Author Archives: Ivan Barzilov

To be touched by T-Class

This is a first-hand story from one of the many followers of the T-Class idea. My name is Peter Markov and I am a doctor of Medicine.

I have been asked to relay a few words about my experiences and memories from the last 5 years, since I had the opportunity and the pleasure to take part in the concept of T-Class.  In the beginning, I would like to point out that I am not the most experienced competitor and I am not the best shooter. Everything that follows is presented through my personal point of view with nothing to disclose.

I have always believed that in the area of my profession there is a need for a safety valve and a way to “release the steam”. As long as alcohol is not the right choice for me, throughout a certain period of my life I decided to focus on shooting and particularly on long range precision rifle shooting. I believed that it would correspond well with my psychokinetics. Naturally, in the beginning I did not know anybody in this field, the only shooting range which I had access to was in Lozen – with distances up to 100 meters. I was already a hunter at that time and I owned a semi-auto hunting rifle. I decided that my shooting score at 100 meters would increase if I tried to shoot with a bolt-action rifle and a riflescope.

That’s how the saga began. Without many consultations, I purchased a bolt action Steyr SSG 04, .308 cal. I read on the Internet many great reviews about Steyr rifles and that is how I made my choice. Afterwards, I picked a riflescope made by Vortex, which at that time had just released their premium model Razor Gen II. A whole year passed between the order of my scope and it’s arrival to Bulgaria, until I was finally able to produce my first shot with the new Steyr rifle. But, this particular year was useful because I did spend a great amount of time in viewing and reading of books, forums and websites, watching videos, etc. That was the moment when I first stumbled upon TheGunman-bg.com Forum and I first read something about T-Class. I already knew about F-Class and without many considerations I decided that T-Class is something more “Tactical” and realistic, hence more applicable to my vision. Nevertheless, the more I searched for info about T-Class worldwide, the more I realized that it is our own Bulgarian invention. I learned from our Forum that there is a group of shooters who practice at long range distances and have access to the military shooting range of Slivnitsa. I decided to contact them. With the help of a dear friend and a colleague of mine (who is also a practical shooting competitor) I was acquainted to Ivan Barzilov. This was the pivotal moment for me. I already had theoretical background, but I also had zero experience on the range and in a brief period of time everything changed. My first visit to Slivnitsa was with my new Steyr rifle equipped with Vortex Razen Gen II 4.5-27×56 riflescope, Harris bipod and factory ammo Geco Target (a relatively cheap option). I was not able to hit anything beyond 500 meters with this ammo, so I switched to Geco Express. On my next visit to Slivnitsa, quite unexpectedly for me, I ran into my first one-day T-Class competition with two-men teamwork in three Modules, according to the T-Class Set of Rules. This was in April 2016, during my second visit to Slivnitsa and my second shooting at a distance beyond 100 meters in my life. Me and my teammate managed to win this event. For the first time ever I successfully hit the plate at 700 meters during this competition. That’s how I realized that T-Class was the right choice for me.

Afterwards, things went along their natural way. Reading and listening to the advice of my new friends, I realized that in order to reach any success with my caliber at long range, I had to learn how to reload. Even the most expensive factory ammo would not give me the precision and consistency which the well-made reloads could. So, a new chapter of theory was opened – a ton of reading, listening and watching of info about Reloading. It took about a year and a half. With the invaluable help from Barzilov, the right reloading recipe was chosen and at the first competition in which I participated with reloaded ammo by myself, I was able to win the Cup. I successfully hit the plate at 900 meters – 4 times out of 5. This was a competition, organized by 68th Brigade “Special Forces” at the military range of Tsrancha in 2017. To make a long story short: reloading is important. Nowadays, there is more accurate and quality factory ammo, but it is more expensive and it does not provide the opportunity to play with the barrel harmonics (unless a tuner is used).

T-Class shooting sport evolved during the years. There was the Multigun discipline and the new SBW (Support and Backup Weapons) discipline emerged. I had to get my hands on a semi-auto assault rifle and a semi-auto pistol. This type of “runnin and gunnin” kind of shooting were never really my favorite, but I had to keep up with the others. From my current perspective, I realize that the concept behind SBW is right and opens up the possibilities for development of complex shooting skills. It really is a necessity from a practical point of view.
I did take part in some international competitions – in Hungary 2017 and Austria 2019. There, I realized that we are not that bad shooters in comparison to the rest of Europe. I confirmed my observations that it is not necessary for the best and the most expensive rifle and scope to win the shooting event.

My first custom-built rifle appeared in the beginning of 2020, at last. During these four years I competed with my trustworthy Steyr and Vortex. I switched several bipods, many rear shooting bags, tripods, shooting mats, weather stations and a whole bunch of accessories until I found what worked best for me.

When you shoot at long range, it is imperative to be able to measure the exact distance to target. I learned the hard way that most of the contemporary handheld rangefinders are not able to measure reliably the 1000 meters distance to a 20 cm plate. So, I had to purchase an expensive rangefinder (Vectronix Terrapin) and up till now – when we go to a competition – the other shooters are comparing their measurements with me. If you are uncertain about the distance that you measured, you are adding another variable to an equation with too many variables already.

I don’t have much spare time for practice and unfortunately I don’t attend many training events. It is safe to say, that I shoot mostly from competition to competition. But I attend those for fun and as I said in the beginning – to submerge in an area totally different from my surroundings. Not for a moment did I have regrets about anything – even for my unsuccessful attempts with wrong purchases and wasted money (which is a lot).

There are many more things to describe, many flashes, many successes and many failures. I do not want to bring up the load further to this already tiresome text.
Briefly, I would like to propose the following humble advice to those who are willing to read it:
1. T-Class is not about the rifle or the riflescope. The most important part in the equation is the Shooter himself! A cheap factory rifle can bring you a medal, while the super expensive and precise custom rifle may bring you nothing.
2. Both theory and practice matter! Reading and exercising on the sofa will not make you a good shooter, but even if you shoot daily – there is no progress, unless you become familiar with the right Fundamentals, ballistic theory, concepts of reloading, etc. There is more than enough amount of quality information widely available, which is necessary for the T-Class shooter. While other shooting sports like Practical Shooting require development of mechanical shooting skills, habits, speed and muscle memory, T-Class requires theoretical background. There is no one who will assimilate this info and bring it cooked up for you.
3. You can always rely on the help and the advice of others! Our community is composed of kindhearted and positive fellow-shooters. Most of the time on the range is spent in jokes and amusing mood. The hatred and envy, so typical in almost every other sports and aspects of life, are still absent in T-Class.
4. T-Class is not a cheap sport! Resources are required and the rule: “Buy once, cry once” is fully applicable. The better research you make before you buy something, the less likely you will regret it afterwards. There will be unsuccessful purchases…
5. T-Class requires a fair amount of free time! In order to be prosperous, you need time for training and practice, time for reading, time for reloading. I have spent a great deal of money on expensive reloading equipment not to make my results better, but to make my reloading quicker.
6. It is not necessary to seek for the one best shot, the tightest group, etc. It is essential to seek consistency in shooting – to achieve good results in various conditions – to shoot equally well during practice and competition. What if I have a confirmed first shot hit at 1436 meters with .308, does it mean that I will reliably reproduce that shooting? T-Class competitions will test all shooting skills, will pose various physical and psychological obstacles and the ability to remain consistent will be crucial. Pick one bullet/cartridge and go shooting, learn it at various distances and weather conditions. There is no time for endless experiments. T-Class is not benchrest and not F-Class, etc.
7. There is no universal recipe for T-Class, no black and white, just like in life itself. What works for one shooter may not be the most comfortable option for the other. Each one must walk along his path, to refine himself, to learn from his mistakes and the mistakes of others.
8. T-Class requires patience! Nothing will happen at once. You have to be patient to wait for your shipment from USA, patient for the Customs clearance, patient for reloading, patient for the smooth trigger pull, patient to deal with your misses.
9. T-Class is not a step, it is a journey! It is a process of continuous and endless sophistication of knowledge, skills, technical basis, material assets, etc. But it will also bring you new friends, nice moments, positive emotions.
10. For me personally – T-Class is a thrill!

ITCC Official Announcement:

Dear Fellow Shooters,

Due to the ongoing worldwide COVID-19 crisis, ITCC regretfully informs you that all planned events of the 2020 Calendar are STOPPED for the time being.

ITCC will provide immediate updates on this issue after the situation changes.

On the eve of the New Year, it’s usual to sum up the results of the past year.

Precision rifle shooting is not a unique phenomenon. A long time in different countries and on different continents civilian shooters clubs, sports organizations, hold various competitions close in form and content to the military and / or police sniping. The diversity of opinions and ideas about this leads to the fact that in countries, sometimes even in different regions of one country, the idea of sniping as a sports discipline has its own “unique”, as well as the rules of the competition.

I’m optimistic that a consensus has emerged in Europe on this issue. The name of this consensus is the sport of T-Class with disciplines where not only accurate bolt-action rifles but also semi-automatic and pistols are used. You can imagine a variety of interesting, complicated scenarios stages and exercises in such combinations in the discipline of Tactical Sniper [TS].

For the first time in years, I want to look back and ask those involved in the T-Class, do you remember how it all started in 2014 and continued in a next years?

It’s been a little over three years since I met Ivan Barzilov and the Bulgarian team at the 15th Police and Military Sniper Wolrd cup in Hungary. Participating in competitions together with military and police officers we discussed options of civil, sports sniping. It was not easy to find the right formula for assessing the skill of the shooter in such a complex, dynamic and diverse shooting.

Of course, the ideas are in the air, but the practical implementation of the idea of tactical sniping issued Bulgarian colleagues. Every T-Class competition held in the [TS] discipline confirmed the correctness of the chosen method of scoring. It is perfectly justified to divide multi-faceted shooting at short, medium and long distances into modules and determine the best result in each of them, which is the basis for determining the winner.

To win such competitions, you must be equally good at all aspects of sniper shooting. Applied in the T-Class parameter “hit-factor” stimulates a shooters not just accurately hit the target, but to do it as quickly as possible. All together, this makes it possible to infinitely improve their skills in the pursuit of maximum results.

The most dynamically developing discipline is the Tactical Sniper. Interesting and complex annual international competitions in Bulgaria at the Slivnitsa shooting range gather shooters from different countries of Europe and the United States. Great interest was aroused by the first multigun match “International T-Class Multigun Cup 2019”.

Given the ambiguous attitude to our passion and sport in many countries, we have yet to assess the huge amount of work done by our Bulgarian colleagues in the interests of the entire shooting community, regardless of the countries that we represent.

It’s probably not an exaggeration to say T-Class is a sport that may be of interest to those for whom it’s a profession. Fans of sniping in various formats, I can say that this is worth a try.

I hope that next year will be successful for the development of this interesting, young sport and will be another step on the way to the T-Class European Championship and the World Cup.

I wish all of us interesting meetings, exciting matches and success in 2020.

Sergei Gorobets
Regional Director of the Russian Federation

International T-Class Multigun Cup 2019 – You can’t describe it, you have to live it!

International T-Class Multigun Cup 2019 – You can’t describe it, you have to live it!

Night Guard Stages

A three-day international competition of the T-Class Multigun discipline was held on September 27-29th 2019. It was a team event, which means that the shooters were divided into two-men teams and simultaneously or sequentially they had to complete the scenarios of the exercises. T-Class Multigun discipline demands shooting with sniper rifles, semi auto assault rifles and pistols, which poses the greatest level of challenge for the competitors. To make it even more complicated, this event included daytime and nighttime stages, with only few hours apart for taking a rest. All of the above contributed to the fact that probably this T-Class competition proved to be the hardest and most exhausting one ever held in Bulgaria till now.

The start of the competition was struck on the afternoon of September 27th 2019 with the stages from Module 1. This was the first ever nighttime shooting for exercises of Module 1. The true action script was manifested in the next two days and in the evening between them. This was the time for Module 2 and 3 stages, which were incredibly diverse and truly integrated all of the advantages and available requisites of the Slivnitsa military range. Most of the exercises of Module 3 were with hit-factor which greatly elevated the level of tension among the shooters. This competition used the greatest number of stages with smart target systems so far. There were designs with moving targets, daytime and nighttime contra sniper stages, simulation of real shooting scenarios, shooting from trenches, windows, bunkers, barricades, helicopter platform and so on. A total of 21 exercises with 6 night guard stages were completed. All of this was associated with the use of three different kinds of weapons and with irregular distribution of tasks and targets between the members of the team.

Teams from the regions of Bulgaria, USA and the Russian Federation competed in this event and there were observers from Malta and Latvia. All of the participants explicitly conveyed their approval of the competition for stage designs, complexity and difficulty as well as of the proper organization. The realization of this event would not have been possible without the support from members of the Bulgarian Armed Forces of all levels. The interest for this competition was so high that even the Bulgarian Minister of Defense Mr. Karakachanov became one of the official guests. This was a formidable experience for all the organizers, competitors and observers and their reactions can be followed through different online forums: here, here.

Those who have lived through the International T-Class Multigun Cup 2019 for sure will retain their bright memories.

The winners of this competition de facto were all of the participants who completed the course and the rankings can be found here.

The level has been set up high enough and for the next events of BTCF will remain the goal to become at least as interesting as this one.

Photos and videos can be found at the ITCC Facebook page and the Gallery section of the ITCC website.

Basic principles and recommended shooting fundamentals which have to be included in the exercises of a T-Class competition

Author: Plamen Nikolov

The following basic principles and shooting fundamentals are recommended to be included in the design of the stages of a T-Class competition – alone or as a combination of several elements in one exercise.

Module 1
In this module are evaluated the basic marksmanship skills of the competitor
The exercises in this module should include the following shooting fundamentals:

  1. Accuracy and precision of shooting from stable positions
  2. Accuracy in complex situations:
    a. Time limit
    b. Unsupported shooting or usage of unstable supports (backpack, no rear support, etc)
    c. Zeroing of the score, after a miss
    d. Targets with unsymmetrical shape in relation to the center or similar, which will be difficult to be aimed.
    e. Physical stress
    f. Complex order or shooting
  3. Differentiation of targets
  4. Weapon manipulation and equipment control
    a. Fast bolt/action manipulation
    b. Fast preparation for shot placement from fully secured state and variously placed additional equipment (on the shooter’s body, at a distance from the shooter, on the shooting line, etc.)
    c. Magazine reloading/changing during the scoring time
  5. Fast moving and assuming of final shooting position (standing behind the rifle, after moving from a given distance, etc.)
  6. Transfer of shooting direction at different targets
  7. Shooting “of hand” (without additional support, only sling support) – prone, kneeling, standing
  8. Communication and target evaluation (TeamWork)
  9. Shooting at paper targets, reactive and 3D targets

Module 2
In this module are evaluated the competitor’s skills to react in dynamic and quickly changing conditions under the influence of time limitations and complex shooting scenarios.
The exercises in this module should include the following shooting fundamentals:

  1. Time limit
  2. A group of targets placed at different distances in front of the shooting position, often with different direction of fire.
  3. Unstable and untraditional shooting positions – from windows, barricade, uncomfortable supports, holes, rocking platforms, etc.
  4. Mid-range distances (described in the T-Class Set of Rules for each discipline)
  5. Complex order of target engagements
  6. Fast switching of different weapons – weapon manipulation and shooting under time limitations in the Multi Gun division
  7. Development of unpredicted complications during the course of fire (falling, slipping or similar, maybe associated with light trauma, dropping of equipment, problems with the weapon, etc.) and the ability of the competitor to adapt under time limitations.
  8. Proper communication and tasks arrangement between the shooters in the Team Work discipline.
  9. Shooting at static, reactive, appearing and moving targets.
  10. Shooting at Smart Target systems, which can provide realistic scenarios daytime and nighttime.

The scoring method in Module 2 is “Hit Factor” in which the points from the hits are divided to the time for execution of the exercise in order to calculate the coefficient – “Hit Factor”. In order to be successful in Module 2, the competitor needs to achieve balance between accuracy and speed.

It is also required that the competitor understands the two methods for scoring “Virginia count” and “Comstock”. The first one represents a given number of shots for one target, most often just one shot. The second one means shooting with unlimited number of shots until the target is hit or the shooter resigns.

Module 3
In this module are evaluated the competitor’s skills for long range shooting. It requires practical approach for solving the bullet trajectory in relation to all variables which can influence the bullet path along with the shooting skills to complete such a shot. In Team Work competitions are tested also the skills of the team for communication, observation, target acquisition and target dispersion.
The exercises in this module should include the following shooting fundamentals:

  1. Shooting at distances from 600 to 1000 meters from a stable shooting position
  2. Preparation of the shooting position during the time limits for preparation
  3. Not so rigorous time limit
  4. Decision for shot abandonment opposed to penalty for a miss
  5. Shooting at Smart Target systems, which can provide realistic scenarios daytime and nighttime.
  6. Shooting on the “Hit Factor” method

Although there is a time factor, it should not be so limited or critical as it is for some of the exercises in Module 1 and Module 2. Exercises which are scored by the two methods – points from the hits and “Hit Factor” have to be included in the design of Module 3. The “Hit Factor” method in this module serves to differentiate the results of the competitors with equivalent number of hits, thus giving advantage to those who have completed quickly the process of evaluation of the shooting conditions and successful realization of the exercise. The “Hit Factor” method is necessary in relatively complex designed stages in which there is no opportunity for the shooter to evaluate the targets before the start of the exercise and all calculations for shot trajectory are made within the scoring time. Also, in Team Work competition it will give advantage to the more cohesive team in relation to target acquisition, evaluation of environmentals, observation, spotting and correction of fire.
The “Hit Factor” method can be used for separation of results in Module 3 when the targets are relatively big and easy and the range cannot provide maximum distances of 1000 meters and is limited to shorter shooting distances.


Invitation: International T-Class Multigun Cup 2019

The Bulgarian T-Class Federation is proud to invite you to to The International T-Class Multigun Cup on September 26-29th 2019 at Slivnitsa, Bulgaria.

This event will be organized and conducted according to the T-Class Set of Rules in the Multigun discipline of the T-Class Shooting sport. This means that shooting exercises will involve precision rifles, semi-auto assault rifles and semi-auto pistols simultaneously or sequentially, according to the stage designs.

The competition would be a two men teamwork event and will effectively include daylight and nighttime shooting at the military shooting range of Slivnitsa, Bulgaria. All kinds of shooting conditions, scenarios, positions, static and dynamic targets, distances from 5 m to 1200 m etc. should be expected during the three days competition on the last weekend of September, 2019.

BTCF is proud to announce that T-Class Shooting sport has been officially recognized as a military applicable sport, which means that it will be incorporated in the various programs and activities for the preparation and training of the Bulgarian Armed Forces. This is a step further in the continuing process of coordination between civilians and professionals in the vast field of sniper shooting.

Assault rifles and handguns can be provided by the organizers onsite for rent – for those competitors who do not bring their own, but this will have to be arranged before their arrival. If you would like to use this option, please contact us.

Registration is open.
More info about this competition can be found at: http://scoring.t-class.org/
Registration and questions: info@t-class.bg

Kind Regards to all,
BTCF

Invitation: T-Class Multigun Challenge

During the race, the skills of the snipers needed in real operations will be tested. During the technical meeting, about 18-20 exercises will be discussed and explained.

– 60+ hour competition
– Combined shooting with sniper rifles, semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic pistols
– Day and night shooting using natural and artificial light
– Distances from 5 to 1200 meters
– Shooting on partially obscured targets
– Smart moving targets
– Shooting from tower, bunker, roof and other realistic positions
– Assessment and assessment of specific situations
– Patrol
– Teamwork

Detailed information: http://scoring.t-class.org/
Registration and questions: info@t-class.bg

International T-Class Kahles Cup 2019

On April 12-14th, the International T-Class Kahles Cup 2019 took place at the Slivnitza military range. This was the second major T-Class Competition with international attendance for the Region of Bulgaria. It was hosted by the Bulgarian T-Class Federation with the help from the Bulgarian Armed Forces. There were participants from the Russian Federation, Lithuania, Slovenia and Bulgaria – a total of 18 two-men teams (36 shooters), as well as Range Officers from the Republic of Macedonia.

This T-Class Competition was organized and conducted with the help of Kahles Optics and the organizers would like to express their compliments to Kahles for the support in the promotion of the T-Class shooting sport internationally.

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The competition was a three days event of the T-Class Tactical Sniper Discipline. It was a two-men teamwork challenge, which involved many shooting exercises including daylight and nighttime shooting at distances from 10 to 1000 meters on different targets, in various static and dynamic shooting conditions. The design of the stages was developed according to the T-Class Set of Rules. The weather was constantly changing and it was fairly rainy and windy, which greatly contributed to the overall fun. The smart-target systems developed by BTCF were used extensively and again proved their limitless potential for realisation of all kinds of shooting scenarios imaginable.

The timetable of the competition was completed expediently, while the results and rankings were calculated and posted in real time on the online scoring system platform developed particularly for the T-Class shooting sport. This allows for everyone, including the competitors themselves, to be able to monitor their results continuously during the course of the event.

This T-Class competition was dominated by the representative teams from the Russian Federation, which left all the others behind and managed to win the first three places in the Bolt-Action Division.

The winners are:
Division “Bolt Action”:
First place – Sergei Emelianov and Aleksandr Litvinenko, FVSR, Russia
Second place – Valerii Shits and Alexandr Kremnev, FVSR, Russia
Third place – Kamil Abliazov and Aleksei Chernobrovkin, FVSR, Russia

Division “Semi Auto”:
First place – Petar Dabov and Ivan Minchev, VSK “Desant 68”, Bulgaria
Second place – Stoyan Stoyanov and Dimitar Prisadov, VSK “Desant 68”, Bulgaria
Third place – Anatoli Bojinov and Tsvetan Djorev, VSK “Stryamtsi 61”, Bulgaria

The Award ceremony was led by the Commander of the Bulgarian Special Operation Forces – Brigade General Yavor Mateev.

Complete rankings and all scoring information is available in the ITCC online scoring system platform.

Official sponsors of the event were Kahles Optics and VIP complex.

Many photos of the whole event can be found in the Gallery section of the ITCC website.