I got into Sport Shooting for all the wrong reasons.
A friend was leaving sunny South Africa for the land of the silver fern and was on her way to hand her CZ83 to the cops…..nope I said, rather give it to me.
Now I did not grow up with guns. Never had any interest in them. I knew nothing of guns, only what I saw on TV. So I did a bit of research, and found out that it might be easier to apply for a license under occasional Sport Shooting. I started researching Sport Shooting in SA and found SADPA. The South African Defensive Pistol Association….that sounded right for me. After all I got the gun to defend myself.
So I went to do my competency and shoot a gun for the first time in my life. Right next door there was a SADPA match happening. After shooting the 10 shots at the paper target (my grouping was as big as the A4 target!) I went and watched the match. A kind gentleman then told me a bit more of the sport.
That Monday I joined SADPA, got my membership number and papers, added that to my license application. I applied for the CZ83 under section 15.
So I used Sport Shooting to get my first license…wrong reason number one.
I finally got the license, grabbed the CZ83, bought some ammo and was off to do my NSO (New Shooter Orientation) only to find out that I cannot shoot in SADPA with the CZ83….this was the old days before the BUG division…but my local club allowed me to do the NSO and classifier. There I was with my CZ83 in a nylon holster, shooting the classifier like a champ….or so I thought, can’t remember the exact time but it was well over 300 seconds!
So now I had to get another gun….cause there is this magical thing called Dedicated Status….you see with dedicated status you can have as much ammo as you want. I was thinking that 200 rounds is never enough. How can I defend myself with only 200 rounds?....the way I was shooting, I needed more than 200 rounds just to have a chance of hitting something!
Got myself a brand new Sig Sauer Sp2022, applied for a Section 13 license and again used Sport Shooting as part of the motivation. Got the Sig, struggled to get holsters and mags but that’s a story for another blog entry, and off to do the classifier again. This time my time was just over 250 seconds and now I was walking on the range like king ding-a-ling…now to shoot 4 matches and get my magical dedicated status!
So I used sport shooting to get my dedicated status…wrong reason number two.
Now I had my magical dedicated status….off to get more ammo….which led to reloading because ammo was expensive! Now what did I get myself into? Plus now I had to keep shooting matches to maintain my magical dedicated status! So I shot the least amount of matches I needed to keep getting those points and maintain my status. I later shot a classifier again, this time just missing Marksman but I still thought I was king ding-a- ling…I was mos dedicated, I read Gunsite and knew everything about guns…how wrong was I?
So I used Sport Shooting to maintain my dedicated status…wrong reason number three.
But then something happened…I started making friends on the range. I dropped my know it all attitude and started listening to the old hands. I read more and posted less on Gunsite. I started learning about Reloading, about EDC and about Sport Shooting. I took advice on the range and started wanting to do Sport Shooting because it is fun, exciting but most importantly I was meeting new friends.
I started pitching up early for shoots to help build ranges. I shot matches to the best of my ability…which was still sucky but I wanted to become better. I stayed behind after matches to help pack up but more importantly I started enjoying my time on the range. I enjoyed talking about guns, knives and torches. I listened and learned and helped where I could.
Now I wanted to become better at Sport Shooting.
I bought a Sport Shooting gun… a proper one this time. Not following my fan boy urges but actually taking good advice. Instead of another Sig I got myself a CZ Shadow. That gun made me look better than what I was but slowly I started to get the hang of things.
Then I shot a classifier with the Shadow and finally made Marksman! And I was not walking around thinking I was king ding-a-ling anymore. I knew Marksman was only the beginning. I still had and still have a lot to learn and a far road still to travel. But hell it’s a great road to be on. I now love Sport Shooting for the right reasons.
Sport Shooting is now more than a hobby, it’s a passion. I enjoy going to shoots, pushing myself, learning and getting better. But most of all I enjoy the people in the sport. I have made friends in this sport, people I can talk to, have a beer with after a shoot.
Plus winning a medal at a shoot is a great feeling. I won my first silver last year shooting a 1911 as a novice in CDP. It felt great, even after finding out there was only two shooters in that class! The 1911, well that did not work out and I went back to the Shadow earlier this year. Which led to my second medal, winning gold in SSP Marksman at our club’s league with a bump to Sharp Shooter…now that was a great feeling!
That was also my last medal, the competition is now much tougher and that jump from Sharp Shooter to Expert is massive and will require a lot of work…but I am up for it!
Sport Shooting…go join up but do it for the right reasons!
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