Action shooting in Brooklyn: ‘Be safe, and have fun’


Above: Was this good shooting? Mick Holmes, IDPA CSO (Chief Safety Officer) and executive chief range officer for the Brooklyn Sportsman’s Club, points out a bullet hole in “a bad guy” but points out that the bullet first passed through the shoulder of a target with both hands up. Doh!

By Matt Schepeler

Are you a shooting enthusiast who wants to improve your shooting skills while adding a lot of fun scenarios to your practice sessions? Then action shooting might be right up your alley.

Practical shooting, also known as dynamic shooting or action shooting, is described as “a set of shooting sports where the competitors are trying to unite the three principles of precision, power, and speed, by using a firearm  to score as many points as possible during the shortest amount of time (or sometimes within a set maximum time).”

The Brooklyn Sportsman’s Club held an introduction to action shooting class on Saturday, July 17, 2021 at the club, and participants came from as far away as Dayton, Ohio to participate.

Above, Mick Holmes, IDPA CSO (Chief Safety Officer) and executive chief range officer for the Brooklyn Sportsman’s Club, looks on as Heidi Roberts of Morenci shoots out a window from behind cover. The setup had three targets from three vantage points, and shooters are allowed to use their wits and instincts. “That is the fun of it,” noted one instructor.

This class was tailored for those who have questions and concerns about the sport, as well as those unsure what action shooting is all about.

When it comes to shooting sports, safety always comes first, and the class spent an hour or so going over range procedures and protocols. “Action shooting is statistically safer than football and baseball,” said Walt Paegel, the Brooklyn Sportsman’s Club United States Pistol Association Match Director. “Firearm deaths and injuries in action shooting is almost unheard of because of safety measures,” he noted.

Draw! Shooters can start with a drawn pistol or holstered, but familiarity with the rules is important when they want to begin improving scores. Note that when Mike Barrara, above, draws this inert gun for demonstration purposes that his finger is not on the trigger.

Once the participants hit the range, it was clear that the shooters were having a lot of fun.

So what should a newcomer to the sport expect?

When attending your first match, Paegel said shooters should have two goals: ‘Be safe and have fun. That is what we are here for.

“You are not going to win your first match, or even your division, so don’t even try. Just stay safe and have fun. After you have a couple of matches under your belts, then you can start working to improve your scores.

The sport emphasizes speed and accuracy in different shooting scenarios and emphases shooting from cover.

“I look at it like problem solving,” said Mike Barrara, an IDPA coordinator from Detroit who came to Brooklyn to help with instruction.

While certain caliber handguns are desirable, officials do not suggest people run out and buy new equipment, but take their time and learn what is needed. “Bring what you have, and we’ll walk you through it,” said Mick Holmes, IDPA CSO (Chief Safety Officer) and executive chief range officer for the Brooklyn Sportsman’s Club.

Holmes said that the first time he tried action shooting, “I was hooked.”

Bryan Christie of Jackson shoots from cover during his turn at action shooting at the Brooklyn Sportsman’s Club.

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