On Saturday morning, three friends and I headed out to a local practical pistol "practice match." The monthly sessions at Cedar Mountain Youths are a chance to get in some practice with your pistol and at the same time help raise funds for the youth programs at Cedar Mountain.
I enjoy these gatherings for the chance to shoot, and as a great way to introduce others to competitive pistol in a low-pressure environment. Last year, my friend Greg got his introduction to the sport here, and this weekend we took two other friends who were experienced shooters, but had not participated in competitive matches. This year the Cedar Mountain events are even more low pressure, as the hits on the targets are recorded and the score sheets are yours to take, but the results are not tabulated or posted online. It's all for your own information.
The six stages set up were fairly simple, only two involved movement, and only one with a required reload. There were stages with quick close shots and others with longer, tight shots with "no-shoot" targets in the way. The skills tested were the same you might come across in more formal match. Despite their simplicity, the stages were interesting even for the experienced shooters in attendance. And since the practice "match" is not scored, it's a great time to push yourself in ways you might not want to when shooting for a score. Our squad even had time for some shooters to who wished to try a stage twice; for example to see the difference between shooting on the move or while stationary.
We started shooting around 9:00AM were done shooting and had the props put away by 11:30. On our drive home, it was apparent that the two new participants were hooked. (Actually, I do not recall a time when I had a first-time shooter or competitor who was not hooked after the first match.) I shared info on the many sanctioned USPSA and IDPA matches in the area, and I expect I might see some of these guys at other matches soon.
If you want to introduce friends to practical pistol, or are just looking for a chance to practice on stage setups that your local range doesn't permit, the CMYI monthly practical pistol practice might be the ticket. Of course, there's the fun of being on the range for a few hours of shooting with good people too! The normal schedule for the event will be the 2nd Saturday of the month through the Summer and Fall. Conveniently this doesn't conflict with other matches I might attend, so I expect to take advantage of the practice opportunities often.