50 metre rifle three positions is an International Shooting Sport Federation event, a miniature version of 300 metre rifle three positions. It consists of the kneeling, prone, and standing positions, fired in that order, with 3×40 shots for men and 3×20 shots for women. The caliber is .22 Long Rifle (5.6 mm).
In the men's event, athletes must complete the course of fire within a single time block of 2 hours, 45 minutes. Due to its smaller round count, the women's event has a time limit of 1 hour, 45 minutes. These time limits are applicable to matches conducted using electronic targets; longer times are used if the slower manual scoring system is used. Women's rifles may weigh up to 6.5 kilograms (14 lb), as opposed to 8.0 kilograms (17.6 lb) for men, but after the switch from standard rifles to sport rifles this is now the only difference in equipment.
In major competitions, including World Cups and World Championships, the top eight competitors reach a finals match, where the medal positions are decided. Beginning in 2013, a new finals format was instituted, in which the qualification score is discarded, and the standings among the top eight shooters are determined by their finals scores alone. The course of fire was also changed significantly with the new rules, from the previous 10-shot program in only the standing position, into a 45-shot elimination format in all three positions. Starting with the 10th shot of the final, standing stage, the lowest ranking shooter is eliminated every shot, until the gold and silver medalists are determined among the final two survivors.