Because of draconian restrictions on handguns in the United Kingdom, Olympic smallbore pistol shooters from the UK have been forced to conduct their training in neighboring countries, such as Belgium and France. Obviously, the need to travel overseas to practice their sport has been a major handicap for UK shooters who will compete with Team GB* at the upcoming London Olympics. Said one smallbore pistol shooter: “Our goal is to win a medal for mother England, the 2012 host nation. But it is hard to compete on a world-class level when we can’t even train at home. Going overseas every time we need to practice wastes precious time and money. Other Olympic shooters don’t face these kind of obstacles.”
With the 2012 London Olympics soon approaching, UK Olympic officials have been looking at ways that Team GB pistol shooters can avoid the need to travel abroad just to practice shooting. Now, through a special act of Parliament, it appears that UK Olympic pistol shooters may finally be able to hone their marksmanship skills at home. A new law will allow qualified Olympic-level pistol shooters on Team Great Britain to import a new, non-lethal training device recently introduced in the United States. With the aid of the American-made Trigger Trainer, UK Olympic shooters can now practice their trigger-pulling skills without risking a trip to prison. The Trigger-Trainer is a plastic device with a pistol grip, and spring-loaded “trigger”. However, it is incapable of firing a projectile because it lacks a barrel, magazine, firing pin, and sights.
Some of Team GB’s shooters have expressed doubts about the usefulness of the rather primitive Trigger Trainer. (As it lacks front and rear sights, the Trigger Trainer is difficult to align precisely on the target). But top British Olympic decision-makers believe that the shooters’ complaints are unjustified. British Olympic Association official Nigel Wensleydale observed: “Complaints? That’s just idle whinging if you ask me… nothing’s perfect you know. Perhaps the Trigger Trainers do leave something to be desired as they come out of the box. But our Olympic shooters are clever lads. I think, with a little imagination and some sticky tape, these Trigger Trainers will be tip-top. Goodness, you could simply tape a drinking straw on top and sight through that. I mean how much precision do these chaps really need — the target’s only 10m away for goodness sake.”
*Great Britain is the name under which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland competes at the Olympic Games. Great Britain was one of 14 teams to compete in the first Games, the 1896 Summer Olympics, and has competed at every Games. Great Britain is the only team to have won at least one gold medal at every Summer Games.