Getting Started in Shooting Sports
Shooting sports is a great way improve your firearms handling skills and have fun doing it. Each style/discipline, shares commonalities. Each has a set of basic safety rules, Divisions (which group similar types of guns), Stages (which is a set, or grouping, of targets), and a method of scoring. You will be part of a small group of people (a squad) usually 10 or less as you take turns shooting the stages to complete the match. Each sport has a series of commands to help the shooter prepare to shoot the stage and a timer/buzzer that indicates that it’s time to begin shooting. There are also a series of commands at the end to ensure that the shooter safely empties and clears their firearm. All have a 180 rule which does not allow the shooter to move the gun farther than 90 degrees in either direction off center of the bay. We can help with a better discussion of this on the range.
Before you begin, you will need a www.Practiscore.com account. This account will be used for registration, and to check your scores. If you are even remotely interested in starting shooting sports, open your Practiscore.com account now. It’s free and easy and it will only take a minute. Once you sign up for your account, you can find the list of matches being held at Shadow Hawk Defense by clicking on the “Matches” link on the top menu bar and then entering “Shadow Hawk” in the “Search” box in the left margin and pressing enter. Now scroll down a little until you see the list of matches.
Where to begin? How you start in shooting sports depends on the type of firearm or firearms you have and your level of comfort handling and moving with them. We typically recommend starting with AirSoft or Steel Challenge. Below are the disciplines we offer and a description of each.
DISCIPLINES AND DESCRIPTIONS
AirSoft - If you are just a beginner or maybe don’t feel very comfortable handling a firearm, you can start with an AirSoft match. What is especially nice about starting with AirSoft is that the equipment can be borrowed from the range to get started. All you need to bring is full coverage eye protection, meaning the frames wrap around to cover the sides of your eyes. Or you can buy safety glasses at the range. Airsoft matches are held all year and can have indoor or outdoor stages, depending on weather or other activities happening at the range. The equipment needed for these matches is an AirSoft gun, a belt, holster, mags, and biodegradable bb’s. A baseball cap can be helpful as well. Targets are mostly paper with a few aluminum cans. Look for “Shadow Hawk Defense AirSoft” in the PractiScore search results.
Level 1 – Live Fire, Pistol
Steel Challenge - For this discipline you can shoot the match with a .22 from Low Ready, a higher caliber pistol drawing from a holster, or a pistol caliber carbine (PCC) from Low Ready. Each stage has 5 steel targets. They are a variety of targets from 10” rounds, 12” rounds, and 18 x 24” rectangles. Each stage is shot 5 times, 5 “strings”. Your worst string for each stage is eliminated and the remaining are used for your score. You can see a video of world class Steel Challenge shooters and some stages for this discipline on the landing page of https://scsa.org/
The equipment required is a .22 pistol or .22 rifle or other caliber pistol with holster, 5 magazines (6 is ideal), or a pistol caliber carbine with 3 magazines. There is a large variety of Divisions (ex: Rimfire Rifle, Rimfire Pistol, Production, Limited, Carry Optic, Single Stack, Open, Revolver, PCC) You will also need ammunition, eye and ear protection.
These matches are held outdoors in both the standard and off seasons. Steel Challenge matches are sanctioned and scores are uploaded to the Steel Challenge Shooting Association for your national ranking. Look for “Shadow Hawk Defense Steel Challenge” in the PractiScore search results.
Level 1 – Live Fire, Rifle
NRL .22 - Participants just need a .22 rifle and ammo to register. Participants will shoot steel targets on five different courses of fire. NRL .22 stages are standardized and are changed monthly. Everyone who shoots the match is competing against everyone else in the country who shoots in an NRL22 match during that same month. Scores will be submitted to NRL22 for national ranking. Shooters receive points for the number of targets they hit within the par time. These matches are held outdoors during the standard shooting sports season. Look for NRL .22 Sponsored by Immortal Arms at Shadow Hawk Defense on www.Practiscore.com.
Level 2 – Live Fire, Pistol
Shadow Hawk Point Series - If you are comfortable drawing from a holster and comfortable moving with your pistol (or PCC), you may wish to choose the Shadow Hawk Point Series. Targets for this match are varied paper and steel. This is an action shooting sport, movement with the gun is required. Small and moving targets and obstacles such as walls and ports can present a challenge. Rules and scoring are simple.
These matches are held outdoors during the standard shooting sports season. The equipment required is a 9mm or larger caliber pistol with holster and 4 magazines (5 is ideal), or a PCC with 2 magazines. You will also need ammunition, eye and ear protection. Look for “Shadow Hawk Steel” in the PractiScore search results.
IDPA - If you are comfortable drawing from a holster and comfortable moving with your pistol (or PCC), you may wish to choose IDPA. These matches simulate self-defense scenarios and real life encounters. These matches are held outdoors during the standard shooting sports season. These matches are held outdoors during the standard shooting sports season. The equipment required is a 9mm or larger caliber pistol with holster, a cover vest or jacket, 3-4 magazines, ammunition and eye and ear protection. You can learn move about this discipline and see a video at https://www.idpa.com/
Look for “IDPA at Shadow Hawk Defense” on www.Practicscore.com under matches.
Level 2 – Live Fire, Rifle
Modern American Rimfire Series (MARS) - This is a series of matches where a group of ranges participate. As the shooter completes a match, his/her points are averaged to establish rankings. To participate in this match you will need a .22 rimfire long rifle that can reach 200 yards, scope (10x or higher with dial) and magazine. These matches usually involve movement and can have some challenging targets. These matches are held outdoors during the standard shooting sports season. You can learn more and see a video about these matches at https://modernamericanrimfireseries.com/getting-started/
Level 3 – Live Fire, Pistol
USPSA - This is a dynamic shooting sport. Targets are a mix of paper and steel. Participants will work their way through mazes and obstacles to complete the stages of the match. See a video about this exhilarating sport at https://uspsa.org and click the red “What is USPSA” button. To get started, you need a pistol (or PCC), a belt and holster, 4 magazines, magazine holders, eye and ear protection, and lots of ammo. There are a variety of Divisions (ex: Production, Limited, Carry Optic, Single Stack, Open, Revolver, PCC).
These matches are held outdoors during the standard shooting sports season. USPSA matches are sanctioned and scores are turned in to the United States Practical Shooting Association for your national ranking. Look for USPSA at Shadow Hawk Defense on www.Practiscore.com.
Level 3 – Live Fire, Pistol and Rifle
2-Gun - This is a dynamic shooting sport. Targets are a mix of paper and steel. Participants will work their way through mazes and obstacles to complete the stages of the match. We follow the Mid-Atlantic 2-Gun rule set available on our website. To get started, you need a pistol (or PCC), a belt and holster, 4 magazines, magazine holders, a rifle (or PCC), eye and ear protection, and lots of ammo. There are a variety of Divisions (ex: Open, Tactical Scope, Tactical Limited).
These matches are held outdoors during the standard shooting sports season. Look for 2 Gun at Shadow Hawk Defense on www.Practiscore.com.
Once you complete a match, you can find your scores on www.Practiscore.com under the Scores tab. Enter Shadow Hawk in the search box and find your match. When you click on the match, you will see the results of everyone who participated. For sanctioned matches, your scores will be submitted to the sanctioning organization and in 3-4 days you will be able to log onto your account for that organization to see how your results affected your ranking.
We hope you found this information helpful. If you feel like you’re not quite ready to jump in to try shooting sports, you are welcome to come up and observe a match for free any time. Remember to bring your eye and ear protection. If you feel that you’re skilled enough but are still a little hesitant, first timers may bring their gear and try one stage for free. But be prepared to want to finish the match - Shooting sports are really fun!
No matter what you choose to do, you’ll find the people at the matches to be friendly and very helpful. The best part is that you don’t have to win to have fun, it is a welcoming group of people and a family friendly environment. (Please, no children under 10.) Click this link to see the full schedule of our matches:
If you have any questions send an email to Info@ShadowHawkDefense.com, or call the office at 304-229-8365. We will be happy to help you.
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