As gold medal winner Peter Wilson said, â€œSometimes shooting has a bit of a reputation as a rich manâ€™s pastime, and as a closed and close-knit community. Iâ€™d like to change that. Itâ€™s neither elitist nor expensive to doâ€ â€“ and as someone new to the world of shooting, I couldnâ€™t agree more. Working at William Powell has finally pushed me to get on and have a go at a sport that for years I considered to be perhaps a little exclusive and difficult to get in to â€“ itâ€™s not by the way!
So the first time I picked up a gun, it was a little .410 and I was shooting at a single clay trap effectively in my friends back garden (her boyfriend is a Game Keeper, so weâ€™re not talking a garden on a residential housing estate!) â€“ I spent no time considering stance, gun mount, eye dominance or any of that, simply took a few (awful!) shots at a few clays â€“ itâ€™s safe to say I wasn’t very good.
But, of course, not everyone has a friend thatâ€™s a Game Keeper and access to guns to just have a little go â€“ fear not, getting in to shooting really is easy and not expensive!
My second attempt was a group outing with some friends, which was an altogether different experience. As a group, we all simply paid Â£45 each, and had a couple of hours of in-depth instruction to include a detailed safety briefing, basic gun handling, general posture and of course how to mount a gun and (hopefully!) shoot a clay. I went home chuffed having hit a fair few clays, and indeed hooked (just as well working for one of the most trusted gun makers and country clothing retailers.).
Iâ€™ve since had two further lessons, one with our independent gun fitter Tom Payne, and one I enjoyed with my fiancÃ© (also new to shooting) on our way back from a trip to Wales. Well and truly hooked by this point, I am planning to have regular lessons with Tom â€“ so stay tuned for general ramblings from a novice shot over the coming months.
The point is though; itâ€™s easy to have a go at shooting. You donâ€™t need your own gun, any sort of license or even any of the safety equipment to get started, simply get yourself booked in for a lesson at any reputable shooting school and all of this is provided for you, and at approx Â£45/hour to include all of your clays and cartridges itâ€™s not going to break the bank. All you need is some comfortable clothes and a craving to hit some clays!
In my opinion, shooting is a sport that is vitally important for the rural community and the more accessible and understood that it becomes by a wider range of people from all walks of life the better.