American Zoot Shooters Association (AZSA) Rules
AZSA™ is a shooting sport where participants dress in costumes reflecting the 1920s-1940s and shoot period correct guns in competition. It is not the intent of AZSA’s founders to promote a sport that necessarily tests a shooter’s skills more than it is to get like-minded, good people together, in a safe environment, role playing a time in United States history. AZSA is still a competition with winners and losers but there will be less emphasis placed on difficult marksmanship and more placed on fun.
Shooting is a potentially dangerous sport and should be treated as such! The most important aspect of AZSA is safety! Below is a small list of rules that must be followed at all times during the course of an AZSA match. Any safety violation will result in disqualification (DQ) from an AZSA match. Subsequent safety violations can result in loss of AZSA membership! Any DQ may be disputed amongst the shooter, Range Officer (RO) and Match Director. The Match Director makes the final decision in a shooter’s DQ.
1. All participants must be familiar with NRA Gun Safety Rules
2. All participants must complete a safety class prior to shooting their first match.
3. Eye and ear protection must be worn at all times! This includes spectators.
4. All AZSA matches are considered “cold ranges”. No shooter may handle a firearm outside of a designated safety area unless instructed by the RO. Handguns may be carried in a holster, unloaded with the hammer down. All un-holstered guns must be stored in safe locations until ready for use.
5. The point at which a shooter is downrange defines 180 degrees. If a shooter’s muzzle breaks the 180 degree mark (the muzzle is pointed 1 degree up-range), it is a match DQ.
6. If a shooter fires a gun deemed unsafe by the RO, it is considered an accidental discharge (AD). An AD is a match DQ. To avoid AD DQs the shooter must keep his finger off of the trigger until a target is engaged. The shooter cannot have his finger in the trigger guard moving between target arrays or during reloads. The RO may call “trigger” to warn a shooter of an infraction. If the RO feels it is necessary to DQ a shooter because of too many “trigger” calls he may do so.
7. Any pistol and rifle rounds fired from an elevated gun that leave the range will result in an automatic match DQ! All pistol and rifle rounds must never leave the range and should always impact a berm or a safe backstop.
8. A shooter that crosses the path of a gun’s muzzle with a human body part is referred to as “sweeping”. Any shooter that sweeps himself or another person will be DQ’d! The exception to the rule is drawing an unloaded gun from a shoulder holster.
9. Handguns may be drawn from holsters. Because AZSA is a costuming sport and shoulder holsters fit the roles, guns may not be drawn from a shoulder holster with a round chambered! The reason is for potential sweeping with a gun drawn from a shoulder holster (see rule 7). To be consistent and fair, this will include all auto-loading handguns drawn from ANY holster. Because it is difficult to have a holstered revolver in a safe condition, they may not be drawn from a shoulder holster. Revolvers can ONLY be drawn from hip mounted holsters! Empty revolvers can be carried in shoulder holsters for costuming purposes but cannot be drawn from this type of holster during a caper.
10. AZSA is a multiple gun sport. Based on course design, guns may be abandoned during a “caper”. Abandoned guns must be left in a safe condition. It is permitted to abandon a gun without unloading it first if a host club provides a safe area to do so. After a caper is complete, the shooter, RO and score keeper must retrieve all abandoned guns and unload them. No other persons may be downrange during this action.
AZSA is a costuming sport. All AZSA shooting participants MUST wear a costume! Costumes may not hinder a shooter’s ability to safely handle a gun or participate in any way at an AZSA match (ladies, if your costume includes high heel shoes and it is unsafe to wear them, please exchange them before you shoot a caper). Guns and holsters are part of a shooter’s costume. Please make an honest attempt to assure that your equipment looks authentic. No athletic shoes or modern race-type holsters! A shooter’s costume may reflect any type of person from the 1920s-1930s. A shooter’s costume becomes his character. A shooter’s character takes on a persona of either good or bad. Shooters should use character names and AZSA members must have them. A registered character name may only go to one AZSA member. No variations of character names will be accepted if it is already in use by another AZSA member. AZSA is not a military reenactment sport. Think…“cops and robbers”. If military uniforms are used they must reflect a prohibition era enforcement action preformed by US or bordering countries military personnel (eg, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Mexican Federales or US Coast Guard).
Guns and Ammunition – Period Correct Principle & Ten Foot Rule
Any .30 caliber or larger caliber pistol, .30 caliber or larger pistol cartridge firing rifle (straight cased; eg, .351 Winchester) and 20 gauge or larger shotgun produced before 1949 or replica of such may be used as primary guns in AZSA matches. Remember, this is a 1920s-1940s costuming sport and the AZSA has a principle of being period correct but a ten foot rule applies. A general check for adhering to the period correct principle is that the gun looks correct from ten feet away. We do not feel there is a need to scrutinize a shooter’s gun unless it has been modified to a point where it does not properly reflect the time period or it lends a competitive advantage to the shooter.
Any manufacture of single stack 1911 or 1911A1 handgun may be used. Modern “tactical” modifications such as oversized, ramped, painted dot or fiber optic sights (adjustable sights are permitted), extended slide releases, oversized and ambidextrous magazine releases and safeties, extended magazines and base pads, enlarged magazine wells (frame filing excluded), skeletal hammers, cross-drilled triggers, compensators and extended beaver tail or controls are not permitted.
Any type of Thompson rifle (including rifles such as M1s, M1A1s and Commandos) and its corresponding magazine may be used. Full-auto and SBR semi-auto rifles are welcome if they are legally registered and the host range permits their use.
Jacketed ammunition is permitted providing the host club allows its use. Handgun ammunition must not exceed 1,200 FPS. Rifle ammunition must not exceed 1,400 FPS. Shotguns may only fire lead, light trap or field loads at designated steel targets. All guns and loading devices must be of their period correct profile and may be loaded to their correct capacity prior to 1950 (eg, no base pads).
Matches may include any 1949 or older (replicas included) “guest guns” of any caliber in their caper designs so long as every match participant uses it. These guns must be made familiar to any participant before its use. Guest guns may exceed ammunition requirements and must always be used in a safe manner (eg, do not shoot a .30-06 rifle at close range steel targets!)
A goal of the AZSA is to encourage new shooters. Local club matches may relax the ten foot rule at local club matches only and allow new shooters to use non-conforming guns. New shooters should be encouraged to bring correct firearms to future matches. Also, new shooters may be allowed to use smaller caliber guns (eg, .22 rimfire) until they feel comfortable and switch to larger calibers specified in the rules. To be fair to the other shooters complying with the rules, the scores of the shooters with non-compliant guns should be noted separately in the match results.
Any type of period correct holster may be worn for the use of carrying a handgun by AZSA participants. Holsters must be made of a period correct material. Non conforming holsters (nylon and plastic) may be used at the club level only as a way of encouraging new shooters. With the exception of revolvers, which may not be drawn from shoulder holsters, ALL pistols must be drawn with an empty chamber for safety’s sake. Because some costumes, such as a flapper’s dress, may not be appropriate for the use of a holster or magazine pouches, all capers must have provisions for un-holstered handguns and extra magazines to be used during the course of fire.
AZSA matches incorporate multiple stages which will be referred to as “capers”. Capers have designated points from which shooters start and then engage targets by a specified course of direction as quickly as possible until that shooter is finished or stopped by the RO. Shooters can compete in three divisions, Pistol, Rifle-Pistol and Rifle-Pistol-Shotgun. All divisions will compete in the same capers. There are two basic caper types: Good-Bad and Normal. Good-Bad capers are configured so that good characters engage certain targets and bad characters engage others. Good-Bad capers should have a balanced number of targets placed in such a way as to not offer an advantage to either character type. This insures fairness and proper scoring. Normal caper designs will be shot by all participants in the same manner.
Clubs may also hold fun or side matches and can use any era correct guns that fail to qualify as main match guns. Examples would include rifle caliber long range matches or vest pocket pistol (less than .30 caliber) matches.
Unsportsmanlike behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Any AZSA participant may report specific actions to the match director for consideration as to unsportsmanlike conduct. Only the match director may reprimand or DQ a shooter for this behavior. It is at their complete discretion.
1. AZSA will utilize USPSA™ cardboard targets and large steel targets until it develops its own.
2. Steel targets cannot be engaged at a distance of less than 7 yards.
3. Pistol targets may not be placed in such a way that they must be engaged beyond 10 yards. Rifle and shotgun targets should not be engaged beyond 20 yards.
4. Pistols may only be fired with one hand unless it is to engage longer distance targets intended for rifles. New shooters may be allowed to use a support hand until they are comfortable using only one.
5. A Good / Bad caper designed with targets for use by good or bad characters must have its targets clearly identifiable by their appropriate shooter. For example, USPSA™ targets are brown on one side and white on the other. A target turned to the brown side, facing up-range, will be considered a bad guy to be engaged by good character shooters and the reverse will be for bad character shooters. Steel targets must be painted in a similar fashion unless the same steel targets will be shot by both characters.
6. No target shall be obscured by cover of more than 50%. Targets may be covered by walls or props, painted to simulate partial cover or by opposite colored targets.
7. Moving targets are permitted in AZSA matches with the exception of “The Texas Star”. Moving targets must be set-up using the same guidelines as non-moving targets. Moving targets are always to be considered as bonus targets.
8. Targets should be arranged in such a way that all rounds fired will impact a berm or safe backstop. Depending on the circumstances the ground is typically not considered a safe backstop.
9. A shooter’s direction may be guided by the use of walls or paths laid upon the ground. Walls and paths are boundaries that a shooter must stay within during the caper. Any shot fired outside of these boundaries will result in a penalty added to the shooter’s score. Barriers may be placed for safety considerations. These barriers may limit how close a shooter is to engage a steel target. In these situations, the RO may deem a shot fired outside these barriers as a safety violation that will result in a match DQ. Walls and props are considered impenetrable. If it is determined that a shot hitting a target passed through an object considered impenetrable, it is a miss.
10. A caper design may not change after the start of a match unless it is cleared with the Match Director.
11. The RO has total control of a caper. The RO tells a shooter when and how to make his guns ready. The RO gives the start command by the sound of a shot timer’s signal. The RO follows behind the shooter recording the shots with the timer. The RO must remain in a safe location that does not interfere with the shooter. The RO may stop a shooter at any time for any reason. At the end of a caper the RO is responsible for scoring all of the shooter’s targets. The score keeper may follow the RO and shooter to watch for penalties. The score keeper must be careful not to interfere with the RO or the shooter.
12. Any interference to the shooter that is out of his control and results in a score that he finds to be poor will result in a re-shoot of that particular caper.
13. Shooters may perform “New York Reloads” during a caper. The same provisions for holster less participants may be used by other shooters who choose to use more than one gun during a caper. Loaded guns may be left by the shooter and RO starting downrange and back to the start position. After starting with one gun, a shooter may replace it with another provided it is left pointed in a safe direction and the muzzle will never cross the path of any person.
14. Because of the nature of older firearms and their tendency to malfunction, a shooter may re-shoot any single caper per match and ONLY if a firearm malfunction is experienced during that caper. This is referred to as “The Mulligan Rule” and it must be enacted before his group completes the caper in question. Only one Mulligan per shooter per match, choose your re-shoots wisely!
15. Caper designers may specify that certain tasks be performed as part of successfully completing a caper. For example, the shooter may be instructed to pick up and carry a money bag from point A to point B. A failure to complete this task will result in a procedural penalty as described below unless more severe penalties are described in the caper design.
1. All capers are scored by time and penalties.
2. A shooter’s time starts at the sound of a shot timer’s signal and ends with the last shot fired.
3. Failure to follow caper direction will result in a procedural penalty for every shot fired during the infraction. Procedural penalties are typically shots fired while a boundary has been crossed, targets are engaged in an order not specified by a caper’s design or a specific task has not been performed. Each procedural penalty will result in five seconds added to the shooters time.
4. Each missed target adds a ten second penalty to the score.
5. Steel targets need not fall to be considered hit. An audible “ding” on a steel target is considered a hit. The RO has the final say in a steel target hit or miss.
6. Targets deemed no shoot targets by caper design and/or a shooter’s character type, good or bad, must not be shot. A hit on a no shoot target is a five second penalty. No shoot targets are not hard cover! Rounds that pass through a no shoot may impact scoring or additional no shoot targets. A scoring hit on a scoring target will be considered engaged and properly scored.
7. Any single hit on an USPSA™ target is considered engaged. The highest ranking hit on the target is the only one considered. A hit in the “A” or “B” zone is the best hit and does not affect the shooters score. A hit in the “C” zone is second best and adds a one second penalty to the shooter’s score. A “D” zone hit adds a three second penalty to the shooters score. A partial hit that does not break or touch the outermost target perforation is considered a miss (questionable partial hits are scored in favor of the shooter). A hit that lies upon a zone border perforation is scored on the highest zone it touches. Caper design may require targets to be engaged multiple times; in that event, the highest ranking hits of the specified number will be scored. A shooter may engage a target as often as he likes until a desired hit is reached.
8. Targets defined as bonus targets which may include moving targets and caper specified difficult targets, will score as time deductions. Bonus times are up to the caper designer’s discretion and will be announced in the caper description. Bonus targets represent a higher level of difficulty and should have appropriately higher scoring values.
9. After all targets have been scored, the total of all penalties and/or bonuses, if any, are added to or subtracted from the shooter’s time. The score keeper, that assists the RO, records the score on an AZSA score sheet.
10. At match completion the shooters’ caper scores are added together. The shooter with the lowest total score is the match winner. The next highest score is second place and so forth.
Local Club Formation
The formation of AZSA clubs is the best way to expand our organization. Additional clubs allow for people to get involved in Zoot Shooters on a local level without the need to travel to participate in our sport. To start, we require at least one member of the new club join Zoot Shooters. We would like for everyone in the new club to join but we do not demand it.
To date all of our existing clubs were formed by people participating in other disciplines such as USPSA, SASS™, IDPA™, and many more. They already had access to a range that hosts action shooting sports. These ranges typically have established clubs that have targets and props. Having the same will be much easier starting an AZSA club. Incorporating members in a new club that have action shooting sports experience will make things safer as well. These people can act as range officers, caper designers as well as hold safety meetings and provide safe gun handling instruction.
If it looks like there is the makings for a new club, make up a name and contact us with as much information as the club is willing to share on the web. New AZSA clubs can use what is already on the website’s CLUBS page as a guide. The AZSA will then post your club’s information and make announcements elsewhere (facebook™, twitter™ and forums). The AZSA will do as much as we can to drive potential participants to the new club.
This is AZSA’s current rule set. The rules will change as time passes. Any member of AZSA can make rule change recommendations at any time. Final rule revisions will be made after a majority vote by the AZSA’s board of directors. Any changes made to AZSA rules will be noted on its website. The version numbers associated with our rules have meaning. The first digit is a major change. Everyone should pay attention when this number increases. The second digit is a minor change that still affects the way our sport is played. Please note minor changes at your club to be sure you are following our rules. The third digit is a change to the rules that does not affect play. These changes will be items such as spelling or grammar.
March 31st 2012
Jason “The Hustler” Huss, AZSA owner and co-founder
Henning “The Undertaker” Wallgren, AZSA owner and co-founder
Alan “Machine Gun Alan” Samuel, AZSA board of directors
Ken “John Dillinger” Kwiat, AZSA board of directors
Steve “G Man” Fowler, AZSA board of directors
American Zoot Shooters Association, LLC