Hostage Bowling Pin Shoot

Rules & Guidelines

Safety Briefing

ALL shooters and observers that will be in the shooting bay must participate in the safety briefing every time they shoot a SafeFire match.  If shooters miss the briefing they may not shoot.

Arrive 15 minutes prior to the safety briefing start to ensure ample time for check in.  New shooters should add an extra 10 minutes so the Match Director can give additional information and tips for a successful match.

Match Rules

  • Firearm: This competition is for handguns only. 
  • Ammo: Please be sure to bring (or purchase) at least 100 rounds. Amount of ammo used will determine how many matches a player makes it through. If you do not bring enough ammo, more ammo can be purchased at our range counter.
  • End Ear Protection: Eye and ear protection must be worn at all times when in the shooting bay.
  • Masks:  Masks shall be worn at all times except when at the shooting stations.  At this time the shooter may lower or remove his mask to eliminate the fogging of safety glasses.
  • Firearm Handling: Firearms are removed from cases only under the direction of an RSO and only when at the firing point or the safety table. 
  • Muzzle: Keep the muzzle pointed down range at all times.  The ceiling or the floor is NOT a safe place. Don’t turn around with the gun in your hands, break the 90 or allow the muzzle to sweep anybody.  The RSO will call out “MUZZLE” if you start to point the muzzle in an unsafe direction.  After one warning, a repeat violation will result in a DQ for this match.
  • Trigger Finger – The trigger finger must remain outside and above the trigger guard until you are engaging targets.  Anytime you are not engaging the targets, such as loading, reloading, showing clear, or in the low ready, the finger should be OFF THE TRIGGER.  If the RSO sees a violation they will call out “Finger!”.  After one warning, a repeat violation will result in a DQ for this match.
  • Dropped Firearm:  Never pick up a dropped firearm.  Only an RSO can pick up a dropped firearm.  Never try to catch a falling firearm.  If dropped move away from the firearm as it is falling and stay away.
  • Other Dropped Items:  Dropped magazines, live rounds or any other item may only be picked up after the range has been declared “Clear” and you have specific permission from an RSO.  If an item is on the ground inform the RSO and follow their instructions.
  • Magazines: Loading or unloading magazines can be done anywhere EXCEPT at the safety table. Since your firearm will be kept in the rack at all times except when shooting, make sure you keep your magazines with you, so you can load in between your stages.
  • Time: Each stage is a maximum of 30 seconds. The winner is the first shooter to clear all 6 white pins (without penalty), or who has the most white pins down when time expires.
  • Pin Reset:  At the command of “Reset”, shooters, while under the supervision of an RSO will go downrange and reset the pins for the next relay.
  • Observation Area:  Shooters not presently shooting, and any observers will stay behind the cones to allow room for the RSOs, score keeper and photographer to do their work.


Typical Match Flow

  • – When called, shooters will take their position at the shooting station pointed out by the RSO and wait then until the command of “Load and Make Ready” is issued.
  • – Upon the command “Load and Make Ready”, load your firearm and assume the low ready position.
  • – When the RSO sees the shooters are at low ready they will call out “Shooters Ready?”  Say nothing unless you are NOT ready.  If not ready call out “NOT READY” and you will receive more time.
  • – Once ready, the RSO will call out“Standby”.  After a 2 – 4 second pause the shot timer will beep.
  • – At the beep you may begin shooting.
  • – Once a shooter has all white pins are down or time has expired, the RSO will call out “Time”. There are no reloads allowed during the match.
  • – The RSO will declare a winner or a tie
  • – If a winner is declared the RSO will instruct shooters to “unload and show clear”.
  • – If a tie is declared the RSO will instruct shooters to “unload and show clear”.  Then shooters will be instructed to place their firearm on the barrel stand back from the shooting position so the RSO can go down range to set up the tie breaker.
  • – Once a winner has been declared, competitors will “unload and show clear” before being approved by the RSO case their firearm and return it to the rack.
  • – The RSO will then call “Range is Clear” and “Reset”.  At this time, but not before, the shooter may pick up any magazines and dropped rounds in front of the firing line and competitors may move down range to reset the pins.

Range Commands and Definitions to Know

Range Commands

  • “Stop”:  Stop means stop. Freeze and await further instruction from the RSO.
    NOTE: Anyone can and should call out “STOP” any time they see an unsafe situation.
  • “Finger”: “Finger” will be called anytime an RSO sees that the trigger finger is not high on the frame. The only time the finger is on the trigger is while pointing at and engaging targets.
  • “Muzzle”: “Muzzle” will be called if the firearm’s muzzle is getting close to breaking “The 90”.  Firearms are always to be pointed downrange with no more than a 45-degree deflection to the left or the right.  “Breaking the 90” is an automatic disqualification.
  • “Load & Make Ready”: Uncase and load firearm then assume the Low Ready position.
  • “Shooters Ready?”: If NOT ready call out “Not Ready” and the RSO will provide more time.  If ready say nothing.
  • “Standby”: Final command prior to the fire signal, which will occur 2 – 4 seconds later.
  • “Time”: Allotted firing time has expired.  Stop firing immediately and wait for the next command.
  • “Unload and Show Clear”: Remove the magazine from your firearm and any cartridge from the chamber while locking the slide open.  Hold the firearm pointed downrange for RSO inspection.
  • “Slide Forward / Hammer Down”: While pointed downrange run the slide forward and press the trigger.
  • “Case Firearm”: Secure the firearm in its case and return the firearm to the rack.
  • “Range is Clear”: All firearms have been cased and returned to the rack.
  • “Reset”: Shooters will go downrange under the supervision of the RSO and reset the pins.


  • Cold Range: Bowling Pin shoots are cold range matches. This means firearms are never loaded except at the firing points, and only after the RSO has given proper commands.  Otherwise, all firearms are kept cased and in their assigned rack.
  • DQ:  Disqualification. Violating safety rules can or will result in being DQd from the match.
  • “The 90”:  The 90-degree arc that extends 45-degrees to the right and to the left of the targets.
  • Breaking the 90: Deflecting the firearm more than 45-degrees to the left or 45-degrees to the right of the target.  “Breaking the 90” is grounds for an immediate DQ.
  • Sweeping:  Pointing the muzzle of the firearm at any part of your body or anyone else’s body, regardless of whether the firearm is loaded or empty. Sweeping is an immediate disqualification.
  • Rack: The blue rolling cart where unloaded, cased firearms are kept.
  • Competitor number: The number assigned to the shooter upon check-in, this number will correspond with the rack number where your firearm will be stored.
  • Shooting Box: The area marked on the floor that limits forward, side-to-side, and rearward movement while shooting.  Shooters must stay within the confines of the shooting box while shooting.
  • Low Ready: In Low Ready the handgun is held with the muzzle pointed at the far lip of the barrel at a downward 45-degree angle. THE TRIGGER FINGER REMAINS OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL THE FIREARM IS POINTED AT THE TARGETS.
  • On Deck: Shooters who are next to shoot after those currently shooting.
  • In The Hole: Shooters next in line following the those “On Deck”.
  • Hostage Pin Penalty:  Each black hostage pin shot will incur a 1-pin penalty.
  • Tie Breaker: Ties will be broken by a head-to-head 3 pin shoot-off.
  • RSO: Range Safety Officer

For all match questions, please email, or call (360) 834-7233!

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