International free pistol competition calls for the finest in accuracy, as even the nine-ring at 50 meters is a four-inch circle. But to win, shooters have to stay within the much smaller 10 ring. Keeping 60 shots on target over the course of the two-hour competition requires a special pistol.
While shooters behind the former Iron Curtain have relied on a number of different handguns in competition, the vintage Russian MC55-1 pistol still musters a loyal following and was seen in the winner's circle in 1998 as Franck Dumoulin captured the 1998 World Cup Final. Cased in a wooden container with tools and spare parts, the single-shot. .22-cal. MC55-1 has a Martini falling-block action and an intricate trigger mechanism that can be adjusted for weight, sear engagement and trigger shoe position. Free pistol is a shooting sport in which the trigger can be adjusted as low as the shooter desires, and there are no limits on pistol size or weight.
Recently donated to the National Firearms Museum, this excellent-condition MC55-1 is now part of the Olympic arms display.
Reprinted from America's 1st Freedom, June 2010.