Close range

OKC Gun Club host­ing world hand­gun cham­pi­onships

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS - ED GODFREY’S

Ok­la­homa City is host­ing the In­ter­na­tional Hand­gun Metal­lic Sil­hou­ette As­so­ci­a­tion World Cham­pi­onships this week. The nine-day event be­gan Fri­day at the Ok­la­homa City Gun Club near Ar­ca­dia and will con­clude Satur­day with the 500-me­ter match.

Some of the best hand­gun shoot­ers from across the coun­try and the world have de­scended on Ok­la­homa City this week for the In­ter­na­tional Hand­gun Metal­lic Sil­hou­ette As­so­ci­a­tion World Cham­pi­onships.

The nine-day event be­gan Fri­day at the Ok­la­homa City Gun Club near Ar­ca­dia and will con­clude Satur­day with the 500me­ter match.

By the end of the week, world cham­pi­onships will have been awarded in air­gun, .22 rim­fire and cen­ter­fire at dis­tances rang­ing from 10 yards to more than a quar­ter of a mile.

Dis­tances range from 10 to 18 yards for air pis­tols and 25 to 100 yards in the small-bore di­vi­sion (pis­tols cham­bered for .22 long-ri­fle car­tridge only).

In the big-bore di­vi­sion, for pow­er­ful cen­ter­fire hand­guns only, the dis­tances range from 50 me­ters to 500 me­ters.

“It’s the only hand­gun dis­ci­pline that shoots out to 500 me­ters,” said Jim Fields, match di­rec­tor for the IHMSA World Cham­pi­onships.

The 500-me­ter match was added just last year in the world cham­pi­onships as the Ok­la­homa City Gun Club’s sil­hou­ette range is one of the few that can of­fer such a dis­tance for shoot­ers.

“A lot of IHMSA clubs do not have the fa­cil­ity to shoot out to 500 me­ters,” said Fields, an OKC Gun Club mem­ber who has won more than 30 world cham­pi­onships in the shoot­ing dis­ci­pline over three decades of shoot­ing.

This is the fourth year — and sec­ond straight — that the OKC Gun Club has hosted the world cham­pi­onships. Al­most 400 shoot­ers from the United States, Aus­tralia and South Amer­ica are com­pet­ing.

The sport started in 1975 by a group of hand­gun­ners in Tuc­son, Ari­zona, look­ing to have some fun. What evolved was the IHMSA, which sanc­tions the shoot­ing con­tests across the world.

The com­pe­ti­tion is di­vided ac­cord­ing to hand­gun ac­tion type, sights and cal­iber, shoot- ing po­si­tions (stand­ing or freestyle) and dis­tance.

To score a hit, a halfinch-thick steel tar­get in the shape of a chicken, turkey, pig or ram must be knocked off its stand.

The con­test is a timed event as shoot­ers have a 30-sec­ond load com­mand and two min­utes to fire upon a group of five tar­gets.

The OKC Gun Club has one of the best metal­lic sil­hou­ette gun ranges in the coun­try, with an au­to­mated sys­tem that can raise 6,000 pounds of tar­gets all at once, Fields said.

This year, an air-con­di­tioned fa­cil­ity with three load­ing presses has been added near the fir­ing range. The OKC Gun Club hosts monthly matches in IHMSA and a state cham­pi­onship.

The monthly lo­cal matches nor­mally draw be­tween 50 and 60 shoot­ers, Fields said.

The OKC Gun Club hosts nu­mer­ous state, re­gional, na­tional and world cham­pi­onships each year, rang­ing from cow­boy ac­tion shoot­ing with old-West style sixshoot­ers to po­lice com­pe­ti­tions with mod­ern firearms.

The IHMSA World Cham­pi­onships will have shoot­ing matches each day be­gin­ning at 8 a.m. at the club.

[PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

The In­ter­na­tional Hand­gun Metal­lic Sil­hou­ette As­so­ci­a­tion World Cham­pi­onships be­gan Fri­day at the Ok­la­homa City Gun Club and will con­tinue the rest of the week.

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