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
•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
•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
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
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