NCOWS, 6820 University Ave, Suite 234, Cedar Falls, IA. 50613, Phone 319-277-6839

Western Action Shooting, Re-enactment, and promotion of the historical Old West heritage of the United States.


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The National Congress of Old West Shootists was founded in Iowa in 1994 by a group of dedicated western action shooters who had a background in muzzleloading, buckskinning, historical reenacting, and many other of the modern shooting sports. To this end we determined that our new organization would be different from existing organizations in a number of ways: we would insist on historical authenticity in all of our activities, we would not require that our members assume an "alias" (although they may if they wish), and we would be a democratically-structured organization, run by the entire membership.

Since its founding NCOWS has grown slowly but steadily, gradually gaining recognition from the shooting fraternity as a viable and significant organization. Early on there was some misunderstanding on the part of some members at least of The Single Action Shooting Society (SASS ) who believed that NCOWS had been founded in opposition to SASS . NCOWS' original aim was to operate parallel to SASS, doing what we could to promote the growth and development of cowboy/western action shooting which, after all, had been invented by SASS . Although we present NCOWS as an alternative organization to those who desire a greater level of historical authenticity and member involvement in governance than SASS provides, we encourage all of our members to support SASS as well as every other shooting organization.

Since its inception NCOWS has been a Charter organization of the National Rifle Association, and strongly recommends that every NCOWS member also be a member of the NRA. Our liability insurance is provided through the NRA.


THE National Congress of Old West Shootists was established to promote the sport of Western Action Shooting and to preserve the heritage of the Old West, 1865-1899. To this end, our organizational goals are:

To conduct and/or sponsor family-oriented Western Action Shoots and other activities appropriate to the Old West on national, regional, and local levels.

To encourage a high level of historical authenticity in weapons, clothing, and accouterments while participating in NCOWS-sponsored activities.

To engage in historical investigation to enhance our overall level of authenticity and increase our knowledge of the Old West.

To actively promote a positive public image of Western Action Shooting in particular, and of the safe and responsible use of firearms in general.

To establish a membership of like-minded individuals and Charter Clubs (Posses) to help the sport of Western Action Shooting grow and prosper.


Officers are elected annually at the NCOWS Annual Convention and Old West Show and Sale. The Convention has always been held in late winter / early spring. Check the Events calendar for news about next year's Convention.
Aside from the annual business meeting and election of officers, the weekend is filled with the events of the annual Old West Show and Sale, which draws dealers and vendors from across the country, and grows larger every year.


Participation in NCOWS-sponsored events does require some basic minimums in terms of weapons and clothing, which must all be authentic and preferably documentable to the period of 1866-1899. Complete details on approved weapons, calibers, clothing, and accouterments will be found in the NCOWS Tally Book, free to all members. Competition is in two weapons divisions: Black Powder and Smokeless, with further sub-divisions such as "Duelist" (must shoot revolver one-handed), "Shootist" (may shoot revolver two-handed), "Ladies," "Youth" and"Senior." For example, a shooter may compete in "Smokeless Shootist," or "Black Powder Duelist." "Ladies," "Youth" and "Senior" have no restrictions on propellant or whether the revolver is shot one- or two-handed. A new sub-division, "Pistoleer," is restricted in weapons and clothing to the period prior to 1872, and mandates the use of percussion revolvers shot one-handed.

We freely admit that we're rather strict in adhering to a high level of historical authenticity for participation in our events. We believe that the enjoyment of everyone involved -- participants and spectators is increased by maintaining an authentic visual appearance at our events, and we pride ourselves as much on our "look" as on our skills with historic weapons.

NCOWS Posses hold monthly or periodic events throughout the year at their own shooting facilities. Check the Calendar for details.

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Popular Downloads

Approved List PDF

Rules and Regulations PDF

Unapproved List PDF

Creating the Outfit PDF | Kindle | EPUB

The Originals Class PDF

Period Camping PDF | Kindle | EPUB

By-Laws PDF

NCOWS Tally Book PDF

Reenactment Guidlines PDF

Articles of Incorporation PDF

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