After spending the best part of 18 months as a weekend shooting widow, I decided, with my husband’s help, to give the sport of clay shooting a go.

About two years ago I got my first gun, a lovely 20g Browning 525 and off I went. Buying my first gun was very worrying, however, a good gun shop will help you every step of the way and ensure the gun fits you.

My husband and I would visit clay grounds together and I quickly found out that, yes, I could hit things. I was bitten by the bug and I quickly realised that there was so much to learn so I booked a two-hour lesson with a CPSA instructor who lives near me, Jason Rowntree.

The first hour of that lesson was spent on gun fit, stance and gun hold; by the time we went to shoot I was exhausted by the sheer volume of information.

After a few months, I upgraded my 20g to a 12g Beretta; the 20g was great but very expensive to feed. I also applied for my own licence so that I could venture off on my own. My husband will now tell you that I spend more time shooting than he does!

After six months of shooting, I attended my first ever ladies day with the Yorkshire Fillies, run by the wonderful Louise Alford. It was great to meet a bunch of ladies who all wanted to shoot and such a mix of abilities. Not only was I hooked on shooting, but I was also now enjoying ladies-only shooting.

Following that day, I attended more days run by Louise and my shooting went from strength to strength. I was lucky enough this year to be asked to host a couple of shooting days in Lancashire and it was great to welcome new shooters to the sport.

Nine months into my shooting I joined the CPSA, not to shoot competition but to complete my safety officers course and gain my certificate; again giving me more insight into the sport of clay pigeon shooting.

This year I attended a series of events run by the Ladies Clay Shooting League; it was here I met the biggest inspiration to my shooting, Linda Grayson.

Linda was coaching at one of the events. At the start, she gave a short talk about her experiences and her achievements, of which there are many. Linda was out on a couple of the more difficult stands and gave all the ladies some help & guidance.

Following on from this I booked a lesson with her and we had a great laugh, a good natter and she spurred me on to take on the competitive world of shooting.

I entered my first every CPSA event at end of August and was second in the ladies. I did another two CPSA events, one was tragic and the other I was second again in the ladies. Touching on the tragic event, we all have these days and my only advice is – don’t give up, just move on as the next event will be a different story.

Just recently I have upgraded my gun to a Beretta DT10 and now begins the process of becoming settled with this and learning to shoot it. Clay pigeon shooting is a variety of challenges every day, I have no ambition to shoot any animals, it’s just not for me.

I’m looking forward now to 2019, more lessons with Linda Grayson, attending the Ladies Clay Shooting League events, shooting more CPSA and also running a ladies day for Louise Alford over at the stunning Doveridge ground.

Kathy O'Connor

Kathy has been part of the BASC marketing team since 2008 and worked within the Ladies Shooting team since its inception in 2015. She enjoys clay and airgun shooting.

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