France is located in the western part of the European continent. Area: 549 000 km². Population: 65 000 000.

In France, all the shooting sports are managed by a single body: the French Shooting Federation (Fédération Française de Tir, FFTir, ). It is governed by the French law of 1901, allowing people to freely associate for different lawful purposes (charity, sport, culture, science, politics, …) on a non-profit basis. There are more than 500 000 associations of this type in France.

The FFTir is 130 000 members strong. Its resources are mainly constituted by the membership fees and by a subsidy from the Ministry of Sports, like all other sporting federations of our country.

The very first handgun silhouette matches were organized in France in 1980, only five years after the creation of the sport by Elgin Gates and his friends. The first nationals took place in 1982.

It is difficult to know the exact number of silhouette shooters due to the fact that FFTir membership allows the practice of all the 56 shooting events managed by the federation. Every year, to attend the Silhouette National Championships, each competitor must go through a two level qualification matches system. Once the qualification matches are over, there are more or less 200 competitors qualified for the Silhouette National Championships.

There are about 2 000 shooting clubs spread all over the French territory. Many clubs have a range limited to 25 meters, but there is also a fair amount of 50 and 100 meters ranges. The 200 meters ranges are not so numerous but are well represented. The 300 meters ranges are pretty scarce and 500 meters ranges are found only in military shooting ranges.

A permanent 500 meters range would require a lot of space and money. Silhouette shooting is practiced in many of the clubs above mentioned but ranges having the required capacity to host an all events silhouette competition (all pistol and rifle events) at national or international level are less than ten.

The silhouette shooting season begins in February and is over by November, after the National Championships and the autumn matches organized by some shooting clubs.

Silhouette matches are shot by IMSSU rules excepted for two points:

Unlimited Big Bore Pistol matches are shot on half size silhouettes (Field Pistol Silhouettes) at regular Big Bore Pistol ranges.
Unlimited Small Bore Pistol matches are shot on 1/5 size silhouettes (Small Bore Rifle Silhouettes) at regular Small Bore Pistol ranges.
This decision was taken for two reasons:
Many shooters, especially in Small Bore Pistol, used the same pistol in Production and Unlimited. The targets being identical, they shot two identical matches which is a non sense.
True Unlimited pistols are the Formula one of silhouette shooting, providing incredible accuracy at long range. Using them on mammoth size targets is another non sense. When you have a Ferrari, you don’t use it to go to the supermarket.
France proposed this modification of the rules to several IMSSU General Assemblies, but met no following (not yet?).

You will find on the site a report on the 2009 French National Silhouette Championships with the results. I invite your to have a look at the Unlimited results shot this way.