By Jackie Russo, AG & AG Member in the Puyallup WA Chapter, Founder of the Corgi Nation Pistol Team, and Match Director for ASI and IDPA in Washington.
When one hears the term, “competition,” reactions can vary from a slight increase in heartbeat, perhaps performance anxieties rise to the surface or the acceptance to a challenge. In the competition shooting world, there are many choices to select from: IDPA, USPSA, Steel Challenges, 3-Gun, and even 2-Gun! Most of these disciplines require specific guns, equipment or gear. But what if there was a moving and shooting sport that required nothing more than safe gun handling skills, a regular handgun and simple gear? Where the rulebook is closer to a pamphlet and the Range Safety Officer was more mentor than enforcer? Then may I suggest Action Shooting International, which describes itself as the “Move and Shoot Sport for Everyone.”
What is ASI?
Action Shooting International (ASI) was developed by well-seasoned competition shooters in many shooting disciplines. All have extensive resumes as NRA Instructors, area coordinators, range safety officers and trainers with many decades of experience. These fellas believed there was a need for a recreational activity that was low stress, family friendly and fun. Thusly, ASI made its debut in Washington State in 2014!
Definitely, the most attractive feature about ASI, is the minimal required equipment. Participants need only a .22 caliber or above handgun; at least one magazine (but 2 are desirable); mag pouches or pockets to place reloads, and a case or gun sleeve for transporting the firearm from stage to stage. Most stages are less than 12 rounds and 5 to 6 stages per match. And in this time of ammo shortages, this can be appreciated.
All stages are in the ASI Library. Perusing this online catalogue, the match director can select seated, kneeling or standing stages. Barricades, walls or barrels. Some stages have props to hold. Have an odd shaped or shallow bay? There are a variety of stages that are easily modified to accommodate them.
A typical stage will have either a table or low-ready start. The stages may have some hard cover targets and there may be a non-threat or two. Steel targets could be included. Shooting on the move is optional – the shooter may remain stationary to complete the course of fire, if desired. The head box is all down zero, for those who are used to IDPA or USPSA scoring.
What most shooters – both experienced and novices – appreciate is the mentoring range officer over the person who inflicts penalties. ASI range officers primary responsibility, of course is safety, but many are willing to offer guidance or answer questions. Even at the start point. The four rules of safe gun handling are closely followed – and DQs for violations do happen. But, even those moments are learning experiences and should be accepted as such. As long as everyone goes home with the same number of fingers and toes they arrived with, all is well.
Ideally, ASI offers the opportunity for the novice, static shooter, to advance to moving and shooting. Families often arrive and squad together. It isn’t unusual to see Moms and Dads with their children or couples competing together. It’s a great way to enjoy family friendly time, learning together.
AG & AG Chapter Experience
Even for the experienced shooters – ASI has something to offer. Locally, our highly competitive shooters, use ASI to practice certain skill sets in a low stress, non-competitive environment. Some try out new guns or ammo. Last year, we had a Safe Queen match where shooters brought out their old favorite gun for a little range time exercise.
At our local A Girl & A Gun chapter in Puyallup, Washington, ASI was their first experience in shooting and moving. For many, their only practice was shooting static at the range. When asked to share why ASI was clearly a great introduction to stepping up to shooting with movement, this is what they said:
Vickie: “A welcoming and fun environment for building your skills and confidence.”
Emily: “I enjoy pushing my comfort zones by being accountable to the rest of my squad watching my failures and successes.”
Leslie: “I enjoy shooting different targets and changing magazines out.”
Christa: “Mentoring newer shooters and introducing them to the shooting sports.”
Jacquelyn: “Family -style, relaxed, learning, confidence building, be yourself, enjoyment!”
I encourage AG & AG sisters to find an opportunity to share this experience with others. The start-up was easy and the ASI staff was invaluable in getting our ASI chapter up and running. After a few months – we were operating solo!
Our local members regularly participate in ASI and have invited family, friends and neighbors. Regular attendance at our range is usually 35 – 50 shooters. I can echo their enthusiasm for ASI. As the Match Director, introducing this low-key shooting discipline has been a positive and enriching experience.
To open an ASI club at your host range or learn more about the organization, visit www.asi-usa.org.