International Free Pistol is the “premier” pistol event. It is a men’s Olympic event and it is the most difficult of all the pistol events. It is a slow fire event shot at 50 meters, 60 shots (and sighters) shot in 2 hours. The same target used for slow fire in Standard Pistol and Sport Pistol is used in this event, but at twice the distance. This event has remained basically unchanged for a hundred years except the time limit has been reduced from the originally over generous 24 hours to 2 hours.
We shoot a Free Pistol match every Monday evening, under lights, and at 25 yards on a reduced target. .
This event is called “free” due to the minimal restrictions placed on the equipment used. Typical free pistols are single shot, specialized .22LR’s with set triggers (“hair-triggers”), and long barrels. The requirements are that the pistol used be a .22LR, with open sights, loaded as a single shot and that the grip must leave the shooter’s wrist unhindered.
Hammerli, Pardini, Morini, and Walther all make these specialized free pistols, but the most commonly used free pistol is the Russian TOZ due to price vs performance.