My step father was the person who introduced me to shooting and hunting when l was ten years old. We joined a group called The West Hill Sportman 5, which was well ahead of its time as a co-ed youth group for girls and boys in the early 70s.
The main focus of this group was teaching outdoor survival skills. With indoor class room time and out of doors field trips of camping, fishing, hunter education and to the range. Of course range time was my favorite activity. We had full use of the old Boys and Girls club range on Pharmacy Ave in Scarborough, which they were no longer using.
My fondest memories as a kid were Sunday mornings. Getting up at the crack of dawn for hockey, then off to the range after lunch. Until some idiot burned down the range and left me no place to shoot!
In high school l made friends with Michael O’Sullivan, who suggested that l join the Air Cadets if l wanted a place to shoot. None of the Squadrons had there own rifle range except the 618 Queens, who were using the Naval Base at HMSC York. So l joined the furthest group possible from my home, just so l would have a place to shoot. To make things even better, the CO gave me permission to bring my own 22 rifle to use. Once a week l would take the two hour trip on public transit in uniform, with my encased rifle to Cadets. Try doing that in Toronto now a days!
While most boys could not wait to get their driver’s license when they turned 16. I was more interested in getting my hunting license on my 15 birthday, which l did.
Then l became a wayward teenager and was more interested in partying and girls then shooting. It was not until l got married in 1988 before l resumed my interest hunting and shooting.
For a short time l did have a rifle only membership at the Ajax gun club. At that time, l had no use for handguns and l saw no reason why people should own one. Then there was a robbery at the club/store and Norman was shot and killed. The range closed down not long afterwards.
One day l was buying some ammo at a local sporting goods store. When l gave the clerk my license, he informed me that l was also licensed for restricted firearms. I did not believe him at first, but he was correct. (apparently between 1995 and 1998 all the safety course were combined as one course). The clerk was also president of a Pistol and Revolver Club. He gave me his business card and an open invitation to come out and visit his range.
A few months later l called Randy and met him at his range one Sunday. l just brought my 10/22 and expressed again about having no interest in pistols. So he let me plink away at the steel plates for awhile, while he shot his pistol.
Once we were done shooting, he educated me about all of the Olympic Pistol Shooting events, PPC and other action pistol sports. He asked me to keep an open mind and at least try shooting some of his 22 pistols. I agreed, so he gave me some pistol instruction on his High Standard and brief safety course.
Then the sky opened up and the choir began to sing…….l loved shooting his pistol and l was wrong about handguns. It was so hard and challenging trying to keep those shots on paper. Randy could see how much fun l was having and just smiled at me. “Do you want to try a 45ACP 1911” he asked? Well the rest is history.
I joined the club and became a director not long after. Started up and ran a youth program. Signed up for the CSSA Club Level Handgun Safety Instructor’s Course and became a club instructor. Took another course to get my Canada Coaching Card in level 1 pistol. Then l wanted to try competing, so l attended PPC, CDP and IPSC courses.
A work injury forced me to change jobs with my employer. No more AM Monday to Friday shifts with weekends off. Because l now was work late afternoon shifts, driving all over the province for IPSC matches makes me even less inclined to want to compete. Not to mention the fact, that my aging eyes made it increasingly difficult to focus on the front sight.
Just had some contacts and glasses made just for shooting, so once again l can at least see the front sight. Hopefully l can start back into competing once l retire next year.
Yes l said retire, since l am often reminded that being born in 1960 makes me the senior shooter of the NSC crew.
I didn’t grow up around guns, my family didn’t hunt or shoot. I always had an interest in firearms but never knew how or had the opportunity to get into it.
When my wife was in school she needed to get her PAL for work opportunities and I saw it as my chance to get involved in shooting with someone at the same level as me. After passing the course and receiving my licence I did not even buy a gun for over two years because I didn’t know what to get or where to shoot.
One day in the summer of 2012 I just decided it was the day and went to my local range/gun shop and started asking questions. I was directed towards buying a 22LR rifle to start with and after a lot of research decided to buy the Ruger 10/22. I shot it the same day and didn’t have the greatest experience with other people on the range, but loved shooting so much that I kept coming back. Over time I slowly tried new areas of shooting including trap, skeet and reloading.
My wife and I then started listening to Canadian Reload Radio when I didn’t even know what a podcast was. This progressed our involvement in shooting leaps and bounds which included learning about a lot of the political struggles that have been going on for gun owners. It was the reason why we have signed up for various firearms rights groups, including the CSSA. It also led me to discover other pro firearms podcasts that are out there, which has helped me learn about many aspects of the shooting sports.
We decided that we wanted to expand into the world of handgun shooting and went back to take our RPAL course. After shooting a 22LR pistol we quickly went into centre fire which we shot for over a year before venturing into competitive shooting. At this point reloading took off and I bought a progressive press as we were shooting more and were looking for cost saving measures (you won’t save much money but will shoot more). I went in the direction of IDPA and my wife went into Cowboy Action and later IDPA. We decided we wanted to increase our skills further so we went to the Mapleseed in Bancroft Ontario where we met the hosts of New Shooter Canada in person.
At this point I’ve been shooting IDPA for over a year now, have tried multi-gun and hunted deer (unsuccessfully) for the last 2 years. I am looking forward to trying new competitions and expanding my knowledge.
I’m a Orthodox Jew living in Toronto. I Volunteered in the IDF and served in a religious infantry unit as a designated marksman. Came back to Canada got married then got my PAL. I have slowly started my collection and am hope to hunt this spring. I finally started reloading and hope to get into competition soon, time permitting.
Kelly Lynn bio
I am the epitome of the NEW SHOOTER.
I had grown up in a household that is pro gun. My father was military and with being a BRAT I have seen been around both personal and military firearms. Both my father and my brother are marksmen, they hunt and they are collectors. All of us girls in the family never went out to the range nor did/do we hunt. I was always more interested in sports, my job (I was a radio DJ at age 14) and boys. That and I had a hard time with thinking I was eating Bambi…
I went to the range when I was 18 and fired both centerfire 30/30, 12 gauge shotgun and pellet handgun. I was not overly excited by the experience (it did not make me want to continue). But I was not a bad shot, especially with the pellet handgun.
This last year I have been going to the range periodically, my boyfriend thought that it would be something we could do together. Kevin is into competitive shooting (CQB, IPSC, Precision Rifle) and has a variety of pistols and rifles and I was able to try a variety of caliber as well as actions. going with Kevin was enjoyable but I was not overly excited because it was mainly winter and when shooting I was not very accurate.
In March 2014 we were invited to Michigan to take part in an Appleseed event. Appleseed is a marksmanship and history shoot that is run in the USA (although the first Canadian one will be run in July in Bankcroft Ontario). I was leery of going, my skills were not great and I had not practiced to improve; I thought everyone would be experienced marksmen and there would not be any room for me as a new shooter. Nothing could be further from the truth, everyone was very welcoming. I had started the event with grapefruit sized spreads and ended the event with being able to have my groups almost all touch. I was happy to see that I was not the only female on the firing line and I came with a learning attitude; I learned about NPOA (natural point of aim), breathing, MOA (Minutes of Angle) for sight adjustment and was able to bring this back with me to practice on. I was excited about shooting and caught the fire at Appleseed; I had signed up for Mapleseed before leaving Michigan and even was thinking we could go to the range the next day to practice (not really thinking about getting back to Kingston at 4:00am). I did not get my rifleman patch (not even close) at Appleseed but when doing it on my own I was able to get the 210 score needed within 2 weeks of returning to Ontario. It is amazing how everything I learned can have such an impact on my accuracy; my inner competiveness to improve myself has been ignited. I look forward to going to the range, trying to beat my last score, improving my groupings and just having fun.
So my words of advice are this: Go, have fun, be safe, but have some coaching too; it will keep you interested and loving the sport. And for those who like me do not want to hunt: remember you do not have to be a hunter to enjoy shooting, paper targets are just as challenging and Bambi is still safe.