Shooting sports

Michael Bane write about the growing popularity of the (non-hunting) shooting sports

The big trend for 2010 is the bigger than expected successes of shooting competitions on television, led by TOP SHOT on History and 3-GUN NATION on Versus. I hear channels are scrambling for more shooting programming. 

Well duh. What took them so long?

First-person shooter games have been around for thirty years, which means for thirty years, we’ve been running around and shooting things in a virtual environment. It only makes sense that the same impulses that drive us to blast the legions from hell would drive us out to the range and try our hand at the real thing. 

So what would a TV-friendly shooting show look like? Well, a lot like Top Shot or 3 Gun Nation, actually. Head-to-head competition is what makes slalom skiing so exciting, and that’s another sport that relies on technique to shave thousands of an inch at every opportunity, which is also happens to be the key to winning practical shooting. 

And, to quote Jules Winnfield, personality goes a long way. Top Shot drew in so many viewers because we were attracted to the people of the sport, and not just the sport itself. NASCAR gets this, practical shooting needs to learn this, too. 

A few more things to get practical shooting more TV-friendly: 

- Reactive targets and/or real-time scoring. Waiting around for an RO to yell out “Two Alpha” (or in my case, “Charlie Mike”) is boring. Steel is good, some kind of electronic target that shows hits in real-time would be better.

- Side by side comparisons of runs. Why did Mike Voight beat Taran Butler on Stage Three? Was it because he shot a bit faster or a bit cleaner? Showing the same run using identical camera angles and editing would go a long way into helping others understand the sport. 

- Colour commentary. Many, many football fans rely on the experts in the booth to tell them why a wishbone offense is a better idea in a given situation than the shotgun, and it’s the same with practical shooting. Why did a competitor screw the pooch on a given stage? Why did one do better? Without a colour commentator, you have to be involved in the sport to know why. A good TV host can open the competition and the sport to people who aren’t shooters, making it even more popular. 

If paintball can be shown on ESPN, why can’t USPSA? Imagine how popular IPSC would get if Dave Sevigny was on the Wheaties box… 

Is nation-wide reciprocity on its way?

Ellen Mishaga lives in Ohio but frequently travels to Illinois. She has an Ohio CCW license and would like to protect herself when she goes to Illinois also, but firearms ownership in Illinois requires an Illinois driver’s license. 

Well, for now. That may change soon

How soon will it be until the courts rule that if a right granted by the Constitution is ok in one state, it’s ok in all 57 states? 

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Welcome to the party

The TSA has decided that targeting lawbreakers and the law-abiding equally is the best way to stop Al-Qaeda, in much the same way that the ATF and the Brady Bunch have decided the problem with inner-city violence isn’t violent people or violent ideas, it’s the tools they use. 

To those of you who are shocked and outraged that the government would consider you as a criminal when you’ve done nothing wrong, now you know what gun owners have felt like for the last thirty years

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What you can’t train

Consider this stage at last week’s match. 

Pretty simple, right? Two targets whilst standing, and then a few targets from a crouch. 

But what if you wanted to engage the first two targets from a crouch, and by doing so, send a few rounds over the berm and into other ranges? 

There’s not a range in the country that’ll allow you do this, but could something like that happen in a self-defense situation? 

Yep. 

What about two targets in front, one to the left and one to the right, and another attacker behind? The list of ranges with a 360º bay that allows this type of scenario is real short, but it seems like a pretty likely self-defense scenario. 

Knowing what you can and can’t train for seems to be something that isn’t talked about much in the firearms community, but we need to know our limitations before and not during the times when we need it most. 

“Know thy enemy, know thyself, and you will be invincible.” 

- SunTzu

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Perspective

Look around the room you’re in right now: Chances are, there’s either a smoke detector or a fire alarm or a fire extinguisher within 10 feet of you. Such precautions are good and necessary because losing everything in a fire just sucks. Our society recognizes this, and in fact mandates the installation of sprinklers and smoke alarms to protect our health and safety. 

But what are the odds of a fire compared to a violent crime? The answers may surprise you. 

According to the CDC, in 2009, someone died in a fire every 175 minutes, and someone was injured every 31 minutes. 

A scary thought indeed, which is why all those smoke detectors make sense. 

But if that makes you nervous, the chances of you being a victim of a violent crime should freak you right out. 

  • A burglary is committed once every 10 seconds
  • Violent crimes happen once every 20 seconds
  • One of out five homes will experience a break-in 

So why is protecting one’s family and property with a smoke detector something that the government encourages (and even mandates) yet protecting one’s family and property by means of a firearm something that the government discourages (and even bans) ? 

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