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2009 European Rifle Championships – Kongsberg, Norway

July 23, 2009

The week of July 13-17, 2009 saw the 1st ever Level IV IPSC rifle match held near Kongsberg, Norway.  The European Rifle Championships was a great event consisting of 20 varied and sometimes difficult stages. 

First off, I would like to thank the match staff and ROs, etc. who made the event possible.  They put in a lot of hard work in a short amount of time. 

Second, I would like to thank the Norwegian Military for allowing the use of their facilities to conduct the match. 

Finally, I would like to thank the other American shooters, Kurt Miller, Trapr Swonson, Robby Johnson, and Daniel Horner, specifically.  We were a great squad who practiced together, helped each other and pushed each other along.  I appreciate you guys letting me video your performances for this website.   That was a real team, even if we were not recognized by IPSC for this event.

But enough with the thanks.  Let’s recognize the winners!  A big congratulations to Raine Peltokoksi and Isto Hyyrylinen for their wins in Open and Standard, respectively.  Likewise to all the Finnish shooters who took  the Open and Standard Team Championships.   For such a small population, Finland sure produces a lot of very talented shooters.  Raine in particular totally dominated Open class.

I ended up 2nd in Standard.  The match was going well until the long range stages, usually my forte.   I shot my ole reliable DSA AR15 lower with a JP trigger and a DSA/JP upper  with a Triangle Shooting Sports comp.   I used 77 grain Sierra MatchKings traveling about 2800 fps.

I will have videos of many of the stages that we shot posted and I’ll comment on each individually, but I have some general comments about the match and IPSC rifle shooting to hopefully aid the American shooter.

First, a Level IV match is different from your typical American outlaw 3 -gun match in that the RO staff is highly professional and very rules-oriented.  This is not to rag on the many volunteers (including myself!) who make outlaw 3-gun possible but IPSC treats its matches as real sporting contests not training or a social event. There are rules and they WILL be followed.

Second, foreign rifle matches are often constrained with safety angles and the traditional 180 does not apply.  Safety angles can very from stage to stage and be VERY tight.  The Norwegian military required that safety angles be established on the ranges used for this match.  So when you watch the videos you will see some atypical gunhandling.  If you are planning on shooting overseas I HIGHLY recommend that you practice dealing with tight safety angles before you go.  In some of the video, the safety angles are visible as large, red markers to either side of the stage.

Third, IPSC has a formula of short, medium and long courses.  Some of the stages are only 8 or 10 rounds which is akin to a pistol speed shoot as opposed to some of the high round count outlaw 3 gun stages.  It is different for American shooters.  The stage seems over before you even got started.  That being said, I like the idea of short courses for rifle.  A stage need not have 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 rounds to be a good test of skill.

Fourth, scoring is Comstock.  Unlike many American multigun matches where 2 hits anywhere on the target is deemed good shooting, points really count in IPSC!  Not only is it Comstock but 99% of shooters are shooting minor power factor so Ds only get  you 1 point and Cs net 3.  The shooter has to aim!  That being said, I noticed that many if not most of the European shooters were obsessed with shooting points.  This can be a huge advantage if you understand Comstock scoring and break out your calculator. 

On the other hand, some stages favored speed.  We (the Americans) really put the hurt on many European shooters because we were willing to sacrifice some points in order to gain time.  The European shooters that I saw would rarely, if ever, shoot on the move whereas the Americans were very willing to do so.  Note:  I did not get to see the Finnish teams shoot so I can’t speak as to their technique.

Fifth, we may have had the first ever rifle shoot off!  That was great fun.  Congrats to Raine (Open), Jerry Miculek (Senior) and Sverre (Standard) for their wins.  My favorite bout was the one I had against Robby Johnson.  I wish we had such events here in the U.S.!

Sorry I did not get all the stages but I got video of most of them.  I will post each individually.

Thanks for reading,


8 Comments leave one →
  1. Robby Johnson permalink
    July 28, 2009 6:09 pm

    Kelly you shot the best Ive ever seen during this match. I know the final results didnt turn out the way you wanted.(nor did they for me) but you shot a great match. The US team repersented well and with you, Trapr, Kurt,and I we knew we had a good sot at it.It was great getting to practice with you and kurt. Horner and I had a blast shooting with you guys during the match also. ALARM! ALARM!

  2. Mike Darby permalink
    July 30, 2009 2:14 pm

    Well done guys, I have watched the videos and heard the accounts – you guys did bloody well and those Euro guys are sure licking their wounds in standard class !!


  3. Trapr permalink
    July 31, 2009 2:41 pm

    I was really a great time, we put together a good group of shooters that worked well as a TEAM!!

    We all had stages we’d like to forget about, and we all beat each other on stages, working together allowed us to come up with good plans of attack and it showed in our finishes. Delia, has got to have the biggest stage win, by pulling a lost video camera out of the air and delivering it to the waiting arms of her hubby!!!!

    Euro IPSC rifle is worth trying, think about it. Great people, locales, fun, RO’s, whats not to like.


  4. Isto permalink
    August 3, 2009 4:07 am

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for the very nice report on the match! And thanks for uploading all the videos, nice to see you guys shoot the stages!

    I have to agree on your observation about us European (standard division) shooters being obsessed about points. At least I am. I shot almost all stages preferring good hits over fastest possible time. I think the only stage where I shot some targets from the move was stage 3. Even there I shot the 5 target groups stationary. And it was my best stage of the match.

    I hope to see all you US team guys in a match again.


  5. August 3, 2009 10:54 am

    Hi Neal

    I allow me to link on your Blog about the rifle europeanship 2009 from my website.


  6. Michael Pfander permalink
    February 22, 2010 11:55 am

    Hey Kelly: Now you have to man up and come with me to the Sniper match in Finland and the one in Switzerland.

    • kellyneal permalink*
      February 22, 2010 6:47 pm

      Mike!!!! How are you doing??? Are you still shooting that Steyr SSG? How is your son?

      Of what matches do you speak? I have dabbled in sniper stuff but I am certainly no expert. I am putting together a 6.5 Creedmoor sniper rifle and may take you up on your offer!!)

    • kellyneal permalink*
      August 9, 2010 6:28 pm

      No idea. I have only been to 2 IPSC rifle matches in Europe. I would contact the various IPSC organizations in Norway, Finland, and denmark and ask them.

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