As I write this in the spring of 2014, just a few short weeks ago, the winter Olympics in Russia wrapped up. I am always inspired by the Olympics. The athletes work so hard – so very, very hard – to get to the highest level of competition, and they lay it all on the line against athletes from around the world. Quite frankly, it annoys me that the broadcasters who cover the Olympic games (either summer or winter, it makes no difference), put so much emphasis on winning the gold medals.
These athletes work for years – sometimes decades – to bring themselves to the level of Olympic competition, and to have some broadcaster say, in essence, “Well, he (or she) only won the bronze medal . . .” Don’t get me wrong; I think winning the gold is great, but I also believe that winning a spot on the Olympic team is an astonishing accomplishment in itself.
And did you know that 10 meter air rifle and 10 meter air pistol are part of the Olympic competition? They are, and today we’ll take a look at 10 meter air pistol, which was introduced into the world championships in 1970 and into the Olympics in 1988.
On the surface, it appears to be an incredibly simple game. You stand in normal street clothes 10 meters – 32.8 feet – from a target. With one hand, you aim an air pistol at a 6.7 inch by 6.7 inch target. What you are really aiming at, of course, is the 7/16 inch 10 ring. The object is to put as many pellets as you can inside the 10 ring during the course of a 40 or 60 shot match. It’s not easy; no one has shot a perfect score (all 10s) in 10 meter air pistol competition.
As competitive ventures go, 10-meter air pistol is surprisingly affordable. You can purchase a Daisy 747 single-stroke pneumatic pistol , suitable for club competition, for under $200. Add to that a sleeve of wadcutter .177 pellets and some practice targets, and you’re good to get started. Competitors at the highest levels generally shoot precharged pneumatic match air pistols that cost close to $2,000. What these pistols offer is incredible shot-to-shot consistency and a large number of adjustments to grip, trigger, and sights so that the shooter can tweak the ergonomics of the pistol so that he or she can shoot with utmost accuracy from shot to shot. Nevertheless, I have heard, first hand, the story of a high level air pistol shooter who was visiting a match, borrowed a Daisy 747 Triumph pistol, and shot a very respectable score.
If you want to know more about how to get started in 10-meter air pistol competition, visit http://www.usashooting.org/ . Click on the Resources tab for useful information, and under the Events tab, you will find lots of helpful stuff, including how to locate a club near you and how to find a match that offers 10-meter air pistol competition.
A personal aside, I tried shooting a season of 10 meter air pistol, and I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t much good at it, but I found the competition to be gratifying, I learned a lot about the competition, and I found the other competitors to be friendly and generous of their time and expertise. Even if you never get beyond the club level of competition, it is a lot of fun, and I recommend it.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott