Lasers to Replace Air Pistols in Pentathalon

In what could be bad news for the shooting sports, it looks like Olympic Pentathalon will be replacing their air pistols with specially engineered pistols that shoot a laser beam at the target. The reason it’s bad news is the reason they give for thr move:

UIPM President, Dr h.c. Klaus Schormann stated that “the decision to introduce non-air pistol shooting was the second big step for the sport following the decision in 2008 to change to the combined run/shoot format. This is a significant development in terms of lowering the environmental impact of the sport.”

So they claim environmental impact, even from air guns, which fire a tiny 7 grain lead pellet, and which are easily recovered and recycled.

We should not fear the technology, which is something the shooting community could make positive use of, but the reasoning of the committee is disturbing. I hope this doesn’t portend bad things to come with other Olympic shooting sports, who’s environmental footprint is arguably worse.

33 thoughts on “Lasers to Replace Air Pistols in Pentathalon”

  1. Yeah, that’s a bit disturbing. It would be nice of the athletes refused to compete under those schtupid rules.

    But then again, I haven’t watched the Olympics in years ….. I’d rather pop Magpul Dynamic’s Art of the Tactical Rifle in the dvd player (again!)

  2. But isn’t that like, not shooting? Or all that skilled? With a laser, you don’t have to adjust for range, wind, or any other factors that require actual skill, knowledge and practice.

  3. What a giant pile of steaming pony loaf that all sounds like. All environmentalism is a giant pile of steaming pony loaf, actually.

    Hello? Where does lead come from? From beneath the topsoil of the earth under our feet, that’s where!

    Lead comes from beneath the topsoil of the earth under our feet just like all of the other metals on the periodic table of elements.

    Even if a few negligibly small pieces of lead were to inadvertently return to beneath the topsoil of the earth under our feet, let’s say at a target shooting range, for example, it really would not do a blessed thing except possibly offend a whole bunch of radical left-wingers, a group that many of whom now view extreme environmentalism as their de facto religion.

  4. Yes Ronnie, lead is made from an ore that is found underground. But it’s not just sprinkled all over the place, and it doesn’t enter the food chain in it’s natural form.

    Every single thing that is harmful to us or the environment comes from the earth in some way, since it can’t come from anywhere else. That doesn’t make it not harmful.

  5. Next will be the announcement that the other Olympic sports will be done using Wii games instead of actually being outdoors where altitude, temperature, and terrain might affect the performance of the “athletes.”

  6. Next will be the announcement that the other Olympic sports will be done using Wii games instead of actually being outdoors where altitude, temperature, and terrain might affect the performance of the “athletes.”

    I would be way more likely to watch this to be honest

  7. Guav,
    Lead from bullets does not “enter the food chain”. It is inert. It does not enter ground water, or travel at all. A study was done at Gettysburg, where lead bullets have been sitting in and on the ground for over a century.

  8. Fair enough. To be clear, my point was not that lead pellets or bullets are in fact environmentally harmful—I don’t know the science—my point was that merely pointing out that something exists in nature or comes from the earth is not in itself a compelling argument argument against the possibility that it’s harmful.

  9. Guav, I think you nailed it in your first comment. Why not just replace all shooting sports with laser pointer aiming?

    Ok, so you think lead is bad. Well collect and recycle and jacket with copper.

  10. gauv –

    “I don’t know the science”

    Enough said. That is why we aren’t listening to you.

  11. Guav, when we gunner folk shoot our guns at an approved target range, or even when we do so responsibly somewhere in the densely wooded areas of private or public lands, this does not result in lead being “sprinkled all over the place,” nor does this cause lead to “enter the food chain” whatsoever.

    I hope that you will realize soon, that is, if you have not already, that the whole lead-contamination issue is nothing but yet another farcical tactic that the hoplophobes have tried to use against the rest of us whenever we wish to exercise our constitutionally-protected firearm freedoms.

  12. Extreme Tolerance & Joe: I never said that the new policy of the Olympics was anything but stupid, or that I supported lead bullet bans—I don’t.

    Ronnie: I’m not an anti-lead crusader. My comment was not about lead specifically, but your logic, which is basically “Lead comes from the earth so it can’t be bad.” Carbon dioxide under pressure underneath Lake Nyos in Africa escaped and asphyxiated all living organisms within a 15-mile radius. Just because something is naturally occurring doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. That’s all I meant to point out.

    As far as lead goes, I tend to think that the lead from bullets is not a serious environmental issue.

  13. That’s pretty fascinating Kristopher, I’m just not sure how it pertains to the discussion.

  14. It’s okay, Guav, I got your point. Mercury comes from the Earth, too, but that doesn’t mean I’ll chug a tall, frosty glass. Also, just because mercury is poisonous doesn’t mean they need to ban thermometers at the Olympics.

  15. Just another reason to not watch the olympics. Like I needed another.

    And the Nobel Olympics prize goes to Barack Obama! Or Al Goron!

  16. Why even have the Olympics at all? Wouldn’t be easier to just have a bunch of Norwegians decide who wins which medals and give them to the athletes?

  17. Why even have winners and losers anymore? Isn’t that unfair to those athletes that aren’t as gifted? It’s got to be hard on their self esteem. The Olympics should just give gold medals to all contestants, regardless of how good they did in the event.

  18. Guav, I think you mean “how good they FELT about the event”?

    I am going to be the lone ranger here and say that I love the Olympics. It makes me unhappy when we loose the medal count. Olympics is crack for people who have athletic adhd.

  19. Yes, feelings are the most important thing. I like the summer olympics. Winter olympics have always interested me less.

  20. The Olympics should just give gold medals to all contestants, regardless of how good they did in the event.

    I hear the Norwegian judge has already given Barack a perfect 10.0 in the Men’s 10-meter platform dive.

  21. Could turn interesting if they could come up with a 5 watt laser pistol a la ‘Terminator’.

    Air pistols seem pretty tame anyway. They have already taken the ‘bang’ out of the sport of shooting.

  22. It would have been trivially easy to mandate lead-free pellets, if the “lead poisoning” argument were the real reason behind this change. Replacing air pistols with lasers instead of a much simpler requirement to use nontoxic shot suggests that it was the “gun-ishness” of the air pistols, and not the environmental impact, that may have been the primary driver here…

  23. Ronnie at #14 hits the bulls-eye. The “green” smear of firearms is a way to discredit guns, from international sports all the way down to shooting sports in schools. It’s a way to turn public sentiment against guns in a new way, and make them “uncool,” especially with kids. I think this is a much bigger deal than some of the posts here would let on.

  24. Some months ago I became convinced by Sebastian that lead at shooting ranges does not pose a major problem. It’s odd then that the Olympic committee is concerned. And how does this apply to the lead in gasoline. In some countries they still have it. I remember, maybe in the 70s more or less, it was quite accepted that it caused serious problems. Is that a different kind of lead, one that’s more transmissable than the solid lead in bullets?

  25. mikeb: I think the major issue with the lead used in gasoline was that it was burned and dispersed into the air. It could then be easily breathed. Additionally, it was able to spread through the air and settle on relatively distant things that could further spread contamination (e.g. if it drifted from a highway onto a nearby farm, aqueduct, reservoir, etc.).

    Lead from bullets remains solid and contained reasonably where it falls. While there is a small amount of airborne lead generated by the primer and the bullet impact, it’s minimal and usually contained in the area where the gun is fired and where the bullet impacts, respectively. Many ranges retrieve lead from their backstops and recycle it, but even if left alone, the lead remains on the range.

    Even if it didn’t, the amount of lead used in bullets is minuscule compared to the amount of lead used in gasoline, and wouldn’t have anywhere near the effects that leaded gasoline would have.

  26. mikeb: Additionally, lead-free bullets and primers do exist (though they tend to be considerably more expensive than lead bullets), and could be used in environmentally-sensitive areas or at the Olympics.

  27. The modern revival of the Olympics was brought about by Pierre de Coubertin. Guess what his sport was.

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