Paul Sadler

The for­mer sol­dier on how myr­iad ob­sta­cles won’t stand in the way of his shoot­ing am­bi­tions

Shooting Gazette - - In the hot seat - In­ter­view by: robert Cuth­bert

So Paul, you want to be the first ever in­jured ser­vice­man to shoot for the Army’s sport­ing team. A tall or­der, you’d agree?

“Ab­so­lutely, I can’t deny it. I was asked by a friend to shoot in the Royal Ar­tillery team years ago. We seemed to win ev­ery­thing but be­cause I was in­jured I couldn’t ‘of­fi­cially’ shoot in the Army team even though I think they may have used my scores. The same friend rang me up again and asked if I wanted to try for the team. I had to do the Army de­vel­op­ment squad shoot and he re­ally felt I de­serve to be in it. I’ve done their two selection shoots and won them both.”

What would it mean to you to rep­re­sent the Army as a shot?

“For me it’s all about show­ing peo­ple that in­jured vet­er­ans can still do th­ese things and do them well. We can still do it, in­juries or not. A lot of us have been left with things that aren’t any good. You might lose an arm or leg or be like me; I've got my arms and legs but they are bug­gered. It shows peo­ple you can still do it and some­times you can do things to a higher level than peo­ple with arms and legs. It is try­ing to push for­ward to bring the oth­ers through.”

You were in­jured in Iraq – what are the ex­tent of your in­juries?

“I’ve got neck and spinal in­juries but they aren’t the real prob­lem. The prob­lem is what they af­fect. With the neck in­jury I get a lot of pain in my right eye, the right side of my face, even my teeth. The right side of my head feels like it has been hit with a bat most morn­ings and my hear­ing is im­paired too. I get neck pain and in my arms and hands I get what feels like re­ally bad cramp, giv­ing me trou­ble with dex­ter­ity and strength.”

What prompted your love of shoot­ing?

“Dad was a game­keeper and I was brought up on a small­hold­ing. You ei­ther grew up out­side, get­ting dirty with a love of the coun­try­side or, like my brother, you stayed in and read books. I was al­ways out with my Dad and Gran­dad; they loved their shoot­ing. My Dad’s friend bought me an air gun when I was young so I could shoot tar­gets. Once I started to get quite good I be­gan to shoot things like pi­geon. It was all con­trolled. It gave me dis­ci­pline and field­craft. I think it’s im­por­tant.”

Did you shoot game through­out your Army ser­vice?

“Not re­ally. With Dad be­ing a keeper we used to shoot on the cock shoots at the end of the sea­son when I was on leave. There was a lot of pi­geon shoot­ing and lots of rab­bits and fer­ret­ing.”

Do you shoot much game now?

“I’m in a small shoot on Sal­is­bury Plain. I am do­ing the Shoot­ing for Heroes course as well and that takes peo­ple through from novices to driven days. For me, hav­ing been shoot­ing from such a young age, some of the shoots we visit are places I could only have dreamed of. It’s mind blow­ing.”

What sort of gun do you use?

“As I’m sin­gle I am a bit of a gun tart. I have two Per­azzis: for sport­ing I use a 32” Per­azzi MX8 with Teague chokes and for trap shoot­ing a 29½” Per­azzi MX2003. Due to my in­juries I strug­gle badly with re­coil, but the MX8 came with an ISIS re­coil re­ducer al­ready fit­ted – with­out this I would be forced to use a semi-au­to­matic.

“As for trap shoot­ing I’ve been pay­ing my dues to the Olympic Trap, Uni­ver­sal Trench and ABT dis­ci­plines with my MX2003 and hope­fully next year I’m go­ing to start com­ing through the ranks and gain a place in the Eng­land ABT Team. There is also a lot of talk of Olympic Trap be­ing included in the 2020 Par­a­lympic Games. I’m also look­ing at shoot­ing the Sport­ing Ma­jors next year so I’ll be do­ing lo­cal shoots through­out the win­ter to keep my eye in.”

Do you need to adapt your gun in any­way?

“The sporter is pretty much as fresh out the box as you can get apart from the Teague chokes and the ISIS pad. It isn’t fit­ted to me ei­ther, amaz­ingly. I like to shoot a gun as flat as a pan­cake. I don’t like to see any rib what­so­ever.”

What would help you?

“Shoot­ing is all about con­tin­u­a­tion of train­ing, which boils down to money. I’ve made a lot of sac­ri­fices to get as far as I have, and within clay shoot­ing it’s such a strug­gle keep­ing it go­ing with my main costs be­ing car­tridges, ac­com­mo­da­tion and com­pe­ti­tions. I've got a lot push­ing back at me, stop­ping me from achiev­ing my sport­ing goals but in true mil­i­tary spirit I’ll just push back harder.”

I know you love your pi­geon shoot­ing but have you got any game shoots com­ing up?

“Yes, through Shoot­ing for Heroes. I re­ally can’t wait. We’re shoot­ing at the Stock­ton shoot, not too far from me in Wilt­shire. I’ve never shot there but I un­der­stand it’s su­perb.”

A day at the pheas­ants will be a great re­lax­ing dis­trac­tion from com­pe­ti­tions, but as things are now, what is stand­ing be­tween you and join­ing the Army team?

“I just need to get through the selection shoots achiev­ing a min­i­mum of a B class, and then it’s noth­ing but the com­mit­ment and learn­ing from any coach­ing of­fered. I ex­pect to do well and then it’s all about beat­ing my able-bod­ied Army team­mates. Hope­fully this year I will be told that I am in… that I’m part of the Army team.”

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