The Free Pistol

Free or Match pistols are the most exotic of the target pistols, because they have been allowed to develop relatively free of rules and restrictions. They are single shot pistols designed for the greatest possible accuracy at 50metres. Their origins lie in the early duelling and target/saloon pistols. They were a peculiar development of Europe. The USA initially went a different route by adapting their S&W revolvers for precision shooting. In the early years the USA shooters dominated the Olympics but as free pistols developed, the Americans lost their ascendency and the Europeans, and in particular the Russians started to dominate. The modern free pistol is a superb shooting instrument capable of grouping into .5 inch or less at 50m.


European Development                                                            USA Development

Late 19th century European breech loading single shot target pistol in .22 calibre
USA S&W single shot pistol in .22 calibrer
Early 20th Century German free pistol in .22 calibre
Early to mid 20th Century German Anschutz free pistol in .22 calibre

The defining pistol for all other modern free pistols

Mid 20th Century Swiss Hammerli free pistol in .22 calibre

Russian Development

Baikal MC55-1 free pistol in .22 calibre
TOZ 35 free pistol in .22 calibre

The Modern Stable of Free Pistols

Swiss Hammerli 160 electronic free pistol
Swiss Morini 162 electronic free pistol
Italian Pardini K22 free pistol
Austrian Steyr free pistol

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