I’ll do something no one else on the internet has ever done-comment on two subjects they only know a marginal amount about.
On a serious note however, today marks an important personal milestone-I shot my first USPSA match, ever.
More importantly, I had fun doing it. I wasn’t treated like an outsider or some oddity of nature by the folks attending, but as another individual worthy of being given a chance to step to the starting box.Their example of welcoming my newbie self -dumb questions and all (what’s a procedural?) – was as noble as it was thourough , and is a credit to the shooting community. You guys (and gals!) know who you are.
That brings me to what this post is about- competition shooting as a vehicle to intro newbies.
Often when the subject of gun ownership is broached to new shooters, the first viewpoint offered is the Mega Serious One- “Self Defense” and all the boogeymen that nasty subject entails, legal and moral alike. Without getting lost in the philosophical weeds, let’s just stick to basic generalities. Like the fact many people will not now be or ever become comfortable with taking a human life under any circumstances.
If the barrier of entry into the shooting sports is a long, serious speech about “Sheepdogs vs Sheep vs Wolves” and putting “bodies on the floor” , to use a turn of phrase, the shooting sports will never gain proper traction. It would be akin to Toyota advertising pickup trucks with a long advert on “surviving car accidents and injury preparedness”. Yes, a crash may happen. But automakers don’t lead their advertising with that fact, despite driving a car being a common way most of us end up in the hospital.
We need to make the public aware of how accessible and fun gun ownership can be. Even in anti-gun jurisdictions, owning a pistol/rifle/shotgun and using it in competition isn’t an inordinately expensive activity (although it sure can be in the advanced shooting categories!). By starting with the fun aspect, we can neutralize the anti-gun stigma firearms ownership tends to invoke.
Further, its a concept the opposition can’t credibly oppose. Everyone regardless of gender or personal politics understands the benign nature of sports and athleticism. Few understand the grueling necessity and gut-wrenching effects of necessary violence in personal defense.
I know which concept we should use to expand gun ownership to the masses , and it sure ain’t the last one.