A few words about how I got involved in shooting and the journey I’ve been on!

Guess my post-script to this is that it’s OK to be scared of stuff but it feels great when you overcome that fear!

I was wondering what to do when I turned forty, so I decided that it was time to get rid of my fear of guns.

I had no idea where this fear had come from as I had shot when I worked on farms in my youth, but can only guess it was from my (now) husband, handing me a gun when we first met, that didn’t fit me, probably loaded with 28g cartridges to have a pop at some clays for fun and it hurting like hell.

Why would you want to do something that hurts? So I developed a fear – so much so that I couldn’t even release the safety off a gun without crying!

So, needing to set myself a challenge for my fortieth year, I booked a lesson via a voucher site at Manchester Clay Shooting School and told my husband to come along with me and if I didn’t like it, he could take over the lesson.

There were a couple of trembly bottom lip moments, however with a lot of encouragement and kind words, I completed the lesson, using one of the clubs 20 bore shotguns, but the instructor recommended I go back and start from the bottom, so actually practised with a .410 to get my confidence.

I was determined to move forwards and within six months I had applied for my shotgun certificate, and was regularly shooting with my young son and husband – finally, we had a family hobby.

Joining the Shotgun and Chelsea Bun Club was a great move for me. I got to learn about the sport, build more confidence in a friendly environment and make some lifelong friends.

As my son started to shoot more, he attended some of the BASC Young Shots events and I attended as chauffeur and got more involved. It is thanks to BASC North that I had the opportunity to shoot game – not something I would ever have considered doing – and, having given it a go and attended a few games days, I have now decided that it’s not for me. It’s very much a personal thing, and I fully respect that some people live for their game shooting, however, I’m happier on the clays.

In 2018, the Ladies Clay Shooting League was launched in Cheshire. A group that wanted to encourage more ladies to enter competitions and to give them the opportunities to try different disciplines. This was exactly what I needed – regular shoots were arranged which would make me get the gun out of the cabinet on a regular basis!

I have now discovered a love for DTL (Down the Line), thanks in no small part to this group and shoot at least once a fortnight at registered shoots.

So in five years of shooting, I have achieved the following:

Fear of guns conquered
Taking part in Sporting and DTL Registered events
I’ve tried game shooting (and decided it’s not for me, but have tried it!)

Most importantly, I’ve met some amazing and inspiring people who have not only supported me but given me opportunities that I never thought I would have had.


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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