearing of safety glasses and ear protection.  The Range Officer will remind anyone not in compliance.
  • The league will provide a range officer to run practice one hour before the match.
  • NRA Rules for Equipment
  • If a person is caught before firing with illegal equipment (e.g., grips) they will have the option to shoot the match with a legal gun / fix the equipment.
  • If a person is caught with illegal equipment during/after firing, they will forfeit their scores.
    • The Range Officer will inspect the firearms on the line to ensure that they are unloaded in the chamber and the magazine is out before anyone goes forward to hang or change targets.
    • When the Range Officer determines that the downrange area is clear, the command to “Load” followed by “Commence Firing” may be given.  Those shooters wishing to practice will be given one practice target with a 10-15 minute time limit depending on firing point availability.  This will be determined by the Range Officer whose responsibility is to see that the match starts on time, but that those who wish to practice are given an opportunity to do so.  (As long as time permits)

League Firing:

NRA Rule 10.7 “Firing Line Procedures and Commands”

(Note- NRA Rule 10.7 is lengthy and some literary license is taken here to mesh it with AFPL practice for clarity.  Each Range Officer should read and be completely familiar with the entire 10.7 section)

  • Ensure that each shooter is at his assigned firing point.
  • Verify that the previous relay hung slow fire targets or have everyone hang their slow fire targets
  • Shooters are in correct firing position (see NRA Rules 5.2 and 5.5)
  • Start the preparation period as soon as all shooters are at their assigned firing points with slow fire targets hanging.
  • Call the range commands in a clear loud voice with approximately three seconds between commands
  • The first command “Is the line ready” isn’t really a question.  Don’t ask until you’re sure everyone is ready
  • If someone says “Not ready”, tell the line to “stand easy”.  When the person is ready, tell the whole line to re-grasp their weapons and come to a downrange position.  Start the commands over with “Is the line ready”.
  • The commands are as follows:

Is the line ready

The line is ready

Ready on the right

Ready on the left

Ready on the firing line

Turn the targets (or sound a buzzer) 3 seconds after the last verbal command

At the completion of the allowed time, turn the targets away (or sound a buzzer)

Inquire if there are any alibis for that string of fire

  • Allow or disallow any claimed alibi’s

At the end of the 10 shot series, the Range Officer shall personally check each firearm to ensure that the firearm is lying on the table, the slide is locked open (or the cylinder is open), and the magazine has been removed (or that the cylinder is empty).  This shall occur before anyone is allowed forward of the firing line.  Shooters shall not be allowed to touch their pistol for any reason after the line has been declared safe and will remain at least one step back from the bench until the next command is given.  Anyone violating this rule will be given an official warning or disqualification – depending on the severity of the offense.  [Note: Shooters may fill magazines while the line is “safe”.]

Prior to each portion of the match, the Range Officer will announce “Shooters may approach the bench and handle your pistol” and what will occur during that portion – that is, number of shots, number of strings, time limits, etc.

An announcement should be made for:

  • The Preparation period – 3 minutes
  • The Slow fire stage – 10 shots in ten minutes
  • The Timed fire stage – 2 five shot strings – 20 seconds each string
  • The Rapid fire stage – 2 five shot strings – 10 seconds each string

Do not start the preparation period until all shooters are at their assigned firing points.

Do not rush shooters between strings or stages.  Give them sufficient time to check targets, load magazines, etc.

Allow no talking or any other distractions on the range while anyone is still shooting.  No cell phone use.

Allow no eating, drinking, or smoking on the range

Try to establish a calm relaxed atmosphere on the range.  Talk in a slow and deliberate manner and do not raise your voice more than necessary.


An alibi is basically a malfunction of the gun or ammunition – it is not a shooter error.  When a person has an alibi, he is expected to lower the gun to the table and raise his non-shooting hand.  He may elect to attempt to clear the malfunction (or ignore a range problem) and continue shooting if he so chooses, however in doing so, he forfeits any right to re-fire the string.

During shooting, if the Range Officer notices a malfunction, he should watch to see if the shooter attempts to clear it – and thereby forfeits the right to re-fire.  At the end of the string, if a shooter is claiming an alibi, the Range Officer should proceed to that shooter and enquire as to the problem.  The shooter should explain or point out the problem.  If the gun malfunctioned, or the ammo misfired, the shooter is allowed the alibi.  If the shooter cleared (or attempted to clear) the malfunction before the Range Officer could verify it, the alibi is not allowed.  If the shooter made an error (like loading an empty magazine), then the alibi is not allowed.

Examples of acceptable alibis:

  • A round misfires (equipment alibi)
  • The gun jams (equipment alibi)
  • A target falls off when the targets turn (range alibi)
  • The Range Officer omits one of the standard commands (range alibi)

When firing an alibi round, the shooter is instructed to load five rounds, other shooters are instructed to stand back from the firing line, and the alibi shooter will fire five shots.

The Range Officer shall mark the alibi target as to the total number of shots fired.

A shooter is only allowed one alibi per match.

A shot fired before the command to load is given constitutes a serious safety violation, and requires immediate disqualification of that shooter.  A shot fired after the command to load is given, but before the indication to fire, is scored as a miss (the shooter does not get to put a round back in the gun).  If the shot goes in a direction deemed unsafe by the Range Officer, it also constitutes an unsafe act and requires immediate disqualification.

Range officers should read the NRA rulebook completely cover-to-cover.  Ask questions about any part you don’t understand.  Feel free to call and discuss any part of the rulebook, or any other question about performing as a range officer, with any of the members of this committee.

Ventilation – Range Officers will operate ventilation fans for the duration of firing and for a reasonable period thereafter to eliminate smoke.