March 2nd, 2012

USA Shooting Viewpoint: Men vs. Women in Competitive Shooting

This article originally appeared on the USA Shooting website.

As the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of Olympic-style shooting in the United States, USA Shooting (USAS) welcomes the dialogue created by the recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Mark Yost titled: Taking Aim at an Old Debate: Can female athletes compete against men?. In shooting, yes — but not in the Olympics. In this article, Yost points out several interesting facts and observations about our sport. This dialogue allows us to engage the shooting community, expand our thinking and establish pathways for bettering our sport for the future.

You will get little argument from many of today’s top shooters, both male and female, as to the shooting abilities of women throughout USA Shooting’s ranks. The success of the collegiate programs like TCU and many intercollegiate programs in the U.S. only echo these beliefs as do some of the sport’s elite shooters like Kim Rhode, a four-time Olympic medalist in trap and skeet shooting, or Katy Emmons, a three-time Olympic medalist from the Czech Republic who is married to [U.S. Olympian] Matt Emmons.

Jamie Gray 2008 Olympic Shooter

“I am a born competitor and whether it is men or women I want to win,” said Jamie Gray, a 2008 Olympian in Rifle. “In a sport that is equal between men and women I would most definitely enjoy the competition. I started out only knowing that men and women compete against each other. It wasn’t until I learned shooting was an Olympic sport that I realized men and women didn’t compete against each other. It is exciting to me that there are still sports out there that men and women can be equal, however for other reasons it may be better that there are different categories for each.”

From 1968 through the 1980 Olympic Games, Olympic shooting events were mixed, with opportunities for women and men to participate regardless of gender. At the 1980 Games in Moscow, there were six shooting events contested. At the upcoming Games in London, there will be 15 events contested. Opportunities for women to compete in Olympic shooting have not shrunk with the dissolution of “mixed” events, but rather have grown as a result not only in our brand of shooting but across all platforms of the shooting sports. In Olympic competition, 14 women got the opportunity to compete in shooting at the 1980 and 1976 Olympic Games combined. Since that time, the numbers have risen from 77 in 1984 to 145 female competitors at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

China Shan Zhang 1992 Gold Medal SkeetShan Zhang Won Gold in 1992
Recent history also suggests that woman can perform alongside men in shooting competitions. At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, female competitor Shan Zhang of China became the Olympic gold medalist that year in mixed-event skeet, topping a field of both men and women. Over two days of competition she produced a score of 373 out of 375, a new Olympic and world record. She also became the first woman in the history of the Olympic Games’ shooting competition, to beat all the male shooters in her event. Since that time, no mixed events have been held in an Olympic shooting competition.

“As a proud American female citizen, participating in a sport where gender-specific characteristics are not advantageous, I would overwhelmingly favor a chance to compete in a mixed event — or at least a women’s event with an equal number of targets as the men,” said Kelsey Zauhar, a USA Shooting National Team member in Shotgun.

USA Shooting“I think that anytime you have competition where size or strength is not a factor, females can absolutely compete with the males,” said USA Shooting National Team Pistol shooter and USAS Board member Sandra Uptagrafft. “The fundamentals of executing a good shot work the same regardless of gender, size or age. The question of why females no longer compete with males or why we have differing number of shots in the same events comes up often when I explain our sport to new people. It does seem sexist, but the fact that we have separate events from males in the Olympics actually is a good thing since more females can compete this way. There can only be so many people on the shooting line at one time. I personally am just happy to have a sport like shooting in which I can excel.”

FACTOID: Research by the National Sporting Goods Association shows female participation in target shooting grew by 46.5% between 2001 and 2010. And an October 2011 Gallup Poll found 23 percent of women own a gun. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, from 2001 to 2010, female participation in hunting grew by almost 37 percent.

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March 2nd, 2012

FREE Downloadable Classic Shooting and Firearms Books

Free Classic Shooting BooksIn today’s economy, Free is good. Here’s a list of older shooting books that can be downloaded for FREE from Google Books. This list, created by German Salazar, includes many classic treatises on marksmanship that still have value for today’s competitive shooters. In addition, we’ve included illustrated firearm histories, such as Townsend Whelen’s fascinating book, The American Rifle, and The Gun and its Development (9th Ed.), by William Wellington Greener.

In the list below, the title link will take you to the Google Books page for each book. You can read the entire book online, or you can download it to your computer as a PDF file* and save it (or print it). You can also create your own Google Library and save the books there for access from any computer.

The Bullet’s Flight From Powder to Target, Franklin W. Mann, 1909, 384 pages.

Irish Riflemen in America, Sir Arthur Blennerhassett Leech, 1875, 216 pages.

The American Rifle, Townsend Whelen, 1918, 637 pages.

Suggestions to Military Riflemen, Townsend Whelen, 1909, 243 pages.

Modern Rifle Shooting From the American Standpoint, W. G. Hudson, 1903, 155 pages.

Gun Development GreenerThe Gun and its Development, William Wellington Greener, 1907 (9th Ed.) 846 pages.

Manual for Rifle Practice: Including Suggestions for Practice at Long Range, George Wood Wingate, 1879, 303 pages.

How I Became a Crack Shot — With Hints to Beginners, W. Milton Farrow, 1882, 204 pages.

Cartridge Manufacture, Douglas Thomas Hamilton, 1916, 167 pages.

Description and Rules for the Management of the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, Model of 1903, United States Army Ordnance Dept., 1904 (5th rev. 1914), 72 pages.

Springfield 1903 rifle U.S. Army

CLICK HERE for more FREE, downloadable Classic Shooting Titles.

*To download a book, first click the title from the list above. Then, once you’re at the Google book site, look for the icon that looks like a gear in the upper right-hand corner. Click that and a pull-down menu will appear. Select “Download PDF” from the menu — this will bring up a security question to make sure you are a human. Respond to the security question correctly and your normal download prompt will appear. Choose a location to hold your new e-book, and click “save”.
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March 2nd, 2012

New Nikon 3-9x40mm EFR Scope for Rimfire and Airgun Rifles

If you’re an airgun or rimfire shooter, you need a scope with the ability to focus at short distances, since you’ll typically be shooting at targets from 10 yards to 55 yards (50m). Scopes used for centerfire shooting may not be able to focus sharply at these close ranges. That’s why various manufacturers have developed EFR (Extended Focus Range) scopes.

Add Nikon to the list of EFR scope-makers. Nikon just introduced the ProStaff Target EFR 3-9x40mm riflescope featuring an adjustable objective lens that can focus from 10 meters to infinity. That’s right, Nikon’s affordable ($189.95) new 3-9X EFR scope goes all the way down to ten meters (about 33′). That makes it very useful for Airgun and BB gun shooters.

The waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof EFR boasts Zero-Reset turrets with 1/4-inch adjustments at 50 yards (i.e. 1/2″ at 100 yards). Make note of that — if you are shooting mostly at 100 yards and beyond, you don’t want this scope — it really has been set-up for the short stuff. Total adjustment at 100 yards is 80 MOA; that give you an adjustment range of about 40″ at 50 yards. Nikon’s new ProStaff 3-9x40mm Target EFR scope comes with a matte finish, and retails for just $189.95.

Nikon EFR 3-9x40 rifle scope

Like all Nikon riflescopes, the Target EFR is optimized for use with Nikon’s Spot On™ Ballistics program. The Spot On program can be purchased for iPhone, iPad and Android or utilized for free at nikonhunting.com/spoton.
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