This weekend I entered a bullseye pistol match, completely unaware of what I was getting myself into, but willing to try anything at least once. I intended to just watch the match, but when we got to the range I decided maybe I would try it – and soon wondered what medication I must have been on to even think I could do it.
A bullseye match is shot at 50 and 25 yards…not feet, yards…okay, that’s 150 and 75 feet. Let me try again…picture looking at the end zone of a football field from the 50 yard line. Have I given you some idea of how far away the target seems at those distances? I hope so, because although the targets are large, they look really small and far away when you are standing on the line.
Not only are the targets much further than I had shot before, the course of fire is timed. And just to make it more difficult, you have to shoot the complete course one-handed. Now fortunately, for those who shoot bullseye on a regular basis, this shooting sport does allow modifications to the guns and gear – and bullseye shooters use many. They use red dot scopes, specially made grips, weights to prevent muzzle flip, nets to catch the brass, blinders, special glasses with a flap to cover one eye without having to squint, and more.
What did I have in this competition? Just my off-the-shelf Glock 19 and Beretta .22, my sunglasses, my ear protection, and…yeah, that’s about it. And if you include the fact that I was the only woman in the match, that I had no clue how the course of fire was to be shot, and that I started off shooting my neighbor’s target instead of my own (don’t judge; the targets are close together and I was nervous), you will have some idea of just how intimidating this event was for me.
BUT I did it, and that’s the point. I was nervous, under-equipped, and under-educated, but I got out there and did it – and I didn’t make a complete fool out of myself. In fact, my neighbor that was supposed to be scoring my targets (you score for your neighbor) actually quit scoring for me when I made a 64 out of 100 in one round and he made a score in the 70’s. Of course, I was thrilled to get over 50% considering my handicaps, and I knew that based on his other scores, this one was unusually low for him, but he seemed to take it personally and gave me a little snub during the remainder of the shoot. That’s okay, though. I wasn’t there to try to win or to act like I knew what I was doing; I was there to get my feet wet, find out what these bullseye matches were all about, and get some experience. At that, I was successful.
There were about 10 or 12 shooters in this match, all men, and some of them were extremely helpful – even letting me know that I could slow down on the first string, since I had 10 minutes to shoot 10 rounds. That was not easy, though, because I couldn’t hold my gun up too long without beginning to wobble, and if you are not aiming, what is the point of waiting? Later strings, however, were shot at the timed fire and rapid fire rate, so those were much faster – oh, and the targets turn when the time is up, so you either get all your rounds off in the appointed time, or you’re just out of luck.
Overall, I was pleased with the match and my performance, in that, as I stated earlier, this was more of a fact-finding mission than anything else, and I felt quite courageous for even having tried it. There were several reasons, though, that I could have used as excuses not to even enter this event and give it a try. As I said, I did not have the correct guns; I certainly did not have a scope; I had never previously observed a match and didn’t know the course of fire; I had never shot at those distances, especially one-handed; and I was the only newbie on the line. I also had some physical reasons that I might have used to keep me in the observation chairs, rather than standing on the line; so the primary point I want to make is to just get out there and try. You really do not know what you can do if you don’t try. I didn’t worry about what the men would think of me, and I didn’t let the other deficiencies stop me either. I tried something new in the shooting world, I didn’t suck too badly at it (considering), and I had fun. How can you go wrong with that?
Sometimes I think women let obstacles to the various shooting sports become overwhelming and keep them from trying new things. Don’t do that! Come on ladies, put your big-girl panties on, get out there, ask for help, and try it! You never know, your new favorite sport might be only 50 yards away!