NWT Action Pistol Match returns

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The interest in action pistol shooting was there so why not bring back the event?

That’s what happened as the NWT Federation of Shooting Sports brought back the NWT Action Pistol Match this past weekend. According to John Dzurka, one of the match directors, it had been the first time in nearly 10 years something like this happened.

“The interest in something like this was there so we thought it would be a good idea to get it going again,” he said.

A total of 15 shooters – three of which came from Hay River – were at the Yellowknife Shooting Range for the weekend to test their skills against 12 different courses, six per day, said Dzurka.

“We had a different course set up for each round,” he said. “Some were one-hand, some were off-hand (non-dominant hand) and some involved movement. We had a good mix of everything, not just a stand-and-shoot kind of thing.”

Each of the courses had scoring targets of the classical variety. A classic target, which resembles a stop sign at first glance, has no head on it and contains three scoring zones: Alpha, Delta and Charlie. The goal of each course was to shoot accurately and quickly with as few penalties as possible.

Chris Hotson prepares to reload his gun during a stage as part of the NWT Action Pistol Match at the Yellowknife Shooting Range on Sunday. James McCarthy/NNSL photo.
Chris Hotson prepares to reload his gun during a stage as part of the NWT Action Pistol Match at the Yellowknife Shooting Range on Sunday. James McCarthy/NNSL photo.

Dzurka said the reason classic targets are used is because they’re more politically correct than metric targets.

“If you go to American competitions, they still use metric targets, but the 63 other countries under IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) all use the classic targets,” he said.

A majority of the shooters were men, but there were three women among the competitors. Michelle Dzurka was the top women’s shooter over the course of the weekend and was the top shooter in the standard division; she ended up third overall among all the competitors.

John Dzurka said female participation in sport shooting is something he would like to see increase.

“If you look at black badge classes in Alberta, 20 per cent of those taking the classes are female,” he said. “The population of gun memberships around the country is around 20 per cent female. You’re starting to see a lot of daughters and wives taking up sport shooting. It isn’t the stereotypical 40-something, ex-military or ex-police officer man. It’s all about getting people to enjoy the sport and I would like to see more women get involved.”

He pointed out that there were two husband-and-wife combinations competing this past weekend.

Dzurka said another reason events like this are important is to show that those who compete in sport shooting aren’t out to cause harm of any sort.

“We’re a group of people who enjoy shooting at targets and having fun,” he said. “Safety is always first and foremost in everything we do. We always make sure everyone knows who’s looking after First Aid, we always make sure we have someone designated to call if there’s an emergency, we have an accident plan in place. Everything we do is all about being safe and responsible.”

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