Competitive shooting might get expensive

We might have just picked up another expensive hobby in my house. I took my son to Casper for a shooting competition this weekend, and he did very well. I’m glad he likes shooting, but I hope this doesn’t end up costing me a fortune.

My youngest son has been participating in the NRA’s junior shooting program for a few years, and he’s working on the Distinguished Expert award. That’s the highest award the NRA gives to civilians, and it’s a difficult feat. To earn it, a kid has to go through fourteen lower levels, all with more difficult scores. They shoot in three different positions – prone, kneeling, and standing. And standing is completely free-hand; they can’t even use a sling.

The group Logan shoots with sometimes goes to competitions, but Logan usually has track, wrestling or cross-country meets that make it problematic for him to participate. He’s wanted to try some competitions, because he wants to see how he stacks up against other kids who shoot air rifles at that level, but we haven’t had the chance to go to one until now.

He had a weekend free of track, though, so we went up to Casper for a Civilian Marksmanship Program match. We showed up with the air rifle and shooting suit he borrowed from his shooting team, but we realized we didn’t have the shooting mat, kneeling roll, or other equipment needed for these events. We looked up and down the shooting line, and all the other kids had all that gear. I started doing some quick calculations in my head, and I realized that if we’re going to do this seriously, Logan’s going to need about $8,000 worth of shooting gear – and that’s not even counting the rifle. A good precision air rifle would add about $4,000 to that total.

I might be in trouble. Logan took third place, and I could tell he was excited by the prospect of doing more of these competitions. I might have to pick up a third or fourth job to support his shooting habit, but I’m OK with that.