So what is Practical shooting, or as it’s also known by some, dynamic or action shooting?
It’s an international sport governed by the International Practical Shooting Confederation – ipsc.org – and in Great Britain by the United Kingdom Practical Shooting Association.
It is probably the most demanding of all the shooting sports. It requires speed, accuracy and movement, with having to engage up to 28 targets from knock down metal ones to paper ones to frangible targets. And all this from different shooting positions, around obstacles, through apertures, as well as over or under things.
There is also the fact that, unlike most shooting sports, you never shoot the same course of fire twice, so flexibility of thought is equally important – it’s probably the only shooting discipline that requires problem-solving to achieve a successful score. There’s usually more than one way to shoot a stage and knowing which is going to be fastest and score the highest is the big problem to solve. Plus, of course, doing it safely, as you must be mindful that you are doing all this whilst moving with a loaded gun which you will also be likely to be reloading so you can finish the course. This is all done under the watchful eye of at least one highly trained Range Officer, on a one competitor to (at least) one RO ratio.
It is shot at everything from club level – fun and games among like-minded friends – to full on International World level shoots and all levels in between with a high degree of camaraderie among the competitors. Most competitions in the UK are run over one day with the match being split up into perhaps 9 different stages (courses of fire), challenging the shooter in different ways on each one.
We even have a postal series in the UK run every year which is free to enter and is open to non-UKPSA members, with a summer series and a winter series and trophies awarded to the winners.
“But what guns do you use?” is the next question. The answer is shotguns, full bore rifles, small bore rifles, air soft handguns, and in the UK due to our strange firearms laws, long barrelled pistols in .22 and long barrelled revolver in full bore. If you’re lucky enough to shoot abroad there are also full bore handguns so nearly every type of firearm is catered for but for fairness you only ever shoot against the same type of gun.
There are regular safety courses run by the UKPSA to enable all standards of shooter to join in safely, enjoy themselves and go from a complete novice to being able to take part in a national level competition, not embarrass themselves and perform in a safe and responsible manner.
For more information surf to ukpsa.org
With thanks to Gary Dyer – UKPSA Competition Secretary
Photos on this page by Ben Love at BL Photographic
Target Shotgun was first developed in 2003. It is a shooting discipline that grew out of Practical Shotgun and came about as more accuracy was required when shooting slug ammunition through the Section 1 shotguns used in practical.
The sport began by developing the old PP1 and Service Pistol courses of fire, now known as Timed and Precision and Multi Target. Some who enjoyed practical but did not always fancy the physical demands, found a new home with Target Shotgun.
The National Target Shotgun Association (NTSA) was formed in 2009 to develop the discipline and to spread the sport further afield. Target shotgun has come a long way and now includes long range shooting at 100 – 200 yards and the use of older shotguns has also become a strong favourite with NTSA Historic matches.
More courses of fire have been developed and now include the use of both birdshot and buckshot ammunition types. Although the majority of NTSA matches will always be about shooting slug as accurately as possible.
The NTSA has lived up to its name and is a national organisation that has taken the sport to all parts of the United Kingdom, including as far away as Northern Ireland. Regular area Championships take place with an Annual National Champion being declared at the end of each year.
To find out more about Target Shotgun shooting and the NTSA visit their website.
With thanks to Vanessa Duffy – NTSA Chairman