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SRA – The Finnish 4-gun shooting for the reservists



SRA competitor with a tst-class equipment (Photo by: Heli Soini)

I’ve been shooting the Practical Shooting aka. IPSC for the past 15 years and unlike most of my peers, I haven’t competed in its Finnish cousin SRA or Sovellettu Reservilaisammunta, that is roughly translated as Applied Reservist Shooting. This weekend I finally managed to schedule the mandatory safety course for the SRA. But what actually is the SRA?

To understand the sport, we have to first take a short hike across the Atlantic in to the USA, where Practical Shooting was formed. It’s, as the name implies, a shooting sport that focuses on the practical and efficient use of modern self-defense and law enforcement style firearms. The competitions consist of a number of stages that pit the shooter against a scenario with multiple targets. T he stage is timed with a shot timer and the targets are scored. The final result is a hit factor that is calculated by dividing the score with the time used.

While the origins of the IPSC/UPSA was in the practical applications, they have since developed into full fledged shooting sports where the stages are rather abstract and some of the equipment used is very competition specific. When the IPSC landed to Finland in the 1980’s it was adopted and shot by many reservists. In a nation where the vast majority of the competition shooters and male population in general are reservists it was soon noted that the sport-oriented developments of the equipment and stages in IPSC weren’t exactly optimal for the development of skills needed by a reservist. Thus, SRA was developed. 

Here is an extremely good introductory video about what the SRA is:



The SRA takes the basic concept of the Practical Shooting, simplifies some of the rules, limits certain aspects of the equipment like pistol holsters to “field serviceable” versions. The  SRA also allows the match organizers significant leeway on how to design the stages, called rasti in Finnish. There can be some military oriented tasks within them that are scored alongside the actual shooting, such as throwing a dummy hand grenade etc. 

Following video is from SRA Finnish Championships in 2017:


An SRA competition uses three or four different weapon types in the same match, with sometimes two guns used on the same stage. Shooters will use rifles, pistols, shotguns and occasionally sniper rifles. The main gun in an SRA match is the self-loading rifle, typically either and AR-15 or AK-variant. Roughly half of the points in a match are shot with the rifle. The pistol, shotgun and sniper rifle divide the rest of available points with pistol usually being the most important of the three. This division reflects the skills required from a reserve soldier.

Both the SRA and IPSC have steadily grown in Finland and are now among the most popular shooting sports in Finland. The best part of the split to the civilian IPSC and the reservist SRA is that you can shoot both and most of the shooters at least periodically do so. The basics of safe weapon handling, speed and accuracy apply to both.

SRA competition (Source: Reserviläisliitto)


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