In ranked order,
- I enjoy the camaraderie. (18)
- I need the distraction it provides. (14)
- I get a thrill from the Bang! (10)
- I like to win, tied with I like being out of the house. (8)
- I like helping others shoot better. (7)
- I like being needed to help out, tied with It’s good exercise. (4)
- I don’t honestly know. (3)
- My boss/spouse isn’t there. (2)
- Habit, tied with I need the sun, and Other. (1)
Although the sampled number of shooters was small (23), I think most will agree the results are in-line with what they experience at the range.
The top voted reason, “I enjoy the camaraderie”, suggests Bullseye is more about socializing than anything else. Eighteen (18) of the twenty-three (23) respondents said this was one of the reasons they shoot Bullseye. As the bar-chart indicates, that’s 78% of those who responded, better than 3 out of 4.
And the #2 reason the poll’s participants shoot Bullseye, “I need the distraction it provides,” is also about something other than shooting. It is about improving mental health and emotional temperament.
Only when we get to #3, “I get a thrill from the Bang”, do we have a gun-related reason. And with only 43% indicating this as a reason they shoot Bullseye, the thrill of the “Bang” is important to less than half.
Winning came in a poor fourth. Then again, even with the different classes of shooters in the NRA ranking system, there just are that many “winners” in any given match. Perhaps we have grown immune to not winning? But far more likely, and as this poll suggests, “winning” just isn’t that important.
Recommendation: If you organize Bullseye matches, socializing should be actively worked into your program, not just left to chance.
At Camp Perry where many camp out, enjoy shared picnics and have ad hoc get togethers during the week-long event, socializing is a significant activity.
And the organizers at the Palmyra Sportsman’s Association (blogged here) know this. I shot a 2700 there just about a year ago and, along with registering the shooters before the beginning of the 2700, the organizers also handed out the menu from a local sandwich takeout. I marked my order, included my name and turned it in. We then proceeded to shoot 22 and Center Fire and, when lunch time arrived, our lunch bags were ready. Each person paid for their lunch and then everyone sat down at picnic tables to eat. We talked about the matches, guns, the weather, different places we knew — and unexpectedly, I even got to renew an acquaintance from more than a decade ago. I couldn’t tell you any of my scores from that 2700 nor even if I did well or poor, but I do remember the faces and personalities of those sitting at the lunch tables.
Socializing is the #1 reason we shoot Bullseye.