- Practical shooting gives people the chance to practice in real-life situations. You can find a number of teams across Wisconsin. Shooters believe the sport helps experts and beginners trying to work on their skills.
"I've been shooting for more than a year and a half, for me this is more fun than any type of shooting I've done in my life," Northwoods Practical Shooters Range Officer Bruce Gary said. "And I have literally been shooting my whole life."
The sport starts quietly, but that changes quickly. Gary describes the sport in a few words.
"It's an addiction." Gary said. "The more you shoot the more you want to shoot."
Practical shooting seems pretty simple. Shooters go through a course mirroring a realistic situation. They get points for their final course time and for hitting targets. It helps them practice a situation that could happen if they had to defend themselves.
"We very often have a door here and you have to open the door," Gary said.
The sport has strict safety requirements. You have to point your gun down course throughout your run. You also can't have your finger on the trigger while moving. You'll get disqualified if you break those rules. That helps beginners all the way to experts.
"It's a good way to learn how to use a handgun safely, quickly and yet accurately," Gary said.
Shooters get put in a class depending on what type of gun they have. However, shooters say that it's not the competition they're going up against; rather it's their best time.
The Northwoods Practical Shooters have been around for a little more than a year. They've seen the sport grow in that time.
"We get guys from Lodi, Green Bay, Houghton, Hancock, Land O Lakes," Gary said. "I mean, this is becoming a very popular sport."
The sport could keep growing and shooters think they know why.
"Reloading is fun," Gary said. "I'm learning a skill set I never had and meeting nice people."
For Gary, there isn't much more than that.
The Northwoods Practical Shooters will have their final competition of the year this Sunday at 9 a.m. in Rhinelander. Shooting starts at 9:30 a.m.
The competition is open to the public at the Hodag Sports Club rifle range at 5896 Sports Club Road Rhinelander, WI 54501.
The group competes under the United States Practical Shooting Association.