Why competitive shooting sports? – This is probably the most common question I get from relatives, friends, coworkers, etc. Here are my top 10 reasons. What are yours?
- Adrenaline – Sorry folks, call me shallow but this is my number one reason. I have always been a thrill junkie – rock climbing, flying, hunting, fast cars, guns…. I like it all. Maybe less so after I had a child, but that mixed wave of fear, excitement & pleasure gets me going like nothing else. If an elevated heart-rate is your idea of nirvana – shooting sports are definitely for you!
- Fun – Have you ever watched a video on YouTube and thought “Jeez, that looks like fun”? Well, it’s because it is! Just think about it – you can shoot Zombies, sniper something 1000 yards away, practice self-defense, or pretend to be a navy seal. Whatever it is that gets your chest muscle pumping – there is a shooting discipline for it. (watch for my next article outlining some of the disciplines I’ve dabbled in)
- Friends – Really, I should call them a Shooting Family. Because that’s what it really is. Contrary to common (media) portrayal, “gun people” are usually the nicest, kindest, most helpful and caring individuals you’d ever meet. We are working professionals, parents, patriots, hobbyists, and generally have a very strong sense of community – one you’d really want to be a part of when the Zombies come. ;)
- Skills – This is one of the original reasons I first started competing. As a woman I sometimes feel particularly vulnerable to an attack (and I have been attacked & robbed as a teenager). Yes, target practice and maybe a Conceal & Carry class are (marginally) better than nothing but I firmly believe consistent muscle-memory learning under stress (this is really important) is the best way to train your body to react to a threat. I hope I never need to use these skills but I’d rather be prepared.
- Travel – Based on budget & time constrains, you might choose to travel for some bigger matches. My husband & I are hobbyists so we selectively pick which matches to attend based on cost, location, and level of fun. It is an added bonus that we get to see new places, meet new people and make a mini family vacation out of each trip.
- Gun Collection – Let’s face it, if you are into guns you are probably constantly looking for a reason to buy new weaponry & gear. Shooting sports are a perfect excuse as to why you NEED that customized rifle, a high-powered scope or a red ELS rig. I don’t have that particular problem but the vast majority of my friends need to report to their significant other with regard to gear spendings. What better way to justify your obscene overspending with “But honey, I could win…”?
- Trophies – Since we are one the subject of winning: some people really do! It has happened to me (on occasion) but mostly I am satisfied with just improving myself. While most smaller matches distribute trophies only (if that), many of the larger regional & national championships also have a significant prize tables primarily due to sponsors. Contrary to popular belief, a vast majority of the goods are distributed not only to division winners, but also to any competitor through a raffle or drawing. Prizes or no prizes – it is very rewarding to bring a trophy home!
- Politics – If this is not something you consider important but you enjoy competitive or even recreational shooting, maybe you need to reconsider. Protecting our Second Amendment rights is a big issue for the Shooting Community. While I have no polar political preference, I believe that participating in competitive shooting sports supports the cause through both publicity and economic growth. Because let’s face it – it is a lot harder to outlaw an industry that generates billions in revenue!
- Street Cred – I don’t care if you’re 110 lbs. or 300 – knowing how to shoot a gun well qualifies you as an instant badass. Period.
- Parties – People that shoot are fun. Whether you are drinking beer around the bonfire after your local shoot, gathering for the margarita ritual after a match, or dressing in your fancy digs for a formal awards banquet – shooting parties are always a blast (no pun intended). Why? Well, for one there’s always someone you know who won & needs help celebrating. Two – you deserve a reward for your hard work. And three – shooting folks are just a blast to be around and you really don’t need a specific reason to hang out with them!
These are just some of my top reasons for shooting competition. What are yours?
Your friendly neighborhood gun lady,