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Shooting bowling pins  – isn’t it a weird idea?

Pin shooting, as a sport, has a very interesting origin. It was started by Richard Davis, inventor of soft ballistic body armour from USA.

Old body armour (“bullet-proof vests”) was hard, heavy and uncomfortable to wear. As the result American police were not keen to wear it and when shot in the line of duty quite often paid with their lives. Richard Davis wanted to change this and was working on designing more modern, lighter and effective vests that could be also worn under the uniform. He experimented with different types of materials, also with Kevlar. He finally succeeded in producing the vest that could stop the bullets from powerful handguns and yet could be worn daily without much discomfort.

What reminded was to convince the Police officials that that bullet-proof vest really worked.

At these times people did not seem to worry too much about occupational health and safety issues, so to convince the buying powers of Police Logistics, Richard decided to shoot himself in the chest with .357 magnum in front of the commission. It was also important to show that after being shot he remained in good condition to return the fire.

The shooting range where the demonstration was held was a bit of a rubbish dump and Richard noticed some old bowling pins lying there. He placed them on a table and after shooting himself in the chest, wearing his ballistic vests, he continued shooting at the pins until he cleared the table off them.

The commission was suitably impressed and Richard Davis got the contract to provide the police with his products. Because his vests worked so well and were readily worn by cops, many other police departments ordered from Richard as well. Many lives were saved as the result.

Very soon he became a millionaire.

Grateful for his success, he started to invite the policemen and women whose lives were saved by his vests (the vests were called “Second Chance”) to come for a function to his farm. To entertain them he organised a shooting competition and funded all the prizes. What type of shooting competition? Of course shooting pins off a table, to commemorate the event that convinced the officials that his vest was excellent choice.

The idea caught on like wildfire and every year more and more participants were coming to his farm (also called a Second Chance) to take part in the shoot and claim some of the very valuable prizes (mostly firearms and ammunition).

The sport spread all over the USA and also internationally.

It also came to South Africa and we offer it at Buffalo River Shooting Club.

Why shoot pins for sport?

There are many reasons that pin-shooting can be for you.

  1. You can use almost any firearm for shooting pins. There are many different categories so you can use any gun you have. Eg. You have only 38sp snubbie – no problem. Only hunting shotgun – there is a category for you. .22 pistol – no problem. .22 revolver – come and shoot. .223 semi-auto – you are welcomed. 44 magnum – yes, of course. 357 lever action – there is a category for you. So there is really no excuse not to.
  2. There is no need to be athletic. There is no running, jumping or kneeling involved. You can be on a wheelchair and still compete. Are you recovering from knee or hip surgery? As long as you can sit or stand and handle you firearm safely, you can shoot with us.
  3. There is no need for any extra equipment. You will need your firearm, ammo, range safety gear and a container (box) to keep and bring your firearm to the shooting line. That’s it.
  4. This is an ideal sport for a person who enjoys shooting wide variety of firearms. You can compete with multiple guns at one event: handguns, rifles, shotguns and of different calibres and configurations. We had a guy that started shooting with a black powder revolver!
  5. The annual fees are one of the lowest for the shooting disciplines. If you are on a tight budget that is important consideration. Also you can keep ammo count to a minimum – but you will have to shoot well for this.
  6. Pin shooting requires precision. If you want to improve you accuracy pin shooting is the answer. You have to hit pins dead centre to get them cleanly of the table. If they are shot off-centre they will spin and knock other pins down, but not take them off the table. Pins, unlike paper targets, will punish you for inaccurate shots and will force you to improve your aim.
  7. This is a very family-orientated sport. If your spouse and/or children would like to shoot – they are welcomed. There is no rush, no macho posturing, no testosterone-loaded event. If you are new, you will be helped and coached and encouraged. Give it a try.

See you on the pin range!

For more info contact Marek at 0824539413 or Ben 0745555013