Getting Started in Action Shooting

September 28, 2017

Getting Started in Action Shooting

If you're going to shoot guns, you should do it outdoors, and on the run!

In Canada most people (at least those who live in cities) shoot at indoor ranges, in narrow lanes, at a single target. Yaaawwwwnnnn... A lot of people I talk to are surprised to hear that they can shoot outdoors, running and gunning like Navy SEALs. Regardless of your skill level, experience, or athleticism, you CAN get into action shooting; I'm going to show you how.

Canada is home to several options for shooting sports, sometimes informal events at your local range, often in more structured leagues. Whether you like fast-paced competition or just want to shoot outdoors in the fresh air, there is an option for everyone.

IPSC: Pronounced 'Ipsick', International Practical Shooting Confederation is probably the best-known of shooting sports. In most places shooters only carry a pistol, but carbines and shotguns are used at some clubs.

IPSC shooting days are called 'matches', and the range will set up several obstacle courses (stages) of walls, doors, windows and lots of targets. The shooter, chased by a safety officer with a timer, will move through the course, shooting the targets as quickly as possible. At the end of the day, scores are tallied and the stages are taken down and put away.

Many IPSC shooters take the score very seriously, but novices shoot for fun and some people shoot for years and never worry about their score- after all, it's supposed to be fun! Next week I'll publish a more in-depth look at IPSC, including how you can get started in your area, the gear you'll need, and what to expect.

IDPA: The International Defensive Pistol Association, like IPSC, is a well-known league of pistol shooters, with membership, rules, and clubs throughout North America. IDPA matches also involve several stages, basically obstacle courses of walls, doors, and other barriers. The shooter, followed by a safety officer, moves through the obstacles shooting the targets as quickly as possible. The defining quality of IDPA is that the stages are intended to simulate the use of a gun in self-defence, which seems to make IDPA a little more American in nature ( in Canada guns are merely sporting goods, not weapons). The strategies of shooting IDPA make for interesting problem-solving, and the matches are less focused on speed and athleticism. Instead, competitors are expected to use concealment and practical gunfighting tactics to succeed.

I'll be writing a more detailed account of IDPA in a couple of weeks; in the meantime search IDPA on YouTube to get an idea of how much fun it can be!

3Gun: Sometimes called multi-gun, 3Gun is a shooting sport combining a pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Any model of these firearms might be allowed in a match, but 'serious competitors' use tactical-style guns; semi-auto handgun, an AR-15 rifle, and a tactical shotgun like the Benelli M4. A typical match employs a basic obstacle course and at least two firearms. A typical stage might start with the rifle and some steel targets at 80 metres, the shooter then leaves the rifle (unloaded and safe) on a table, picks up his shotgun, and blows of few clay targets off stands further down range. He then ditches his shotgun in a barrel, draws his pistol, and runs forward to engage a series of paper targets. Whew!

In a few weeks, I'll write an in-depth review of 3Gun, how you can get started, and how you can get your local outdoor range to start hosting 3Gun matches. In the meantime, YouTube it.

Precision Rifle: The term precision rifle is a bit generic, but it derives from a trade-named league called Precision Rifle Series. As a result there is some confusion, since some matches are actually part of PRS, and some are PRS-style or simply Precision Rifle. Regardless, these terms refer to a particular style of rifle shooting in which participants have to engage several longer-distance targets, usually while moving from place to place, often behind obstacles or in awkward shooting positions. Accuracy is measured against time to determine score.

There are several other established sports for shooting outdoors: F-class for rifle accuracy, Cowboy Action, and Steel Challenge. We'll soon get to discussing these sports, so keep an eye here on our facebook page, and on our website at; as target suppliers to ranges across Canada, we love helping people find new ways to shoot!