Your First Cowboy Action Shooting Match


You've done your homework, you have your gear ready (maybe it's a mix and match of gear that you've borrowed), and you are nervous but excited about shooting your first match! Here are some ways you can prepare so that your first shoot will be awesome.
 
Before Match Day

Before match day get a hold of the contact person for the club you are going to shoot with. You can find this person's phone number in the Cowboy Chronicle or in the affiliated clubs links area on the SASS website. Some things to ask him or her:

•What time is the safety briefing? Show up early enough to introduce yourself to the match director. Even if you've already read and understand the safety rules it is still important to pay special attention at the safety meeting. Remember, safety first!

•How many stages are there and how much ammo should I bring? Bring extra ammo in case you have to re-shoot a stage or two. A good rule of thumb is to bring 50 extra rounds.

•What time approximately will the shoot be over? Give yourself plenty of time to help clean up if you are able and/or socialize a bit after the awards ceremony.

Most clubs will have an experienced shooter assigned to shadow you for your first match. Also, some clubs hold a new shooter's orientation where you can learn all about the sport and get some hands on practice before your first match. It's good to give them a head's up in advance so that they can be expecting you.
 
On Match Day

Plan on bringing water and snacks. In fact, it's good to always keep some non-perishable snacks in your gun cart, like protein bars, trail mix, or beef jerky. If you missed breakfast or the shoot goes longer than you expected you will be glad that you did. There is nothing more distracting than trying to shoot with a growling stomach! Good hydration is super important too, especially in the summer time.

Don't try to be fast right away. Safety is your number one concern. Take your time and watch your muzzle, keeping it down range. For your first several matches work on familiarizing yourself with terminology and shooting orders. Oh yes, and be safe. I can't stress this enough! Learning to shoot within the 170 muzzle arc in competition can take a lot of focus at first. Building speed takes a lot of work and time. Every one of the top shooters in SASS has worked hard to get where they are, so don't think you are going to come out and kick butt right away. Focus on safety, learning shooting orders, and hitting the targets. Once that becomes second nature you can progressively work on building up your speed.

While you are shooting, try to be aware of the Range Officer who is timing you. The Range Officer is not concerned with penalties or misses, only safety, so if he shouts for you to stop shooting for any reason, then STOP. He may have spotted a safety issue and resolving that takes priority over the competition.

Unless you have a pressing appointment  try to stay for the awards ceremony. The shoot is not officially over until the awards ceremony, and this is a time when everyone is relaxed and feeling social. If you make a habit of leaving right after the shoot and not staying for the awards ceremony this may be interpreted as disrespectful. As a bonus - if you are the only one in your category you'll receive an automatic 1st place. This is often referred to as "choosing your category wisely"!

It doesn't matter how long you've been Cowboy Action Shooting, there is ALWAYS something new to learn - new transitions or tricks, ways to mod your gear, approaches to achieving mental focus... The learning never stops. Just remember that every level of shooter started exactly where you are right now. Whether it is your first round down range or your ten thousandth, the adrenaline rush is the same, and this is something that we all share in the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting.

You Will need to print out our release form before you shoot your first match with us.  If we don't have a form on file, don't worry, we will have some blank ones on hand for you to fill out at the shoot.