FOR the first time on KwaZulu-Natal soil, airsoft practical shooting enthusiasts were able to show off their skills in a competitive arena.
The exciting event was recently hosted by the Valkyrie Practical Shooting Club (VPSC) of uMhlanga at the Whirling Wheels Sports Club in Durban.
Experts in the sporting field, such as Gerrit Dokter, the national chairman of the practical shooting association, are now rallying their forces in the hopes of growing the popularity of this thrilling, yet relatively unknown sport – especially among the youth.
The sport, which emphasises safety above all, is primarily about developing speed and accuracy. The competitions often involve various scenarios, which test the competitors’ shooting skills with either pistols or rifles loaded with six-millimetre plastic pellets.
“It is a very clean, safe and quiet, yet exciting, shooting game,” said Pieter Haasbroek of the VPSC.
How is works
In the scenarios, the contestants are required to ‘engage’ with various targets, some of which are mobile while others are stagnant, requiring the contestant to move along the testing grounds. Other scenarios involve ‘hostages’, which the competitors are not allowed to engage. If a hostage is shot, the competitor will lose 10 points.
Each target is divided into three spaces – A (the bullseye), C (the shoulder) and D (the lower arm), which, if shot, earns the competitor five, three or one points respectively.
The points accumulated during a scenario will be divided by the competitor’s time to determine his or her overall score, which is why speed and accuracy are important.
According to Dokter, the sport not only facilitates extreme respect for firearms, but it also develops discipline, physical health as well as eye and hand co-ordination.
As a division of the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC), airsoft practical shooting enthusiasts can compete at club, provincial, national, continental or world championship levels.