What does it take to compete in a shooting sport? A general question for sure. As we’re talking sports, my first answer might be “skills.” But it doesn’t seem to stop there. There’s the challenge of acquiring the equipment, which often drafts the intimidation factor of stepping onto your first stage feeling like you’re underdressed for an interview. And even if these two hurdles are met with tenacity, then time becomes a challenge.
Competition Shooting appears holds a strangely high requirement for entry-level commitment. While I doubt this will ever change, it doesn’t seem to keep people from starting. As 2016’s NSSF SHOT SHOW, the lead “industry exclusive” expo on all things firearms, comes to a close, again the sport of 3-gun is laureled as one of the fastest growing sports. Even so as I’ve met a few new shooters, been one myself, and talked with many more who are interested, I’m further convinced that the illusionary wall keeping would-be competitors away is really not as high as it’s often perceived.
No one expects they’ll be racing in the NASCAR for their driving test, right? Trust me when I say that in the shooting world it’s no different. This is something that makes shooting athletes special, I assure you, and that is how open they are to helping you learn the tricks of the trade. A word of advice: ask for it.
This is the best place to start: with what you have. While the more complicated sports like 3-gun do require more guns, there is this benevolence about the competitors that encourages others to join in. At any stage you’ll hear 2 things: “don’t buy ‘x’ without trying it,” and “I’ve got a box of holsters I no longer use.” At my first 3-gun match I didn’t have the belt space to carry all the shells I needed for the shotgun stage, and to my humble surprise, a fellow shooter borrowed me the caddy I needed.
Here is the final straw, but the more I compete, the more I want to.
So, what keeps you from starting?