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How do you draw in more shooters? (USPSA)


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How do you guys draw in more shooters to your matches? We scraped by this summer with around 30 or so shooters per match (we do two per month), with mostly the same faces at every match. I want to try to get back to higher numbers, more shooters, and I just cannot seem to figure out how to get people to come out and shoot. We're located in Dothan, Alabama.

 

I am working on getting an introduction to competitive shooting class going each month (first class is supposed to be tomorrow, but the weather may ruin that), to try and draw in new people from the club and surrounding area.

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Intro class is great.   

 

How about spouses and kids shoot FREE the first time ?

 

That offers some incentive for your regular shooters to bring in their family.

 

Local police shoot free the first time ?

 

Local "steel shooters" shoot free the first time ?

 

Local IDPA shooters shoot FREE the first time ?

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Another idea might be to ask your local gun store to set up at the store next to the indoor range. H

ave some video and a couple of shooters with gear. Tell them about your Introduction to competition shooting. 

Edited by lstone
changed some verbiage
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My club is in the same boat. Over the summer at out monthly match we have around 9-14 Shooters and over the winter at the indoor matches we have 25-32 Shooters. Out of the shooters at a match usually 4-6 are local and the rest drive from as far as 100+ miles away. Not good local numbers with the population of both towns at 100K and growing rapidly. I have talked to a lot of people that are interested but the fear factor keeps them from coming. Ill tell them there is a match on this day and they always say "oh im not ready for that yet, i need to practice more." I've even offered to let some friends borrow my gear and even supply the ammo but still no takers. I recently made a Facebook group and going to try to post the matches earlier on Practiscore and see if that helps. I think the intro class is a good idea and we have been toying with that idea also.

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If they're gonna be on Sunday, afternoon is a must. And keep them short 4-5 enjoyable and challenging but quick resetting stages. People have family stuff, I used to shoot a 4 stage that capped at 60 and filled on Sunday. 

 

Discounts are nice and may help, but I think not eating the whole day is better. Of course if your range is two hours from anywhere you can't help that. Match info is spread mostly by word of mouth, usually that takes time.

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49 minutes ago, Beef15 said:

If they're gonna be on Sunday, afternoon is a must. And keep them short 4-5 enjoyable and challenging but quick resetting stages. People have family stuff, I used to shoot a 4 stage that capped at 60 and filled on Sunday. 

 

Discounts are nice and may help, but I think not eating the whole day is better. Of course if your range is two hours from anywhere you can't help that. Match info is spread mostly by word of mouth, usually that takes time.

This.  Sundays are tough to get the bigger crowds.

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12 hours ago, Bagellord said:

Fear/intimidation seems to be a big factor. If anyone figures out how to fix that I am all ears. 

 

My wife and I stopped by a gym one day and peeked inside - half dozen people

in there who all looked like Arnold Schwarznegger.

 

We beat a hasty retreat.

 

Few months later, found out a few of our friends worked out at the same gym

every M, W, F and we joined them  -  didn't feel out of place surrounded by 

our friends, who all looked more like us than like Arnold.

 

Like some people above have mentioned, word of mouth and getting involved

with their friends/relatives seems to really help out a great deal.

 

And, not being embarrassed the first time or two out (or being DQ'd).    :) 

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I got no good answers for you. I have tried to get people to come shoot for years, the few who have showed up seem to never come back or only do it a time or two and then never come back.  The people who seem to start and keep returning seem to be people who started like i did, either saw it online (or since the internet was not as big when i started, saw it on shooting USA), did the research to find a match and started shooting.  In other words my experience says, if you are not willing to go find a match, this sport is probably not for you.

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1 hour ago, RJH said:

  The people who seem to start and keep returning seem to be people who started like i did, either saw it online (or since the internet was not as big when i started, saw it on shooting USA), did the research to find a match and started shooting.  In other words my experience says, if you are not willing to go find a match, this sport is probably not for you.

Exactly how I feel. Those who WANT to play this game will find us and generally stick with it.

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Do you have competition? Other Matches within 100 miles, or so?

How big are your Matches? number of stages, minimum number of rounds?

 

Our local monthly IPSC Matches are small, and realistically only club members and sometimes a few others will come.

During the summer, there's Matches almost every weekend within 100 to 200 miles. Each club puts together something bigger once a summer. 7 to 9 stages (many of them short, as IPSC requires) 80 to 150 competitors.

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17 hours ago, Bagellord said:

We do offer first time shooters free first match 

 

Yes, but do they know that ?

 

If you get together with Director of local steel and IDPA matches,

and police force, and tell them to mention it to their members

that 1st match is free.

 

They might let you hang poster or share their e-mail to inform

these new people that you are there and their first shoot is

FREE.

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3 hours ago, Hi-Power Jack said:

 

Yes, but do they know that ?

 

If you get together with Director of local steel and IDPA matches,

and police force, and tell them to mention it to their members

that 1st match is free.

 

They might let you hang poster or share their e-mail to inform

these new people that you are there and their first shoot is

FREE.

 

If the only thing keeping someone from shooting is a 15-20 dollar match fee, they aren't worth messing with. Hell, I did that and offered 50 bucks to anyone who won their first USPSA match and it never made any difference.  The 50 bucks for winning their first USPSA match was kind of a joke since everyone asked, "what do you win." I would have gladly paid but new the odds were in my favor 🙂

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Agree with RJH,,, only so much hand holding you can do. If you gotta beg em to come and do everything for them, they arnt gonna stick around.
Advertise some online and at some stores,
Offer a day of match, pre match basic class. and have that in your match advertisement.

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A few dollars here and there....

What about offering a bigger and better match than what anybody else is offering within a reasonable driving distance?

Not every time, but once or twice a season. More stages, interesting stages, run really smooth. Put it on a weekend when there are no other bigger and better matches. Make sure everybody knows about it.

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3 hours ago, perttime said:

  Make sure everybody knows about it.

 

^^^   That's a big part of it    ^^^^^

 

You could hand out $100 bills to everyone who attends, but if

non-shooters don't know, in advance, that you're going to do that,

it won't draw any new shooters in.

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As a new shooter, I can tell you that those that want to shoot matches will shoot matches. About the only thing I can suggest is making it less intimidating for the new shooter. Other than this, not much you can do.

I've tried to get my friends and family to shoot a match and some say they will and never show up. The others say they're not good enough and need to practice first. I tell them no need. To come out and try it. None have taken me up on it.

Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk

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My old club was an IDPA club when I started.  they had  4 matches a month. 1 of them was a "Basic" match,,  5 round gun friendly, no draws, all table start. no movement, .22's allowed no on the clock reloads. Sounds boring but was actually a decent match..
The regulars shot their J frames, and brought girlfriends, kids , etc. Exposed more people to the sport. No idea if it was effective overall.

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14 hours ago, Joe4d said:

My old club was an IDPA club when I started.  they had  4 matches a month. 1 of them was a "Basic" match,,  5 round gun friendly, no draws, all table start. no movement, .22's allowed no on the clock reloads. Sounds boring but was actually a decent match..
The regulars shot their J frames, and brought girlfriends, kids , etc. Exposed more people to the sport. No idea if it was effective overall.

 

Based on my observations over 20 years of competitive pistol and rifle shooting, not very much.

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15 hours ago, anonymouscuban said:

As a new shooter, I can tell you that those that want to shoot matches will shoot matches. About the only thing I can suggest is making it less intimidating for the new shooter. Other than this, not much you can do.

I've tried to get my friends and family to shoot a match and some say they will and never show up. The others say they're not good enough and need to practice first. I tell them no need. To come out and try it. None have taken me up on it.

Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
 

 

My experience as well.  I might mention it once or twice to someone who seems genuinely interested, and include an offer to help with gear and advice, then I drop the subject.

 

They have to take the next step.

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What other "action" shooting opportunity's are there locally?

 

I ask because many of the shooters I get started in one of the other disciplines, I get a lot of shooters moving over or adding on to IDPA. talking to many of them they chose to try IDPA first because they watched some you tube videos,  IPDA you see a bunch of middle aged guys shooting at what appears to be a reasonable pace, but look up USPSA and you see open GM's going full speed and they found that super intimidating.  I also get some shooters coming from steel challenge matches they build up some confidence and gun handling skills then want to try something new.

 

So long story short having something less intimidating to start in may help get more shooters to the real sport.

 

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On 10/25/2019 at 6:56 PM, T-Free said:

My club is in the same boat. Over the summer at out monthly match we have around 9-14 Shooters and over the winter at the indoor matches we have 25-32 Shooters. Out of the shooters at a match usually 4-6 are local and the rest drive from as far as 100+ miles away. Not good local numbers with the population of both towns at 100K and growing rapidly. I have talked to a lot of people that are interested but the fear factor keeps them from coming. Ill tell them there is a match on this day and they always say "oh im not ready for that yet, i need to practice more." I've even offered to let some friends borrow my gear and even supply the ammo but still no takers. I recently made a Facebook group and going to try to post the matches earlier on Practiscore and see if that helps. I think the intro class is a good idea and we have been toying with that idea also.

 

 

Maybe either tied in or separately a "beginner's"  USPSA match every quarter? Limit it to D or novice shooters, with regulars who can provide some simple tips? I shoot both IDPA and USPSA. When shooting IDPA I will often give pointers to new shooters.  They tend to repeat and come back to my squad in later matches.

 

IPDA you see a bunch of middle aged guys shooting at what appears to be a reasonable pace, but look up USPSA and you see open GM's going full speed and they found that super intimidating. 

This is where IDPA and USPSA could be complementary.  At least in our neck, IDPA tends to pull in more novice shooters.  Many drop out. Some stay. Some eventually move to USPSA or shoot both. 

Edited by Zincwarrior
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One thing that I've noticed is that things can feel a bit hectic at our small matches. People keep switching roles: RO, stats, re-setting, shooting. It can get rushed. At bigger once-a-season matches there's range crews that mind one stage for the whole day. The crews shoot one day, going to all the stages on their own. That has some of the same rushed feel as the small matches. Then, on the paying competitors' day, the shooters can just focus on the shooting, while the crews ensure friendly, safe and efficient running of the stages.

 

I suspect that the rushed feel of both competing and working during a match can deter some.

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1. offer incentives to those who brings new shooters.

2. join local gun forums and advertise. www.gulfcoastgunforum.com

3. troll local IDPA clubs. tell them about your matches during stage brief. free match for first timers. 

4. since you run 2 matches per month, make one a Saturday and one on a Sunday. a lot of shooters are also church goers. 

5. talk to local gun stores and offer a free day at the range pass for gun purchases. 

6. last but not least. post match scores promptly after the match. in this day and age, we have hotspots. no reason it takes a day to post the scores. this shows how much the MD cares about the match. 

 

 

just some ideas. I hope it helps. good luck

 

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