What is this “Action Shooting” I See on the Club Calendar?

Action Shooting is a generic term to describe several disciplines of shooting sports using paper and steel targets and focused on accuracy and speed through a preset course of fire.  Other synonyms for these shooting disciplines are practical shooting or defensive shooting.  Some of these sports are USPSA, United Stated Practical Shooting Association;  IDPA, International Defensive Pistol Association;  SCSA, Steel Challenge Shooting Association;  SASS, Cowboy Action Shooting.  Each organization has requirements for club membership usually requiring a minimum of courses of fire to be shot in each match and a minimum of members in the society.  Like other clubs, we don’t qualify in either category so we have matches that follow the equipment and safety rules of the organizations…and have fun doing it!

Each match we do at NRGC is organized by a club member who is a Range Safety Officer or Range Officer, meaning they have experience shooting organized matches and have been trained in how to keep the participants safe.  The stages, or courses of fire, are thought up and set up by participants.  Many of the ideas we have for stage design are things we’ve seen at other clubs or things we see on line in the official matches and then we tweak them to fit our range.  We incorporate “walls”  we have constructed of snow fencing and 50 gallon plastic drums.  Over the years we have found various props such as desks or chairs that we use as positions we have to shoot from or behind.  Using our imaginations to set up scenarios is a large part of the fun.  If the course of fire is done well, participants can find different ways to move through it!

Most of our matches are shot with a pistol and we draw from a holster.  The general exception is in Steel Challenge where the firearm can be set on a table next to the participant.  Steel challenge also allows pistol caliber carbines and .22 rifles.  Because there is little to no movement between target arrays in Steel Challenge and you can shoot .22 pistol and rifle, it is a great place to try out Action Shooting.  Participants need to be have a certain level of proficiency with their firearm to safely participate in any of these matches.

During every course of fire, only one participant shoots at a time and is accompanied by a Range Officer (RO) the entire time. The RO’s job is to keep the shooter and all others at the range safe.  There is a set of range commands for every aspect of competition…instructing the shooter when to load their gun and how/when to unload and finish.  The participant who is shooting has the only loaded gun on the range.  Guns can not be taken in/out of holsters or bags without direct instruction from the range officer.  Each of these sports has strict safety rules for all aspects of the match and this has resulted in Action Shooting having the safest record of all shooting disciplines.

This is a brief intro to Action Shooting.  Lots more info can be found on-line by googling any of the above named sports.   We would love to see members come check it out on the 4th Sunday of each month.  The action starts at 9:00a.m. and is usually finished by 12 noon.  If you’d like to help build stages, that is usually done Saturday afternoon and the extra hands are always appreciated.  You can pick the brains of the ROs who have organized the event and see the thought that goes into making it all run smoothly on Sunday.

Go have fun and remember SAFETY first!