JANUARY 10, 2023

CMP 2023 Competition Rules Now Online

The annual process of reviewing and updating CMP competition rulebooks is nearing completion with this announcement and the posting of the 2023 rulebooks on the CMP website at https://thecmp.org/competitions/cmp-competitions-rulebooks/. The CMP competitions program now includes separate disciplines for Service Rifle, Service Pistol, 22 Rimfire Pistol, Service Revolver, As-Issued Military Rifle (Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military Rifle, M1 Carbine, Modern Military Rifle, Vintage Sniper Rifle), As-Issued Pistol (M9, M1911, M&P Service Pistol) and Rimfire Sporter Rifle competitions where the CMP is the national governing body. The CMP also issues rules for Match Pistol (3-gun pistol), Long-Range and Mid-Range Rifle, Smallbore Rifle (position and prone), Air Rifle, and Air Pistol to govern events it conducts in conjunction with the National Matches, CMP Competition Games, and other CMP match sanctioning programs.

For 2023, the CMP has added one new discipline, Action Pistol. The 1st Edition CMP Action Pistol Competition Rules were released in November and a couple of minor updates have already been completed. The CMP is slated to take over the conduct of the prestigious annual Action Pistol championship, the Bianchi Cup, that will take place in 2023 on 23-26 May at the Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club near Columbia, Missouri (https://thecmp.org/competitions/cmp-pistol-program/cmp-bianchi-cup/).

To govern all of these target shooting disciplines, the CMP now produces six different rulebooks. They are listed below, with links for downloading the 2023 editions of these rulebooks:

CMP rulebooks are updated annually to accommodate new program developments, clarify rules issues, and incorporate recommendations from competitors, match sponsors and CMP staff. The rule revision process starts anew each year after the National Matches and continues through the fall when the next year’s rulebooks are drafted, reviewed, and approved. The CMP rules process relies on a group of “Rules Advisors” consisting of CMP staff and outside technical experts who evaluate and recommend rule changes. The CMP Board of Directors and its Rules Committee have final authority to approve CMP rules.

The 2023 editions of these rulebooks are now posted on the CMP website where competitors, match officials, and match sponsors can download them to read or copy. Printed versions of the rulebooks will be produced in the next two or three months and will be available for purchase after that. It is possible that during the year, it will be necessary to update certain rules due to emergency issues that arise or because of new information. If it is necessary adopt an emergency rule change and to update a rulebook, the rulebook version that is posted on the website will have an update date on the cover. If there is a rules conflict, the most recent updated version posted on the CMP website is regarded as the official version.

The 2023 rulebooks do not have any major rules revisions, but they do have a complex variety of changes, clarification and updates. The summaries that follow identify and discuss the changes in each CMP rulebook. If anyone has questions about any rules in the 2023 CMP Competition Rulebooks, please contact the CMP Competitions Department at competitions@thecmp.org or (419) 635-2141, ext. 714 or 729. For Action Pistol or Bulls-eye Pistol questions, please contact (419) 635-2141, ext. 729 or jhenderson@thecmp.org. For Smallbore Rule questions, please contact (419) 635-2141, ext. 730 or bdonoho@thecmp.org. For Air Rifle/Air Pistol questions, please contact (419) 635-2141, ext. 702 or airgun@thecmp.org.


For competitors and aspiring match officials who are new to rifle and pistol competitions, the Winter 2022 edition of the CMP magazine for junior leaders, On the Mark, contains an illustrated article titled “COMPETITION RULES—A Primer on Competition Rules and How to Follow Them.” This article covers a history of shooting competition rules, rulebook terminology, rulebook players, guiding principles in shooting rules, safety and safe range procedure rules, an outline of the detailed technical rules contained in each rulebook, and an explanation of how someone can be involved in the rule change process. You can download a copy of this magazine from the CMP website at https://thecmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/OTM_Winter2022_ForWeb.pdf. The article is found on pages 6 to 13.


The CMP Highpower Rifle, Pistol, Smallbore Rifle, and Air Gun rulebooks have rules that describe the Distinguished Marksman Badge program for eligible competitors in that discipline who have physical disabilities or limitations that prevent them from complying with all rule requirements for other Distinguished Badges. To compete for a Distinguished Marksman Badge, competitors with disabilities must apply to the CMP for a “Distinguished Marksman Authorization” (contact 419-635-2141, ext. 602; acantu@thecmp.org). Applicants must describe how they propose to complete an EIC course of fire while using adaptive positions, techniques, or equipment. Eligible competitors who fire EIC Match scores that equal or exceed EIC minimum cut scores receive EIC points that count towards the awarding of the Distinguished Marksman Badge. The only change in the 2023 regulations for this program is a provision that awards 10-point legs for achieving a qualifying score in a National Trophy Individual Match at the National Matches. The CMP expects to award its first Distinguished Marksman Badge in 2023.


The CMP Competitions Program will expand in 2023 as the CMP takes over the responsibility for conducting the Bianchi Cup Action Pistol Championship. The CMP is adding Action Pistol as one of its supported disciplines. In order to do this, the CMP has produced a new 1st Edition Action Pistol Competition Rules, which it released in November. In addition to the Bianchi Cup competition which will utilize this new rulebook, the CMP plans to conduct Action Pistol events using this rulebook at its Talladega Marksmanship Park in Alabama, which has a full complement of Action Pistol ranges. The CMP Competitions Department will also sanction Action Pistol Matches conducted by CMP-affiliated clubs.

Action Pistol is a shooting sports discipline that combines pistol handling skills (drawing from a holster, rapidly assuming firing positions, etc.) with a variety of pistol marksmanship tests that require both accuracy and speed. Action Pistol is distinguished from traditional Bullseye Pistol disciplines by its requirements for competitors to perform pistol handling skills in a variety of events that involve stationary, multiple, moving or falling plate targets, at distances from seven to 50 yards. Firing stages require competitors to start from a ready (start) position, draw their pistols from holsters and fire multiple shots in a standing or prone position, within very short time limits. Time limits for assuming position and firing six-shot series are as short as five seconds.

To compete, competitors must have a legal pistol and holster. Most events are fired with center-fire pistols in calibers ranging from 9mm/.38 Special to .45 ACP, although events for 22 Rimfire pistol are also available. Competitions typically have three or four different pistol divisions, 1) open (optical sights and special accurizing allowed), metallic (no optical sights) and production (unmodified pistols). There is also a production optic category. The production division offers a popular and relatively low- cost, accessible event for entry-level competitors.

The first edition of this new rulebook is primarily based on the events that are conducted during the Bianchi Cup competition, the Practical, Barricade, Falling Plate and Moving Target events. Rules for these events will be nearly identical to what past Bianchi Cup competitors have experienced. Rules for a Speed event and a Short Course event for novice and junior competitors are also included. As the interest and demand for additional events is identified, the CMP expects to add additional events to this list.


The CMP Highpower Rifle program includes 1) traditional Service Rifle events conducted according to National Trophy Match rules (no sighters, starting rapid-fire series from standing), 2) Highpower Rifle events conducted according to CMP Cup Match rules (with sighters, starting rapid-fire in position), 3) Long-Range Rifle (prone and F-class events at 800, 900, and 1000 yards) and Mid-Range Rifle (prone and F-class events at 300, 500, and 600 yards). The CMP program for Mid- and Long-Range competitions now includes: 1) Match Rifle Prone Long-Range, 2) Service Rifle Prone Long-Range, 2) F-Class Long-Range, 3) AR Tactical Long-Range, 4) Prone Mid-Range, F-Class Mid-Range 6) AR Tactical Mid-Range, and 7) Service Rifle Mid-Range events.

There are no major changes in the 2023 Highpower Rifle rules, but there are several technical changes that competitors and match sponsors will want to note (each listing starts with the applicable rule number in this rulebook):

  • 1.5/Table 1. CMP Highpower Rifle Events. A Mid-Range 300-500-600 course of fire is added.
  • 2.6.9. National Trophy Teams. State National Trophy Rifle Teams (6 firing members) may have a maximum of two members who are from adjoining states that do not enter teams in the competition.
  • 2.8.1. New Shooter Definition. Civilian National Trophy Team members will now be permitted to retain new shooter eligibility for two years (formerly one year).
  • 3.2.11. Spectators and Media. A new rule encouraging the accommodation of spectators and media at competitions was added. It spells out limitations on their actions.
  • 3.8.1 & 3.8.2. Pre-Preparation and Preparation Periods. Rules defining current pre-prep and preparation periods are added.
  • 3.9.3 c). Interruptions. If interruptions lead to competitors getting out of position, the CRO may authorize additional preparation time before resuming firing.
  • 3.12.3./Table 2. Rifle Achievement Awards. Cut scores are revised, based on 2022 National Match results.
  • 4.1.1 g). Magazines. Altering M16/AR magazines by opening the front of the magazine to accommodate slightly longer bullets is authorized.
  • 4.1.1 j) M16/AR15 Service Rifle External Appearance. New language provides a standard for evaluating minor alterations in the “general overall external appearance” of M16/AR rifles. Minor alterations created by the installation of after-market products for these rifles that have trigger configuration and trigger guard variations or slightly different external appearances (i.e., no walk pins, etc.) will generally be approved under this revised criteria. Such minor alterations may be approved provided that they 1) do not provide an unfair advantage, 2) fulfill rifle functionality requirements and 3) generally meet M16 external dimension specifications. This change gives match officials “reasonable flexibility” in evaluating after-market products designed for these rifles.
  • 4.6.2. j) & k). Targets. The new 300-500-600 Yard Mid-Range course will be fired on MR targets. Rules defining reduced MR targets for 300 and 500 yards are added.
  • 5.2.3 c). Rapid-Fire Loading, CMP Cup Match Events. The Rapid-fire loading procedure for CMP Cup Matches is not changed, but it is clarified.
  • 5.4. Rifle National Match Course, Table 4. This rule is rewritten so that the Highpower Rifle National Match Course can be programmed as a National Trophy, or EIC sanctioned Service Rifle Match (with no sighters and starting rapid-fire from standing) or as a CMP Cup Match (with sighters and starting rapid fire in position). Allowing the firing of this course as a CMP Cup Match is new.
  • 5.7.4 f). Team Matches. When Long-Range team events are fired, a time limit of 47 minutes for two team members will apply. In these events, team members may pair fire or fire in succession.
  • 5.9. Long Range Matches, Table 7. Additional details regarding the application of Palma Rules were added for events that are restricted to Palma rifles. A provision authorizing a CRO to optionally use block time that combines the preparation and firing times was added.
  • 5.12. Mid-Range Courses, Table 8. Details regarding the new 300/500/600 Mid-Range course of fire (event) are added to the Table defining Mid-Range Courses.


The CMP Pistol program now includes both Service Pistol, 22 Rimfire Pistol and Service Revolver events for National Trophy and EIC events where Distinguished Badges can be earned and Match Pistol events for three-gun 22 rimfire, centerfire, and 45 caliber pistols. The Service Revolver and Match Pistol events that were introduced in 2021 have proven to be highly popular; 186 competitors shot in the 2022 National Matches Revolver EIC Match; Match Pistol competitors numbered 459. The most significant 2023 Pistol rule changes are the simplification of Service Pistol rules and the elimination of requirements that copper-jacketed or plated bullets must be used in Service Pistols. Here is a list of the 2023 Pistol rule changes (each listing starts with the applicable rule number in this rulebook).

2.6.9 c). National Trophy Residency. A 2022 rule change allowed state NTT teams to include competitors from adjacent states that do not enter NTT teams in competition. This new change limits state NTT pistol teams to one such competitor.

2.8.1. New Shooter Definition. Civilian National Trophy Team members will now be permitted to retain new shooter eligibility for two years (formerly one year).

3.2.9. Spectators and Media. A new rule encouraging the accommodation of spectators and media at competitions was added. It spells out limitations on their actions.

3.12.3. CMP Pistol Achievement Awards. Achievement Award cut scores for EIC Matches were revised based on 2022 National Matches pistol event scores. Score changes were minor.

4.1.1 Service Pistols. Former rules 4.1.1 through 4.1.4 were simplified into one rule. The listing of specific approved pistol models is eliminated. The new rule was written to provide one simplified list of specific requirements for all Service Pistols. The pistol must be a semi-automatic pistol of a type that was designed for general military, law enforcement or other similar duty use. Any cartridge between 9x19 mm and .45 ACP is acceptable. Barrels are restricted to 5.5 inches in length, triggers must lift 4.0 lbs., sights must be open, grips must be suitable for right- or left-hand use and have no orthopedic features. Recoil reduction systems of any type are prohibited. Service Pistols may not exceed 42 ounces in total weight. The intent of CMP Service Pistol rule changes that began in 2015 was to give competitors broad discretion in selecting pistols to use in CMP Service Pistol National Trophy and EIC Matches. These 2023 changes are designed to further fulfill that intent.

4.1.2. 22 Rimfire Pistols. The prohibition of recoil systems based on barrel venting, porting or “similar systems” was deleted.

4.4. Pistol Ammunition. The requirement to use “metal-jacketed or metal-plated bullets” in Service Pistol Matches was deleted. “Any safe ammunition” may now be used in any CMP pistol event.

7.4.8 b. President’s/NTI Aggregate. The MSG Aubrey Smith Trophy was added to be presented to the high Army new shooter.

7.5.4 CMP National Match Pistol Any Sight Championship. The Reiter Cup, named in honor of Steve Reiter, was added, to be presented to the Match Pistol Any Sight Champion.

7.6 CMP National Match Pistol Team Events. The T. D. Smith III Trophy, named in honor of T. D. Smith III, was added, to be presented to the winning 4-person team in the Match Pistol team aggregate.


CMP Games Competition Rules for Rifle and Pistol govern Vintage Military Rifle, As-Issued Pistol, and Rimfire Sporter events. The 2023 CMP Games Rules introduce three new events and an expanded version of the Special EIC Matches where competitors with no previous EIC points can now earn 4-point legs in either Service Pistol (with an M9 pistol) or 22 Rimfire Pistol (with a 22 rimfire pistol). Here is a list of changes in this rulebook (each listing starts with the applicable rule number in this rulebook):

  • 1.5/Table 2, CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Events. This rule lists the different rifle and pistol events that are recognized by the CMP as “CMP Games” events. Four new events are added for 2023:
    • Benchrest Vintage Military Rifle Match
    • Rimfire Sporter Dewar Match
    • Rimfire Sporter Benchrest Match
    • CMP Pistol Special EIC Match. The CMP is adding a rimfire pistol option for designated participants in Pistol Small Arms Firing Schools and Pistol Marksmanship 101 Classes. The M9 Pistol Special EIC Match, which awards one-time only 4-point legs, is being modified so that competitors will be allowed to fire either school-issued M9 pistols or school-issued 22 Standard Rimfire Pistols.
  • 1.8.11. Spectators and Media. A new rule regarding spectators and media is added. The rule encourages match sponsors to welcome and accommodate them but also places limits on what they may do.
  • 3.3.6. Benchrest Supported Position. A definition of the benchrest firing position that will be authorized for the new VMR, and Rimfire Sporter Benchrest Matches is added. Supports under the fore-end are allowed; supports under the butt-stock are not allowed.
  • 4.6.6. Benchrest VMR Match. Provides rules for the Benchrest VMR Match.
  • 5.4.4 i). Rapid-Fire Loading, Springfield M1A Match. Loading procedures for the Springfield M1A Match, where competitors must start and load rapid-fire series in position, are unchanged, but clarified.
  • 6.2.1 Vintage Sniper Rifle. The M1903 Springfield rifle with straight pistol grip stock and a Winchester A5 or Lyman 5A scope was added to the list of legal sniper rifle/scope combinations.
  • 6.5.8 Interruptions in Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Matches. A provision was added that allows the firing of one additional sighting shot if there is an interruption of more than 5 minutes in 300-yard firing or 3 minutes in 600-yard firing.
  • 7.2.2. 22 Standard Rimfire Pistol. The CMP plans to add an option for Pistol Small Arms Firing School and Pistol Marksmanship 101 students to shoot either M9 Service Pistols or a 22 Standard Rimfire Pistols. Pistols will be provided by the schools. The 22 pistols selected for the school will be lighter in weight and have symmetrical grips so they can be fired right or left-handed or with both hands, as permitted in these schools.
  • 7.3.2 Pistol Ammunition. The previous requirement that 230-gr. full metal jacketed bullets be used in As-Issued M1911 pistols is deleted. In 2023, competitors in M1911 Matches will be allowed to use “any safe ammunition.” A similar change was made for Military & Police Service Pistols.
  • 7.5.1 Service Pistol Special EIC Course of Fire. The course of fire remains unchanged, but students in the Pistol Small Arms Firing School and Pistol Marksmanship 101 Classes will now have opportunities to fire either the M9 Service Pistol or the 22 Standard Rimfire Pistol. They will be fired concurrently in these matches.
  • 7.6.1 CMP Special EIC Pistol Match. See 7.5.1 above. The top 10% of competitors firing M9 pistols may earn 4-point EIC legs for the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge. The top 10% of competitors firing 22 Standard Rimfire Pistols will now be able to earn 4-point legs for the Distinguished 22 Rimfire Badge.
  • 8.2.2 a) Rimfire Sporter Adjustable Stocks. T and O Class rifles may have adjustable butt-plates or cheek-pieces if those features are fixed and cannot be readily changed without tools during the firing of an event.
  • 8.3.7. Targets. Targets for the Rimfire Sporter Dewar and Benchrest events are defined.
  • 8.6. Rimfire Sporter Dewar Course. A Dewar course of fire (20 shots prone at 50 yards and 20 shots prone at 100 yards) is added. This event was fired on an experimental basis during the 2022 National Matches.
  • 8.7. Rimfire Sporter Benchrest Course. This is the second new Rimfire Sporter event in the 2023 rules. Competitors will fire their rifles from benchrests at 100-yard smallbore rifle targets, using a maximum of two sandbag rests (but no buttstock rest). The course of fire includes a 5-minute sighting period, followed by 40 record shots in 30 minutes.
  • 8.8.4. Scoring Internal Crossfires. A change in this rule clarifies how Rimfire Sporter internal crossfires are scored.
  • 10.3-10.5. National Records. Adds the new events to the National Records list.
  • Annex D – Springfield M1-A Match Firing Procedures. A new Range Officer script for conducting this match is added. These procedures recognize that the rapid-fire loading procedure for this event is different from the loading procedure for other Vintage Military Rifle events.
  • Annex H – 2023 CMP Achievement Award Scores. The cut scores for awarding CMP Achievement Pins and Medals are upgraded annually based on scores fired in the most recent National Matches. Scores that were adjusted are marked in the rulebook. Most of the changes lowered scores by one or two points.


The first CMP Smallbore Rifle Competition rulebook was released in 2018. These rules were used to conduct National Matches Smallbore Rifle Position and Prone Championships in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022 (The 2020 Championship was cancelled due to covid.). The big news in the CMP Smallbore Rifle program is that the 2023 National Matches Smallbore Rifle Championships, both position and prone, will be conducted on electronic targets. The other big change is the addition of F-Class rules to facilitate the conduct of F-Class Smallbore Rifle events. Changes in the 2023 CMP Smallbore Rifle Rules are (each listing starts with the applicable rule number in this rulebook):

  • F-Class Rules. The 2023 5th Edition CMP Smallbore Rifle Competition Rules is the addition of rules for Smallbore Rifle F-Class competition. A small group of competitors competed in provisional F-Class smallbore rifle events during the 2022 CMP Smallbore Prone Championship at Camp Perry. F-Class will now be part of the CMP Smallbore Rifle Program.
  • 5.3. F-Class Smallbore Rifles. Two types of F-Class rifle front supports are recognized, a front rest (F-O, Open Rifle) or a bipod (F-TR, Target Rifle). Non-mechanical rear rests are authorized.
  • 5.6.1. Ammunition. F-Class events are limited to rimfire .22 LR ammunition loaded with 40-grain bullets.
  • 6.1.4. Supported Prone Position. Describes the firing position authorized for F-Class shooting.
  • 6.2. 100-Yard International Target. This is the 300 Meter ISSF target, scored with an 8 mm diameter bullet, reduced for use in F-Class 100-yard events that are fired and scored with 5.56 mm bullets.
  • 6.2.4. Target Hanging Procedures. A new rule prohibits the use of distinctive colored target clips as a means of distinguishing their target (competitors should use their target numbers to identify their own targets).
  • 6.3.5. Wind Flags. Wind flag height must correspond with bullets’ flight paths.
  • 6.4. Table 3. The three-position course of fire was changed in 2022 to be the same as the new ISSF 3x20 course of fire (formerly 3x40).
  • 6.4. Table 5. The F-Class 160-shot course of fire includes 40 shots at 50 yards on the ISSF reduced 50 m target, 40 shots at 50 m on the old A-50 metric target, a combined 50 and 100 yard 40-shot event and 40 shots at 100 yards on the 100-yard international target (see Rule 6.2).
  • 6.4.8. F-Class Procedures. F-Class firing procedures provide for 5- or 2-min. pre-prep and 3-min. preparation periods, followed by unlimited sighting shots with each record fire stage.
  • 7.9 and 7.10. Competition Procedures, Electronic Targets. These procedures were included in the previous edition of this rulebook, but they are highlighted here because the CMP plans to have electronic targets in place during the 2023 National Matches at Camp Perry. In prone but not three-position events, competitors will be allowed to switch back to sighting shots during record firing. 40-shot prone events can be fired without a break, but an extra five minutes is provided in the time limits (unlimited sighters and 40 record shots in 45 minutes) to allow competitors who would like to take a break during these events to do so. Target aiming masks provided for any sight stages will have an aiming mark inscribed on them.
  • 7.12.9. Disclaimed Shot. Procedures for handling disclaimed shots are provided.
  • 11.3.3. EIC Match Limitations. The ISSF’s change in the basic smallbore three-position course of fire from 120 to 60 shots necessitated a change in the number of EIC credit matches in which competitors can participate in one year. The three-position limit is one 120-shot 2-day aggregates at the National Matches and four regular 60-shot (3x20) EIC events. The prone limits are two 320-shot 2-day aggregates at the National Matches and eight 160-shot one-day prone matches.
  • 11.3.5 Three-Position EIC Credit Points. The traditional 10-8-6 EIC credit point system is used for 50m Three-Position EIC Matches.
  • 11.3.6 Prone EIC Credit Points. Since prone competitors are allowed to compete in twice as many EIC Matches, prone EIC Matches award 5-4-3 EIC credit points.
  • 11.5. Distinguished International Shooter Badge. Regulations for this prestigious badge were revised earlier in 2022 in order to adapt these regulations to ISSF rule changes that increased World Championship opportunities and proliferated team events. International Distinguished regulations now give priority to Olympic individual and mixed-team events. With new leadership in place in the ISSF, further changes may necessitate additional changes later in 2023.


The first CMP Air Rifle and Air Pistol Competition rulebook was released in 2022. These rules were used to conduct new National Matches Air Rifle and Air Pistol Championships in 2022. A 2nd Edition CMP Air Rifle and Air Pistol Competitions Rules will be posted on the CMP website, but 2022 1st Edition Rulebooks will continue to be used in 2023. If any changes are necessary during the year, an errata sheet will be printed to accompany published rulebooks.

-- By Gary Anderson, DCM Emeritus

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