A Student’s Perspective: I won a trophy
So, I decided to participate in the Shoot Logic’s Second Chance Charity Shoot. I’m a big believer in owning pets, and in spite of the endless carnage they commit on your home, I can’t help but believe that a rescued cat or dog will often make life that much better. Personally, I subscribe to the theory that shelter animals are the way to go. They will love you just as much (maybe more), cost substantially less, and unlike Breeder/Petshop animals, you are saving them from being euthanized. Now that I think about it, this is not that far removed from the feeling I get when I save a classic Smith and Wesson revolver from a pawnshop.
Anyway, I also like guns, competitive shooting, and I jump at the chance to bump into a few friendly faces from the gun community. Essentially, the Shoot Logic Second Chance Charity Shoot was a no-brainer, as this was going to be a great day at the range, and I’d also help some folks that work pretty hard in the name of caring for our local animal refugees.
Well, it didn’t take long for me to get what I wanted. There were familiar faces everywhere. There was a veritable East Coast Gun Shop reunion, a bunch of Shoot Logic alumni, and of course, the Shoot Logic staff. There was also raffle, and I’m a sucker for raffles, so I had that going for me too. In short, the day was really looking like a winner.
The participants were divided up into four groups, and we all started at one of the four stages that were set up by Tommy and the Shoot Logic instructors. The competitors were classified into four distinct classes that might represent their particular experience with a handgun. This set up was unbelievably clever and it really showed that the Shoot Logic staff understands that we are all in a different place in our study of shooting, and their classification system really reflected the steps that I’ve gone through personally.
New shooter – I can remember being a new gun owner, so proud of my Smith and Wesson Sigma that I bought with a high interest credit card I so easily acquired in my first days of college. I was long on enthusiasm, but unbeknownst to me, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. In those days, I measured my skills by a simple metric - if the silhouette target was a person, would I have stopped “the attack”? Since I managed that almost all of the time, I figured that I was simply a natural gunslinger. Looking back, it was a great time. If I had to choose a motto for this era in my gun owning days, it would have to be “Ignorance is bliss”.
CWP – Obviously, this was for folks who have been through a CWP class, and have hopefully seen that there is much more to learn. They have taken the steps to educate themselves, and perhaps they are starting to recognize there is much more to being a firearms enthusiast than the occasional fun trip to the indoor range. For me, this epoch was the beginning of being a true expert (or truly self deluded, whatever). Beyond my immeasurable knowledge that I gleaned from the pages of American Handgunner and Shooting Times, I was now well versed in the intricate legal applications of personal defense. This is also the time in my life where I unapologetically questioned anyone that didn’t own a gun. I’m sure I wasn’t unbearable at all…
Competitor – This class was for anyone that had any competitive experience. Honestly, there is a huge shift the first time anyone competes with a gun. The shooter is introduced into very definitive elements of accuracy, speed, and the effects of pressure while shooting. They also get to discover an entirely new dimension of fun with their guns, and I cannot recommend enough that everyone try a local shooting match. Fortunately, this period of my shooting is much less cringe worthy. In between my CWP and the first time I signed up for an IDPA match (which was only 7 months ago), I have had the good luck to meet and learn from so many shooters, I can barely believe it. I count the staff at Shoot Logic among my friends, and I’ve managed to find a great community in the Low Country to share ideas with, practice with, and of course, trade barbs with when we inevitably miss the broad side of the barn.
Law Enforcement – This division was for those that carry a gun as part of their job description. Well, this hasn’t anything to do with me, but segregating the professionals from the hobbyists seemed like a fair and wise category, frankly.
At any rate, their courses of fire were impressive. They built four stages that were challenging to anyone as a shooter, but still accessible as a beginner. Personally, I thought the courses were tough. There were never more than 6 rounds required, and there was no movement or manipulations required. Basically, it was all about being as accurate as you can, and the timer was constantly whispering in my ear “Hey, hurry up”. It was really an elegant set of stages, and everyone who participated was pushed more than they expected. The stages borrowed from multiple shooting sports and training techniques, and they left me further convinced that solid fundamental skills will always be more valuable than caliber, capacity, or whatever “high speed/low drag” tactical shenanigans are in fashion this year.
It really was a great morning. The weather played nicely, the folks handling food did a bang up job, and good times were had by all. The shooting wrapped up around 1:30, and then the staff was off to tabulate the scores. A few minutes later, Tommy was addressing the crowd and reminding folks about all the animals that were helped by this, and we got to hear from some of the Summerville SPCA folks who are working hard to take care of Summerville’s hobo pets.
At long last, Tommy started announcing the top 3 spots for each division. This might have been my favorite part, and no, not because of the obvious reasons. Yes, I won 2nd place in the competitor class, and I’m not going to pretend that it wasn’t awesome. However, it wasn’t as amazing as watching all the other winners get called up. Everyone cheered, and I like to think everyone learned a little something about what they would like to improve upon. Hopefully the proceeds will do some good for the furry friends this event was centered around, and I know I’m grateful for all the sponsors that helped make this possible. To be clear, I’m not associated with the SPCA or any of the sponsors, but the fact is, they cut into their bottom line to help a charity, and made it possible for a bunch of nice people to have a lot of fun.
Sadly, I did not win the raffle, so the day was ultimately ruined.
Post Script – Two weeks later, I found myself facing an IDPA qualifier match, which is used to classify a shooter into an appropriate division as based on their abilities. Without going into details, lets just say that for every charity trophy you may win, there will be an absolutely humbling day at the range close behind. Well, we win some, we lose some, but at least at the Charity shoot, I think everyone got win a little more.