Covid-19 and Field Target
Covid-19 got you down? Local clubs not running matches due to the virus? You guys going through Field Target withdrawal symptoms? What to do?
I have been browsing the forums since this mess started and have read that a lot of clubs are disallowing/canceling/postponing matches due to this pandemic to appease the local government putting pressure on everything and everybody. I have also been giving some thought (a lot actually) on how to alleviate some of the frustration, so I pondered on how I would collect my thoughts and put them in writing…..
We at Airgunners of Arizona are spread out all over the state, but a number of us live in the immediate Phoenix area. With the exception of center city, most of Phoenix and surrounding municipalities resemble suburban or even rural areas. Yeah, Phoenix is the 5th largest city in the country, but we are spread horizontally, not vertically. We are spread over a LARGE footprint of real estate.
Ben Avery shooting facility is in the far north of Phoenix. It takes me a good ¾ of an hour just to drive there from where I live. But it is out in the open air, plenty of sunshine, and healthy. As a user group, we get access to some of the specialty ranges on days when other groups don’t use them. Tuesday’s are one of those days. The range is closed to the general public and if we schedule a range, and it is approved, we get to use it…..exclusively.
We have a number of members who are retired and due to the virus are “stuck” at home and looking for an excuse to get out. We have developed a TRAC match; Tuesday Retired Airgun Challenge. We used to call if the Old Farts match, but one of the old farts was not liking the name, so we changed it. Still the same thing.
We get together on Tuesdays (duh!). We set up 5 lanes of 2 targets each which equates to 20 shots. We shoot through once, we move the targets around, then we shoot through the second time. Every Tuesday we shoot a 40-shot match. We could make it whatever we want it, but the point is to keep it simple.
We are using quarter concrete blocks. Instead of the 8 x 8 x 16-inch blocks that weigh a ton, the quarter blocks are 4 x 4 x 16. They don’t weigh too much and we get them at Home Depot for about a dollar each. We clamp the targets to the block. Again, Home Depot has their cheap steel clamps for $.99 each. After we attach the targets to the blocks with the clamps, we can carry one in each hand and head down range to set them where ever we want. Five guys, two targets each and we have a course set up in less than ten minutes. Run some strings and we are good to go.
Where am I going with this, you ask? How many of you guys have a few field targets of your own? Get to Home Depot and buy a few blocks, some clamps and you have YOUR SHARE of a course ready to go.
Here is the beauty of all of this…..
If you and a couple of buddies live near each other, and have back yards, you could set up your own weekday or weekend shooting events without the need to go to an established range, so long as you can do it safely. So what if you only have enough for 3 lanes. Set them up and shoot them, then move the targets around and shoot them again. Only have 25 yards or less? Set them up and practice your off-hand shooting.
I know some of you saying you don’t live that close to your shooting buddies. Some of our guys live 1.5 hours away and still drive to be able to shoot. Point is to get out and shoot! Maintain your social distancing like we have to do also. We also have to don our masks if we use the toilets, but that is a minor inconvenience, aside from cutting down on the smell. You can still follow your local Covid-19 protocols and still shoot on your own property, or switch back and forth with your buddies. Where there is a will, there is a way and you can still be safe doing it if you use a little common sense. It will get you out in the air, out in the sunshine, and if you have a patio behind the house, you can even shoot in the rain, underneath the cover, and not get wet! There are any number of ways to be able to shoot even if you cannot get to an established range.
Our little Tuesday get-togethers started as a means of getting together with our winter visitors who shoot airguns (aka; snowbirds) during the winter months when they are here. With Covid-19 being in the headlines and creating near panic everywhere, we had to forestall some of that, but then after we would finish one month, the guys would ask about next month, etc. We have been doing this every month now, since April. It is the same 5 – 6 – 7 guys, mix and match, but as noted above, we have a course set up in 10 minutes or less. Seems like this may end up being a year-round activity.
This not only gives us something to do, but also (with repetition) trains them in how to set up and run a match. Voila! You have a bunch of potential match directors-in-training. Kids out of school at that time, bring them along. There is your next generation of shooters, and learning the correct way, and having fun doing it. It is also casual and stress-free. A great way to practice.
The point to all of this is that you can adapt and overcome. Follow the guidelines, do it safely, maintain social distancing, etc, etc, etc and still satisfy your need to annihilate the steel critters. There are probably a number of other ways to accomplish the same thing, just use your imagination. Take down is as quick as set up was. Store you stuff away until next time……at your buddies house.
This Covid-19 stuff is going to dissipate at some point the same as the Spanish Flu did a century ago. Be cautious but not overly paranoid, use some common sense, and we’ll all get through this.
Hope this helps in some way. Meanwhile, take care, be safe, and stay healthy.