IDPA at The Range in Oxford: 11/9/2014

Stage 6: Shooting Seated at The Range in Oxford

David shooting Stage 6 at The Range in Oxford. Note the wooden blocks restricting movement on the bench.

My friend David and I drove up to Oxford, NC to shoot in last Sunday’s IDPA match at The Range.. The equipment constraints and procedure rules are more restrictive than the Wake County Action Pistol Matches, but shooting an outdoor match brings different opportunities for learning — especially a match in Oxford.

The overall summary was:

  • 6 stages
  • under 90 rounds
  • match briefing at 12:45pm
  • finished our last stage around 3:45pm
  • no malfunctions with my 1911!

All IDPA matches involve shooting and moving. At The Range in Oxford they can also involve shooting from a vehicle: in this case a very abused Toyota 4Runner.

The 4Runner Stage. Driver side targets highlighted in red,

The 4Runner Stage. Driver side targets highlighted in red,

Stage 5 featured the 4Runner. The scenario was basically: Start with your gun in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Shoot 6 targets near to far. Each target gets 2 shots. To achieve that, you needed to shoot two targets out the passenger window, two out the driver window, a 3rd target out the passenger window and back to the driver’s window for the final target.

As I sat in the 4Runner I realized a big person used to drive this vehicle in it’s better days because I sunk way down into that seat. From that position, the first target I needed to shoot was out of site on the passenger side toward the rear of the vehicle.

I thought I had a plan but when the buzzer when off, I picked up the gun with my strong hand and was able to see the first target. It was going to take some effort to slide forward and twist my entire body to get both hands on the gun, and the target was right there. I thought “reach out and touch it” and just lined up the shot with my strong hand and squeezed the trigger. I shot the 2nd target the same way then began to use both hands. For the first time ever I noticed a low shot and took a make up shot immediately.

I shoot slow. I always place close to last in every match. But I have fun shooting and in the this case had zero down. I was so happy I had a huge grin the rest of the day.

I also want to mention a few other lessons learned / observations:

– Stage 6 (see photo at the top) required the shooter to stay within the wooden blocks on the bench while shooting. In that case being small was an advantage. I had more wiggle room to line up my shots. I was down zero on that stage as well. I am thrilled with small victories like that!

– The last stage we shot, Stage 3, had rectangular steel plates partially blocking some of the targets. I’d never seen that before so I asked if they were non-threats. I was told they were “round eaters”. It was a limited vickers stage so if your shot hit the steel, it wasn’t going to hit the target. The ping of hitting steel also telegraphs your mistake to the entire squad. Oh joy… I managed to avoid all the steel and did a little victory dance in my head. Especially since the first 6 shots were weak hand only and the next 6 were strong hand only. The final 6 shots were head shots with both hands on the gun. I did manage to miss one head. Bummer.

– Finally, I got called for moving while reloading across an opening in cover. The RSO told me he was going to have to assess the penalty and my response was, “I was really moving while reloading? Go me! I had no idea I could do that. I’m happy to take the penalty.” He grinned and said “And it was a tactical reload too.”  This is progress!

I checked the scores. I came in 3rd to last. As I said, I’m slow. Also, I admit that I really don’t practice much. I’ve had to think about why I shoot these matches and for now there are several reasons and none of them have anything to do with winning.

  • Handle my gun safely on a regular basis
  • Challenge myself with scenarios that require planning, moving and shooting
  • Have fun!!! And I certainly achieved that!




Introduction to IDPA

I’ve been asked to do a short presentation on IDPA for the Ladies Handgun League down at the Wake County Range. I put together an outline and decided to post it here for future reference.


Intro to IDPA

IDPA: International Defensive Pistol Association


• the use of practical equipment
• to solve simulated “real world” self-defense scenarios

Who Competes in IDPA?

In a word, everybody. New comers are welcome and encouraged.

You should be comfortable:
• drawing from a holster and reholstering
• reloading / exchanging magazines in your pistol

IDPA Safety Rules / Reviewed at every match!
• All guns are always loaded.
• Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
• Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
• Identify your target, and what is behind it.

(Versus  NRA Gun Safety Rules)
• Always point the gun in a safe direction.
• Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
• Keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

Skills you are exposed to:

• Emphasis on range safety
• Drawing from concealment
• Strong hand and weak hand shooting
• Shooting while moving, kneeling or prone
• Shooting moving targets
• Using cover properly
• Reloads
• Tactical priority (near to far)
• Tactical sequence (one shot each before additional shots)
• Threats vs. non-threats,
• Shooting for both speed and accuracy
• Adding the adrenaline rush you may experience in real life

How does a Match work?

• Typically 6-8 stages over 4-6 hours
• Break into squads – squad leader will work with you. People are friendly and typically helpful to a new shooter.
• Your squad arrives at each stage as a group.
• Your squad leader will brief the squad on the scenario and any requirements.
• You may all load and make ready as a squad or each shooter may load and make ready as it is there turn to shoot.
• Every one helps to paste targets
• You can ask to see how you did

Examples of Stages

• “You are in the shower…” and you start by opening a shower curtain and picking up your gun from a side table
• At a major match: shoot out a window through a rain storm (actually a hose…)
• “You are on the couch, watching the Super Bowl and your gun is on the coffee table. Sit up and shoot your first target before standing.”
• At a major match: Shoot from the driver’s seat of a car, at night, through a burning engine at your targets (this was a rare night match).

What to Bring

• Ear & eye protection (MANDATORY)
• Handgun, caliber 9mm or larger
• •  Sights must be stock. No lasers, scopes, or lights mounted on pistol are allowed.
• OWB holster that covers the trigger guard (ladies can use a dropped, offset holster).
• Should have at least 3 magazines for your pistol (you can shoot with 2)
• Magazine holster that goes on your belt for each extra magazine
• Belt to support your gun and magazine holsters
• A concealment garment- ie vest or long shirt
• About 150 rounds of ammo
• Some form of range bag to keep your items in.
• Baseball cap recommended – especially for outdoor matches.
• Water & Snacks!

Here’s a link to a Triangle Tactical article that talks about IDPA “on the cheap” for equipment sources.

Gun Handling

• All events are cold ranges.
• Come with your gun unloaded.
• You will be told when/where to load and unload your gun.
• Unless you have been told to load & make ready, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR GUN.
• If you are not sure of when/where you can handle your firearm simply leave it holstered and ask.

Range Commands (not exhaustive…)

• Load and Make Ready
• Unload and Show Clear
• Finger: You will hear this if your finger is in the trigger guard while moving or reloading.
• Muzzle: If you hear this, immediately check yourself as your muzzle is getting near a muzzle
safe point.
• Stop: If a shooter is being grossly unsafe, or if a safety issue has arisen on the range
• Cover: If a shooter is not using cover adequately

Local information (may change over time, verify before driving to a match)

Classes: IDPA Intro class locally at Shoot to Live
Personal Defense Handgun Safety Center – One Thursday a month
The Range in Oxford – 1st & 2nd Sunday of the month

Awesome local blog that encourages completing: Triangle Tactical and their Comprehensive calendar of all regional events.

More detail for first time competitors:
Getting Started in Competitive Shooting over at Triangle Tactical
New Shooter Briefing (Video)
New Shooter Packet (Document) 


No I’m not talking about dancing or sex, although I can dance a fabulous east or west coast swing. I’m talking about moving targets.

When I complete in IDPA most matches have a few of these and that is the only time I get the chance to attempt to shoot them. So I took Frank up on the offer to come shoot at The Range over the July 4th holiday. There was one stage at the Carolina Cup that had two swingers and no electronics. I was hoping they were still in place and I was in luck. I also wanted to spend some time with the XDs 9mm  I bought just before the Cup.

Single Swinger before

Single Swinger before

In the photo above and below, look for the “L” shaped metal boot .Step one is to hit the boot. That sets the target swinging.

Double Swinger before

Double Swinger before

I remember during the competition shooting through the straw bails to hit the target as it was swinging and seeing straw go flying. This time I wanted to be able to set it up, try shooting, see the results and try it again to see if I could figure out how to hit these.

Single Swinger after

Single Swinger after

I tried this several times and never did figure out how to go about hitting the moving target. I got some lead on the targets but I have to admit it was a stroke of fortune, not skill.

I also realized that once the target stopped swinging, I could continue with the current magazine by switching to head shots. I seemed to do worse with the double swinger than I did with the single swinger, but possibly that was because i had twice as many opportunities to miss.

Double Swinger in motion

Double Swinger in motion

It was very muddy after all the rain we have had and I managed to show up at a cookout later that afternoon with red mud on my jeans but I was really happy to have to opportunity to give this a try. Also, the more I shoot the XDs the more I like it.

Double Swinger back behind cover

Double Swinger back behind cover

One other note: Frank says he knows the website is down for the Range and they are working on getting it back up. You can find contact info here if you want to check the schedule while the site is down.

The first step toward winning is to show up

1st Place Novice ESP

1st Place Novice ESP

I won my division at the Carolina Cup. I was a bit embarrassed to pick up the winners plaque though as I was the only one in the division.

I did achieve my two goals:

  • Don’t come in dead last overall
  • Don’t get DQ’d

I’m a slow shooter. My accuracy is improving but the winners could have shot this match 3 times in the time it took me to shoot it once.

Over 16 stages I had 2 procedurals for

  • not reloading behind cover
  • shooting targets out of order (didn’t slice the pie)

I had 1 hit on a non-threat and 3 failures to neutralize. Total points down: 128. That averages to 8 per stage. I did finish my last stage with “zero down”  and that felt good!

I know there was at least one other Novice shooter in another division, but this match was for the more experienced shooters. I’m happy to have the experience and I hope to one day come back and shoot it in a higher division – then if I “place” I’ll know it was earned.


My 1st Carolina Cup: photo with Frank (The Match Director)

My 1st Carolina Cup: photo with Frank (The Match Director)

The 2013 Carolina Cup: Getting your Score

Stats Central

Stats Central: Four laptops, no waiting…

I volunteered for the Cup and was placed on the Stats Team. I worked stats at a prior match so I’d been vetted for the team. I shot the match on Tuesday. Other volunteers shot on Wednesday. We started entering all scores on Thursday morning. The Stats team posted final scores just after 5pm Saturday. Here’s some detail on how that happens.

Every score sheet is entered twice: once in the pink tables, and once in the blue tables. Each entry is done by a different person. In theory, if there is a mistake made, it is very unlikely that two different people would make the exact same mistake. With roughly 350 shooters, 16 stages and a double entry system, the team entered approximately 11,200 score sheets.

For each score sheet we enter the shooter number, stage, and time. Next are any penalties, then we add up and enter the total downs. Then it’s on to the next score sheet. I’ve never really used a “10 Key” pad before, but I learned quickly.

As they come in the door, we consider them “virgin” or “naked”. Once entered in one table they are marked with a highlighter to show they have been entered for that color. Each entry is color coded, so they get “pinked” and “blued”. There is a special way to fan the pages that allows you to color them quickly, but I’m going to treat that as a trade secret for now 🙂

Once both “pinked & blued” they are sorted by shooter number and filed in hanging manilla folders for later reference if needed. We found it faster to pre-sort stacks then have one person call shooter numbers while the other person stuffed score sheets in the correct folder.

An error report is run periodically to look for any stages that were only entered once or have any mismatches. All of those are pulled from the file folders, re-examined and corrected until they no longer appear on the error report. At the end of the match other error reports are run as well to look for missing stages.

Using this approach, the final scores were posted by 5:10 pm Saturday. Shooters have one hour to file any protests. We had one shooter who asked us to re-examine his scores as he didn’t think his total was correct. We pulled a report of all his entered scores, then I pulled his folder, sorted by stage and checked off each entry. It was an exact match and it was clear to him, using that method, that his score was correct.

Volunteer time: I worked 7am till 5pm Thursday and Friday. I helped out with registration until the stats team started with score entries around 9am. On Saturday, because all shooters were checked in, I started at 9am. I could have left at 6pm but chose to stick around for the awards ceremony and an impromptu picnic afterwards, so I didn’t leave until 9pm. Add an hour commute to/from The Range each way and I invested 35 hours volunteering for the event. One important note: I did that in an air-conditioned building.

I admire and want to say thank you to the RSOs and other volunteers who spend their long days out in the heat.

Carolina Cup 2013: Overview

The signature Bunker Stage

The signature Bunker Stage

Random facts and comments about the match:

  • There were 376 registered shooters. I think roughly 350 participated.
  • There were 3 shooters DQd.
  • There were competitors from 4 foreign countries and one US territory: Italy, Chile, Venezuela, Austria, Finland and Puerto Rico
  • Roughly one third of the registered shooters received a gift when they registered. These were donated by sponsors and randomly distributed.
  • During this match the only job of the competitors is to shoot. Volunteers run scores and paste.
  • The RSOs stay with the stage, so every shooter has the same RSO for each stage.
  • Some of the competitors showed up early to walk the stages. One forgot to bring his ear protection so the Match Admministrator loaned him a set from the lost & found. They were lent out and returned on the honor system.
  • There was an assortment of sun screen and bug spray at the registration station for anyone’s use.
  • Shooters registered for Thursday shot all 16 stages in one day. That was the hottest day of the match and peaked just under 100 degrees. A storm rolled in and unleashed torrents about half an hour after the shooters finished for the day. The storm cooled thing off 20 degrees or so for the Fri/Sat shooters. There was no rain during any of the shooters heats.
  • The host hotel, the Comfort Inn, lost power during the storm and it wasn’t restored until 2:30 the following afternoon. One of the RSOs overheard a hotel employee say, “I’ve never seen so many people prepared with flashlights.” The RSO just laughed at that… clearly they didn’t understand who was staying at the hotel.
  • Due to the power outage, most of the shooters showed up Friday with no shower and no coffee. The tough folks took a cold shower.
  • Friday/Saturday shooters shot the match over two days. They had one morning start at 8am and an afternoon start at 1pm. Friday morning shooters finished Saturday afternoon. Friday afternoon shooters finished Saturday morning.
  • The lunch vendor served a very limited menu: Bologna Burgers & Hot Dogs on Thursday, Hamburgers and Hotdogs Friday, and back to Bologna Burgers & Hot Dogs Saturday.
  • Most stages had sponsor banners and there were several vendors onsite. The result was festive!
  • Friday at 7am was the staff photo. The photographer was in a Utilikilt! So at least one male shooter shot the match in a “skirt”.
  • I met Jim HIcks during one of my lunch breaks and bought a copy of “Fall of the Republic: Seasons of War-Volume One“. It was one of the last 4 copies and I’m looking forward to reading it.
  • Cart drivers ran bottled water to all stages continuously. There was no charge for the water and everyone was strongly encouraged to stay hydrated.
  • There were small dramas. But some turned out well. We had a shooter ask to be moved to a different squad because he “heard” that the international shooter’s on his squad were difficult to deal with. The squads were packed and no one was being moved. The shooter came back at the end of the match and said he had a great time. The team he was concerned about turned out to be very friendly and there might now be an international match in his future!
  • There was a paramedic on duty the entire match. He treated roughly 6 people and mostly he handed out band-aids. There were no serious injuries.
  • There was a complimentary BBQ after the match completed on Saturday. All shooters and guests were invited to eat. The menu included: Shredded Pork BBQ, potatoes, green beans, a roll, dessert, and the expected southern “sweet tea”.
  • Final scores were posted just after 5pm Saturday. IDPA rules state challenges can be made to the posted scores for 1 hours after posted. The awards ceremony started at 6:30pm.
  • The awards ceremony included 8-10 gun giveaways in random drawings.
  • Awards were given to the top shooter in each of these categories: Ladies, Juniors, International, Active Military, Senior (50+) and Distinguished Senior (65+).
  • Awards were given for the top 5 places in each category of each division. Top place in the expert division won a large trophy.
  • The Italian Team hosted an impromptu picnic after the awards ceremony with delicacies from Italy that included salami, cheese and grappa.
  • There were still folks on-site after mid-night celebrating.
Awards Ceremony

Awards Ceremony

Note: any inaccuracies are my responsibility.

Shooting the Carolina Cup

Shirt, Cap & Badge: Carolina Cup 2013

Shirt, Cap & Badge: Carolina Cup 2013

I shot the Carolina Cup yesterday (Tuesday, June 11th) with other volunteers. Most of the volunteers are RSOs but I am not, so when the RSO for our squad said “You are all RSOs so I expect you be safe” I spoke up and made him aware that I was a novice shooter that would be working stats. In spite of that or because of that, everyone on my squad was welcoming and helpful. I was not sure I was “good enough” to shoot a regional match but I’m very glad I made the decision to sign up.

Some details that might be helpful to other shooters:

  • Pack sun screen. Really. We had a beautifully sunny day after several days of major thunderstorms in the area and I was thankful that it was dry. However, you will be in the sun for 8 hours over 1 or 2 days — assuming it doesn’t rain again. 
  • Bring snacks for the time before and/or after lunch.
  • Frank recommends 250 rounds. I brought 400. I had to completely reshoot one stage and I never opened the last box of 100 rounds. Even if you want to be conservative, 300 is plenty.
  • When you arrive you sign in and get a goodie bag along with match info. Your score sheets and scoring labels are in the bag. Since I was running late, I set up my scores sheets and caught up with my squad. I read the info later.
  • I’d never shot a major match so the way they handle score sheets was new to me. You get a stack of duplicate score sheets. Top copy is white, bottom copy is yellow. They have pre-printed labels that you attach to each top copy. Write in the stage numbers (move each score sheet off the stack or the carbon on lower sheets will get that stage number as well). As you shoot, the RSO will give you the yellow copy as soon as you complete the stage. I really liked the instant and clear feedback. They also took the time to explain any penalties I incurred, which I appreciated.
  • I started shooting at 9am, took a break for lunch, and finished my last stage by 4:15pm. You can opt to shoot the match in 1 day or across two 1/2 days. I am commuting an hour each way and didn’t want to drive back Wednesday so I opted for the 1 day experience. We started with a squad of 10 or 12  (of which 5 were women) and ended with a squad of about 6 (3 women finished the day). About half our squad dropped out for the afternoon and will shoot the rest on Wednesday. It was a long day and I’m not used to being on my feet all day, but it was a good decision for me.
  • The Range fed us lunch – it’s part of the volunteer experience. We had a never ending supply of cold water and there were canned drinks at lunch. They will have a food vendor on Thurs, Fri and Saturday and I’ve been told I HAVE to try the “bologna burger”. Stay tuned for the assessment on that!
  • If you haven’t worn ear muffs for 8 hours straight – they can give you a headache. Next time I’ll pack my in-ear protection and swap off during the day.
  • I wore shorts but I was in the minority. I didn’t find that to be a problem and I did find that to be cooler. If you are considering shorts be aware there are a few stages where you must kneel and there is poison ivy in the woods on the “across the road” stages. I know what it looks like and I’m not very allergic, so I would wear shorts again.

I have much more to write about my performance and the stages I shot, but I’ll reserve that for future posts. I’m headed back up at 6am tomorrow to help folks check in who will be shooting Thursday. I’ll be in the “Stats Building” entering scores until the end of the day Saturday. I’ll write more about my shooting experience and my volunteer experience next week.

For other tips and reasons to shoot a reagional match, I recommend this podcast from Triangle Tactical:

If you are shooting the cup, please stop by and say “hello”.

No 1911 Malfunctions & 5/25 IDPA Match Review

The 1911 and Log Book

The 1911 and Log Book

I shot an unsanctioned IPDA match last at PDHSC. These matches are hosted by Shoot2Live. Last night for the first time since I bought the S&W 1911, I had zero malfunctions during a match. It has malfunctioned in all 5 of the previous matches. I like the weight, the trigger, and the smoothness I feel when running the gun, but I would never trust it as a carry gun for self defense.

Possibly I’m hitting the end of a break in period. I keep a log book with each gun and note when I shoot, how many rounds, a few words about what I did with the gun (practice, match, class) and when/how I clean the gun. From the book I see I’ve put about 2700 rounds through the gun and the last time I field stripped it was 300 rounds ago.

I’m curious to see if this was a one time thing or if it becomes the exception rather than a regular occurrence in the future.

Notes about the match:

  • I arrived at 4:30pm to sign in. The match went till 9:30pm. There are 3 squads and two bays so there is always down time between stages.
  • There was one stage that required shooting with strong hand then weak hand and one stage that required shooting 5 targets on the move. These are things I can practice.
  • One stage involved moving targets: a swinger and a drop turner. These I haven’t figured out how to practice. Since I’m not an RSO it’s not OK to go downrange to set these up when I rent practice time at the range. Possibly I need to book time with an instructor to get more exposure to these types of targets.
  • I’m usually head to bed about 9:30pm,  so I think I’ll opt to shoot more afternoon matches outdoors in the future.



IPDA at PDHSC – April 27th

I haven’t shot an IDPA match at PDHSC since last October. Partly it’s because I’m just not a late night person and the last match I showot went past 10pm. Partly it’s because I have been shooting outdoor matches at The Range or Caswell Ranch. I heard on the Triangle Tactical podcast that the matches at PDHSC were ending much earlier and I wanted to see a shooting buddy I had not seen in much too long, so I headed over to PDHSC and arrived around 4:30pm to sign in for the match.

They will take charge cards so I paid my $15 on plastic and signed up for a squad with my buddy (who is always early). If you are new to shooting matches, they will assign you to a squad. If you want to shoot with a friend, just tell them and it’s usually not a problem.

Then I went back out to the car and “dressed” for the match. I tucked in my shirt tail, put on my belt with two mag pouches and and holster. I’m shooting the 1911. I added my concealment vest. I double checked to make sure the gun was unloaded and the hammer was down. This is how they prefer you arrive for the match. Use the parking lot just the way you would at an outdoor match. Or prep at home before you drive to the range. Space is at a premium in the building and folks unloading guns, or moving guns from range bags to holsters in tight quarters is frowned upon.

During the match, the only shooters permitted to have “live” guns at all times are the Range Safety Offices (RSOs).

I’d pre-loaded all my magazines at home. That is one less things to have to tackle just before the match. I also brought my small match bag instead of my full range bag.

David Bramble runs the match at PDHCS. He always starts off by reviewing the IDPA Four Rules of Gun Safety. He picks competitors to share the rules and that keeps everyone on their toes. He will review other rules that are unique the PDHSC or emphasize rules that have caused competitors to be DQ’d (disqualified) in the past. It’s all about creating an awareness of safety and I agree that can’t be over done.

We had 8 folks on our squad. The last time I shot it was 12. That may be why the matches are ending at a more reasonable hour. We were out by 8:30pm.

How did I shoot? My accuracy is improving but I’m very slow. I was 3rd to last. Sigh. I was very please with the first 5 stages. I shot the first stage clean. I was down 1 on most other stages except for a hit on a non-threat up until the 6th stage. However, I was grossly inaccurate on the last stage. There was a distance target that was in the shadows… and I had a failure to neutralize. Not a happy end to the match.

But I did go. I did shoot. And I’m continuing to learn.

More importantly, I gave a friend a hug who really needed one.





Frustrated… so I signed up for a class

I’ve been shooting for just over a year. I’ve learned quite a bit: about guns (that cranky 1911), competition, and shooting. But I’m not getting any better, really. I still come in dead last or in the bottom 5 at every match. A friend and I were trading email about our journey and he wrote: “I classified as an IDPA Marksman a few months back and am going to try for Sharpshooter”. We shot our first match together. I’m still a bottom ranked Novice. I am not happy about this.

One of the contributing factors was getting pushed into buying a 1911. I waited for the slim grips to arrive and I essentially started from scratch. I wasn’t used to a gun with a thumb safety and I had spent too much to sign up for more private lessons last fall. Several competitors at matches where I’ve shot have volunteered their opinion, “Whoever told you to buy that 1911 did you no favors.”. One of the local shooters I watch gave up on his 1911 (for now).  It’s a great gun. It’s just more gun than I know what to do with and it requires additional knowledge and experience to use well. Dealing with “hardware” issues has distracted me from developing my shooting skills.

Add to that I took off work at lunch on Good Friday (forgetting that it was a holiday) and intended to practice at the range — only to find a 45 – 60 minute wait for a lane. So back to work I went with no practice. The weekends are worse.

What have I been doing? Shooting a match or live fire practice at the range once a week.

What am I not doing? Dry fire practice and getting instruction. At this point I don’t even trust I’m practicing the right things.

Time for a change…

We all have constraints on time and money, but I found a class that I can afford, with an instructor that comes highly recommended by a match director and many past students. I’ll be packing a lunch Saturday and heading north for a full day of basic competition instruction. Once I have that refresher, I need to make time to do much more dry fire practice and see how that works.

I feel like I’m a slow starter, but I know I’m not a quitter. Signing up for this class makes me feel more positive, should improve my skills, and gives me the opportunity to meet other shooters.