Introduce a Friend to Shooting Sports
How did you get into shooting sports?
For me getting into the shooting sports, was quite an uphill journey. It’s been the lack of access to firearms as a kid and teenager as a result of outdated English colonial laws that made me seek places with favorable legislation where I could enjoy this fabulous sport. Ironically the UK was also the country where I learnt most about rifles, marksmanship and ammunition and all the other things you read about in this site. At the same time, it was the same country’s administration that banned it’s very own citizens, even former service men from owning or using pistols and semi-auto rifles since 1986. Incredible but true.
Ok but where did it start?
Where did the flame strike the straw for the fire to light up many ask me? Many years back as a kid, watching my grandpa religiously clean his Bernadelli Italian made shotgun after his outings hunting, lit a fire that roared later on in my teens and adult hood. However I wasn’t really into shotguns, I was into rifles. Not until my trips overseas, could I appreciate rifles and my first trip to the US with my parents, proved to be an eyeopener when I was just 12. My parents loved travelling regularly and that provided short windows of opportunity where I could see what was available ‘out there’. Having some family members live abroad helped as well and I was eager to build on those connections.
Communicate your passion
My parents did not understand the passion my grandfather Carmelo had, probably because he never took them with him to experience it. To them, it was “his thing” in fact, he didn’t quite ever show me that shotgun intentionally, he kept it hidden and that sparked my interest even more. It took years to fill that vacuum and bridge the gap between the passion I had, and their mindset. Today my parents understand, it’s an intrinsic part of me but it took time for them to understand this isn’t just a phase. I even had good friends that tried to talk me out of it- insane but true.
Thankfully, it’s not like that for everyone and that’s ok, but the crux of it is the following. If you have something that you enjoy and cherish, share it with others. Let them experience it. That’s why clubs run open days. We can all do that by simply inviting people to a shoot, even just to watch. Luckily, during my trips to the UK, I’ve been invited by a few clubs to shoot with them and learnt ALOT and I’m very grateful to them. Among these are the Dorset Riflemen, the Artists Rifles, North London Rifle Club, Diggle shooting club, the NRA of the UK and a few others.
Why is the public ignorant about the shooting sports?
During my university years however both at home in the Mediterranean and later in Switzerland, I found there was a general misunderstanding about firearms. People’s general knowledge about shooting sports often stopped at what they read somewhere, something that was quoted to them on a tv channel or a popular mainstream newspaper. They didn’t really know anyone that is involved in the shooting sports, and if they did, they were probably never invited to experience it. So how do these people form an opinion about the subject? From all the bad sources!
The longevity of the shooting sports really depends on us. The best way to dispel myths is to introduce people to each other and let them find out what a great bunch of guys sports shooters are. Why do shooters rave about their sport and take good measures to protect it as well as the legislation that enables one to practice this, be it in his home country or overseas? We strongly believe that the best way for our sport to grow is to educate others about it. Start with your friends and work your way out to others in the community.
What’s the best way to do that? Pretty simple, bring a friend over to the shooting sports, someone you would want to see in the shooting community and have them try it out.
“Bring a friend over to the shooting sports, someone you would want to see in the shooting community and have them try it out. “
It’s great for new shooters to meet experienced shots, they get the chance of trying out new kit and appreciate that they’re lucky to live somewhere where it is possible to learn about the shooting sports. It enables new shooters to see what the sport is about, how many different disciplines there are and why different firearms are required. That process goes a long way in communicating why shooters are so hooked to this and nothing beats those ringing plates to send the message across.
Range day with AACTS – club shoot
To do my bit, I invited my tech sidekick Jon to a weekend club shoot organized by AACTS with a few pistols and carbines, got him into the Normal Safety Precautions and had the RCO walk him through. AACTS is a club that stands by it’s shooters and was the club that helped sponsor part of our trip to the King of One Mile Competition in France last October where we placed 15/96 shooters. Other experienced shooters had the opportunity to chat with Jon so he could get familiar with some of the kit used. The lad went from zero to ringing all plates from 5-15m. He even shot a 5 round group all touching at 5m and finally we had him shoot a few rounds on various steel plates and he rang all of them! He was thrilled and so were we to have someone experience this sport with us! We’re lucky that some of our members have some awesome kit to show even to newbies enabling someone to appreciate the various levels of kit from budget offerings to hand built Wilson Combat pistols. (Thanks Bill T!)
“AACTS is a club that stands by it’s shooters and was the club that helped sponsor part of our trip to France”
Invite a friend to a shoot
Now it’s your turn, invite a responsible friend to the range with you and show them what’s it all about. Imagine what an effect it would have across the community if each shooter invited another friend over to experience this great sport! By the end of the year, the community will grow further with better understanding of this sector. Even if they don’t take up shooting sports, you would still have helped dispel some of the myths and help educate those that in their ignorance, often do more harm just because they say something without having experienced it.