Panwar, who shot a 629.1 in qualifying on Friday to stand sixth in the top-eight qualifying bracket, shot 228.1 for the bronze medal here at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.
Babuta had registered an impressive 631.8 in qualifying and scored 185.5 in the final for his fifth place.
In a dramatic finish for gold, USA’s Lucas Kozeniesky (249.8) edged Hungary’s Istvan Peni by just 0.1 point.
“It was like re-visiting what happens in a match. We had almost forgotten it,” said Panwar, who had bagged an Olympic quota with a silver medal at the 2019 Beijing World Cup. “I was nervous, my heartbeat was fast. It has never happened with me before,”
It’s the first ISSF event for the pistol and rifle shooters since the Covid-19 lockdown last year.
Panwar stood joint fifth after the first two series of five shots each. Babuta was just above him at fourth. The difference was just 0.5 points.
World No. 1 Panwar started doing better as the final went deep. His 13th and 14th shots were 10.3 each, after which both the Indian shooters stood joint fourth at 143.8 points.
“I was in constant eye contact with my coach sitting behind. It helped. This medal will help me build and regain my confidence,” Panwar said.
After Babuta’s elimination, just 0.3 points separated Sergey Richter of Israel and Panwar. But Richter scored 9.6 on his next shot, to concede his third place to the Indian.
But Panwar could not go any further.