Getting Western with Cowboy Action Shooting

Cowboy Action competitions often demand precise shots, such as this one where a competitor attempts to hit a target through two doorways.

Cowboy Action competitions often demand precise shots, such as this one where a competitor attempts to hit a target through two doorways. (photo by Sara Norman)


Getting Started
I started shooting in the Gunfighter Division many years ago thinking it would give me practice with my weak hand. As a result, I now shoot much better with it as far as lining up the sight and trigger control are concerned.

Again, beyond the practice it provides a person’s shooting skills, it is so much fun shooting guns like the cowboys of the old movies, a six gun in each hand, and actually hitting the targets.

There are two ways to shoot Gunfighter. One is cocking both pistols at the same time and shooting both rounds (one at a time) and cocking them again until the stage is shot, or the way I started out, cocking the pistols one at a time. In that fashion, a shooter ends up cocking one pistol as they fire the other.

Whichever style of shooting you choose, there is also the option to go over to the dark side: black powder. The Frontiersman category, for instance, requires the shooter to use black powder in all the guns shot.

These are fun matches that take the smokeless folks out of their comfort zone. There is a lot of smoke, and with any luck, a small breeze so you can see the targets. As a course of competing in the Frontiersmen category, competitors get pretty good at knowing where target are through the smoke.

Making a Name for Yourself
Costuming and an alias are mandatory to a cowboy action shoot. They go hand in hand as you might dress to fit your alias.

Thinking up an alias can be easy or hard. You might pick up an alias because of your conduct, like a lot of the cowboys of old did, or you can pick a name from one of the characters of the Old West and integrate it into your name. The name can also not have anything to do with the West but is an interesting play on words.

Some of the names people come up with are extremely witty and SASS keeps a record of the registered names so there are no duplicates. Your name is your name throughout the SASS world so pick a good one.

Minimum cowboy dress includes a hat, boots, western shirt, bandana and pants, but you could easily go overboard with the costume and are actually encouraged to do so.

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