We are all in very small ponds
June 1, 2012
I saw a comment on Facebook the other day about Bianchi Cup and how it wasn’t relevant; a few days later I heard some USPSA shooters making fun of a perfectly valid shooting technique taught by a more tactical/CCW focused trainer because it would “suck for USPSA.” I’m guilty of this as well, because I tend to forget that IDPA/USPSA/3-Gun aren’t the be-all-end-all of the shooting community, and in fact the participants of those sports represent a tiny, microscopic minority of the shooting community.
IDPA has something along the lines of 20,000 members, USPSA is about the same, and I’d estimate that there’s maybe 20% overlap between the two organizations. So figure roughly 32,000 active members in IDPA and USPSA in any given year. There’s what, 100,000,000 gun owners in the US? Even if you use the conservative estimate of 40 million gun owners in the US, action shooters make up 0.08% of that number. Split the difference between 100 million and 40 million (70 MM) and we’re down to 0.045%. That’s…not a very big number.
100 grain frangible 9mm
What’s interesting however is that the wants and desires of action shooters punch way above our weight class, for two reasons. The first and most important reason is that the shooting sports are a great way for manufacturers to “fly the flag”, so if companies like S&W and Glock are invested in the shooting sports, the people who play those games reap the benefits. The second reason is because action shooters tend to spend a lot of money on their hobby, whether it’s in brass and bullets, guns and gear, etc. Despite being 0.045% of the gun owning population, we spend a LOT of cash. Unlike a lot of other gun owners, we’re not just buying a gun and letting it sit in the nightstand, we’re buying a gun, a spare gun, 20 magazines, 2,000 bullets, 10,000 primers, a Hornady press; the list goes on and on.
Because of that ability to punch above our weight class, I have seen and am frequently guilty myself of discounting anything that isn’t related to the shooting sports. Sometimes it’s gear, sometimes it’s a technique, but because I’m in a relative small pond with some big sharks in it, I from time to time forget that not everyone cares about how fast we can shoot an El Pres. In fact, most people don’t. You know what the biggest market segment in the shooting industry is right now? The concealed carry market. The M&P Shield was introduced by Smith & Wesson with great fanfare at the NRA Annual Meetings…and now you can’t find it in stores because it sold out in no time. Now S&W is backordered on Shields. You see the same thing with pretty much every major brand – they’re making guns for the concealed carry market as fast as the CNC machines can go, and they’re selling everything.
The real point of this editorial is directed at myself, and my friends in the USPSA and IDPA worlds. Just because our sports are clearly the finest tests of shooting constructed by man doesn’t mean that we should go around picking fights with tactical/CCW trainers, trash talking people’s gear, etc. Not everyone’s goal is to be a USPSA Grandmaster or win Steel Challenge. Some people…the majority of people I’d venture to say just want a handgun to defend their selves or their families from violence.