With the warm weather upon us once again, and the ice and snow of winter a distant memory, I have found myself immersed in the gun hobby once again. Before winter struck and my guns were packed up for the season, I was highly interested in two shooting sports, clay shooting of some sort (either Trap or Sporting Clays) and action pistol (IDPA or USPSA).
Because I don’t own a shotgun, I decided to focus more on pistol shooting. With my Smith & Wesson M&P back from warranty repair and in tip top shape, I was eager to put it to use. I began asking my gun buddies if they had any interest. Unfortunately no one showed much interest and I was left to take on this potential hobby solo.
The first thing I did was head over to a firearms forum that I frequent and explain my situation, asking if anyone local was interested in showing me the ropes. I got a few responses with good information on local matches (I was only aware of one club and it looks like there are about four within an hours drive) and one offer to get together and go over what I could expect at a match.
I took that individual up on his offer to meet up at a local range. We were initially going to get together on Thursday but there was a weekly Sporting Clays shoot taking place on Tuesday. One of the club officers would be in attendance at this shoot and I was interested in joining. I took this opportunity to run out to the club, take a look around, and discuss membership. At $20 per year and fifteen minutes from home, I decided to become a member of Oley Valley Fish and Game.
Once I was finished filling out paperwork and paying my dues, I got together with Shawn (the person who was kind enough to meet with me about action shooting) and gave him a hand packing up the Sporting Clays equipment. Once finished we headed over to the pistol range (which was now empty) and walked through some basic scenarios that I would encounter at IDPA or USPSA matches.
Shawn opened my eyes to a lot of things that I didn’t give much thought to. Something as simple as switching from strong hand to weak hand felt awkward (I’ve done very little weak hand shooting). I also had difficulty shooting on the move (other ranges I belong to force you to shoot stationary). He even pointed out an unsafe practice that I never realized I was doing (seems I have a tendency to allow the muzzle of my pistol to rise when I rack the slide).
Even with this short informal session, I felt that I learned a tremendous amount of information. I appreciate the kindness of my fellow shooter and look forward to taking the next step. I have plans to take a ride down to an area club and watch an IDPA match in the coming weeks, and even found a local fellow shooter and cigar smoker that is interested in checking it out as well.
To sweeten things even more, I learned that Shawn is planning on hosting fun shoots at Oley Valley Fish and Game. These matches will be a mixture of Carbine/Rife and Pistol. I was impressed by the activity of this range and look forward to getting involved in some of what they have to offer.
Tell me about the range you visit most often
Do they hold fun shoots or competitive matches?
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