As predicted, I had quite a bit of feedback of the last two articles. I also realized I perhaps was not making a strong enough point that I am still in favor of the traditions of High Power. And I also realized I did not give enough of an answer to what will make High Power as is more desirable. And believe me, my answers are not perfect. This is a highly sensitive topic and will always have a million opinions.
The comment that got my attention the most was from a shooter who said he was not made to feel welcome at the match he attended. Here is what he said, “About 12 years ago I bought the gear and attended 2 matches before I hung it up. I realize now I must have stumbled into an unfriendly bunch, but at the time I ended up just plain dejected. Both matches I was paired with a upper level shooter, who then was not happy to be paired with a newbie who was learning. No patience for questions, lot of grumbling. Is that normal?” I feel this is not normal. In WA anyway I see everyone making an effort to include the new shooters. The high power group at Cascade Rifle Range even hosts a “New Shooter Clinic”. At the same time, I will admit that I was intimidated the first time I went to a match. I had my husband Charles with me and he already knew people so the introduction was easier for me. But people, guys, have their “cop” face on. And I know of a couple of regulars at matches I attend that are.. shall we say…grumpy at times. If I was on their target for a first timer I would have never come back. But since I know the variety of personalities now I laugh it off. You would find these personalities at any event. If you invest all of that money in the equipment needed in this game you certainly want to fit in and fell welcome. As for what things are being done to make this sport more inviting? One success story is prizes and giveaways.
I have to give the gang at Berger Bullets full credit for this one. For the last few years they have put on about 3 matches a year at Ben Avery in Phoenix that they sponsor. Not only do they offer lots and lots of bullets to the winners of each division but they have collected a large selection of vendor’s products as door prizes at the Saturday night Dinner of the match. From books and bullets to scopes and even rifles. And to make sure the companies that donated the products feel appreciated, Michelle Gallagher has a thank you card that you have to fill out if you won a prize. You don’t get your prize if you don’t write the thank you. She then sends them out. Their matches have grown in numbers each event. My first match I came home with 1500 bullets! Plus I won 500 Sierra bullets and a $1200 certificate toward a US Optics scope at the dinner. Do you think Charles and I don’t try to make it to every match we can of theirs? This method certainly draws attention.
I love High Power. I have friends who shoot in the faster moving pistol and 3 gun and make jokes about what I do. One friend said when he was at a match during his days at Coast Guard Academy he fell asleep during the slow prone portion. Granted he did say he had not slept in days either. I see precision and discipline in this sport. One must be focused. The juniors who start in this are great. They are around adults and learn safety and responsibility and respect. One person commented that our society is changing in general and the attention span of most is short. Many of the slow paced but artistic hobbies are fading slowly. People’s minds have to be stimulated constantly. Like I said, I do not have the right answers. I just have my opinions. I will always introduce the discipline of High Power to any one I can. Long live tradition!
“Shoot Like A Girl! If You Can…..”