Now before anyone’s panties get all up in a bunch, I am NOT referring in the title of this post to being to the left politically, of John Shue. The reference is the physical act of shooting to the left of John Shue during the team matches at the 2018 National Championships at Camp Perry. Well… not me specifically. I was there coaching the junior team we hauled out to Nationals and we shot to the left of the Cabot Guns team and their fancy white shirts. They must never eat lunch wearing those shirts. Mine would be all stained. Anyway, we were physically located to the left of John Shue.
In case you don’t know who John Shue is, he is the overall winner of the National Matches in Precision Pistol for 2017 and 2018, among other accolades and titles. Recognizable for his now famous black beard that has just about reached sixteen feet in length, he is otherwise the refreshingly young faced winner in an otherwise dominated sport by, let’s say, “men of a certain age”. A Marine and High Master pistol shooter, Shue has managed to spark some hope that you hadn’t needed to start coming to Camp Perry in the 1960’s to become the National Champion.
John is awesome. Get to the point
That’s pretty much the point here, isn’t it? The sport of precision pistol is ripe and ready for change. A sport that is as venerable as they come, a resurgence of interest is occurring among younger shooters and particularly junior shooters. Now to give you some perspective, I considered myself a “younger shooter” of precision pistol (still called “bullseye” when I caught the fever) at the tender age of forty-one. Let’s DO keep in mind here that precision shooting of ANY kind is an expensive sport and does need a certain level of disposable income to take part, but then again, so does golf.
There’s a level of “anger” in the precision pistol community about how they feel they are treated by sanctioning organizations like the NRA and the CMP. Tip-toeing carefully around and in-between the streams and splashes of the pissing contest, I’ll simply take the middle ground and say that I agree with some of the complaints and disagree with others. One thing I believe that all shooters and organizations that claim to support and represent shooters must agree on though, is that we need to be willing to change with the times–supporting what is there and developing alternatives for the future.
Non-political, remember? Careful…
I’ve vowed to keep this site non-political and so it exists for every precision shooter to benefit from. Embracing the tides of change requires open minds and young ideas. One of our champion junior pistol competitors managed to catch the attention of the Cabot Team to our right with a gorgeous timed fire target of 99-3X. As I threw my body in front of her, unsuccessfully waving off the white-shirtted Cabots and their half-joking comments about pulling her to their team, I could not help but imagine the possibilities of a female junior Cabot Guns competitor and shooting shoulder to shoulder with “the beard”. It was then that she told me not to worry, “All I want is the shirt“. Take that, Cabot. Don’t try to lure away my juniors… Is that a gravy stain?
Gentle ribbing aside (you guys are awesome, Cabot team, like you needed me to tell you that), the YOUNG saviors of this sport are between the ages of 35 and 65. Not that we want our juniors to stop participating, but when you guys and girls “age out” of your program, only a select few stay shooting because of the financial constraints you face. Older participants are still the backbone of the sport, but that fact is not sustainable as the honest and unmistakable reality of the situation is that I have watched entire bullseye leagues literally die off. Make no mistake, though, the sport or precision pistol needs competitors of ALL ages.
If the sanctioning organizations and competitors can come together and stop viewing each other as evil overlords and valueless peasants as the two sides of this sport, we can find a way to make it as popular as precision rifle shooting or, dare I say it, the Bianchi cup. I believe the steps are simple but high and require effort to climb them. That was the reason I developed this website. A simple way to take a big step in bringing everyone together–pistol shooters, rifle shooters, match directors, sanctioning organizations and the multitudes of new shooters out there just waiting to be educated on what we all have to offer. If we can accomplish just that much, almost anyone could find themselves shooting to the left of John Shue.
And don’t worry, John. My kids forgive you for the cross-fires.
Go have a match.
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