Pistol League - a guide
Plinking away from a chair and table is fun and very relaxing. It can be therapeutic to lose yourself in the simple actions of knocking down tin chickens or spinning spinners from a rested position with a scoped PCP or a well set up springer with the tiny endorphin hit from every kill.
It's a big part of GARC and there's not a damn thing wrong with it.
However, some of us forego the comfort and ease of that and seek to challenge ourselves with 10m shooting. Depending only on your body for support and the Mk 1 eyeball for sighting, 10m Air Pistol shooting has been described as the toughest shooting discipline as it is almost entirely dependent on the shooter's abilities with no permitted aids other than an optional pair of funny glasses. No seats, no cushions, no rests, just stand up, shoot one-handed and do your best as there's nowhere to hide on the 10m lanes.
Starting out, you won't get the infinitesimally small sense of achievement as you do from every easy hit on the 50m range - you will suffer disappointment, you may tear your hair out, run screaming and vow never to pick up a pistol again.
But, when it all comes together and you get a decent score, that all changes. You'll get a far greater sense of satisfaction than from whacking spinners from a table - it'll be you that hit the target, not the scoped and rested rifle and that's a much bigger buzz. The desire to improve upon your previous scores sets in and then you're off.
Plinking just isn't the same afterwards.
It's not for everyone but you should all at least give it a try for half an hour to find out for yourselves.
Still here? Good.
If you fancy having a crack at our version of "10m lite" you'll need to get up to the indoor ranges and say hello. The four lanes on the left are given over exclusively to 10m shooting and there's usually someone on them. We're a friendly bunch so just express an interest and you'll be invited into the body of the kirk. There's no forms to fill in or subscriptions/entry fees to worry about as we keep things quite informal.
Don't worry about having a suitable pistol to start with, we'll get something sorted out.
We shoot 10 shots in a round, split five and five on two targets which are also called cards. The idea of five per card is to make scoring the holes easier. The Club supplies specific targets (NSRA 10m Air Pistol) to ensure everyone's on a level playing field and you should only use these. You can practice as much as you like beforehand but when it's time to man up and shoot your official entry, you must pre-sign your two cards and announce to your neighbour(s) on adjacent lanes that you're going “on the record.”
There's a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, it's a declaration of intent, that these cards will be the ones that get counted no matter what your score is. Secondly, it saves them getting confused with other targets lying around on the bench and, thirdly, it lets your shooting partners know when to stop chatting and let you concentrate. Good luck with that last bit if Black Tony's in the building.
Once you've signed your cards, put one of them in the “whizzer” and send it all the way downrange.
At this point, I'd recommend setting out your first five pellets as many people have lost count in mid shoot by shooting straight from the tin. Load, aim and shoot all five in your own time - no-one'll be standing behind you with a stopwatch. There's no retracting the target until you've fired all five shots and you can't use a spotting scope/binoculars/whatever to see where you're hitting either.
Retract the target and repeat.
Hand the targets over to someone else for scoring. Bri usually handles this but he's not always there so, instead, have a couple of your fellow shooters check your cards and come to an agreement.
Bear in mind that we're not recognising the innermost "10.9" bull - both it and the "10" ring count as 10.
Email Bri (email@example.com) with your score (out of 100) then wait for him to post an amended table with all the scores and positions, hopefully with you at the top of the tree, basking in glory, the respect of your peers and their envy.
Easy, isn't it.
Give it a try. You don't need an expensive, all singing all dancing target pistol as skill and ability are the deciding factors here. A comparatively inexpensive pistol like a Gamo Compact or HW40 and derivitives in the hands of a good shooter will beat a top end pistol wielded by a duffer so there's no need for a huge outlay to be competitive.
My favourite description of 10m Air Pistol is “frustrating fun.” Yes, it's an acquired taste and a challenge and a half but it's also strangely addictive, quietly exciting, easy to enter and can be as competitive as you want it to be – go for gold or just join in for the craic.
Grampian Air Rifle Club
Denwood Shooting Range
Call:Chris on 07938 215843 (Call between 6.30pm to 9.30pm any evening or text anytime.)
Opening hours Every Sunday 10.00 - 17.00 at Waulkmill Fishery & three or four Wednesdays per month at Denwood Shooting Range 18.00-21.00. Plus there will be additional dates added throughout the year. All shoot dates can be found here - http://www.grampian-air-rifle-club.co.uk/club-shoot-information/