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Next Generation: The University of Arizona Scholastic Action Shooting Team

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Photos by: RCP Photography

School students with guns. The narrative on this particular topic has, unfortunately, been narrow and polarizing. But we recently had the opportunity to learn about a nationwide program designed to not only teach students safe gun handling but also proper marksmanship, the joy of competitive shooting sports and an appreciation for 2nd Amendment rights.

UA Team 2

The University of Arizona Wildcats, in their various forms, are a highly accomplished form of student-athletes. Lesser known to the general public, but equally prominent in their chosen endeavor, are their counterpart University of Arizona Wildgats. The aptly named Wildgats is an affiliate club of the Scholastic Action Shooting Program – a nationwide league of middle school, high school and University-level action shooting teams. We recently had the opportunity to attend a Wildgats practice session in southern Arizona, fresh off their win of the 2018 college rifle championship. It was also their final practice before the Arizona State championship match which includes divisions for both high school and college level teams.

UA Team 3

The Scholastic Action Shooting Program is modeled loosely on Steel Challenge – students shoot all stages from a fixed box, off a bench, with no reloads. Targets are all steel, and there are three divisions: rimfire rifle, rimfire pistol, and centerfire pistol. During the team practice, we saw an interesting mix of centerfire guns that included Glocks, M&Ps, and 1911s that ranged from STIs to Rock Island Arsenals. For students competing at the high school level, SASP handed out approximately ninety-nine thousand dollars in scholarships last year alone.

UA Team 1

What impressed us most about shooting with the Wildgats was their emphasis on positive reinforcement, teamwork, and safety. Their practice starts with a thorough review of firearms safety and no student shoots without a volunteer coach directly over their shoulder providing feedback and guidance. Coaches on the line during this particular practice session included Brandon Kreutz, military veteran and owner of BKC Firearms and Elias Frangoulis, a current world champion in USPSA. We have to admit, we wish we’d had that level of expertise available to us during the early years of our shooting careers.

UA Team 4

Students on the range come from all walks of academia including young men and women currently enrolled for pre-law, pre-med and variety of engineering majors. Several of these students are also current ROTC cadets. We had the serendipitous timing of being on the range when their team president received his final job offer from Tucson Police Department – the spirit of public service is alive and well among this group of student-athletes.

UA Team 5

Stay tuned to RECOIL and RECOILweb for more coverage of both the SASP and the U of A Wildgats.

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