Apr 29, 2009

Shooting Sports, Anti-Gun Climate

Promoting Shooting Sports in an Anti-Gun Climate

Why are shooting sports ignored by the mainstream media?

The NRA, GOA, and others keep telling us to send money so they can fight the anti-gunning hordes and protect the sanctity of the 2nd Amendment. Every month, gun and hunting mags remind us of our heritage, tradition and importance of gun ownership.

So what sporting activity tends to attract the majority of average gun owners? Spectator ball sports, and golf. You can go to local gun clubs on a beautiful day and find no one there using the facilities.

Consider: The NRA has over 4 million members, but their most popular, century-old shooting events attract no more than 50,000 participants. Most of the NRA's own members don't participate in NRA-sponsored shooting events! If most of the membership isn’t participating how can we be surprised there is no support for those who do?

When the NRA fails to motivate its own membership to participate in its own events, how can we blame the "anti-gun" media for ignoring us?

Now, this doesn’t make shooting events the end-all, be-all of every gun owner. The point is pro-gun folks can't blame the "anti-gun" media for ignoring shooting events when many NRA members ignore NRA-sponsored events.

We’re told shooting isn't really suited to TV-addicted sheep-le. It doesn't deliver fast enough action and it isn't "all in one place" for the convenience of camera crews. And last but not least, the “real” reason that the shooting sports are not televised is because of the anti-gun bias in the media.

Is it really? Let's ask one Olympic-level shooter where she thinks the promotion problems rest:

``Biathlon is the most watched winter sport in Europe on television, and you come home to to America to compete, and people aren't quite sure what the two sports are, or often they think it's three different sports,'' said Rachel Steer, the top-ranked U.S. woman, from Anchorage, Alaska. ``So you're already in an uphill battle.''

This top-ranked competitor seems to feel that a lack of knowledge and understanding of the sport keeps it from gaining popularity.

Average gun owners, including many card-carrying members of gun organizations, are neither knowledgeable or understanding of the events available to them. These organizations can speak directly to its membership and try to motivate them to participate. How is the anti-gun media factoring into this?

There is no reason that shooting can't become a popular spectator sport. The only thing that stands in the way is the masses of uncaring, unimaginative gun organizations and owners who keep convincing each other that “this sport just doesn’t appeal.”

Consider that golf provides neither fast action, nor '..."all in one place" for the convenience of camera crews.' Several decades ago golf was not successful as a spectator sport. So they made a few modifications.

The scores used to be posted as the number of strokes through a number of holes, and it was very tough for spectators to tell who was leading. Then, par scoring for each hole allowed the reporting of in-progress scores as "1 under" or "even" and such, making it easy to tell at a glance who was ahead, even when players were on different parts of the course. Spectator interest was developed as a direct result of this change in the way scores were displayed.

The golfing organizations and players slowly built a fan base, attracted sponsors and pursued television exposure. Golf is still very slow and uses arcane terms (birdie, slice, hook, eagle), but it has proven a popular spectator sport, primarily because the people involved *believed* they could create a sport worth

If gun organizations and shooters can’t think of a way to create a shooting sport that rivals the excitement and spectator appeal of golf, then we are truly doomed.

The bottom line for obtaining support for ANY sport is: Attract enough viewers, which will attract advertisers/sponsors, who will spend $$$ to advertise.

If you build and maintain a viewership and prove you have the raw numbers, you'll get the sport/show televised. Period.

The gun owning public has the raw numbers, with estimates as high as 80 million in the U.S. alone. This number rivals the viewership of the single largest annual televised sporting event on Earth (SuperBowl just over 100 million). A dedicated fan base of, say, 4 million would definitely get you noticed.

How many people are in the NRA? But when they keep telling themselves that shooting is too slow/boring/arcane/politically incorrect (take your pick), it is self-fulfilling prophecy.

Apr 22, 2009

Shooting Quote Worth Repeating

"A golf course is the willful and deliberate misuse of a perfectly good shooting range."

Apr 15, 2009

Uniting Gun Owners Through Activity

Pro-gun activists and lobbyists debate on the best approach to defeating anti-rights forces. Too bad their approach is usually wrong.

The greatest need is to get the non-shooter regularly involved in an organized shooting activity of their own choosing. All varieties of organized events need to be readily available and promoted in the local areas where the events are held, the ultimate grass roots approach. Most important of all, minimize the work effort needed for shooters and clubs to affect all this. This will automatically improve the political effort by providing local and on-going positive examples of good gun ownership.

Pick a discipline you like, attend and promote it! Plinking is OK, when done safely, but it is less useful than a casual game of "Horse" in developing skills. Hunting is great, but lasts for only a few days or weeks each year. CCW/self-defense is important, but most people will never be forced to defend themselves.

Shooting on the range is available 365 days a year. With organized events we can promote and demonstrate our best skilled marksmen. Is this effective? Ask the NFL, NBA, PGA, etc., if promoting organized
competition and highly skilled participants is an effective way to promote an activity!

A common myth is that shooting can't be a spectator sport and never will be. Shooting does NOT have to be boring to watch! Outside of the U.S., "conventional" events (3 Position rifle, Free Pistol, etc.) are televised in their entirety. Shooting events at the Olympics routinely sell out stadiums with 5,000+ seating capacity.

Are the current venue of shooting games too boring to watch? Create something different! HunterShooter has a big game target system that simulates target angle, gives instant feedback, and resets itself. Elapsed time, measured to 0.01 second, can be measured and displayed on an electronic board. All this equipment is available at a price that is affordable for small shooting clubs or even individual shooters.

With our system field shooting contests for hunters will become as fast and exciting as any televised sport, even for a live audience.

Apr 8, 2009

Stop Wasting Ammo!

In terms of increased marksmanship proficiency most ammunition expended by civilian and military folks is largely wasted.

Most military personnel are not marksmanship enthusiasts, go to the range by order, and are lead through staid courses by other non-marksmen. The concepts of the course of fire are often lost due to being interpreted by personnel who may not have ever read the appropriate Field Manual or regulation directing the training.

Outside of the competitive realm civilian gun owners don't even have this much. Hunter's Education and basic safety courses are the limit of most gun owner's knowledge.

If you like to plink, please, have at it. Some people just like to hear the gun go bang. If your goal is to have fun and you can discharge firearms without injury or damaging property then have a good time. Just don't pretend that such random activity will somehow convey good shooting skills.

Ideas to help you Stop Wasting Ammo:
  • Conduct regular dry practice

  • Train in dry practice, test with live fire

  • Shoot with a plan

  • Make use of sub-caliber arms, such as air guns and .22