Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Games, With Guns

I'm sure some folks just went running from the room, so this is for the rest of you. I've made mention a few times recently about shooting sports, but here's a little explanation on why you can expect to see occasional posts about shooting sports included in these Musings. A little over a year ago I attended my first competitive pistol event. This event was a steel event at Black Creek near Richmond. Under the stress of competition, my hands shook and my stomach churned, but it was a blast. Fast forward to the present, I've shot a few more steel matches at Black Creek, I've participated in a couple IDPA matches, and half a dozen or so USPSA matches. I've learned that anyone is welcome at these events, as long as you are safe and responsible. In particular, I've gotten hooked on the USPSA-style of competition.

What makes these games attractive? There are many reasons for me. First of all, it's fun. You can be as fit as an Olympic athlete, male or female, or an older guy with bad knees. You play to your ability. Sure, there's a clock and points are recorded, it is a game after all, but you can still compete against yourself.

It's also the people. There's a stereotypical, and agenda driven, image of a gun owner as violence-prone and looking for a fight, that's promoted by the gun grabbers and dishonest politicians. The folks I've met who participate in shooting sports are responsible, friendly, safe, and come from all walks of life. I spent most of this past Saturday with 109 men and women, seniors to teenagers, all with guns strapped to their waists and boxes of ammo nearby, and it was all smiles and good clean fun. It doesn't matter if a person is shooting for the first time, or is an experienced world champion; folks are friendly and welcoming.

After a week of dealing with the stresses of work, it's great to spend a few hours with like-minded folks, for a little fun and exercise. Running and gunning requires your complete focus, so there's no being distracted by life's little annoyances.

And what about the beer you ask? That comes afterwards. This weekend I came home tired, with aching knees, and a bit of a sunburn. That refreshing craft beer was just the thing with which to finish the day. As I noted above, I'm pretty new to these "games" and I look forward to sharing some of my shooting experiences with you.

Some people might say I cling to my religion too!

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