Baby Boomers Learn to Shoot Airguns at Camp Perry.
“We’re lucky to have this an hour away. We learn to shoot airguns. My sister wants to come the next time, and my son wants to come the next time – I’m going to have to get a van or a bus.”
Steve Rehoreg, 64, of Sheffield, Ohio, spoke enthusiastically about the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center. He, among others, is part of the growing group of Baby Boomers and beyond who are discovering a place that many didn’t even know existed, to take part in an activity that actually caters to both the young and more mature age groups. They learn to shoot airguns!
Above. Staff members, like Kent Floro (standing) are always present at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center to ensure the safety of all guests. They are also available to answer any and all questions about air gun shooting or equipment used within the range.
The Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center at Camp Perry (near Port Clinton, Ohio) is a $1.1 million expansion to an 80-point indoor range where only air guns are fired. The range contains 10-meter firing points, equipped with state-of-the-art electronic targets, and is facilitated by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).
The CMP is an organization dedicated to teaching firearm safety and marksmanship skills around the country through its numerous clinics, competitions and range events. Its headquarters is located at Camp Perry.
Whether to improve on existing abilities or to learn something new, adults are flocking to the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center as if it were a bowling alley or pool hall – a place for a night out on the town. The difference is – they learn to shoot airguns.
Steve became aware of the airgun range after he and his friends discovered it during the world-famous National Matches at Camp Perry. Once he gave the air rifle a try, Steve was instantly hooked. He even bought one from the CMP North Store, where there’s a variety of rifles currently available for purchase.
“It’s trigger time. In the winter, you can’t really shoot outside, so we come here, and it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “The weight is the same, the trigger pull is the same – there’s not much of a kick. It’s pretty much like any rifle you shoot.”
“You feel a little apprehensive shooting in front of people, but (the CMP staff members) make you comfortable and relaxed – everybody’s great,” he added.
Above. The air gun range at Camp Perry features 80 electronic targets. When the target is fired upon, the shot placement is instantly shown on a monitor located next to the shooter at each firing point. Michelle Woods (standing) is one of the many CMP staff members on hand at the air range to help explain the state-of-the-art equipment to guests.
Tuesday and Thursday evenings, August through June, the CMP hosts Open Public Nights for anyone who wants to learn to shoot airguns. For those new to the sport, air guns are available for loan at the range. Guests may choose from sporter or National Match style air rifles or air pistols.
Mark Montgomery, 64, of Gibsonburg, Ohio, is just one of many regulars at Open Public Nights. A life-long lover of shooting, he found his way to the airgun range at Camp Perry one day and now shoots there 6 or 7 times a month. That’s Mark in our cover photograph, above.
After seeing other kids at the air range and wanting to teach his own grandchildren more about marksmanship, he brought them to an Open Public Night so they could find out for themselves how enjoyable it can be as they learn to shoot airguns. Now they, like their grandpa, are infatuated with the range.
“I get calls after school, ‘Can we go to the CMP?’” Mark said, with a smile. So far, Mark has brought three of his grandchildren to the range – with six more to go. “They’ve all just loved it,” he added. “I’m going to keep adding one at a time.”
For Mark, one of the best parts about coming to the air range is getting to teach his grandkids qualities through air rifle that he believes will help shape them into responsible adults. And, because of the ease of the equipment and the helpfulness of the CMP staff, he is able to enjoy learning right alongside them on the firing line.
“The kids get to come here and be shown shooting by people who know what they’re doing,” he said. “I don’t want to make it sound too easy, but it’s a piece of cake. I’m half-blind and 64 years old and I can do it. Anybody can do it. The joy isn’t diminished by your age.”
Above. The air range has become a popular spot for families – a perfect place for family members of all ages, grandparents to grandchildren, to enjoy each other’s company in a safe and fun environment.
For more on the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center, including Open Public Night information, visit http://thecmp.org/air/cmp-competition-center-event-matches/.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.