New to the shooting sports or don’t know where to start? Head to your local ranges and retailers first—they’ll be in the know when it comes to the types of matches, tournaments and leagues taking place in your area. When you find the sport you love, or even if you just want to try something new, these shooting organizations are your best resources.
COMPETITIONS AND ACTIVITIES
The U.S. Practical Shooting Assn. is the national governing body for the sport of practical shooting in the U.S. and a member of the International Practical Shooting Confederation and the Steel Challenge. USPSA has more than 34,000 members and over 700 affiliated USPSA and Steel Challenge clubs. Each week USPSA members around the country compete in local and regional shooting competitions that test and refine their shooting skills in a safe, competitive environment.
IDPA matches are focus on self-defense skills, with challengers using factory-stock firearms and gear. This format allows each person to work at perfecting skills with the firearms, holsters and gear they use in everyday life. It is an especially welcoming sport for new firearms owners and those trying competition for the first time.
F-Class Precision Rifle
Long-range rifle shooting has been on a hot trajectory (pardon the pun) for several years now, and its popularity shows no sign of slowing down. Enter the F-Class competition. These matches are fired entirely from the prone position (you’ll need a comfortable shooting mat, for sure), with targets set at 1,000 yards.
3-Gun and 3-Gun Long Range Competitions
This sport takes the best of USPSA/IPSC and NRA Action Pistol and High Power, then adds a pound of crazy creativity and a truckload of Wow! to offer shooting excitement unlike any other sport. You’ll need a pistol, a rifle and a shotgun, custom or stock—oh, and lots of ammunition.
Developed by a couple of Massachusetts grouse hunters to improve their skills in the woods, the game of skeet today has thousands of followers. Picture a half a pie, with a high house on the left side of the center line and a low house on the right side. You’ll start by standing right under the high house, taking a high bird, a low bird and then a pair. Once your squadmates have had their turns, you’ll each shoot seven more stations around the half-pie, with No. 7 right next to the low house door. Your final two shots—coming at you fast and hard—are taken from the middle of the center line. Skeet is about mastering the angles and making perfect scorecards of 25 Xs, and if you’re very, very good, you might just find yourself heading to the Olympics.
Sporting Clays Shooting
If you appreciate a new challenge every time you go shooting, then sporting clays is for you. This game takes place over a course—just like golf—with multiple shooting stations along the way and targets launched at all conceivable angles, heights and distances.
Cowboy Action Shooting Society
This is where modern-day firearms enthusiasts meet their inner Old West. Not only does Cowboy Action Shooting—sanctioned by the Single Action Shooting Societ, or SASS—celebrate the single-action revolver, lever-action rifles and short-barreled coach shotguns of Billy the Kid and Buffalo Bill’s era, you can actually be Billy the Kid or Buffalo Bill. Each SASS competitor picks a character name reminiscent of the times of shoot-’em-up saloons, rye whiskey, and train robbers, then pick an outfit to match your new Old West personality while you shoot a variety of challenging stages. Did we mention you can also do this on horseback? The Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association doubles the fun when you take along your four-legged steed.
Tips For Educating New Shooters
Find the eye and ear protection that feels good and your time shooting will be that much more enjoyable.
Go Back to School
Firearms instructors are everywhere and they’re passionate about showing you how to have fun, be accurate and be safe.
The only wrong question is the one you don’t ask. Experienced shooters truly love to help others, so don’t pass up the opportunity.
Take Your Time
You didn’t learn to drive a car in one day. Be patient with yourself when learning new shooting skills.
Join a Range or Shooting Club
In addition to getting a reliable place to practice, you’ll find new friends and lots of help.
Formerly run by NSSF, the Rimfire Challenge has grown to be its own independent organization.
Utilizing a straighforward format and minimal rules and procedures, Rimfire challenge is the perfect sport for the young or young at heart!
First Shots Program
Ready to see what all the fun is about? NSSF's First Shots program is tailor made for you. With instruction programs that include classroom and "live fire", you'll leave knowing how to safely handle, operate and store a firearm.
Ask your local range about classes for new shooters.
GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS
Amateur Trapshooting Association
Annually, ATA members participate in 6,000 plus registered tournaments and shoot at more than 55 million targets. With nearly 1000 gun clubs affiliated with the ATA you can find registered shooting just about anywhere.
National Skeet Shooting Association
The NSSA is dedicated to the development of the sport at all levels of participation and vows to create an atmosphere of healthy competition and meaningful fellowship within its membership.
For 35 years USPSA competition has provided a test bed for equipment and techniques, many of which are now the standard for police and military training. Today, USPSA matches are conducted weekly by the nearly 700 affiliated USPSA and Steel Challenge clubs all over the US.
National Sporting Clays Association
NSCA is the largest Sporting Clays association in the world and the governing body for the sport in the U.S. The NSCA is dedicated to the development of the sport at all levels of participation and creating healthy competition and meaningful fellowship.
The MidwayUSA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity providing long-term funding to youth shooting teams. Every tax-deductible donation allows the Foundation to expand and enhance the leadership skills, confidence and discipline of today’s youth through shooting sports activities.
Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation
Youth shooters from elementary grades through college can participate in the shotgun shooting sports of sporting clays, trap, and skeet through the Scholastic Clay Target Program. For action shooting sports of rifle and pistol, youth compete through the Scholastic Action Shooting Program.
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