Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 1, No. 7           21 September 1993

Special Bulletin - World Shoot X

As Honorary Life Chairman of the International Practical Shooting Confederation, I was invited to open the ball at the Tenth World Shoot conducted by the Confederation at Bisley, England, during the third week in September this year. It was an impressive occasion involving 525 contestants from 37 countries (this does not include 34 contestants who entered but were disqualified for various reasons.) There were 35 separate courses of fire. In view of the very large number of competitors, this resulted in the expenditure of a great deal of ammunition. Somewhat to my surprise, there was no trouble in getting the personal weapons in and out of England - at least none that came to my attention.

As was expected, the Americans swept the board, taking the first six places overall, the team competition, and first and third places in the real gun category. An American was also highest placed female contestant. Since the game as originally conceived was invented in the United States and since there is a much larger shooting population here, the advantage of the United States in this sort of thing may be expected to continue.

The new Champion of the World is Matthew McLearn, who edged out Rob Latham in the shoot off. In my opinion, the real winner of the occasion was Ted Bonnet, who shot the top score with a perfectly standard service pistol. Practical shooting was originally conceived to be exactly that - practical - but ten years of increasingly unreasonable course design and continued disregard of the power factor in competition equipment has given the field to what some people refer to as rooney guns, which are expensive, unwieldy, and essentially unsuitable for any defensive purpose. They are all fitted with advanced forms of electronic sights, which must be fed from batteries and, which while affording outstanding speed on successive shots, are somewhat of a handicap in acquiring the all-essential first shot out of a leather.

However it is not my intention to denigrate the outstanding performance of the master marksmen who showed up for this occasion. It is true that perhaps the bottom half of the field should not really have endeavored to compete, but the people in the top quadrant must be acknowledged to be very good shots indeed.

In conference assembled, the site selected for the next world champion event will be Brasilia, 600 miles up in the hinterlands of Brazil.

At the conference the distinguished current president of the Confederation, M. Jean-Pierre Denis of Belgium, announced his positive intention of serving only one more year as president. The job of president of lPSC is intimidating, and Jean-Pierre will be very difficult to replace. The Confederation has one year in which to come up with a successor, and as of this moment, I can think of no man who is qualified in every respect to take over the task. Of the half-a-dozen who are possibly technically qualified, there is no one who does not have difficulties with available time, health, wealth, and political acceptability. Clearly such a man will be discovered in due course, but he will be hard-put to follow in Jean-Pierre's footsteps.

The future of the Confederation may be expected to be impeded by various sorts of national and international regulators, who basically object to the concept of practical shooting. The closer practical shooting competition comes to reality the more they object to it.

Personally, I had a fine time. Our accommodations were excellent, and I was able to get in some splendid sightseeing after I had surveyed the courses of fire sufficiently to have an opinion. One thing I discovered to my considerable amusement was the fact that with the heavy, compensated, reduced power, optically sighted instruments in common use, the spray-and-pray technique employed on double stop-plates quite frequently results in stopping the wrong plate. Personally, I feel that the Confederation might well consider going to the 22 rimfire cartridge since there is no attempt at this time to relate the activity to defensive combat. The 22 would be vastly cheaper and even easier to machine-gun.

The top six serious shooters in the contest were: Ted Bonnet of the United States, Brian Enos of the United States, Max Wiegand of Germany, Bob Gates of the United States, Bob Adam of the United Kingdom, and Vidar Nackling of Norway. These people deserve our most serious commendation. Altogether there were 50 competitors who chose to use full-duty sidearms as specified in the Standard Division.

Bob Gates not only used a duty gun, but he used a full-power load, so in a sense he may be considered the moral victor of the tournament.

One thing the British do well is beer. There is plenty of it and it is full-flavored. I saw one competitor - after hours, of course - wander out of the bar with a bottle of Budweiser(!) in his hand. Now Budweiser is all very well in its way, but drinking it in England is like playing croquet in the Olympic Stadium.

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