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Fast Draw 101 with Howard Darby

The Fast Draw Resource Center

The Events of Fast Draw

Standing Ballons at 8 feet on a 4-inch target 8' Standing Blanks with a 4" balloon target
There are two types of events used in Fast Draw: Blanks and Wax.

Blank Events:

Standing Blanks (SB): This single shot event is the most common event in the sport, and is shot in almost every index competition and a large number of elimination contests. Standing blanks can be shot at distances of 8, 10 or 12 feet. 4" balloon targets are used in the 8' & 10' events, while 9" balloon targets are used in the 12' event. In index competitions there are normally 5 shots fired in this event.

Standing Blank Traditional Elmination, with a new World Record of .232

Walking Blanks (WB): In this event the shooter is walking towards the target when the signal light comes on, and must maintain a constant forward motion at all times. Walking blanks can be performed using a "walking cart" that is controlled to maintain a constant eight feet between the shooter and the target, or with a stationary target. With a stationary target the shooter starts walking towards the target from a distance of fifteen feet. The signal light will come on while the shooter is somewhere between twelve and eight feet from the target (a 4" balloon). There are normally 5 shots fired in this event.

Double Blanks on 4-inch balloon targets
Double Blanks with 4" balloon targets

Double Blanks (DB): In this double target event the shooter is positioned eight feet from each target (4" balloon), with a distance of six feet between the targets (forming a triangular shape between the targets and shooter). A right handed shooter must draw and fire at the left hand target, then swing over to fire at the right target. Left handed shooters will shoot the targets in the opposite order. This event is also shot using a 9" balloon, with the targets 12' from the shooter and 8' apart. Doubles is normally a 3 string event (6 shots).

Blank Targets: The target in blank events usually consists of a circular metal plate with a four or nine inch hole in the middle for a balloon to stick through from the back. The balloon is often held in place with some form of pressure device such as a spring-loaded plunger. A micro-switch is attached to the back-side of the metal plate, positioned so that when a balloon is in place it will apply pressure on the micro-switch arm. When the balloon is broken it will release the micro-switch, sending a signal that will stop the clock. A light is mounted just above the target as the start signal, and is usually enclosed in glass or plexiglas. The filament in the bulb must be no farther than six inches from the edge of the balloon. Please see the Equipment page for pictures and more details on blank targets.

Wax Events:

Standing Wax (SW): Essentially the same as Standing Blanks, but using wax bullets propelled by shotgun primers or .22 blanks. This event can be shot at 5', 8', 10', 12' or 15'. The target is a steel plate with the signal light mounted in the center of the target and protected by plexiglas. In index competitions there are normally 5 shots fired in this event.

Thumbing 5' Standing Wax in WFDA Hollywood Division

Step-Back Wax (SBW): Same as Standing Wax, but the five shots are fired at different distances (5', 8', 10', 12', 15'), with the shooter stepping back to the next distance after each shot. This type of event can also be shot in "step-up" format (SUW) using the same distances.

Walking Wax (WW): Same as Walking Blanks, but using the wax bullets and steel targets.

Double Wax (DW): Same as Double Blanks, but using the wax bullets and steel targets.

Walking Wax
Walking Wax on the 14.5"x30.5" target

Wax Targets: Wax targets come in three configurations: a 14.5" x 30.5" rectangle with its top edge at six feet off the ground (aka: standard silhouette), a 20" x 40" rectangle with its top edge 64" from the ground (aka: Blocker target), and an 18 inch round concave target that will hold a balloon in the center (aka: balloon disk). All wax targets are metal and have a 60 watt light covered with plexi-glass mounted near the middle of the target. The target type is always mentioned in contest announcements.

The concave shape of the disc target allows the wax bullet to be directed to the center so it will break the balloon. All wax targets have an impact sensor mounted on the back that picks up the hit of a wax bullet and sends a signal to stop the clock. Hitting any part of the steel target is considered a successful shot. Please see the Equipment page for pictures and more details on wax targets.

These rules and target descriptions are provided to give a general guideline. You should refer to the rule book of the World Fast Draw Association, or other Fast Draw organizations for details. Also, this description is of targets and events used in North America. Fast Draw shooters in England and Japan use different targets due to the local development of the sport, as well as gun and ammunition laws in those countries.

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