Normally when people ask me what sports I play, I say “I ski quite a bit, jog in my free time but my main sport is shooting Target Rifle” and then they look blankly at me and say “But Scott what is Target Rifle Shooting? is it even a real sport?”
Well, yes of course! In this blog, I want to let everybody know what I do and how challenging and fun Target Rifle can be.
When I say ‘Target Rifle’ I really use it as an umbrella term for a whole load of different disciplines such as 10m Standing Air Rifle, 3 Positions .22 Rifle and 50m Prone Rifle. The latter of which, 50m Prone, is my main focus. Although I started the other two when I moved to Glasgow.
50m Prone rifle is a discipline shot at the Olympic/Commonwealth Games and ISSF (The governing body for Target Rifle) World Cups. Basically, the shooter lies down facing the target and has 50 minutes to shoot 60 shots through it. Each shot is scored, by a computer, for accuracy. The scoring works on a decreasing scale with 10.9 being the most accurate and 1.0 being the least. This all sounds quite easy, but then you have technique and the wind to take into consideration. Even a small change in position can affect your score massively and then wind can send your shots flying in all directions.
During the winter I train indoors with Glasgow University Rifle Club. Rifle shooters are a bit like swimmers, we compete at 50m but usually only have access to 25m ranges. At Glasgow, we have a brilliant 25m range in Bearsden, which is perfect for honing in areas of my technique and when I need to I have access to a 50m range at Meadowbank, Edinburgh.
When Summer comes, it brings with it the beginning of the Outdoor Season. This is when shooters can move from Indoors and put all of their winter training to good use. It's a busy time filled with training sessions, working towards the big competitions in July/August.
The reason I like my sport so much is because it isn't just a skill. It’s a balance of technique and physical/mental stamina, constantly challenging the athlete to adapt to ever changing external conditions.