If I were to mention a long range shooting competition, what would come to mind? A firing line of proned out shooters, underneath a hot sun, with all sorts of specialist equipment like stiff shooting jackets, odd eye pieces, strange rests for rifles, thick gloves for the non shooting hand. All this for hitting targets that are being operated by a pit crew downrange, probably at 400, 500, or 600 meters. This is the stuff of long range competition lore, the Camp Perry matches, the NRA F Class series, the 1000 yard range at the Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. It has been going on since the 1800s, and is still strongly going today. However, just as more relevant and advanced forms of competition have touched other areas of the shooting community, such as 3 Gun, IPSC, and IDPA, it appears that this has finally come to the long range competition game.
Meet the regulatory competition body of Precision Rifle Series (although the above video is not related to PRS, it features many of the same techniques/concepts). Much like any other federation such as IPSC or IDPA, this group has been in existence for the past several years and is slowly gaining traction among the long range competition crowd out there, that want something more relevant than the traditional long range competition shooting. They want something that is dynamic, creative, and tests their skills when it comes to shooting from different types of positions and structures. All while under the stress of time, and pushing through other obstacles such as dragging weight, physical exertion, etc… Targets are mostly contraptions of steel in various forms, from human sized targets, to simply hard profiles, to golfballs and movers. Some of the videos show the incorporation of helicopters to bring shooters from station to station.
It was recently pointed out to me, that red dot sights are a direct result of the handgun competition world. Now they are being used by some of the world’s most elite forces. Competition breeds performance and better design of equipment and firearms. I hope that this sport will soon bring us a variety of products and rifles, that can leak their way into the rest of the community, giving us better techniques and gear, but most importantly it would be very beneficial if these additions worked their way into the military long gun game, like the red dot sight. I’m already seeing things like the development of sand socks, and soft rests that shooters are using to stabilize their positions. Who knows where this sport will take the long range world in the future?
Another interesting point about PRS, is that there doesn’t appear to be a male versus female distinction when it comes to the score card. Plus one for gender equality in my opinion.
I will say one thing though, I’m seeing alot of no eye protection among alot of these competitors. Now I know that not wearing eye protection commonly done when it comes to long range shooting. Rifles are usually extremely well built, and have a much lesser chance of a catastrophic malfunction than say for example a handgun or submachine gun. Also the brass usually isn’t raining down like Seattle on a good day, so there is less of a chance for hot brass to end up in a shooters eye. Also, however good a pair of lenses are, there is also a chance of distorting the reticle image and target that a long range shooter so depends on when aiming in. At several hundred meters, the difference between a mil, and a mil and a half, can easily mean the target being completely missed. So in essence, I get the reasoning why, but I am curious as to what sort of liability these competitions entail, what happens if a shooter has a bad handload, it blows up in their face and they lose an eye? Who is liable for this? Not being picky, just pointing out a possible point of friction. As compared to many other competitions which are very strict on eye pro usage.