On a gorgeous April Sunday afternoon in the Green Mountains, over two dozen new shooters gathered at Laberge’s Shooting Range in Charlotte, Vermont for a new shooters clinic hosted by the University of Vermont Pistol Team.
Four days a year the University of Vermont Pistol Team holds new shooters clinics for any UVM student interested in competing in USPSA, Scholastic Pistol Program, and Scholastic Steel Challenge. After a whirlwind year for the team, taking first place in rimfire division and second place in centerfire at SPP Nationals in Ft. Benning, Ga., the team was eager to share their love of shooting with their peers.
Perhaps one of the strongest shooting programs in the northeast, the clinics serve as a powerful recruiting opportunity. “The amount of shooting experience varied but everyone seemed to have a good time, and I was really impressed with some of the performances by the new shooters,” stated newly appointed Pistol Team Captain Laura Michalak.
“I think we have a lot of prospective talent among both the guys and girls but I definitely saw some possibility of forming a girl-squad for next semester, so that’s really exciting.”
Students began with an introduction by the Pistol Team Coach Adam Nilson and Shooting Club President Kevin Cafferky, followed by an in-depth safety briefing on the rules of the range. Shooters then went through the basics of grip, stance and trigger control as well as several magazines of .22LR ammunition while working on marksmanship.
Certainly the highlight for many was running through a stage of Steel Challenge while under the watchful eyes of UVM Pistol Team team’s top shooters who were on hand to serve as range safety officers and positive role models.
“Each season the team looks to recruit enough new shooters to maintain three competitive squads,” noted Kevin Cafferky. “For the two rimfire squads, they’ll be mentored and groomed throughout the year by the more experienced shooters so they can step up to the plate when it’s time to compete in the national championships.”
As the afternoon came to a close, there were more than a few smiles around the pistol pit, as well as a newfound appreciation for the shooting sports. While the steel clanged into the team’s conex, phone numbers were exchanged, and students piled back into cars for the trip back to campus. While practicing in such a cold climate has its disadvantages, one thing is certain for the University of Vermont; their shooting sports program will remain a force to be reckoned with.
Image courtesy UVM Shooting Club