SASP Athletes Place In 2021 USA Shooting Arizona State 10M Pistol Championship

Guest blog by SASP Coach Bill Perkins

With the recent addition of international air disciplines to the Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP), Arizona teams were eager to participate in the USA Shooting Arizona State Pistol Championship on Tuesday December 29th at the Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club in Mesa, Arizona. Many of these SASP athletes had competed in action shooting matches for years but were new to international-style pistol matches.  With only one month to prepare, three teams practiced for the event, with ten athletes choosing to compete for the State Championship.

With years of muscle memory tasked for speed, these young action shooting athletes had to slow things down and hit very precise shots at the Olympic 10M pistol event.

Instead of multiple steel target arrays, international-style pistol matches require the athletes to shoot from the standing-position, one-handed at a target with approximately a one-inch “10-ring”, located 32’ 9.7” away.

The equipment the athletes use and method of match preparation is also very different from action shooting.  Olympic air pistols were borrowed, practices scheduled, guns zeroed, familiarization with the rules and new performance routines were learned by these athletes.  When the athletes are on the firing line, coaching is not allowed, so coaches must properly prepare their athletes ahead of time with the full knowledge they are going to need during the match.

After the fast, but focused month of preparation, it all came down to the 60-shot, 90-minute match of the USA Shooting Arizona State Pistol Championship.

Congratulations to University of Arizona WildGats President, Julia for her 1st place finish.  Second place went to Theodore from Straight Shooters.  Third place went to AJ K from the Venture Crew shooting team, Baden-Powell. 

Currently, 46 states have USA Shooting rifle matches and 30 states have USA Shooting pistol matches.  With SASP’s addition of 10 Meter Air Rifle, 10 Meter Air Pistol and Sport Pistol, youth athletes throughout the country can experience the excitement of team-based shooting sports in both the wildly exciting sport of action shooting and the disciplined precision of international air disciplines. As the Official Youth Feeder Program for USA Shooting, the SASP gives opportunities for young athletes to pursue their Olympic dreams! Julia and her coach Bill Perkins of the WildGats attended SASP’s 2019 Junior Olympic Development Camp. Watch for opportunities for SASP athletes to participate in future Olympic Development Camps.

With the recent addition of Jim Henderson as the SASP Director of Development for International shooting, the SASP is demonstrating its commitment to create more shooting programs for our youth. Henderson stated that he will, “bring more youth to the fun side of precision shooting.”

Special thanks to Arizona Match Director John Karadsheh, who is the Head Coach for the Rio Salado Juniors Rifle Team.  Many of his athletes have been training for years for this match.  SASP Coach Bill Perkins found out about the upcoming Arizona State Championship just six weeks before the event and asked if pistol was offered.  John petitioned USA Shooting to amend his 10M air rifle match to include 10M air pistol.  When USA Shooting approved his request, the word went out to several SASP teams that this opportunity was available to our athletes. Thanks to Marc Orvin for officiating and teaching our action shooting athletes and coaches more about International style shooting.  The 2020 Arizona Championship is in the books!

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