I can honestly say that shooting has taken me places I would only have dreamed about. I’ve been to the Panama Canal, stood on the steps of the Parthenon in Greece, went on a horseback photo safari in South Africa, visited an angora rabbit farm in New Zealand, climbed Mayan ruins in El Salvador, and tried exotic food in the Philippines. I have had so many wonderful experiences that I will always treasure.
When I was awarded a slot on the US Team for the NRA Action Pistol World Championships in Australia, even though it conflicted with USPSA Limited-10 Nationals, I couldn’t pass it up. Not only do I love the challenge of action pistol matches (Bianchi), wanted to shoot a great score and represent the United States, I was giddy for the opportunity to visit the land “down under.”
The 7th World Action Pistol Championships was hosted by the Blacktown Rifle and Pistol Club about an hour from Sydney. The same four courses as the Bianchi Cup (Plates, Barricade, Practical and Moving Target) are fired by all competitors. The Blacktown range is an action shooter’s dream. Shooting positions are concrete making the prone position incredibly solid. The sturdy barricades hardly move at all when mounting open division guns with their wings and shrouds in the Barricade Event. For the Moving Target, the mover runs on rails and glides smoothly and consistently. It’s no surprise that my Smith & Wesson teammate Doug Koenig won the match, but did so by shattering his own world record with a final score of 1920 with 188x.
I felt confident going into the match and was looking for a bit of redemption after a disappointing Bianchi Cup score earlier in the year. My guns had been worked on and were running well. I had a limited amount of ammunition for practice after I arrived in Australia, but I felt ready. Unfortunately both my primary and back up gun started to malfunction at the match. I started on the Moving Target and after two jams on separate strings, I wasn’t able to fire two rounds. Another lost round on the Barricade event put me 30 points back and out of the running for the Women’s World Title. I ended up finishing fourth in the ladies category. The highlight though was that my teammate Vera Koo and I were awarded the Ladies Team World Title for the United States.
It’s always a challenge to remain positive when you have malfunctions. I have the luxury of competing in stock/production divisions throughout most of my competition season. I love the fact that I know I can grab a stock Smith & Wesson and be competitive. It’s a different story for Open, the “anything goes” division of the shooting sports. Action Pistol Open firearms have so many modifications that it can be difficult to find that “happy place” where they run flawlessly and still shoot extremely accurately. Even though my scores didn’t reflect it, I was very happy with my shooting performance and am already working on getting everything ready to go for next year’s Bianchi Cup in May.
Even though I was disappointed with how my match was going, I took every opportunity I could to see as much of Australia as possible. My brother traveled with me and in honor of the Aboriginal Walkabout, we went on several “driveabouts.” The scenery was breathtaking. We also visited Featherdale Animal Park where I got to pet a koala, kangaroos, wallabies and a dingo. We took trips to Katoomba to gaze upon the Three Sisters and also took the River Tour at Jenolan Caves. I snapped so many photos and videos! I have yet to upload all of them but I have posted many on my Flickr page. I also put together a photo montage from the match and our excursions…
Of course the trip would not have been possible without generous support from my sponsors. Thanks also go out to the members of Sporting Shooters Association of Australia and the Blacktown Club for their wonderful hospitality. Not only is their range one of the best in the world, the people are so nice and helpful. They definitely made sure that we had a wonderful time. Word is that Australia will bid for the 8th World Championships in 2012 and if I can represent Team USA again, it is high on my list of matches to attend.