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ACTS Season 2016/2017 Rule Book

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  1. All persons must wear eye and ear protection while within 50 yards of live fire.
  2. Every new shooter must be cleared with the Match Director as having basic firearms knowledge and be able to use the knowledge to be a safe competitor.
  3. ACTS functions on a "Cold Range" basis for safety. Unloaded firearms may be handled in designated areas only. Firearms may only be loaded or unloaded under direction of Range Officers (ROs). Violators face disqualification from the match.
  4. Any shooter whose firearm breaks the 180 during active target engagement or is pointed in an unsafe direction shall be disqualified. This does not apply to holstered sidearms.
  5. Any shooter who "sweeps" him/herself or any other person with a loaded or unloaded firearm at any time will be disqualified.
  6. A shooter may not draw a holstered sidearm while lying in the prone position.
  7. Accidental/Negligent discharges result in disqualification from the match.
  8. Intentional discharges in a direction deemed unsafe by the RO result in disqualification from the match.
  9. Any shooter who displays disruptive behavior or is abusive (verbal or otherwise) towards any other person at the match will be disqualified.
  10. Any shooter found to be or suspected of being under the influence of any drug or alcohol immediately before or during the match will be disqualified.
  11. Dropping an unloaded firearm behind the firing line necessitates that a RO pick it up, confirm it is not loaded, and in a safe manner return it to the shooters bag, holster, or vehicle. Any dropped firearm found to be loaded would cause the shooter to be disqualified. Dropping a loaded or unloaded firearm during the COF will cause the shooter to be disqualified, unless specifically called for in the stage description.
  12. All persons at the match must obey ROs with respect to the shooting competition and safety rules. Any shooter failing to do so will be disqualified and removed from the shooting area. Any person failing to observe this rule will be removed from the shooting area.
  13. Unsafe gun handling by a competitor during a match may result in disqualification from that match. Unsafe gun handling may include but is not limited to accidental discharges, sweeping, shooting over confining berms, unaimed or uncontrolled fire, and any other actions deemed unsafe by match staff.


ACTS bases its range commands on the assumption that shooters will present themselves to the starting position with their firearm(s) unloaded and holstered/slung, prepared to shoot the COF. It is the shooter's responsibility to understand the rules governing the COF. The RO will invite the shooter to the starting box or area and give the following commands: 

  1. "Load and make ready." - The shooter may now load his/her firearm and assume the starting position as defined in the COF.
  2. "Are You ready?" - The RO asks if the shooter is prepared to proceed. If the shooter is not ready to proceed, it is the shooter's responsibility to inform the RO that they are not prepared. When the shooter does not respond negatively to this question, the RO will assume the shooter is ready.
  3. "Stand By." - This is the verbal signal given by the RO to the shooter that the start signal will follow soon.
  4. Start Signal - The signal for the shooter to start the COF will most often be an audible signal from an electronic timing device. However, other options can include visual, verbal, or other start signals that must remain the same for all shooters that execute the COF.

Once the shooter has apparently completed the COF, the RO will issue the following commands.

  1. "If you are finished, unload and show clear." - If the shooter has finished the COF, he/she will then remove all magazines and ammunition from his/her firearm(s), and hold the firearm(s) in a position that allows the RO to confirm the firearm(s) is/are unloaded.
  2. "Slide Down/Bolt Closed/Hammer Down." - The command given by the RO after confirming the shooters gun(s) is/are unloaded. The shooter will follow the command by closing his/her firearms actions and dry firing downrange to ensure that the firearms are clear. The redundancy of dry firing after the RO clears the shooter is a requirement. If the shooter believes that dry firing will cause damage to his/her firearms, a third person is required to visually clear the shooter.
  3. "Range clear." - This command is given by the RO to indicate the range is safe. No one should move forward on the range to perform range duties until this command is given.

Other Commands...

  1. "Cover!" The RO will issue this as a warning to tell the shooter that he/she is out of or not properly using cover. If the shooter fails to take immediate action to correct this, a failure to use cover penalty will be assessed.
  2. "Muzzle!" The RO will give this command as a warning to the shooter if he/she is close to breaking the 180. Failure to take corrective action may result in disqualification.
  3. "Stop!" or "Cease Fire!" At this command, the shooter will stop firing and remain at his/her current position. Thiscommand is only to be issued if a safety violation have been committed, or there is some other hazard present. Any shooter, spectator, or RO may call this command.


  1. Free style - being the shooter's choice.
  2. Strong hand - in the case of a right handed person this would mean their right hand only, unsupported by their opposite hand. All functions must be performed by this hand alone with the exception of reloading, clearing malfunctions, or unloading.
  3. Weak hand - in the case of a right handed person this would mean their left hand only, unsupported by their opposite hand. Draws must be performed using the strong hand, the firearm will then be transferred to the weak hand and firing may commence. Drawing, reloading, clearing malfunctions, or re-holstering may be done with the assistance of the strong hand.
  4. Strong hand injured - in the case of right-handed person this would mean their left hand only, unsupported by his/her opposite hand. The strong hand may not be used in any way shape or form, to include reloads.
  5. Weak hand injured - in the case of right-handed person this would mean their right hand only, unsupported by his/her opposite hand. The weak hand may not be used in any way shape or form, to include reloads.
  6. Kneeling - defined as having a minimum of one knee on the ground.
  7. Prone - defined as body horizontal to the ground (knees, thighs, and navel must touch the ground).
  8. Surrender (starting position) - defined as facing downrange, hands empty with wrists above the shoulders.
  9. Tactical (starting position) - defined as shooter facing downrange with rifle in both hands, buttstock at hip level on strong side with muzzle pointing downrange at eye level.
  10. Alert/Low Ready (starting position) - defined as shooter facing downrange rifle in both hands, buttstock in strong shoulder, muzzle downrange at navel level.
  11. Ready (starting position) - defined as shooter facing downrange, rifle in both hands buttstock in shoulder muzzle downrange at eye level.
  12. Strongside Sling Arms (starting position) - defined as shooter facing downrange with rifle slung over the strong shoulder muzzle up.
  13. Weakside Sling Arms (starting position) - defined as shooter facing downrange with rifle slung over the weak shoulder muzzle down.
  14. The default starting position for all COFs that do not have a clearly defined starting position is Alert/Low Ready.


  1. All firearms used in ACTS matches must be suitable for either concealed carry, military, or police use, except for competitors in the Rimfire division.
  2. All handguns must either be 9mm Parabellum (for autos) or .38 special (for revolvers) caliber or greater, or (if the caliber is below 9mm Parabellum/.38 special) have been used by a regular military service as a standard service sidearm, and appear on the BATF Curio & Relic list.
  3. All rifles must be .223 Remington or 5.45 x 39 or higher. All pistol caliber carbines must comply with handgun caliber requirements. Competitors in the Rimfire division are exempt from this rule.
  4. All firearms are subject to inspection and approval by the Match Director or ROs.
  5. All firearms must be legal to own in the jurisdiction in which the match takes place.
  6. ACTS requires a holster that will securely hold the handgun. The holster must cover the trigger guard area.
  7. No "Competition Holsters" are permitted. If it is not suitable for duty/concealed carry, it is not permitted. The Match Director has sole discretion in defining what is or is not permitted. In general, if a manufacturer lists a holster as a "competition holster" it is not permitted.
  8. Chest holsters must be mounted on the shooter's strong side. Weak side (cross draw) holsters are prohibited.
  9. Belt mounted holsters must be on the shooters strong side, and must be mounted between 12 o'clock and 4 o'clock for a right handed shooter and 8 o'clock and 12 o'clock for a left handed shooter.
  10. Shoulder holsters are not permitted.
  11. The Match Director may require a "holster test". With the gun/belt/holster assembly attached to the tester in the manner it is to be worn, the handgun must be retained in the holster while the tester hops. During this hop, both of the tester's feet must clear the ground, the tester's heels must clear the ground by at least 3 inches, and the tester may not hold or touch the handgun. All retention devices on the holster used to pass the holster test must be engaged at the start of every COF.
  12. If a belt holster is to be worn, ACTS requires a belt sufficiently strong enough to hold holsters and magazines/speed loaders in a safe manner. The belt is to be worn about the waist.
  13. ACTS requires sufficient magazines/loaders and pouches as necessary to complete the COF. During the COF all reloads must come from pouches or pockets on the shooter's clothing/equipment, unless otherwise directed by the COF. Redimags and mag cinches are permitted.
  14. Magazines loaded into a sidearm prior to beginning a COF are subject to a maximum overall length of 6.5 inches measured (unloaded) along the back of the magazine using the longest dimension from top to bottom.
  15. Rifles with bipods and grip-pods may be used, but deployment of a bipod during a COF results in automatic reclassification of the shooter to the Open division.
  16. A white light source may be required to complete a COF.
  17. Rifle and pistol magazine pouches must have positive retention.
  18. The following muzzle brakes are permitted in all divisions:
  • AK47/AK74 style muzzle brakes
  • M1A muzzle brakes factory-installed by Springfield Armory
  • muzzle brakes permanently affixed to rifles built between September 1994 and September 2004
  • any others deemed acceptable by the Match Director (non-prize matches only)
  • Open division rifles may use the above brakes or any brake that measures no more than 1" in diameter and no more than 2.75" in length.
  1. Non-integral extended magazine wells on rifles are not permitted.
  2. Magazine wells on sidearms may not be wider than the grips of the sidearm to which it is attached.
  3. Lightening cuts on sidearms are permitted.
  4. Rifle magazines may be loaded with no more than 30 rounds regardless of capacity(Except in Open Class).
  5. Slings are mandatory and must be factory made. Homemade slings are not permitted.
  6. Suppressors are permitted and may be used in any class.
  7. A shooter may have no more than one rifle and one pistol on his or her person during a COF.
  8. Binary triggers, Bump Stocks or other similar products may not be used.
  9. No "Competition" modifications may be made to any firearm used in ACTS matches. The following is a non-inclusive list of such modifications:
  • compensating, venting or metering ports (factory compensated pistols are permitted)
  • optical sights, scopes, or barrel weights (Service Rifle and Pistol)
  • any barrel other than factory stock or comparable replacement
  • any others deemed acceptable by the Match Director (non-prize matches only)


  1. The official target of ACTS is a brown cardboard silhouette target that measures 22" wide, 34.5" tall (pictured below). It is the same target used by IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association).

  1. Hard cover is defined for scoring purposes as an impenetrable barrier. Hard cover is indicated using black on a hostile target with a crisp line delineating the hard cover areas from the scorable areas. Shots landing on hard cover are scored as misses.
  2. Soft cover is defined as a vision barrier through which shots may pass and be scored on the shoot targets. Both shoot targets and no-shoot targets are considered soft cover. A full diameter hole in either, made by a shot subsequently striking a shoot or no-shoot target downrange, is scored as a hit on the down range target, and any applicable penalties are assessed. In other words, "shoot throughs" count.
  3. Use of Cover: if cover is available to the shooter, he/she must use it if practical to the solution of the stage. A shooter is considered to be using cover if 50% or more of the shooter's "zero zone" is behind cover and not visible to the most threatening target. A shooter's head counts at 30% of his zero zone.
  4. All targets must be engaged in tactical order. Tactical order is defined as engaging targets in order of immediate threat, near to far, as they become visible.
  5. If no cover is available or if the shooter is moving between cover points, the shooter must remain in motion.
  6. Excessively slow movement is defined as when a competitor takes two or more steps outside of cover while engaging targets with a stride that is shorter and slower than the shooter's natural gait.
  7. If there are no hostile targets within 75 yards of the shooter, the prone position is considered acceptable cover.
  8. No-shoots are targets that are indicated as a non-engageable target. No-shoot targets have "empty hands" stenciled onto the target.
  9. Scoring is done on a "total time" basis. The accumulated time of all COFs, plus target points, plus penalties equals total time. That is the final score. On the ACTS target, "0 zone" hits add 0 target points, "1 zone" hits add 1 target point, and "3 zone" hits add 3 target points. If a hit breaks the perforation between zones, the shooter is given the better score. Hits in the outside zone that do not break the perforation are treated as misses. In order for a hit to be considered breaking the perforation, the lead ring left by the bullet must touch the perforation. A residual tear in the paper does not count. Steel targets are scored as a simple hit or miss. Knockdown targets must be knocked down to score as a hit.
  10. Each target must be neutralized, defined as having at least 1 shot in the "0 zone", or 1 shot in the "1 zone", or 2 shots in the "3 zone." 
  11. Standard engagement requires two shots per target. The best two hits on any target are counted for score.
  12. If multiple strings are used on a stage the number of hits per target should be two times the number of strings for the stage (three strings of fire - each target should have at least 6 holes). Any number of hits less than the number required counts as a miss. FTE and NHT penalties are not assessed on a COF with multiple strings of fire.
  13. The following penalties may be assessed:

Miss 10 seconds
Hitting Non-Threat Target 30 seconds per hit, a maximum of 2 hits per hostage target will be scored.
Premature start 5 seconds
Procedural 5 seconds
Failure to use available cover 5 seconds
Leaving cover w/ empty weapon in hand 5 seconds
No Hits on Target 35 seconds
Failure to Neutralize 15 seconds per target
Overtime shot 10 seconds per shot (par time stages only)
Contact Shot 15 seconds (only applied if shooter blows paster off of a target or damages the zero zone)
Circumvention of game spirit* 30 seconds
Poor Sportsmanship** 60 seconds
Spoiled Blind Stage***
10% of the shooter's raw time, rounded to the nearest second

Destruction of Props Penalty

Aviodable damage to props, other than normal wear and tear, shall incur a 60 second penalty. Examples of avoidable damage are (but not limited to) shooting pistol steel with a rifle, damaging stage actuators, damaging door/wall, etc

Dropped Magazine

5 seconds per magazine

*Circumvention of Game Spirit is when a shooter intentionally skirts the rules to gain an advantage, or where the shooter executes a stage in a manner that is tactically unsound.
**Poor Sportsmanship is self-explanatory. ACTS is a sport for manly men and thick skinned women. No whining is allowed. Multiple violations may result in ejection from the match.
***Spoiled Blind Stage is when a shooter obtains knowledge of target locations and/or critical information regarding a blind COF before shooting the COF.

  1. It is the RO's responsibility to ensure that scoring is done properly. Each shooter is responsible for signing their score sheets after they have reviewed it for completeness and accuracy.
  2. No shooter or spectator may touch any target until it is scored. Any person doing so may be disqualified from the match. 
  3. If at anytime a competitor is unable to finish a stage or string because of the competitor's equipment failure (i.e. barrel blockage, firearm breakage, etc.), the competitor is scored his time and hits for the COF until the breakage, and awarded all penalties for misses, NHTs, and any other procedural penalties appropriate to the stage or string.
  4. In the event of a broken firearm, a competitor may complete the match with an "equivalent" firearm after receiving express permission from the Match Director to make the substitution. The equivalent firearm must be of the same caliber and division as the firearm with which the competitor began the match.
  5. A competitor may shoot for score with multiple firearms (i.e., multiple scoresheets), but the shooter must use the same firearm for the initial run through each COF. Shooters may not claim prizes based on scores from any firearm except the first firearm.



  • Service - a rifle chambered in .223 remington or 5.45 x 39 or greater equipped with iron sights and magazine capacity of at least eight (8) rounds. May be magazine fed or fed by stripper/en bloc clips.
  • Enhanced - a rifle chambered in .223 remington or 5.45 x 39 or greater equipped with non-magnifying optics or fixed power magnifying optics (co-witnessed iron sights allowed).
  • Open - A rifle chambered in .223 remington or 5.45 x 39 or greater equipped with any of the following:
    • Variable power optics
    • More than one optic and/or iron sight systems (irons co-witnessed with non-magnified optics exempted)
    • Bipods
    • Full Auto capability
    • Any rifle mag loaded beyond 30 rounds
    • Any muzzle device as defined in Section 4
  • Other Rifle - All other optic or iron sighted rifles that do not fit in one of the previously listed categories.
  • Rimfire - Any rifle chambered or modified to fire rimfire ammunition. This division is closed for prize matches.

Handguns with iron sights are not classified into divisions, as they are secondary weapons. They must, however, be of a caliber and style suitable for combat. Pistols must be 9mm Parabellum or greater, revolvers must be .38 special or greater, or (if the caliber is below 9mm Parabellum/.38 special) must have been used by a regular military service as a standard service sidearm and appear on the BATF Curio and Relic list. Handguns may be equipped with slide mounted red dot sights and/or lasers, however, having either of these items on a pistol will place the participant in the open rifle classification. Flashlights mounted on an accessory rail are permitted and will not have any effect on shooting classification.



  1. Stages must be set up in a safe manner, without presenting a hazard to any shooter. COF designers must take into consideration ricochets, ground hazards, visibility, local shooters abilities, and any other item that may constitute problems such as the 180, shoot-throughs, etc. The Match Director is responsible for this.
  2. Each stage must be presented to every shooter in the same way with regard to shooting areas, target arrays, target types, props, range commands, etc. Every controllable aspect of the COF must be the same for every shooter at the match.
  3. Stages and their descriptions must be set up clearly. Shooting boxes and/or areas must be easy to distinguish from the surrounding area. Match Directors should keep in mind that people should enjoy the challenge, not curse their birth.
  4. Props must not provide any danger to the competitor. Any prop that is used that requires maneuvering completely over, around, through, or under must have an alternative procedure available for those that may be physically unable to follow the directed COF procedure. No penalty is to be assessed if the shooter gains no advantage. A genuine disability must be present to use the alternate procedure (remember the "no whining" clause).
  5. A "par time" may be set for a COF.
  6. In the event of limited space, smaller targets (with proportionate dimensions) may be used to simulate greater distances.
  7. Magazines containing ammunition must be retained by the shooter. A magazine containing ammunition that is dropped must be recovered before the last timed shot is fired to avoid penalty.
  8. Shooters must use the same rifle and pistol through the entire match. The only exception is in the case of CoF design requiring the use of a different rifle/pistol or in the case of a catastrophic failure of a shooter's rifle or sidearm. In the event of such a failure, a shooter my finish the match with a rifle or sidearm of same or similar configuration.
  9. Timing of stages is done using one of three methods:
  • Timed Stages - Timed with a shot timer - from start buzzer to last shot fired + penalties.
  • Untimed Stages - Firing window limited by events other than the timer, or timer not used (raw time will be "0").
  • Par Stages - Par time window, from start buzzer to end buzzer and overtime (shooter does not have to cease fire at second buzzer). Regular target points and penalties apply plus penalties for shooting beyond the par time limit.
  1. All stage designs must take into consideration safety and appropriateness of the concept. Any RO or Board Member present may veto a stage design if he/she believes that it is unsafe or inappropriate for ACTS.




  1. Protests regarding scoring or RO decisions must be made verbally first to the RO in charge of that stage, then to the Match Director.
  2. If no consensus can be reached, a Protest Committee will be established by the Match Director consisting of three competitors present at the match.
  3. The protesting competitor and the RO will have 30 seconds to plead their case to the protest committee.
  4. The protest committee will not deliberate, but will make an immediate verbal vote either in favor of the protester or the RO.
  5. The decision of the Protest Committee is final.
  6. If the protester prevails, he/she will re-shoot the stage. In the event of such a re-shoot, a different RO will score the re-shoot.
  7. If the RO prevails, the protester will be assessed all penalties and points as originally scored by the RO plus a 5 second delay of match penalty.
  8. If a shooter has a protest they are not to sign the score sheet.


Re-shoots are mandatory under the following circumstances*:

  1. Range equipment malfunction.
  2. If a RO mistakenly stops a shooter for a suspected safety problem, and the problem was not real. Safety concerns that are not of the shooter's doing are also grounds for a re-shoot.
  3. In any case where a competitor is not afforded the same opportunity to shoot the stage as all other competitors.
  4. When the stage has been finished and the score sheet that is given to the competitor is not completely or correctly scored.
  5. When the RO and the Match Director concur on special circumstances for granting a re-shoot.

*The competitor may decline the re-shoot at his/her discretion.

  • Timed Stages - Timed with a shot timer - from start buzzer to last shot fired + penalties.
  • Untimed Stages - Firing window limited by events other than the timer, or timer not used (raw time will be "0").
  • Par Stages - Par time window, from start buzzer to end buzzer and overtime (shooter does not have to cease fire at second buzzer). Regular target points and penalties apply plus penalties for shooting beyond the par time limit.



SECTION 10 Nondiscrimination

ACTS is open to any person who has the attitude, knowledge, skills and abilities to compete safely and is under no legal disability from doing so. ACTS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or any other status that is irrelevant to a personís ability to compete safely. ACTS may exclude anyone who in the judgment of its directors, officers, match directors or range officers is not able to compete safely, who demonstrates unsportsmanlike conduct or attitude, or would bring disrepute to ACTS or is in poor taste.

The Match Director has final say in all matters not covered by these rules. Rules not pertaining to safety may be changed by the Match Director if said changes satisfy the mission and intent of ACTS.

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American Confederation of Tactical Shooters All Rights Reserved.
No portion of this document may be reproduced without prior written permission.