Bitter talks about the handgun numbers, and notes that 37,665 of 55,000, or about 66% of NRA certified instructors are certified in handgun disciplines. I would also add a thought to this mix. One of the top reasons cited in this study for people leaving the shooting sports, and becoming inactive, was a lack of places to shoot. Why on earth would you recommend setting aside handguns for rifle disciplines when rifle shooting typically involves an outdoor range, with a lot of land, and ranges typically measured in the hundreds of yards? Few urban and suburban areas are supporting outdoor ranges and clubs, and the few that do exist are usually private, and not easily available to novice shooters. I can name at least 5 ranges within 30 miles of me that are indoor pistol ranges, and all of them are public, and offer gun safety instruction to new shooters.
My shooting club, which is lucky enough to have one of the few 200 yard ranges in a suburban area, does handgun silhouette because we don’t have the room to do rifle silhouette. IHMSA big bore goes out to 200 yards, and the smallbore shooters only out to 100. Airgun disciplines only out to 18 yards. NRA rifle silhouette goes out to 600 yards. NRA High-Power also goes out to 600, and even to 1000 for certain matches. How many places have room for that?
If the fundamental problem in the shooting sports is that populations are becoming increasingly urbanized, then the handguns sports are exactly what we should be emphasizing. There’s room to do that kind of shooting even in a heavily urbanized environment. The City of Philadelphia, for instance, has several active pistol ranges. There are perhaps a dozen of them in the suburbs. I can count on my fingers the number of ranges that can handle rifle and shotgun sports, and most of those are private clubs, which are more difficult for newbs to get into. Bitter is right. The times are a changing, and some people need to get over it.
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