Holmes Harbor Cowboy Fast Draw 06/19/2008
Last Thursday afternoon over at the Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun club Damiphino and I (well, mostly Damiphino) set up a set of Cowboy Fast Draw targets, stands, and timer rig. He was visiting from Billings and brought along all the target stuff along with several single action 45 Colt replica revolvers so we could give Cowboy Fast Draw a try. Cowboy fast Draw is a rapidly growing shooting sport, but so far hasn't reached Washington state. In fact, this is probably one of the first times it's even been seen in Washington.
Cowboy Fast Draw has a lot of appeal, which probably explains its rapid growth. The guns are inexpensive, the ammunition is inexpensive, and you can shoot in your own back yard or basement for practice, since the bullets are wax and are propelled by a shotgun primer. Although the bullets won't travel much over a couple of hundred feet, at fifteen or twenty feet they still have enough energy to punch a hole in 1/4" plywood, so all gun safety and gun handling rules still apply.
Damiphino explains "Load one, skip one, load four" and shows how to be sure you don't try to shoot on an empty cylinder.
Since the Thursday afternoon shotgun shoot was just winding down for the day, there were lots of folks interested in the new (old?) sport and were willing to give it a try. At first there was a little hesitation, but once everyone saw how much fun we were having everyone wanted to give it a try. The Cowboy Fast Draw Association rules stress safety first, fun second, and competition third, and everyone found it to be great fun, even if misses were commonplace. The two foot diameter target looks so big you think you couldn't possibly miss, but that's sure not the case!
Cowboy Fast Draw is extremely popular with the ladies, and Cowboy Fast Draw events have probably the highest percentage of women shooters of any of the shooting sports. The lack of recoil and loud noise is part of the appeal.
The start position is with your hand on the gun with your trigger finger out of the trigger guard. Starting with your hand off of the gun is a Hollywood invention.
Hands on the guns in "Lawman Ready", Mr. C. and Mike M. wait for the yellow target light to come on.
The start commands are "Shooters (or Cowboys) to the line". The shooters get into position and ready to draw. The second command is "Shooters SET". Once this command is given the shooters must remain motionless until the yellow target lights come on, which is randomly somewhere between two and five seconds after the "Shooters SET" command.
The targets have an impact sensor on them so the electronic timer can determine which wax bullet hit first. The winner gets a blinking yellow light. If you miss, your light stays off. That happens a lot, even with the best shooters.............
Can't tell for sure, but either the light is blinking and the camera caught it when it was off, or I just flat out missed the target! I don't think Mike M. missed all day! I missed lots!! We were having enough fun, though, that it didn't really matter.
The feedback from those giving it a try was encouraging, and the next step is to get our own set of targets and a timer. Then we can try some fun matches and see how it goes. One this is for sure, Holmes Harbor has a fantastic facility for this type of a shoot as you can set it up on the shotgun range in front of the restaurant picture windows so spectators can enjoy the fun while eating. Great fish & chips, by the way!
Stay tuned and watch for further announcements. As Sherlock would say "The game is afoot!"
Thanks to Wayne for taking the pictures!
BTW: Even though I am working towards getting Cowboy Fast Draw started at the Holmes Harbor Club, I'm still going to keep shooting steel, and whatever else fun comes along the way!