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Today's shooters - good commentary

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by wireguy, Sep 16, 2011.

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  1. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

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    Today

    From THE SHOOTING WIRE:


    FEATURE
    Is the Face of Shooting Sports Changing?

    While attending the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation annual dinner in Washington, D.C. Wednesday night, one topic of lively conversation between the shooting-related industry members on hand concerned the new shooters coming into the sport.

    The question was a simple one "are shooters coming into today's shooting sports different from past groups?"

    After several conversations, it seems the image of today's modern shooter bears about as much resemblance to yesterday's shooter as the modern sporting rifle resembles bolt and lever action rifles. They fire bullets, but in different ways - and driven by different goals.

    My generation, guys who now are the aging (OK, older) guys in the industry - looks like we qualify for senior discounts. Unfortunately, that age gap has caused some confusion when it comes to new shooters.

    Not a matter of being out-of-touch as much as a generational difference. For example: those of us who were shooting in the 1960s remember how "un-hip" it was to be a shooter - unless you were from a hunter. Police were regularly referred to as "pigs" and soldiers returning from Southeast Asia weren't exactly welcomed back with open arms.

    Today's new shooters are products of an entirely different baseline of experiences.

    They have seen gang violence and terrorist acts.

    Soldiers and "first responders" of today are revered, not reviled. Consequently, today's shooters are more interested in personal defense than hunting, and favor the kind of weaponry they see used by soldiers and law enforcement.

    Those preferences make them excellent candidates for competition shooting, especially practical shooting. After all, they see firearms as being necessary for the ultimate practical purpose- personal defense.

    And the younger shooters of today area a product of the video game.

    From Call of Duty to Halo I through XVII or whatever, gamers are all about their equipment. On Wednesday evening, Michael Bane told me that older shooters come up to him and ask generalized questions about some aspect of shooting. Younger shooters, on the other hand, come up to him and ask questions like "do you think the SCAR -heavy is too-big to be practical in a close-quarters battle situation?"

    "Kids in the video game generation," he explains, "are capable of talking about the intimate details of firearms, even if they're ten years old. It's important to them. It's also amazing that you can get that kind of question from a ten year old kid."

    As further evidence, Bane points to Call of Duty's YouTube channel. It contains video vignettes on the guns used in their game. Seems gamers take their armament very seriously. And it's why a smaller company like Daniel Defense has huge name recognition with younger shooters. CEO Marty Daniel says that's a product of his company's doing the high-speed accessories.

    The gamers' recognition of the technologies and tools creates a desire to get into shooting - in an analog way.

    Looking at the general trends in firearms sales, you'll see other indications of the differences in today's new shooter. Modern sporting rifles might have cooled as a hot product, but they still dominate long gun sales. And the bolt guns being bought aren't traditional hunting rifles - they're fashioned after sniper rifles. Accessories may come in camouflage, but they're also likely to come in flat earth or black and lean toward the close quarters battle configurations used in practical shooting - or home defense.

    Ditto the handgun and shotgun marketplace. The small, concealable pistol and quickly deployed home-defense shotguns are hot products. Collectively, it points toward a sea change still not recognized across the shooting world.

    With that change comes the opportunity to engage more young shooters in more ways than ever before possible.

    But another critical requirement is also necessary: those of us who have always seen the shooting world through our own experiential eyes are going to have to change our prescriptions or risk losing out on a great opportunity to engage more shooters- and preserve our shooting sports and traditions.

    That's my personal opinion, but based on facts like seventy percent of all ammunition sold today being sold for "non-hunting purposes" it isn't an opinion I've formed quickly or without consideration. As the face of shooting changes, we need to change as well.

    Servicing this diverse new constituency -which includes 32 year-old Senior Congressional Aides concerned with defending their new spouse at home and the ten year old Call of Duty master - sets the stage for a positive future for the shooting sports, or the shooting industry.

    It's a piece of turf we have to not only recognize, we must occupy. If we do, we're guaranteeing that anti-gun legislation on a national level might cease to be a threat.

    Anti-politicians have already realized it's a toxic issue and have backed away. Ever the pragmatists, they've moved on to nibble away at other issues like traditional ammo and access to places to shoot -along with local and state legislation to inhibit shooting.

    Those are areas where an energized influx of young shooters can quickly convince anti-gun groups that the idea of banning firearms simply isn't one the American public embraces or will tolerate.

    --Jim Shepherd
     
  2. WYBOO WOOD

    WYBOO WOOD Member

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    Jim: Outstanding piece. You nailed it. Dave Hunt
     
  3. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    I think the author has correctly identified the reason for present day trends in gun sales but I don't really like it. Still pro-gun is pro-gun.
     
  4. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

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    What does this say about trap shooting's future?
     
  5. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    I have seen the gamers at our chub quickly tire of putting holes through paper. Especially when they see the cost of bullets.
     
  6. Rich219

    Rich219 Active Member

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    Battle/assault weapons is where the growth is in the hobby/sport. 3 gun, IPSC, IDPA, etc. have all boomed over the past 10 years, especially since the fall of the federal AWB (NY I hate you).

    Shooting at paper does get old but I guess that is why they make steel targets. The instant gratification of hearing the steel ring is hard to beat.

    Younger and new shooters aren't attracted to the fudd guns or the slow shooting (cough, F class, cough). We want something dynamic that combines speed, skill, and bad ass weaponry. If you're under 30 go to any gun club and pull out any battle or assault rifle and watch the looks and listen to the comments that are made about the shooter and the firearm. You are instantly treated like a criminal. Which group of shooters are making these comments? The shooters who are 60+ and shoot nothing but clays guns or hunting rifles.

    These older shooters are the same ones that cry that you don't need any firearm that can't be used in a "sporting" purpose. Then when you ask them what they consider "sporting" you hear the typical trap, skeet, hunting, etc. but how do you argue that 3 gun, IPSC, IDPA, aren't shooting sports? Gun owners are our own worst enemy
     
  7. IndyShotgun

    IndyShotgun TS Member

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    People also don't like it when they miss and they don't know why.
     
  8. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    Gamers, from my observation appear to be fat, pasty faced, about 16-20, tattooed, and with multi-colored dyed hair. And their girlfriends are mostly ugly. I'm sure they can't wait to get some kind of bad ass looking gun and shoot Zombies. Only problem is; there are no Zombies except on the computer screen.....What a shame!
     
  9. ky4some

    ky4some Member

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    Let me share another, maybe better angle on the "new shooter". My 13 year old son and I are somewhat both new shooters. Been recreational shooters for about 5 or 6 years. Started with handguns in an indoor range shooting paper. Then found a group to shoot with at an outdoor range. Much more fun. Gun collection started to grow because we discovered we simply like guns. Then a friend took us hunting and we've become hooked on that as well. Got a few guns/shotguns for deer and turkey hunting.

    I also became interested in self defense so I got my CCW and have a couple carry guns. And yes, being somewhat into the "combat" look we have a .22LR AR style rife. Useless I know but very fun.

    Then someone introduced us to trap thru the AIM program. My son shot this year and we attended our first Grand. I've not shot registered yet but shot with his group several times. We've really come to love it.

    The key here is that someone shared both the sport of trap and their trap guns with us. They welcomed us and made us feel part of the sport even with our inferior equipment. They generously shared their knowledge about trap guns and let us try their various models. And now guess what - my son is hot for a BT-99 Micro and I'm saving up for a Beretta.

    My point is this - the increase in the amount of "new shooters" is a great thing for all shooting sports. But for trap to benefit from this pool of shooters, the current rank of regular trap shooters has to learn how to promote the sport and it's equipment. And that's simple to do. Just invite like minded gun people out to shoot trap. Let them start with whatever equipment they have. Then let them try your stuff. Educate them on what are good entry level trap guns.

    I think many "new shooters" are just like me and my son. We love to shoot. We just needed someone to educate us on how, where and what kinds of shooting games/sports are out there. When you find someone who loves to shoot, enjoys a little friendly competition (with self or others) and is somewhat of a "gun guy" you probably got a trap shooter for life. That kind of person will spend money on targets, practice, shotguns, choke tubes, range bags, shells, etc. Heck they might even join ATA and shoot registered. These are all good things for the sport of trap.

    Mike Kamer
     
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