There are hundreds of types of pistol matches to shoot every year, and the number goes up exponentially with the addition of rifle and shotgun. This massive selection means that I must pick my shooting schedule carefully. Of course the first question regarding whether I should attend a match is this one: “Can I shoot my revolver?” After that, I ask myself what I expect to come from shooting this particular match?
Last year, for the first time I went to a match I consider extremely special and very close to my heart. This past weekend I attended the annual Ag-Safe Fundraiser at the Five Dogs Range in Bakersfield, Calif. Ag-Safe is a network of the agriculture industry dedicated to keeping those involved in all aspects of agriculture safe and healthy. As its website states, “Our mission is to provide employers and employees in the agricultural industry with the education and resources needed to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities.” Ag-Safe works to fund and create projects designed to ensure the highest level of safety in the agricultural world.
A key part of deciding whether I want to attend a match is seeing who will be there. Rich Wolfe, a friend and world champion revolver shooter, told me about this event. He explained the match invited various benefactors out to the range to try different aspects of shooting, including a shotgun clay match and an action-pistol match and demonstration. If I wasn’t hooked before, I certainly was at the mention of run-and-gun opportunities. Just to add to the greatness of the event, Rich mentioned that John Bagakis and Todd Crow, both champion revolver shooters, would be attending, too. They are professional, amazing, fun and safe shooters, with huge hearts and a genuine love for the community and for action pistol shooting. Shooting with these guys is an honor.
I quickly said I would be there to do whatever I could, which turned out to be having a great time working with the attendees on safety, technique, and all elements of completing stages. About halfway through the day, during the match with 4 stages, some of the wives of shooters stopped by. Their request surprised me; they wanted to shoot for the very first time!
Immediately, we went to the next empty bay, and I gave them a run-through on safety, techniques and all those aspects I mentioned in my last article. A range officer even lent us his semi-automatic for the women to shoot. As they tried both types of pistols, noting the difference in recoil, they determined their favorite overall. I’m proud to say that it was not the semi-auto; they preferred the Smith & Wesson 627 revolver. The ladies did a fantastic job on the range. One new shooter even managed to shoot a group no bigger than an inch. In fact, we joked about them outshooting their husbands next door!
As the day progressed, it just got better and better, watching the competitors improve as they went from stage to stage and encouraging more involvement in firearms competition. The snacks from Pistachio and Pom tasted delicious and kept all the shooters going all day. The next surprise occurred during the grand finale, when we witnessed exploding pumpkins.
What? Exploding pumpkins?
Yes! It was as cool as it sounds, maybe even more! Rich Wolfe took pumpkins filled with Tannerite and set them out at 25 yards. He then gave me his AR-15 and told me to “have fun.” There’s something magical, majestic about the bursting of a huge orange squash as conducted by a tricked-out rifle that can bring joy to the heart of any onlooker. Luckily, we got it on camera as well.
This was a match worth going to, and a cause worth supporting. We raised plenty of donations earmarked for education and I look forward to attending the event in 2014.
Visit Ag-Safe for more information.