The beginning of a passion

The beginning in the practical shooting is not the simplest thing, but also it is not something extremely difficult. New shooters, often, are scared when asking what is necessary to get started in the sport. However, probably, the main problem is precisely the lack of information. It is true that the beginner takes a while to license and be enabled to compete, but this waiting period is, most of the time, the same that someone inexperienced needs to learn the minimum necessary to start in this sport.

- A beginner takes, on average, six months to get the necessary documentation to begin shooting with guns of allowed caliber. This time varies according to the State in which the person lives. During the waiting period, the new shooter must search for a club or trainer to make a preparatory course. The Brazilian Confederation of Practical Shooting qualifies instructors to offer courses of initiation to the sport – says José Luiz Medeiros, president of the Practical Shooting Federation of Espírito Santo.

(Photo: website of FTPPE) Course qualifies instructors to give lessons for beginners

The practical shooting requires a lot from the athletes, especially in terms of safety. The sport has strict rules that need to be carefully studied and completely understood. The most experienced, even, try to guide the beginners on these issues. As it is said in the popular culture, anything that is good comes without sacrifice. But the effort to start shooting is rewarded by the captivating sport that the beginners find, with a unique climate that values, above all, the respect and cooperation.

- As it is a sport that deals directly with firearms, it is normal to have a stricter legislation. It is a very boring step which the beginners need to pass, but it is necessary. It is worth, because the sport is amazing. And all this process makes the athletes to create a respect for the rules and become disciplined both in the sport and in life – says the athlete Guga Ribas.

First steps

As it happens with any other activity, the first step is to study a little about the subject. This phase includes a visit to a shooting club, since only attending a competition and contacting the environment of a match place it is possible to understand the sport. Only this way the beginner can be sure if he/she wants to enter into the universe of the practical shooting.

The beginner should also try it. After all, how can you get in a sport without ever having practiced it? Before you go through all the bureaucratic process, you must have shot at least once. Some clubs and athletes offer courses with their own guns, what allows someone who doesn’t have the equipment to train. In various regions of the United States, for example, this is very common. Anyone can go to a club, rent a gun and spend the day shooting without having any license. But always correctly oriented by a professional.

(Photo: Personal File) Stage of Brazilian Championship 2011, in Medianeira, Paraná

In the clubs, in addition to seeing closely how the sport works, the beginner can also be in contact with experienced athletes, so they can ask advices on what is the best way to get started. Participating in competitions organized by clubs with guns of allowed caliber can be a good way to start. However, the competitions organized by the federations and confederations are exclusive to affiliated shooters. Soon the beginner will have to go through this process in order to be able to compete and participate in the national raking.

For starting to compete the applicants must register in the Brazilian Army as a shooter. So, you can buy guns both of allowed or restricted calibers. Once registered in the army, the shooter may also request the issuance of a Transit Permit, and with it he/she will be able to transport guns and ammunitions to shooting booths and competition places. It is noteworthy that it is understood as transit of guns the impossibility of the equipment owner making an immediate use of it, that is, the gun needs to be in a place of difficult access and separated from the ammunition.

All of this documentation may be obtained directly by the applicant, or through a broker. These contacts may be found in the clubs or through the indication of more experienced athletes.

How to buy the first gun

There are several options of competitive guns, both national and imported. They can be divided in two groups: the ones of allowed caliber – up to 380 – and the ones of restricted caliber. In the practical shooting there are two divisions – Light and Revolver – allowing the athletes to shoot with guns of the first group. For the ones of restricted caliber there are four possibilities: the Open, Standard, Production and Classic divisions.

- It is crucial that the athlete already knows in which division he/she will compete before buying any gun. After a year participating in competitions with allowed caliber guns, you can already have an idea about all modalities and what is the cost to compete in each one. In the Open division, for example, you spend between seven and ten thousand reais in a gun, what can reach sixteen thousand reais on a used one – says Medeiros.

(Photo: Personal File) Practical Shooting needs more than just guns to be practise

There is another addendum concerning who is able to buy a gun: the age. In addition to the requirements in order to get the shooter certificate, such as having a fix address and not being responding to police investigations, the shooter must reach the age of majority in the sport.

- The law does not allow shooters under the age of 25 years to have a gun in his name. It needs to be in the name of another shooter. In the case of athletes under the age of 18 years, the legal guardians must ask a judicial authorization. The document is valid for two years – says the shooter Roberto Neto, 16 years old.

After choosing the gun it is necessary to make a purchase order at the army, where you must inform all de details of the gun and the place of purchase. Some requirements need to be fulfilled in this phase, among them passing the psycho-technical tests and the evaluation of an accredited shooting instructor. Another important detail is related to the imports of controlled products. They depend on a prior license from the Army, with validity of six months from the approval of the application.

How to start competing

A shooter can choose to join a club and compete only at that location. Another option is to join the federation of your State. This way you will participate in the statewide ranking and may participate in the competitions organized by your federation. But, if you want to compete in more than a place, the best option is to be confederated. So, it will be easier to get the transit permits, in addition to being able to participate in matches across the country.

(Photo: Personal File) Competitors become friends during the competitions of practical shooting

It is worth to highlight the obligation of always being in the possession of the Transit Permits for the transportation of guns and ammunition. If you have more than one gun, it is necessary a permit for each of them. With the document the shooter also has the right to carry up to 500 ammunitions for each gun. In special cases, this number may increase.

Equipment maintenance and ammunition acquisition

Some practical shooting clubs provide ammunition for on-site training – always in the caliber corresponding to the registered gun and in the amount established by law – until the shooter gets the authorization for a reloading. It is important to note that the firearms reloading activity is not a simple procedure and it can cause serious damages, if made in a hasty manner.

But, with the time the shooter realizes that manufacturing his/her own ammunition is much cheaper. When you reach this time, it will be necessary make an application for recording the reloading activity as well. After the application is approved, the ideal is to take a course and ask for the guidance of more experienced shooters before purchasing all the necessary equipment. Several shooting clubs offer reloading courses.

- At first, a new shooter has a high expense for purchasing all the necessary equipment. The ideal is to choose for the purchase of good quality equipment since the beginning. Despite being more expensive, they last longer. Thus, the maintenance expense is less – says Medeiros.

(Photo: Personal File) Athletes of practical shooting need strategize before each stage

Challenges

Bureaucracy, strict rules and equipment prices are all the obstacles that can be easily overcome. Perhaps the greatest challenge to be faced by the sporting shooters is the prejudice. In Brazil, the firearms are directly linked to violence and this is what keeps many people off the sport.

While seeing a shooting competition, however, you realize that the care of the athletes and the precaution are very high and that the sport has nothing to do with violence. The practical shooting athletes are among the most disciplined of all sports. Attending a practical shooting competition is also exciting. The fast thinking, the skills, the perception of the details and the strategies are some of the ingredients that make the sport a thrilling activity.

The bureaucratic part will always exist; perhaps at the beginning it is a little duller. But, the beginners can be confident of one thing: they will be happy with the environment that they will find both in the practical shooting clubs and at the competitions. Rare values to be found today in the society still remain in this sport that is, for many, criticized. These are the cases if solidarity, respect, dedication and, above all, passion for the sporting practice.

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