Sport Shooting

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By Cory Rigby | SCHEELS Precision Shooting Expert

As gun culture has evolved over the last twenty years, the industry has seen a new generation of gun owners. In the late 1990’s and early 2000s, the majority of our gun customers were hunters. Today our customers are split evenly between hunters and sport shooters. Many people who purchased firearms due to political trends and social changes have found out how fun shooting a firearm can be. These outings can be as simple as taking the family to an informal range for some light plinking to competing in serious televised shooting events.

Plinking is one of the most common activities shooters engage in. They can load up their favorite firearms, a can full of ammo and depending on state/local laws, head out to their favorite piece of public land. This can be a family activity and we see many families buying guns with this in mind. These might be the small colorful Rascal .22 rifles offered by Savage or a Muddy Girl camo shotgun from Mossberg. Many families enjoy taking a clay pigeon thrower along for the shotguns and some of the modern reactive, reusable targets for their pistols and rifles. Check out some of these targets to bring your next range trip to a new level of fun!

For the more serious shooter, you can inquire about some of the competitions offered by your local shooting club. If you’re a pistol shooter, these could be IDPA, IPSC, steel challenge or bullseye matches. Some of these matches put shooters up against a clock in an obstacle course meant to push your physical ability as well as shooting. Other events challenge your ability to shoot targets as accurately as possible.

Multi-gun shooters may find themselves more at home in a 3 Gun, Cowboy Action, Practical or PRS match. These matches will generally require serious shooters to engage targets with multiple firearm types. Some scenarios place targets from a point blank shot on the run to a 1200 yard shot from an obstacle. If you like problem solving or improvising, these matches are for you. As an added bonus, many of these matches are offered in a team or squad format, so you can shoot with your friends and family members to improve your experience tremendously.

If you’re a more methodical shooter you may enjoy one of the slower paced bench rest or silhouette matches. These events allow shooters to master every detail of their shooting system to maximize both precision and accuracy.

Shotgun Shooters should not feel left out as their sport is also growing by leaps and bounds. Many local clubs are made up of high school teams that compete in the traditional trap skeet and sporting clay events. These are great activities that can be done with family or friends.

If interested, you can find one of these shooting events near you almost every single weekend. As the shooting industry grows, they become more common and are a lot of fun. If you don’t have any experience or top of the line equipment, don’t worry. The entire shooting industry is welcoming and generally broken up by both experience (pro/amateur) and by equipment classifications such as stock, race and open. In the amateur and stock or production leagues, you will find many people who are concerned with mastering their equipment as well as safety. As you progress and qualify, or if you are more competitive, you may want to try the professional class as well as some of the open or race leagues.

The number one thing to remember when attending any of these shoots is to be safe and have fun. I would encourage any gun owner to try a couple of different matches until they find one that fits their style. No matter if you are “just a shooter”, a hunter or a self defense minded individual these matches will help you master your equipment and make you a better shot.