A shooter does not need a lot of specialized, high priced equipment to participate. There are, however, many custom gunsmiths offering tuned-up pistols for this style of shooting. It is possible for a beginner to compete with an out-of-the-box autoloader or revolver; the key factors of any gun are safety and reliability.
Probably the most important piece of equipment for Action Shooting is a safe holster, which will hold the firearm securely while moving, yet allow a rapid draw. Auto pistol shooters will need spare magazines and magazine carriers which also offer security and speed; revolver shooters will find speed loaders a good investment. There are currently several companies offering fine holsters and accessories for the Action Shooter.
Section 3 of the CFI Action Pistol Rule Book defines authorized equipment and ammunition. This section is not meant to restrict equipment, but to define limitations. Generally, there are few restrictions on pistols and their accessories, except for safety concerns. Various types of sights may be used, from standard metallic (fixed and adjustable) to optical and electronic. However, a sponsor may, at his option, restrict a given match as to type of sights allowed.
A new firearm category has recently been added to the Action Pistol program, Rule 3.1.2 Open Modified Firearm provides for essentially out-of-the-box guns with only specific modifications to enhance accuracy and reliability. Tournament sponsors may provide separate awards for this category, or restrict a match to metallic sight firearms only. This new category offers extended opportunities to shoot Action Pistol with moderate expense for equipment.