Organizers are continually changing the sport in an attempt to make competitions easier to stage and more fun to observe. In 2008, the UIPM voted to merge the separate run and shoot disciplines into a combined event with running and shooting. They thought that this might now only make the competitions more exciting, but also speed up the process a bit.
Now the UIPM has made another change: moving from the air pistol to the laser pistol. Pentathletes and organizers were very apprehensive. Pentathletes have invested a lot of money in their pistols and have just gotten used to the new speed fire technique, and organizers have just invested a lot of money in the metal targets. No one was anxious to spend more money to purchase and learn yet another system. Now laser pistols are used in all competitions.
Competitors in the Youth A (17-18), Junior (19-21), and Senior (22-39) divisions come to the firing line four times and run four 800-meter laps, one after each firing session.
Competitors in Youth B (15-16) and Masters (40+) divisions only come to the firing line three times and run three 800-meter laps, one after each firing session. Youth B also have a 50-second firing time limit.
Youth D and E can fire with two hands, unsupported.
Pistol Choice, Care and Handling Tips
Click on this link for the UIPM recommended laser pistols and purchasing information: http://www.pentathlon.org/uipm-low-cost-equipment-providers/
Camps and clinics are the best ways to get expert instruction.
Shooting Training Plan
Here is an outline for shooting training in first year of athlete’s pentathlon life written by Janusz Peciak, Barry Matchett and Elaine Cheris.
This program is designed for athletes over age 13 who have a swimming background. (This regimen is not suitable for those under 14, unless they have shown strong willingness to work in the past.)
- Sport priorities: 1) Fencing 2) Shooting 3) Running and lifting 4) Swimming 5) Riding
- Month 1-2: Shoot five times a week (either dry or normal firing with beginner’s gun on mainly white targets for group); Lift weights one time a week (working on legs, abs and back)
- Month 3: Shoot five times a week (start to shoot on normal targets more regularly on 50 percent of shots); Lift weights – same as Month 1.
- Months 4-6: Shoot five times a week (introduction of more complicated drills and emphasis on consistent groups); Lift weights two times a week (emphasis on abs and back muscles [pillar strength] with some shooting lifts).
- Competition: There should be a four-sport competition at the end of Month 6, with parents invited. Lots of analysis and feedback necessary to detect training weaknesses and to determine where training needs for the next six-month period.
- Months 7-12: Shoot five to six times a week (purchase a high-quality pistol, probably the one the athlete will have throughout his or her career)
- Lift weights three times a week
Athletes over age 13 who come from a non-swimming background should follow this program.
- Sport priority list: 1) Swim 2) Fence 3) Shoot and weight lift 4) Run 5) Ride
- Month 1-2: Shoot 5 times a week (either dry or normal firing with beginners gun on mainly white targets for group); Lift weights three times a week (heavy emphasis on shoulders and back muscles.
- Month 3: Shoot five times a week (start to shoot on normal targets more regularly on 50 percent of shots); Lift weights three times a week (heavy emphasis on shoulders and back muscles).
- Months 4-6: Shoot five times a week (introduction of more complicated drills and emphasis on consistent groups); Lift weights three times a week (heavy emphasis on shoulders and back muscles).
- Competition: Same event as in Program One, with closer attention paid to the swimming.
- Months 7-12: Shoot five to six times a week; Lift weights three times a week.